Interview of a JetPunker #27 - Simon1006

+19

Hello dear JetPunkers!

English: done. Polish: done. Italian: done. Finnish: done. French: done, done, and redone. Spanish: well, semi-done, I guess. Dutch:... How dare I? We have such incredible Dutch JetPunkers on our favourite website! I have to fix it immediately. And obviously, I'll pick the most amazing of them. Ladies and gentleman, please enjoy the interview of the great Simon1006!

baptistegorce

Hi Simon! How are you? I was wondering... Would you like to be my 27th interviewee?

Simon1006

I'd be honored!

baptistegorce

Glad to read that! So let’s start this interview! First, could you present yourself on JetPunk quickly for our readers who don’t know you?

Simon1006

Great, let's get started! For those of you who don't know me, I'm Simon. I live in the Rotterdam-The Hague metropolitan area in the western part of the Netherlands. I started using JetPunk in early 2017, when I was about to embark on my first intercontinental trip and realised I didn't know quite some countries in this world. That sparked my interest in geography, and with some detours I ended up at the Countries of the World quiz. I made my first quiz shortly after that in April 2017, but only really started producing a lot of quizzes in 2019. You might know me from the Random Mystery Country / City series, or if you visit the Dutch section of the website from my many features there over the past year. 🙂

baptistegorce

As you said, you are mostly known for your awesome “Mystery … by Hints - Randomized” quizzes, and you even helped Pandora to create his own “Colour” ones, with Stewart. How did you get these ideas? Were they technical challenges?

Simon1006

Pandora's Random colour clues actually was the first one of this series. Pandora (and Stewart as well) had both tried already to create the random version, but hadn't been able to find a way yet. I got the idea to randomise these quizzes after Mystery Country by Colour Clues #2 was featured on the front page, and decided to also give it a go. Some brainstorming and a lot of technical difficulties later, we finally got it working. Because it was all Pandora's idea to begin with, we put the quiz on their account, even though it still feels a bit like my quiz. Nevertheless I'm extremely proud of that one, and it's closing in on 1,000,000 takes as we speak!

The Hints sequels work exactly the same, so once the Colour Clues version worked there was not much challenge left there. But of course I have to credit ThatOneGuy25 here as well for giving me the idea of the Hints in the first place when I came across their unrandomized version. Needless to say, this one was an immediate hit as well.

The third (very recent) addition is the Random Border Hints one, where I got the idea from RoxyTheQuizzer's Travelling to the Next Country Alphabetically quiz, which, I must say, is my personal favourite. This one definitely was a technical challenge as well, since there are many ways to get from one country to another, so how do you know which is the shortest? Solving that problem, together with the fast-paced nature of the quiz (and less guessing needed) is why I love that one so much, even though it hasn't attracted as much attention yet.

baptistegorce

Wow! That's fabulous! You have all my congratulations for the one million takes achievement, but also for the success of all the quizzes based on this concept.

You also published many quizzes about country first level subdivisions, and some of them even got featured. Where does your interest in this subject come from?

Simon1006

At the time I wanted to take on a massive project. I don't remember how exactly I ended up on the topic of First Level Subdivisions, but the diversity in the different types, sizes, and amounts of subdivisions caught my attention and interest. After compiling a quiz for the entire world I quickly realised that that was a bit too much, so I started creating a quiz per country, and then moved on to capitals and proximity, where the latter was mostly a challenge for myself again to be able to get it working. 🙂

baptistegorce

We haven’t talked about the Dutch section in the interview blog series yet, but you are in charge of its development, so that’s a perfect occasion to address the subject. What can you tell about it? Are you optimistic for its future?

Simon1006

The Dutch section is currently growing quite a bit, although compared to English and French it's still small of course. Over the last few years I have spent quite some time to streamline all the already featured quizzes, alongside selecting (and creating) many new quizzes to be featured. I actually finished updating all quizzes only a few months ago, so hopefully there should be no more issues! 

Since I properly took over the development of the Dutch section, I have been using the takes on the Dutch Countries of the World as a measure for the well-being of the entire Dutch section, which has increased from about 200 takes per day to about 600. So I'm very optimistic for the future there, with many new quizzes to be featured this year as well. I'm aiming for level 50 to be possible by the end of the year!

baptistegorce

That's pretty encouraging! Thanks for your implication on the development of this section, and good luck for level 50!

