06 August 2007

Introduction and explication

Who am I?
A dust jacket might say something like:
Born on a pirate island to nerd parents, Edward Gibbs V is the elder of two likewise nerd brothers, the younger being Geoffrey. He likes to say that the worthwhile things he learned in school were (a) how to learn and (b) that just about anything can be learned, and quickly. If he can be enthusiastic about ten alphabetized things, they are business theory, cycling, ethics, gastronomy, improvisation, language, music, play, sustainability, and various geeky pursuits. From reactions to his to-do list, Edward is confident that he is frighteningly well organized. He can provide you with an accurate, current, and complete grocery list upon request at any time. Edward lives in the Seattle area in his kitchen, mostly. Sensitive to symbols, Edward is mildly concerned that the first sentence in this paragraph implies less a focus on family as origin and instructive lens and more a key personal identifier (a notion that his family might readily disabuse the armchair analyst reader of). Edward is not worried about dangling participles: there is nothing ungrammatical about it.

Why is this blog titled after a minor aspect of kyūdō (弓道)?
Naturally it is artifice, and hopefully a slightly clever one. Yugamae (ゆがまえ) – readying the bow – is the third of the eight stages through which a kyūdō archer moves in order to correctly shoot. Kyūdō is an unusual sport in that in addition to being rigorously disciplined, it is emphatically contemplative and practible by almost anyone. This blog is the document of my founding a corporation, the sort of company that I can be unabashedly proud of and that can provide structures and opportunities to which likeminded people will subscribe. I am satisfied that I've already rightly placed my footing. I've made my peace with the committment required, so my balance is set and my priorities aligned. Now I intend to ready my instrument. The archer readies the bow. I ready the corporate structures that I'll have to bind together to build a corporation. But "ready the corporate structures that I'll have to bind together to build a corporation" is a terribly awkward blog title.

What about those other five steps, Mr. Metaphor?
Oh, all that gorgeous stuff about preparation, execution, and clarity? I'm good to go, champ. If there's one thing I know, it's how to make a wicked good plan, set about bringing it into action, and refining it into an ever sleeker and prettier beast. A better snide question is why I chose an aspect of a solitary sport to capture a group endeavor. Oy, it's a metaphor and a URL. Cut a fellow a little slack.

What do I hope to get out of this?
I know a lot about what I don't want, especially out of work. And I know almost no one who is happy at work, who feels a sense of belonging in their paid endeavors, or who thinks that the company they work for is straight-dealing. I know much of what I want, and I know much of how to get there. I am confident that I can build that company, the one that appeals to me. In fact, lots of people are confident that they can identify what their personal ideal companies would be like. That's how we end up with annual review systems that pit peer against peer in bitter competition. I'm not so interested in kludging together a personality-mirroring horror of a company or a joe-job mediocracy machine – the world is well populated with those shambling organizations already. I hope to suss out the theoretical guts of the business structure that my kind of folks will thrive in and then to build it for reals and serious. I've been talking to folks one on one about this endeavor for a short time. I'm hoping that this forum has a greater reach and makes more sense. I will frequently post my questions, speculations, and musings. I take this effort seriously, so I will be reading every comment and you are welcome to email me directly. This is very much a research project requiring at least some interaction, so I welcome any that you offer.


Anonymous said...

So, what will this company do exactly or vaguely? Either way, it sounds like a very exciting time in your life! A very good idea using the blog to bounce ideas off of people.


EGV said...

Devlen -

Thanks for the encouragement. I'll be posting quite a lot about company purpose and goals. The short version is that I have several ideas that I think are viable, all of which have their own challenges extrinsic of corporate structure. It will definitely be in technology, but I've got several avenues to explore:
1) I've got a potentially strong partner that would be able to fuel a professional services division,
2) I have a strong interest in haptic, ubiquitous, and ultra-portable computing, and
3) I know a lot of game designers who haven't the resources or bandwidth to monetize and productize thier brilliant games, and I have some inroads into the mobile device games (and possibly utilities) industry.

Thanks also for posting anonymously and then signing your name. It reminded me to disable the anonymous posting function (disabled now, which is a little inconvenient for non-gmail users). I added a wee blurb about why I'm disabling anonymity.


Aaron Reiter said...

If I understand the gist of what you are going for at this point, it seems to me you are searching, intially, for some feedback that will assist in hardening the edges of what must be a fuzzy cornered concept for a core business.

I also assume you're looking for the less concrete at this point, and the more amorphous wish list of the dreams from those of us who aspire to do something similarly big with our lives - whether we actually do or not.

Working in healthcare, I feel good about what I do for a living - meaning I know that when I leave a physician's side in the operating room, I have a high statistical probibility of improving an individual's quality of life and life expectancy. Warm fuzzies abound.

However, that social difference, however enormous for that individual and his/her family, is still restricted to a select group and before long, many forget even who the physician was who treated them (frown in disbelief if you may, this has been studied and documented). I have no problem being anonymous in this process (although I can't say the same for the surgeons, who are generally pissed about it), I only mention this to illustrate the emotionally temporary impact.

My wish list would start with my own yearning to create/produce something that makes things better for the many. Maybe a solution impacting safety, productivity, environmental conditions, or even health to stay in the same industry.

Idealistic? You bet. But that's where we are at this point in your journey.

We have spoken about these things before, my friend, and knowing that you are focused on the concept of a product's quality usurping any client's arbitrary due-dates and healthy work environments, I begin my contributions to this forum with my own list topper that the product or service I provide will impact many lives in a positive manner, either directly or indirectly.

Todd said...

I am counted among those who call your "Edward." It is nice to see you taking a thoughtful approach to potential new business endeavors. Your approach seems "organic" if I dare use that word given the focus on computing. My comments initially are queries: What is the target? With game designers potentially in the mix, will you consider aspects of mimesis, ludology, or narratology?

At this point I'll just make one other comment. Company comes from "com" = with, and "pani" = bread, literally meaning, sharing bread. May your future company truly be one that emodies the sharing of bread. We all are all too familiar with compaines where someone tries to hoard all the dough.

EGV said...

Aaron -
I'm going to post about methodology, at least briefly, today (09 August 07). I think I can provide a bit of perspective behind why I'm approaching founding a company with a protracted conversation up front.

Todd -
Good to hear from you! It's been way too long since we last talked. Much of our conversation near the end of my engagement with Diamond has stuck with me. It strongly informed the way I approached management in general and had a lot to do with the early evolution of my thinking on this project in particular. I think the collapse of that wing of Diamond was potently instructive for many of us. Sad that is was so painful as well.

I think that I can dovetail methodology and target. Or at least start making myself clearer there. I do have a destination in mind.

Mimesis: I’m familiar with the term, but not in the context of game design. What do you mean?
Ludology: Definitely! I’ve read books and just discovered the eponymous blog. Failure to study the nature of games, toys, and play strikes me as a particularly risky avenue when building a game. I haven’t spoken with my game generating friends about turning their hobby into a product or job, so I haven’t thought about how to formalize any ludologic processes.
Narratology: I have already spend a good piece of time in these waters. I tend to apply the results of investigation here to most every aspect of my life and interactions, either consciously or as an accidental subscriber to one or another attractive narrative form.

I’ll also have to write about bread-sharing. I’ve had many well-wishings and hopeful requests along those lines. I take it to mean I’m on the right track. That feeling in particular speaks to my needing to post about it.

No time to really reread and edit this if I’m also going to post before midnight. Ya'll are too though provoking!