Curves

I will be there with media that is not designed for yesterday, is not backwards compatible, and is wholly invested in the future.

Innovation may be a simple thing, like a better mousetrap. It may also be a complex thing that disrupts every which way. Humaginarium has a toe in the water of complex innovation.

I talk a lot about about bending the curve of bioscience in order to make it more relevant and interesting to regular folks. That’s one way to innovate: for example, by creating enjoyable content derived from radiography and microscopy that can be understood and used by blokes playing video games. Not so they’ll play doctor in a make-believe clinic, but in order to help them find and choose believable paths to wellness. That’s what I mean by “empower self-care.”

Humaginarium is also bending the curve of commercial games in order to make them more meaningful and consequential. Technologies like interactive storytelling, CGI, unlocking levels, and existential conflict scenarios are used to run half the entertainment algorithms, the dazzling half known as escapism. I want to run the other half too: the ancient medical salve known as catharsis, flourishing in the interstices between art and science. People will think better about their physical selves in the real world after they play around with our outrageous fantasies. That’s innovative too.

We’re likewise bending curve of execution in order to make products faster, better, cheaper. As Amazon Web Services says: don’t pick two, take all three! That’s innovation even a venture capitalist may appreciate. I’ve watched infrastructure as a service (IAAS) emerging for about 10 years; now it’s approaching prime time. I’m embracing it like the answer to my prayers, which in fact it is. IAAS lets me achieve practical and strategic goals with the wisdom of the commons and without wasting millions of dollars on crap like square feet and executive bathrooms.

We’re also bending the curve of delivery by streaming high-quality game entertainment from the cloud to all devices. No downloading, no consoles, no costly gaming PCs. Just instant access to video games the same way movies are accessed on Netflix and Amazon Prime. As the issue of latency crumbles, constraints on the video game market will burst. I will be there, with my toe in the water, casting exciting media that is not designed for yesterday, is not backwards compatible, and is wholly invested in the future. Dangerously innovative!

There is one more thing to mention here. We are bending the curve of enactment. This is very much on my mind as I approach the NIH for seed funding. By enactment I mean bridging the gap between learning (thinking) and doing (behaving). This innovation is so rare and desirable that it could be called fool’s gold, but not this time. Influences like behavioral economics and positive psychology push me forward, full of optimism, that we will reliably produce valuable outcomes. Humaginarium will ride them to a new level of achievement with video games that are great works of art; art that not only fills people with wonder, but also leads them out of their fearful fantasies and into objective reality where, more than ever before, sublime differences in the quality of life can be made.

Infrastructure

IAAS is the “how” of how things get done in the 21st Century.

Humaginarium is fascinated by Amazon Web Services. And why not? AWS is new and different. Rock solid and continuously evolving. Hard to fathom as dark energy, yet earthy and ineluctable. I see AWS as our ideal business partner, though I’ve barely begun to figure it out.

I noticed AWS last year, when the Amazon Lumberyard (beta) game engine appeared on our horizon. Lumberyard is called that because it’s for building stuff, though precisely what and how were unclear. After all beta means in-progress, unfinished, experimental, randomly documented, high-potential, go-away-and-let-me work-on-this. I didn’t even know how to ask questions about it.

Maybe for just that reason, Lumberyard had charisma. It made no overt claims, but I felt a powerful brand promise sloshing in its amniotic fluid. The kernel of an idea that high-end graphic animation and massive, immersive interactivity can be made by a small company and delivered straight from the cloud to millions of screens.

Intrigue deepened when I started reading about AWS, Amazon Game Studios, Amazon Game Tech; and attended an AWS Media and Entertainment Symposium in Los Angeles on July 31. You know, I make the point almost daily that reading is not the best way to learn (and I say that as an avid reader). Case in point: it’s quite easy to spend an afternoon reading web pages about AWS and still be mystified. Attending the Symposium in LA and then the Amazon Startup Day in Chicago on September 6 was better for me. Listening to practitioners tell how they made things, even things that have nothing to do with games or medicine or education, produced helpful insights.

After drinking from a proverbial fire hose for a year, I can suddenly step back and hold up my discovery: IAAS (infrastructure as a service). Amazon is maybe technology’s greatest example of an adage, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. IAAS is the whole of AWS. The parts are myriad ideas, people, systems, and companies that are to digital enterprise what transportation is to travel. IAAS is the “how” of how things get done in the 21st Century.

What is the whole of IAAS for Humaginarium in particular? It’s hard to overstate it. IAAS makes us feasible. It empowers us make and deliver numerous portfolios of exquisite scientific entertainment without having to beg investors for beaucoup millions in capital. It de-risks our business model and accelerates our production of things people love that they don’t already have, but which they need. It equips us for a long journey to success with a mass market, and shortens the journey with many amazing shortcuts. Most of all perhaps, it partners us with a company that shares our values and thinks the way we think, even though we have to work very hard to understand everything about it. Or maybe, because we do.