To many people reading this, a company is a company is a company. We don't really give it a lot of thought about the people -- the individual people who work at a given company.
Today was a good day. I've never been as proud as I was today when I came in. I had a meeting with some out of town guests from Redmond (non game related) and to my shock, almost everyone was there on a Saturday.
There was no memo sent out. No hints suggested. Nothing to encourage people to come in on their weekend to work. Just a bunch of people who felt, on an individual basis, to individually come in to do some thing.
People came in to help pack boxes
A couple people came in with their spouses to help package up boxes. The pre-orders have been just amazing but totally unexpected at these levels. We did more direct sales in the first two days on Galactic Civilizations II than we got on Galactic Civilizations I for the first three months.
Let's just pull a ballpark number here -- 1,000 direct orders per day. What would it take to ship those out? Let's say we called you up and asked you to send us 1,000 of something. How long would it take to package them up? Let's say you had super human powers and could package 1 up, label, and send it out in a single minute. That's 1,000 minutes. That's about 17 hours straight for one person. And of course, it's not 1 single minute, it's more like 3 minutes so it takes 51 man hours to handle a single day's orders. Which of course, is greater than 24. So you're actually talking more like 7 people, full time, doing nothing but that.
In a company of 40 people with only roughly 30 at the main location, that's a lot of people. To put things in perspective, my friend at Blizzard told me that they have over 1,500 people who just do support. Not art. Not coding. Just customer support.
So people came in, on their day off, without encouragement, without being asked to, with their families, to package up boxes to send out. Their day jobs? Programmers, office managers. Our staff attorney had his wife and kids in to help.
People came in to hang out on the forums and help people
Again, no demands, no subtle hints. Just people coming in to help other people. 1 out of 100 people run into some account issue. Maybe they used two email accounts (one to buy the game and another when they created an account and hence their game account doesn't know they bought the game). Maybe some other odd thing happened. Who knows. But 1 out of 100 people means 10 out of 1,000. 100 out of 10,000. Pretty soon, you have quite a few people that need help.
People came in to help with sales and customer support
Kim, who some of you know by name, came in on her day off to answer email, help people with all kinds of things. Some people accidentally buy two copies of the game. Other people lose their info. There's a zillion different things that can come up. But she and others came in and waded through it all.
People came in to help with network server stuff
We were able to put the new build on Stardock Central today too. I think some people who were previously dissing Stardock Central may have a new appreciation after trying to download the update from a "good old secure HTTP web page". Because Stardock Central has a lot of nice feature that are hidden from the user. All kinds of redundancy and AI to find a person's account and get that file downloaded for them and only the files they needed.
But to do that, IT people had to take time away from their families to juggle the delicate dance of updating a massively mirrored server network without it hicupping (which it did hicup between 4am and 10am today -- only minutes after I left and went to bed ironically).
And other people came in to tweak artwork, to work on modding guides, to figure out easier ways and tools for people to make ships. Kristin from PowerUser.TV was in to put the touches on interviews with the game's team. If you haven't ever been to PowerUser.TV, you should check it out. She also helped us work with Paradox over in Europe on issues such as a misprint on the serial numbers they printed in their retail boxes (we'll have to update our system to deal with the misprint).
Nakor, who helps keep things together, was able to keep servers up, put new updates up, answer questions, help people on IRC, and so forth.
I'm just so honored to work with people like this. It's definitely not me. You guys can read my stuff, I'm kind of a goof ball. So it's not leadership by any means. It's simply a matter of good people, good individuals who came in on their own. Like me, none of them came in knowing that anyone else was coming in. I didn't know they were coming in. They didn't know I was coming in. They didn't know that their coworkers were coming in. It was a spontaneous thing.
And even those who didn't drive in, many of them were on-line from home. Helpig people out. Hanging out on IRC answering questions. And still others on IRC working to make sure that our primary business (Object Desktop and related products) continued to get proper support and help.
To my friends/coworkers. Thank you. It is a privilege to work with you.