Today we are ending publication of our online magazine. As The Daily Toggle ends its run, we wanted to reflect on our time with our readers. We have a lot to be thankful for. Not just for the car and the people, not just for the history and the stories. And we are grateful for the time we spent looking at our community with a sense of humor.
Thank you for being great readers.
The final issue, Issue 25, will be published tomorrow.
Our Facebook page will live on, although not in a daily capacity. Feel free to join us there.
The Daily Toggle was formed two years ago with the aim of being a place for enthusiasts to express themselves and find joy in commonality. Since, I have had the joy of exploring fantastic places – from the grounds of the old tin factory where Herbert Austin chased his dream of making cars to the modern story of corruption and greed that left MG Rover a shell of its former self.
My imagination has wandered from the assembly line to the board room and I’m eternally grateful for the opportunity to immerse myself in the history of the British automotive industry in such a vibrant media. And I’m grateful that this venue existed as a means to learn more about my fellow motorers.
The car industry, political groups, and lobbyists from all corners seem to cram themselves into every inch of the modern car, imposing their will upon the people while carrying signs proclaiming that it’s for your own good. Some days it feels like the world of auto enthusiasts is in turmoil and fighting for its own survival, in need of lobbyists of our own. And under that backdrop, MINI is in a period of reinvention, wrought by disjointed marketing, a tone that doesn’t align with its customers, and a car that increasingly is more BMW and less MINI.
Sharing a voice – both enthusiastically and critically – with the readers here has been one of the greatest privileges of my MINI owning experience. Thank you for riding (and writing) along.
I considered myself a MINI enthusiast, but what I really am is an enthusiast for small, fun, economical, and reasonably-priced cars with some style and heritage. The classic Mini checked all these boxes, but before I could buy one the new MINI was launched. Sure, the MINI was somewhat bigger and more expensive, but the first-generation MINI Cooper was still relatively small and inexpensive. As we all know—and much to the dismay of “purists” like myself—the original MINI got bigger and bigger and we saw the introduction of the MINI SUV, something almost heretical to the original MINI philosophy. When looking for a new daily-driver in 2011, I opted for a FIAT 500 Sport instead. Say what you will about the FIAT, but it out-MINIed the MINI in the characteristics I found important. For various reasons, I soon traded the FIAT for a MINI JCW Coupe because it was just so unique. But in 2011 I had to overlook the fact that the MINI was no longer the small and lightweight, reasonably-priced car that my original MINI was. I kept my 2004 JCW MINI Cooper and in comparison the Coupe was heavier, cave-like, and no longer had that true go-kart feel. I worried about the MINI’s reliability and sold the Coupe just before its warranty expired. I am happily motoring in my old Justacooper and unless MINI builds the Rocketman, I won’t be buying a MINI for my next daily-driver.
Why am I mentioning all this? Because it explains how I have reached the point of today’s post. We here at The Daily Toggle are all feeling this way to different degrees. Between the three of us we have founded and run MINI clubs, businesses, websites and social media groups, and regional events. And still MINI is losing us. In the big picture, MINI’s sales are still rising and BMW Group must think they are taking MINI in the right direction. I’m not in a position to disagree, but I can choose not to go in that direction with them.
Writing for The Daily Toggle was often rewarding, but it was also a lot of work. It often seemed like I held a second, non-paying job. Perhaps in hindsight, the commitment to posting something daily was a bad idea and probably led us to where we are today. But I think that commitment with its ever-pressing deadlines pushed us to create some really good work, both graphically and in text. The Daily Toggle with its mix of official MINI news, club and community news, and creative buzz posts was unlike anything anyone else is doing. We published everything from Mini history to MINI marketing, collectibles, human interest stories, editorials, and satire through our Nonfunctional Scoop brand. We had fun with graphics series such as MINI eCards, MINI Memes, MINI Masterpieces, MINI Definitions, and others.
So it’s a bittersweet day to end The Daily Toggle. I’m pleased with what we created but it’s time to go.
Our readers are everything so thank you for your loyalty and being part of The Daily Toggle concept. On top of that, I really can’t thank my dear friend Jennifer enough for having just enough of a quirky personality to bring to reality an idea I had for some time. Especially at a time of such rapid change within the community.
The Daily Toggle concept, at least my ideas for it, go back about four years. It wasn’t until Jennifer and I started discussing our ideas and how to combine them that the concept became a thing. Jennifer knew James and with that I was able to get to know James through TDT. I hope future projects allow James and I to work together again. There are great people in this world that can make good content great content with their professionalism and work ethic. James is one of those people. Between the readers, James, Jennifer, and our guest contributors it is the hardest part of letting go. It’s always about the people and I got to work with some great people on a regular basis to make this thing happen. Thank you so much for that opportunity.
During those discussions with Jennifer one thing was clear and that thing was the daily articles. A fun, raw, and new way to look at the brand from individuals who have had said brand influence their lives deeply. James and Jennifer tirelessly made this a reality. This was not easy for them. Finding content, watching deadlines, always TDT in the back of their minds. They did it without complaint even when MINI had nothing “new” and the community seemed to have disappeared. They found a way and an article deadline was never missed. Truly an amazing feat for such a small group of contributors.
Other parts of the “concept” were not as successful. We’ll keep those in our back pocket as maybe the timing just wasn’t right. But two years of publishing a steady stream of articles by a our small yet dedicated team is very impressive. The articles will live on. We’re working on finding a way to archive them for the Internet to always have access. More details to come in the next couple months.
And, with that my thoughts turn to the “timing” of TDT. I think about where MINI lives in space and time, relative to my enthusiasm for the brand in my own space and time. If I was just being introduced to the brand today, instead of a decade and a half ago, would I still have the same enthusiasm I did back then? What if MINI introduced the F56 a decade ago and the R53 today? Would I have been interested at all back then and more enthusiastic today?
Again, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with Jennifer and James and if another project allows our paths to cross again, I will be grateful. As a great mentor once told me, “Sometimes you’ve got to close the doors on your past successes in order to find the new doors to new ventures.” And, with that, thank you and consider this door closed.