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Übercargeek
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
23400 Old-school my.IS (then IS300.NET) members may recall that older versions of the site had a "Since 1999" line on the page header. Or, perhaps, you're one of the fortunate few that owns an IS300.NET Garage Shirt with that line emblazoned on the left sleeve. What it means, of course, is that we are now celebrating 10 years of my.IS. As they say, time flies when you're having fun!

It was exactly 10 years ago today, on 27 June 1999, that Tony Schreiber founded this site, now over 70,000 members strong, and its look and content have changed considerably <A HREF="http://web.archive.org/web/19991013120231/http://is300.net/">since then</A>. Much of the story of the site's evolution has been told in <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f116/is300-net-past-present-future-we-interview-webmaster-218031/">IS300.NET Past, Present & Future: We interview Webmaster</A>, but that fun, relaxed and over a month-spanning conversation (no, it won't take you that long to read it!) we had can't begin to express the gratitude I feel towards Tony's brilliant (and, for me, life-changing) decision to start IS300.NET. (Hell, we'll even forgive him for Montero-Sport.com. Tony, what were you thinking?!)

After a string of sensible-shoes minivans and station wagons for my ex-wife and econobox hatchback beaters for me, the time came in late 2001 when I could finally indulge in a new car truly to my taste and liking. A marathon dealer-hopping test-drive Thanksgiving weekend with a shopping list that ranged from the Mazda Protégé5 and Nissan Sentra SpecV at the low end to entry-luxury sports coupes and sedans from Audi, Mercedes, BMW and Lexus on the high end revealed the Lexus IS 300 as my favorite, followed by the "bugeye" Subaru Impreza WRX. I duly joined the FreshAlloy (Nissan/Infiniti), NASIOC (Subaru) and, of course, IS300.NET forums. Fortunately, one local South Florida Lexus dealer was willing to factory-order my IS 300 in the precise bizarre configuration I wanted (manual with LSD, interior wood trim plates, no sunroof) on 26 December 2001 at a price that was as much as I could afford to pay, and, almost four months later, I was the proud owner of the car of my dreams.

As I immersed myself into the IS300.NET website while I waited for my baby to arrive, I discovered that Tony and site/business partner Steve Klein (Jedi) lived in South Florida, just like I do. What a fortuitous accident of geography! I was miffed that a local meet happened just days before my IS 300 arrived, but, at the next one, I made sure to attend and seek them out. As I do with the Lexus corporate principals I now meet on a regular basis, I peppered them with questions and suggestions for the site, hoping that I came off more enthusiastic than annoying. After a while, they trusted me enough to make me a forum Moderator. Tony's pivotal decision to make me the site's Industry Editor (which I've shortened to, simply, Editor) came around January of 2005, on the eve of the launch of the 3rd-generation Lexus GS.

They say that car enthusiasts are born with gasoline in their veins. I must've been born full of 93 octane premium, if not 100 octane race fuel. I've heard accounts that, as a 3-year old in my native Cuba, I'd prattle off the year, make and model of every car that passed by. Later, as my family fled the Castro brothers' totalitarian dictatorship, I settled in Miami and became the stereotypical kid that loved to sketch cars and, even as my 10th-grade English teacher noted my writing chops, I was determined to study Industrial Design and sketch cars for a living. Alas, by the time I graduated from high school in 1973, a litany of reasons including a dreary economic climate not that different from today's led me to the safe path of going into the family business, marrying and starting a family of my own. Yet, for the longest time I was haunted and filled with guilt by a saying attributed to <A HREF="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Buscaglia">author and motivational speaker Leo Buscaglia</A>, "Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God". While I'll be the first to admit that a talent for knowing a lot about cars and writing about them isn't going to change the world or make it a better place for mankind, it was still a talent I wasn't putting to use. They also say, though, that God works in mysterious ways, and the last thing I'd imagined is that leasing a Lexus IS 300 would help make a bigger, long-standing dream of mine come true.

