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Happy Anniversary to Us – pair Celebrates 18 Years!

Hi, this is Kevin Martin, CEOpairNIC_cake and founder of pair Networks, Inc. Each January, my company has another anniversary, and I write an article for the newsletter, and this year is no exception. I continue to marvel at the longevity and strength of this company, which has its roots in the summer of 1995. I’ve written a number of times about our early origins, renting a small building that used to be an insurance sales office, buying a T-1 from Digital Express, and hiring one employee besides myself. It’s been a wild and wonderful and rewarding ride ever since.

I am just an old-school PC and Unix guy, who in a virtual sense at least, has a long, gray, wizard-style beard. As a child in the late 1970’s, I desperately wanted a Commodore 64, an Atari 800, or the TRS-80. My father wisely held out, though, and in October 1981, he brought home a brand new IBM PC Model 5150 from ComputerLand, with 64KB RAM, dual 5.25” disk drives, and a lovely green monochrome monitor. He had asked to cut corners and have 48KB RAM and one drive, but when he saw them taking things out at the store, he changed his mind.

With the new PC system at home, I set aside programmable calculators, and stopped writing BASIC programs on paper. I played through Temple of Apshai, Asylum, Ultima II, and just about everything from Infocom, while also writing my own (truly awful) games, as well as a program to manage scorekeeping for my mother’s bowling league. I graduated from BASIC to Turbo Pascal, MASM, Turbo Prolog, and Turbo C, clearly en route to a career in programming. The computer itself eventually acquired a 386SX daughtercard, SuperVGA graphics, and went to summer camps with me. It now sits proudly in our front office, alongside the DOS 1.0 and BIOS reference manuals.

Meanwhile, at bowling league nights, I had found that my quarters lasted much longer at pinball than video games – remember that video games were brutally hard back then! – and a lifelong passion was born. In college, I spent a lot more time playing pinball, but also took a detour from the DOS/Windows world into Unix, starting with SunOS 4.0.3 and ending up solidly in the BSD camp. I became a systems administrator on campus, as well as an expert pinball player. Occasionally, I attended classes as well.

These two interests came together in 1993, when I started maintaining an FTP site containing rulesheets and other documents related to pinball. Shortly thereafter, while working at a boring sysadmin job for a university, I realized it was silly to pay an ISP in California to host the site, when I already had the necessary skills to handle it myself. This lead directly to the launch of pair Networks, with a small family loan and a lot of faith. We were profitable by the second month, and have never looked back.

I can honestly say that we have not always made the right decisions or provided perfect service to every client at every moment – but we own our mistakes and strive to correct them. We have remained independent, cashflow positive, and 100% privately owned, for longer than almost any competitor has even been in business.

Currently, we are offering our classic, famously reliable shared hosting services. We offer powerful virtual private servers and dedicated servers, as well as the smartest domain registrar you can find anywhere. 2014 will bring some of our biggest expansions and launches ever, and I will be on hand personally, every day, to guide the ship. Watch this space for announcements throughout the year.

I personally extend my thanks to each and every one of you for being a faithful customer. We couldn’t do it without you! Happy New Year!


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