You published only one blog on JetPunk, but it was nothing less than the third most liked blog published in 2022. Are you proud of it? How did you get the idea for a that interesting JetPunk-related theme? Do you plan to maybe publish some other blogs on our favourite website?

Simon1006

I got the idea for a blog on how random the JetPunk randomizer is from a discussion I had with Stewart about some comments on his 20 random countries on the world map quiz. They were claiming that the JetPunk randomizer wasn't random due to it selecting bordering countries or selecting a disproportionate amount in specific areas of the world. 

We originally started with just the question "Can we calculate how often you should get bordering countries?", and that kept evolving until it reached the amount of questions addressed in the blog. 

Although I had a lot of fun writing it, I am not currently planning any new blogs in the near future. I probably will return to the blog section at some point (maybe getting the Dutch blog section a bit more active), but at this point I'm not sure yet.

baptistegorce

It could be pretty interesting to "revive" the Dutch blog section, since many dead blog sections are coming back to life this year. Let's see...

You have also got noticed by providing thice many stats about comments published on JetPunk. How did you collect this data? Do you plan to do this again this year?

Simon1006

Ah yes, that's been a while indeed! Collecting the most liked comments started as a challenge to myself to see if I could get something like that working in the first place. I am collecting the data using a web-scraper, essentially a script that visits every page on JetPunk and collects all the comments there. I then compile all of those in an Excel sheet, sorted by number of likes, and by username. All of this runs in a script I wrote in Python. It's sadly not foolproof though, and last time it failed to collect two of the top 20 most liked comments due to them being hidden by the "Load more Comments" button. 

I am planning to revisit this at some point, but to be able to get accurate statistics I need to rewrite the entire script so that it can expand those buttons as well. I do know how to do it, but I need to find the time to rewrite everything. I won't make promises, but there will be an update this year probably.

baptistegorce

Good news! Take your time, and good luck on this great project.

What is your own quiz you are the proudest of?

Simon1006

That's a tough one, there's many quizzes I am proud of. To go with one we didn't discuss up until this point, I have to pick the Random Wordle Challenge Chain. It is not always easy, but definitely solvable, it's fast paced, it's colourful, and it was really nice to make. And there's also an Easter egg hidden in it somewhere 🙃

baptistegorce

An Easter Egg? Wow! I have to take the quiz again to see if I can find it. Damn, I failed in publishing this blog for Easter...

Do you have big projects of quizzes or blogs in preparation?

Simon1006

I've been working on a sequel to my Road Networks quiz for a while now, that'll be my next big quiz. But I can't set a time on when it'll be out yet. Other than that my main project on JetPunk is making it possible to reach level 50 in the Dutch section!

baptistegorce

What is the most important event in your own life of JetPunker?

Simon1006

Three separate events immediately come to mind for this question, so I guess I'll just list all three of them since I can't choose. 🙃

baptistegorce

Haha! Go ahead, that's completely fine. I'm sure that it will be interesting.

Simon1006

1. Joining the JetPunk Discord server. The people I've met there are absolutely wonderful, and it has shaped the way I use and enjoy JetPunk today.

2. Taking on the job of Dutch translator. What originally started as a few suggestions for better translations quickly turned into a revamp and attempt at revival of the entire Dutch section. I didn't visit the Dutch section much before becoming translator, but seeing it starting to grow is an amazing feeling.

3. My first feature. Although maybe a bit of a typical answer, I was extremely excited when I got the notification that I had got a feature! Even though I have well over 100 now (mainly because of the Dutch section), that first one will always remain special.

baptistegorce

I have exactly the same feeling, I definitely understand your point of view.

If you had to resume your JetPunk adventure in one word, what would it be?

Simon1006

That's a tough one. There's a few good candidates, but I think the best one is "Unexpected" . When I started using JetPunk a bit I had never thought I would actually meet so many wonderful people through the website, I had never thought I would ever have a featured quiz, let alone become the designated translator for the Dutch section. But most of all, that I'm still visiting JetPunk daily after well over six years is something I had never thought would happen when I made my account after finishing the Countries of the World quiz.

baptistegorce

Would you change something to your JetPunk adventure, if it was possible?

