Saturday, March 31, 2007

How to Be Funny: President Bush does Standup

Every year, the president does a monologue at the annual Correspondents' Dinner in Washington, DC. Blogger/consultant John Kinde has a copy of the monologue on his blog and analyzes the jokes. I've done standup in past (not well, I might add) and I found John's analysis to be right on the money.

If you're looking to write your own jokes, check out his blog. After all, nothing wakes up a VC during a pitch presentation quicker than some good insult humor.

(via Ben Casanocha)

Friday, March 30, 2007

From web developer to billionaire in 10 years or less...

How? Sex. Andrew Conru, the founder of AdultFriendFinder started out coding for others and realized that he'd be better off starting his own company. Now, he's a billionaire.

Here's the other pearl of wisdom. He didn't plan to start an adult site. Conru started AdultFriendFinder because he wants people to stop posting naked photos on FriendFinder, the site Conru started to connect people who wanted to do things like fish. Classic. Another case of the customer telling you what that want.

Read and be inspired.

The Internet is Now Everywhere

This is so cool. And smart.

United Villages distributes pre-paid cards to locals in remote villages who can write emails or record phone messages at solar powered computer kiosks installed in schools and community halls. United Villages deploys buses tricked out with short-range Wi-Fi antennas which pass through villages, automatically picking up stored emails and voice messages as they go. Once a bus reaches a city with Internet connectivity, it relays the emails and messages to their appointed destinations via the web.
Full article here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Virtual Ipod

Following up on my recent post about the Virtual DVR, I discovered Mediamaster, a free service that allows you to upload a Ipod Nano's worth of music online and access it from anywhere you can get an internet connection. Better yet, they provide an embed code so you can add a music-playing widget to your blog or Myspace page.

The obvious application for this is to create your own online jukebox to share with your friends, however that functionality is not supported yet.

At the moment, I'll opt to carry my Ipod. It's more convenient and I can take it places the internet doesn't go (like the subway). However, once I'm able to get high-quality streaming audio on a handheld device with out playing exorbitant data fees, then an online music vault would make sense to me. I like the idea of centralizing my data and being able to access it multiple ways. And no more Ipod-Itunes syncing.

Storing your media online is just the first step in the evolution to complete virtualization of media. The next step is realizing that for most media, you do not need a personal copy. Every copy of Britney Spears' Toxic is essentially the same, barring bitrate variations and remixes. Why should we store a million copies of the same piece of media when one copy can easily serve a million people?

Again, I'm arguing for the universal media library. The new library of Alexandria. I'm willing to bet 100 dollars that we'll see it in some form within the next decade. Any takers?

(via StartupSquad)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Notes from YCombinator Startup School

John went to YCombinator Startup School on our behalf. I haven't read his notes, yet. But I did find some pretty good notes on Scribd. Read them and enjoy.

Here's a taste - notes on Max Levchin's talk. His usual obsession with metrics are represented.

Max Levchin, “A Crash Course in Product Management”

Founder, PayPal

Product management is about:

  • Channeling the user
  • Developing a fantastic interface

The best product managers are people who understand computers.

Why do most startups fail?

  • Most engineers fail to work out the details!

When you design a product, you need to think about whom you’re designing the product for!

  • Try to achieve an out-of-body experience as close you can, while you are using the product.
  • Observe the user closely!
  • The best product can be used effectively while the user is distracted.

How do you find out what works? Metrics, metrics, metrics

  • Measure everything
  • Generate statistics
  • There is no ready made package that will analyze the data appropriately – develop your own

Practical web design

  • Design your sites to use blue; red and green are problematic for the color blind (8% of men)
  • Scrolling is OK now that mice have scroll wheels – “keep it above the fold” is less relevant now

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The 300: An Allegory of a Start-up?

In college, I had a class on Freudian literary analysis. I learned that if you look hard enough you can always find a phallus somewhere.

Well, now that my mind is awhirl with startups every waking minute, I've take to doing "startup literary analysis". Here is my startup version of The 300.

