Online game industry veteran turned tech entrepreneur meets the blockchain!

8 months ago
56 in introduceyourself

This first post is long overdue (two months overdue, apparently).

Up until earlier this year, I knew little more about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology than your average Silk Road user. Which I don't imagine is a whole lot.

I understood, in vague terms, that blockchain could change the way we do internet entirely. And that cryptocurrencies had the potential to somehow free us from the shackles imposed on us by mismanaged financial organizations and corrupt politicians. However, it wasn't until my business partner introduced me to Steem in late July that the practical applications of this emergent technology clicked for me.

Since then, I've been fascinated by the mechanics of the Steem blockchain, trying to understand how those mechanics come together to form a self-sustaining system, considering the implications of new mechanics to make that system more effective, and imagining what other forms of crowdsourced content it could be applied to, beyond social media and blogging.

For a social media platform, Steem sure has a whole lot of game behind it.

Personal

Hi Steemit! My name's Max Whitaker and I'm a Southern California-based online game industry veteran turned tech entrepreneur.

2016-07-2215.55.2695f95.md.jpg

I hope you'll forgive the backdated photo. I've been meaning to make my debut on Steem for a while now, and the first thing I did was take my verification photo... and then sat on it until now. Regardless, I'm not exactly an online personality, so I figured the burden of proof for "some dude on the internet" wouldn't be very high.

I'm kind of a private person and I struggled with writing this more than I probably should have. The closest to "blogging" I've ever done was in the form of a few long Facebook posts years ago. I hardly touch social media these days, unless you count reddit, where I almost exclusively consume content, as opposed to creating it.

That said, don't expect this to be my last post. I'm a systems guy, both personally as a life-long hardcore gamer and professionally, in various roles. Steem is built on some revolutionary systems that I want to be involved in. I don't think I can do that in a meaningful way without also being a participant in the community, so I'll be forcing myself out of my comfort zone and trying to write content regularly. Hopefully it gets easier!

Professional

For the last year and a half, my business partner @jesta and I have been aggregating and contextualizing user generated content, in the form of e-liquid reviews, through our crowdsourced consumer research resource. Prior to that, I held roles in operations, development, and publishing departments supporting online social games, mostly MMOs, for almost fifteen years.

In that time, I've worked for large corporations (Electronic Arts, Blizzard, NCSOFT), but also did a five year stint in the start-up arena (K2 Network). I've worked on some market-defining projects (World of Warcraft, Ultima Online) and have been involved in some spectacular failures (The Sims Online, Hailan Rising). I've served as an individual contributor and have also led large teams, both local and remote.

To state it in no uncertain terms, I believe Steem is a game, albeit one with significant real world implications. As such, there are many relevant lessons to be learned from game development best practices. I believe the breadth of my experience affords me valuable insight into how to approach Steem and I look forward to sharing my thoughts with all of you in the future.

JuiceDB

My business partner and I believe the rise of the "gig economy" and the proliferation of crowdsourced review resources (Amazon, Google, TripAdvisor, Yelp) herald a future wherein businesses and service providers no longer control the narrative, and consumers can make fully informed purchase decisions.

The problem we saw, at least with crowdsourced reviews, is that the big players in the industry were less interested in accuracy than they were in profits for their shareholders. Even if they don't actively manipulate the content (or let their customers), their walled garden approach prevents the full scope of consumer sentiment from being fed into a single "machine."

We thought we had a meaningful alternative to the status quo coming together, even if it was a long hard slog with a small team in an immature (yet promising) market. Then the FDA came along and ruined everything. Our traffic was depressed, both in fact and in spirit, businesses were saying their goodbyes, and the diversity and variety of juice flavors we kept exhaustive records on were being threatened en masse.

We'd long talked about potential pivots into other markets, but pointing our technology at new subject matter was only part of the challenge (though still non-trivial), the hard part was building a community around the content and keeping them happy.

Then the Steem platform found us.

