The Start of Tribe Studios

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By Elina Arponen (Co-Founder & CEO, Tribe Studios) I would like to start about telling a bit about the Aalto Venture Garage. This place / network / state of mind has affected the start of Tribe Studios a lot. In autumn 2010 we had just formed a company but were still very unsure if we would get any funding or if we actually could start to work on our project. Then one of our mentors, Ville Miettinen, suggested we apply for Bootcamp. I checked the site of Aalto Venture Garage where they explained what Bootcamp was (a training program and competition for promising start-up teams). I thought I would not want to be so public with our idea. No gaming company would ever reveal a thing about their product before they had at least a solid prototype. So I wasn’t sure if it was for us and I let the matter be.

I checked the site of Aalto Venture Garage where they explained what Bootcamp was (a training program and competition for promising start-up teams). I thought I would not want to be so public with our idea. No gaming company would ever reveal a thing about their product before they had at least a solid prototype. So I wasn’t sure if it was for us and I let the matter be.

I met Ville again in an IGDA pub night. He insisted we apply. So we did. Thanks god we did, on the last 2 hours the application was still open. We got in. Learned a tremendous deal about what it means to be a growth entrepreneur, got a silly good network of talented serial entrepreneurs and won the whole program.

So now we have our offices at the Garage. And trying to give back to the community when we can that has given a lot to us. If nothing else I can at least blog about AVG (Aalto Venture Garage) and tell everyone how great it is.

The environment is very dynamic and changing all the time. Recently somebody decided that it would be a nice idea to connect the kitchens of AVG and the neighboring Design Factory with a constant two-way video chat. Here’s a picture of the screen at AVG kitchen as it is now.

As you can see now, it looks like a normal video conference, where you see yourself and the other end. But at first it wasn’t so. At first you were only able to see and hear the others and you didn’t know what exactly they saw. The whole big screen was filled with the other kitchen. That caused some strange reactions.

When I was talking to somebody through the screen I would think stuff like “How do I look?”, “Is my hair ok?” Thoughts that I definitely do not think about when talking somebody face to face. But I was in TV! This was mediated communication.

Also when chatting with somebody who was physically in the same kitchen, I would every now and then check the screen. Was there somebody? Eavesdropping on us? That was utterly silly, because I couldn’t care less for the other people who were in the AVG kitchen just there and whether they heard us or not. But somebody hearing us through TV felt different.

That was really interesting experiment. I bet somebody else shared these uneasy feelings and that’s why the thing was nerfed down to a normal video conference. Guys and gals at AVG & DeFa, should we make it back like it was? Would be more interesting that way.

This post was originally posted at Tribe Studios blog.

About the guest blogger: Elina Arponen is founder & CEO of Tribe Studios that builds Stagecraft - a service offering short multiplayer games where users interact with each other to create stories. Previously Elina was working at the social game company Digital Chocolate. She holds a Master's degree in computer science from the Aalto University. Elina lives in Helsinki with her husband, who is one of her co-founders, and their 2 year old son. Follow her on Twitter at @yonder_.