Griptonite's Next Game

Pirate Babys Cabana Battle Street Fight 2006 - Google Video: "Paul Robertson's Pirate Baby's Cabana Battle Street Fight 2006 is a masterpiece ... all » animation based on the graphic look and feel of platform handhelds. A kind of machinima recursion; where animations inspired by games have inspired animations."



It seems to me there are two views of marketing organizations. One view is that they exist to package and market whatever they are given and make it as successful as possible.

The other view is that they are supposed to be in touch with the market and therefore their input and even complete specification of what a product should be is considered paramount.

Either way, someone has to decide which products are made and for whom.

Sometimes, in smaller companies, that person is the founder(s).

Frequently (and certainly during the dot-com bubble) many product ideas were brought forth for which there was no market at all. Or a market existed for a free product but not a product that people would pay for.

Ultimately it is up to the person or organization that chooses which products to make to take credit for the success or failure of an enterprise.

© 2006 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.


The Family that Slays Together ...

Far-Flung Families Unite in Cyberspace -- And Kill Monsters

Guild Wars is featured in this Washington Post article about MMOs and CyberSpace.

At our house, when I have time, four of us get together on our computers, log in to Guild Wars, which does not have a monthly subscription fee (which makes it a lot more family-friendly!), and using TeamSpeak coordinate our activities.

"The family that slays together, stays together."

It's a boatload of fun.

(C) 2006 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.

"The family that slays together, stays together." is a trademark of Stephen Clarke-Willson. Ah no, it isn't. A simple Google search shows that it isn't original at all. Oh well.



Undercapitalize. The American Heritage� Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.

TRANSITIVE VERB: Inflected forms: un·der·cap·i·tal·ized, un·der·cap·i·tal·iz·ing, un·der·cap·i·tal·iz·es

To supply (a business or government, for example) with so little capital that operations are hindered.

I think that talking about whether a business is undercapitalized is probably one of the most emotional things a person could do. Why? Because talking about money is always emotional and talking about whether a business is undercapitalized is highly subjective.

It's certainly one of the best excuses for failure one can have. "We just never had the money to do what we needed to do to succeed in that market." Maybe, maybe not! Maybe you just weren't clever enough with the money you had. That was certainly true of so many of the dot com companies. They had money and no brains.

So, undercapitalized and incompetent are pretty hard to differentiate. (Of course, you could be undercapitalized, and not think so, in which case you are undercapitalized and incompetent, but thinking about that makes my head hurt.)

It's an important question that VC people have to ask all the time - do we pump more money into this venture, because this is a rocket that is waiting to take off, and it just needs more fuel? Or is this a rock that won't launch no matter how much fuel we burn?

Ultimately it's a judgement call. And a difficult one at that.


Blue Ball Machine

Game company executives who spend too much time reading my blog should stare at The Blue Ball Machine.

A colleague at work said, "Look at that guy. He's got a case of blue balls." See if you can find him in the picture.

You can also find animated tiles that connect, and find certain blue balls that work their way across the whole screen.

You know, I just can't get over the fact that the CEO of a game company felt the need to post here that everything is okay. It's as if my opinion matters, when it clearly doesn't.

Here's a story:

About eight months ago a couple of guys emailed me to find out if there is a huge game industry wide blacklist administered by a huge publishing company. I told them, of course, that is ridiculous... Because everyone knows I am the one that controls the industry wide blacklist. I assured them they were not on it.

The way the list works is that someone will call me up and say, "Should I work with {person, company} so-and-so?" Of course, it would be legally imprudent to answer such a question. So, if I cough a certain way, that means the person is a loser.

One time I accidentally destroyed a person's career because I cleared my throat at the wrong time. (Sorry about that.) Another time someone didn't hear me cough because of a bad cell phone connection and someone that should have been drummed out of the industry became a vice president!

So, it's not a perfect system.


Now, I feel the need to explain that this is a story. It isn't true. Nobody has that kind of power, do they?

(c) 2006 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved


The Development Abstraction Layer - Joel on Software

The Development Abstraction Layer - Joel on Software: "Management's primary responsibility to create the illusion that a software company can be run by writing code, because that's what programmers do. And while it would be great to have programmers who are also great at sales, graphic design, system administration, and cooking, it's unrealistic. Like teaching a pig to sing, it wastes your time and it annoys the pig."

This is great. As a person who has created two reasonably large (not huge) software development organizations, I can tell you that what Joel says is true: the vast majority of people believe that organizations are they way they are because that's just the way they are. In fact, every organization is designed, either by default, in which case it is horrible, or by conscious design, where a productive supportive, almost invisible environment of productivity reigns.

Both of my organizations fell into disrepair after I left. That's because those that followed thought things were the way they were just because that's how things should naturally be. In fact, the development organization was something alive that needed to be fed and tuned and supported and gently reorganized as times changed. Without that care and feeding it spirals into a Dilbert comic strip.

I wish I knew how to make a software organization that would survive on its own but I don't. And I know some other successful "software organization architects" whose creations have fallen into disrepair.

As soon as the top-level management support beam that believes in nurturing and tuning and massaging the development organization is gone, the whole thing sinks.

What a bummer.


Another cool date

This Wednesday, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will be ...

(drum roll please)

01:02:03, 04/05/06.

(See also 5/5/5 or 5/6/5 - and - Nine Nines!)

© 2006 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.