A senior manager (King Leonidas) leaves his company (Sparta, Inc.) with his best employees and forms a new company(the 300). Microsoft *cough* I mean the Persians, wanting to dominate the marketplace declares war on the company (but only after trying to buy them out first). Leonidas being a smart entrepreneur chooses a small niche (the Hot Gates) from which to make a stand. Wisely, it's a niche whose terrain is very familiar to Leonidas and his men. They arrive in the niche before the Persians and erect a barrier to entry (literally). The Persians throw millions of dollars at the niche, but the 300 are able to withstand the onslaught because they are top-notch entrepreneurs who trust each other to do their job and do it well.

Finally, Bill Gates *ahem* Xerxes meets with Leonidas and offers him 300 millions dollars for his company and the position of Senior Vice President of Greece. He declines. Even at a SVP salary, he'll still be only a wage slave.

Meanwhile, a disgruntled employee, Ephialtes, betrays the 300, revealing to Xerxes a flaw in the Spartan's business strategy that the Spartans hoped no one would realize.

Xerxes uses this information to flank the Spartans in the marketplace.

Leonidas, knowing that his company is doomed, he doesn't have enough resources to fight on two fronts, and the venture capital he was hoping for never appears. He makes a final glorious stand against the giant corporation and is destroyed. His flameout inspires other entrepreneurs and convinces venture capitalists that its a market worth fighting for.

A year later, a fully capitalized startup led by a former employee of Leonidas does battle in the marketplace and carves out a respectable marketshare.

Of course, if this was taking place in Silicon Valley, Leonidas would form another company a year later to fight Google.

Cast of Characters (partial)
Leonidas - CEO
Captain - COO
Xerxes - Bill Gates
Ephialtes - Disgruntled Salesperson
The Spartan Senate - Board of Directors, Sparta Inc.
Ephors - Business Strategy Consultants (McKinsey?)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Virtual DVR, Virtual Everything.

I didn't know there was a virtual DVR. I didn't know a Long Island cable provider, Cablevision, was being sued because they offered a virtual DVR service. I didn't know billionaires like Mark Cuban had time to blog. He does, fortunately, and he's the source for my new-found knowledge

I'm only slightly ashamed that this story is nearly a year old. That was before I began blogging, and at the time I was running an IT shop in an extremely rapidly growing company. Like all IT guys everywhere, I read Slashdot with my morning coffee then got on with the business of the day, firefighting an overtaxed IT infrastructure.

But that's an aside, because I'm really interested in the concept of the virtual DVR. Basically, it's a service that allows you to record any show to a server hosted by a third-party provider and watch it at your leisure. Somebody else stores my favorite TV shows and I can watch those shows from wherever I want. Sweet. Now, in the Cablevision situation, you had to have a Cablevision box, so you had to watch the shows from home, not just anywhere. But imagine if you could just access that show recorded for you from your Ipodlike device via a wireless broadband connection, anywhere, anytime. That's cool.

That's where everything is going: storing massive data collections online and accessing that data on-the-fly via an extremely fast wireless device.

At some point people will realize they don't need to collect copies of their favorite media, but rather access them whenever they want via a streaming service. This is already happening with music thanks to Pandora and That's going to be a seismic shift in the media landscape, I'd be interested to see what someone as thoughtful as Mark Cuban thinks about that.

Google is the likely contender to host the world's media, it is, after all, their mission. It's probably why they purchased YouTube. I'm surprised they don't do the same with music. Perhaps, we'll see Pandora or acquired soon.

It may be a personal fantasy, but I'm hoping for the day that I can access any book, song, or TV show anytime I want, from anywhere, for free, provided I can put up with ads. Hell, I'd probably opt for the $5 a month subscription.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

How to Pitch an MMO?

Even though it's a parody, they have better slides than most people.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Game Geek:, a Trespasser in Nintendo's Walled Garden

Earlier this month I posted about the ability to surf the web on the Nintendo Wii with the Opera Browser. Last week, at the GDC, I overheard a bunch of programmers geeking out about, a site that let's you play web-based flash games with your Wii.

Since the birth of the videogame industry, console manufacturers (Atari, Sega, Nintendo) have extracted enormous licensing fees from game developers in exchange for being allowed to produce games for their console. It's called controlling the channel, and smart companies understand that if you control the channel, then you can demand nearly any sum from others who want to use that channel to reach their audience. It's why Microsoft and Sony don't care if they lose money on every console they sell. They want to own the living room.

Of all the console companies, Nintendo is most strict about licensing. They are obsessed with controlling their console and what content is put on it.

