On March 23rd the Friends and Family Beta of Empire Avenue will have been running for a month. So it’s time to share some interesting things we discovered during this time, share some of the media buzz we’ve received, and tell you a little bit about where we’re going in the near future. Also, I’ll take a moment and talk about ‘The Big Reset’ coming up. Strap in; though it’s calm now, it’s about to get very exciting!
What we’ve learned:
- More than 350 invited members who are active on the system.
- Over 12,000 trades so far, with an excess of 700,000 shares in all of you trading hands.
- Since the beta launched, more than half the bugs we’ve logged have been closed or resolved to date (yes, we let our developers sleep a bit each day — keeps them from getting too cranky), if you haven’t seen feedback of yours implemented, it’s coming in our next major beta release!
- Initial assumptions about content value, trade value, and money flow needed a bit of work. The secret sauce recipe was adjusted a few times during this period and will continue to be adjusted as we move closer to our next phase!
- Our friends and family are ingenious — we can model what we want with math but nothing comes close to the devious things that some of you tried!
- The feedback we’ve received has been incredibly helpful, supportive and innovative! We’ve received over 50 feature requests — some very simple to implement, while others will be looked at for future development — but all have been interesting and valuable. You folks rock!
In the first week or so, we participated in two events to get Empire Avenue off the ground. The first, our own Beta Launch, was a cozy little affair hosted by our friends at Transcend Coffee and catered by our friend Meghan.
Basically, Edmonton-area friends dropped by to get the lowdown on this crazy thing we’ve all been hiding for months/years. It was fun. We have photos.
Then, the following week we were part of the first Edmonton Launch Party, organized by StartUp Edmonton – a meet and greet and pitch opportunity for startups in the Edmonton area. And yes, we have photos of that event, too!
Of course, all this activity generated a little bit of media coverage:
- The Edmonton Journal: Tech startup umbrella group shines spotlight on Edmonton (March 5th, 2010)
- IGN:Empire Avenue Looks to Determine the Value of You (March 5th, 2010)
- CITY TV Calgary: Breakfast Television in Calgary on Empire Avenue (March 3rd, 2010)
- Venture Beat: Empire Avenue Creates a Stock Market to Measure Your Social Influence (February 24th, 2010)
- iNews 880: Empire Avenue: Just what is your value?Influence (February 24th, 2010)
- The Edmontonian: Buy! Sell! People! (February 24th, 2010)
The Big Reset
While the last few weeks have been interesting for many of us, and virtually profitable too, unfortunately the back end of the project has changed so much that to keep the system fair for all as we move into a more open beta phase, we have to do The Big Reset.
Here’s what’ll be impacted:
- Credits – everyone will have their credit value set to what they would have if they signed on and completed the “starter” achievements that they have already completed.
- Stock Value – everyone will have stock value set to a standard starting value.
- Portfolios/shares – everyone will have all shares in their portfolio eliminated, and start again at 0 (start preparing your investment strategies now)!
- Incoming Blog and RSS Feeds – These will be deleted. Everyone will need to reconnect their feeds.
- Performance graphs/history – all stock trading data and history will be deleted and reset.
As you can see, it’s really a clean start for all. And this, we feel, will give everyone a fair start no matter when they join Empire Avenue.
Where we’re going
As the title says, from an outside perspective, things are pretty calm now at Empire Avenue. Behind the scenes though, we’re going full speed ahead, fixing bugs, implementing ideas, and putting in place functionality for the next major Empire Avenue growth phase. This includes:
- API – yes, we’re exposing parts of the engine and data to developers. We can’t do this all ourselves, so by getting the API out early we’re basically inviting you to make Empire Avenue your own – by developing your own apps or integrating features into your own applications and web sites.
- Invite-Only Beta – Our community is great and we know you’ve got friends you’ve been talking and tweeting to about Empire Avenue. Shortly you’ll be able to invite them to the party, so to speak. This’ll likely happen in a few weeks when we reset the system – don’t worry, we’ll let you know.
- New Market Makers – ahh, yes, the magic behind the madness. Market Makers are, as Dups often says, ‘the personas’ that make the whole thing work. They read your blog, tweets, and facebook posts. They assign values, watch the trade activity and generally keep this system glued together. And we have ‘hired’ some new ones to supplement the existing Market Making team. We now have John Locke, John Wannamaker, Adam Smith, Narcissus and Isaac Newton working for us… sadly, Sherlock Holmes didn’t make the cut. Maybe some day we’ll have a job for him.
And that’s really it for now. We’ve been busy and will continue to be busy, but overall, we’re having fun, and based on the feedback we’ve seen and the comments online around Empire Avenue, most of you are too.
So enjoy this calm period. Prepare your blog posts, your Facebook and Twitter update strategies. In the next few weeks, after The Big Reset, it’s going to be a whole new Empire Avenue to explore. Best get ready for it now.