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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Gamify Your Site In Five Minutes With BigDoor’s Minibar

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Simplification and iteration are two key themes that repeatedly show up in the stories from Do More Faster.  Today I’ve been watching a real-time case study of those two themes unfold from our portfolio company BigDoor.  The guys at BigDoor are trying to build a platform that powers game mechanics for any site or app, and they recognized early on that this isn’t as simple as just adding badges to your site and calling it good.  So they built a powerful and flexible API that allows site owners and developers to create a meta game that will compliment and promote the site experience, not just be a tacky add on.  That is the right approach, but with flexibility and power comes complexity and as a result there has been fairly high learning curve for a publisher or developer to use their system.

After getting live with their first dozen companies they learned that the gamification process shares some very key characteristics with social gaming, most notably that the game experience for your users can’t be built in a vacuum and the best way to implement gamification on your site is to implement something relatively simple, see how (and why) your users react, and then iterate and improve the game mechanics from there.

So BigDoor iterated their own approach and made the initial gamification implementation process much simpler.  This morning they announced the “5 minute gamification process.”  They even posted a video (with a timer running within the video) to prove that you really can add game mechanics in under 5 minutes.  That may sound absurd to game developers, but the concept behind that simplicity is right on.  Get initial gamification on your site quickly and easily, see how the community on your site reacts, and then iterate and improve your game.  The response from their customers so far has been really positive and they’ve already increased their registered partners by more than 20% since this announcement just a few hours ago.

It will be exciting to watch the gamification movement unfold over the next few years, but from my experience its pretty clear that simplicity by itself won’t be a good solution.  However, a flexible, powerful solution that provides an easy on ramp makes a lot of sense.

Try it yourself, gamify your site in 5 minutes.

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