You've come a long way, baby. flame turns 20!

2003. Sounded incredibly futuristic back then – and is now already (or only?) 20 years ago. Not only we – Boris and Petra – as the founders of flame, have come a long and above all exciting way in the meantime. Our field of work being marketing, design and communication has also developed rapidly.

But what was it actually like – starting a business at that time?

So let’s start with a recap:

In the early 2000s, the so-called dotcom bubble had just burst and it was really difficult to keep convincing people that technological progress and “digitalisation is the future” were the way forward. Moreover, the Euro had been around for just one year, having been introduced on January 1, 2002. Maybe that’s why it took us almost a year to get an overdraft facility (!) from a bank for our project “agency for integrated communication” – not to mention financing (in the end, our building society savings had to take a hit…).

There were still the Nokia 6210 and Blackberry as the first smartphones, simple messanger services and no business-relevant social media channels (but MySpace and LinkedIn were just going online). The principle was “keep it short” not only for phone calls, but also for SMS, where just 160 text characters were allowed and sending them was still really expensive – especially if you were already operating internationally (our first D2 cell phone bills were quite high).

Creation and replacement of media was also a quite time-consuming and costly task back in the day.

There were already reasonably powerful PowerMacs, Adobe launched the first Creative Suite, and Internet, DSL and e-mail were already available. But sending or receiving large amounts of data (e.g. for print or video productions) was always just as challenging and was usually still done on CD-ROM or Zip disks by local courier services (the forerunners of Gorilla & Co.) or overnight express services (for longer distances). By the way, also hyped for the first time in 2003: Agile Development – a method that we probably lived automatically from the very beginning for creating websites and apps (because we had to 😉 before it was called that.

We had two real heavyweights on board as launch customers: Shell Solar (yes – no joke!) and Balfour Beatty. Both are internationally active groups with the ambition to digitalize marketing and communication (because it can then be measured), and the topics of “sustainable energy” and “mobile infrastructure” are already super-exciting.

How the appearance of flame has changed in 20 years? Stay tuned for the next blog post.