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Selecting Tech Projects


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Dec 14 2017
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Selecting Tech Projects

I’ve shared the concept of the CoreX (developed at Electronic Arts) in previous posts at the Product Development blog at DevDigital. The basic idea is that a project is best served when the team identifies a CoreX  (the “Core Experience”) to guide them through development. Here’s a recap: A CoreX can be broken down into two key parts: The Razor and The Slogan. The Razor defines the product internally (the way the team defines it) and The Slogan presents the visceral essence of the product to your audience (how the audience experiences it). If you’re familiar with Simon Sinek’s “Golden Circle” concept, The Razor is somewhat analogous to the How, the Slogan to the Why. The Slogan keeps the team focused on how it wants the audience to feel about the product, but internally, it is imperative to have is a solid Razor. This means that you a predominant and measurable standard by which to...


Your Data is Useless (without Visualization)


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Jan 18 2016
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Your Data is Useless (without Visualization)

Howard Baldwin, the community editor for Data Driven Business at Forbes asks the question in a recent post, “How much is data worth?” He posits that those companies that are built on data seem to show an offset between their “actual market valuation” and their “market valuation.” The gap, he suggests, is filled by the goodwill created by the value of data. Baldwin references a report compiled from a survey incorporating results from more than 1,000 C-suite and senior decision makers and noted three key takeaways: • Data Drives Revenue – the idea is that big data is a driver of revenues of its own accord and is, thus, becoming as valuable an asset to their businesses as their existing products and services (61% of respondents agree). • Exploiting Data will Lead to Increased Revenues – a number of companies surveyed are exploiting (or are reorganizing to exploit) big data opportunities ...


Five Rules From Game Development That Can Serve Your Business


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Oct 16 2015
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Five Rules From Game Development That Can Serve Your Business

A couple of weeks ago, Kotaku published an article entitled, “The Five Rules Of Australia's Most Successful Game Creator” - a conversation with Matthew Hall, co-creator of the game “Crossy Road.” Crossy Road is a runaway success with more than 50 million downloads and revenues in excess of $10M. Additionally, Matt and his team have released seven games on iOS and five of those seven have made it to the number one spot. What’s his formula for success? Five rules. Let’s see how we can apply Matthew’s rules to business development: Rule #1: Make Your Game for One Person Matthew makes a game for one person – not a demographic or a group – but a single individual. He says that the individual should be a unique, living person. He advises thinking about that specifically about that person. What will he or she love or hate? In doing so, you end up applying a singular vision towards and...


Play More, Fail More, Succeed More


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Sep 28 2015
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Play More, Fail More, Succeed More

The Facts In April 2015, the Entertainment Software Association released its annual report on the video game industry, and announced that 155 million Americans play video games. Of those, the average age of a female video game player is 43, the average male, 35. Further, four out of five homes in America owns a device that is used to play video games. According to the Toy Industry Association Inc., non-digital games and puzzles made nearly $2B in sales in the US in 2013 and the “hobby game” market has grown 15 percent a year on average for the past five years. NPD Group also reports that sales of family board and action games grew 5 percent in 2012 and 14 percent in 2013. In fact the average American plays 23.2 minutes each day – that’s approximately 145 million hours of gameplay each year as a country. That's a lot of gaming!! Play More – Play Fast! The great game designer, Jane...


Learning to Play the Game


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Jul 15 2015
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Learning to Play the Game

An old friend recently reminded me about the joy of learning how to play a game. On a recent visit to his parents’ home, my friend found an his old Risk game that he cherished as a teen. While he loved to play the game, it was one that he had yet to introduce to his children. So, on a quiet afternoon, he pulled out the game and started to teach the kids to play. Remember the Basics Brenda Brathwaite (Romero) and Ian Schrieber in their great book, Challenges for Game Designers, define a game as “An activity with rules… [and] a form of play often, but not always involving conflict, either with other players, with the game system itself, or with randomness/fate/luck.” James Carse in his great book, Finite and Infinite Games, writes that “rules must be published prior to play, and the players must agree to them before play begins.” Carse continues to say that it is the “agreement of the...


Developing a Communications Culture


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Jun 11 2015
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Developing a Communications Culture

The first game development company I worked for, Stormfront Studios (Neverwinter Nights, Tony La Russa Baseball, NASCAR Racing, Madden NFL, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Bloodwake) was led by a phenomenal developer and even better CEO, Don Daglow. Don is a three-time Inc. 500 CEO and one of only three game developers to accept awards at both the Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards and at the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Interactive Achievement Awards. He is the only executive in the history of the games industry to lead development teams on every generation of the first three decades of video game consoles, and has worked on projects on every platform generation from the Intellivision in 1980 to the PS4 today. Don’s leadership, in the short time I worked for him, has had the greatest lasting contribution to the way I think about business, product...


The Razor and The Slogan


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May 06 2014
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About 8 years ago, I hired a new animator for my team who had come from Electronic Arts (Need for Speed, Lord of the Rings, Titanfall, Tiger Woods, Madden). In his first couple weeks he emailed me a slideshow from a presentation that he attended when EA was training its teams on methods of pre-production (what should be at least one-third of your development time, but that’s the story of a different post). EA was training their teams on more productive and efficient ways to think about the product they were making. They decided there were two parts to any top project that they needed to align. They called these two parts “the Razor” and “the Slogan.” The Razor is what defines the product internally. The Slogan is what communicates the essence of the product to the audience.  The Razor For the team, the most important thing to have is a solid Razor. The key is to start with the Core– ...


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