How did the teenager me meet the digital world, a decade ago?


We were sitting in front of our restaurant when my father showed me a couple of tourists in the street looking at their phones. He said to me “Look at them, they’re searching for us.” I remember the confusion in my mind. Why would they search for our own little restaurant, and how could my father know about it? While I was lost in thoughts, they slowly started to walk towards us and sat at a table. This was the time before I met the digital world.

How did I meet the digital world?

It was back in 2009, the time when I didn’t know you could do other things with computers than playing video games. But of course, my father knew the power of the internet. He would do all he can to make the customers happy. We were giving many kinds of free teas! We would take care of our customers, help with their traveling problems and genuinely be friends with them. Which would result in people talking, online, and offline.

Shortly after the restaurant was opened, we were everywhere on the internet! Travel forums, social media & personal blogs in all languages. This was the time people who walk looking down on their phones in the streets started to find themselves in our restaurant.

That is when I realized food was only half of what we are giving to our customers. The other half was the experience. People didn’t just come to eat food there, they wanted to have conversations with locals. Learn more about the people who live there. So, giving them the experience more and more people started to come to us, thanks to the digital world.

After a while, I got used to it like my dad and started to notice people looking for our restaurant. When I see some tourists in the street standing and looking at their phones, I would signal to my father with my head and turn the heater on for the free tea!

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