lookback series

RUIN

LOOKBACK: Picnic Day @ UC Davis


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Beautiful sunny weather, pollen infested air, itchy eyes and college students dressing like they’re at Coachella or from SoCal… ahh… best day ever…

Sarcasm aside, Picnic Day was an exhausting but really fun day. Having only slept 3 hours the night before after watching 4 episodes of Game of Thrones (GREYWORM NUUUUUUUU!!!!), I got my ass up early to meet my brother on campus. In fact, we got there so early all the booths were empty; so we set up right at the corner near the hallway where we could get the most attention.

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Chris doing some last minute debugging.

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Business & Marketing, RUIN

LOOKBACK: How The Facebook Launch Performed


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Welcome to the first post of our LOOKBACK series, where we examine recent marketing strategies and see what went well and what went wrong.

We launched our Facebook page on February 2nd at 1:30 pm. Admittedly, we didn’t expect much since we’re newbies to the industry and our game was only in an early development phase. We have no experience with Twitter and only got into Tumblr recently. Chris is relatively active in the reddit community. The question was: how can we take advantage of available resources and reach out to as many followers as possible and start building a fan base?

The Plan

Launch our social media pages with a shotgun approach and pray to all the gods of the world that we get a crapload of followers!

Just kidding. Well… partly just kidding…

The other part was to launch with high engagement content. The Early Development Prototype Teaser was extremely key to this launch. Photos are the most common post type, but videos generate significantly higher engagement, according to a study by Quintly. We wanted to have something cool and worthy of spending some time looking at–to show that we are committed and working hard.

Time of day was also important here. According to a million infographics, posting between 1pm and 4pm on a weekday results in the highest average click through rates. It’s a Monday. It’s right after lunch. Who doesn’t check Facebook during the afternoon slump?

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Business & Marketing, RUIN

LOOKBACK: Being an Effective Manager


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Managing a team of student this past quarter has been a huge learning experience. Before the start of the quarter, I planned on working on this game part-time along with 16 units of courses, and was aware that for student volunteers joining my team this was just an extracurricular activity. I hoped that my enthusiasm, the game concept and the idea of joining a start-up would motivate them enough to launch this game off the ground.

My brother and I prepared as much as possible. We used a google drive approach, where I had a task list, complete with details on the task needed to be done, and linked it to all our members. There were additional design documents that they could look at for more reference. I would also dedicate a couple hours each week for office hours to either guide the students in the right direction or to tutor them on the programs we use. We even created a special google site for the team.

The opening pitch turned out to be very successful: we garnered a bunch of students interested in helping out. From there the challenges came…

Students floated in and out, were not coming to meetings, and provided us artwork or code 2-3 weeks after they said they would. Progress was really slow.

Admittedly, we were a bit disappointed. Halfway through the quarter we reflected on what happened and realized we really needed to change our management style.

Forget the google site and the tasks breakdown document. Nobody looks at that.

Let’s use a Facebook group to post tasks that need to be done. 2 minutes later…Wow, people are already signing up. 

Let’s do a pizza dinner ice breaker sometime to get the team together and thank them for their efforts.

We are an ambitious studio. We need to emphasize the benefits of joining a start-up and how it could boost their resume/portfolio. 

For the rest of the quarter, everything became more efficient. Our team members were more responsive and provided results in 1-2 week’s time. Although we didn’t have a complete prototype by December, we had enough to create an awesome teaser that you all will see in the next couple weeks. Our efforts are not perfect but we’re getting there.

TL;DR: Aside from being personable, a manager must adapt to his/her team’s individual personalities. Communication is key and has to be tailored.