Moving On

For over the past year and a half I have worked closely with the Big Viking Games cofounders to build a strong gaming studio. My focus at Big Viking was on operational and business processes; and specifically creating a culture that is unique, rewarding and scalable. Working both internally and externally I helped build Big Viking into the solid company that exists today.

With the completion of a recent project, I had accomplished what I had joined Big Viking Games to do. The processes and structures are in place to serve the Big Viking team well into the future and I believe that a solid base has been built. As a result, I have completed my employment at Big Viking Games.

The friendships I’ve made at Big Viking Games will, I’m sure, continue well into my future, and each of the people I worked with at Big Viking will continue to provide inspiration to me as I tackle my next career challenge.

Moving Forward

My passion, skills and strengths are varied, but lately have focused on company building and shaping the early stages of organizational growth. I enjoy thinking strategically and laying a strong foundation for others to build upon. Defining roles, scaling products, implementing processes and providing training have all been exciting skills that I have picked up over the past few years. I think unconventionally, and I’m always looking for an opportunity to find a clever new solution to an old problem.

I’m very excited to continuing playing a role in the London startup and entrepreneurial community and will remain focused on community building and providing support I any way I can.

What am I looking to do now? This city has many opportunities and great businesses and ideas floating around. If you think that I might be of help to your organization or if you are interested in getting in touch with me to discuss opportunities or interesting projects, you can find my contact info here: http://about.me/titusferguson.

My FitBit Story

Over a year ago I came across a nifty looking device that was currently available for pre-order; the FitBit. In a nutshell; the device tracks your steps (like a pedometer), number of calories burned, miles walked, and an overall “active score”. It uses an accelerometer to sense motion in all directions and get an accurate picture of your day. Additionally when worn at night it tracks how well you sleep and the number of times you awaken over the night. On top of this; it syncs all this information to your profile online whenever you walk within 15 feet of the base station.

I was finally able to get one of these sweet little devices myself a little over a month ago and since then I’ve been addicted to thee data it provides! You can see my overall progress online and track my attempts to be more active in my day-to-day life (which is hard when you sit behind a computer all day).

Sadly, today when I walked out to my car, the FitBit became unclipped from my pocket and disappeared! I didn’t notice until much later that it was gone; and as you can imagine I was heartbroken. My mind started to race about where it could be, and who may have run it over or (gasp) stolen it!  Then I started to think about I’d return to my inactive ways now that I didn’t have a little piece of technology encouraging me daily. Pictures of my stuffing my face with donuts flashed through my mind!

When I got back to my office, I brought up the FitBit website and started to search to see if they offered replacements for situations just like mine.  Unfortunately I couldn’t find any infromation, but I did track down an email address. I dropped their support line a note, asking if they sold replacement units.

Within the hour I received an email back from the FitBit Team.  They expressed honest disappointment in the loss of the FitBit and then did an incredible thing; asked for my mailing address so they could send me a free replacement.

Now, I realize that in the age of social media we’ve come to expect this sort of thing. We hear (and I preach) that “Word of mouth is the best advertising”. And you know what; its true. Simply offering to providing me with a replacement when I was willing to pay is the best customer service I could ever receive. And as a result of this action; I’m going out of my way to tell everyone not only what a great device this is; but also that a great company built it.

However; after getting this email I started thinking about where I was today, and how it could have fallen out of my pocket. So I walked to the parking garage and scouted around the cars. To my surprise there was the FitBit! Lying on the ground, completely unharmed! I snatched it up, secured it deep it my pocket and tracked my steps back to my desk.

So, even though, I didn’t necessarily get anything out of FitBit ; I feel that they deserve huge congratulations for their company behaviour.  A real person replied to an email; with real emotion; it a very fast time frame. They offered to look after me and weren’t looking for some kickback or promotion.  Kudos to Rachel and the team at FitBit!

