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ADMIN - Simply 'The Boss'


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By KB - Master Interviewer
 

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  • Group: Moderators
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  • Posts: 17,716
  • Joined: 13-March 06
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  • Location:Downunder waayy downunder

 

Posted 22 January 2008 - 09:21 AM
 

To start off the New Year a very special interview

This is it folks, this is the interview I have been chasing, after all they don't come anymore important than the guy who runs the show.

There is a lot that we in the Administration team already know about our Admin (a lot we can't share as well), my job will be to try and bring out some interesting facts, colour if you like, about the man who sits in front of all the buttons.

Ken: Hello Admin and thank you for taking the time from what I know to be a very busy schedule to answer these questions.

Admin: Hey Ken. Yes, you are right. My schedule is extremely busy these days. Running the forums is still just a hobby of mine. I also run my own IT Consulting company and as the only employee, with multiple projects, 24 hours a day is usually not enough. But I love the forums and I manage to squeeze in some time here and there; maybe an hour or two every night. Basically, I "have" to do this. If I spend too much time away, my PM and e-mail inbox fills up pretty quick. I receive anything from 30-60 e-mails and PM's every day and I usually try to respond to the ones that needs a response

Ken: Straight up I wonder if you may give us all a history of the boards you have been associated with.

Admin: The history started back in 2001 when I was, like most of us, looking for replica watches online. I found a couple of sites and knowing nothing about quality or scams, I ordered 5 watches together with a couple of friends of mine. Needless to say, these never showed up and we had a hell of a time getting our money back. Somehow the bank managed to reverse our transfer, so we got it back. This was when I set out to find some reliable info about replica watches. My search for this reliable information lead me to a forum named RWCC (Replica Watch Collectors Club), formed by a guy named Andre.

This is what the layout looked like on RWCC. This is a screenshot taken after several forums have been removed and after all the members emigrated to TRC

 

rwcc.jpg

 rwcc.gif (30.79K)

Andre had some really stunning reps and the forum was basically set up as a selling front for his replicas, but also served as a good way to share info between replica enthusiasts (just like the current replica forums).

This is where I got my first replica; a nice Rolex Cellini (picture below) from Wade, a great guy from NY, who had some 1st class replicas. He was one of the first dealers who supplied the now common Omega Seamaster with ETA (2836) and the correct datefont (white font on black background) I still remember how we "oh-ed" and "ah-ed" over that watch. Of course I bought one. I still have it and it still runs perfectly, even though it never has been serviced. Actually, none of my replicas have been serviced and I've never had any problems with them. But that's not what we were talking about. Let's get back to forums history: RWCC had a few hundred members and teevtee once explained what happened at RWCC and here is his story:
 

Quote

"Andre started the old board (Replica Watch Collector's Club or RWCC). It was 100% Andre, I did not know him at all nor did any of us at the time.

He was using RWCC mainly as a place to sell the occasional watch he would have but also had a small message board section. He was not a dealer as we know them today. Rather Andre was simply a nice guy who had access to these watches and would post them on an individual basis. In general he would have only one of whatever watch he was selling. Some members of the message boards started to trade individual watches and so forth and so the message board started to grow.

Myself, Richard and several others became regulars of the board, traded or bought watches from Andre and posted quite a bit.

This was the set up for quite a while, Andre ran things as he saw fit and everything was great.

At some point Andre started to get tired of running the board. As the current admin here can tell you it takes more work than you might think. As the board grew more and more people started to post and there were flame wars and things got to be hard to deal with and so Andre had had enough. He asked for people to help run the board.

Several people helped but I ended up becoming the admin and running the board. There was some confusion at first since Andre created the board he held the master passwords. At one point, even though I was the Admin and I re-designed the board and was running it Andre locked me out of the board! Though he said he no longer wanted to run it I guess he had second thoughts or something and locked me out. Some members complained about this and eventually (silly as this sounds) we literally took a vote, sort of like an election, and I ended up winning and once again taking control of the board.

Andre pretty much dropped out at this point and said he had had enough and that he would prefer to sell genuine watches.

So I ran RWCC for quite some time. The board grew quite a bit when I ran it and we expanded to many times the size of the original RWCC. Unlike the situation when Andre ran it I did not and have never sold any watches. The RWCC became a solely independent source of information (exactly as this board is today). No one involved with the RWCC sold watches in any way. Other members like Richard wrote faq's and articles and we had a nice little thing going.