So they must be a bit frothy about, a site that enables developers to create and show off flash games for the Wii. To play the games, you have to install the Opera Web Browser on the Wii, which is relatively easy. Once you have the browser installed you can play any game you like...

...using you wiimote!

I figured I needed to yell so that you would realize how cool that is.

Now, anyone can create a game to be played on the Wii, and they don't need to get Nintendo's permission. That's huge. It's as if the owners of Wrigley Field opened up their baseball stadium for anyone to play on. And I hate baseball, but even I'd like to play on Wrigley Field.

Wiicade is the first crack in the garden wall. Hopefully, the wrecking ball is just around the corner.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Benefits of Direct Competition

A new competitor for Tenuki emerged last night. From totally off the radar. With a service that is very close to ours. And they're ahead of us. Aargh.

You might say "wow, that sucks for you." Well, yes and no.

Yes, it does suck, mainly because they have a lead on us, and if they executed perfectly, they could tie up a significant portion of the market. But no one executes perfectly.

No, it's kinda great. It does the following things:

  • it validates our idea to investors.
  • it forces us to focus harder
  • it makes marketing cheaper
That last point needs a bit of explanation. The first step of marketing is to educate the consumer that they have a need. When you're launching a novel service, it's usually the case that the consumer doesn't realize that they need that service. For example, did millions of Americans realize they "needed" to send text messages? Of course not. No one was rioting in the streets for the ability to text. However, imagine if you took away that ability now. I'm pretty sure the White House would be torched.

Right now, people don't realize they need what Tenuki and our competitors are offering. Which means we need to spend money to educate them about their need. Sounds cynical, right - educating the consumer that they have a need. Probably why marketing has a bad name.

The early entrants to a market have to spend a larger amount of money on consumer education. In fact, this is usually the most expensive phase of marketing plan. These kind souls pave the way for later entrants who can spend all their money advertising the qualities that make them superior to their competitors, knowing that the consumer is already aware of the type of service that they provide.

So to our competitors: thanks for taking one for the team.

And on the PR front, journalists much rather write about two competitors slugging it out in an interesting new space, then about a company dominating its space. By the way, if you ever want some ink, just create a bitter rivalry - it worked great for Tupac and Biggie...oh, well, um, it worked great for P. Diddy and Suge Knight (the guys who owned the record labels).

I could talk about marketing strategy all day, but unfortunately the homeless guy sitting behind me at Starbucks has decided that somebody has screwed him over and that someone needs to pay. Time for Bret to go.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Get a Free Pass to the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco April 15-18 2007

Yes, a free pass. Sure, it's only an Expo pass (value $100) but it's gets you in. I'll be there, so if you want to mock my haircut, blogging style, or dark obsession with Paul Graham, then have at it.

Here's more details on the conference lifted directly from Dave McClure:

Ok folks, here's the skinny:

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Need Help Projecting the Costs of Building and Running Your Web App?

Ryan Carson, over at Carsonified, has graciously posted the costs of producing his web app, Dropsend, as well as the financial figures behind four other companies: FreshBooks, Maya's Mom, Mobissimo, and Wesabe. Better yet, monthly maintenance costs are provided and broken down into categories.

Very valuable stuff.

It's a PDF, so it may wreak havoc on your browser.

How to Choose a VC?: Fred Wilson and the Pixies, and Human Tendencies

Here’s the sad thing about humans, we like people who appear similar to us even superficially. It’s probably hard-wired from the prehistoric days when we roved around in ten person packs and killed anyone who was a stranger. Fun times. (If you want more insight into pack mentality, read the early chapters of Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel. )

Thus, I like Fred Wilson. Why? Because he’s as passionate about the Pixies as I am. I’ve never met the guy and yet I’d be happy to do business with him, because he has excellent taste in music.

Which is stupid of me. I mean, when you’re evaluating a potential business partner, someone who could easily mean the difference between the success and failure of your company, music taste shouldn’t enter into the equation.

Now, obviously Fred has been very successful. By all measures, he appears to be a good guy with whom to do business. But the reason I’d choose him over another VC isn’t his track record, it’s because he grooves on “Brick is Red”.

I think this is human nature and while I’m not proud to make business decisions based on musical compatibility (now there’s an interesting use for iLike), it absolutely influences my relationships with people...just like it did in high school.

