Posts Tagged ‘1871’

Textfyre now has the beginning works of an MVP (minimal viable product) and our primary goal this year is to complete the MVP and look for funding.

One of the places we’re looking to for cash our federal and private education grants. We just missed a couple of federal grants in February. There just wasn’t enough time to prepare the type of proposal that’s expected. An RFP from the Gates Foundation was recently publicized and we’re making a concerted effort to complete a proposal for this grant.

In the area of product development, we’ve brought in a new team member that has a learning science and assessment science background. We’re working to redesign existing processes to ones based on IF constructs. This process has just begun.

This has led me to think about our business model. We’ve been discussing the possibility of offering all of our content for free and charging for the assessment and reporting features. These are the features that teachers and administrators would use to evaluate their students progress in areas that can be measured against the new Common Core State Standards. What do we gain by offering our stories for free? What do we lose? These are the questions we’re asking ourselves.

In other news, I am going to add maps and hints to the existing online version of The Shadow in the Cathedral and make it permanently apart of the Textfyre learning structure. It will remain free. I also plan to promote it towards classroom supplemental reading use.

One of our other team members is actively working relationships with teachers to test our service. This is an ongoing struggle since teachers have very little time. If you know a teacher that would be interested in helping us work through piloting, please send them my way. We’re focused on 4th through 8th grade.

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For several reasons, the velocity of Textfyre development (business, technology, and content) has been measured in spoonfuls. To say it has been a slow process is an understatement. Some of this had to do with the economy, some to family stuff (my youngest is nearly 8 years old now), and some to the business climate. Regardless of those impediments, Textfyre is moving forward at a much faster pace.

To start, I recently joined a digital start-up office in Chicago called 1871. So far this has only provided a workplace in downtown Chicago, but it has amenities that will help us grow.

I put out feelers for new team members, all on the business side. I always knew that Textfyre could not truly be successful without partners and now I’m actively seeking people to fill roles like finance, marketing, product development manager, website geek, and so on.

I still have all of my interactive fiction contacts, although some are less available than others. I’m pretty sure though that if Textfyre finds cash, we’ll be able to hire enough IF talent to do the work I envision.

I have not signed anyone to agreements yet, but I have found people who may fill finance, marketing, art direction, and investor relation roles. Once these positions are solidified, I will introduce the people to you through this blog and on the upcoming face lift to the Textfyre.Com website, which is not the website I had promised in recent months. That website will be turned into a pay-for service, which is a topic for another post. The new website will be corporate, informational, and professionally implemented (um, not by me).

I will continue to push our two flagship fictional IF games through the Kindle, iPad, Android, and soon Windows 8, but these types of products are unlikely to be our focus for an unknown period of time. We’ll get back to traditional IF at some point, but we’re going to work on something else for the near-term.

I have also been very busy networking and this has been paying off in the highest level of contacts. If we’re to succeed, we’re going to need every partner we can muster, and getting to know the bigger players will help us define and execute our goals all the more efficiently.

If you’re interested in pitching, we’re going to be meeting at 1871 regularly. Drop me a note and tell me how you think you can make Textfyre successful.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been doing management tasks for Textfyre. This includes pulling in resumes for curriculum content developers, doing phone screens, and face-to-face interviews. This is going well.

I finalized access to the new Chicago digital start-up lab, 1871 where I will be working with technical and business partners on Textfyre.

I went to the first annual Chicago Moxie Awards last night, which was a huge success. I met the guys from Code Academy, the ladies from 30 Second Mom, a couple of guys from YCharts, and many others. It was an eye-opening experience with a lot of very famous tech start-up people. Matt Moog, Matt Maloney, Paul Lee, Eric Lunt, and many more.

I do have a big announcement on the product side coming in the next week or so….we’re still going to publish fiction-based content to mobile platforms….we’re just refocusing on public education tools for the foreseeable future.