Empire Avenue is definitely not our first online community. It is also not the first online community that we have met offline. Personally, I’ve met the great fans of BioWare, and then there was my stint as North America’s Community “Manager” for Open Source database developer MySQL. During that last stint, I convinced my then-boss Giuseppe Maxia to let me wander Canada and the United States meeting students and giving lectures. I had a blast. At every school I went to there was passion, there was excitement and there were questions.
This is the same passion and excitement (often multiplied) that I sense when I meet the community of Empire Avenue. This past weekend I had the opportunity to drive down to San Clemente, California at the invite of the Orange County Social Media group and organized by Darin McClure (e)SEA. I loved every minute of it, from the hectic drive down, to the pizza to the beer, to the great individuals I met, supporters and sceptics. I didn’t have any “swag” just a “Board Room” achievement but I even managed to get a T-shirt from (e)MAYHEMSTUDIOS. There’s even a short video interview done by Chris Voss (e)CHRISVOSS. I’m not even naming everyone who was there and I want to!
These are the stories that make startups so fun. Over the past eight weeks our site has obviously grown in leaps and bounds, technologically we knew that we would need to make some massive changes to the underlying architecture of the site, and it had to happen this past weekend. So here I was driving from San Francisco to San Clemente, just south of LA. Working late nights in motels and at small cafes in small towns with our fantastic team on improving performance. These are the crazy stories that make startups. After an insane drive back on Sunday, we pulled the trigger on our first architecture change.
But it isn’t just about meeting our community and our fans; it’s about learning from you about how we can do better, how to improve the site and being honest about what we can do to meet your ideals and expectations. We’re an insane company and part of that insanity is that we are very open, not only about our good things, but also when we could do better. We are human.
We have many changes in the works, and many of those involve simplifying the site and its use. We are a small team currently, and while we expect that to change, we know that we need to manage our resources well to meet all the expectations both within the team, but also amongst you all. Over the next couple of weeks, you will need to endure a few outages on the site as we continue to align the servers and architecture in a way that will allow us to grow as big as we envision the future of the site. We apologize in advance and ask for patience and support! We literally are the Davids going up against a plethora of Goliaths and we’re going to do it with fun, honesty and a lot of passion!
Ultimately, this site has now become about you. It is a game, it is a tool, it is a social network: it is a social platform using the metaphor of a fantasy market for your online social capital. How you use it is up to you, and we listen. Empire Avenue’s success is also up to you: help new people, engage with others in the community, be open, be fun, be encouraging, get others on the site.
Do you believe in Empire Avenue? We do.
Do we believe in the Empire Avenue Community? Wholeheartedly.