Founding a BravoNation

My homepage, on BravoNation

Earlier this year, I presented a team prototype hack at one of Yahoo!’s internal Hack Days called “World of Y!Craft”, which was an attempt at creating a platform for incentive systems for various Yahoo! properties. For the purposes of making it a hack, the idea was to make a lightweight and easy-to-integrate platform, and limit it just to Yahoo! sites.

After the Hack Day was over, however, I was approached by Ash Patel, Chief Product Officer (and a Hack Day judge) about opening up that small prototype hack, and making it so that any website could give out awards, not just Yahoo! sites.

So, a handful of people and I worked in free time, met in spare moments, and developed that initial rough prototype into a vision that took our original concept much further than we imagined. We didn’t want to just open up the ability to send awards to websites, but we also wanted to open that up to everyday people, too.

Brickhouse, the internal group at Yahoo! on the lookout for great bottom-up concepts, took a liking to the project from the start, and encouraged our investigation of the concept. Once we got the official go-ahead and backfill for me sorted out, the real fun began.

So, over the past four months, if I’ve been unresponsive, difficult to get a hold of, stressed out, or any of those things – BravoNation is why. I’ve got so much to say about the project: insights about getting things done inside a big corporate culture, motivations for crossing disciplinary interests, and BravoNation itself. In the hopes of not rambling too far in a single blog post, i’ll split it up piece by piece. Of course, the last time I promised to blog a post every day, it was during my series of SXSW writeups (especially my Understanding Avatars triplet) that formed the genesis of the BravoNation concept. I basically had to break my post-a-day promise in order to spend my time building the damn thing, so I think this is probably pretty fair that I resume with some real blogging time now that I’ve more or less completed the original thoughts with an actual product. 🙂

See Andy’s coverage for a really great overview and screenshots, or my writeup on next.yahoo.com about the site itself, or us getting ripped on at Metafilter for some good, old-fashioned fun with critics.

Big ups to the BravoNation team, too. Kevin Cheng with his mad interaction design sense, Ernie Hsiung for his community advice and frontend layout-fu, Niki Bobb for jumping into the javascript fray super fast (and getting our coffee, haha), and Ray McClure for his work getting our Builder environment set up – and all the other folks who contributed to the project within Yahoo!. There’s no way we could have gotten so far so quickly (and in such style) without everyone’s personalities and contributions. Thanks Bravoteers! And yet, there’s still so much to do…

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