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Saturday, December 22, 2007

-> 90% of our fan art has been processed.

-> Using this post box is hard compared to our Version Vibrant one. Our new post box is awe-inspiring. Rather than HTML, we're going to use something close to VBulletin code. For example: [B]Hi[/B]

-> 15,000 people have viewed the Version Vibrant trailer and it retains a 4/5 star rating on YouTube. Good, good

-> I'm going to hold back a few features from launch; don't want to overwhelm you at the start and want to keep some aces in the hand. We'll have plenty to keep you busy.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Who is Shinji?
If you notice in our teaser trailer, there are three names on my block list: Aaron Ecker, Jeff Borncamp, and...Shinji?

This was like six years ago, but one of my most trusted members at the time was a guy named Shinji

He was on our team so I gave him access to multiple places on our site and OtakuBoards

One day he broke into the site, uploaded porn on the main page, used his privileges on OtakuBoards to access passwords from many people, including myself

He then released the passwords to a few troublemaker members, which caused pandemonium

One of these members successfully guessed that my IM name's password was the same as my OB password. That person logged into AIM under my name and harassed almost everyone on my buddy list, pretending to be me

Disaster! Even worse, much of this happened while I was at a friend's house and unaware

Thankfully people like Justin and James and a few notable OB members fought back and won the day.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Public Speaking
My internet connection shut off last night, so we fell behind on processing fan art thumbnails, however it's back and we're about 70% done. Hopefully all will be completed by tomorrow.

I've never mentioned it but I'm part of a local public speaking club here in NYC. I delivered my first speech yesterday, to about 30 people, without notes, and it was received very well. I was told it might be the best first speech any member has done at the club

In fact the Vice President of the club told the first-time guests "Don't be intimidated by Adam's first speech and feel like you have to be just as polished! He probably had a lot of experience going in"

It's true, I did have a lot of experience going in, from classes to corporate presentations to even, now, conventions, but still, was happy to hear it.

The club is called Toastmasters and they have branches in every city around the world. I STRONGLY recommend it, not just for improving your speaking ability, but also for networking/meeting lots of interesting people.

There are rankings too that you gain. The first is after you deliver 10 speeches, with each speech having a different goal.

Click here to find a club near you.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Little Nightmare
ShyGuy, one of our members who I go way back with, IMed me today and scared me terribly

He was eating a Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie and there was something alien and very hard inside and one of his teeth shattered on it, literally falling to the floor

I told him to consult a lawyer, ASAP. Pay and dental reimbursement issues aside, a lawsuit would be the best way to force the company to make sure that no one else falls under a similar fate, due to perhaps a defective batch or a problematic process

Also: After 48 hours or so, we're still processing fan art resampling. It's roughly 50% done, so two more days...

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New Title
There's going to be a new member type in Version Vibrant, but you can't earn it automatically

The rank will sit between staff and member and you can only be appointed to it by a current member of the type with confirmation by an Admin. It'll be something like 'Otaku Honor Guard'

I envision people in this group as kind of guardians of the community. They'd be the Paladins in an RPG.

They comment on works frequently the way they should be commented on. They PM new members warm greetings. They introduce members to each other. They step in to stop flame wars. They put an end to gossip that's hurtful toward other members. They frequently talk to moderators, keeping them updated about the goings-on. They relay feedback/suggestions. Panda is someone who embodies many of these traits, for example

I myself probably wouldn't make the cut for this rank; it requires a certain type of personality, but I think it'll be an important new tool in our arsenal.

I'll have other titles, too, don't worry :-)

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Monday, December 17, 2007

OK, Tomorrow Is The Day
We're in the massive process of re-sampling thumbnails and uploading all 180,000+ works of fan art on our server. I hope you don't notice things slow down at all

So far it's 4% finished, it looks to take 3-4 days to finish...then I have to do all wallpapers, fan manga, avatars, ecards, quiz result images... (shoot me now)

That's not the purpose of this post though. The purpose is to say, clearly, that I WILL wake up in time for free bagels and donuts tomorrow. Wish me luck...

UPDATE: I did it!!!!!!!! I was a little late, but there was half a slightly stale bagel left and a bunch of donuts.

I also had a dream last night that left me smiling when I woke up.

I was a student in a class and the teacher recommended everyone visit this cutting-edge new fandom website. I raised my hand:

"While your recommendation is a good one, I think that theOtaku.com Version Vibrant would be better in the case you described, for a number of reasons" and then I went on to list a bunch of features. Finally, the teacher agreed and wrote that down on the chalkboard alongside her other recommendation

(I'm even hyping VV in my sleep!!)

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Categorizing + Vibrant Thumbnails
One of my goals, long-term, is to drop the need for Misc Anime. There's no reason why we should have so many thousands of works there. How can there be so many obscure or unidentified titles? I'd prefer to have 600 categories and a small Misc Anime section than 180 categories and a massive one

Also: I'm going to be resampling ALL our thumbnails across the network for Version Vibrant. We're upgrading their quality and, in some cases, increasing the size.

I spent two hours today experimenting with different sizes for fan art thumbnails. I finally settled on something I like. Our new thumbnails for fan art will be better quality and a massive 36% bigger than what they are now :-)

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

$3 Down The Drain
I bought a yo-yo two days ago and had so much fun with it. Whenever I'd hit a problem in VV I'd just walk around yo-yoing to clear my head until a solution would present itself

Anyway, the string just snapped, after only light usage.

(The Yo-Yo was a Duncan Imperial Original, "World's #1")

Cheap piece of gobbledy-gook...

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Challenges + Solutions
When I left my job to usher in Version Vibrant, I knew that I had a laundry list of difficult challenges to face:

* The US anime market is imploding, for dozens of reasons. This affects us because when a company has to reduce expense, often the very first cost that's reduced is advertising. I can't, in good conscience, steer us down a river that that looks increasingly like it's leading to a waterfall

* Our own numbers have been flat for many months now. The Otakulypse did a great deal of damage to us in this regard, but that's only part of the reason.

* We face unparalleled competition both in the number of sites out there that are similar to us and the high quality of them. There was a time when we were cutting edge on technology and design, but that was years ago

That said I'm confident about our future, especially now that I'm "back" like the days when I was in middle school/high school/college:

(1) Anime issue: That's OK, we'll still cover anime, but we're going to emphasize manga and gaming to a far greater degree. Manga is growing by double digits, and there's never been a better time to be a gamer. Better: 90+% of our audience love manga and video games as well as anime.

(2) Flat numbers: We haven't innovated in a long time. Our new version will introduce many fun social features and bold new ideas never done before anywhere else (we have a long, long, long history of innovation, so it's nothing new).

We're also going to cap submissions per day so that people get more attention per submission. I'd rather have 50 great works of fan art a day that each get a ton of comments than 500 in-progress works of fan art a day where 90% of them are ignored

(3) I'm not worried about competition. I joke sometimes that we want to kill this website or that website, but we rare ever compete against anyone. We just create new stuff and eventually come out ahead. Art Of Otaku is a good example, something unique and solid, well-executed

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Version Vibrant Code Importance
Here's an example of Version Vibrant's code efficiency on one sample site function:

Code that lets you view a work of fan art/ecard/wallpaper/etc.:

2,000 lines of code spread over 20 files

Version Vibrant:
172 lines of code spread over 2 files

This is going to make a HUGE difference when we relaunch. I'm going to aim for a new feature or enhanced feature or major code fix every single week.

So remember, even when we relaunch, it's still just the beginning. We're going to be the horse that bursts out of the gate and just keeps running and running and running, never looking back and never gazing at the other horses around

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