Simon1006

Honestly, I don't think I would want to change anything.  I am very happy with where I'm at at the moment, which is in the end a result of many choices I made at some point along the way, such as joining the Discord server or diving deeper into First Level Subdivisions. Even larger projects that I never finished due to them already being finished by someone else while I was still working on it, or them becoming too time consuming, I would not want to change since I really enjoyed the process of making it. A quote i like often attributed to philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Life is about the journey, not the destination.", and if you enjoyed both the journey and the destination, why change anything?

baptistegorce

What beautiful and intelligent words! That's really inspiring.

If you had to choose just three JetPunker for their quizzes, who will it be?

Simon1006

The three I like most, in no particular order, are SpiritOfFire, overtired, and Stewart

SpiritOfFire's recent SVG quizzes are absolutely magical, and every time I see a new one I just have to play it. I only recently discovered their quizzes, but I've been hooked ever since

Overtired has already made some appearances here if I remember correctly. The cartoons, word plays, terrible spellings, drawing quizzes and so many more just keep drawing me back to his quizzes.

Stewart has also been mentioned many times here already. The main reason I included him is the random sequential series, which I spent months playing on repeat, to the point where I could recognize the tiny countries based on the direction the arrow was pointing. 😅

baptistegorce

Haha! What a passion! The only quiz with the one I did the same is a certain Trouvez le département français aléatoire avec des indices de couleur. Do you know this one?👀

And for their blogs?

Simon1006

I must admit I rarely visit the blog section. I mostly read the word search blogs by akjlddkjslfsd and Stewart, since I quite like the monthly statistics they both provided for the word searches. Besides that I always read the Year in Review blogs by Stewart, and the Quizmaster's predictions for the next year, since they are the right mix of statistics and humour in my opinion. Since I don't generally read any other blogs, I guess these three are my favourites, although I should maybe venture into the blog section a bit more to see what else is around. 🙃

baptistegorce

What are your passions in life, excepting JetPunk?

Simon1006

Ooh, time for the stuff nobody knows about me! 

In my free time I dance quite a bit in the Latin dancing scene. This includes salsa, bachata, and kizomba, where I mainly do the latter two. If you're not familiar with them I'd suggest looking up some videos on YouTube, they can explain / show it much better than I can 🙃. 
I also really enjoy travelling. I truly enjoy discovering different cultures, cuisines, and meeting new people from other cultures. I've been lucky enough to visit 28 countries during my lifetime, and meet people from many more. The stories they have are always interesting to hear. I also enjoy going on small city trips throughout the Netherlands, visiting museums or cities all around the country. 
Thirdly, I really enjoy programming. Sometimes for a purpose such as the Mystery country series, but other times just for fun to create games or see if I can do something. 
Finally, I really enjoy cuddling my cat 🐱

baptistegorce

That's always interesting to learn about what famous JetPunkers do beside JetPunk. I wouldn't have imagined that you were interested in Latin dacing scene, for example. Thanks for this information!

Now, “JetPunk actuality question”: the price of the JetPunk Premium subscription recently increased. As a Premium member for a while now, would you say that the subscription is still worth it?

Simon1006

Not me completely forgetting how much it is now. It went up considerably indeed, from $35 for 5 years to $40 for 3 years. It really depends I think. I really like statistics and visit the Analytics page on average about 5 to 10 times per day, so I would still have bought it even with the new prices. The ads never bothered me too much since they aren't placed in obnoxious spots. But honestly, if you use JetPunk a lot, like statistics and/or hate ads, and have the spare money to buy it I'd say it's definitely still worth it at a little over $1/month. But everyone should make the decision whether or not to buy it by themselves based on their own circumstances, I also spent a few months thinking about whether or not to buy it at the cheaper rates.

baptistegorce

You are on the JetPunk Discord server, and you are one of its important members (helping Stewart with the mod elections for example). What do you think about this server and its members?

Simon1006

The Discord server is great, and the people on it are truly wonderful. It's honestly amazing how such a relatively small community from all around the world can be so accepting of everything and everyone. It's one of the most friendly communities I've been in. 

That's also one of the reasons I wanted to give something back to the community, but I'm too busy to become a moderator since I'm simply not online on Discord enough. I proposed to Stewart to help him with the moderator elections instead, and I've been doing that very happily ever since!

baptistegorce

And we all have to thank you, with the mod team too, for your incredible work!

What do you hope for JetPunk development in the next months?

