But first, curious about Extra Life? It’s a 24-hour gaming charity that allows groups of gamers (be it board, PC, or console gamers) to raise money for local hospitals within the Children’s Miracle Network.
Extra Life and the Children’s Miracle Network are really close to my heart. I was born three months premature, and my family would not have been able to afford medical treatment without The Children’s Miracle Network and the Geisinger children’s hospital in Danville, PA. Any and all donations matter greatly, and with Extra Life they go directly to the kids and the families who need help the most.
The Extra Life United 2014 Tournament is an inaugural tournament where 64 competitors get to compete for the 4 top spots. Those top 4 players get to face off against 12 popular Twitch streamers. The top prize is $50,000 for the lucky winner’s local CMN hospital, and the top 6 players will get some prize winnings for their local CMN hospital as well. Unfortunately we won’t know the PS4 game until we arrive in Orlando for the event (no upper hands for anyone!). The tournament will be streamed live by Twitch, so please tune in November 11th-13th!
The Momentum – CMN Hospitals’ Celebration 2014 is an amazing conference that allows everyone to learn more about Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, their partners, and some of the children and families we are striving to help. Be sure to keep an eye on the Metaverse Twitter (@Metav3rse) and my Instagram or Metaverse Mod Squad’s Instagram (@metaversemodsquad) to catch a glimpse!
Thanks to everyone who donated to our Extra Life team! Without you this amazing event invitation would not have been possible. You’ve given us the chance to help the CMN kids’ and their families even after October 25th!
Please be sure to also continue to spread the word about our Extra Life, and donate if you’re able. Your support is both awesome and so very helpful.
Wait… is it April 1st? With some of the news coming out lately, I’ve found myself checking the calendar a few times more than normal. If you’re not exactly sure what news I’m referencing, let me share with you some of the hot news items out lately.
The Flappy Bird Saga
Now here’s a fascinating tale! Let me sum it up as quickly as I can. A Vietnamese indie game developer made an addictive, simple, tap-happy iOS game based on art from Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros, etc. He launched it in the Spring of 2013, and without a single drop of marketing funds spent, the game became a number one hit by December 2013. The creator, Dong Nguyen, has been accused of stealing art, game-creation and marketing/ranking fraud, and creating a terrible addiction for society. Subsequently, he has been threatened and trolled by the masses (which seems to be more and more of a growing trend). Despite making an estimated $50,000 per day on the wee lil game, he shook his fist at the gods and removed it permanently from app stores.
I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore.
Now smart phones (still carrying the popular game) have been appearing on the market for resale for those who missed the chance to download, and multiple game clones (both legit and dangerous hacker-versions) have been popping up in app stores. Flappy Bird: one moment popular yet hated and the next glorified & lamented!
Here’s the endearing kicker: Forbes had quoted Mr Nguyen as saying, “Flappy Bird was designed to play in a few minutes when you are relaxed. But it happened to become an addictive product. I think it has become a problem. To solve that problem, it’s best to take down Flappy Bird. It’s gone forever.”
Well… imagine that! Morals & Social Media Bullying > Massive Income & Game Rankings.
Reddit creators (and trolls) should have a new meme soon: “Disappointing Good Guy Nguyen, Creates fun & engaging games, removes game when he sees it’s become a problem for society.” You can credit me for that, should any of you start that thread and get Reddit Gold.
No, I’m not insulting that franchise. Dumb Starbucks is a legitimate thing (or was until a few days ago). Described as a “Parody Art Project,” this silly cafe in Los Angeles has left people head-scratching with a smirk. I have to say, it really does shine a light on intellectual properties (IP’s), what’s legal, not legal, a gag, and legit business. Dumb Starbucks is like a tongue-in-cheek homage to something that soaks up most corner stores in all popular downtown areas across the nation. Needless to say, the Health Inspectors have already closed the location, citing issues with a valid health department permit [wonder who tipped them off to that, hmm?]. It’ll be interesting to see if any legal repercussions come from this (as Starbucks shared with USA Today in an email, “We are evaluating next steps and while we appreciate the humor, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark.” Whomp, whomp.).