Maybe if all VCs and entrepreneurs exchanged a list of their top ten favorite artists as part of the due diligence process, we’d all end up with better business partners.

So here’s mine, as of today, in no particular order:

  1. Pixies
  2. Weezer
  3. The Smiths
  4. Joy Division/New Order (yes, I’m cheating)
  5. The Magnetic Fields
  6. Barcelona
  7. The Clash
  8. Belle and Sebastian
  9. My Life with Thrill Kill Kult
  10. Curtis Mayfield
I doubt I'll have a hard time convincing Fred to post his favorites.

UPDATE: I was right, it wasn't hard. Fred responded within a minute of me posting this. Check the comments to see his top ten list. And after looking over Fred's list, I realized I forgot Belle and Sebastian. I updated my list appropriately.

Lost Post: Who In Their Right Minds Would Start a Startup?

This is the first of a series of lost posts that I wrote but neglected to publish. Enjoy.

Q: Who in their right minds would start a startup?
A: Greedy Bastards.

Which is why so many startups fail. A lot of people start companies because they have a cool idea. Or a marketable idea. Or rich parents.

I can’t judge them too harshly. John and I started a company because we have a cool and marketable idea. Unfortunately, no rich parents. Thus, we beg at the door of Silicon Valley’s surrogate parents, the Sand Hill Sugar Daddies.

Unfortunately, many people who found a startup company during a frothy period (like right now) often lack the most important motivation: passion for their product. I challenge any CEO of a Myspace clone to honestly tell me that he’s passionate about bringing cat owners together with his brilliant new service, PurrfectSpace (made-up name, feel free to take it). C’mon, the guy doesn’t even own a cat. I can’t believe these things are still being launched, or worse, funded. Having said that, Dogster is doing pretty well, and its CEO Howard Rheingold does seem passionate about pets.

How does anyone find the energy to lead a startup from demo to profitability without passion, i.e. if they don’t believe that their product can change how people live?

When John presented the idea for Tenuki to me, the first thing I asked is would I use it? Then, would anyone else I know use it? Then, being a crass capitalist, can we make any money with it?

Answers: 1. Yes, I’d use it. 2. Maybe, better ask my friends. 3. No idea, better research the market space.

Only while I was researching the market space and refining the idea with John did I realize that Tenuki could actually change the way people live. Not in the way that a perpetual energy machine would, or an immortality pill, but in the way they interact with each other. I finally got the Big Idea. And that’s what made me quit my job and move out to San Francisco. I got the passion. The Passion of the John.

Update: A day after I wrote this entry, Fred Wilson wrote a piece on the importance of passion in running a company.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Starbucks Survey: Ever heard of Second Life?

I constantly remind people that despite the massive news coverage of the virtual world of Second Life, the vast majority of people have never heard of it. For instance, the entire Midwest. However, the average Starbucks denizen in San Francisco has not heard of it either. Nor had they heard of There, Habbo Hotel, or Puzzle Pirates. A few had heard of World of Warcraft, from the TV commercials. Everyone had heard of Myspace.

I, of course, look on the bright side. If few people have heard of MMOs and virtual worlds, it means that the space has that much more room to grow. Myspace, on the other hand, may have reached its saturation point.

Admittedly, my sample size was about 15 people. I did not ask the employees. For comparison, I did the same experiment with MacGyver in DC's Union Station. In a 50 person sample, ninety percent knew who MacGyver was.

By the way, this was in a Starbucks in downtown San Francisco, near to Union Square on a Sunday afternoon. Try it yourself. Insert your own particular obsession/company/product. You'll be enlightened.

Learn How to Speed Read Online -

I'm a pretty fast reader. I have no idea what my pages per minute is or any other useful metric, so you'll have to take my word for it.

I found a very cool website,, that lets you paste in a huge chunk of text and then spits the text back out at you, rapidly, in small chunks. You can adjust the chunk size and the speed as you improve. Honestly, it's probably the easiest way to learn how to speed read.

However, if you don't like the automated approach, you're welcome to use a couple tricks that I discovered in college.

Trick 1: As you read look for a very specific bit of information. I was writing a paper on the use of light and darkness in Tess of the D'Urbervilles to highlight or heighten a theme in the book. Pretty standard English Major mumbo jumbo. It's a 600 page book, and frankly I didn't have the time to "savor" the prose. So I zipped through the book, searching for references to light and dark. It took me about an hour and a half, with note-taking included. When I was finished, I realized I had absorbed the whole book so well that I could remember the page number of certain bits of dialogue.

