Kevin’s Pub

Welcome! (Céad míle fáilte!)

Kevin’s Pub is a virtual pub – a meeting place on the web. It was designed to mimic an actual pub, which could be difficult to find in Texas, unless you’re in one of the larger cities. By “pub”, I mean a pub, not a sports bar, not a singles bar, not a biker bar, not a disco, but a pub – a quiet place to have a pint and a conversation. Our history is recounted here.

My story (sic) is here, and is mostly correct. You can see our proposed “brick and mortar” locations here, along with their proposed new name. You can also learn of our threatened take-over.

As in a real pub, there will be discussions, arguments and pints of Guinness. That was the original mission statement in 1994 or thereabouts.

Almost instantly after creation (well, within a few years), I realized that a email list would be a more appropriate venue for a virtual pub, so the Yahoo Group was created. (RIP Yahoo Groups.)

The concept of Kevin’s Pub grew out of Kevin’s Tab – an actual bar tab at an actual bar – The British Rose Pub (RIP) in Dallas. After work, any number of my co-workers from IntellAgent Control (also RIP) would converge there to discuss the day’s work or try to forget about the day’s work, depending on how the day had been.

The waitress would always require a name to run a tab, and people learned to just say “Kevin”, since the waitress required a name she remembered, but apparently did not need to actually see the person in question, or the name on any documents.

I’m not sure how I was elected as the common name, but my name was used whether I was there or not. As I have never received a statement, I assume the tab was paid or written off. Given the size of some of the tabs I was a part of, I would assume “written off” would not have been an option, or would explain why the British Rose now has a new name.

So, the first version of the mailing list was called “Kevin’s Tab” which I realized pretty quickly didn’t make much sense as a name, so it became Kevin’s Pub. It was to be a vital lifeline connecting us as we fled the IAC implosion, except that most of us didn’t really need a lifeline, since nobody really paid attention to the people who left – they were too busy trying to escape themselves.

There are still some of my co-workers on the mailing list today, but they are very quiet. In fact, the list is very quiet. Then, Yahoo in its infinite wisdom started crippling their groups, so I finally closed the mailing list in 2020. We had also reached the point where most people asked, “Why would you send email to a bunch of people when you can just write something on their Facebook wall?” Maybe I should move Kevin’s Pub to Facebook.

Interestingly, after I moved to IBM and sold my soul (and never got a refund or my promised millions), my first IBM manager constantly used the Kevin’s Pub website as an example of a metaphor – that was one of his major buzzwords at the time – and would tirelessly use it to explain to anyone who would listen that a metaphor was a way to project the real world onto the web.

I never did mention that I had already found a email list to be a much better metaphor for a pub, even if it was not real-time, since the purpose of the pub was discussions. I suppose a mailing list pub is a lot like playing chess by mail. So, a metaphor for a substitute, as it were. Had we had WordPress and chatrooms and such back then, I would have had a better implementation. Not that anyone would have used it much.

Finally, during the 2020-endless COVID-19 Pandemic, Kevin’s Pub arose again as a weekly Zoom conference. Since all participants generally had drinks, and there was a lot of chatter, that was the best metaphor of all.