The CheersAs you're reading this, you most likely want to learn more about The Cheers magazine. What's the story behind it, how it came to be, what are our plans, who are our readers, what are we trying to offer to our readers and much more. Spare some time if you're truly interested in it, as it's gonna take a while to go through it all.
It was a cold winter's night, Siim Einfeldt sat in a pub, somewhere in Northern Europe, in a small town-like country with just 1.4 million inhabitants called Estonia. Being a journalism student at a local university, he used to get together with his course-mates at the pub.
People tend to talk while drinking, and during one discussion (knowing Siim it was totally unrelated to the upcoming topic) Siim asked why everyone always talked about money when discussing ideas of a possible new media publication. The debate on this topic went on until it was obvious it was impossible to prove his point without any actual example. So he started working on a concept he was sure would work.
During high school he had learned web-programming from his high-school mates and this was going to make it all just a bit easier. What was his motivation to learn programming? Well, there's actually a great story behind it.
Learning to code php (that's a web creation coding language)
During one summer, in Jun he was checking different programming related discussion lists and there was a job offer to a php-mysql programmer from a company that today offers back-ends for most of the local online magazines and newspaper. The main requirement was that the candidates would have knowledge of php at least for the grade 4 and database system mysql for grade 3. Well, never mind the grades but you get the overall point – the candidate had to know the languages. Siim contacted them asking if they would be interested in him, even though his knowledge of php at the time was something like 2+ and mysql, what was thaaat? But if he'd be ready to learn it all by the end of summer. They said yes and the learning began. In September he went to talk to them and everything was set....well, that is until Siim decided he didn't want to work for anyone else, but rather wants to do things himself. If you'd only seen how pissed those guys were. Siim's not proud of that sort of short notice, but he was sure it was the only right thing for him to do.
Back to that cold winter night
Siim had the programming skills needed and he knew that if he didn't know anything, he could always take advantage of the product created in a dorm room. This product is pretty much like his god – if you don't know anything, just use that product and you'll do just fine. The product is called Google.
There's always hundreds of different free systems available that one can use to create his website or in this case, an online magazine. However, Siim decided to create his own magazine system for the new soon-to-be magazine. Simply because this way it was the easiest to make the magazine exactly like he'd like to see it, plus adding things, finding bugs (you know the little creatures crawling on walls and screwing up everything) etc would be a lot easier. And the work begun. It was the end of November 2003.
In case of every new venture, there are two first things that need to get right. Firstly, the idea itself. And secondly, the name. And in case of an online magazine, also the domain name. The name The Cheers came to be like the idea itself, only in another cold winter evening, but still in a pub with friends. After a few beers, it got to him – CHEERS! No, it was not going to be a beer magazine. But rather a magazine for people with positive attitude towards life and people who care about what's happening in the world far far away from them, people who enjoyed reading well-written interesting articles. While searching for a domain for it though, he found that cheers.com and the same domain with other extensions had been taken, thus he checked thecheers.com...but that was taken as well by some band. Fortunately he found that thecheers.org was available and considering the concept of this magazine, magazine based on volunteer writers, .org like organization was perfect. And the domain was registered.
No money, no hosting?
For an online magazine you need a web host, some server to put your site on. While there are always free possibilities available, many of them require you to have their banner on your site or they don't have all the necessary plugins installed on the server or they are slow or are just unreliable. So instead he decided to post a request to forums, request for free hosting space from non-free hosts. He got more than one answer. And the problem with hosting was solved. Over time the site has moved from one host to another and from the other to another, until about a year ago Siim decided to start paying for hosting and now the magazine is sitting on a dedicated server. (Well, that's mainly because of Siim's lousy programming skills that tended to crash the shared servers).
Search for writers
Once everything was done, it was time to start searching for writers and editors. He connected with different discussion lists to find contributors. There was no requirement for writers to have been previously published nor any related education. But the main requirement was and always will be – they had to be able to write interesting articles. In attempt to get more writers from around the world, even perfect English skills weren't needed (as long as their English was understandable). This allowed him to find writers from all areas of life and people from pretty much all countries. Of course, due to the last fact some articles needed loads of editing. But at the same time they contained information that would have been a lot more difficult to obtain in any other case.
During couple of weeks Siim found around 20-30 writers who now had, depending on writer and when he/she came aboard, 2-4 weeks to get their first article ready.
And the first issue was published, containing 27 articles, on Feb 17th 2004. And yes, when I say first issue, I mean it. Initially TheCheers worked as a paper magazine not like usual online creation. Instead of publishing daily articles, it published one issue per week and that issue contained, depending of the week and month and writer's availability, 7-40 articles.
Our first issue contained articles with titles like „George Lucas Has Gone Soft”, „In favor of File Sharing”, „Workout or Eat Out”, „What Will the Next Extreme Be?”, „Islamic Fundamentalism Explained”, „Hangin in the W.C. with Ozomatli” and so on. So great variety, and that's what we are still trying to offer. All those articles are still available, of course, just use the search function on the site.
The Cheers started without a professionally designed logo, but then a graphics designer contacted Siim (well, after he had sent out mails that he's searching for one). The designer was Paul and he was ready to create the logo for free. Currently you can see the full logo in the bottom of the site. It's a logo of The Cheers guy – with a beer cup!
Now The Cheers has existed for 3 and a half years. Over that time TheCheers has changed designes possibly 5 times. More than 250 different writers from more than 30 different countries have made their contributions since that time.
Where was TheCheers created?
At the time of starting the magazine Siim lived in a friend's two-room apartment in a 9m2 room where he had a desktop computer which tended to overheat every once in a while. Thus during winter he had to keep the windows open quite often. Well, not bad if you consider this probably gave him a good health for the future. Later, being a man with regular motivation problems, he got himself a laptop computer so he could work in cafeterias instead of his apartment. So after university he spent days in cafeterias with wireless internet, the mouse of his laptop in one hand and cup of coffee in another, cigarette watching out from between his upper and lower lip.