Well, word got out and the Replica Center owned scam sites started to get angry that we were revealing the truth about prices and so forth. So they posted a bunch of lies of ReplicaCenter claiming that RWCC somehow sold watches or directed people to certain sites or whatever. It was all untrue but became a pain.

Around this time people started to ask what else we, as a group, could do. So the idea of a group discount purchase was hatched. Some people wanted to buy from one dealer, others from another dealer and so we had a vote. For a week or two we allowed people to cast votes on who to buy from. Watch Lover David was the overwhelming winner. And so a discounted price was negotiated with him. RWCC never took and money or handled any watches in any way. Rather buyers would mention RWCC and save 25%... as long as a minimum was hit (which it was) the discount applied to all of our members.

Well this was the beginning of the end.

In retrospect it was a bad idea to do this. While all intentions were good, and it was handled well, the fact is that you simply cannot please everyone. Watch Lover David was overwhelmed with orders and could not keep up. He mishandled the situation and some people had to wait many months or even longer for orders to arrive. In the end I think everyone did get either the watches or a refund but it was a stress filled time.

Meanwhile the board had continued to grow (ironically because replicacenter was in essence sending people our way simply buy mentioning us on the site). We had many hundred members and it was very difficult for me to run it all. The limitations of the old EZ board software would not allow us to continue to grow. I did not have the proper amount of time to devote to this either.

Around this time the current admin asked me if I would like to move the board over to what is now TRC. He kindly offered me the chance to run a new board using his software and servers and so forth. I declined because I knew I was no longer interested in dealing with such a large project.

At the end it was decided to close up RWCC and move on. Several splinter boards were started by other members which closely mimicked the set up we created for RWCC. The current admin started his own board at this time. The members of RWCC started to move to one or more of the new boards. Eventually the new board (TRC) won out and the other splinter boards fell by the way side with all the old RWCC members moving here. I decided not to join because I had had enough, but obviously that only lasted a matter of weeks.

And the rest as they say is history. "


Here is a screenshot of TRC, 2 weeks after it opened up

 

TRC.gif

TRC.gif (106.89K)
Number of downloads: 1


In 2004, a new young guy pretty much copied the layout from TRC and started what we all now know as RWG1. This was a very successful board. The admin was a very clever with getting tons of hits from the search engines. A couple of years after it started, it had outgrown TRC. Unfortunately things did not go very well, as many of you know. Plans were made for a special RWG watch and many members ordered it.

Unfortunately, very few ever saw their watch or money and after a while, the admin, who had handled the payments, went missing also. To make a long story short; it is limited how long a forum can run without anybody at the helm. A team, made up by most of the moderators, reached out to me, asking for guidance and help in this situation and out of our talks came the agreement that I would be the admin of a new board that we would run together. And that's the place you are visiting now: rwg.cc ;) But to finish it off, a screenshot of the original RWG in it's very beginning with 3! registered members:

 

RWG.gif

 

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Ken: Now we know that you don't make money from these boards (and quite frankly I find this to be ludicrous) so what drives you to put in the hours you do? Is it the feeling of commitment, the fact that you become involved with your creations, the unwillingness to desert your member base or something completely different?

Admin: I've asked myself that very same question many times, Ken. Guess there are many reasons for this and I also think my motivation has changed since I first started TRC. The reason I say this is because I am nowhere buying as many watches these days as I did before. I think it's the general atmosphere of forum life and the fascination of sharing a very strange hobby with total strangers from all around the world. Over the years, I've made many, many good friends on the forum, but since my life is so busy these days, I just don't have the time right now to have the same amount of contact with them as I used to. But they are all there, in my address book, MSN list or Skype-list and they'll be contacted when I have the opportunity. But the bottom line is that it's pretty darn fun to be on these forums. It's great to be able to help people and I get a laugh out of at least one post pr. Day

Ken: One thing we do know is that to be where you are today suggests a love for watches in general and I suppose reps in particular. Would you care to share a little background on when the bug bit you and how it has manifested in your collection?

