26 March 2009

History Of F1337 Command

The day I dinged 70 I wanted to celebrate. I wanted to feel that way everyday.

Do you know the feeling I'm talking about? The third day straight of grinding? That feeling that your weekend is running out and you'll have to go back to work still wanting to play?

When I returned to work after hitting 70 I had to leave that feeling of elation and high behind. I had to basically forget about my favorite activity of the last several days. I had to forget about being a 70th level priest and be a 38yr old Project Manager again.

Oh well, back to Dockers(tm) and a Polo shirt. Back to the office grind. Only the grind at the office wasn't the same level of fun as grinding Orcs, Trolls, or Murlocs.

I can tell you that as a stable productive father of two with a history of great success in his life. I was decidedly wanting to be at home on the computer. Not because I didn't love my job. Not because I didn't engage well with others in society. Not because I didn't understand complex dynamics of human relationships. It was actually more as a result of these things. No other place could I be the smart, complex geek that I wanted to be. No other place did I get to convince 20 other people to get online at the same moment suspend the rest of their miserable lives and play like those lives depended on it. I can't even get people to stop looking at their cell phones during a meeting at work. instead of being anti-social while playing I was actually hyper-social.

It was obvious to me at the time that while these geeks I played with hadn't figured out how to monetize forming guilds, and completing objectives there were building skills that if put to economic pursuits would make them rich. It was clear to me that being a geek was becoming something special and something the default world hadn't figured out how to utilize yet. I realized that the skills developed in the pursuit of role playing games, technology, and being the master of Star Wars trivial pursuit is about to make a huge shift to the mainstream.

The geeks arecoming of age, developing team skills that any Project or Senior Manager would marvel at. Its my belief that the ability of geeks to organize around common goals and objectives in a virtual work environment and accomplish goals is part of what is driving the world wide distribution of work.

And I was glad to be part of it. I started looking for ways I could externalize this realization. Something that would remind me subtly of my inclusion in this group and still not make me stand out in a crowd. So I began to search. After looking high and low I never found anything that fit the bill. No clothes really fit the bill. When I was on my honeymoon we went shopping and I could find anything. No one at Pike Place Market in Seattle (where I live) had anything. It was weird. Its like being a geek has been something we learned to keep hidden along with our D&D books.

In fact I never found anything that I really wanted. I was a bit upset. The company who made the game I played only had a few t-shirts. Licensed outfitters were only offering crappy t-shirts and hoodies with huge graphics. Geek supply companies made products by the truck load but nothing I could or wanted to wear to work.

Over the next two years this problem and my life continued to come up again and again. Someone needed to create something that would feed this new capable group of productive people. The REI for geeks needed to be built.

To make something that brought both of our worlds together. It had to be a a brand not just some stuff. It had to speak to my inner geek. A brand that would show that smart comes in all kinds of forms. A brand that my friends would be proud of and still reflect well on geeks everywhere.

So I began to dream. And I began to learn. But then about a year ago I realized something critical to the company. It had to exist the same way the guilds did. I had to be based on a community. A community of people who wanted to create, and build it. A standard corporate structure of employees and managers wasn't going to work.

It had to have functional organization. It had to have the correct charter and plan. It had to have a DKP system for distributing the loots of the business. It had to allow for rapid growth and a dynamic command structure.

So over the last year i've been working on developing the ideas. Using my knowledge of operating in the business world and operating in the virtual guild world. F1337 Command is the manifestation of those ideas. A corporation with only one employee but with hundreds of members. A corporation that pays royalties to the creators for everything on the site. A company that spreads the wealth to the newb just as much as the old timer. Because instead of rewarding time-on-the-job it rewards success against the mobs.

Only this time the mobs would be benefiting as much as the contributors. Because instead of slashing, shooting, and casting we are designing, creating, and delivering great products to our customers.

If you read all of this then you are a valiant soul. I love you. Perhaps you have some thoughts of your own. Perhaps you'd like to share them. Perhaps you'd like to contribute to our site. Perhaps you'd just like to get to know me better. No matter i'm open to all your questions and comments. Please, email me, follow our projects, follow me on twitter, buy our products, join our creative programs. We would love to hear from you.

I wrote this for the F1337 Command Web-site. Its reposted here with their permission.

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