GiGse 2015 is around the corner and this year we’ve got a new format to experience, “Open Space” as Clarion calls it. This “unconference” or “open conference” concept was designed to remove the barrier between speakers and the audience by including the audience in the discussion. Clarion organized a test run of this concept with the GiGse Advisory Board during G2E Las Vegas and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, so it sounds like we’re in for a treat.
GiGse Advisory Board member Gerard Cunningham, CEO and Founder of Koolbit, is a big supporter of the Open Space concept and has decided to take on a more active role at the conference this year. The San Francisco based Koolbit is an innovative mobile and social casino game software company and delegates are invited on a Koolbit office tour during GiGse for an intro to the technology and some best practices sharing.
I sat down with Cunningham to learn more about his company, what he expects delegates to learn at the Koolbit office and to elaborate on the Open Space concept.
Becky Liggero: To kick off our conversation, lets start with what Koolbit is all about. I know you can make slots with ease using your software and how does this separate you from the competition that’s out there in your field?
Gerard Cunningham: Koolbit as you say is mobile and social casino gaming company. But first and foremost we are a software company and we saw early on the pain that creators have and engineers have in the process of making new games. And the pain is that every game is a bespoke piece of software where the design is designed and the artists put their work in and the engineers pass it back and forth and it can take as much as 100 days to make a new slot machine.
What we decided to do was abstract the essence of the game and take the engineers out of the process of making an individual slot machine and put that into the hands of the creators. So now our mathematicians and artists can come into the office in the morning, conceive a new game, pull some levers in our wonderful software and launch a new slot machine the next day. That puts us a hundredth the speed of other people, a hundredth the cost and therefore over the last year have launched more than four hundred slot machines, one every single day. And we’re now exploring how to speed that up and we’re looking forward to our thousandth slot machine.
BL: I love it, those are pretty impressive numbers. I know at the upcoming GiGse conference in San Francisco that you have arranged an office visit for delegates who are interested in coming along. So for people that are interested, what kind of information and what kind of knowledge will you be sharing with delegates who come along to your office in San Francisco?
GC: A couple of different things. The start of our process is that we conceive of these new games. Early on when I said we were going to have a slot machine every day people said, “there aren’t enough ideas in the world”. And of course there are. The more we did, the more ideas we have, we’ve got a pipeline of thousands of ideas, and we’d be happy to share that process with folks.
Then there’s the actual creation. We have right now approximately seventy different math models and we again, using our universal engine, can create new math models very fast. Today we’re launching a multi-slot machine with four different slot machines in it. It was conceived in a moment of madness and implemented very fast. We are launching new math models every single week and we’re happy to share with people how we think about math models.
And then with such a large library of games that have actually hit consumers and they’ve had a chance to respond to them, with our largest mobile game library in the world, we now know more about consumer response to games than anybody else. And we would be glad to share some of those things.
BL: Sounds like a really cool opportunity. GiGse this year has a new concept, a new format for some of the sessions that will be held and I know that are familiar with it because you took part in it in Las Vegas as part of the Advisory Board for GiGse. Its called “Open Space” and it removes barriers between speakers and the audience. So I wanted to hear from you, what your thoughts were on this new concept when you participated in the event in Las Vegas.
GC: It changes the format completely from three of four people sitting on a podium pontificating and everyone in the audience either paying rapt attention or checking their mobile phones.
What is does is make it an open, participative conversation where the whole audience are actually part of the discussion. It is a far more effective conversation than any conference I have been. This concept of “unconference” – the “open” conference- is a fantastic idea and I’ve got a lot of praise for Ewa and the team at GiGse for making this change.
BL: I think its great and I know some people had their doubts, but after reading their feedback from Las Vegas it seems like they’ve changed their opinion. So why do you think format is so appropriate for GiGse?
GC: I’ve been going to conferences for many, many years. And you will find that people who do that end up saying the most useful conversations are not the ones in the actual conference hall, but the ones in the corridor. And truly in Las Vegas when we did this Open Forum as the experiment and testing ground for GiGse, the most useful conversations were actually in the conference room and not the corridors. So completely reversed the format, it was fantastic.
BL: Well this is great, you’re a wonderful ambassador, Gerard, for GiGse and this format and I think what you are doing is great. We look forward to checking out your offices and seeing you around the conference floor. Thank you so much.