This came up in an email relating to this video: http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=2026611991
As a disclaimer, this story has been warped by my memory I am sure.
Starting around 7th grade or so (as my memory works) I meet Tim Meyers who ran a bulletin board system (BBS) called Ultron's Underground. Once when I was over at his house (playing D&D if I remember right), we got onto the subject of his system and he was talking about getting rid of it.
Now running a BBS was something that I thought would be amazing and when I went home and talked to my father (12 year olds don't make much money) he decided to support me in having a BBS. That was the start of Jade Towers Communications (my first company), and the Jade Towers BBS. This started with a tape (like DC2010 tape) backup of Ultron's Underground, but I started mostly from scratch. After a short while, my father got me a 486 (first computer I owned that needed a CPU fan) with 200Mb drive running MS DOS and Renegade for the BBS software.
After about a year or two, I decided to go "multi-node", or more than one phone line so multiple people could be on at once. This required that I learn one of the most messed up operating systems I have ever worked with, DESQView (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DESQview). After going through hell getting that working, I had a multi-node BBS that was awesome. Later I moved to PCBoard, but I don't really know why. I kept that going until sometime in 10th grade or so, maybe a bit longer. Really, the Internet killed it.
Let me also take a moment to apologize to my friends who I knew in person and wanted free credits (to download stuff) and I refused. I was a dick. That being said, I was trying to keep a good ecosystem of files moving, but still, I should have been less of a dick.
Anyway, I found this awesome site about the BBS movement and the history involved,http://www.bbsdocumentary.com/.
Let me also make one more quick note, running that BBS set me on the path that lead me to the level of computer development that I am at today. I also credit my father with making all of that happen. Running a BBS was not cheap, between computers, modems, phone lines, 7-Disc SCSI CD-ROM changers, ect.