Simon1006

A month ago I'd have said that I hoped that the word search would return, but that has already happened, so I'll pick something else 🙃 . Something I'd really like to have is an adaptation of the random groups quiz format. For those of you less familiar with this: these are the types of quizzes where you get random sets of answers that belong together. 

The adaptation I'd like to see / have is where instead of e.g. 10 groups out of 100 are selected, 1 answer per group is selected (in the example that'd be 100 total answers). I have some fun SVG ideas that would work a lot better with such an option, but I totally understand its probably not worth the effort for the amount of use it would get 🙃

baptistegorce

That's probably one of the features that has been asked the most in the #ideas channel of the Discord server, if I'm right. Let's see if Stewart or QM can handle with that, one day, when they will have some time...

Do you have a message to pass to the whole JetPunk community (or at least to the few users reading these blogs…)?

Simon1006

Remember that there will always be at least one person that enjoys your quiz or blog. (An adapted quote from RoxyTheQuizzer that I really like.)

‎ 

baptistegorce

Haha! If Simon says that's the end, then that's the end.

Thanks for having been a that implicated interviewee, with your very precise and pertinent answers. 💚

Simon1006

Thats fair indeed, you're very welcome! 💚

Well, I feel like I write it for almost each interview, but I guess that's normal since I choose interviewees whom I really like: I truly loved making this interview. It was a pleasure to learn many new things about you, my dear Simon, with your detailed and interesting answers. Years after years, we believe that we truly know the JetPunkers with who we often interact, but there are always many new things to lean about them, and it was my case with this interview. I hope it was yours too.

As you have probably noticed thourgh my previous interviews, it's important to me to give more visibility to the "hidden figures" thanks to whom JetPunk "foreign" sections can be what they are and evolve thanks to their investment. I hope that you agree with me on this point and you will actually have to since the next interview will also be concerned by this. Feel free to react about it in comments, whether you agree with it or not.

Thanks for reading!

+8
Level 58
Apr 17, 2023
And what about an interview with a German, a Portuguese or even better, a Teluguan ???

Great interview tho, as always :)

+4
Level 59
Apr 17, 2023
Telugu*
+3
Level 54
Apr 17, 2023
Brazilians are Portuguese, Germans don't exist and Telugu doesn't have a dedicated section: I won. Me, a French colonialist marked by 1871? How dare you...!

Thank you very much for the kind words!

+2
Level 65
Apr 17, 2023
Telugu has a dedicated section of India :D

mabye it'll wehn u next intervwie

+3
Level 59
Apr 17, 2023
Andhra >>> Pondicherry

therefore we win

+3
Level 65
Apr 17, 2023
Pondicherry vāḷḷadi kūḍā kādu. Maḷḷī manadē ayindi!

poirot n yanam k tīskeḷdām

+2
Level 59
Apr 17, 2023
No Dutch server, yes Telugu server! I would say that's equal.
+2
Level 59
Apr 20, 2023
Telugu now has a dedicated section :)
+3
Level 65
Apr 17, 2023
"i love you" - mg probably
+7
Level 68
Apr 17, 2023
This was a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining blog to read. Thanks to both Poirot and Simon for being so interesting! I've known Simon for quite some time now, and yet had no idea he did Latin Dancing!
+4
Level 54
Apr 17, 2023
Haha! That's also the thing that surprised me the most. Glad to read that you learnt something.

Thank you for the kind words, and obviously thanks to Simon for his incredible work!

+5
Level 65
Apr 17, 2023
I am full of surprises ;)

Glad you enjoyed!

+3
Level 59
Apr 17, 2023
Great interview!
+3
Level 54
Apr 17, 2023
Thanks!
+2
Level 65
Apr 17, 2023
My dream is to be on one of these interviews and I think it would be interesting seeing a not so popular JetPunker talk about his career but then again it's just my opinion.

Also, do you do these interviews by talking with the person or have them talk to you via a chat or something? Thanks and lovely interview! ;)

+3
Level 54
Apr 17, 2023
First rule to maybe hope to be one daay interviewed! never ask for an interview.

And I do consider that I interviewed "not so popular JetPunkers", just check the blogs in the series.

Finally, if you are interested in being interviewed, just wait for the next WITJ.

Obviously, thanks for the compliment!

