Longtime NikeTalk members know that the our community's "anniversary" is celebrated on December 9th, the date we first opened to the public in 1999 on the now defunct "ezboard" platform. It was on July 18th of last year, however, that NikeTalk officially relaunched on the vastly superior Huddler platform. It's sort of our version of Independence Day.
The relaunch itself came to some of you as a shock. Others considered it long over due given the dilapidated state of our former platform. The move itself represented a massive undertaking on behalf of both our staff and the team at Huddler. At one point, in the day preceding and following launch, I worked for over 40 consecutive hours without sleep, trying to make everything go as smoothly as possible. I'm sure several people on Huddler's team can recall similar experiences. Ours was easily the most exhausting and challenging migration Huddler has ever performed. They worked tirelessly to make our current site possible. We undertook all of this together with the shared goal of ensuring a better future for the NikeTalk community, and I hope you'll agree that it's been well worth the effort.
It's been a tremendous adjustment for us, and for many of you, too. We're truly grateful for your patience.
In the months following launch, a host of new features has been added to the site, none more significant than the fantastic mobile platform introduced this fall. In all, NikeTalk's underlying software has been updated on an almost bi-weekly basis, all with minimal service interruptions. (Indeed, the only Wizards we associate with ineptitude and failure these days play for my beloved hometown - and even they're getting better.)
Scenes like this one are now, mercifully, a thing of the past:
Of all the upgrades we've made, the improvement I'm most pleased with is one that users typically don't associate with the platform itself: it just works. At its best, forum software and hosting aren't blowing you away with gimmicks and features. They don't demand your attention or occupy the foreground. They simply fade away and allow you to interact with people from all over the world who share similar interests. That's online community at its best.
After Game 6 of this year's NBA Finals (a dramatic overtime game, as many of you recall), a single user approached me via private message just to let me know how pleased he was to see the site running smoothly throughout the entire game. Not once, in all the strain of hundreds of simultaneous users gathering to discuss the NBA Finals, a midnight online sneaker release, or a breaking news story, had our forums struggled to keep up, as the old site did. It just worked the way it was supposed to. It allowed him to participate in a fast-moving conversation about an NBA game in progress with scores of other fans from around the world. They weren't waiting for the site to load or for the system to finally process their new posts. The barriers of distance and interface dissolved, allowing each person to simply enjoy a lively conversation between fellow basketball fans.
Jerry Krause, the general manager of the Chicago Bulls during most of the Michael Jordan era, once famously argued that "players don't win championships; organizations win championships." Fittingly, Krause hasn't sniffed a title since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen left the team. He retired in 2003 with all his rings, all his successes, popularly attributed to the greatness of a player he never even drafted.
Communities are comprised of people, not property. You proved that quite definitively last year, after our former hosts shamelessly seized and rebranded our old forums, thinking, perhaps, that they could retain your loyalty and participation through some combination of ignorance and momentum. Personal loyalties, however, meaningful loyalties, are earned, not inherited or acquired through leveraged buyouts. It's always been people, not products, that have made NikeTalk worthwhile. More important than servers or software, the very best improvement our transition to Huddler has brought us over the past year is the opportunity to add the people at Huddler, who care so much about empowering online communities, to the NikeTalk family.
I believe our community is in a much, much better place today than we were before our move one year ago. For that, I hope you'll join me in thanking the people at Huddler, as well as the amazing team here at NikeTalk, for all their hard work.
Most importantly: THANK YOU for your continued support. NikeTalk could not move if we did not move TOGETHER. We'll do our best to honor your trust and loyalty.
It's been years since I last laced up a pair of Air Jordans, yet there's no community I'd rather serve and none that will ever feel more like home.