Admin: I guess I am kind of a typical replica collector. I've always been intrigued by watches and like many members my favorite brands were Rolex, Omega and Breitling. When I got into replicas, this really changed. When I found RWCC and had a look at some of the brands other members were talking about, I was stunned. There were so many beautiful watches out there. So from only looking at and buying Breitlings, Rolexes and Omegas, new world opened up to me. And this shows in my collection. My current collection consist of about 40 watches after I just did a recent downsize from about 70. Got rid of all the watches I never wear and made a lot of my family members happy ;) The current brands I have is Rolex, Breitling, Omega, Chopard, VC, AP, Oris, Cartier, Mont Blanc and a couple of genuine Seikos.

Ken: Do you feel comfortable enough to tell us a little about what must have been a very trying time for those near to you when you underwent a kidney transplant?

Admin: Well, as you said it was a trying time, but not as trying as others have had it. I knew I was getting a kindey from my brother and I only had to spend about 5 months in dialysis, so it's not that bad. I was fortunate in many ways, because apparently most people get very tired after they've had their dialysis, but I didn't notice this at all. So even though I had to spend 4 hours a day, 3 days a week hooked up to a dialysis machine, I had lots of energy and spare time to do other things when I was finished. This was really good, because my doctor told me that I had to work out and get in shape before the surgery and so I did. I spent many hours in the gym, spinning and playing squash and all this exercise was one of the reasons why the surgery went good and I was up and literally running 4-5 days afterwards. Since we only have one hospital performing transplants in this country, I was scheduled to stay out of town for three months, but since everything went so good, I only had to fly down a couple of times a week for a checkup and could fly back home after spending a day at the hospital. So I consider myself and my family both blessed and lucky!

Ken: And of course after a long recovery period you arrived back at work to decide that 'this is not for you' and have since been your own boss. Do you feel you made the right decision? Is the future looking good?

Admin: Well, I had a job I basically hated. To be able to get any promotions in the job I had, I had to relocate and my fianc�e was not interested in doing that. After a year (51 weeks) away from this job, due to the kidney transplant, I was actually looking forward to get back to work. That feeling lasted for the first 3 days. Then I remembered why I hated this job. So I finally decided to put my money into what I have been doing as a hobby for all my life: computers and computer "stuff". The time I was away, I spent programming a large project that is just about to get released and hopefully it will be the only project I will have to work on. I've worked on several small projects the last year, alongside my big project, so even if this project does fail, I don't think it will be a problem to fill my day with enough work. So the decision to become my own boss has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. It's really great to be able to decide your own schedule, decide when you want to go to lunch and how long that lunch-break will be. Also, I can do the work I do from any location, as long as I have access to an internet connection, so some days, I just get up from bed when I feel like it and walk into my home office and spend the day there. Other days, I go to my favorite coffee place and work off a table there.

Ken: As the man who has more say than anyone else on these boards where do you see our hobby heading? And after all the Paypal problems do you predict more bumps in the road?

Admin: Hopefully, there will be no bumps ahead in the road. Not being able to accept paypal was a big setback and I must say that I was really surprised that even after we removed all sales from the board, they still would not let us accept paypal because we "provide info about illegal items". Really strange when you see other sites with the same content offering it without any problems. What really pisses me off, is that I thought it was a coincidence at first, but after getting 5 accounts closed I am almost certain that somebody has reported our site to PP. Because of this, it's not as easy as it used to be for members to upgrade their memberships and because of this we don't have as many supporting members as we need and used to have just 6 months ago.

When it comes to watches, I guess the trends we have been seeing for the last 5 years continue. Models will continue to improve, but will still be lacking the "final" detail that makes it 100%. I guess the usual routine of new models coming out with the last flaw fixed, only to have a new flaw will continue also for a long time. Good way to sell more watches.

The occasional "super rep" will turn up, maybe more frequent than before. Unfortunately the factories keep making reps of every watch and model out on the market instead of making watches that people will actually buy. I believe if they start focusing more on more "saleable" watches and not so much replicating every model of every brand, we would see more improvements.

Ken: Speaking from a team members point of view nobody seems to absorb as much negative issues as you do and keep coming up smiling, do you ever feel like getting away from everyone and just yelling S..T! at the top of your lungs?

