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Week 27

The second Friday morning of January, and Second Verse has officially entered its second calendar year. What a complete difference from a year ago. I find myself pausing to consider the delta between the then and now at regular intervals, and generally end up with a smile on my face.

The news is up on Crunchbase now, so I should probably mention that I’m involved with Tony Conrad’s latest startup. Yes, it’s called Pumpkinhead. No, that’s not the name of the product. Pumpkinhead evolved as a project code name early on; Tony had asked Jason Santa Maria and I to help flesh out an idea he had been discussing with Tim Young. Both Jason and I are fans of horror films – his taste is more refined, I like them dumb. REALLY dumb. “Leperchaun” franchise dumb. Given the time of year (and the fact that it stars Lance Henriksen), I thought “Pumpkinhead” would work just fine.

Then Tony named the company after the codename. Guy has a sense of humor, one of the many reasons I’d follow him into hell.

So, yes. Pumpkinhead. It’s evolved past the original concept into something refined… and wonderful. The further we get in building it out, the more excited I am to get it out in the world. It marries quite a few of the things I care about into a very straightforward package, and thanks to Jason, it’s starting to look pretty sweet.

There’s more going on. I’ve been balancing Pumpkinhead with running Second Verse; on most days, successfully. My business development efforts in early December worked out well, and I’ve contracted with some folks from SRI to work on a video product called KickLight. They’ve been successful in proving the value of what they’re building, and they’ve asked me to help them refine and build it out.

In my work with them this week, I’ve already wound up re-learning the truism that the more you try to simplify things, the more you risk eliminating or obfuscating what differentiates the product in the minds of your users. Looking forward to getting deeper, seeing how to evolve the experience.

Finally, as the organizer for IxD 10‘s Local Design Challenge, I’m delighted to say that submissions should start coming in next week. The judging panel has been selected and briefed, and everything is coming together for the conference early next month. If you’re attending, please let me know in the comments.

Happy new year to you.

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