Moving On from Mind Candy

by danhon

So, I’m moving on from Mind Candy.

I’ve been with the company since pretty much the beginning in 2004 and have seen it grow from just a few (Michael, Mind Candy’s CEO, Adrian and Justin), to the 20-something employees we have right now.

I’ve worked on so, so many things since 2004. Responsibilty for some of the earliest UI designs for the Perplex City “portal” rest with me (and let’s just say that there are many UI designs that never got to see the light of day). I’ve been thrown in at the deep end at hiring and all manner of HR joy, overseen our move from the wonderfully startup-esque behaviour of cramming people into an apartment into our current offices, and been through the conception, refinement and launch of countless Mind Candy products. I’ve seen through – more accurately, worked through! – Mind Candy’s relationship with its VCs, Accel Partners and Index Ventures (both of whom have been absolutely nothing but stellar in their support of everything Mind Candy’s been doing), been through the whirlwhind of an E3 (there won’t be much more chance of that, anymore), and had the chance to extoll, at great length, the wonderful, tantalising possibilities offered by alternate reality gaming. Or cross-media entertainment. Or 360 experiences, whatever you want to call them.

The one constant that’s been with me over the last three years (one year of managing to qualify as a solicitor while at the same time being responsible for the Error Logs, along with my co-conspirator Andrea – and I can finally say that I was responsible for the shoes; one and a half years of everything else full time) has been the people.

I’m being unspecific here and saying “people”, because I want to get across that what’s been fantastic over the last three years hasn’t just been the people I’ve worked with, but also the wonderful people I’ve met who play Perplex City and have interacted in some way with what Mind Candy’s produced. For all its ups and downs, there’s no way I would trade any of the last three years away: I’ve worked with some genuinely brilliant, admirable people, who’ve poured their absolute heart and soul into Mind Candy and Perplex City. I’d be honoured to work with them again. But the other stars have been our players: from the surprise gifts sent to the office, to the great times had at various meets, from the three hundred and thirty three paper cranes to the video competition entries (which genuinely surprised me – for something that was thought up on the back of an envelope, I sincerely didn’t expect either the number of entries or the effort that would go in to them).

So. The people have been fantastic. The experience has been fantastic. The rollercoaster – because that’s what it’s been, has been fantastic. If I were David Tenant, and this were a Saturday night, I’d be bouncing fof the walls at the moment, foaming at the mouth and screaming at “humans!” for being so wonderful.

If I love Mind Candy so much, though, why am I moving on? Mostly – I really want to try something new and attack it with the kind of vigour that a small yapper-type dog attacks the ankles of people who don’t like dogs (normally me).

I’m not quite sure, yet, what’s next for me. I’m pretty sure that I’ve been infected by the entrepreneurial startup bug, and anyone who’s met me or knows me will understand that I’m rather passionate about:

  • media;
  • specifically, lots of different media smushed together;
  • even more specifically, what happens when you smush all that media together and turn it into a platform;
  • storytelling;
  • storytelling on aforesaid smushed media platform;
  • people;
  • people-as-in-lots-of-people, as in communities of people;
  • what happens when those communities form strong ties;
  • how online media helps those communities form even stronger ties;
  • how the aforesaid storytelling with aforesaid communities, can produce something really quite special;
  • how advertisers are starting to cotton on to the idea of marketing as conversation;
  • how advertisers are also starting to cotton on to the woolly idea of “brand experience”;
  • how advertisers (my, they’re busy) are also getting quite excited about storytelling in brand experience; and
  • how all of the above is exceedingly interesting to a whole new generation of people who haven’t ever lived without the web.

Thinking about all of the above for any extended amount of time (say, ten seconds or longer) makes me need to lie down for a while. Makes all my blood rush to my head and all that.

In any event: I’m now looking and available for work. I’ll be updating my cv/resume later today, but in the meantime, take a look at my LinkedIn profile, if you’re interested. Drop me a line if you’d like to get in touch.