Admin: Well, Ken, as I said earlier; I usually get anything between 30-60 e-mails or PM's every day. These are anything from how to use functions on the board to who has the best sub ;) I really don't mind answering these e-mails and PM's and I usually try to answer every one of them, but due to the limited time I have each day, I usually tell the members who ask me about watches to ask their question on the forums or do a search, if I know the question has been answered before. I simply do not have the time to answer these questions in detail. What really bothers me are new members or regular members who are both rude and impatient. Most members are polite and grateful, but several times I get a PM or an e-mail from a new member (or a member who have been a member a couple of days) with a question about what dealer to use, or where to buy this or that watch. An hour later I get a new PM or e-mail asking me why I haven't answered their question. I've also had members who have promised to get the board shut down because they haven't gotten the replies they have expected or I have told them to have patience as I have a life outside of the forums. "Why the he** are you running this forum then, if you don't have the time to help a new member?" one member asked me. I told him that this is what the FORUM is for; you can ask all the members and not just me. He then told me that he had posted his question and not gotten an answer from any of the members. I then checked his post and it was posted 5 minutes ago :o
I think this is very descriptive for many of the members who join RWG, TRC or any of the other replica forums. They are here for a "quick fix". That's why we have over 9000 registered members and only half of these members log on regularly. They want to find a reliable source where they can buy a good Rolex to impress their friends and/or boss with, and they want it NOW! As soon as they have gotten their first watch, we don't see them here again. On the one hand I can understand where they are coming from. We all know how much we hate to wait when we have ordered ourselves a new toy, be it a new watch, a new cell phone, a new gadget. Something we REALLY want. We can't wait for the day it arrives.

Ken: I stated at the beginning of this interview that I felt it was a crime that you run, not one but two forums, that are packed with vast knowledge bases and you make no money from them what-so-ever, if ever an injustice has been done it is here. Do you believe RWG will ever bite the bullet and become a paid subscription only forum, so you may get at least some pocket money from it?

Admin: To be honest, no. In a perfect world, we would have 200 members paying �5 every month to cover the bills of our offshore server setup, but this just won't happen and there would be some extra $ for me at the end of each month. But I don't think the solution is to turn RWG into a paid subscription only forum. Instead, we will have to work to make upgrading more convenient and attractive. I also think a subscription only forum would be the end of our forum. New members are the lifeblood of a forum, because both old and new members go away after a while. I think that if we make RWG a subscription only forum, it would slowly kill the forum.

Ken: Do you ever foresee RWG closing it's doors because you can't afford to keep it running?

Admin: Well, if I have to go back to paying big money out of my own pocket to be "allowed" to work with RWG for a couple of hours every day, that might be the consequence ;) One of my biggest problems is that I hate posting these "We need your support. Please upgrade"-posts. I had to do them a couple of months ago and I should probably have done the same thing again for the last couple of months, but I just can't get myself to do it. I'd rather spend a small amount out of my own pocket than do these things. I know several members have told me to just let them know when I need money, but I really do not feel comfortable with the fact that a very small number of the members have contributed very much to the forum. We are on our way to 10 000 members and there should be enough members around that would be willing to contribute to the forum so that we don't need rely on just a small percentage of the membership. I guess we just need more focus on the fact that we rely on offshore hosting, hidden behind a reverse proxy, for a safe environment for our members. This is expensive and we need the help of the members to pay for this. The members are the users of the resources. And that goes for all members ;)

Ken: On a lighter note: GTG's. Have you ever participated in one with any of your fellow Nordic members or do you have plans for a meet at any time?

Admin: Well, with my schedule, I have never participated in any GTG's. I do have to admit that I've always had a "dream" about a global meeting, sometime in the future. There are so many wonderful people on these forums and I would just love for use to get together somewhere in the world and spend a fun weekend together. I guess we have to get Omni to arrange something in Hawaii ;)
But before that time comes along, I hope I get the chance to participate on a GTG somewhere in Norway or Europe some time soon.

I have however had a very pleasant meeting with Docblackrock this summer, where we were able to share a couple of beers and a round of golf that I am 100% certain he will never forget. We started the round at about 11 PM and the weather was absolutely perfect. Midnight sun, no wind�just perfect. The pictures below were taken by Docblakcrock and the time was about 12:30 AM:

http://web.archive.org/web/20110523033013im_/http://www.rwgforum.com/public/style_extra/mime_types/gif.gif  rwcc.gif (30.79K)
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http://web.archive.org/web/20110523033013im_/http://www.rwgforum.com/public/style_extra/mime_types/gif.gif  golf1.jpg (86.58K)
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http://web.archive.org/web/20110523033013im_/http://www.rwgforum.com/public/style_extra/mime_types/gif.gif  golf2.jpg (186.75K)
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http://web.archive.org/web/20110523033013im_/http://www.rwgforum.com/public/style_extra/mime_types/gif.gif  golf3.jpg (128.48K)
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Who won the round? Well, let's just say that I'm glad I did not bet the Breitling I was wearing that evening ;)


Ken: Ok lets move straight into our 5 minutes of fame�.

