Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Educational Game Rating and Standards Body

I recently interviewed AndrĂ© Thomas, founder and CEO of Triseum, an educational game company. He’s also the founder and director of LIVE Lab in the Department of Visualization at Texas A&M University, as well as a professor of game design, game development, and interactive graphics techniques at Texas A&M.

In this interview, conducted for my column at Learning Solutions Magazine, we discussed several topics related to the development and distribution of educational video games. Unfortunately, I couldn’t fit it all into one article, and many of the questions had to be cut from the final piece. However, the discussion about creating a game rating and standards body was too important to leave on the virtual cutting room floor, so I’m publishing it here.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Sign Up for My New New Newsletter!

I'm starting a new weekly email newsletter in which I'll write summaries of and my thoughts on the best stuff I've read in the past week. I'll mostly write about nonfiction books, but sometimes I'll include my musings on excellent works of fiction, long-form articles, or even podcasts, YouTube videos, or documentaries. In short, I'll include whatever I find to be so valuable, educational, and life changing that I think everyone should read it immediately too.

Your Video Game Will Fail

In July I wrote my least popular Metafocus article yet, an explanation of the Unit Economics of making an educational video game. Granted, learning to crunch the numbers of a business opportunity isn't everyone's cup of tea, especially educators. I won't write another article on Unit Economics for the column anytime soon.

Still, I'm quite proud of the piece. I'm certain it's the only piece of its kind anywhere, online or off. Perhaps a few entrepreneurs out there will find it useful.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

SXSW 2018 Panel Picker Submissions

Here's Jenn's and my geeky and fun SXSW Panel Picker submission for a project we call Bird Feeder 3000.

Bird Feeder 3000: 3D Print a VR/AI/IoT Bird Feeder

Watch the video, create a SXSW account if you haven't already, and then upvote us! Votes from the public help us get selected to speak at SXSW 2018. The voting period is from Monday, August 7, 2017 to Friday, August 25, 2017. Feel free to pass it along too.

We both submitted to be speakers at SXSW Edu as well. The voting period for SXSW Edu is the same as above. Here are our SXSW Edu submission links.

Pandora's Headset: The Ethics of VR in Education

Letters to a Young AI: Be an Ethical Educator

Thanks a ton!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Enough Is Enough

I am doing enough. I am enough. It doesn't matter whether others see and agree with that. I see it and know it, and that is enough. I meditated just now (Wednesday evening, July 26, 2017) and realized the anxiety that has vexed my health for so long comes largely from not feeling like I'm doing enough, that I could be doing more, that I'm personally not enough. So not true.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

You Say You Want a(n Educational) Revolution

The April Metafocus column explores the limitations of VR in the classroom, parodying a lesson plan for a virtual field trip to a farm. It's more lighthearted than my other Metafocus pieces. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

Metafocus: You Say You Want a(n Educational) Revolution

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Interview with Maria Johnson of UT Dallas Virtual Reality Social Cognition Training Department

My latest Metafocus column is an interview with Maria Johnson of the UT Dallas Virtual Reality Social Cognition Training Department. They're doing cool work using VR for cognitive development, with a focus on children with autism, ADHD, and other social learning differences.

Metafocus: Interview with Maria Johnson of UT Dallas Virtual Reality Social Cognition Training Department


Monday, March 13, 2017

How Serendipity Works

SXSW is a serendipity accelerator.

Serendipity works in direct proportion to the clarity of your goals/plans/intentions, the force of the actions you've been taking recently, and the heat of your passion. If you aren't clear, aren't taking action, and aren't passionate about your goals, then serendipity doesn't work. In fact, neither does creation. This was the single most important lesson I came to SXSW to remember and get clear about. SXSW itself is a place to accelerate this whole process, though it works just as well in our regular lives.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Serendipity > FOMO: How to Plan for SXSW

Last week, a friend asked me how I approach my SXSW planning. There's so much to see and do, it's like all of college crammed into 10 days (or 14 days, if you do SXSWedu too, like I do). Sessions, speakers, networking, networking events, mentoring, hands on maker sessions, multiple trade show floors, music, film, art, video games, national display houses, parties, dancing late at night, pitch events, VC meetups, eco meetups, tech meetups of every type imaginable, educational scavenger hunts, book signings... attendees can't experience more than 1-2% of all the amazing stuff that badges provide access to. Planning your days can be daunting. Moreover, the website isn't great and the app is buggy, ironically enough, and you can't get your hands on the event catalog until registration the day before. However SXSW itself is such a life-changing and world-changing conference that it's well worth putting up with any sub-par SXSW technologies.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Revisionist Me

In the 2000s, I built several businesses--all within the mortgage and real estate industries--and bought several commercial rental properties in Colorado. I was worth millions... on paper at least. In 2007-2008, the American mortgage and real estate markets tanked. In 2009, I filed a personal Chapter 7 bankruptcy, lost everything, and applied to grad school. Those are the basic facts of the story of my late-20s to mid-30s. How I've told this story has evolved quite a bit, becoming a story of its own.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read at Least Twice

I teach a course in entrepreneurship fundamentals, and I also work with many small businesses and startups as a management consultant and executive coach. I frequently recommend must-read business books to my students and clients. These entrepreneurs desperately need to absorb the books' lessons given the chronic and common problems they're each facing in their own businesses. 

The list below is the best of the best. I'm including the list here so I can easily refer my students and clients to one list instead of haphazardly referring books as I remember them. If hundreds of my students and clients will benefit from this list, other entrepreneurs may benefit as well.

Unit Economics: Cost Types and the Stages of Business Growth

As I've written before, start-ups should use variable costs whenever possible, growth stage companies should shift to using fixed period costs as revenues stabilize, and mature companies with lots of cash on the balance sheet should invest in primary sunk investments. But why is this true?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Unit Economics: Lifetime Value and Customer Acquisition Cost

Another common way to think of Unit Economics (i.e. instead of the method I've described in my prior posts) is to use Customer Lifetime Value (i.e. the Gross Profit of all purchases made by an average customer over the lifetime of the customer's relationship with your company) instead of Price, and to use Customer Acquisition Cost (i.e. how much you spend in marketing and sales efforts to acquire one customer) instead of Variable Costs. This method is often used for subscription services such as Netflix and tech start-ups, partly because software does not have any variable cost except Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC).

Friday, February 10, 2017

Everything I Know Is Wrong

Everything I know is wrong. 

Why is it wrong? Because everything humans now know will likely be proven wrong, mostly wrong, or at very least woefully incomplete and misguided. Fast forward 50, 500, or 5000 years, assuming we humans don't render ourselves extinct by then, what will historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists of that era see

Monday, January 30, 2017

Gesamtkunstwerk and More

Here are my December and January columns to Metafocus, my monthly column about VR and gaming in the eLearning space for Learning Solutions Magazine. January's exploration of Gesamtkunstwerk is especially interesting.

December 2016
Metafocus: Best Practices for Designing VR Corporate Training Experiences and Games

January 2017
Metafocus: Gesamtkunstwerk VR Games in eLearning