To put it in perspective, that's about 4,000 days longer than our detractors thought we'd last.
If you'd been keeping track by counting on your hands, you're now officially screwed. (Unless, of course, you murdered Inigo Montoya's father.)
This is a low key anniversary and, to be honest, I don't really feel like celebrating.
It isn't enough for us to simply exist, to hang on for another year. NikeTalk began as a way to accomplish good for sneaker enthusiast community. In the years since, our focus has expanded as we've managed to raise over $100,000 together to help charitable organizations around the world confront some of the most dire challenges facing our planet and its inhabitants. These aren't battles that can be won by mere attrition.
We need to do better.
In spite of the outstanding efforts from the selfless, dedicated men and women who serve our community each day as moderators, buy/sell guides, and administrators, NikeTalk let you down this year from a technical standpoint.
Each and every one of you deserves my thanks for tolerating the sluggish load times, the synchronization issues, the maintenance periods, the glitches, and the constant frustration that accompanied the use of our website over the past year. Thank you for bearing with an outdated product. Thank you for your patience. We will make this right.
One of our original administrators, krvanch, used to run the following quote in his signature: "In the sneaker game, hindsight is 20/20 and we're all millionaires." We've had our ups and downs with this particular platform, but no one anticipated the difficulties we'd face this year and, with the economy such as it is and developing the type of sustainable business plan needed to upgrade our site takes time. You can lay the blame squarely on my shoulders if you like. We'll learn from it and move forward. You have my word that 2011 will be better.
And if you think it'll never happen... if you think that's just an empty promise...
I have some news for you.
Yuku has been sold.* In a deal completed earlier this month, Yuku was sold to a company called Inform, a leader in language-processing and AI technology.
Let's just cut to the chase and discuss how this benefits us. First and foremost, this allows us to improve our site's performance dramatically without sacrificing our user database and post library.
As many of you have noticed, we've experienced marked improvements in both stability and load times over the last few weeks - and that was only the beginning.
If NikeTalk were a child, he or she would have graduated from elementary school by now. Don't you think it's time we moved on? Within the next month or two, we'll be leaving the old Yuku colo facility behind forever and moving on up to something a bit more modern. (And I'm not referring to UNIVAC or Colecovision.) Plans are already underway to migrate to brand new, auto-scaling cloud hosting. What that means, to those of us who enjoy regular sunlight, is that sudden traffic spikes (like, say, during a major sporting event) will no longer cause the site to run slower than Randy Moss on a decoy route.
It will also mean that we'll have access to and will help develop new features you won't find on any other platform. You know how search tags are worthless because there's no standardization and most users have no concept of how to use them as anything other than space for a poor, secondary punchline? All that can change. Imagine technology that automatically extracts search tags from posts, sorting it into thousands of content categories. Once we're able to apply Inform technology to our forums, it will be easier than ever to find something of interest.
Recently, I've been collaborating with Yuku's lead developer and systems admin to fix remaining technical issues and develop new features. We are committed to constant, visible improvement.
Oh yeah, and speaking of things people thought would never happen...
Let me introduce you to a little project I call "Satan's Ice Skates."
Currently in production, the official NikeTalk New Era 59 Fifty fitted cap will be sold exclusively by our friends at Cap City through ecapcity.com.
For those wondering, we'll be using black cotton twill rather than wool for ethical and environmental reasons... and if you need to ask about the green underbrim then this product is not for you. OG's already know.
The first run will be limited to 144 caps, and you'd better believe that our staff members are looking to lock down a few for themselves, which means you're looking at less than a dozen caps per size.
You can expect more details, and actual product photos, in about 3-4 weeks as soon as these come off the assembly line.
All the hard work we put in behind the scenes in 2010 will come to fruition in 2011. As disappointing as 2010 has been, that's how great I expect 2011 to be - and it starts with all of us.
We need to do a better job of holding each other accountable for the types of disrespectful behavior that makes NikeTalk less pleasant and enjoyable. We need to do a better job raising money for charity. (And that's not just a job for the staff - look at what a few dedicated members were able to do for Haiti by creating the custom sneaker charity auction, one of NikeTalk's best moments of 2010.) We need to do a better job of showing what it means to be one of the only truly INDEPENDENT sneaker sites out there - and holding members of the sneaker industry accountable for their missteps and abuses. We need to do a better job of setting the example, because NikeTalk has never been about following.
NikeTalk changes with each post you create. Our community is what we make of it - and we need to do better.
I want 2011 to result in our greatest donations to date. This year we're going to see a new front page, new features, and better performance. The site will be more powerful and easier to navigate than ever before. We'll have more relevant and higher quality advertisements, which will generate more money for charity. That's what I expect us to bring to the table this year. I hope you'll contribute, too.
Let's all do our part to make sure that 2011 is NikeTalk's best year yet.
*(And, yes, we may have had a little something to do with it.)