CTO Playbook

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Tony Parisi's Playbook for Social Gaming Startups

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CTO Playbook

  1. 1. CTO Playbook2011<br />Tony Parisi<br />CTO at Large<br />
  2. 2. Who I Am<br />Entrepreneur<br />Consulting Architect and CTO<br />Technologist<br />Web 3D Inventor and Evangelist<br />
  3. 3. What I Do<br />Consult<br />Advise<br />Plan<br />Develop<br />Manage<br />Challenge<br />Cajole<br />Comfort<br /><Stealth<br />Mobile<br />Gaming<br />Startup><br />
  4. 4. What This Is<br />Startup Stuff<br />Product, Process, People <br />Tony’s Tech Toolbox<br />What This Is Not<br />Gaming Goodies<br />Success Secrets<br />
  5. 5. Startup Stuff<br />
  6. 6. Goals<br />Make Great Games<br />What are your goals?<br />What is the company mission?<br />Where do you see yourself and/or the company in X months? Y years?<br />Change the World<br />$ Cash In $<br />Build My Empire<br />…prove to my friends I’m not a total loser<br />
  7. 7. Strategy<br />Pick one and stick to it.<br />Your go-to-market plan may be very different from your long term goal.<br />Choice of platform may– or may not– be a core strategy decision.<br />Focus. You can always expand that focus or PIVOT later.<br />Get clarity on this early and often; challenge yourself.<br />Some examples<br />Launch a killer FB game; expand to mobile later.<br />Develop a platform, and find a partner to make a game.<br />Raise the bar in game play, and become famous for it.<br />Create a money machine: Beg/borrow/steal revenue.<br />
  8. 8. Funding<br />If you are self-funding, you only have one job (initially): make a great game that generates $.<br />Self<br />Partners/Customers<br />Publishers<br />Investors<br />Partners, Customers and Publishers have additional requirements (genre, platform etc.) and introduce additional risk.<br />Investors invest in team and market opportunity first; technology and game play second.<br />Investors invest in platforms, not titles.<br />Consumers buy titles, not platforms.<br />
  9. 9. Team<br />Startups require long hours, huge sacrifice and absolute dedication-- against the odds, during bad times as well as good.<br />Your team should be a PACK™<br /><ul><li>Passionate
  10. 10. Aligned
  11. 11. Committed
  12. 12. Kick-Ass</li></ul>Lack of alignment will kill a team. It is not a matter of if, but when.<br />If your team is not 100% committed, investors and partners will smell it. No part-timers!<br />Your livelihood depends on your team creating something new, different and awesome. Your team needs to kick ass.<br />
  13. 13. Product, Process, People<br />
  14. 14. Product<br /><ul><li> Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
  15. 15. Get User/Player Feedback Early and Often
  16. 16. Be Thou Data-Driven, Ceaselessly
  17. 17. Collect Data From Day One</li></ul>Awesome MVP rant on Jon Radoff’s blog<br />http://radoff.com/blog/2010/05/04/minimum-viable-product-rant/<br />
  18. 18. People<br />Process<br />Agile (Scrum, Kanban, XP…)<br />Everything in broad daylight<br />Short release cycles (“sprints”)<br />Iterative<br />Features can roll out over time<br />Inner vs. Outer Methodology<br />Design and requirements distinct from project management process<br />Continuous Integration<br />Integrate daily, automate build/test<br />Test-Driven Development<br />Ideally, all features are unit-tested before submitted to QA<br />Interdisciplinary Teams aka “Pods”<br />Nearly all features require multiple disciplines and have many stakeholders<br />
  19. 19. Tony’s Tech Toolbox<br />
  20. 20. Platforms: An Omnivore’s Dilemma<br />A Tyranny of Choice for Client and Server<br />HTML5/Flash/WebGL/Molehill War<br />Android/iOS/Windows Phone/Playbook War<br />LAMP is Rapidly Fragmenting/Dissolving<br />Server Frameworks, Client SDKs are a Double-Edged Sword<br />
  21. 21. Design for Scalability<br />Players<br />LoadBalancer<br />Application servers scale horizontally to user connections<br />Shared-Nothing Architectures<br />Asynchronous/Event-Based Where Possible<br />Horizontal Scaling with Cheap, Disposable, Replicable Parts<br />Cloud Hosting/Virtualization<br />Edge Networks for Assets<br />Build Cheap at First, But Design for Big From the Start<br />Separate Your Log Server from Prod<br />Build Analytics in At The Start!<br />Application Server<br />Application Server<br />memcache<br />memcache<br />Object DB<br />Inventory DB<br />Inventory DB<br />Object DB<br />Inventory replicated across application instances<br />UserDB<br />User DB<br />Object DB scales horizontally to repository growth<br />User DB scales horizontally to user growth<br />Log DB<br />Metrics and reporting offline from production<br />
  22. 22. Tony’s Toolbox<br />Cheap Cloud Hosting<br />Linode<br />Cheap/Free Project Management<br />Rally Community, Pivotal Tracker<br />Cheap Corporate Docs/Mail<br />Google<br />Cheap/Free Sharing<br />Dropbox, Evernote<br />Content Management<br />Tactic (not hosted, costs $)<br />Client Code<br />All depends<br />Use as much HTML, GL, SVG etc. as possible<br />Server Code<br />PHP, Node.js<br />Database<br />CouchBase<br />Revision Control<br />SVN or GIT<br />Frameworks<br />Home grown<br />“I love frameworks… as long as they’re mine.”<br />
  23. 23. CTO Playbook2011<br />Tony Parisi<br />CTO at Large<br />
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