gametitlescreen

Building a Visual Novel in 3d to Teach Basic SEO: Status Update

Almost a year and a half ago, I started learning 3d animation, rendering etc. Recently, I uploaded a virtual reality demo on the hookupJS blog; since this one gets more traffic, I figured I’d add news about the visual novel here. All screenshots from the Mac Desktop version of the game.

There will be a map, multiple scenes and a story line that takes place over seven days. The game has SEO quizzes in it that help you boost your SEO score throughout the week. If you don’t uplevel your SEO there will be parts of the story that aren’t available to you, so if you haven’t read Google’s guide to basic SEO previously, now would be a good time.

volleyballscene

Inside the game, I will be adding basic SEO guide which will have the answers, references etc for the questions inside the game. That way people who just want to enjoy a quirky visual novel in 3d only have to learn a minimum amount of knowledge to consume all the content, scenes and renders.

Here’s a screenshot of combat, and how to regain energy after. There will be some combat in the game, as well as relationship building with non player characters.

jackwarehousefight

Shown below is the main character’s place (Jack Nickel).

jacklayingdown

Basic features of the game and overall flow:

  • Start game with title screen
  • Read through various dialogue boxes (as above).
  • Answer SEO questions to unlock various parts of the map
  • See if you can finish the game with a high enough score that your boss approves.

fjboss

The platform I’m targeting for the first release when it’s ready is the iOS App Store, as I think this game fits in the whole, “Entertain me while I’m waiting for 5 minutes to do something else,” time of day. There is the possibility of releases for Android, Mac desktop, Windows 7+ Desktop and Linux Desktop, but I can’t test across all of those platforms, only Windows / Mac.

If the iOS release goes well, I’m definitely going to spend time on porting it to work on as many of the other platforms as I can.

iOS 9 & Apple’s Spotlight aka Smartbox Strategy

For simplicity sake, I’m going to refer to the tactic of integrating multiple data feeds for ‘instant answers,’ inside a search box a SmartBox strategy. With the news about iOS 9 yesterday at the developer event, as well as the reports from the last seven months about Applebot crawling the web, I think that it’s safe to say search is more awesome than it’s been in a while.

The integration of deep linking into apps, which you can now do on the largest mobile OS, is a huge deal. Right now, when I search, I routinely get URLs via Spotlight, which saves me time on my iPhone. With the iPhone 6 in more and more hands, the screen size is more interesting for advertising, as well as richer content.

As a publisher, I’d love to be able to have a richer description inside the search box, or have an app there, linking directly to a product, category page or similar. The feedback loop of download app, search on phone for stuff, re-visit app will also continue to fuel existing mobile category leadership. Those who take advantage of richly indexing their content on iOS will be able to extend their existing LTV models and potentially ad cost will go up, as well, as publishers of all sizes have increased retention & usage.

Wow, I really should have published this last June when I wrote the draft!

Mobile indexing = a big deal.

June, 2015 = Google announces over half of search originates on mobile (same month I wrote this draft), starting in May.

Drat. Next time, I need to remember to hit publish.

Holograms are in these days: CD case holographic display goes viral

3d related stuff is all the rage. If you ever wanted to make a holographic display at home, here’s how.

Of course, there is a much larger pyramid display you can buy that’s been around since June, which was the inspiration for this miniature version.

Last year, I started learning a bit of animation and reading about these innovative displays is very cool. Much better than the nerd helmet idea where I strap my iPhone to my face. :)

Ego surfing Friday And Bad News in Google Search

When I was in college, I found out something: I’m not special. In fact, based on my research at the time, I was one of 39+ Jeremy Goodrich’s alive in 1996. Then when I started digging in, I found out something even more interesting:

There are about 9 Jeremy Edward Goodrich’s alive today in the United States of America. At least one guy regularly signs up for things and I get his email. However, I wasn’t first on my Facebook URL but for years, I managed to grab most of them.

Today, I searched and saw some painful news about another Jeremy Goodrich going through hard times…wow. Makes my job search more interesting, compelling, and curious 😉

Figured I’d toss this out there, if you haven’t ego surfed in a while, you might take a look. Now I need to start working on a reputation management campaign for a bit to see if I can’t make things better. Sigh.

Hopefully, all the other folks with my name achieve success (but, I still want to try if I can to make sure all news about me is good news.)

Job hunting for marketing management or product roles in the Bay Area

I’m searching for a job and have been applying for a number of opportunities recently. What I’m searching for:

  1. Location:
    1. Bay Area (Campbell or a 45 minute commute) – cities included, ideally, are among Santa Clara, Campbell, Los Gatos, San Jose or anywhere from Foster City to Palo Alto, Mountain View, Redwood City, Redwood Shores, etc.
  2. Job type:
    1. Marketing management, product marketing or product management roles – my best skills include SEO, social media, digital analytics, marketing planning & implementation.
  3. Company size:
    1. I would prefer a larger, more established company where I can build a career for the long term.
  4. Other:
    1. Check out my profile on LinkedIn, Facebook, or elsewhere.