+1
Level 68
Apr 17, 2023
It would be amazing to be interviewed especially by you but considering I am not an expert on the users of this site I doubt that will happen but good luck to everyone else. Also Simon deserved this interview considering the content he puts out.
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Level 54
Apr 17, 2023
Again, as I said, interviews aren't only about "expert users" at all. You can easily see that by checking the users who have been interviewed for now.

Thanks for the kind words.

+1
Level 68
Apr 17, 2023
I didn't really mean being an expert I more meant I do not know a lot of users.
+2
Level 65
Apr 17, 2023
Sorry if I am being annoying but you still didn't answer my second question. (I am not asking to be interviewed so please don't misunderstand me it is only a suggestion).

Thank you and have a good day.

+2
Level 54
Apr 17, 2023
Oh, sorry for not having answered this part of your message.

Well, it can change, and there has already been a few exceptions, but generally, interviewed are organized by written messages on Discord.

+2
Level 65
Apr 17, 2023
Oh, ok I was just curious and thank you for your response.
+2
Level 54
Apr 17, 2023
You're welcome!
+9
Level 65
Apr 17, 2023
Thank you very much for interviewing me baptiste! I really enjoyed our conversation, and the blog itself is great! I like how you kept the gif :)
+4
Level 54
Apr 17, 2023
Thank you too, it was a true pleasure!

I like to keep a "specificity" from each interview, like Malki's 'ello or... your GIF. ;-)

+4
Level 65
Apr 17, 2023
Splendid. Great to learn about all the language communities! dutch server?
+5
Level 65
Apr 17, 2023
I've considered it, but as I also said in the interview I'm not online on Discord a lot so i never had enough time to justify starting that server. I'm also not sure how much interest there would be, but maybe (hopefully) I underestimate that ;)
+4
Level 65
Apr 17, 2023
Yeah, that makes sense. Many new servers have come this year though, so there would definitely be interest, but since you have the opportunity to help the section on JetPunk itself that is more important, and could popularize the idea over time. Good luck to the Dutch JetPunk community!
+3
Level 54
Apr 17, 2023
Thanks! Glad you liked it!
+4
Level 59
Apr 19, 2023
Simon says interview Simon1006 lol
+4
Level 65
Apr 19, 2023
You know the rules and so do I
+1
Level 65
Apr 19, 2023
v e n e z u e l a t o g o
+2
Level 60
Apr 19, 2023
🙃
+4
Level 66
Apr 20, 2023
Great interview Poirot and Simon! In fact I think this is one of my favourites in the series. I already knew of Simon (of course, how could I miss him), but I didn't know that much about him, so this was great once again!
+1
Level 54
Apr 20, 2023
Thank you very much! That's definitely the goal of thisblog series since its creation, that's why your compliment means a lot.
+2
Level 65
Apr 20, 2023
someone could make an interview ranking blog at this point

but shouldn't do it

+1
Level 54
Apr 21, 2023
Haha! I could make a poll to have a raning base on average preferences, I guess. That's an idea, for the celebration of the 30th interview, which approaches.
+3
Level 56
May 27, 2023
I'm a little late, but this is a great interview. Simon is possibly one of the most intelligent users on the site. For months after I released Mystery Country #1, I was trying to figure out if it was possible to make a randomized version, and only found a way to do it with 6 possible countries. However, Simon figured out how to increase that to 51 possible countries using a very clever trick with the SVG file that I do not think anyone else on JetPunk (besides maybe Stewart) could have thought of. I am immensely grateful that he allowed me to post Random Mystery Country on my account. I can't wait to see what quizzes he produces next by harboring the unique set of skills that he possesses.
+2
Level 54
May 29, 2023
I definitely agree with you: in quizmaking, on technical aspects but also to have original ideas, Simon is truly a genius. It was a true chance and honour to collaborate with him on some quizzes and of coure to do this interview. And as you said, I'm sure he will continue publishing such amazing quizzes trhough years.
+2
Level 65
May 29, 2023
Thank you very much for these extremely kind words Pandora! I am really glad we got the random quiz to work, since its just a great addition to JetPunk as a whole. And it was your idea to begin with, so it deserves to be on your account. Having contributed to a quiz which has become pretty iconic means it'll always have a special place for me as I said in the interview :)

As for the future, we'll see what it holds, for I don't even know yet ;)