Eight years, 2000 blog posts
Today’s a bit of a milestone for us: this is the 2000th post on this blog.
Why does a computer company have a blog? When did it start, who writes it, and where does the content come from? And don’t you have sore fingers? All of these are good questions: I’m here to answer them for you.
Marital circumstances being what they are, I had a front-row view of everything that was going on at Raspberry Pi, right from the original conversations that kicked the project off in 2009. In 2011, when development was still being done on Eben’s and my kitchen table, we met with sudden and slightly alarming fame when Rory Cellan Jones from the BBC shot a short video of a prototype Raspberry Pi and blogged about it – his post went viral. I was working as a freelance journalist and editor at the time, but realised that we weren’t going to get a better chance to kickstart a community, so I dropped my freelance work and came to work full-time for Raspberry Pi.
Setting up an instantiation of WordPress so we could talk to all Rory’s readers, each of whom decided we’d promised we’d make them a $25 computer, was one of the first orders of business. We could use the WordPress site to announce news, and to run a sort of devlog, which is what became this blog; back then, many of our blog posts were about the development of the original Raspberry Pi.
It was a lovely time to be writing about what we do, because we could be very open about the development process and how we were moving towards launch in a way that sadly, is closed to us today. (If we’d blogged about the development of Raspberry Pi 3 in the detail we’d blogged about Raspberry Pi 1, we’d not only have been handing sensitive and helpful commercial information to the large number of competitor organisations that have sprung up like mushrooms since that original launch; but you’d also all have stopped buying Pi 2 in the run-up, starving us of the revenue we need to do the development work.)
Once Raspberry Pis started making their way into people’s hands in early 2012, I realised there was something else that it was important to share: news about what new users were doing with their Pis. And I will never, ever stop being shocked at the applications of Raspberry Pi that you come up with. Favourites from over the years? The paludarium’s still right up there (no, I didn’t know what a paludarium was either when I found out about it); the cucumber sorter’s brilliant; and the home-brew artificial pancreas blows my mind. I’ve a particular soft spot for musical projects (which I wish you guys would comment on a bit more so I had an excuse to write about more of them).
As we’ve grown, my job has grown too, so I don’t write all the posts here like I used to. I oversee press, communications, marketing and PR for Raspberry Pi Trading now, working with a team of writers, editors, designers, illustrators, photographers, videographers and managers – it’s very different from the days when the office was that kitchen table. Alex Bate, our magisterial Head of Social Media, now writes a lot of what you see on this blog, but it’s always a good day for me when I have time to pitch in and write a post.
I’d forgotten some of the early stuff before looking at 2011’s blog posts to jog my memory as I wrote today’s. What were we thinking when we decided to ship without GPIO pins soldered on? (Happily for the project and for the 25,000,000 Pi owners all over the world in 2019, we changed our minds before we finally launched.) Just how many days in aggregate did I spend stuffing envelopes with stickers at £1 a throw to raise some early funds to get the first PCBs made? (I still have nightmares about the paper cuts.) And every time I think I’m having a bad day, I need to remember that this thing happened, and yet everything was OK again in the end. (The backs of my hands have gone all prickly just thinking about it.) Now I think about it, the Xenon Death Flash happened too. We also survived that.
At the bottom of it all, this blog has always been about community. It’s about sharing what we do, what you do, and making links between people all over the world who have this little machine in common. The work you do telling people about Raspberry Pi, putting it into your own projects, and supporting us by buying the product doesn’t just help us make hardware: every penny we make funds the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s charitable work, helps kids on every continent to learn the skills they need to make their own futures better, and, we think, makes the world a better place. So thank you. As long as you keep reading, we’ll keep writing.
I remember when that first post went up, and the suspense and waiting until I could finally lay my hands on one of the first 10k Raspberry Pis.. which has since been joined in this household by a quite surprisingly large number of other Pis.
See you in another 2000 posts!
I remember following the blog through 2011/2012, remember the “we have a logo”, “gpio pinout”, “we’re manufacturing”, “buy an alpha board on ebay”, and others from pre-release era, and the first year or so after the Pi came out there were some great projects once people got their hands on boards of their own – particularly unusual ones like the talking moose and the photo stacking one with the cow pictures! Great fun – we’ve come a long way!
I created a Twitter bot which tweets posts from the blog, on this day in previous years: https://twitter.com/raspberrypi_otd
I remember the ‘day of the MagJack’ very clearly. It was so frustrating for you to have to delay shipping something that was years in the making.
But ship you did, within a couple of days.
Soon after, I had the excitement of unboxing and booting my first Pi. Unforgettable.
You delivered on an incredibly challenging promise, and the world has never been the same since.
I also remember those early days I used to follow this blog, and my very first Pi (original B with 256 MB of RAM) purchased on the original batch (I still have the T-shirt). Unfortunately, this Pi never worked an I had to replace it by a 512 MB of RAM, so I don’t own the very very first Pi model of the original batch.
So many years of surprises and announcements of great products by the foundation. I have 3 models of Pi sitting right on my desk at work and so many running at home, I realize how Pi has changed the world of SBC since its launch.
Congratulations to the Raspberry Pi Foundation and Trading ! I wish you a huge success for the following years and products !
Raspberry Pi was, is, and will be by far the best thing I’ve ever had the privilege to be involved with.
Thanks for all the toiling to bring together a lovely community and carve out a calm bay for us to play in.
