Time's Zeke Miller has the sort of micro-scoop that makes 2016 election obsessives happy: Jeb Bush's PAC has apparently tapped a co-founder of Hipster.com to run his PAC/presidential campaign's tech operation. There are a lot of questions floating around that news, not the least of which is: Wait, what is Hipster.com?
Hipster.com is one of those web domains that went quickly in the early days of the Internet, before companies had to resort to made-up or random names to secure a presence on the web. In 1997, the site was just an empty page reading "Welcome to the LMR351 PC Lab" according to the Internet Archive -- a message that is like finding a scrap of paper tucked into a 14th century coffin: incomprehensible without context.
A year later, Hipster.com was home to Virtual Hipster, an Internet service provider in Churchill County in Nevada. True to its name, the site followed web trends: frames in 1999, a Flash-based intro in 2000, Comic Sans in 2002. For most of the early 2000s, as Jeb's brother sat in the White House, Hipster.com proclaimed itself as "the future of communications."
By late 2006, the site was back to a stark black message on a white background: "Virtual Hipster: Providing Northern Nevada with Internet and Telecommunications Service Since 1997." It stayed that way -- a wasteland -- until 2010.
That's when Hipster.com came into being. In January 2011, the tech site TechCrunch asked if naming your company "Hipster" was "genius or terrible." It's mission wasn't clear until later that year, when it announced that it planned to be an Instagram that focused on location. It's probably more complex than that, but who really cares? In 2012, it offered people a chance to fly into space after having apologized for uploading entire address books off of peoples' phones. AOL purchased the company a month later -- and then killed it the following February.
This is the Hipster that Ethan Czahor helped to found, when he wasn't tweeting unfunny and offensive jokes.
Since leaving Hipster, Czahor has done apparently more fruitful work, including as acting chief technology officer at Jessica Alba's company, Honest. As Miller notes in his Time piece, there's a lure hidden in the HTML for jebspeech.com, asking those looking at the code if they want to "work on the greatest political tech stack ever created?" It's a bold proposition, if one with limited competition. The greatest political tech stack to date -- that is, the combined technology components of a campaign -- unquestionably belongs to Obama For America.
Can Ethan Czahor create the Hipster.com to OFA's Instagram? You know the old political saying: Welcome to the LMR351 PC Lab.