Interview: Nick Catalfamo, NASIOC
NASIOC stands for North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club. As the name suggests, it consists of a website dealing with the Subaru Impreza (for those who do not know, it is a car), gathering more than 12000 Subaru owners in huge forums, where they can discuss technical manipulations, racing, post their pictures or classifieds, and schedule meetings with other members in localized forums.
Nick Catalfamo, NASIOC co-founder and administrator, has kindly accepted to answer our questions.
A few details about the boards before we get to the interview:
Dell PowerEdge 8450 Server
(8) Intel Pentium III 700Mhz XEON Processors with 2MB Cache
16GB PC100 SDRAM ECC Memory
(2) Internal 36GB 15K RPM SCSI Drives
...connected to a...
Dell 210S PowerVault:
(12) External 18GB 10K RPM SCSI Drives
Web Servers: (we have 4 of these serving the site in rotation)
Dell PowerEdge 400SC Server
Intel Pentium 4 3.2GHz HyperThreading Processor with 512KB Cache
1GB PC3200 DDR ECC Memory
40GB 7200RPM IDE Drive
Creation date of the board
Number of moderators
36 Moderators, 5 Super Moderators
Could you please introduce yourself and describe your background before your involvement in the NASIOC website ?
I'm originally from Massachusetts, and moved down to Florida for College in the fall of 1995. Being a Computer Science major I was exposed to quite a few different areas of computers. At first I wanted to be a game programmer, like most people just getting into the field, then I started dabbling in the internet and HTML. Soon after, I had a part time job with the University working for the Student Affairs department creating their website. Shortly after that I moved to the University's Business School and accepted a full time job working as a Web Developer. Without any formal training in web development I sought to learn whatever I could in the field. The two areas that I enjoyed most were actuall programming of web applications and the interfaces themselves. I learned Cold Fusion (a language for programming dynamic HTML) on my own, and quickly learned the ins and outs of it. This helped me to ultimately get involved with the website when I wrote the Automated Members List part of the NASIOC website. So, 8 years later I'm still here in Florida, enjoying my time before I eventually move back north to Massachusetts when it's time to have a family and settle down.
When did you buy your Subaru Impreza ? What made you come up with the idea of creating message boards dedicated to that car ?
I purchased my first Subaru, a 1999 Impreza 2.5RS, in June 1999. I actually stumbled across the site Impreza-RS.com right after I purchased my 2.5RS. The site had a small message board, with about 200 users, and a static HTML members list maintained by the people running it at the time when I joined. I tried to submit my info for the members list, and after nagging for about 2 months as to why my information hadn't been added yet, I offered to create an automated members list, in exchange for becoming one of the people behind the site. I created the members list and it was a great success. The list quickly grew across North America, and even the world, with honorary members from all over the globe. Bottom line is I just really wanted to be part of this site because I loved my car so much. I also wanted more on how I could modify it and get more power out of it. Well I got that and in about a years time I had turned my stock 165hp 2.5RS into a 300+hp turbo beast.
"Currently we are growing by an average 1500-2000 members per month, and that number is only increasing faster and faster"
What other online communities are you a member of ?
I don't get much time to actively participate in many other forums, but still being a nerd, I do frequent a lot of the techie boards like Anandtech as well as others. As far as car websites, I have barely enough time to keep up to date on my own forums, so it's hard to spend time on others. I do visit others from time to time when a members posts a link to them in our Off Topic forum... which has pretty much become an inescapable source of daily news, events, and fart jokes!
What does a day in your life look like ?
Well, I still work a regular day job at the same University to help pay the bills so that takes up a fair chunk of my time. After work and the weekends are my normal hours to work on NASIOC and take care of any upgrades or maintenance that needs to be done.