Trick 2: Gist skim. Most non-fiction books are full of fluff. There's no reason to read every word, let alone every sentence, or even every paragraph. Look for the topic sentence of each paragraph, it'll be pretty much all you need to know. Fortunately, it's not always the first sentence in a paragraph, so you'll have to skim the entire paragraph to find it, which gives you a chance to take in the ancillary information.

The sad thing, is that even with these techniques, I can't manage to reduce my daily blog intake to less than an hour a day. *sigh*

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The CEO Playbook: Smile Through the Mild Discomfort

I spent the week at the GDC, sucking up information, schmoozing, and stalking the competition. As a result, I slept about 4-5 hours a night. Friday morning, I woke up, feeling dead tired and as I trudged down the street in misery, I wished it was all over. And then I thought of Julius Caesar.

A glimmer of something I read his account of the war in Gaul, "The Gallic War". Something about the standing in a muddy battlefield at dawn after a sleepless night. Just an image. I haven't read the book since junior high, so my memory is pretty faulty.

Anyway, in comparison to Caesar's travails, I realized that it was stupid for me to think that I should even conceive of a conference full of smart, interesting people, free food, and relatively comfy chairs should somehow be an ordeal. I'm actually kinda of ashamed of even thinking that way.

The thing is, if you're going to be the leader, you got to suck it up, drink the kool-aid, and put a big smile on your face. And you have to do it every day. Despite however your body may feel.

It should be easy for you. You probably have a nice bed, in a nice apartment. Money to pay for food and coffee. Tons of friends and business acquaintances. Probably even enough leisure time to play Orcs and Elves on your cellphone, or catch an episode of Lost on your Tivo.

Even more: you have an opportunity to pursue your dream. People may have already given you money to do so. That's mind-boggling. Other people give you money to pursue YOUR dream. How can you not see how lucky you are?

I can. I sometimes forget, but I think I'll go out today and pick up a copy of The Gallic War just to remind myself how easy I have it. Hopefully, the coffee at Borders won't be too acidic this afternoon, I don't think I could handle any more suffering.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Game Geek: I Like It Hard and Long, so Kill Me.

Hard, as in difficult. Long, as in...well...long.

Nowadays, a lot of games, especially console games, can be beaten in ten to twelve hours. They're designed that way. The games industry believes that people don't want to play long games. I think that's true...if the game sucks.

MMOs, like World of Warcraft prove that people want to play a game for months. Once a player is engaged in a satisfying gaming experience, they want it to go on forever. Or at least, as long as it's still fun. The fun part is tricky. It's so tricky, Raph Koster wrote a whole book to explain to people what makes games fun.

Last night, I had fun. I spent about six hours playing Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord. I'd been craving it since I read the article in Gamasutra about the golden age of computer role-playing games that I mentioned in a previous post. I never beat Wizardry when I was a kid, so I figured now with all my extensive gaming experience, and the help of the internet, it should be pretty easy. Um, It's still really hard.

For those of you who aren't familiar with it, Wizardry is the standard "party of six heroes descend (slowly) through a dungeon of monsters to defeat an evil wizard" game. Except, I'm pretty sure, Wizardry is the game that created the standard.

By the time I went to sleep at 3AM, all my characters were level 8. Only level 8. After six hours of play. For comparison, if you play World of Warcraft for six hours you will probably have reached level 30. I shouldn't say probably. That's a solid number based on research from Xerox Parc. In fact, in WOW, you can reach level 60, the highest level, in twenty hours.

I'll be honest, if it wasn't for the save state function on my emulator, I wouldn't even be that far. In Wizardry, when one of your characters is killed, they are dead. That's it. Roll a new character. I, of course, cheated, just like I did back in the eighties by making copies of the save file so that if one of my characters died I could just restore the game.

But I kinda wish I wouldn't have. Accepting that your character can die forever, is a completely different way of thinking about role-playing. You can't get emotionally attached to your characters. They die. You punch your computer. You create a new character and add them to the party. You become more cautious about encountering powerful monsters. You run away more often. You don't bully through the game, you assess risks, you think strategically. You learn to accept losses.

