Prepare to Pivot

Jan 15, 2016Blog

If you’ve read my last post on our crowdfunding “failure” and its lessons, you’ll know that I believe one of our strengths as leaders is our ability to learn from our mistakes and adjust accordingly.

One area that I’ve seen us adjust or pivot in is how we identify ourselves as SaaS – software as a service – providers. We provide a software platform for amateur to professional storytellers (writers, screenwriters, game developers) to create all the components of a story and connect them all together to create an interactive reading experience. Last year, our tagline was “Explore the New Frontier of Interactive Fiction.” This year, we’ve moved towards “Create, Publish, Play StoryGames.” Neither quite fits 100% and we’ll likely keep evolving as we hone our message.

Is it a book, is it a game? I sometimes feel awkward trying to explain it. In a nutshell, remember those Choose-Your-Own-Adventure stories when you were a kid? Now imagine being able to write your own but with a lot more depth to it. It’s more an interactive novel than it is a video game, because we’re more focused on narrative. But it has game components like taking objects, combining them, using them, and actually having chats with in-game characters. But it doesn’t have all the fancy graphics of the games we see these days. It’s about the story. And the story is enhanced – by branching conversations and photos and places to explore.

Interactive Fiction purists will say what we’ve built is not purely IF. They’re right. Gamers will say what we’ve built is not fully a game. They’re right, too. We’ve built that space in-between: a storytelling generating machine for everyone to come and tell their stories – mysteries, thrillers, horror, sci-fi, cli-fi, romance, westerns, fantasy, steampunk… it’s about challenging the way in which we interact with traditional narrative.

I’m really looking forward to attending the Ontario Writers Conference this weekend. Blair and I attended last year and without a prototype to show, we had conversations about this concept we were working on. How far we’ve come in a year. How we’ve shaped and refined our messaging (with more progress to come). How we’ve made do with the resources we’ve had. You’ve got to be able to pivot quickly and move on.

Now that we’re in alpha for StoryStylus and about to bring 50 content creators into the system over the summer, we’re pivoting our focus from research and development into content creation – making great interactive stories.

Know a fiction writer who is curious about creating & publishing interactive stories? We’d love to connect with them!

Thanks for reading.