The unexpected goes hand-in-hand with the mysterious, and I certainly didn't expect <A HREF="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oh,_the_Places_You%27ll_Go!">Dr. Seuss' Oh, the Places You'll Go!</A>, a popular gift for high school and college graduates, to become an underlying theme for my tenure as my.IS editor. Laguna Seca. Twice. Newport Beach. Detroit (high on my things-to-do-before-I-die list) and New York (where I was such a bouncing-off-the-walls kid in a candy store that Steve and Josh (Jiggafett) were openly – and justifiably – annoyed at me) Auto Show Press Conferences. Team Lexus headquarters in Baltimore. Lexus, Scion and Toyota Racing Development (TRD) headquarters in Torrance. Moroso Motorsports Park (now Palm Beach International Raceway). Three trips to the Tail of the Dragon, the last of which ended, on the way home, in the untimely rollover demise of my IS 300. But, even then, I was not only grateful at how the car gave its life to save mine, but genuinely moved by the outpouring of support in <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f87/jruhi-had-car-accident-coming-home-accident-pics-added-06-02-a-254500/">the 9-page thread that my friend Jiggafett started</A> to tell everyone the news. I thought that the accident had also killed my secret wish that someone from the forums would buy my car after the lease was over, join IS 300.NET and I'd know its later fate. Yet, even as a total loss, this is precisely what happened, when member Mlody bought its remains and started not <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f172/02-salvage-is300-346249/">one</A> nor <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f99/huge-part-out-349016/">two</A> or <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f99/huge-part-out-2-whats-left-351082/">three</A>, but <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f99/huge-part-out-3-a-353630/">four</A> separate threads to sell off its remains. Thus, in a perverse twist of fate that is yet, somehow, quite appropriate, parts of the Lexus IS 300 that brought me here live on in many a member's ride, and, to this day, I'm still especially curious to know who finally wound up with the much-coveted limited-slip differential.

I also have a second debt of gratitude to Tony Schreiber: introducing me to the motorsport of autocross. We touch upon this on <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f116/is300-net-past-present-future-we-interview-webmaster-218031/index4.html">page 4 of our interview</A>, but I'll add that, since my first time at some point in 2002, I've rarely missed an event. And it was autocrossing that I met one of my closest friends, Rudy Quant (Senior Moderator METEORO).

We would be remiss if, in thanking Tony, we didn't thank Steve Klein (Jedi) as well. Even though Steve and Tony had known each other since 1995, it was, officially on October 2001 (just over two years after the site's founding) that Steve officially became IS300.NET's Partner and Creative Director. Besides being an excellent sounding board for ideas and design, Tony notes that "Steve can also be a much better spokesperson when dealing with strangers, especially in person. Especially since the launch of the store, his help has been invaluable".

Yet another huge debt of gratitude needs to be paid to Ryan (Flipside909). My counterpart as Editor of the Club Lexus website has been the beneficiary of his own fortuitous accident of geography. Living in the Greater Los Angeles, California area, he is in the vicinity of Lexus USA headquarters in Torrance, and has been able to cultivate contacts with the Lexus corporate hierarchy that, for the longest time, I could only dream about. As I've stated at least once, he could've very easily kept them to himself to give Club Lexus a leg up on my.IS. Instead, he very generously "shared the wealth", as he puts it, and made sure that I was invited to significant Lexus press events. When we finally met in May 2007, we instantly hit it off, and have since partnered for Press Previews and auto show debuts for a number of Lexus models. Of course, a great number of Lexus staffers, past, present and transferred alike, were instrumental in making these events happen for us, and listing them all would surely become an article of its own. I'll just add that e-mails from Lexus addressed to "Ryan and Joaquín" usually bring good news.

Even though the interview with Tony ended (too abruptly, I'll admit) on <A HREF="http://my.is/forums/f116/is300-net-past-present-future-we-interview-webmaster-218031/index5.html">27 July 2004</A> (exactly one month after the site's fifth anniversary), the story marched on. The launch of the 2nd-generation Lexus IS, in IS 250 and IS 350 guises, raised an interesting dilemma. Keeping the IS300.NET name would pigeonhole it too much as a 1st-generation Lexus IS-only site, and we certainly wanted to expand our reach to the new version of the car. After purchasing rights to IS250.NET and IS350.NET and having them link to IS300.NET, a casual conversation Tony had with a co-worker led to a brilliant, off-the-wall solution. .IS happens to be the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Iceland, and Tony's co-worker had the connections to make this happen. Then came the debate of what to put in front of .IS. I lobbied for Lex.IS, but, ultimately, Tony's original suggestion of my.IS won the day. <A HREF="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.is">A Wikipedia article</A> informs us that as of May 2009 there were 25,086 registered .is domains, and they're amongst the 5 most secure TLDs in the world in 2007 and 2008.