Steem

Steem may be a social media platform, but the underlying technology could be used as a powerful tool for aggregating all kinds of user generated content, including reviews. Never before has the power of blockchain technology been so accessible to the mass market, and we think it's going to be a game-changer.

We're committed to applying our combined experience in online games and web development to redefining the crowdsourced content model and we're moving onto Steem to do it. We want to empower creators and curators to weave their own narratives, instead of being taken advantage of, and misled by, organizations primarily focused on their bottom line.

We have audacious long-term goals; like being able to rebuild JuiceDB (and content-based sites like it) on the blockchain with tools we create. However, we also have more grounded and achievable short-term goals that we're excited to share with you soon.

So let's change the world, shall we?


Thanks for reading! Don't forget to Vote, Resteem, and Follow @paxmagnus if you like what you read and want to hear more from me.

You can learn more about my favorite topic (me!) via the links below. Unless you're from the future, some of them are still works in progress as I embrace my new digital lifestyle.

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67
  ·  8 months ago

I'm a systems guy, both personally as a life-long hardcore gamer and professionally, in various roles.

Then you must check this out!
http://www.peerplays.com/
http://www.peerplays.com/#whitepaper

http://www.peerplays.com/#team
Very well known contributors of steemit!
@datasecuritynode @blocktrades @xeroc and many mores

It is based on steemit's underlying technology (graphene)

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56
  ·  8 months ago

That's an interesting project for sure, thanks for sharing the links. It's great to see that there's so much crowd-support for innovation like this, and I wish them the best of luck. eSports was never my cup of tea, but I might know some people who would be interested in the project.

I didn't look too deeply into the mechanics, so I may be speaking out of turn, but I think the elegance of Steem lies in not having to buy in to "play." Without those mechanics, you have the same challenges as a tipping platform; not everyone wants to buy in and risk/spend their real money. Not that it isn't a great solution for the competitive scene, but that's its limited in scale because of that hesitance.

Again, this is from a cursory review, so I may be way off base. :)

67
  ·  8 months ago

Welcome paxmagnus, nice to see more game developers here.

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56
  ·  8 months ago

Thanks for the welcome! I scanned your blog and saw that you're a software developer. Gaming? Anything I'd recognize?

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67
  ·  8 months ago

I am a software developer but not games. I'm in the medical industry.

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56
  ·  8 months ago

That sounds a lot more stressful. I imagine the impact of a buggy patch is significantly different in your field.

69
  ·  8 months ago

Welcome to the community @paxmagnus.

70
  ·  8 months ago

Welcome paxmagnus. Also invite you to #thegame channel on steemit.chat if you're interested. It's a group interested in connecting the elements of game, life, and steem(it).

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56
  ·  8 months ago

Thanks for the invite and the welcome! Glad to see there's a place for us to talk about this stuff, there's so much potential.

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70
  ·  8 months ago

You're welcome you can message me there to be invited to the room. Agree on the potential.

69
  ·  8 months ago

Hurray! Let the games begin :)

People aren't gonna know what hit em. People don't see what the true potential here is. Hopefully we'll pull back the curtain on at least one new dimension to this platform.

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56
  ·  8 months ago

I'm glad you share my enthusiasm, kind stranger! :P

65
  ·  8 months ago

Welcome aboard paxmagnus.
Video games have been very good to me. Thankyou for your service.

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56
  ·  8 months ago

Thanks Matt!

Vidja's been good to me too. I'd love to hear more about how they've been good to you.

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56
  ·  8 months ago

Great article, I upvoted it but I think it's too old and my vote doesn't matter anyway (yet!).

I learned a lot about investment strategy from video games, EVE Online more than anything. I've been cooking up my next post, which will touch on my experiences with the EVE market and how I translated that into my professional life.

At the risk of pandering for followers, you should follow me so you can catch it when I post it. Hopefully you won't have to wait two months to read it. ;)

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65
  ·  8 months ago

Done. I look forward to it :)

74
  ·  8 months ago

Welcome to Steemit Max:)

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56
  ·  8 months ago

Thanks crypto!

