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.
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.
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
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!