How is The Cheers different?
The Cheers is different definitely because of its overall concept. Not only does it depend on volunteer writers but it has also been created without any monetary resources whatsoever and even with current incentive based payments The Cheers can never threaten its existance due to too few readers or too big payments to the writers. As the writers are not paid in the formal sense of this word. Rather we offer the writers the chance to earn themselves with their articles by giving them the option to have their own ads inside their writings.
What are advantages of The Cheers compared to other publications?
While many non-believers think that if there is no payment there can be no motivation to work, our writers feel differently. There's really a great number of different reasons why people have decided to write for The Cheers magazine. The first is probably our fast response time which we try to keep between 24-72 hours. At the same time most other publication answer within months, if at all that is. We have even heard answers like „this concept means less tax problems for the writers”.
Our writers also enjoy the freedom of topics, ease of submission, fun work environment, understanding editors, chance to express their honest opinions independent of their exact views. And the possibility to work and grow together with an evolving online publication.
What's TheCheers all about?
The Cheers is meant for people like me and you, people who understand, care about what's happening in the world, who love comedy, entertainment, but at the same time are interested in politics and life in general. People who love reading interesting articles, people who love educating themselves. People who have their own opinion about things. The Cheers is all about variety, and that's what we are trying to offer to our readers.
Over time The Cheers has had many different slogans, slogans like „Whatever you want to talk about, you're welcome at The Cheers” or anything else. The current one is „People magazine for people like you”. Whatever the slogan is, main point behind it all is pretty obvious – it's a magazine meant for opinionated people, people just like you. We feel for people who don't have their own opinion, what kind of life is that, ah? We invite everyone to share their views on life, on events, on everything else. We expect our readers to be self-concious, ready to express their own opinions, be confident about themselves. If you aren't one of those but are interested in being one, we are here for you. If not, I'm afraid I have some bad news for you – The Cheers is not meant for you.
Our writers are with us because they are not afraid to express their opionions. Neither should our readers be.
What does our logo represent?
You have definitely seen our logo, in one version or another. You have definitely seen The Cheers Guy. He's a happy guy who loves life, who enjoys living to the fullest. He's open to creativity, open to all religions and no religion at all. He represents the freedom in its broadest sense. The Cheers guy believes he's in charge and has the power to help change the world. No, we're not talking about world peace (though that ain't too bad either...), but are trying to make people smarter, to make them think, to get people talking about topics that matter or are just interesting.
Most of us don't like to wake up early but if we have to, we should have something fun or inspiring to do or read, just to jumpstart the morning with positive attitude. The Cheers would like to help you with that with our recommended horoscope (be sure to check out Cheers Horoscopes section) – something positive you should think about, or something negative you should think about positively. So starting tomorrow, wake up with good feelings inside, check the recommended horoscopes of ours and feel good about yourself. You'll have to wake up anyway, right? So why not do it by reading something positive, something inspiring. Even articles in our Business section are meant to boost you up, why not take advantage of that. You'll need to boost yourself up anyhow, let us help you.
Who should stay away from The Cheers?
That's the tough part. It might sound strange, stupid or totally ridiculous for one magazine to tell certain people not to read them but well, that's how we are - strange, stupid and ridiculous. If you're a narrow-minded person who doesn't care about what's happening away from your little village. If you haven't bothered to learn English. If you believe that making joke of certain religions (be it islam, budism or christianity) should not be allowed. If you think that atheists should burn in hell or that all muslims are morons. If you can't stand a joke and always take everything seriously. If you have nothing else to say in comments than „you suck” (which usually pretty much means you're a moron and didn't understand the article to even explain why). If you think that me saying you're a moron makes me moron. If you think talking about sex is most necessarily a taboo topic. If you think god or little Bush is always right.
If you think any of that then please, STAY AWAY from TheCheers. Because if you would answer yes to even one question (well, maybe the moron part can be excluded here) it means you're not an open-minded person. And this case we don't want you here. But don't misunderstand me – if you dissagree with us, with our articles, it's only good. Discussion is good, improvements are born through people with different thoughts on certain topics. We don't care if you're born believer of god. We don't care if you're the believer of jesus christ in the coffin, and you believe the world was created with a big bang that caused huge amounts of sperm flying in every possible direction. We really don't care if you're a „atheistocholic” (yes, I just made that word up).
But we do care if you're not willing to understand other views. You most definitely do not need to agree with them. But we do expect you to accept or at least try to understand the views of other people.
Who's to blame for The Cheers?
There's this one dude who likes to speak of himself in third person. The dude's called Siim Einfeldt (if you started reading from the beginning, that's the dude who likes beer more than he should). Without a joke, he's possibly one of the laziest and most unconcerned people alive. But in case of him it's not necessarily a negative characteristic. Being lazy brings out the need to be creative to get everything done the simplest and fastest way possible. And being lazy (for him) often also means that he doesn't take the time to make a research on how things should be done or what definitely doesn't work. If he believes something might work, that's often good enough for him. And that opens a totally new scope for coming up with new ideas. Even this magazine was created just in belief that something like that could theoretically work. And well, it actually does.
His working days are often spent in front of his laptop in some pub. That tends to motivate him the most. Especially considering he doesn't have an office, yes, The Cheers doesn't have an office at all. Ordering couple of doubble-coffees every day and torturing the barmaids day after day he's not really the best customer a cafeteria or a pub could have. But the regularity of his visits have earned him the reputation such as „he's always here, only god/devil knows what on earth/in the hell he's doing here”.