Three Words for 2011

I don’t typically do New Years resolutions or make public proclamations about how I’ll improve in the upcoming year. However I was encouraged by Chris Brogan’s Three Words from 2010 to develop my own: Use Less Words

I get the irony or having to use more words to explain what this means and how I’ll apply it; but here it goes.

1. Being able to explain a point in a concise manner

2. Less talking about something and more action towards accomplishing it

3. Using more multimedia (audio and video) to share content and explore ideas.

I’m looking forward to applying this in 2011 and I hope that it makes the upcoming year more successful for myself, my projects and my city.

Good vs. Great

I rely heavily on the internet and cloud applications in my day to day life. With the release of the Chrome Webstore I’ve been turning to the web for even more computer needs.

However, I’ve noticed one thing about many of these applications, and what makes an ok one versus a great one.

Its all in the back button. As in, great applications don’t rely on that crutch. Most websites don’t need great UI because if the visitor ever gets confused they can just ‘back out’ of the situation. Web applications don’t have the luxury, there need to be a way for me to navigate through your ‘site’ without every having to use typical browser functions.

I’ve started to realize though, that this shouldn’t be a requirement of just cloud apps. All websites should be held to this standard, and its nowhere near common enough. As an example, take your favorite webpage and turn it into an application via Chrome. Is it still as intuitive as before?

What do you think? Am I completely off my rocker and (as I expect) have no real design sense?

Museum Telethon

I don’t often talk about the actual on the ground implementation of some of the projects that I’m involved with. Its not because they aren’t really neat, but rather because I’m not one to brag about my accomplishments.  However I have talked before about the need to move from idea into action, so I thought I should share something that I have been involved with recently.

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Eight Principles of Fun

I’m going to apply these 8 principles to all new projects and then use them to continually evaluate through the process.

Moving from Idea to Action

Last night I was able to see my friend Scott on his London stop for his UnMarketing book tour.  As always,  Scott did an amazing job connecting with the audience and explaining why marketing isn’t a department its part of every interaction your employees have.

However, I was left with a couple of thoughts after the evening.

Many people focus on the concept of ideas and get very excited hearing new ones and feeling like they are part of a club that “gets it”.  Unfortunately too many people don’t think that they should implement those ideas and put them into action

So to everyone who was there last night, or people who participated on Twitter, here is my call out to you:

What are you going to do, today, tomorrow and in the coming months to put into action one of the many things you heard Scott say? It shouldn’t be too hard, his talk was full of “actionable items”.

Pick something and make that change in your personal and corporate life. Once we all start implementing ideas rather then just taking about them then we’ll be really “Un” Marketing.

Open Thoughts

Is Sunday evening and I’m sitting here with a nice glass of Famous Grouse (I’m running out in case any of my loyal readers wants to know what to get me for Christmas), and my thoughts turned to this blog and the lack of attention its received lately.

Its not that I’m sitting at home twiddling my thumbs and so their is a lack of unique content to write about.

Unfortunately I think its the exact opposite. I’m being willingly pulled in multiple directions and the obligations and desires leave me with little time to sit down and write.

But the desire is always there and the moment that there is some time available I turn to this page. I’ve got a number of ideas and projects that I’d like to expand on further, and share my thoughts about.

What would you like to see me discuss?

Reading List

I’m currently back on a reading kick (this seems to happen in waves, rather then an ongoing organic process), and I’ve just finished or am almost done a couple of really good books.

Rework – by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson of 37Signals . An amazing and detailed look at how to approach your work with an emphasis on creativity, corporate culture, and a proper balance. A must read for anyone, entrepreneur, or president of a large business.

Ignore Everybody – by Hugh MacLeod. This book is a great compliment to Rework and focuses on the need for personal creativity and the buckling down to create. This is a super quick read, and the book is interjected with MacLeod’s signature “cartoons drawn on the back of business cards” illustrations.

Lastly, I’m in the middle of reading Drive – by Daniel Pink. It ties together the previous two books in an uncanner manner. I’ll post my full thoughts once I’m done reading, but its quickly becoming one of my favorites for 2010.