You know, I don’t think we’d have been this successful without you! Paul, for the uninitiated, designed our logo back in the day; it’s a great piece of design that’s done us proud. He’s since gone on to found Pimoroni, and we <3 him.
I still have my first batch Model B and it still works!
That early morning I remember having three computers and three phones and the relief when I got an order in.
The months of anticipation following the manufacture, the delay over compliance, it’s been one of the standout new products since. Look forward to many more incrementals.
Michael Dominic Horne
I’ve loved following the progress of the Pi, and the many projects, over the years. Multiple authors, multiple viewpoints and so much detail to make my head spin. So glad to have been involved on the outside since then – long may it continue!
You’re *such* an important part of this community, Mike (along with Tim!) – I really don’t think it’d be the same without you. Long may it continue indeed!
2000 blogs ago something great started. Sharing ideas about RPis!!!
I feel privileged to have had one of the prototypes in my possession back in Oct 2011, even if only for a week! It was loaned to me by Eben for the RISC OS London Show. I expected to only be able to demonstrate it running Linux, but was very pleased to find out RISC OS had already been updated to run on it too :-)
Still have my original model B, purchased from Liz’s fair hands at the (first?) Cambridge jam, running RISC OS of course because 256MB of RAM is positively roomy for that!
Congratulations, Raspberry Pi :-) A huge milestone to reach – and the real motor behind Raspberrrrry Pi: knowledge, shared for and by the community, created by makers around the world.
Here’s to the next 80 years and 20.000 blog posts !
I remember having the BigTrak with the backend unloader back in 1976 or so.
BRANDON A ROSS
Love you guys! I hot my prime for hardware about the time Pi’s came out. You guys changed my life! Now I often see the physical world in coding terms, you opened robotics and smaller accessable systems to me. Have made so many retro projects I can’t count them! Thank you! This is my favorite community!
Thanks for the reminiscence.
I had heard of the Raspberry Pi in 2012 and was contemplating getting a Raspberry Pi or Arduino to do a bit of hardware work – it was 30 years since family life had curtailed my microprocessor design. I was somewhat deterred by my lack of a TV/Monitor with HDMI input.
In March the following year I suffered a cardiac arrest and spent almost a month in hospital and was slowly recuperating but had memory problems. I decided I needed a project to keep my mind busy, and bought a Raspberry Pi.
I now have 7; there are 3 on my desk and it has definitely been a stimulating experience.
I’ve been following the Raspberry Pi project closely since it was first announced, and it’s incredible to see the community and ecosystem that has grown up around it.
2000 posts ago the website looked a little bit different… and so did Eben ;-)
Those were the days, my friend … I remember it well
Particularly those such as the Cucumber sorter.
Though I don’t recall any mention of it having a brilliant, or why it would be useful
alex eames (RasPi.TV)
Congrats on 2000 posts. And what a journey it’s been! From kitchen table to must be coming up for nearly 30 million units shipped, a portfolio of magazines, and a SHOP – all feeding back into the educational mission.
It’s a unique recipe. It wouldn’t have got anywhere without you Liz, staff member #1. Thank you for making it fun, interesting and building a community round it. People got behind it because of this the educational mission and the inexpensive computer. And now it’s lovely to see Raspberry Pis being used in industry – which feeds back into educating the professionals that industry will need in the future. A rare example of a virtuous cycle. :)
I missed out on launch day because I forgot my password on my Farnell account. Ended up ordering with Farnell and RS. Both PI’s arrived a few weeks later. Got a B+, 2, 3 and 3+. Was also lucky enough to get the Zero announcement email while commuting to work. The man at WHSmith at the station only had a couple left by 7:50am
I remember launch day. I got up early to get an order in and collectively we managed to crash both RS and Farnell! I was lucky enough to get one of the first 2000 boards, and then for some reason was sent 2. After speaking to RS they just told me to offer it to someone else and not worry about it. I ended up sending it over to a guy in Australia in the end.
I now have far too many Pi’s and not enough time to make cool stuff :D
The tech industry has 1000s of great inventions gathering dust in garages and on shelves because they were never given the chance to blossom , they never saw the light of day or an inferior product stole the limelight at the key moment.
Im not a fan of list of key contributors for an open project like this, there is always somebody else you can add.
However imho Liz is a un/under song hero of Raspberry PI.
The media strategy and those early posts where key. Ok with out the techies producing goods you would have eventually run out of steam but with out you they would never has a platform to perform on.
To get to 2000 post is amazing. Im blown away by the success.
Eight years – wowser! Nice work team :-)
Still remember getting my first RasPi and downloading the first MagPi PDF when my dad mentioned it to me. Y’all have changed a lot of people’s lives and built an awesome community. Keep up the great work (and the great writing!).
Yes I remember getting a firsthand taste of the RPi crowd size on launch day as the servers crashed. Now I’ve got two “Raspberry Shakes” and a “Raspberry Boom” (seismometer & infrasound sensors) and some camera setups, and it’s my go-to solution for most kinds of data acquisition, often combined with a Teensy or Arduino for hard realtime tasks. Excellent work all around!
An awesome achievement indeed! My favourite was that Clive chap who used to take over the blog from Liz when she was on business. He was awesome, particularly the adventure game thingy with Mooncake, and LOGO-Gove (Left a bit! Right a bit! Up a bit! Fire!)
You’ve always been my favourite.