Happy Birthday Darcy: My partner and my friend
All of you know her as EB, some of you know her as Darcy, and most of you know she’s a pretty special lady. She is the one who makes sure that everyone who writes gets an answer, every order gets filled, and everyone with a computer problem who has a Cloudeight Direct service key gets scheduled. Without her, Cloudeight would probably not be around anymore. She’s a fighter and she really cares and she makes the ideas I come up with work. My head’s always in the clouds — which is why we are called Cloudeight…not really…but my head is in the clouds. She makes this site work — and she does come up with some great ideas too.
Today is her birthday and I hope you will join me in wishing her all the best. What I wish most for her birthday is that all her dreams come true.
You probably don’t know this but she used to own a bar, and that’s where I met her. The bar was called Michigan^Tavern. Honest! I stumbled into her bar and starting fighting with her (it’s true). For some reason, in spite of my arrogance and contentious nature, she became my friend. I was a helpless nerd who knew almost nothing about computers then. My son was in a rock and roll band — and I made the world’s worst looking site, but I was proud of it. I showed it too her and rather than telling me it looked like a pile of junk she redid the entire site — she took her time to make the first web site I ever made look great — and she barely knew me and didn’t know my son at all. What she did with the junky looking site I made was amazing — but she never took any credit for fixing it up.
The year was 1997 and the bar Michigan^Tavern was virtual — it was a chatroom that EB and some of her friends had created. So we met in a virtual saloon and Cloudeight was born.
In 1998, after she took me under her wing and taught me a lot about making web sites and we created the first Cloudeight site. It was called “Thundercloud and Eightball’s Christmas Graphics and you can still see it by clicking here.
We both use to work other jobs back then. Every day whoever got home first would check the counter on the site to see how many people had visited. I can remember the day we got 50 visits and we were sure we were on our way to Web stardom — ha! — but there’s something beautiful about naivete. The excitement of having 50 visitors encouraged us and we kept working together.
One day, EB sent me an email with a scrolling background — and it had music playing. I thought she was magic! “How did you do that?” , I asked. We figured it out and started making stationery. It was then we created Cloudeight Stationery and it became wildly popular — at our peak we were getting 3 million visitors a year and our stationery became the most famous stationery on the Web.
We loved our jobs and we were so excited when we were working on a new stationery collection. We’d show each other what we had designed and couldn’t wait to release it to our subscribers and visitors. Cloudeight Stationery grew and grew – and Cloudeight became a business and our only job.
In 2002 we started Information Avenue and later InfoAve Premium to pass along some of the computer tricks and tips we’d learned over the years. It’s a good thing we did because when Microsoft introduced Windows 7, it had no email program, and therefore Windows 7 users couldn’t use our scrolling / musical stationery – our bread and butter. We had to completely re-invent Cloudeight and staying in business became a weekly struggle.
I have no doubt that if it weren’t for Darcy’s kindness and caring, we’d have gone belly-up several years ago. She never gave up and we came up with some other ideas and we’re still around. Cloudeight Direct Computer Care was her idea, not mine, and it really has helped us keep sailing on — and it really helped us get to know the folks who helped us through some very dark days.
Whether you know her as Darcy, EB, or both, she’s quite a lady and I’ve always felt quite lucky that, despite my cantankerous, contentious, belligerent nature, she has always been able to see through all of that and saw a different part of me — the part I never show the world — the compassionate, generous, gentle part. We’ve been friends since I walked into her virtual saloon and I’m a better person for it. And any of you who have had the chance to get to know her are blessed too. She’s one in a billion and we’re all lucky to know her.
Looking through her phone, I found a couple of her selfies, and I’d love to share them with you:
Darcy and I have had our ups and downs. We’ve been partners for almost two decades. She’s always been the one I’ve counted on when things weren’t going so well. She takes my ideas and makes them work – or tells me how crazy I am depending on the idea. She is my partner, she is my friend – and whether you know it or now, if you’ve ever had any dealings with Cloudeight – she’s probably your friend too.
She’s the best partner and friend anyone could ever have. I poke fun at her in almost every newsletter, and she laughs along with everyone else. She’s a great person, a great lady, and I know I am very lucky to have her as my partner, but I’m even luckier to have her as my friend