Atlanta, Java, Technology

The Next Episode

Back in March, I reached a decision to leave WeTheCitizens and spend some time in a contract role with Premiere. At the time, I expected that a contract gig would let me spend less after-hours time thinking about the day job, and more time on side projects and other interests. It turns out that even as a contractor, I cared about what I was working on. I consider that a good thing, we built up a good team, cranked out some pretty cool software, met some awesome people – I truly enjoyed my time at Premiere. The challenge for me on contract, was balancing life with billing more hours. In some ways, having a dollar amount directly attached to each hour of your time helps you better value your time. In other ways, it’s easy to imagine how working just a few more hours that week can earn you a shiny new gadget.

In spite of that, I was able to hatch FeatureFrame during my off-hours. It did occupy much of my creativity, and the process of building a product prototype, a pitch for Startup Riot, filing a provisional patent, designing a logo and business cards, and creating an actual business entity has been exciting, challenging, and in a twisted sense, fun. Many thanks to my Twitter posse, who often functioned as my co-founder, providing feedback and helping with decisions where I needed more than just my opinion. No I do not have stock options for any of you. Some interesting FeatureFrame news may yet be around the corner. It is still an interest and a passion of mine, and it will live on, but it’s not quite ready to be my main job.

The other thing I suspected when I left WeTheCitizens was that there were some interesting opportunities out there that weren’t crossing my inbox either because they were being filled by recruiters we’d used at WeTheCitizens, or because people generally seem to have the (often correct) impression that an executive in a startup isn’t really looking for another opportunity, at least until the startup’s been bought/folded and the earn-out is done. Being on contract actually did seem to send a clear signal, “Hey, I won’t be doing this new gig for too long, and I’ll need something interesting to do after that.”

A few moderately interesting things came and went, but one opportunity stood out, and I’m now a few weeks into my new role with Good Egg Studios. For all the times we jabbed at one of my Premiere colleagues for his work on Barbie.com, I never thought I would be working to build a virtual world for kids.  But here I am working on Elf Island.  A glance at the site and the blog should begin to make it obvious why.  This is an amazingly talented team, with the right marketing, the right funding, and the right product at the right time. The creativity and talent of the creative team is off the charts, and has combined with some talented technical resources to build a virtual world that a generation ahead of what kids are currently using.  The $2 billion valuation of Webkinz and Disney’s $700 million acquisition of Club Penguin are both examples of companies who have made this space extremely profitable.  The “secret” of Elf Island and our “play games, do good” mantra (which allows users to directly help non-profit causes) are going to be very sticky features that I think kids and adults will enjoy (even before launch, we’ve already had eager & hopeful users build us a fan site).  Our office space in west Atlanta is a win both for commute and for awesomeness – I need to take some photos, or come by and visit some time.

So that’s the news.  We are hiring a Java developer, a Flex developer, and a technical project manager (dev mgr?), so if you are somebody or know somebody who would enjoy such a role, do let me know.

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8 thoughts on “The Next Episode

  1. Ah… It’s good to drink coffee prior to posting comments… The blog entry says the company is Good Egg Studios. Thanks!

  2. Alan – good catch. The company is Good Egg Studios, and we are Atlanta-based. The company has been somewhat stealth-mode over the past year, but we are in the midst of shifting into a very high-profile mode.

  3. I’m glad you made it to Good Egg Studios. It sounds like it will be an awesome company with an awesome product. They really have the right foot in the door when it comes to online gaming. (from what we can tell)plus this “play games, do good” sounds very cool. I hope Elf Island will appeal toward every age. Can’t wait to hear more!

    Now who could those eager users be… hmmm… 😉

  4. Slinkyman – thanks for the enthusiasm, and thank you even more for what you’re doing to build the Elf Island community in anticipation of our launch.

  5. Oh you are quite welcome! I should be thanking all of you for Elf Island, (even if it’s not launched) without all of you there wouldn’t have been a forum to create. This sounds like an excellent game with a positive message. You do not see that many positive things within online world, but I am sure this will change that. Elf Island discussion has helped me get my mind off of VMK. Plus, this will help me with my future career as (I hope) to be a Graphic Artist.

  6. Thank you so much for all you’re doing — Elf Island previews look awesome! You don’t know just how many users you have waiting for Elf Island to open ;). So many of us are looking for that one special place to call our Internet home. Sooo, care to give us a hint as to when opening day might be? hehe!

    *hint hint* 😉

    Hugs!

    Days~

  7. AmberDaze – I wish I could share so many things about Elf Island, including when that magical opening day is. We can’t wait to share it all with you. Keep checking the blog at http://blog.elfisland.com/ for all of the latest and best hints and information. We care a lot about what eager members of our community like you think, so keep telling us what you think and want on the blog and on the forums!

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