Let’s Laugh About How the World Has Changed Since 2004… (And Happy Birthday, BiggerPockets!)

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Where were YOU in 2004?

I know where I was — sitting in a dark basement trying to create something that had never been created before: a community for real estate investors to gather online, share ideas, learn, network, and achieve greater success.

People called me crazy, said I was wasting time, that a person can’t build a business giving away information for free.

So 12 years ago — today — I decided to ignore the naysayers and click “publish” on that very first piece of content on BiggerPockets.

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The very first iteration of BiggerPockets.

So yes — today is BiggerPockets’ 12th Birthday!

I don’t need to tell the whole story of how BiggerPockets came to be the largest real estate investing website online, as I’ve told the story many times before. (If you want to hear the story, be sure to listen to episode #100 of the BiggerPockets Podcast.)

Instead, I want to have some fun looking at the differences between life in 2004 and 2016, as a way for all of us to look back and see how far we’ve come.

So without further ado, let’s take a look…

2004 Notable Events

In October 2004, Ken Jennings was impressing the world with his incredible 74 consecutive wins on Jeopardy.

On October 27, 2004 the Boston Red Sox won the World Series for the first time in 86 years – boo (Go Mets!)

2004 was a big year for the iPod (yes, this is long before the iPhone ever made an appearance). Still just a blue screen with black text, the iPod really took off in 2004 and began to dominate the mp3 market.

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The #1 song in the country while BiggerPockets was birthed into the world was “Goodies” by Ciara.

Yes, we all still hate that song, but now it’ll be stuck in your head all day. You are welcome!

Also, in late 2004, Britney Spears had just married Kevin Federline. That was weird.

Related: What Real Estate Investors Can Learn from BiggerPockets (the Business, Not the Website)

Finally, one of the most critically acclaimed, heartwarming, and moving films of the century was released just before BiggerPockets emerged — Team America: World Police.

2004 vs. Today

In 2004, a gallon of milk cost an average of $3.23; today the average is $3.31.

In 2004, a gallon of gas hit a record high of $2.04, whereas today our national average is $2.26

A BigMac in the United States was just $2.90 in 2004, but today if you want to feed your face with that grease, you’ll pay $4.79. (Yes, there actually is a BigMac Pricing Index that measures the price growth of a BigMac over time.)

The federal minimum wage in 2004 was $5.15, compared to today’s federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

2004 was also a big year for a company you’ve probably never heard of: Google. Had you invested $10,000 in 2004 on the date of their IPO, today you would have $139,458.82.

Of course, not everyone was smart enough to invest in Google in 2004, so let’s look at just the S&P 500. If you invested $10,000 there in October of 2004, today you’d have $24,900. Not quite as good — but you would have more than doubled your money (Source).

Real Estate Investing Over the Past 12 Years

In 2004, the national median home price average was $187,500. Today, the median existing home sale sits at $234,200 (Source 1, Source 2).

And speaking of real estate, the big real estate story of 2004 was growth.

Between Q4 of 2003 and Q4 of 2004, most cities saw MASSIVE valuation climbs. A record number of metropolitan areas (62 out of 129) saw double-digit home price gains in that year. Las Vegas, for example, saw a 47.3 percent gain in median sales price. San Bernardino and Riverside counties in California saw a 34.7 percent gain. A quote I found from the National Association of Realtors from that time summed 2004 up well, stating, “Anyone looking for signs of weakness in the real estate market will be disappointed.”

The Future of Real Estate Investing

Finally, learning about real estate investing has changed dramatically over the past 12 years.

I started BiggerPockets in an effort to answer my own real estate questions. Back then, if you needed specific help with a problem, the education market was cornered by the get-rich-quick gurus who wanted to charge tens of thousands of dollars for their “help.”

But BiggerPockets changed that.

Today, BiggerPockets has over 600,000 members in the community, and we reach well over 2 million people each month through the BiggerPockets Podcast, the books we’ve published, the videos we have on YouTube, and the word of mouth that has been the primary growth strategy for all 12 years.

And best of all — I didn’t do that. The community did.

Twelve years ago, I began building a platform that would allow real life real estate investors teach one another, guide one another, and help one another become more successful. I didn’t know what I was doing at the time, I just knew that greater gains can be made through cooperation than competition. (Feel free to Tweet that quote! It’s not every day I get a zinger!)

