Today marks my 11th year working for AOL, and this Saturday, August 23rd, will be my 36th birthday. This means I've spent roughly 30% of my entire life working for one company. Since I've been working a full time job since I was 20, this translates to almost 69% of my full time work experience has come from here.
The last 5 years (since the summer of 2003) I've been a full-time remote employee, working from my home in south-eastern Virginia, which means I have a home office filled with computers, books, and more junk then most people should have in an office. It also means I don't have a custodial service like most office buildings have, so I get to play custodian from time to time, and clean up the mess I make. Today is one of those days.
While cleaning, I noticed a plaque I have hanging on my wall that I received way back in 1999 for my work on the Internet Operations team for helping scale out our web infrastructure for our members. This plaque is dated Aug 29th, 1999 23:44:30 EDT (yes, it has a timestamp) and marks the first time our web complex served up 3,000,000,000 (yes, that is correct, 3 billion) urls in a single DAY!
One thing I didn't realize when I came to AOL, and something a lot of people take for granted, is the level of scale we have to deal with on a day to day basis. To put those above numbers in perspective, according to comScore Americans conducted 11.5 billion searches for the MONTH of June 2008. Last time I checked, June had 30 days, so that works out to approximately 384M searches per day, or roughly 1/8th of the number of web requests we handled 9 YEARS AGO. Now granted, handling a web request isn't the same as doing a web search, but it (at least in my opinion) is a pretty good comparison of real world large numbers.
Granted, I'm sure those numbers aren't quite as impressive now. Since we've switched to an ad supported revenue stream, and our dialup membership numbers have declined, but I'm still in awe to look back and think of what we accomplished.