Monthly Archives: September 2013

Time is All I Got

ImageToday Kevin said that EA “could never become mainstream.”  I was thinking about that a bit.  I get that EA is not likely to get to a Facebook or Twitter size, but I think that growth is necessary to make EA interesting and useful.  Today EA seems like a small town complete with village gossip and cliques.  I would suspect that more folks would allow some more natural grouping of folks with similar interests and tastes.  I know more folks would increase the reach and impact of EA.

I know that Dups has said the small number of participants does not worry him while they are ramping up the service.  My concern has less to do with the number of new signups (decent marketing can fix that) and more to do with the scary retention (more reasonably lack of retention) numbers.  The tiny size of the community creates overreaction to changes.  The tiny size creates waves of destruction when important players alter their relationship to the game.  A bigger base of players would make the game more fun and more stable.

Anyone who plays EA for long at all understands why folks quit.  I often hear EA described as a huge time sink.  Just keeping up with the Social Media activity that EA demands is exhausting.  The actual time on EA investing, engaging, and trying to understand is a full time job.  The loss of the game’s best time saver, insideEAv, was a shock that will be tough to survive.  I am not sure that EA will be able to increase its retention without reducing the time demands to play successfully.

I am not sure of the solution to this issue.  Dom suggested a weekly day off in a thread that I read.  I wonder about reducing the number of social media networks scored from 5 to 3 to reduce the pressure.  EA certainly needs to improve the UX to make accessing & acting on information quicker and easier.  Perhaps a closer integration with will help that.

Are you bothered by how much of your life EA requires?  Do you have any ideas to reduce the demands?  Is EA condemned to be a minor game played by folks with too much time on their hands?


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ImageI realize there are a bunch of different reasons why folks play Empire Avenue.  Many use EA as a platform to boost their business.  A few are looking to expand their contacts. Some use it to promote a favorite cause.  Others of us are pretty clueless about why we are here.  I believe that almost everyone here would like to have some fun.  

Personally I wish the EA management would help us out with this, but they seem to be too distracted at this time.  I could see contests, drawings, team competitions, and all sorts of foolishness sponsored by EA to lighten the current mood.  Perhaps a funny blog post or two…tales from Rudiger the squirrel like this FB post from a few years ago:

Unfortunately that does not seem to be in the cards.  I wonder if we in the EA community can step into this breach.  I have seen some missions that were very kind.  I have seen some FB posts in groups that attempted to encourage and galvanize the Avenue.  I know some of the leader board folks have discussed sponsoring a contest or two using their own eaves for prizes.  The Zen vs. X-Bar contests predate me, but I wonder about something along those lines.  Perhaps the Paused versus the Unrelenting Positives is more appropriate these days.

I don’t really have any answers these days.  Just had a moment to engage in idle speculation waiting for my next Mai-Tai to be delivered to my undisclosed vacation location.  Have a great time wandering down the Avenue!

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Confusion Reigns

ImageAlthough I am on EA vacation, I have cruised by the Avenue a few times just to be sure it is still there.  A response from Dups during all the stuff caught my eye.

“I’m on specific record saying that the Empire Avenue Actions is a completely broken number that is basically filtering on a database table that we barely use, but to remove would cause people to say we are (yet again) evil, and are in the process of fixing based on all the other things we are doing. Once that is done then exporting that information (being a correct piece of information) is the right thing to do.” Dups

On the one hand I really do appreciate his effort to explain some of the difficulties he faces with modifying and maintaining his site.  On the other hand, this seems so wrong.  If EA can’t track activity accurately on their own site, how are they calculating an accurate Network Score for EA?  If they can’t accurately track/score my activity on their own site, what implications does that have for the accuracy of scores for any other site?

Don’t get me wrong.  I sort of love the current EA scoring; since I am close to the top of the Leader Board there.  In fact, that is the only board where I ever sat on top.  I even appreciate the desire to hide a bit of the network scoring algorithm; so ‘those people’ don’t try to manipulate the system too much.  I don’t feel good about questionable data.

I am really bothered that this problem seems endemic.  Another example from Dups is the problem with presenting dividend data.  That information was removed from the portfolio/shareholder views because it was wrong.  Although removing it was a reasonable triage step, months later why isn’t it fixed?  If the dividend data is wrong in one place on the site, my tummy gets a little queasy when I think about how that might impact other parts of the EA calculations.  Why doesn’t this make the EA priority list?  A number of folks continue to ask, and the info is clearly important for investment decisions.  

A number of folks have struggled to understand what we can see of the EA data.  The more I dig, the more confused I get.  Since Dups often explains how much he depends on the data, I hope they are able to reign in these anomalies soon.  I sure that everything will be perfect when I return from vacation.  Y’all have fun now!


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