This is Admin-Talk's first Interview, so it is a pleasure to Interview Jesse Labrocca who also is known by the name "Omniscient". He runs one of the biggest MyBB forums known has HackForums.net (Which is also the biggest in its nature). He is well known in the MyBB community for his outstanding plugins over MyBB Central, he also runs a very successful webmaster forum known as SupportForums. Be sure to give them a visit!
Can you tell us a little about who Jesse Labrocca is?
A father, husband, and web developer.
What's a normal day in the life of Jesse Labrocca like?
Sitting at my desk typing away is normally my day. I'll listen to music and often watch streaming Netflix movies on my 2nd monitor. I enjoy taking care of my kids too.
Hackforums is the biggest of its kind out there, how did it start? Was it easy? Was there ever a time you thought it wouldn't go to well?
Easy is a relative term. What's easy for me might be impossible for someone else. HF is a time consuming project requiring all my skillsets that I've built up over the years. It's sort of a culmination of a dozen years of experience. It started very simple and small. It was not an instant success but great successes rarely are. There was a time when I thought HF was too much for me to handle but I overcame that.
How do you do it? You run 3 very successful forums, along with many other projects you have, do you have any tips for the new webmasters just starting out?
If you're willing to spend the time to achieve you will do well. You should always learn from your mistakes and never be afraid to take a shot at it. Follow your passions. All those cliches and more.
SupportForums is no doubt one of the best webmaster communities, what do you see stored for it in the future? Are you happy with its progress so far?
I'm happy with the progress but the last month I've been distracted by other more important matters. I wouldn't count SF as a webmaster community though. I'd like to think of it as something more. We have a variety of categories and the goal is to attract a well rounded set of members all willing to help other members.
What got you involved in forums, when did you start using them?
Modern forums are an extension of old dial-up BBS systems. A precursor to the internet. Back then they were "message boards". You'd dial up on the modem, have a sysop approve your account, and you could leave messages or explore the system. I was doing that in 1984 with a 300 baud modem. I started running my own forums on the internet in 1998. I had many types of sites but forums was just something I was more natural with. I hate blogging and static sites are dull. Even if they make money. So it was forums that stuck.
How did you get interested in MyBB? What do you expect for MyBB 2.0 to turn out like?
I became interested when I started to look for alternative software for my forums and I felt that phpBB was terrible. I had used phpbb a couple years. I was tired of it's problems. I tried Vbulletin for a while but felt that it was bloated and not admin friendly. I reviewed a lot of software and I had my eye on MyBB for a few months. Once I tried it on a live site I was hooked and have since not used anything else.
Is it hard to keep up with all these projects when you have to take care of a family?
All the time. My daughter is sitting here next to me as I type this. I'm with my family the majority of the time. It's a benefit of working from home.
What would you say is your biggest accomplishment on the "Net" so far?
This might be corny but I felt that helping MyBB get mybb.com domain was one of my finest feats. It was something I actually worked on doing a couple years. It was great to finally achieve that goal. I know the obvious answer was HF but it's not done yet and I don't want to claim it accomplished until it's my past not my future.
Where do you see the world of forums going in the next 5-10 years?
I don't see it very different. More bells and whistles to adhere to HTML 3.0 standards I guess. Forums grow because of members. People won't change that much in 5-10 years. There will always imho be a need for like-minded people to share with each other and communicate.
Thanks again for taking the time to answer these questions.
Interview with Jesse Labrocca (Omniscient)
This was Admin Talk's first interview