Tomi Itkonen

ShowMoor - The Origin Story

What drove the service into existence? Here's the background.

Short Version

Around 2008, I started publishing articles I've collected and written online. They were about the fascinating, simple yet extraordinarily complicated compound, water.

For a platform, I selected Tumblr due its template editing feature. To earn some cents, I could easily add banner ads to it. But, the ads turned out to be irrelevant distractions.

There has to be a better solution. I just knew it. Time passed and I had an epiphany.

After several years of marinating the idea, the perfect window for development opened.

Full Version

Since I was a kid, technology has interested me. In those early days, I experimented with transistors, LEDs, capacitors, loudspeakers, built various gadgets, devices. My father’s Yamaha Electone organ had a drum machine. I tried to built something similar. Something that generates sounds.

To my dismay, one of my oscillator circuits generated horizontal stripes on TV in my room. Worrying that it affects our neighbours’ TVs, I quickly turned it off. I wasn’t a Woz-like prankster.

Here in Finland, TM magazine had an article about Sinclair ZX-80 and BASIC tutorials. I was mesmerized. I had to get my own computer.

So, I jumped from Oric-1 to Commodore 128 to Amiga 500 to PC with Windows 95. Learned to code on each.

On the Amiga, I created a communication method for a severely disabled person. A pointer cycled slowly through the ABCs. By touching the joystick, she could select a letter and form words.

Then the WWW happened. The World Wide Wait, at the time.

Once again, I was mesmerized. By the possibilities the technology brings. I had to know all about it.

The best source of everything web related – tech, business, culture, hype – was Wired magazine. I have saved tens of those. It’s fun to check which of the various predictions have come to fruition.

Kiss your browser goodbye. Yeah, sure.

My plans to start a company to build web pages did not take off. It was too early. Not many knew what’s a web page.

I began studying software engineering in Lahti Polytechnic. It was cool to have an internet connection passable for browsing with Netscape Navigator.

My first website had GIF animations and a Java Applet that generated unique fractals. The website secured me a web developer intern job in 1998.

Java Servlets and Swing, XML parser, Kannel SMS gateway, JavaScript, testing on different browsers, JDBC, databases, CVS, Borland IDE filled my days. We used WebMacro template engine that had a clever Java introspection MVC concept.

Why am I telling you all this? What’s the point?

As evidenced above, the web has been my passion and playground since its early days. I’m a proud Browserland native.

All this time, there has been this lingering thought: “How could I improve the web? Is there an issue I could solve?”

Over the years, to survive my day job as an SAP Specialist, I poured my creativity into various blog experiments. Here’s one example:

The Book of W – Water from All Angles

Soon, I began to wonder, is there a way to get money, even some cents from the blog.

The harsh reality had muffled the mantra of “Information wants to be free”. We need money and deserve to get paid from the work we do. That’s common sense.

Banner ads were distracting, irrelevant, did not cut it.

I got a glimpse of the possible solution. Let it incubate. In the unconscious mind, you know.

After finalizing the Kara MIDI Controller, the perfect window for development opened.

Things started to click into place. Like the company name and the logo.

I wanted the company to reflect creative values, instill the name with its tiny typo into people's minds. And turn the abstract concept into something concrete, more understandable.

Therefore, inspired by the 19th century Paris World Fairs among others, The Legend of ShowMoor was born.

"That must have been the most boring origin story I've ever read. Where's the drama?", you may think. Well, I left out several juicy bits. It's too soon to mention those.

Take care!

Tomi Itkonen
Tomi Itkonen
ShowMoor Founder and CEO