Friday, March 10, 2017
GameTrainerz is dedicated to improving productivity and teaching life skills through the creation of interactive, engaging training software developed for VR and AR systems. We seek to make learning fun! Whether it be training for on the job skills, or undertaking a new hobby, GameTrainerz wants to help make learning these skills as fun and memorable as possible.
The dotcom to dotbomb lecture was definitely the most interesting lecture of the quarter. Perhaps it was the plastic dinosaurs, or perhaps it was just the fascinating stories that went along with the lecture, but either way, it was very interesting and enjoyable. I still think that Mr. Fry's business plan for before the internet was pretty interesting. Looking back at it from today's perspective, the idea of a company focused around producing interactive cd experiences seems absolutely archaic. I found the stories about acquisitions and bankruptcies of various companies (especially those centered around the early internet) to be fascinating, it is interesting to see which companies are still around, and think about how they adapted to stay competitive and a part of the market during a time when so many companies failed. I would have like more elaboration on what was meant when Mr Fry said Internet Explorer killed Netscape, as I feel that we were unable to fully cover that topic. I appreciated the discussion and information about AOL, as that helped to further my knowledge of their history as that is something I have actually studied in the past. It was a surprise to find out that Mr Fry had delivered a paper at the second International World Wide Web Conference in 1994 and that was actually something I was interested in looking up after class. Overall, the stories and details of the dotcom to dotbomb era made this one of the most fascinating lectures all quarter.
Mr. White's guest lecture was very interesting. I really appreciated the in depth backstory he gave, about how he came to become an entrepreneur. His insights and opinions were very informative. I especially appreciated his advice about "trusting your gut". His advice to seek good legal council early in the business development lifespan was interesting. I personally would not be likely to find and pay for an attorney early in my business process, however after his warnings of some of the dangers, I may have to reconsider that viewpoint. His company cloudPWR has a fascinating strategy to their pricing, I found his explanation of their pricing structure to be a fascinating idea. Purposefully leaving the pricing information generic, but not non-existant was a really novel idea to me. I can see the benefit of doing this as it allows you to remain flexible while still having a structure potential clients can refer to. I also plan to take his advice (something said earlier in the class by the teacher) to always try and have 2-3 months(but preferably 6 months) worth of backup funds for the company. This ties in well with the concept of the sales pipeline talked about in class, helping make sure that the company can make it through quarters that might not be so favorable. Overall, while a lot of the things said during this guest lecture were things already presented in class, I really appreciated hearing them again, and getting a chance to meet Mr. White, he seems like a very nice guy who was a pleasure to listen to.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
I appreciated the getting the chance to hear the views and learn from Mr. Dimmer's experience. His view of entrepreneurship provided some contrast to the instructor's views, especially when it came to the reason for being an entrepreneurship (his focus primarily being to grow a company and make money, while the instructor viewed entrepreneurship as an opportunity to do something your passionate about). His information on the funding side of the business was very interesting an applicable. I definitely appreciated the discussion of equity dilution, including the equation for calculating percent of the company sold. Additionally, his discussion about the importance of maintaining more than 50 percent of a company, and methods for raising money that do not involve selling equity was also fascinating. I am very interested in searching out business plan competitions and looking to crowd-sourcing for some of my funding. I wish he had touched on crowd funding more as an option for raising funds. Something I hope there is a bit more of in this class is a more clear description of how to go about the legal process of creating a company. In that vein, I found the information Mr. Dimmer presented about the different types of structures for company to be very illuminating, and something I hope that gets touched on further over the coming weeks. Finally, I was simply blown away to hear Mr. Dimmer's estimates for the total amount that angel investor groups would put into a single raise! I never would have expected anywhere from 500,000 to 2.5 million. This was a very interesting guest lecture, and I am very thankful that Mr. Dimmer came to speak to the class!
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
For my new business idea of creating simple, yet fun tutorial games to teach video game illiterate people the basics of games, I will need to protect my IP. Primarily this will be accomplished through the use of Copyrights, Trademarks, and potentially a patent. Obviously, things like the name of my company and names of the developed games and software would be placed under copyright protection. Additionally things like any mascots I create, game assets, and narrative structures would be protected under copyright. My company would have little use for trade secrets. I would likely trademark any sort of catch-phrase that I use in advertising. That leaves the final type of IP protection, patents. Unfortunately as my company is primarily a software development company, patents are a bit of a tricky landscape to navigate. Software patents are tough because they often define things which are generic or vague. They also tend to not be particularly enforceable in many cases because of how non specific they are (there are a ton of ways to circumvent the patent through minute changes) The types of patents that I would be able to file would pertain to my methods of teaching users about game mechanics. This could be tough as it is fairly nebulous in the definition, and could possibly not be granted on those grounds. Otherwise, there really is no other use for a patent in my company. So, in summation, my primary method of protecting my IP would be copyright, followed by trademarks, and possibly patents.
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
This blog post is going to discuss what I will charge my customers to participate in my augmented reality escape the room experience. To arrive at a price, I first did some research. From my own experience participating in room escapes, I am aware that the pricing strategy is typically a per person, ticket charge. This means that the more people that go through the room in one go, the more money I will make. This strategy seems like a good fit for my business, because I will be providing relatively expensive technology to each player (whether it is an app, a headset, or some other device) the cost should scale with the number of participants. In addition, a quick Google search revealed that escape the room experiences typically cost between 25 to 30 dollars per ticket. Additional searching found that my nearest competitors charge around 27 dollars. I conveniently have access to a relatively low rent commercial space and my initial employees will make minimum wage, which as of January 1st is 11 dollars. The most expensive component of my business will be the augmented reality hardware and software, and any initial build out of the rented space. Thankfully, my plan is to reduce build out and puzzle costs through the creative use of the augmented reality portion. Taking all of these things into consideration, I have decided to set my ticket price at 32 dollars per ticket. Despite this higher price, I believe that I will be able to sustain adequate traffic for a variety of reasons. For one, I have no escape the room competitors in the immediate area, the nearest being Tacoma. Secondly, the pricing is not too far off of the average, and is appropriate considering the expensive technology being implemented. Finally, to drive more traffic, I will be running a promotion where if you manage to escape the room (following the rules and on the first attempt) in the fastest recorded time, your experience will be free. I expect this to drive a lot of traffic initially, as well as promoting a spirit of competition in my guests.
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
A week or so ago, our class had the privilege of hearing from Brian Forth from Tacoma based company "sitecrafting.com". His 3 key points were Core, Company, and Community. He discussed these 3 themes and how they related to business. For the theme of Core, he discussed being true to yourself and "Doing what you say that you will do". For his company, "sitecrafting.com" his core value is creating a company that is committed to it's employees, and keeps them til retirement. This strategy of holding onto committed employees, reflects his own personal beliefs and values. This tied into his second theme, running a company that is committed to employees and customers. Forth discussed how recently his company attempted to implement some bureaucracy into their commitment model. They did that through the addition of a JIRA ticketing system to keep track of issues and assign tasks. This almost completely collapsed their corporate culture. Some of the staff turned on each other and it could have potentially destroyed the company. I found this to be an incredibly interesting story, and it really shed light on the importance of maintaining stable corporate culture. His last theme was community, which he simply summarized as being committed to the community, not just taking from the community, but being a part of it and giving back. Overall, Mr Forth's discussion on the importance of Core, Company, and Community were incredibly insightful and fascinating. In addition to his lecture, I had the opportunity to ask a question reagrding how he got into website development. He detailed how he had always been a problem solver, finding ways to make computers work and creating/maintaining websites for small groups and organizations. -Don