Last updated Feb 24th, 2023.
I’ve always been a maker. Over the years I’ve worked on a lot of stuff. As a designer, engineer, product person, and business person.
I’ve followed my curiosity down many rabbit holes. Below are some of the highlights.
TL;DR: a few things I’ve built / worked on:
- Flipn’ Monsters – iOS monster/memory game
- RocketBall – Xbox 360 dodgeball game
- The Bourne Conspiracy - Xbox 360/PS3 game
- Transformers: War for Cybertron - Xbox 360/PS3/PC game
- 3dmotive – learn to make 3d game art
- Bulletstorm - Xbox 360/PS3/PC game
- Tour.js - tours for web apps
- Smolio - portfolio app for creatives
- re:splashed - an early Unsplash mod
- Reply - an inbox for social media
- SocialChat - a chat widget for websites
- Dundun – a task/todo app & API
- Hundo - Shopify reveiws app
- Unframes - Modern printing + framing
- Simple Goods – if you can upload it, you can sell it ✌️
- Renovating Old Houses – a self-published ebook
Built an indie RPG with a few friends in high school using DarkBasic and 3ds Max. Note: I’ve got a knack for awful company names. You’ll see.
To pay for all the tech gadgets I
needed wanted, I started freelancing and building websites. I used to charge $2,000 USD for a 3 page Flash site. Those were the days.
Later, while working at an electronics store in college, I quickly realized customers needed someone to help them setup/install all the cool stuff they were buying. Cue business opportunity. Biggest seller? $300 iPod installs. Remember when you had to connect an iPod to a computer and sync your music? 😁
A few friends and I got together to build an early iPhone game, Flipn’ Monsters. It was polished and ton of fun. Made maybe ~$500 (at $0.99 a piece). Later we make the game free and saw over ~100K downloads. Mostly in China. 🤷♂️
Fuel N’ Spark
Another tiny game studio I started with a few friends. We shipped RocketBall, one of the first XBLA (Xbox Live Arcade) games. It was not polished and it’s debateable (probably not) if it was any fun. The game was featured on IGN, Gamespy, etc.
A few friends and I started recording video tutorials for artists looking to work in the games industry. This would eventually turn in a streaming platform and community and was my first real exposure to building a SaaS business. I also learned a ton about how to build and manage a remote team. It’s still around today and being run by my awesome friends and previous co-founders.
What does it have to do with 3d and cars? Nothing. Horrible naming skills strike again. 😆
High Moon Studios (owned by Activision Blizzard)
Meanwhile… I got a sense of what professional software development looked like at scale while at High Moon Studios. Don’t tell my ex-bosses I was building games on the side too – they’d frown upon that.
I largely worked on The Bourne Conspiracy, a game based on the Jason Bourne series, and Transformers: War for Cybertron.
What I enjoyed most though were the strike teams / skunkwork teams I worked on while there. We built a bunch of cool technology and tools. Some would never see the light of day; some would be built into future games.
Psyonix (now owned by Epic Games)
I spent a short stint at this awesome game studio. I largely worked on a the multi-player mode for a gory first person shooter, Bulletstorm. I also had a blast doing some early design explorations for Rocket League, the wild car meets soccer sensation.
I also learned a lot here about working with a remote team while we collaborated with the awesome folks in Poland at People Can Fly.
A friend and I would go all-in on a new startup idea. Smolio was a simple portfolio builder for creatives. We built a pretty cool product but like most startups, spent too much time focused on building and not enough on distribution and finding customers. Lesson learned.
Over the course of a few weeks I decided to hack on a creator economy (no one called it that then) / ecommerce product after my experiencing trying to sell videos online with 3dmotive. My prototype was pretty solid. I’d go on to find a co-founder and even apply to Techstars (and not get in). After a while with only a little traction to show, Simple Goods would be relegated to side project status. It would later be revived and sold.
We Are Altitude
A good friend and I built, scaled up, and ran a remote product/design agency. We worked with a lot of funded startups building their first MVPs. We also helped more established companies explore new lines of business or vision prototypes. Running an agency is hard work. You get good/fast at understanding different types of businesses, business models, markets, and managing a team of radically different skillsets. The downside is that you never get to see a product through to several iterations.
This was a fun side project that implemented search and tagging on top Unsplash images. Remember when those were just a zip of images you’d get via email every week or so? I went on to sell this side project to fund other adventures.
I joined Buffer and spent the first few years building Reply, an inbox for social media. As a GM I learned a ton about dogfooding your own product, founder-led sales, iterative product development, and again, building and working with a remote team.
I then went on to build, grow, and lead the Design and Product teams at Buffer where I’ve helped the company cross the chasm from single to multi product.
I had the opportunity of working with product data at scale and had a front row seat in a SaaS growing from low single digit millions in ARR to over $20M ARR.
A side project I built to manage my own tasks. Includes an API and a native Mac app as well as a web version.
Hundo was a Shopify reviews app. This started as a side-project with a close friend to Explore the Shopify ecosystem. Like many things in life, the Shopify user base is a power law. This fact has a fascinating effect on the types of Shopify apps that will succeed.
I sold my SaaS Simple Goods.
Renovating Old Houses
I self-published a book – Renovating Old Houses.
I had some fun with Unframes.
I joined an early stage (Series A) startup ✌️