A Message From My Hero

23 06 2011

Ladies and gentleman, Mr. Steve Berra:

“Three and a half years ago we started the Berrics out of my bedroom inside my house. We had 4 people, one filmer, one programmer/art director, myself, Eric Koston, a skatepark, what little money we had, and an idea. We saw a void in the industry and we wanted to fill it, but the last thing skateboarding needed was another magazine as there were already four that didn’t need a competitor, besides, we didn’t know how nor could we afford to create one anyway. We did know the culture was shifting though and skateboarding, usually off somewhere on it’s own island immune to the winds of change and always at the controls of them, couldn’t prevent the infiltration of technology. What one used to wait a month for, they were getting every day. What one used to wait years for, they wanted every day. What one could experience and access in every other aspect or interest in their life they wanted to experience with skateboarding. They wanted something to inspire them, something to help them, something to entertain them and something to make them feel closer to the thing they loved the most in their life and they wanted it daily. We’ve tried to provide that and over the course of three and a half years “they” have become you and you have been coming here hoping to find it, and it’s you who has made the Berrics so popular.

I read an interview recently from a guy “inside” the industry who talked about how stupid kids are and that their stupidity is what makes certain things and people popular in skateboarding. Kid is the word commonly used by an industry type to mean you, no matter what age, because you are on the outside, you are who the industry depends upon to keep them alive, to keep skateboarding alive, so you, no matter what age, are the kid and referring to you as stupid is, well, stupid because you are the future. I can bitch and complain about how I loved going on tour with my Sony Walkman and a case full of cassette tapes but there’s a point whereupon the stupid finger points at me because everyone else in the van is listening to their music on an iPod. You are the ones with the iPods and the guy whose interview I read, well, he’s the Walkman of yesterday well on his way to being forgotten in the dustbins of history… and that is a fact.

The Berrics is not in competition with magazines or skateboarding videos or the people who make them. We are simply here to supplement and co-exist with them, to lift them up, just as they lift us up, to help companies survive better and help skateboarders survive better which in turn helps skateboarding not only survive better but survive forever. No singular entity is going to do that, not even the Berrics. It’s a group effort involving us, them and you and no matter how many different opinions there are in regards to what’s best for the survival of skateboarding, the one opinion most of us agree upon is that it needs to survive. So, our competition doesn’t lie within our ranks. Our competition is the “outside” world. When Eric and I came up with the Berrics we didn’t want to be bigger than Thrasher or Transworld, we wanted to be bigger than Rolling Stone and the Huffington Post. We wanted to see skateboarding capsize baseball and basketball because we know, just as well as you do, that skateboarding is better than baseball and basketball. So for the past three and half years Eric and I have poured our money and time into the Berrics to try and make that happen and when we see fifty thousand comments on one single facebook thread over this past weekend we know we’re getting there. The Berrics now have 23 people working towards providing you what you want more of every single day, skateboarding. Those 23 people would not have jobs if it weren’t for you. Those 23 people do the work of a 100 and the Berrics wouldn’t be what it is without them as many of the ideas don’t just come from me anymore. So, it’s with great pleasure that I’m writing this. It’s with great pleasure that I get to tell you now, as if you haven’t discovered it already, the Berrics has a new site design to make your experience here easier than it’s ever been.

The new site is viewable with your mobile device. We have a new search field whereupon you can look up any skater that’s ever been on the Berrics. We’ve moved all of the features buttons, previously on the right hand side, into their own drop down menu up at the top so as to clean up the look of the site and make everything easier to access. We’ve made a daily ops calendar menu at the bottom of the page so that you can access any past day of the site easily. Now going to the very first post we’ve ever had is only a few clicks away. The archives to each section are also much easier to access so if you’re trying to watch that one Bangin you saw a few months ago but can’t remember exactly what month or what day, it won’t take you a million clicks of the “older” button to find it. We’ve made improvements to the player by adding a loading bar, quick commands and probably the thing I’ve gotten thousands of emails about, a full screen option! At the end of each video you’re also given suggestions to related videos, but you might want to be careful with that feature because you could fall into a Berrics hole and end up not doing what we want you to go out and do, skate. To top it all off we’ve provided you with both tweet and like buttons so that you can tell everyone about the content you enjoy on the site. Seeing the PJ Ladd and Chris Cole game get overtwo three thousand likes on Facebook makes everyone here ecstatic because we know skateboarders are starting to become more popular and more powerful than the politicians you see on the Huffington Post or the musicians on Rolling Stone.

For every single one of you who has emailed us the past three and a half years, we may not have been able to respond, but we have been listening. You are what’s made the Berrics what it is. Young, old, black, white, male or female, all of you make skateboarding survive and the very least we could do over here in our corner of the sandbox is listen and do our best to provide you with what you’ve wanted the most, high quality skateboarding content every single day. This does not mean that the site is perfect, not yet, like any skateboarder we are always working on making it better so if you experience problems, especially in this first few weeks, just know we’re aware of them and working hard fixing them should they arise. Don’t be surprised if over the next 6 months you see a lot of new improvements with the Berrics and a lot of new content from all the skaters and companies you love. We look forward to bringing them to you. Like always, thanks so much for the support. — sb

ps. For those of you who are wondering if this was my secret project I’ve been working on for the past 5 months… no, it is not.”

ENTER THE BERRICS

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