My first job in California was developing the interface for KEE, an object-oriented development environment, for IntelliCorp, one of the first artificial intelligence companies founded during the AI boom of the early 80s. When I arrived at IntelliCorp in the summer of 1984 I had never seen a window or a mouse (remember the Mac had only been released six months before). The job of user interface development was assigned to me more by random chance than any special design but it suited me and I learned quickly. I spent the next seven years building graphical user interfaces for IntelliCorp and hanging out with the Slugs, a loose group of low energy folk with good senses of humor.
After a brief stop at Silicon Graphics, I moved to Kaleida Labs where I worked on the development of ScriptX, an object-oriented, multimedia programming language. My principle area of responsibility was the design and development of classes for the representation of time, media synchronization, and movie playback. By that time my interest in games had been rekindled so I spent most of my spare time while at Kaleida collecting and playing games. The rest of it was spent hanging out with various Evils, Fuzzies, Vegans, and the occasional Slug.
Unfortunately, Kaleida Labs was rolled back into Apple, one of its parent companies, when Apple and IBM decided to cut back on costs at their two spinoffs, Kaleida and Taligent. Most of the team decided not to move into Apple, though a few stalwarts joined up and fought the good fight right up until Apple's last jolt. Now I believe they've all moved on to other enterprises.
I spent a bit of time trying my feet at independent consulting and even participated in a small startup doing Web consulting for a time. You may have seen bits and pieces of my handiwork here and there on the Web. The hectic lifestyle put a crimp in the time I had to play games and maintain this Cabinet (I even missed one issue!). It had to stop!
Finally, I came to rest at a small startup named ClickOver. Over the course of my stay, we grew from five guys in a livery stable to thirty plus folks. I worked on the internals to a specialized Web server written in 100% pure Java, preserving the buzzword purity of my on-going career. The startup lifestyle was still hectic and I missed several more issues along the way but the experience was certainly interesting.
I left ClickOver, which by that time had changed its name to AdKnowledge, to take a bit of a break. I slept. I read. I travelled to England, France, Italy, and Germany (the last bit with Mike Siggins). I was away for months and had a great time.
Late that year, some old friends from IntelliCorp called me in to perform technical due diligence on a small startup they were thinking of financing. I liked the idea and signed up to lead engineering at the nascent BitDynamics. It was fun, interesting, and the wildest ride yet. Along the way the name changed to Clip2 and the staff grew from four to just past thirty, once again. Many of you may recall the Game Cabinet experiments on BitDynamics/Clip2's bookmark technology. Or perhaps not! In any case, it never quite caught on and, hurried on by other developments, I left there, as well.
My first child, young Kipling Tidwell, was born in the late Summer just before I left Clip2. In the late Fall, CMGi purchased AdKnowledge for an outrageous sum of money. So, with money in my pocket and a youngster growing up ever so fast, I decided it was time for another long break. A particularly long gap in Game Cabinet issues falls into the Clip2 era and the ensuing break. Sorry, folks. Life calls and you gotta answer.
I took advantage of the time during my break to learn more about the process of founding and funding new ventures. I attended more seminars, presentations, conferences, and panel sessions during that year and half than I had in the entirety of the rest of my career!
Along the way I met the good folks at The Enterprise Network (TEN), a new venture incubator closely associated with NASA. They persuaded me to serve as an Advisor in Residence, which basicly meant that I made my experience and connections available to the companies hosted at the incubator. I must have done something right as I was named a TEN Fellow in April, 2001. I also serve on the board of advisors for three of the companies at the incubator: inkChaser, Dynago, and BlueBox.
I also indulged in a bit of angel investing. The most prominent of those companies was Bluelark. If you are a Palm user you may know their product as the Blazer web browser offered by Handspring. The Bluelark engineering team did an amazing job of building a product that I use every day. And the biz team successfully sold the company to Handspring in December, 2000. Good work all around!
In August, 2001, I joined ArcSight to help out with their server architecture. Can't say much about what we're up to right now but watch this space.
Games were a frequent family activity while I was growing up. Over the years we amassed quite a collection but our favorites were Risk, Backgammon, and an endless procession of card games. My interest in board games continued through the late 70s but after Cosmic Encounter came out my attention wandered (I even missed the other Eon games, for shame). I spent the next seven or eight years game mastering various role playing games. It was a grand way to waste time but the older I got the harder it got to find folks that could still suspend their disbelief for a few hours of silliness.
In 1990, I married Jocelyn Becker, the famous travel author (wink). By a happy coincidence after we were married we discovered that we both liked playing board games. It started out with Pente and Cosmic Encounter but quickly spread to the American editions of the Ravensburger games. But the real epiphany came when we wandered into Just Games (a venerable venue near London's Picadilly Circus that has since passed on to that great remainders shelf in the sky) in November of 1991 and discovered the full range of European games and Sumo all in the same afternoon.
My in-laws live in London and Oxford, which happen to be the sites of two very nice games stores (coincidence?), so my collection has grown at an alarming rate. We've also managed to interest many of our friends in these new board games so there is no shortage of playmates.
Finally, in the summer of 1994, the Game Cabinet opened for business on the World Wide Web. Originally, the Cabinet was stocked with articles I had written for Sumo or The Game Report supplemented with articles gleaned from the Net. The readership continues to grow each month. Back in September, 1994, there were around 300 loyal Game Cabinet readers. By September, 1995, there appeared to be somewhere around seven hundred serious readers (some folks download upwards of one hundred articles each month!), about as many casual readers, and an even larger number that peek in occasionally. By September, 1996, readership had grown to somewhere around 5,000 regular readers and the Cabinet was receiving over 15,000 visits per month (where a visit is defined as a series of requests from a single IP address with each request occurring within 15 minutes of the previous request - whew! We tend to log 6 or 7 hits for each visit - some folks download more pages, some less.). As of September, 1997, the Cabinet logs 40,000 visits per month and I just don't like to think about how many readers that frighteningly large number represents. And you can be sure they each mail me individualy when an issue is late! Finally, after no updates for one year, in early September, 2000, the Cabinet was still getting 45,000 visits each month. Yowza. And two years on after the Cabinet all but fell silent, in August, 2001, it has dropped off to only 70,000 visits per month. That's right - its still going up! Who said the Web was dead?
Have fun, look around, drop me a line if you have something to say, notice a problem, or just like what you see.
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The Game Cabinet - firstname.lastname@example.org - Ken Tidwell