The idea of starting the company I now call KickApps Corporation came to me in the winter of 1995, the morning after an evening visit with my grandmother. Grandma Ann was about ninety years old at the time, and we had spent a long evening eating Chinese food (Chow Mein was her favorite) and talking about her life growing up in Lower Manhattan. We had had this conversation many times before, but this time I remembered to bring my video camera and was able to capture two hours of fascinating storytelling from a women that was nearly a full-grown adult at a time when “the iceman” delivered house-to-house from a horse-drawn carriage. According to Gram, electric refrigerators didn’t make it to her neighborhood until “long after the War” (I’m still not sure which war she was referring to).
Anyway, I went to sleep that night very pleased that I had finally videotaped my grandmother and woke up the next morning with the idea of building a company that invites people to share their video memories online. Timing is everything, of course, and in the pre-cable modem era no self-respecting venture firm would touch my idea with a ten foot pole. So I put “KnowHow Video” (that’s what I called it in those days) on the shelf and began building a series of venture-backed companies based on technologies I licensed from military contractors like ITT and Lockheed Martin (e.g. Meshnetworks, SkyCross). But I would periodically return to my video sharing idea (always my favorite), and eventually built an initial prototype at www.KnowItAllVideo.com.
KnowItAllVideo was around long before the world knew anything about social networking and user-generated video, and we continue to keep that website live in its original form, mainly for nostalgic reason. Although I must admit that it stung a little bit to see the birth and explosive growth of similar sites that followed KnowItAllVideo, building a destination website was never part of my entrepreneurial DNA. My vision was always to power every website with user-generated content and social networking functionality. So KickApps is a hosted platform company designed to do just that.
I write this blog on the eve of our public launch with high expectations. We have a talented and motivated team, supportive investors and a vision that we all believe in. My grandmother is gone now (she made it to ninety-nine!), but I know she would have been proud of what she inspired.