Tapping away on the computer in his dorm room at University of Maryland, Anthony Casalena wasn't planning to start a business when he began writing the code for what would become Squarespace's website-building software in April 2003.
The computer science student—who taught himself to write code as a teen growing up in Northern Maryland—was simply trying to post his own blog. Frustrated that there wasn't a one-stop solution that made it easy for him to put up a stylish-looking site using a template or to quickly tackle tasks, like adding an image gallery, he began creating a system like this for himself. At that time, programs like WordPress were just coming onto the scene. The only way to build the type of blog he wanted was by patching together a hodgepodge of existing software.
It was only after a friend offered to pay Casalena a couple of hundred dollars to use the software that the college student realized that there might be a market for what he created—and began turning it into a business. "It was a triggering feeling," recalled Casalena.