Think local was started in 1997. I was "between jobs," and my old Kaypro computer was reaching the end of its usefulness. My brother, taking pity on me, sent me one of his old Windows computers. I can't remember if I paid him for this, but for some reason, $300 pops into my head.
I was never a programmer, but just for fun I played around with BASIC, and later took a FORTRAN class in school. Once I found out HTML was the language used for web pages, I bought books and started studying it. Back then, there were no graphic designers on the internet, so just a simple HTML page would not be laughed at.