I created PistonHeads at the tail end of 1998. It was created to compete with traditional publishers by giving petrolheads somewhere to hang out online and get motoring news faster than the weekly mags could provide.
At the time I was working in the City designing trading systems for Lehman Brothers. The politics was getting on my goat a bit and in August 1999 I resigned to pursue PistonHeads full time.
At the time the internet was still a new experience for most and many thought I was completely mad to pursue my madcap plan. In some respects they were right - the plan was a bit "back of a fag packet" but I was convinced that there was an opportunity here that needed exploring.
The site was 'bootstrapped' from a small investment of my own and by minimising my overheads I rode out the dot com bubble bursting and saw many over-zealous competitors fall by the wayside. A solid business took shape and the brand was developed and grew in recognition and stature.
The site was coded from scratch and in the early days I also wrote the news, did the road tests, sold the ads and sent out the t-shirts. Over time I concentrated more on the technical side and got assistance with other aspects of the business.
From those early days getting excited about 100 visitors a day, PistonHeads blossomed to over a million unique visitors a month when I sold it and it now boasts over 4.5 million a month. It's one of the world's most popular motoring sites.
In 2006 I received a number of approaches about selling the site and in January 2007 I completed the sale to Haymarket Media Group.