I've been going by handles online since my BBS days, so people addressing me by my real name is going to take some getting used to. :)

54
  ·  8 months ago

Welcome!

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45
  ·  8 months ago

It was interesting to read. Well the problem is described. The material is presented correctly. Post deserves attention. I want to re-read to familiarize yourself with the individual parts of the post. It sets out clearly and intelligibly. The problem outlined in the post appears clearly to our consciousness. Thank you for having clearly shown that this is the case. We had to get acquainted with it and know more

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56
  ·  8 months ago

I welcome all feedback, even glowing praise. :)

Thanks @stir!

60
  ·  8 months ago

Welcome. Nice meeting. Much success. Up voted. I am new too only 3 days in here. I appreciate you look at my blog and up vote. Thanks.

54
  ·  8 months ago

I imagine there are other developers like you on here, lurking in the shadows. They all need to get out of their comfort zone like you and interact with the community and get support for whatever is stewing in their heads. I'm happy to see any new developers come out of hiding, as it gives me more confidence that Steemit is going somewhere. Many-wheres.

Welcome aboard!

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56
  ·  8 months ago

@kendewitt, the possibilities make my mind boggle.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and people do better work when they collaborate. Everyone has something to contribute, the hard part is getting the right team together.

Not everyone's going to be able to put themselves out there and I'm really excited about initiatives like the proposed bounty system. Systems like that would let people contribute to a project and see how they work together, without committing to anything beyond the one task.

I think that's how you get to the many-wheres, and it's great to see the platform developers actively pursuing solutions like it.

55
  ·  8 months ago

Former Ubisoft here (7 years). Glad to see more game developers here!

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56
  ·  8 months ago

That's a good chunk of time! I've never been anywhere that long.

Can I ask what you worked on? What you did for the project(s)?

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55
  ·  8 months ago

Hey @paxmagnus,

Sure. As far as released titles go, I worked on fixing some pathfinding and mission bugs in Assassin's Creed II; I worked on making the crowds networked in the first multiplayer version of AC in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood; I created the systemic voice and dynamic dialogue system in Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (and after that I integrated Uplay into the title); I made the Tone Designer in Rocksmith 2014 and the last thing I did that reached store shelves was writing custom backend services that took KPI's from the client, stored them and analyzed them to improve the player experience unique to each player in Far Cry 4 PvP.

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56
  ·  8 months ago

Wow, that's an impressive resume.

I have to say that although I enjoyed a lot of the AC campaigns, I LOVED the multiplayer. It was unlike any other MP experience I've ever had. Fresh mechanics and a great combo of twitch and strategy.

Unfortunately, I had to give up on it because of the brutal matchmaking. Maybe MP never got popular enough, but it was so hard to find games and sometimes you'd never actually make it into a match successfully. It was a serious bummer that persisted at least through the first two iterations of multiplayer. :(

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55
  ·  8 months ago

Heh, yeah, tell me about it (the brutal matchmaking). Part of it was popularity, but there were definitely bugs in the system too, both on the client and the matchmaking service.

53
  ·  8 months ago

@paxmagnus
Wecome to Steemit!
check out the Whitepaper
@ steem.io
And Steemtools.com
Will Be Great to
Have You Here In
The Steemit Community!
Steem On!

61
  ·  8 months ago

I don't have any doubts in Steemit! But when such guys join this buster - I am very proud, because of choosing the right way. You are welcome @paxmagnus :-)

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56
  ·  8 months ago

Your comment literally brought a smile to my face. Thanks for the vote of confidence!

26
  ·  8 months ago

wow this is awesome. welcome to our community. i'm excited about this., hope to see more of you here on steemit. Thanks!

67
  ·  8 months ago

A game changer alright! Welcome aboard and namaste :)

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56
  ·  8 months ago

I love the enthusiasm around here, thanks for the welcome!

54
  ·  8 months ago

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