The first few paragraphs of our news post about the launch of Six Apart Services and Six Apart Media do quite a nice job of connecting the work we did in the early years to the direction we're going in today. While Six Apart has come a long way since our core business model was all about "recently updated" keys and installations by Ben, these new additional services are clearly evolved from those roots (plus the addition of tons of talented people -- a nice change from just the two of us).
We're incredibly happy to have the Apperceptive folks join Six Apart. You may not have heard about them prior to the announcement, but you most likely have seen and admired their work. A warm welcome to the entire team, especially co-founder David Jacobs. They're quite a talented team who understand what a good blog (and good blogging) is all about.
 In the early days -- from October 2001 to about January 2004 -- I sent out all the recently updated keys personally. There was a little script I'd run that would generate a random key after I entered the donor's email address (which I got from PayPal). Then, I would send an email to the person with the key(s). Even though I used a form letter, I'd always make sure to greet them by name -- which required me to check out their blog. This, of course, didn't scale well but I refused to automate it further -- I liked the personal connection to these folks. Even though the task became a bit overwhelming, I now look back at it with much fondness.
And, I still remember who the first donor was -- Dawn M (from a life uncommon). It's great to see she's an accomplished photographer and powers her site with Movable Type 4. And she had a daughter too!