Who's Who In The Zoo - Ep.1 - With Aggroed
G'day all and welcome to my inaugural interview series with Who's Who In The Zoo. A light hearted project to showcase some of the more prominent members in the Splinterlands community and to get some background on the how's and why's as to their involvement in the Splinterlands universe.
First cab off the rank doesn't get any bigger than this and I am super excited to welcome @aggroed, one of the founders and CEO of the Splinterlands game.
Platypus: So Aggy, tell us about yourself, what's your technological background?
Aggroed: Hey, I'm aggroed, I'm a PhD chemist by training, but I've always been a game designer in my heart. I was a professor for a while, then I used a software system in my class that helped my students learn chemistry. I told the publishing company about the experience and they said "hey, we'll pay you to talk to other professors" and that kick started a 15 year career in publishing sales for me.
Platypus: How long have you been involved with the hive network, were you previously involved with Steem?
Aggroed: I've been involved with Hive since the beginning. I was a witness on Steem. I started not many months after the blockchain was started, became a witness, and I was involved as we broke away from Steem to form Hive.
Platypus: What got you involved in creating tools / Dapps on the Hive network?
Aggroed: At the very start I got into blogging so that I could make a little extra cash. One of my mentors mentioned that witnessing paid ok, so I started one. I found out that the more I dove in, the more that I really loved the ecosystem and have basically dismissed anything that was Graphene based tech since 2016. There's no better tool to protect freedom of speech. There's no better tech than crypto to protect economic freedom. This stuff is amazing. I went from thinking about this whole thing as a side project to dedicating my life to it, and Matt and I started with a game because we both thought it was a great way to onboard 'normies' into the ecosystem.
Platypus: And it worked, this game introduced me into HIVE and everything it has to offer!
Platypus: What is your favourite feature of Splinterlands?
Aggroed: I love the rental market. Capital in this world is totally broken. The 0.0001% are so rich it's absurd. It's not a natural phenomenon. Scoreboards shouldn't end up being that lopsided. If they are it's not because those people are 10 billion times better than the remainder of humanity. It's because it's a rigged system. The rental market and things like it built into crypto help anyone that wants to help themselves to different economic outcomes than the ones they started with despite how lop sided the world is.
Platypus: A noble cause indeed
Platypus: So, are there any tools / features you have in the works that you can share?
Aggroed: We're focused on what we talk about as our primary goals: Land and SPS. I'm starting to design stuff for further out in the future as the dev team gets more organized and starts solving problems piece by piece that we've had on the shelf for a while. We're making progress so it's time to think a few quarters ahead and get some stuff ready and sitting on a shelf to build.
Platypus: Yeah really excited for land and what functionality it will bring to the game.
Platypus: What are some of the challenges you have faced so far? What are some of the challenges you face in the future?
Aggroed: We've faced everything. Angry whales, 98%+ drop in the price of Steem, a hardfork, angry employees, hack attempts, and everything. Being in crypto is like putting a target on your back day in and out around the clock. It's exhausting, but it's also awesome to get a chance to fight and build in such a dynamic and challenging space.
Platypus: What is your goal with the Splinterlands game?
Aggroed: My goal has always been to mainstream this game. We hit 1M registered users. That's the bottom of mainstream. The semi-permanent question from here on out is "where is the next 10X going to come from?" Figuring that out, and then executing on it is the real challenge.
Platypus: What is your favourite splinter and card?
Aggroed: I'm partial to the Lord of Darkness. In my head he's really more of an administrator of darkness. He's stuck dealing with salary disputes, hiring, firing, and making sure that the realm of Darkness operates efficiently for the various Darkness stakeholders. It's a thankless job most of the time.
Platypus: Love this guy, my go to rental when I get the Death Splinter daily.
Platypus: Any other NFT games you like or involved in?
Aggroed: I don't really do anything that isn't Hive based or Splinterlands based. I guess I'll go with DCity. Gerber's awesome.
Platypus: @yabapmatt seems deeply entrenched in the organisation. How did you and Matt meet, what’s the relationship?
Aggroed: Matt and I met because he built a tool called steembottracker, which was a tool to get visibility on posts, but no one was using it. He wanted more people working on it so we split the business and I got nearly everyone on the chain using it. We met up when I was going through Philly one time, and he said "what I really want to do is make a game." The rest is Splinterlands history.
Platypus: There's plenty of aspiring new comers to the scene, any advice for others looking to make tools / Dapps on HIVE?
Aggroed: My advice is that you need a team of people. You need someone to take care of the humans and someone to deal with the computers. Then you need to build community and have to get it off the ground as quickly as you can. Lastly, try not to ever give up equity. Make a million products and sell those first. If you can't sell them it's not worth doing the business. If you can sell them don't trade your early equity for anything.
Platypus: If you could choose one person that has inspired you the most to achieve your goals, who would it be?
Aggroed: That's a really hard question. I stand on the shoulders of giants. Oldest answer is probably my mom. Current answer is all my Mavs. They helped make this game come alive and I'm extremely grateful for it. I spend long hours every day trying to sort through how to pay it all back to them.
Platypus: What’s your favourite flavour or scent?
Platypus: Are you a cat or a dog person?
Aggroed: Dogs that eat cats.
Platypus: Hope Byz doesn't read this, LOL!
Platypus: Do you have a hobby outside of gaming?
Aggroed: My hobby is still splinterlands. I love the whole economy side of this thing and like poking around with the comiation of Splinterlands and Tribaldex. So much unlocked potential still.
Platypus: Speaking for myself but I'm sure many others can't wait to see this potential unlocked!
Platypus: And finally what’s the best / your favourite story you have heard come out of splinterlands community?
Aggroed: I get really moved by the #playtoearnjourney stories that come out. Some of them are "hey you guys made me a millionaire, thanks for that." Some are "your game helped me out through really hard times. Thanks for making something so entertaining." Whether it's personal or financial doesn't matter too much to me. I just like hearing how this game has helped people and I'm glad that something I helped build has helped someone else. I like paying it forward.
So a massive thank you to @aggroed for being so candid with this interview. I hope the readers out there were able to garner some insight into one the founders of this epic game and maybe have a little more empathy to the challenges that he and the team face.
Till next time.