Thursday, January 14, 2010

Addition to my "closing of 2009" post

A couple of things: first of all thanks to the feedback to my previous blog post! I just wanted to add that yes, I am also working with good guys at Paf and we are about to revolutionize online money gaming. Unfortunately I (and we) didn't have enough time to do it last year ;) But I can assure you that it will most definitely happen this year!

So yeah yeah! I am also spending a lot of time with online gaming, social media and iGaming (= online money games). There hasn't been that many innovations in years. Online slot machines and lottery games are surprisingly similar what they were already hundreds of years ago. But wait no more. The change is coming.

Besides writing about 2010 trends, I also follow how other people and companies see the coming year. Atm one of my favorite post is by Osma Ahvenlampi (CTO of Sulake, and Scrum guru). His viewpoint (blog post: "Technology factors to watch during 2010") is purely technical but good stuff! I especially liked "Browsers vs desktops: what's the target for entertainment software?" discussion. See picture. Read more from the blog.

He also have a good point that: "the history of the “computer revolution” has been about automation changing economies of scale to enable entirely new types of business. The same trend is continuing in the form of computing capacity becoming a utility in Cloud Computing, extreme amounts of storage becoming available in costs which allow terabytes of storage to organizations of almost any size and budget, and most importantly, developing data mining, search and discovery algorithms that enable organizations to utilize data which used to be impossible to analyze as automated business practices."

Osma, good stuff! People: read it!

Friday, January 08, 2010

2009 highlights and plans for 2010

I am a type of a person who likes to make plans. I am far too rational to be a dreamer and I like to take risks and confront challenges. Every year around this time I plan what I would like to see happening within next 12 months. Besides making plans I also tend to look back and see how well my 2009 plans realized and what surprises and good things happened.

Last year I lived in Copenhagen Denmark. I got an opportunity to work with excellent team at Guppyworks, a company developing 3D GuppyLife MMO. I was asked to join the team because of my background and broad knowhow on game design and the specific target group (teen girls). For me that period in my life was very fun but also educational. I would say the key learnings are related to MMO business and issues to consider when running a virtual community (also necessities to keep in mind when building an MMO, how to support community feeling, how to evaluate the balance between unique features or technical development and making something happen business-wise asap, how to keep up constant change or evolvement and balance between polished content or stable technology vs. doing things fast and dirty). How relevant it is to make radical decisions even if you are in between productional limitations and VC's expectations. And those radical decision do not only related to prioritization issues. That's so much more.

Another cool thing was when I decided to take a step to unknown and invested in a startup company called MySites. I have done investments but never on startups. Why did I do it? It was a combination of Heureka! and convincing pitch by their CEO Ramine Darabiha. The Heureka! moment was linked to basic needs and how to make things easier for average Internet users. The case reminded me of comedian George Carlin and his joke how humans spend their lives accumulating stuff. Soon they have problems of where to store all of it. The third challenge is to access that data (of various kinds) in multiple locations and channels.

I agree with trend reports and believe that MySites is answering to few key challenges of coming years. Issues related to the fact that media consumption is (constantly) changing, people ask for one stop shops and easy ways to share different type of data or content with their friends (and strangers). Content needs to be distributed -- the same content should pop up in multiple locations, formats and channels and be personalized. It is very clear that sharing no longer means e-mail, FTP or high number of dedicated services with their limitations. Also I have to say Ramine did really convincing sales pitch. We'll see what happens but he is a clever and dedicated person -- I would love to see more of that energy not only in startups but also within well established companies :)

Besides I did plenty of work with digital media and digital games. I am the head of IGDA Finland and I do game reviews and blogging for, run Game Lab which develops experimental online game prototypes at Paf, I was in the jury deciding which Nordic game companies would get development fund, I wrote articles of the Finnish game dev scene to Pelaaja (Player) magazine, was in Nordic Game Jam 2009 jury and Live2011 jury, wrote few "digital media & games in a nutshell reports" for Ministry of Education, did consulting etc.).

I also did bunch of presentations (some of them are at Slideshare). My topics varied from game development and management to virtual identity issues -- and from business to academic talks. Just the way I like it. On top of that I wrote several articles and participated e.g. to Diginatives report (in Finnish) and Finnish Game Research Year Book 2009 (in Finnish). I also worked hard with a book focusing on digital media pioneer countries of the late 1990s (South Korea, Japan and Finland) and how social networking and novel ways to participate, contribute and develop digital content and services have changed the picture. It has been rather difficult to find international publisher for the book. If I get one more "no" as an answer, I will move to plan B to make sure the book will come out asap!

Now you might ask what's for next year then? I am not sharing my plans at the moment, I will get back to those at the end of this year and see how I have been able to reach my goals :D Happy New year! Make plans! Change the world! Share happiness!