Ken: Beer or wine?

Admin: I'll answer what Winnie The Pooh did when Rabbit asked; "Honey or condensed milk with your bread?" Both :D

Ken: Meat or fish?

Admin: I love cooking (I'm the one who make dinner in our house every day!) and I love both meat and fish, but my favorite is meat. I actually made a great meat dish for a dinner a while ago. We are 5 guys who have grown up together and 2 times a year, 1 of the boys invite us all over for a better meal, where he prepares all the food (five-course dinner minimum) and he buys all the wine, liquor, etc. Anyway, it was my turn the last time, and I made something I had never made before: Beef rib steak with couscous, haricot verts (green beans) and a chocolate sauce. Paired with a great red wine, it was an incredible course.

Ken: Favourite book?

Admin: I have many favorite books, but I think one of the books I have read the most is Dave Barry's Complete Guide To Guys. Hilarious book :tu: Also, I'll just mention that I love cartoons. Foxtrot and Zits are two of my current favorites. Also a big fan of Gary Larson and Calvin & Hobbes.

Ken: Favourite Movie?

Admin: I have many favorites; Seven, The usual suspects, Shawshank redemption, Matrix, Fifth element, etc. I also love cartoons and comedies.

Ken: Boxers or Briefs? (The pho wants to know)

Admin: Who say's I'm wearing any underwear ;) But when I do, I prefer boxers.

Ken: Three famous people you would like to share dinner with?

Admin: Hmm...that's a tough one. The first ones that come to my mind is Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbatsjov and John F. Kennedy.

Ken: And that's a wrap. Now quite a while back I had to have an in-grown toe nail removed (one of the most painful things I have ever done), yet you have had a few of these yourself, care to tell our members the exact number and a little of the love for soccer that led to these operations?

Admin: hehe�.are you really sure the members want to know about this??? Well, like I told you, Ken. I've had quite a few of these. When I was younger I played A LOT of soccer. Every chance I had, I would grab a ball and go outside to practice. Now, I've never been good at using scissors when cutting my nails. I've just tore them off. The result of this was that the nails was so "low" that when I kicked a ball, the side of the nails dug into the side of my toe and became infected, resulting in some swollen tissue, this again, resulting in a nail that grew into the skin�.ok�you get the picture. So I've had the toe nail on my left foot removed twice (big toe) and three times on the right foot (big toe). Even after these two and three times, it came back, so finally, I had to get the nail + nail root on the right and left side of the nail, on both feet, surgically removed. Like I told you, there's just nothing like it when the anesthesia stops working after removing the toe nail or after the surgery I went through. You can REALLY feel your pulse in the exposed area. It's also very easy for any of the members to get to experience this kind of pain. All you need to do is get a friend of yours to hit you as hard as they can with a hammer, on your toe, every time your heart beats. ;) Ouch!

K: So what's the favorite team then?

A: Favorite team? Liverpool!!! I became a Liverpool-supporter when I was 5-6 years old. We used to play soccer on the streets with all the kids in the neighborhood. I was new at this and not good at all. All the older kids were arguing what player they wanted to "be" and everybody wanted to be Kevin Keegan back then. I had no idea who this Keegan guy was, but since everybody wanted to be him, I also wanted to be him. At one time, I'm sure we were 8 players and all of us were Kevin Keegan. That same summer I started playing soccer for a club and got more interested in soccer. Every Saturday they used to broadcast one of the games from Premiere League on the television, and one of these Saturdays was the first time I actually got to know who Keegan was and what team he played on. He was a great player and I watched him and his team (Liverpool) as often as I could (and I still do). And that's how it started

Ken: Admin thank you once again for taking the time to answer all these questions for us so that we may learn a little more about 'the man who runs the show'�..The Boss!

Admin: No problem, Ken. It's been a pleasure. Now it's time to get back to work. I see I have some PM's and e-mails that I need to reply to ;)

Ken

 

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