January 6, 2003: The debut of the Daily Quickie on ESPN.com. Check it out here. (My god.)
Inspired by what was then 8 years in online sports media and incubated as a business concept at Harvard Business School before being sold to my editors at ESPN, who thankfully bought into the assumptions in my pitch, the column was a first-of-its-kind piece of online programming:
Specifically created for the morning just-got-to-work audience with a quick-hit take on everything they need to know to be ready for the day in sports conversation -- just enough.
At the time of the launch, my voice as a columnist was still a work in progress. One of my editors and mentors, the amazing Jay Lovinger, read through my test columns a few months earlier and dubbed my voice "bitchy knowingness." (Back before that became the default setting for...well...everyone. But so better than describing it as "snarky" or "irreverent," right?)
But the pace of writing a column every weekday morning -- limited to anywhere from 800 to 1000 words to cover anywhere from 20-25 top storylines of the day -- was the best way to develop it.
In short: "Instant history." Whatever happened yesterday has the potential to be the greatest thing ever to happen -- in its own unique way. Somewhere between the PTI-ization of sports media and the rise over the next year of fast-paced blogs as consumer destination, the Quickie found its fit.
(My superlative fetish? Check out that original edition, which includes the first of my hundreds -- if not thousands -- of superlatives: "Wildest day of wild-card games in NFL history.")
In its run of nearly 4 years, it became one of the most successful original-programming concepts in ESPN.com history and it became a must-read destination for millions of fans every month.
And it was a blast. From its inception, the column was a labor of love more than anything else. It was so much fun, in fact, that when the column's run ended on August 31, 2006, I couldn't give it up: DanShanoff.com launched on September 1, 2006, hubbed around the same Quickie concept (only unpaid for doing it!), along with all sorts of posts on topics that struck me as notable.
The blog has been going strong ever since, including a spin-off of the spin-off: The daily morning Wake-Up Call as part of the Sporting Blog lineup on SportingNews.com.
Many of you out there might even remember that first day -- January 6, 2003 -- when we first connected on a daily basis (some of you might even remember my Page 2 work in '01 and '02, or even my column-writing at then-CNNSI.com -- or, for the OGs, my prolific writing for AOL's Real Fans Sports Network in the mid-90s), and it has been an amazing ride ever since.
Six years later, I cannot thank you enough for your attention and your passion for sports -- for your readership, your comments, your emails, your criticism, your compliments, your patience and your partnership during this six-year ride.
There is no such thing -- at least in my opinion -- as a pundit without an audience. There is a writer and reader relationship, and without a community that cares to engage in what you're talking about, you're not fulfilling the potential of that relationship.
Your energy and attention and care for what I have to say makes this all worthwhile. It always has. That connection with readers -- more than anything...even the thrill of having my own daily national sports column -- was what felt like the narcotic back on that January 6, 2003.
What a ride it has been. As with every January 6, I cannot wait to see what the next year will bring. And I am thrilled and honored that you will choose to continue to join me here.
Sincerest thanks again.