And over the past 12 years, we’ve seen that vision manifest itself time and time again.

BiggerPockets is still young. We’re still growing. Still innovating. Still learning.

Related: BiggerPockets Presents: The Best Real Estate Books Ever

Twelve years might be a long life for an internet company, but we’re just getting warmed up.

Over the next few months and years, we have some pretty remarkable things coming out that will not only help our members achieve greater success, but that we believe are going to change the entire real estate industry to the core.

Big things are in the works, and I’m more excited today than I was 12 years ago.

We’re in for a wild ride.

And for those who get nervous about change: don’t worry. With all the new stuff we are working on, you are still going to see BiggerPockets continue to do what it’s always done: change people’s lives through free real estate education, networking, tools, and community.

Thank you for being with me on this journey as we change the world, one real estate investor at a time.

Happy birthday, BiggerPockets! 

About Author

Joshua Dorkin

Joshua Dorkin (@jrdorkin, Google+) founded BiggerPockets.com when he saw a need for free, trustworthy information about real estate investing online. Over the past 12 years, Josh has grown the site from self-funded hobby to full-time job and passion. Today, BiggerPockets brings together over 600,000 members, housing the world’s largest library of real estate content, iTunes’ #1 real estate podcast, and an array of analysis tools, all geared toward helping users succeed.

20 Comments

  1. Steve Vaughan

    Happy birthday Josh!
    Loved seeing the original page and hearing more back story.
    Just to say thank you for inventing and building BP isn’t nearly enough, but THANK YOU! You are a visionary and crusader. So glad you hung in there back then and proved the naysayers wrong. Congratulations to you!

    • Joshua Dorkin

      So what are you saying, I’m the old man of the internet? Nice . . . I’m glad the site has proven valuable to you and I very much appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts! Continued good luck to you going forward.

  2. Johnny Kang

    From one Queens resident, to another former-Queens resident (Josh), congratulations on having created the best real estate site in the world!
    I’m constantly connecting with great people on BP, always learning ways to grow my company and hopefully adding value to others as I go along; not to mention, how BP through it’s blogs & forums, helped sharpen my skills which landed my biggest assignment fee yet (a 6 figure paycheck).
    Thank you and let’s all grow even more in the next 12 years!

  3. Angie G.

    Thanks Josh for your generosity and tenacity. Congratulations on 12 years of BiggerPockets. I’m glad to have found BiggerPockets today because it’s a great site/community and I am celebrating what’s to come.
    Yes indeed, “greater gains can be made through cooperation than competition.”
    Thanks and Happy Birthday!

  4. Jered Sturm

    Congrats Josh and the whole team. You Have showed all entrepreneurs the trait of grit that will lead to great success. In your case, industry altering success. For years people have refered to rich dad poor dad as the impetus that shifted their mind. BP is now that channel. BP is changing millions of lives. I know it has my own. Thank you for the 12 years! keep up the great work.

  5. Elizabeth M.

    Josh…Thanks for having the vision, passion, and guts to disrupt the status quo! Happy B/day & Congrats to YOU and the entire BP Team and Community. Love the back story. One person can make a difference! (Side note: Insights derived from BP-and-community are helping me be a better parent! So, there is a cross generational, legacy influence, too! Love it!)

  6. Bryan Otteson

    Wait, didn’t Brandon start BP? Kidding, kidding! Jeez Josh. I’ll get you a birthday beer the next meetup with have at BP HQ, or you could just come to the Denver meetup and I’m sure you would drink for free the whole night.

  7. Tony Cai

    12 years ago, I was still a high school kid and had no idea what to do with my life.

    12 years later, I found BP website, listened to BP podcasts and started investing in real estate.

    I enjoy every second of it! THANK YOU JOSH!! THANK YOU BP!!!

  8. Julie Marquez

    In 2004 I was attending college for construction management, but had no idea that “real estate investing” was even a thing (I thought my parents were the only weird ones with rental properties). I am so happy that this platform exists, as it has taught me that my parents are pretty “normal” in this community (as even right about a couple of things). Happy birthday and thanks for creating this community, I’m proud to be a part of it!

  9. Happy Birthday. I started my investing business at about the same time and I can’t tell you how much I have learned from this site. Bigger Pockets has saved me from making some mistakes, big and small. Thank you very much for your “Baby”!

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