Huge congratulations, hugs, kisses, backslaps, all go out to my friend, Ivan, founder and curator of the largest Internet forum in Serbia, Burek.com, celebrating its 11th year today. The forum grew from being just a tiny spark of imagination in early 2002 to the thriving behemoth forum (it’s the largest forum running on Simple Machines Forum software) it has become today, with over 1.7 million registered users. It’s been a long path of personal commitment, sacrifice, sweat and tears. But I hope my friend thinks it is all worth it. Congratulations, buddy. You done good.
Yesterday, something amazing and wonderful happened to my best friend. His internet forum got its millionth registered user. Considering that this forum is in a small country (Serbia) and that it started with a free domain and web hosting back in April 2002 in his bedroom, it’s come a long way, baby.
I am so proud of my friend and his accomplishment with this forum. Through the years, eight and a half long, grueling years, maintaining this forum as it grew to monster proportions has taken its toll physically, mentally and emotionally. But he’ll admit, maybe, that it’s all been worth the ride. :)
In fact, it was his essay in an online community that first caught my eye, that first exposed me to this amazing man. From that fateful post:
You get a chance to start, with your basic web skills, some website. Someone decided to award you with domain and hosting, [so] you give it a try. You create an internet forum so all your friends from all over the world can meet and talk to each other…. Your community grows[;] you build some reputation among IT people…. [Y]ou start spending enormous amounts of time working around your community[;] you place all your energy in that one spot  and finally make something good. [S]till no one says good about your work but you know that your users are grateful for every second you spend helping them.
[I]t grows[;] it becomes the biggest free cafe forum in your country[;] bigger than all those who had all kind of support…. [Y]ou work to cover expenses and then work to help it grow…. Your forum reaches abnormal number of visits and … users for a country in which [only] 2-4% of people use computers…. [E]ven though you are considered Don Quixote[,] just this time fighting web windmills….
From a recent article about this milestone (loosely translated from Serbian to English):
Internet community Burek.com yesterday welcomed its millionth member after nearly nine years of existence. Burek.com since 2002 successfully combined web space of the former Yugoslavia with the idea that its members freely share their experiences without cultural or historical barriers….
Topics that are represented in the forum include the internet, information technology, digital art, telecommunications, gaming, music, current events, television, politics, religion, history, psychology, art, literature, science, military, sports and more….
Since 2005, Burek.com has been available on mobile phones and is among the most visited mobile destination in Serbia with the trend increasing.
To me, one of the most amazing things about this is that my friend was merely 16 years old when he started this forum. And through all those years, he’s tended it, made it grow, shed countless drops of blood, sweat and tears, promoted it, felt like throwing in the towel on many occasions, and yet, he persevered. And has much to be proud of today. Ivan, I am so proud of you, your forum, and all that you have accomplished and will continue to accomplish. But more than that, I am so very proud to be your friend. Good work, old chap. Keep it up!
The greatest works are done by the ones. The hundreds do not often do much, the companies never; it is the units, the single individuals, that are the power and the might.
Today marks the fifth anniversary of my best friend’s internet forum. It’s been a long, painful, tiring, taxing, joyful, rewarding road. To my friend, I say: I hope you are as proud of your accomplishment as I am and that you look forward with anticipation to the next five years. And I hope you’ll agree that it’s all been worth it. @}->–
My favorite (and the best) Internet Forum turns four years old on April 6. It’s managed by my best friend and web design partner, Ivan. AND … it’s got a slick new look, too! Congrats, dawg. Here’s to many more….