I recently shared a story with employees at Mailchimp about what it was like for me and Dan Kurzius to start our own company in the early 2000s.
About 20 years ago, Dan and I created an internal tool that we used to help our small business clients send out email newsletters. As more clients saw the power of email, we decided to make the app self-serve, delightful to use, and open to the public.
Now, most of you wouldn’t know this, but the name of our little tool was “WeeMailer” (the app was small, fun to use, and collaborative, so “wee” covered all the bases). When I went to buy the domain “WeeMailer” I stopped to reflect a little. “Would we always be small?” Perhaps most importantly, “shouldn’t we exploit the fact that all humans love and adore monkeys?”
I made the decision to buy the domain name, “ChimpMail.” It was taken, so I bought the domain, “Mailchimp.” That one act—purchasing a domain name—is how this 19-year-old, 1,200-employee, multimillion-dollar company came about.
Back then, there wasn’t one place we could go to take our business online, start marketing our products, and grow our customer base. We had to use one provider for our domain, another to host our website, and yet another to do any kind of SEO or direct marketing.