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Starting Up and Finishing Off

If you read this blog, you probably know a little about my entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, I made a post earlier this year about the importance of acting now, saying:

Stop putting off your plans until tomorrow. Because if there really is no tomorrow, think of all the time you have wasted. Change the world. And do it now.

I’ve also worked on and helped out with a few other projects (listed here).

As such, it brought me great joy to get in touch with a group of hungry, passionate entrepreneurs with a love for social media. Yu-kai Chou, Jun Loayza, Joseph Yi and Olina Qian are among those working on a new project called Virology, a website created to measure the rank and influence of social media users. In the Virology team, I saw a group of people unafraid to work hard, take risks and develop a product that they were truly passionate about.

So when I was given the opportunity to join their team, I jumped on it. After multiple talks with Yu-kai and other members of the team, I agreed to help the team out in its efforts to develop its business in Seattle, as well as online. As part of my work for Virology, I am also writing a weekly column on Social Media Tactics. I hope you’ll help support my new venture by adding your blog to Virology and following my posts on there as well. From time to time, my new endeavors may cause my posts on instant-forum to slow, but posts here are far different from those that I will be publishing on Virology, so as long as I have the bandwidth to do so, I will keep making a couple posts here each week.

Unfortunately, this post also marks the end of my very first startup, winAround.com. Started in late 2006 with Craig Barger, win around were a gaming news and community website focused on bringing local coverage to competitive gaming tournaments and events. With over 70,000 visits and 750,000 page views per month in early 2008, winning around was the number two website dedicated to delivering eSports news for the game Counter-Strike: Source behind Gotfrag. Over a dozen volunteers (some pictured above) worked on publishing gaming news, organizing online tournaments and running a community forum. All of the winArounds success came entirely from that group of people. Later during 2008, win around was taken down to begin repurposing the site to focus more on social and community aspects of online gaming.

Over the past year, a small team has worked on and off on developing an entire social networking website from scratch. However, with work still to go, and interest in such a network currently waning (my partner and lead developer) Mike Murray and I have decided to put the project on hold indefinitely. The continued rise in console games and the failure of predominant online gaming leagues such as the Cyberathlete Amateur League have changed the online gaming sphere in a way that diminishes some of our offerings. Though our product was close to complete, we decided that the additional investment in time and money was not worthwhile even though we had come so far. Over the next month or two, I will be releasing some screenshots of the concepts and ideas we had been working on, as well as describing some of the ideas we were hoping to bring to the table.

Though winAround.com may ultimately never see the light of day, Mike and I hope to use some of the knowledge and experience we gained from win around to create new and exciting web projects in the near future, developed under win around, LLC, the company under which winAround.com was created. I will continue to support the community gaming forums created for win around as well.

To see some of the things Mike was working on, click here or here.

Though the end of my first startup in winAround.com is a tough pill to swallow, I am excited about the other opportunities at hand. It’s absolutely true that when one door closes, another one opens, and I am greatly looking forward to the new pathways that are opening up.