Recent projects completed include the hookupJS social media management software (last updates were in March, 2015) and a rank monitoring tool for search engines Bing & Google used internally May, 2015.

Product, Design & Engineering: The Public Development of Everything Paradigm

I’ve read, well, a lot of stuff about product management. Some advice stuck, some advice didn’t. For example, I’ve heard many, many engineers say, “You build two systems. The first is a prototype. When you build that one, you learn how to build the real one.”

Over the years, this bugged me. I’m not an engineer, and the idea of, explicitly, asking somebody with better skills than me to create something – only to throw it away on purpose as soon as possible – sounded like the worst sort of advice.

So this morning, after having yet another parallel discussion, I realized something. The main reason I detest hiring an engineer to build the prototype is that I don’t want anybody else to build the prototype. Other than me. I’ve outlined my three step process as it stands today in the diagram (below, old school notebook. I’m classic that way).

notebookthree

Let’s start with the basics, because this is a pretty hard diagram. Three steps, a bullet point to explain each, etc and a lot is simply left off, in favor of “Narrowing the focus,” for ease of knowledge transfer. If telepathy is off the table – and more importantly, mind control directly over one another is off the table – then, we have to figure out the right communication protocol. Just like HTTP 2.0 over HTTP 1.0, or perhaps better said – the “Fist Bump,” out performs the, “Handshake.”

Why? Well, hand shakes are old school, and more likely to transmit germs. However, removing the interconnection completely from the communication means that the only thing we interface with is a terminal – *never another human being*. We’ve already figured out how to simulate away and measure the human experience, from dreams to love to success, sales or marketing.

What’s left, then? Without purpose, there is no, “Human condition.” So, let’s assume that while we automate everything, we’re left with a single, solitary purpose: figure out, individually and in society, how to communicate effectively what our goals are…and, how we can collaborate to achieve them. Sometimes, those goals put us at odds.

Other-times, those goals unite common enemies. It really depends on the situation at hand.

Let’s review the product, design, engineering process I use in my work. Could be, somebody out there is building something. Like me, could be you abhor excessive “Re-work,” like the folks at 37signals / Basecamp.

  1. Idea person (let’s call them, “Product Manager,”) wants to build an escalator. However, the problem they were solving was that of, “Ascension,” or rather, “Getting from the ground floor to the first floor.
  2. After they have the idea to build an *escalator*, they realize, nobody gives a flying fig about escalators. However, they understand the idea – getting to the fist floor above the ground.
  3. A flash of genius, and, the Product Manager builds a staircase. Then, he walks up and down, over and over, while chatting with the designer and the engineer.
  4. The Designer realizes, finally, that the objective of getting to the first floor above the ground is a useful one. It enables, “Stacking,” or, putting a whole second teir of experience on top of that first. A parking garage, for example, is far more useful when, “Piled High and Dry.”
  5. The Engineer realizes, finally, that walking up the stairs is not the point. The point is to “Ascend,” to the second floor. Or, put another way, to enable somebody to rise to the first floor above the ground.

With this experience behind them, the designer then helps the engineers to invent electricity, motors, gears, architecture and more. These innovations, as we refer to them, enable the regular folk who *love* the idea of ascending to the first floor above the ground to get there – faster than they could have ever imagined, perhaps, on their own.

Or, perhaps they could. However, without the requisite idea (the Product Manager, perhaps) which becomes manifest so that people, other people, can help build out the actual factual system…nothing ever moves. Nothing improves.

A butterfly’s wings might never actually kick off a hurricane on the other side of the globe. Or they do, all the time, and it’s only the combined might of all the other butterflies, flapping in the opposite direction, that prevents a global catastrophe.

Paid marketing saas preview: learn how to subscribe for $10 bucks a month & optimize Facebook

This is one of the many screenshots from the new, paid marketing SaaS version of hookupJS. What it does:

Otimize posts for Facebook reach, provide intelligent recommendations and suggestions for post content. All free, personalized to your Facebook page. And, you can manage more than one Facebook page inside the free tool already live!

If you want to learn how to get the SaaS version of the subscription, $50 version for the $10 amount per month *for life* help support us on Indiegogo!

2015-02-13v1-articles

Paid upgrades coming soon.

Focus Friday: a gift, from an Intuit colleague :)

Back a few years ago, a friend and temporary team member I worked with taught me a lot, in a very, very brief period of time. “Focus friday,” was what Laura called it, when she sent me the meeting invite.

A simple idea, really. Help the broader team, “Stack,” their schedule, to ensure that they focus, and plow through as many of their own personal, “To do,” list as possible. There are always goals, trade-offs and priorities. The trick is, being able to stop for a moment, listen & prioritize.

Amazing things happen when you do. A recap, take a look at our new dashboard coming soon:

version7

This isn’t what’s live now, which is “close,” but not this (yet). Also, to recap, just about a week ago, we had these issues with the hookupJS dashboard: dashchange

Hideous before right? It’s amazing what happens when good people come together, to do wonderful work.

