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A quick Army story of my first windows 98 computer

August 15, 2017

This was a Facebook Live video I made during the application process of becoming a Wix ambassador.



Hey, everybody.  This is Michael Wood at Webmaster Academy.  And I'm doing a application for Wix.com to be an ambassador.  And what that means is that I'll represent wix.com, not as a company, but as a web designer helping people with Wix in my community, pulling people together, talking about building sites.


Now, to me, website building has always been about telling a story; and so meeting in person, looking at each other's website, it's really sharing our story.  And so it's why it's so important to put a community together when making these websites, and, especially, if you are going to make effective and successful websites, which is something I'm always trying to teach.

  Now part of this application process is they want me to talk a little bit about myself.  So I'm going to share with you a quick little story.


Back in 1999 -- if you think back, where was technology at in 1999?  They weren't even shipping out those AOL discs yet.  You know, there was really not much of an Internet.  Think about Windows 98 being brand new.  Right?


So it was 1999, and I was in the Army, the United States Army at the time.  I was a Private First Class.  I was done with basic training and everything, and I was in my unit at Ft. Hood, Texas; and I had my own place.  You know, and it was one of the first times I got to get out of the house and have my own place.  I had a paycheck, money in my pocket, and I bought my first computer.  I loved it because it wasn't my mom's old computer; it was mine, and it had came loaded with Windows 98 and all kinds of programs and software.


I was so excited to have my computer.  I remember at the end of formation at the end of the day, I literally ran.  And just imagine, in my camouflage, my combat boots, running down the street to get to my little -- little dorm room so I can get on that computer and start messing around; and that's what I did.  I started messing around, and I didn't really know much of what I was doing, but I was familiar with computers and gaming my whole life.  So it couldn't be that hard; right?


Well, back in those days hard drives were very small, and I was always concerned about, you know, memory and saving memory.  I was afraid of running out of memory.  And so the computer came preloaded with tons of programs.  Some people call that "bloat ware" these days.  But it came with all this software, and I didn't even know what to do with, but I didn't have that much money; so having all kind of free programs sounded like a good idea.

Now, because I didn't really understand Windows 98, I thought:  Hum, why is the program in there two times?  I see it in the programs list, and I also see the name of the program on the desktop.


So I went into programs, and I deleted all the programs; but I left the little icon on the desktop.  So I thought:  Why have the program on there two times?  It's only taking up memory; right?


So I deleted the programs.  What I left on the desktop were shortcuts, and shortcuts that would lead to nothing.  But I'm telling you this story because I didn't know that's what I did.  Nobody was there to tell me.  Certainly people around me didn't know much about computers.  I probably knew more than the guy next to me.  So I thought I was doing a good thing.  I thought I was saving memory.  I thought I was cleaning up my computer.  What I did is I deleted the programs.  So if I ever tried to use them, you click on the link, a shortcut to a program that doesn't exist; right?  It -- it just will say, "Uh, can't find the program."


I remember, again, I was so excited about this computer; right?  So I went and I was telling all the soldiers about it the next day, "Oh, I got a new computer," you know?  Most of them could care less, but I talked to a sergeant in a higher rank than I was at the time, and I told him all about my new computer.  I was so excited about it.  And he started asking me questions that I really couldn't answer.  And he -- and mind you, I did not know him.  I almost think he was a guardian angel or something.  He just came out of nowhere, this -- this sergeant who started to work with us.

  And he said, "Let me come over to your dorm so I can see what you did with your computer."


I said, "Sure."


He came over during a lunch break.  And we only had one hour lunch back then.  So it was our lunch break.  He came to my dorm room, he looked at my computer, and said, "You deleted your programs.  Those little icons on the desktop, those are just shortcuts."


And I was like, "Oh, they are"?


Okay?  So the reason why I share that story with you is because all it took was one person who knew more than I did to totally show me the correct way to do things.  Sure, I was a smart guy.  I'm a smart guy.  I could figure things out.  But without a professional really being there, someone who's experienced, I don't even know if I'm doing things right or wrong.  I'll never forget that sergeant spent an hour with me and showed me everything about Windows 98, and I never saw him again.  I am not trying to be dramatic or, you know, tell you a lie just to make the story better.  I'm serious.  I saw him one day; never saw him again.  Saw him for that one lunchtime that he decided to help me out.


Well, after he showed me, all it took were some serious professional tips, and I knew what I was doing with that computer.  I was able to launch forward and go.  Two years later, I worked in the public affairs office as a media -- a multimedia non-commissioned officer.  And now I'm the guy everyone comes to for multimedia, when two years ago I was deleting programs from Windows 98.


So what I'm trying to say is sometimes getting help from that one person, even if it's for that one lunch break, just a few key tips and tricks can really revolutionize your career and how you take any skill, especially skills with a computer.


Now, let's take that to web design.  That's where I come in, because now I'm the professional, I've worked with lots of companies, I've developed lots of websites, I've seen what works, I've seen what doesn't work, and sometimes I want to be that person.  Sometimes all it takes is that one person to just tip over the edge and get you to be an expert in no time.


Wix, I'm talking to you.  I want to be a Wix Ambassador because I want to be that guy.  I want to be the one who's there to give you those tips and tricks and to walk you through.  Because I know that if you can walk through the steps of making a successful and effective website, you are going to be empowered, because not only can you do a website for yourself, but now you can make a website for everyone you love.


You know, I had the opportunity to make a website for my daughter's private school.  I got to do a website for the local church I was attending and other community projects.  And hey, they need a website.  Girl Scouts; they wanted a website to sell cookies.  I can do that.  But it's because I really had those people in my life that gave me those extra tips and tricks.  I want to be that for Riverside.  I want to be that for anyone globally.  That's why I have this webinar coming up the next couple of weeks.  I really want to be there for people.  Because if I can help you, then I know that's going to empower you.  And, to me, I'm just paying it forward because someone helped me.


So hey, Wix, let me be an ambassador.  Let me be that person who helps people develop websites but also tell their individual story, because that's what a good website does.


All right?  So that's just a quick little message; my application to Wix.  Thanks -- thanks, you guys, for tuning in.


We'll talk to you next time.



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