Modern gamers never have to accept losses, they just hit restore.

Character death is a game dynamic that I'd like to see return to games. Right now, RPGs are focused on process, i.e. building up character's experience, rather then the ultimate goal, defeating the game. That makes perfect sense for neverending MMOs. But in a standalone title, refocusing the player on achieving the goal and having then make the necessary sacrifices, such as the death of your super-awesome archmage, to achieve that goal would be refreshing, and IMHO, truer to life.

Ooh! I just came up with a name for a game of this type: Dungeon Fodder. I claim it, it's mine, so all you greasy handed, grabby game developers better back off, or I'll have to kill your Night Elf.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Uber-Geek Comedy: Economics Humor Video

Unfortunately, this is the kind of stuff I find funny. It's a five minute video of a guy who calls himself the Standup Economist. I laughed out loud twice, which if you know me, is EXTREMELY high praise.

Top Ten MMOs (according to Xfire Stats)

Xfire, a free specialized IM client for hardcore games, is now releasing daily stats on their users' playing habits. Since they have an install base of over 6 million hardcore gamers, it's likely that it's a pretty accurate representative sample of the online hardcore gaming community.

Right now, the top ten MMOs in average hours played (you'll notice that more than half the list are Asian MMOs. It's easy to tell because you've never heard of them.):

1. World of Warcraft (Shocking!)
2. Guild Wars
3. Silk Road Online
4. MapleStory
5. EVE Online
6. Lineage II
7. Flyff
8. Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided
9. Kal Online
10. RF Online

I was surprised not to see Ragnarok Online on the list, but looking over at Daily Hours Played per Person, it's ranked #3. Weird.

As indicated above, half of the games listed are Asian MMOs. Obviously, Xfire must have a large install base in Asia. However, I'm sure the "massive" popularity of online games in Asia contributes as well.

The Suckiness of Stealth Mode

Okay, so I'll admit it's pretty ironic that the founder of a company in stealth-mode blogs everyday about the experience of running the stealth-mode company. It's pretty fun being cryptic about what we do. Example: we're a early-stage non-traditional games company with a focus on socialization. See, it's almost as bad as corporatespeak. From that description, I couldn't even tell you exactly what we're doing.

I'm going the Game Developer's Conference next week, where I'll meet countless interesting people in the games industry who inevitably are going to ask me about Tenuki. And I can't tell them. I'm going to have to fumble through vague explanations. Toss out the phrase "stealth-mode" a couple hundred times. Or flat out lie.

All options that suck. I want to share the Tenuki vision. Seduce database engineers. Get feedback from the braintrust of the industry. Frighten young children.

Honestly, if I meet Will Wright (creator of all things Sim), I'm just going to have to tell him about us. Right after, I beg for a beta copy of Spore.

Further Reading:
Jeremy Liew over at Lightspeed Venture Partners has a good analysis of the pros and cons of being in stealth mode. At the moment, I'm a big believer in the cons.

Games Industry Stock Tracker

I added a games industry stock tracker widget to my blog. I was inspired to do this by the new games industry stock tracker at GigaGamez, which I didn't care for. GigaGamez's stock tracker included a bunch of companies whose core businesses were not games. For example, they include Sony, Microsoft, and Time Warner in their tracker. The games division in each of these companies is minor compared to their larger businesses. If you're looking for trends, it seems to me that a tracker that includes only pureplay games companies will be more useful. so that's what I created. Unfortunately, I had to leave Nintendo out because it trades over-the-counter(OTC) and the Yahoo! Finance widget doesn't track OTC, yet.

My tracker includes:

Electronic Arts(ERTS) the giant games publisher.
Take2 Interactive(TTWO), the publisher of Grand Theft Auto, among other titles.
THQ(THQI), another large publisher
Shanda(SNDA), a huge operator of MMOs in China.
The9(NCTY), another operator of MMOs in China, especially World of Warcraft.
Gamestop(GME), the largest US games retailer, which also owns the EBGames retail chain.
Atari(ATAR), a subsidiary of Infogrames, a French games company.

Obviously, there are a lot of important games companies missing, but that's because either they are owned by a giant conglomerate, as Blizzard is owned by Vivendi; or they are privately held companies. Or I just forgot to include them. If so, let me know.