Wednesday 24 September 2014

Behind the Scenes ~ A success story of Zooby's with Carrie Tatsu

Zooby's, an established name in a virtual world called Second Life. A virtual project that made it big. It is said that babies make a family complete. Zooby's babies are one of the most loved and the most sought after babies in Second Life. Read more about the success story of Zooby's from Carrie Tatsu, owner of Zooby's.

Debby Sharma: Zooby's was founded back in 2006, please tell us how did it start? What was the idea behind it and what motivated it to become the huge project?
Carrie Tatsu: I joined Second Life after I quit my job working at a Chicago Advertising Agency. I had a 3 month old baby and needed an escape for a few hours a day. I read an article that people were selling virtual merchandise online. I found the concept interesting and logged on while the baby slept. In the beginning I bought a cat and the cat became a part of my virtual identity. I thought that I could make a more realistic looking cat, so I did. My intention in the beginning was to create various pets to help cover some living expenses. I was actually hesitant to purchase virtual real estate, but eventually needed to. The pet store grew and I rented some land so I could advertise a location and establish a store and brand. Eventually I was able to replace my ad salary and did not have to go back to work. Two years later my husband, who also worked in advertising, quit his job to help me grow the business.

Debby Sharma: Please tell us, a little about yourself. How has the experience been as a builder, creator and an administrator?
Carrie Tatsu: I have an MFA in Fine Art from Art Institute of Chicago. I have two small children. I am currently investing in a second company called PowerPrim.  We are creating a game called Weirdables that will exist outside Second Life. It is a life simulation game that will run on mobile and tablet for both iPhone and Android. In order for our team to grow we need to establish ourselves outside of Second Life. We hope to have Weirdables launch in spring/ summer 2015.

Debby Sharma: Most of the newbies in the virtual world called, Second Life, are aware of Zooby's being the best with role playing prim babies. How did the idea to make babies as realistic as possible struck? What is its success story?
Carrie Tatsu: When we created pets we had to create a new model and texture for each breed. We knew if we made babies we would only need one model for all babies and only had to worry about textures. This allowed us to create a large amount of babies that had a variety of faces and skin tones. I think our success was due to the babies functionality and its development over time. We never forced anyone to pay to grow their baby, but if they cared for their baby, it would grow and learn and earn tokens for free toys. So the incentive was if the owner did these things then a reward was provided.

Debby Sharma: According to you, why do you think people want to become parents in Second Life?
Carrie Tatsu: People want an escape from their real lives. SL provides this. Some people cannot have babies in real life or their children are grown or they are not in relationships. In SL people can have these relatively easily.

Debby Sharma: Lemurs are beautiful breedable animals. Why did you choose lemurs specifically? Would we see other kinds of breedable animals in future?
Carrie Tatsu: We did not want to create a cat or dog breedables, because they are already done. Lemurs are interesting and adorable and we had an opportunity to make them unique and offer something different for the breeding community.

Debby Sharma: There are numerous competitors in baby business and also the breedable business. What is the secret in being a stand out and a stand firm business?
Carrie Tatsu: Absolute dedication and drive. I had a laptop with me when I was in the hospital after delivering my second child. Laughs. I am personally very driven and do not want to have to work for anyone. It has not been easy and there have, and still are, growing pains. We have a terrific team and we communicate daily. We have online project management sites to help keep track of timelines and current projects. For Weirdables we are using DropBox, Skype and Atlassian which are incredibly powerful tools that help us run things efficiently and communicate effectively.

Debby Sharma: What is the motivating factor that drives you forward?
Carrie Tatsu: When I worked for an ad agency I felt that no matter what I did, someone else owned it. I was not a fan of office politics either. When you create your own content you are ultimately responsible for its success or failure. This personally drives me because I can work closely with our team to make the terrific content. We do not have a client or a creative director telling us to change this or that or dilute the project.

Debby Sharma: A great project can not be successful without its members and a team. Could you please share with us, some thoughts on your team? Any specific memorable moments with your team?
Carrie Tatsu: I have a wonderful partner and a dedicated team of developers. I also have amazing customer service people. I could not have done this without them.

Debby Sharma: What is the most memorable milestone in your journey with the Zooby's?
Carrie Tatsu: Getting the babies fully functional and complete.

Debby Sharma: Zooby's have so many affiliated shops, where the parents have started their own little business of making Zooby'products. What triggered the idea and how far do you think is it successful?
Carrie Tatsu: We had an endless request for clothing and accessories. There was no way our team could meet that demand and make everything ourselves. I thought if we could sell scripts to allow other content creators to help make clothing, then the demand would be met, we would get a small cut to every sale and other creators could make money from our products.

Debby Sharma: Have you thought of expanding Zooby's to other virtual worlds too? What do you think of InWorldz as a virtual world and its scope?
Carrie Tatsu: We are considering it, but ultimately we think the next step is to make a game outside of Second Life. As I mentioned earlier, we are working on Weirdables.

Debby Sharma: Would you like to give us any hint on any future projects?
Carrie Tatsu: Weirdables! Imagine is Farmville  and Pokeman had a baby.

Debby Sharma: The popularity and love for Zooby's is beyond words. I had started an unofficial group for the photographers and events and market place for the people who love Zooby's, called The World of Zooby's, and the response is overwhelming. The love can be  seen in each of their photographs posted in the groups. Would you like to say anything to your fans using this podium?
Carrie Tatsu: Thank you so much.

Interviewer's take:
It was an honor to talk with Carrie Tatsu. She is humble and has been patient throughout the interview process. We learn that through perseverance, one can achieve the successful destination. The success story of her team motivates us, in the little things we try to do and achieve in our life. So, dear Reader, be inspired and be motivated.

1 comment:

  1. ROBLOX is powered by a growing membership base of more than 300,000 creator players who generate an infinite variety of highly immersive experiences.

    These experiences range from 3D multiplayer games and competitions, to interactive adventures where friends can take on new avatars exploring what it would be like to be a dinosaur, a miner working a mine or an astronaut on a space exploration.