Oh, and finally. The paid version is coming along nicely, and soon :)

The Gray Thief Continued (Fiction)

“Remind me,” Rock asked, crouched low with the manse still far away. “Again, why we’re out here, in the middle of the night, instead of at home, enjoying what we already have?”

Grimacing, Gray’s eyes flashed in the night, green sparks almost filling his face. “Why, again?” Anger crept into his voice, “That bastard stole what’s mine.”

Rock shook his head, still confused.

“My reputation,” Gray snarled. “My journals.” He bit off the last, practically spitting out the words. “My very existence, that bastard stole from me.”

Looking out into the night, he stroked the hilt of his dagger, something akin to lust filling his voice. “I’m getting my journal back, and if any arrogant ass ever so much as dreams of taking credit for our works again,” his voice dropped, a threadbare whisper. “Ever.”

Echoing into the night, a sound so soft yet so crisp floated over the plants, the distance torchlight. Caressing his ears with the threat of violence so profound he felt goosebumps, Rock shivered in the night. He did not feel cold, but the calculating, angry and cold tone of the Thief took him by surprise. They had pulled stunts before, tweaked the noses of the nobility and peasant alike. However, they had never, ever faced off against a wizard before. Magic was rare in the kingdom, and the powers were unknown.

Hearing the promise in his friend’s voice, Rock could do nothing but follow the smaller man, as he crept ever more quietly into the dark night. Into the distance, a mere dozen yards ahead, was the first wall. Due to the mist, visibility was less than a dozen steps in any of the directions, up down or sideways. Feeling nearly invisible, Rock saw with apprehension that the Thief had unsheathed his blade.

Bloodlust signing in his veins, Gray could only twitch inside his cloak, the mist crowding out nearly ever sensation. All that he could feel was the singsong clarion call to arms, the lust for blood filling his veins. The wizard had powers, at least, it seemed he did.

However, Gray cared naught. His reputation was a thing he built, brick by prick, piled until it was the thing of legends in three kingdoms. A few put a price on his head, and now, with his goals accomplished, he had been busy writing his memoirs. Telling the stories he hoped that, if he had children of his own, perhaps might make it down into the family books. Something real, something meaningful.

Not that crap about magic, mayhem or death. The real reason Gray went on all those missions, again and again risked life, limb and torture. He had suffered, multiple times, and finished his mission with nothing so much as a glance from his government. Frustrated, he started to amass his own fortune, as the government grew more wary of his involvement, with too man successes, they had made it clear. Retire. Early. Have fun, drink and be merry.

Whatever he should do, one thing was clear. That chapter was done, the espionage, the secrets. The double life. Rock had trouble keeping it straight, which is why Gray managed the accounts with their various contacts. It was a large, complex web they traversed, with some players working in concert on one project, while bitterly struggling for advantage in another.

Thoughts?

To be continued….

The Gray Thief (Continued) – Fiction

The other day, when I wrapped the intro, showed it to somebody who matters the world to me, I got one single, solitary piece of feedback. “That’s it?” She asked, looking disappointed.

“For now,” I said, happy that she asked for more. Normally, when I mess up, I get pretty good feedback – and fast. See, I’m pretty good at figuring out my own stuff, but, when I screw up, it’s *fantastic* to get somebody I trust to review my work. Re-writing is *not* my thing at all; I enjoy a first draft far, far more.

This post isn’t the normal kind of fiction I share, then again, most of my writing doesn’t have my name on it. I’m very, very good with that. There are ups – and downs – that come with getting attention.

I wanted to share about some the duo’s I’ve read, and my thoughts. Sometimes, it’s hard to understand, to know, what’s right, what’s wrong, without a sounding board. My brother’s been doing that for me, for a long time (Adam) :) I don’t always appreciate it, but, we have a lot of shared experience. So naturally, I look up to him.

He is *also* 2 inches taller 😉 lol.

(Before you read more about The Gray Thief, take a look at the prologue, here.)

Why is a Vampire, Sci Fi, Marketing, Business, Fantasy, etc writer penning a new tale?

Well, I don’t know how far it’s going to go – to be honest, it’s more a way of dealing with writing now, sober, and with my thoughts on the task – instead of waking up the next morning, reading my notes and wondering what, exactly, was I thinking.

Why would a thief steal time?

I didn’t introduce the characters much in the prologue, but, to me the answer is obvious. Why does anybody, ever, want time?

Goals. Milestones. Stuff. If you like something – anything – generally, you want more of it. However, I have a penchant for continuing, even when I have some, I usually want, “More.” So, the gray thief is kind of like me, in a way. Then again, so is Jay Williams, the Vampire hunting Ninja.

There’s a bit of advice I heard a long while ago about writing. Worst. Advice. Ever. You know what it was?

“Write something. Get feedback. Then, when you know you can’t write, go life life. After you’ve gone around the block a few times, you have a feel for things, *then* write something.”

Bad idea. If you like writing – skip the waiting. Write now. Don’t wait.