Let me preface this with: I’ve stayed away from the “digital coin” news for months, as it seems a little too close to what is in Hasbro’s Monopoly boxesfor me. Don’t get me wrong! I love social and digital innovation. Truly, it’s so very interesting to me. But when Bitcoin gained popularity and traction in the news, I listened to logic from the brilliant people around me about the art of farming and where the value lends itself. I didn’t get it then, and I still don’t (perhaps, that’s where I fail). I had a long conversation with a beloved friend of mine who has relatively NO digital footprint whatsoever, and often rants about how the apocalypse is coming, and how he will survive NBC’s Revolutionstyle when the Internet collapses and everything “tech” is lost. Having heard about Bitcoin on his radio, this friend called me up and asked, “If this is a real thing, what is going to stop others from randomly creating currency?” To which I replied, “I’m not sure.”
Last week we published a fascinating post by our very own Matt Hostler about Dogecoin. Yes, it’s a digital currency related to Doge, the dog meme competitor to the infamous Cat/IHasCheesburger meme. As the current Blog Master of Metaverse Mod Squad (yes, you can complain to me about editorial/grammatical errors – I’m sorry!), I happily must read all posts prior to publishing on our glorious blog. The subject of Matt’s post made me want to cackle like a crazed loon. What has the world come to?! There are MULTIPLE digital coins that carry recognized value, beyond Bitcoin? Yes. They’re called “altcoins” and fall under the category of cryptocurrency.
I have to say, if 2014 carries on like this — we’re in for quite a ride folks. Here’s to the shenanigans yet to come, folks! And please share any additional news stories you’ve come across in 2014 that seem a little unbelievable, or chuckle-worthy.
Is it February yet? Just about! That means we made it through the holiday season and we’re now firmly in 2014. Phew….
Some of you may remember the post back in October (Brace Yourselves, Customers Are Coming!) detailing a few tips and tricks on how to survive the holiday shopping extravaganza. Well, I’m happy to say, we made it through the busiest time of the year, and so here’s a postmortem based on my experience of the 2013 holiday season:
Plan ahead and set goals!
These two things are so very important to success that I can’t stress them enough. There’s so many bumps in the road that could be avoided by setting goals and sticking to them. And those bumps have the potential to become mountains. If you find yourself embarking on that uphill battle, go back to your list and find out what needs to happen first. Take on one thing at a time, and get it done.
Training and usable resources!
However you train your staff (and continue to train for improvement), understand that your policies and documents will be “living,” do not treat the ideas as if they’re forever set in stone. You will likely edit it, and then reedit it, several times. Policies will change, toolsets will change, and the requirements of the position could change. There could be any number of reasons as to why you will need to revise your training material. Just remember to keep it updated and notify your team if there’s any changes. A good training document, and the ability to learn and be nimble with improvements, can often equate to a successful team.
Delegate the work!
As much as I want to, and as difficult as it is to admit, I can’t handle everything myself. My plate just isn’t that big. A very valuable lesson that I learned over the past 4 months is the art of delegation. Don’t let yourself or your team get overwhelmed. If there’s someone, or a few, that are particularly good at certain aspects of the job, go ahead and ask that they handle that part. You can also teach members of your team how to do something that’s on your to-do list. Not only does that alleviate some of the work you have to do in the future, but it likely gives that person a valuable skill that they can carry with them.
Rally the troops!
Mid-to-end of the year / busy season, when you’re in that final push, everyone is going to be tired and threadbare. A word of encouragement can go a long way. Most people enjoy a good pat on the back, and it can do great things for the morale of the team. Come up with incentives. Continue to coach, and promote learning, but also give praise freely, and reward when you can.
Listen, acknowledge, implement!
If your team is telling you that something isn’t working, listen to them. Acknowledge what they’re saying and do your own research to find out if you can replicate the problem. Get feedback from your team on ways to fix the issue as the group understands it, that way you can make an informed decision on how to handle the situation.
And last, but most definitely not least:
Breathe and have fun!!
Here at Metaverse Mod Squad, it’s easy to enjoy your job. At some point, you will likely wonder whether or not it fits the term ‘job’ because it sure doesn’t feel like one. But that doesn’t mean that things can’t or won’t get stressful. Have those work appropriate games and activities ready, share your favorite recently found Vines (I still chuckle at the Batdad Show & Tell one or YouTube videos (I’m looking at you, Josh).
All in all, we did it! The chaos is over, and the holiday rush has subsided. We’ve survived to tell the tale, and we can take the knowledge and improve the future!
Now everyone relax, take a breather, and start making a game plan for 2014’s holiday season, because it will be here before you know it.