ETHDenver Wrap-Up and Next Steps
The reveal of the Cellarius Universe (CX) at ETHDenver went off without a hitch. Our project has been incredibly well-received and we are excited and grateful. Now that our team has had some well-deserved time to recover, we wanted to provide a few insights into the unveiling, feedback received so far, and where we’re going from here.
We firmly believe in holding our team to a high standard of quality, and meeting the internal deadlines we impose upon ourselves. This approach creates a clarity of vision that helps focus our efforts on the tasks that will have the most impact. For this reason, we committed to a reveal at ETHDenver.
Going into 2018, our founding team agreed we were almost there in terms of content. Also, we were itching to get out of “stealth mode.” Sending NDAs to everyone you talk to — and not being able to tell your friends and family what you do for a living — gets old quickly.
We needed a catalyst to help propel us forward. When we found out about this most excellent event happening in February, we were more than happy to sign up as a sponsor.
We’ve thanked the ETHDenver organizers before, and we’ll thank them again here — with a little less than our word, they took a chance and gave us a platform to reveal CX to the world. Cheers!
Although you can read about our “origin story” here, it’s important to recognize the contributions of those who joined the team in the weeks leading up to ETHDenver. While Octavian and Eujern had been contributing for several months (graphic design and web development, respectively), five others joined in January and immediately started contributing:
· Maggie provided some important perspective on our main deliverables, and is taking the lead on managing some incredibly interesting opportunities … but more on those later!
· Mally lent her deft hand to editing our guides, which were clearly written by six different people, in six different voices, while also balancing writing research papers for ConsenSys.
· Frank ensured consistency within our Universe Guide, and across all the great stories from our early collaborators, which we’ll be releasing soon.
· Sean helped build our social media platform and pipeline, our Alpha registration, and started tracking metrics to help us ensure we are reaching the multifaceted audience we hope to engage.
· Gregory joined Tyler in writing our Community Guidelines, detailing our internal ethos and expectations of those who interact with the platform.
While it was certainly a race to the finish, onboarding such an incredible team allowed us to come out of the gate strong. There were no all-nighters pulled, and no compromises. We consider ETHDenver an early stress-test for the team and we passed with flying colors (and Voodoo Doughnuts).
The CX team took the stage and floored the audience with our presentation. Attendees at a blockchain event aren’t used to animated trailers, especially one that caused people literally to jump out of their chairs! (No spoilers here.) The ETHDenver team has posted the entire livestream; you can jump to 1:11:00 mark for our keynote.
We were also fortunate enough to have Christian Gossett in tow with us. Christian has been a creative advisor for our transmedia project, sharing his experience across graphic novels, illustration, writing, acting, and musicianship. He delivered a consolidated “Become a Writer (In like, 20-something minutes)” presentation to the night owls, hunkered down on beanbag chairs. As we branch out to the art and literary worlds, we hope Christian will join us to share an expanded “Storytelling 101” presentation on how to draw from your own personal experiences to craft a compelling tale.
As CX represents the confluence of art and technology, it was important to have multiple bounties to reflect the myriad ways users can contribute to our universe. To our surprise, all of the bounties received were in the “Stories” category, and we rewarded all five submitting teams with bounty payouts.
We asked which option they would prefer: our team posting their stories as-is, or continuing to develop them? They all chose to keep #buidling. Some even provided outlines for additional tales they weren’t able to tell within the time constraints of the hackathon! We believe this is a testament to the depth of CX lore, and the ability to play in an open sandbox.
So, without further ado — congratulations to our contributors!
· Ricardo Pierre-Louis (@ricardopierrelouis) for his story “Guardians” — Professor Theodore Gershwin explains the origin of Guardian automata to a class of college graduates.
· Doug Clayton (@dougtheexplorer) for his story “Eve” —
A misanthropic and isolated programmer becomes a father figure to his AI.
· Matthew Cahn (@mpcahn) for “Shard” —
A duo attempts to steal a shard of the nascent Cellarius AI.
· Phyo Phyo Zin (@phyophyokz) and Andrés Berejnoi (@Andres_Berejnoi) for their story “Outsmarted” —
A resistance group formulates a bug that could be uploaded to the Cellarius network through a highly secured facility, sending a single agent on the dangerous mission.
· Andrew Rangel (@AndrewRangeliOS) for two stories —
“GeoStorm”: A journal detailing everyday life during the Reformation, and the construction of new power sources by the human survivors.
“Digital Golden Age, A Love Story”: the story of Zen and Xen, two “N0des” who reject human society and use technology and hacking to survive off the grid.
We also had a ton of fun educating people about the Cellarius Universe at our table. Attendees were able to take our faction quiz and learn more about how their role fits into the lore — as well as pick up some cool swag!
After all the months of effort developing CX, seeing people’s smiles when they “got it” was incredible.
While we were very happy with the reveal and feedback we received, there’s always room for improvement. A few key points we’re planning to address include:
“The elevator pitch only works if you’re going to the 99th floor.”
We acknowledge that our synopsis is verbose and contains some jargon. However, CX presents a total paradigm shift in terms of the way media is created and monetized, so we expect to put considerable amounts of time and effort into education. We plan to make bite-sized comics explaining how specific aspects of the process will work. Work has already started on this method of information synthesis.
Making Bounties Accessible
One of our bounty winners alerted us to the fact that our “Tech” bounty may have required a subscription purchase. This was not our intent, given the open source code, and we apologize if that prevented anyone from submitting an entry. Candidly, our tech bounty was originally for building ETH payments into Shopify for our Swag Store, but a last-minute entry into a Coinbase beta program facilitated this. This shift prevented us from properly digging in to the new bounty.
In addition, the “Art” bounties may have been inaccessible to hackers who did not have tablets to design on at the event. For Ethereal, we are already assessing options to have devices onsite so people can contribute spontaneously.
In both cases, more transparency would have helped. This will be easier to achieve going forward, without the cloak and dagger surrounding the project.
We’re looking for developers! We’ve stated as much in numerous places, but it still may not be explicit enough. If you’d like to submit a resume in the interim, please send to email@example.com.
Since ETHDenver, we took some time to recuperate from the lead-up as well as other travel that sapped some energy from the team.
But that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped working! We’re having internal conversations around organization and business development to make sure our team is fully aligned across an array of decisions before tackling the Alpha and the many, many interesting opportunities that are coming our way. Oh well, I guess we’ll always have a couple of secrets… ;)
In terms of traction, we’re very happy with the metrics we’re seeing so far. Over 660 people have applied for our Alpha, and we expect that number will grow as we continue to attend events focused on art and writing.
DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS!— As mentioned above, we need to staff up on devs. Please submit a resume if you’re interested, or feel free to refer any potential candidates.
CELLCON Ø — For the inaugural “CELLCON,” our team hosted a content jam with artists and authors in Nashville last weekend. We’re working with some amazing talent and are excited to share what they created for the Cellarius Universe, as well as to their feedback on the project. Stay tuned for more!
Alpha Recruiting Events — ETHDenver was a great way to get in front of a key target audience. Not only did we captivate the blockchain enthusiasts in attendance, but the organizers worked to have artists and creators there, as well. Their success is reflected in the diversity of applications we have received so far. But because CX is such a multifaceted project, we have a few more audiences to reach. Once we are able to present to more art- and literary-focused groups, we will be confident enough to close down our Alpha application and begin the onboarding process. We can’t wait to get started.
Follow us on social media @Cellarius2084 for updates, and join the conversation on reddit!