Alas, time marches on, and people's interests sometimes change. <A HREF="http://www.tonyschreiber.com/">Tony's passion for photography</A> (especially weddings), Steve's move to Dallas and an unexpected offer to buy the site all converged and, on January 2007 Tony and Steve sold my.IS to Dan Kiehl (dascrow), John González (ekool) and Doug Siddens (El Calor), who all the while modestly referred to themselves as Site Techs. Shortly thereafter, my.IS was placed under the aegis of <A HREF="http://www.autoforums.com/">AutoForums</A>, which, in turn, became a part of the <A HREF="http://www.verticalscope.com/automotive/index.html">VerticalScope</A> umbrella on September 2007. At the end of August 2008, AutoForums (and, thus, Dan, John and Doug) were bought out by VerticalScope, and today, it is Nadeem Syed (the aptly-titled Administrator) with an able assist from Jay Carter (JayC) who ensure that everything runs smoothly and efficiently at my.IS.

Yet another thing to be grateful for is the total editorial freedom I've been granted since day one. In fact, I only recall getting two directives, one from Tony and one from Steve. Tony, with his understated tasteful eye, harbored a preference for flush-left, 200-pixel-wide thumbnail photos for the Front Page articles, which, to this day, I respect. It also serves as an easy way to distinguish my articles from the larger-and-centered-pictured, AutoGuide-sourced articles that Nadeem posts. Steve's request was to avoid writing in the first person. By and large, I've complied with this request, but this article, and the others that will follow in our 10th anniversary retrospective series, will throw that edict out the window (sorry, Steve), for the story of my.IS is one that I feel too strongly and passionate about to write in the third person. To their everlasting credit, Dan, John, Doug, Nadeem and Jay and the AutoForums / AutoGuide / VerticalScope folks have never complained about nor edited any of our articles, either, and they must also be commended for allowing us to maintain the site's freewheeling and irreverent character.

Freewheeling and irreverent, however, does not mean anarchic, and, for that, we must thank all the Moderators, past and present, and regular and Senior alike for keeping the peace. We won't deny that these past 10 years have seen their share of drama, but, by and large, we're basically one big, at times dysfunctional but mostly happy family. Which leads us to our final thank-you, to you, one among 70,780 strong (and counting), for doing your part, big or small, in making this the world's best resource for anything Lexus IS.
 

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Registered
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4,246 Posts
Happy birthday My.IS!

And, Tony and the other few guys, including yourself Joaquín, who all contributed so well back in the day to make IS300.NET what it is today, Thanks!

-Jared
 

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Jedi Knight
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7,619 Posts
Happy Born Day IS300.NET

Happy Birthday my.IS!!
and Thank You Joaquín For This News Article!!
Ditto!!!

I've learned a lot from this site and met a lot of cool people. :approve: :approve:
 

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Podiatrist
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23,616 Posts
Wow, I'm so old!

I realized that, as of this August, my IS is going to be 9 years old.
August 17th.
 

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Moderator
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2,752 Posts
Another great article by our beloved Senior Editor and a BIG THANK YOU to you, Joaquin, for your endless support during these 10 years of pure fun and your editorial devotion to this site to make it what it is, with all its Moderators, Admins, and ever-growing list of members :approve: !

To another round of my.IS decades and long live our Community!

Don-
 

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235 Posts
Happy belated! Much appreciation to all those putting in the work to keep this site running -- the reason I get less and less work done each day.

Cheers!
 

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The Furious
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7,271 Posts
Thanks for the great article :)

Happy Birthday my.IS !
 

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186 Posts
Happy Birthday !!!

I like this site and I'm proud to be a member of my.IS ;)

Greetings from Germany !!

Marco
 

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3,601 Posts
I'm still waiting for my TRD Supercharger!!

Kane
awwww. good one, kane! heehee...

thanks to tony and .NET for helping me find so many things! great IS info, new mods for the car, good friends, good food...and of course, irv! :p heehee...:blush:
 

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Chocolate Goodness
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34,363 Posts
Great write-up, Joaquin! I can't believe we've been here for so long, 8 years in my case, WOW. And to think I only came into this site looking for a sample of the letter from Lexus about the "tire recall" of 2001 to show to my local dealer...
 
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