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An Interview with the boss of Recon.

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MasterMarc: Hi Philip. Happy Birthday! Ok it’s not your own birthday but your child Recon is celebrating the 15th anniversary. A teenager, still not allowed to have sex, but in age in which to have party is a must. You have celebrated it during the London Fetish Week. Are you proud of your child?

Recon-philip001Philip: Absolutely, we are very proud of our wayward teenage child. He can be very naughty at times, but we are looking forward to seeing how he matures over the next few years and beyond. We have some interesting and exciting plans in development and I’m sure our members will really enjoy what’s coming up in the near future. I can’t tell you much about our plans at the moment, but we are currently coding some interesting features that we are very excited about.

We had a great time celebrating Recon’s 15th birthday with a members’ party on board HMS President moored on the river Thames. The event was so much fun and a perfect way to kick-off this year’s Fetish Week London. It’s always thoroughly enjoyable to be out with the members of Recon in the real world.

 

MasterMarc: Before we start to talk about the future we should have look back to the beginning of recon. I would say you’re the leading chat platform for kinky gays now. But how has it come? What was your idea 15 years ago, how have you started and have you ever thought that you’ll be as successful as you are?

Philip: I always knew that the fetish community was in need of a kinky space to play online and I was confident I could make it a success. Back in the year 2000, there were only a handful of web sites dedicated to the kink world and I could see that there was a huge gap in the market to create something unique and special.

The idea for Recon came out of my own needs and desires for an online world which would enable me to meet guys into the same things as me. The first Recon site which quickly became successful was worldskins.com – the skinhead scene was something which I was very passionate about (and I still am – I have around 15 pairs of 20-hole skinhead boots in my current collection. And on a personal level, Recon has really worked for me – not only do I thoroughly enjoy running the company, I have also met some amazing Reconians over the last 15 years.

 

Recon-philip002MasterMarc: For me it was clear that someone who has opened a fetish chat has also to be into kinks.  For how long are you living now your kinky side and what have been your first steps into the fetish world? It’s an interesting question because nowadays a lot of young people would say, that they have found their first date on recon. 

Philip: Hmm … I think when I look back in time I had an attraction to guys in gear from when I was around 11 years old. I was brought up in the north west of England in a sea-side town called Morecambe, which didn’t have any opportunities at all for any young adult who wanted to explore their kinky side.

I always had to travel a fair distance to find interesting guys who were into similar things as me. Manchester was the place to go as it had a few very memorable kinky bars and clubs. Exciting times!

I think back then in the late 80s and early 90s, things were very different with no internet and no overwhelming array of images and videos which are now available online to anyone with an inquisitive mind. Back then you had to use your imagination of what you saw in your everyday life. I can remember Morecambe being full of skinheads, so I had plenty of material to feed my imagination!

 

MasterMarc: Hehe. The good old times! What do you answer if people say that chat rooms like recon are destroying the community life and that they are responsible for the closing of many bars and clubs because people don’t need to go out anymore to date guys?

Philip: I would agree that dating websites and apps have changed the way that people interact with one and another. It is so much easier for people to open an app and arrange a date within a few minutes. It is also cheaper than going out to a bar and a club.

However, I don’t think that social sites and apps are destroying community life. People are simply socialising in different ways and spend a lot of time communicating online. They are still being social, just in a different environment.

People rarely go to bars and clubs to hook-up these days, so these venues will have to adapt to the changing needs of the communities which they serve. I expect that over time bars will become more social and inviting for people to leave the comfort of their sofas. It is not that people don’t want to go out, because they do, but it has to be worth their while. You have to give people a great night out. We have noticed this at our own events which are becoming increasingly social, giving our online members a place to meet together in the real world.

 

MasterMarc: Yes, your big parties like London Fetish Week are really great and you can meet a lot of good guys. OK, some of them are  very sexy too. 🙂 To be honest, there are as longer as more recon labeled events. Are all organized by you and your team? 

Recon-PartyPhilip: Every event that Recon presents throughout the year is organised by my events team. On a few occasions we may partner with a local person to assist us with some local knowledge, but we are in control of each event and are there to ensure that the build up to the event works as smoothly as we need it to.

The big parties like Full Fetish takes months of planning to get things right. We usually start transforming a venue around 48 hours before an event, which takes quite a lot of people to get things completed in time and to have all our equipment in place. As soon as the event finishes, we have to quickly take our equipment out of the venue in a fraction of the time that it took to install it. By the end of the night, my events team are completely exhausted and need a couple of days rest to recover.

 

MasterMarc: I know what you’re talking about. I got often sick after such events. The work is fun but exhausting. 🙂 Another of your children is the recon store.  I think that was just founded that you can get your toys cheaper. 🙂

Philip: I am by far into fetish gear more than anything else and I don’t use toys that much. I would say that I am one of the Recon Store’s biggest customers, especially when new gear comes into the store. I do buy the majority of my fetish gear from the Recon Store.

