There’s a lot to be said for opening up about the way you do things. When you decide to show the world your firm’s processes, culture and other behind-the-scenes developments, it can greatly change the way others look at you—often, for the better.
That’s Dara Gold’s philosophy. Dara is the co-founder of Toronto-based independent video-game developer What’s This Games and the guest of this week’s BusinessCast podcast.
Like many operations in Toronto’s white-hot game and app development scene, What’s This runs small and nimble. For now, it’s just Gold and her two co-founders. She handles art direction and graphics, and her partners manage programming and design, respectively. Since launching in 2012, the company has developed a few games, including one called Autocorrect Text Adventure, which Gold explains thusly: “You input your answers to puzzles and explorations through an iPhone interface on the computer screen. It autocorrects you, and you have to work with that to solve problems.”
According to Gold, it’s an incredible time to be part of the gaming and app development community in Toronto. “We went to Jacksonville to be part of a juried festival called Games Art and Music—we were invited to show a game, which was very cool,” she says. And people in the U.S. know all about Toronto as a hub for innovation in this industry. “If you go somewhere else and you say ‘I’m from Toronto, I work in games’ even if you have nothing released, you get instantaneous street cred. The reputation we have is kind of ridiculous,” she explains. “What we have here is a huge community of support. No matter what happens, you’ll have an opportunity to show your game, and an opportunity to speak about your game and to speak with others.”
What’s This has been able to build a lot of buzz about its offerings to date. Gold believes that’s largely to do with its candid and detailed development blog, which gives visitors to the company’s site an all-access view into how its games are made. “The idea is that it will help grow an audience and grow interest,” she says. “As we slowly look for investors or press, you’ll have it to show.”
A good blog will satisfy the needs of those who want to know more than just your company’s mission statement, she says: “People will say, ‘We want to know more than what your product is. We want to know who you are and what you went through.'” Because the What’s This blog is written by all three co-founders (who take turns posting), it offers a comprehensive view into how the operation really works.
Aside from the blog’s value as a way to woo media and investors, Gold says it serves another purpose, too: as a time capsule. “It’s great to have it to look back on,” she says. “This is a big deal for us, and by documenting everything we do we’re able to learn from what we’ve done.”
For more of Gold’s thoughts, listen to this week’s BusinessCast, which you can download by clicking on the iTunes logo below:
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