Friday, May 22, 2015

Rocketing Bottles - Changing the Corporate Mindset with Creativity

Bottle Rocket Studios, one of the top mobile app developers in the country (creating gaming apps as well), does something a little bit different then most of the corporate working world. They give their employees time to play and indulge in their curiosity.

From April 30 through May 1, the company was unavailable to it's clients and allowed their staff to spend the time doing whatever they want. They can learn to paint, code, buildtheir own mobile apps, create a new board game, whatever they like, in what they dub the Hackathon. That's pretty darn nifty. Part of the stigma of working for businesses is that we are expected to follow protocol that seems fairly universal in the U.S. culture. Even the companies that you would assume would be different, such as video game developers or toy makers, still follow the tried-and-true creed that everyone needs to be in a business suit and be dull.

So seeing a company take a few days off and focus on their employees is kind of revolutionary, at least here in the U.S. The CEO's don't look at is as a waste of time. They feel that everything can be beneficial for the company, and to improve the quality of life for their staff.

Essentially everyone comes into work and spends the day alone or in teams to work on whatever they choose. Then on Friday it's show-and-tell day. Bottle Rocket has released some of the ideas, that may now be in development later this year such as: a jet fighter simulator, with movements based off your hand and not a joystick. Or a fitness app that syncs with Spotify, that will suggest songs for you based on the pace of your workout. There's a Telsa coil that was able to turn on a light bulb from over 2 feet away. Or how about the Kitty Litter Hunt? A monitor is placed inside a kitty litter box and when it needs to be changed, it texts the owner. There were some misses as well: a retro gaming cabinet was built from scratch and programmed with classic games, but it crashed when it was plugged in.

And you know what? They were okay with that. Bottle Rocket supports the successes and the failures, because that's how people grow.

That shouldn't be a novel idea, but it is in this day and age.

If that was a little too touchy-feely for you, then I have a follow-up: Daybreak Game Company has a new ultimatum for banned cheaters who want to get back into their online, zombie-survival game H1Z1. Apologize publicly and they'll let you back in.

Yep. Make a YouTube video and apologize for your cheating and Daybreak will review it, see if you're worthy of returning. After a massive ban of over 30k accounts, the challenge was issued. This wasn't designed to humiliate the users, but to let them know that their actions won't be tolerated. You cheat, you'll be banned. It's as simple as that. But they know that not everyone who has cheated is a long-time offender. It may have been their first time, so they want to give everyone a chance to redeem themselves. One of the first apologies sent in focused on the fact that the user didn't realize how much he lost out of the ordeal: he dropped over $200 on the game and in-game items. His cheating cost HIM money.

So if you're one of those who has been banned for cheating, there's your ticket back in. But remember to apologize to your fellow gamers. Not the company.


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