The Store is something that we started back in 2006 and it has grown from strength to strength from then. It is a part of Recon that really compliments the other parts of the business as our members always need gear! When we hold our own parties and events, you will see many of our members wearing gear that they have purchased from Recon.

 

MasterMarc: So your team is providing a lot of different services. From running a big dating platform to parties and retail. What is the aim you have for Recon and where are you going with this fetish project?

PhilipYes, T101 is the company that runs Recon and there are 24 people working here who look after different parts of the business. We have a team of developers who are responsible for maintaining the website and building new features plus we have a customer support team, advertising sales, retail operations, marketing and design, events management and also company operations.

The aim for the company is to continue to build upon what we have created in our first 15 years. There is still much more that I want to do with Recon and I am excited about the plans for the future. I want to ensure that the members of Recon have the best possible Recon experience – whether this is on the website, on the app, at an event, or wearing Recon gear.

 

MasterMRecon-birthdaypartyarc: T101? You seem to be the Skin Terminator. 🙂 It is something a lot of people don’t realize, how much work it is to maintain and develop such a dating platform. They think that in times of facebook and twitter everything on the internet has to be free. Of course you and your team can live of love and air only. 🙂 Can you tell us, how important your paying members are for Recon? 

Philip: Yeah, T101 is the Fetish Terminator – “I need your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle.”

Without the paying members, Recon simply wouldn’t exist. I am extremely grateful to our paying and also non-paying members for their support over the last 15 years. We still have a large group of members who have been with us since the year 2000.

It is true that in the modern world of internet and apps, many things come for free. Facebook for instance, generates the majority of its revenue through advertising and that business model works very well for them due to the huge number of members that use Facebook on a daily basis. Unfortunately, Recon has a much smaller network of members than Facebook so that type of business model wouldn’t work for us.

 

MasterMarc: As we have discussed before, even by paying the member fee the costs per fuck are still cheaper than going out to bars and clubs to find the guy we want. I think that is something people should realize before they start  grumbling. Since you have insight into the Technic behind Recon too, maybe you can also explain me why the distance between me and the guy is always increasing the hotter he is?

Philip: Yes, the Recon monthly membership fees are the cost of a couple of beers in a local bar. When you consider how much a night out costs to a nightclub in 2016, then I think it is a good deal.

It is interesting that you say the hot guys are further away from you than you would like. I think this is always the case. When I travel the world and visit different cities to do Full Fetish events, I always think the guys are hotter in each city that I travel to. I suspect it is all about looking at new people and ‘fresh meat’ and different to what you see in your local community.

One of the most pleasing aspects of Recon is that we have such a diverse international community of guys with many different kinks and interests.

 

MasterMarc: You have told us in the beginning that you are planning new features for Recon …. Isn’t it possible to tell us just a little what we can expect, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaase? 🙂

Philip: Haha. I always get asked this question by members, but I couldn’t possibly tell you. If I did I would have to gag you and lock you in a cage so that you couldn’t tell anyone.

To be honest, I have to take care not to say too much while we develop new features. Our features take a long time to come to fruition. My development team are working on a brand new feature that I have been planning since 2010 and it is something that I am very passionate about.

It has been a long journey for this particular feature and I am sure that you will like it when it comes.

I do have a long list of projects and features that are planned to be worked on over the next five years. The list is never ending as I am always adding more ideas to this list.


MasterMarc
: You will put ME in a cage???? I don’t know if that is a brave or a stupid idea. 🙂 For that you need to be more than one person. 🙂 But I think it is better if I shut up because you seem to have a great team of professionals in all fields. Btw: Do they have got something as birthday present?

PRecon-Teamhilip: It is more likely to be me in the cage than you, but I do like a challenge!

I do have a fantastic team of people who work for me here at T101. My longest serving employee has been with me for 13 years now since the early days of the company.

They are a caring and passionate bunch and it has been an absolute pleasure to be able to work with them on a daily basis. I honestly couldn’t have achieved things without them.

During Fetish Week London we had a bit of group gathering to acknowledge the 15th year of Recon. We always have a bit of a blast before Christmas with the employees and their partners. It is usually the best time for us to get completely drunk and go a little crazy!

 

MasterMarc: Sounds like a party I would like. 🙂 Hey Philip, it was a great pleasure to talk to you. Thank you for the service you’ve provided us in the last 15 years and I am looking forward to the new features for Recon and of course to the next great parties. Hope we will have a beer soon to continue our conversation. And don’t be scared. Sometimes I can also be a nice guy … but I can’t promise it if I see your nice ass in the bleachers. 🙂

Philip: Thank you also MasterMarc for a great interview and for the fantastic work that you are doing at SadoSam. Looking forward to that beer and a cage!

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