How Unemployment Saved Mena and Ben Trott

Posted on November 24, 2011


Husband and wife team Mena and Ben Trott have experienced the hard life. In 2001, they were laid off from their jobs at a small Web design firm. She was a designer and he was an engineer, a perfect tandem at any other time. Unfortunately, they lost their jobs during the dot-com bust which was a few days before 9/11. As employees, they knew that finding a new job would be difficult amid a time of mayhem in America.

Fortunately, just a few months before they got laid off, the Trotts started writing software for Mena’s blog, Dollarshot. It was just a hobby; neither of them thought about starting a business with this new software. However, their odds of finding a job right after the terrorist attack weren’t good. It was probably not the best time to launch a new business too but the Trotts had to work with what they had.  Thus, they decided to release Movable Type a month into unemployment.

It appeared that the Trotts could not have chosen better timing to launch their blogging software. The onset of the new millennium saw a rise in the number of bloggers, leaving blogging services in a rush to create the most user-friendly yet personalized platform for their blogs. Movable Type offered just that. It was years ahead of other blogging platforms the year it was launched, thus establishing its usefulness across the blogosphere.

It became one of the most dominant platforms for managing personal and professional blogs because it allows authors to create blogs easily. After writing posts in the Web browser or offline, the Movable Type does the rest – including publishing and collating of posts into archives, and managing comments or subscriptions.

Although other competitors such as WordPress have emerged, the Trotts have maintained a competitive standing. Today, their company Six Apart distributes not only Movable Type, but also LiveJournal, TypePad and Vox blogging services.

Although they are considered to be accidental tech entrepreneurs, Mena and Ben Trott showed how taking risks even when odds are great can pay off in the long run.

Posted in: Entrepreneurs