Interview with Mikey
A interview with Mikey a 21 year old male from the UK. He is the owner and founder of The Geek District, Off Topic Hut and many other sites of which you can find a list here. Find out more by checking out the interview below.
1) Max Pen: Could you tell us a bit more about yourself so the readers know who you are?
Mikey: I’m Mikey, a 21 year old programmer from the UK. I enjoy reading, posting on Twitter, programming, minecraft, learning new things, and forums.
2) Max Pen: How did you get into forums and what interested you about them? Was the first site you created a forum or website? What got you get into owning forums yourself?
Mikey: Funny story, the first ‘real’ forum I joined, Parlancia, was one I ended up owning (with a partner).. It’s closed now but those were some fun times.
3) Max Pen: What has been your most/least succesful project so far?
Mikey: Most successful project is probably every site I own which is still online. When a domain comes up for renewal, I evaluate the site, is it successful? Should I reinvest in this? If the answer is no, it’s consigned to digital oblivion.
4) Max Pen: Which project have you learned the most/the least from so far?
Mikey: I’m always learning new things from my forums.
5) Max Pen: Are you into making money out of your projects online or do you just do it as a hobby? You are 21 are you still studying or is being a webmaster online your job now?
Mikey: I don’t make money from my websites, if I enjoy them and other people enjoy them then that’s good enough for me. I can make some money from donations but it all goes back into the sites. I’m not studying any more, and I work for IPS as a Client Support Agent, so I suppose working online is my job.
6) Max Pen: About your job in the previous question you got hired by IPS as: “Client Support Agent” could we consider this your job now? Do you see yourself building a career for the foreseeable future within IPS?
Mikey: Yes, this is my job now, and yes, I hope to go far within IPS.
7) Max Pen: How has your job or will your job in the future effect your projects online?
Mikey: It doesn’t affect them at all, in fact, I now have more time to work on them than I had before!
8) Max Pen: What got you into IPB and its community, what is the story behind you getting to work for them? What are your tasks? Are they hard or easy in general?
Mikey: I saw Lindy post a job opening advertisement on the IPS Company Blog, I honestly didn’t think I was gonna get anywhere but I fired off an email anyway, detailed the things I’ve done, etc. I figured it couldn’t hurt to try. Lindy got back to me pretty quick and the next day or so I was hired.
The first things to do in the morning is to wake up, let the dog out and go to the office. I then open up the tickets and sit there answering tickets for a few hours. I check the company forums and answer any questions that aren’t yet answered also. I then go do other things for the rest of the day, and I follow up on tickets I’ve tracked later in the day. I am on the company forums for a lot of the time in the day just keeping an eye on things, including checking any support requests on my own modifications too. In general you can have easy days and you can have hard days. I’ve had days where I’ve spent ages on one issue.. those are frustrating days.
9) Max Pen: What is your favorite project so far of all those you got now live and why?
Mikey: Out of my live projects, I’d say 30 Day Challenges is still my favourite. I like that it’s a mini social network and it allows people to better themselves.
10) Max Pen: How did you came up with idea of the Green, Blue and Red zones on Off Topic Hut? How did you come up with the name behind this forum?
Mikey: I honestly STILL don’t know how I named this site. I think I might have been on IRC at the time and I asked someone for an idea, and then just pieced it together from that. I already had The Geek District, so Off Topic Hut is following on from that sort of naming convention.. As for the Green, Blue and Red “Zones”, I realized that I was the millionth off topic forum out there so I wanted a unique premise. By splitting the categories up into Zones, and having a sort of forum “ladder”, then it’s unique. Of course there is the flip side where not many people reach the Red Zone, and so that section can be lost on some people. It’s all about finding the right balance.
11) Max Pen: What have so far been some of the hardest challenges online for your projects? (Getting members, activity, etc;..)
Mikey: Definitely keeping up activity. I even developed this IPB hook (Posts Per Day Goal) to track activity on my site, and it seems to work well.
12) Max Pen: Can you tell us the story behind your website 30 Day Challenges? (Like how you came up with the idea or the name, how it has gone so far… etc…)
Mikey: The idea actually just came to me one day. I needed some way to track things I was doing, and 30 Day Challenges popped up in my head. The fully fledged idea. I had to jot it down on paper, which then made it to the intial design brief, which is actually still live on the site. When coding it I had to learn a whole new framework designed for rapid development, but it went well. Looking back over my code I think it could do with a bit of an update, but I’m very proud of that site.
13) Max Pen: You were developing your own forum software here: http://mikeybbs.com/ Did the job at IPS cause you to stop with development as that job sucked up the time you had normally for developing the forum software?
Mikey: That, and you don’t develop a forum software if you’re working for a forum software company. It’s common sense. I wasn’t asked to stop development of that software at all, it was a decision I made of my own accord, if I had no time to
14) Max Pen: What happened to http://mikeydesigns.net/ ?
Mikey: It came up for renewal and I evaluated the site. Once it was my online home but that’s now been moved to http://mikeylicio.us, and that site did nothing, so it didn’t get renewed. I don’t sit on domains because I used to own them, If someone else can make use of that domain then they’re welcome to it.
15) Max Pen: Can you tell us what are some of the things your really proud of that you achieved online with your projects? And also tell us some of the things you feel could have been done better – different?
Mikey: I’m proud that I wrote 30daychallenges.net in 30 days, it’s an interesting anecdote that I can tell people. I’m also proud that Off Topic Hut reached 50,000 posts. Only one other of my forums ever breached that and that was Parlancia, and I wasn’t there for all 50,000 of those posts, so yeah, that’s an achievement.
16) Max Pen: What webmaster skills do you have now? Can you tell us the first skils you learnt and what you learned step by step?
Mikey: What are “Webmaster Skills”? I find a lot of what I do, whether it’s managing communities, writing code, programming or my job, a bit of common sense goes a long way, and logic applies to all of these things.
17) Max Pen: If you couldn’t choose IPB to power your communities what other forum sofware would you use? And what if you couldn’t use Xenforo to?
Mikey: There’s not much choice then is there?
19) Max Pen: What does the future have in store for you?
Mikey: Hopefully bigger and better things!
20) Max Pen: Finally, if you could alter your past online or offline, which would you choose and what scenario would you change and why?
Mikey: I doubt I’d change anything. It’s all made me who I am today.
Thank you for doing this interview with me Mikey. I enjoyed your replies and I hope everyone else will to. -Max Pen