Brad Feld

Tag: game mechanics

Wow – that was cool. Thanks for the help with the experiment in the post How To Score 30 Minutes With Me. Tons of great feedback – both in the comments, by tweets, and by email.

In case you missed the post, I decided to offer one 30 minute session with me per week for the next four weeks in exchange for 10,000 Feld Gelt. At least one person found the “Purchase Feld Gelt” option (which I’ve since disabled, at least for now) and bought 9,995 Feld Gelt’s for $10 valuing my time at around $20.01 / hour! Oops.

I was surprised that the slot for the first week of running this was purchased within eight hours (I posted last night – by the time I woke up it was gone.) It’s also super interesting to me to see the movement on the leaderboard (via the detailed BigDoor stats that publishers get to see) which just reinforces the importance of having more options here (e.g. daily leaderboard, biggest movers).

The next 30 minute session goes on sale in “about a week” which means you need to check back periodically in the BigDeal section to see if it’s active. In the mean time, activity on Feld Thoughts earns you more Feld Gelt, as does activity on my partners blogs (Jason Mendelson, Seth Levine, and Ryan McIntyre) and activity on the Foundry Group blog. Yup – the Minibar works across blog networks!

I’m still getting my mind around how to integrate Feld Gelt with Brad Feld’s Amazing Deals. I’m also contemplating getting a pet unicorn.

Long ago I concluded that life is just a video game. We fly on airplanes to get mileage points so we can get free stuff and or level up to get more priority. We used to get green stamps (when I was a kid) whenever we bought stuff so we could get free stuff (most of it shitty, but free). Our credit cards have points programs (and lots of free miles), we get credit (implicit and explicit) eating at the same restaurants over and over ago, and when you buy a dozen cups of coffee at the coffee shop down the street from my (they still keep track of it with note cards and one of those funny metal punch things) you get the next one free.

I love the current concept of gamification. This isn’t just my inner investor speaking; I really believe as a society we’ve embraced this completely (Forbes 400 list anyone?) Gamification is more than just flinging pissed off birds at ramshackle construction sites on your iPhone; we all set some out-of-the-way goals and try to reach them because we want to feel like we’ve accomplished something special, get something free, or receive recognition for our activity. And, yes, I own up to plenty of farming and citybuiding in order to share the results.

In the spirit of learning by doing, I want to try an experiment over the next thirty days. In conjunction with my friends at BigDoor who provide the “minibar” you see anchored at the bottom of Feld Thoughts,

BigDoor Minibar

I’d like to offer 30 minutes of my time as a prize for anyone who wants to exchange 10,000 Feld Gelt for that opportunity. You may ask yourself, “How do I earn this fashionable currency?” There are currently five easy ways:

  • Check in when you visit my site.
  • Add a comment to any blog post.
  • Share or tweet posts you like.
  • Like any post from the minibar.
  • The best way of all to earn Feld Gelt is when people click on links you share or Like links in your Facebook activity feed.

If you can put ten grand in Feld Gelt together, you can trade them in for 30 minutes with me in person in Boulder (if you’re in town) or Skype, or by phone if you are old fashioned*. Just click on the BigDeal button in the minibar.

I’d like to see whether the usual activities you do when visiting the site will be amplified once you’ve got an incentive beyond the content and conversation already found here. Plus I’m also eager to connect with those of you who may stop by here regularly but haven’t met me out in the physical world yet. So start working your way up that Leaderboard and just maybe I’ll be see you in a Boulder coffee shop, or on a Skype chat, sometime soon.

If you want your own minibar on your site, Oh – and please comment on what you think of this and the implementation (good and bad). You’ll earn some points for doing it.

* The fine print (or mouse print if you prefer): One appointment per person.  I’m only “selling” one session per week (a total of four), so act fast.  I’m going to commit to testing this for a month, and then decide if I have the spare 30 minutes in future weeks. I reserve the right to reschedule or even refuse service.

Update: Wow – that was fast. The deal sold out in about two hours. I’ll review the data tomorrow and figure out a new deal soon! Of course, your Feld Gelt will be useful for that deal also so keep earning it.

Several of the companies we’ve invested in are launching products at CES this year.  The first one up is Sifteo.  Today, Sifteo launched and you can preorder Siftables as part of their early access program.

You may be familiar with them from a well known TED Talk that co-founder David Merrill did in 2009.

Or maybe the recent TEDxMonterey Talk that David did earlier this year with a more in-depth demo.

We invested in Sifteo in May 2010 along with our friends from True Ventures.  Sifteo is another HCI investment with its roots in the MIT Media Lab, joining Oblong and EmSense in this part of our portfolio.  If you are at CES, check them out in North – 3317A.

If you are reading this on my website you’ll see a new bar popup at the bottom of your browser.  It’s the BigDoor MiniBar.  If you are a regular reader of Feld Thoughts, check in and join the community.

BigDoor MiniBar

We invested in BigDoor earlier this year as part of our Distribution theme.  BigDoor’s goal is to “gamify” any website.  They’ve built a very deep and rich set of functionality around game mechanics via a programmable API – things like checkins, points, badges, trophies, levels, and a virtual economy.  For an example of a deep integration, take a look at Devhub or the summary article on TechCrunch titled DevHub Now Turns Building A Website Into A Game.

Three months ago at a board dinner in Seattle we discussed the idea of creating a much lighter weight implementation – basically something that a publisher like me could implement on my site without having to write any code.  This lighter weight implementation, now called the MiniBar, actually uses the full BigDoor API but has a UX for configuration and implementation in front of it that makes it easy to set up BigDoor on your site within five minutes.

I’ve been an investor in a number of publisher-enabling businesses and have learned a lot over the past five or so years.  I learned the most from FeedBurner, which was one of the first publisher-enabling businesses I invested in.  They did a remarkable job of providing both a five minute implementation as well as a very deep programmatic API that allowed a publisher to control many aspects of the system. They encapsulated this in a brilliantly executed UX that made it easy to implement a variety of complex features with simple choices.  This UX also allowed FeedBurner to regularly roll out new features without impacting the old UX.

With the release of the MiniBar, BigDoor is taking a page from the FeedBurner playbook.  Now any web site, from a single blogger to a high end multi-site international media property or high volume ecommerce site can quickly (in under five minutes) implement a full game mechanic system, while preserving the ability to manipulate any aspect of it, either through the MiniBar UX (which will continue to evolve with every two week sprint) or the rich BigDoor game mechanic API.

The first MiniBar implementation includes Facebook Connect, an XP (experience point) system, a checkin system (throttled to allow checkins every 30 minutes), badges, a leaderboard, a daily deal (purchased with virtual currency – Feld Gelt – that you can earn or buy), and site sharing on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and via email.

You’ll see this evolve regularly.  BigDoor runs on a two-week sprint with a full release every two weeks.  I’ve seen the next version of the MiniBar due in mid-January – there’s much more UI configuration control along with several new features.

If you are a publisher or blogger and want to gamify your site, give the BigDoor MiniBar a try – I’d love to hear your feedback (and check in on your site).  And – if you want a direct connect with the company, just email me.