Angry Birds and Remembering Your Peeps

In my blog-reading today, I came across an interesting article at TUAW (aka "The Unofficial Apple Weblog") written by Mike Schramm about the exceedingly-popular Angry Birds franchise.

If you're unfamiliar with Angry Birds, it's likely that at least one of these two conditions are true for you:
  1. you don't have a mobile device of any type (iPhone, iPad, Droid, etc.) and know no one who does, OR
  2. you have been stuck under a rock for the past three years. [Aside: I mean you no disrespect if you prefer to inhabit holes under rocks as your primary dwelling.]
Okay, since many of you have heard about this addictive game, perhaps you'd be interested to read the latest about what Rovio, the game company parent of said game, has in store for the future "world domination" of Angry Birds. Not to spoil your reading of the article, but here's a summary of their current efforts:
  1. new Angry Birds Seasons episodes for St. Patrick's Day
  2. new Angry Birds Rio game coinciding with the Rio animated movie release
  3. new plush piggy banks (smashable with sound effects? don't know...)
  4. interest in pursuing their own full length feature movie(s)
I've been intrigued by the dispersion of this game across multiple operating systems (including most recently Mac OSX) and the incredible fan behavior that has emerged in a very short amount of time. This is a current interest of mine as my colleague, Vassilis Dalakas, and I have been working on a research project that includes fan behavior and the social outcomes of such behavior.

By the way, have you seen the numerous Angry Birds-themed birthday cakes? Here's a video of one that you can play...and eat.

Back to the TUAW Article
The last two paragraphs of the article mention a potentially touchy situation for Rovio as it unfolds at the Game Developers Conference:
"There was one hiccup in Vesterbacka's world domination plan: just as the Q&A after the panel was ending, someone stepped up to the mic to ask what physics engine Angry Birds used. Vesterbacka replied that Rovio used Box2D, a very versatile open source physics engine used often in iOS development. "Would you be willing to credit it?" the questioner then asked. "I'm Erin Catto," he continued, "the creator of Box 2D." While credit isn't required to use the Box 2D engine, Rovio had used the code in its megahit without even providing a nod in the credits to Catto's work."
Now, what would you have done at this point? Do you acknowledge this important physics engine in front of the developer community and, potentially, expose yourself to sneering and jeering by those who think you're self-absorbed?

What do you think Rovio should do with regard to Erin Catto and the open source physics engine that he created? Should Erin expect anything from Angry Birds? Would he be in the right if he did expect something? If Rovio is using open source software, would they be expected to recognize it in their credits?

It's interesting to think of the relationship that Rovio has with Erin Catto...and, it's challenging to consider how you or I might respond to those "peeps" who have gone before you to help your venture succeed...directly and indirectly.

The article hints at a continuing conversation between Rovio and Erin Catto:
"'I'd like to talk to you after the panel,' said Vesterbacka as the programmer-friendly crowd gave Catto a round of applause. Angry Birds may be a simple game that's taken over the world, but the developers at GDC reminded Rovio in their own way of the platform it started out on."
Remembering Your Peeps
A few years ago, I received a check in the mail from one of my former employers. It caught me off guard since I hadn't worked at the firm for more than six years. I looked at the check and read the accompanying letter in hopes of determining why I had been blessed with it. The letter explained that the company had achieved considerable financial success and they were now rewarding their current employees and past employees who had been a part of growing the business. I was floored and deeply touched by their generosity and their remembrance of my past contributions to their current success.

If you've started a venture, you know that you couldn't have done it on your own. Have you, in a meaningful way, thanked those who have helped you on your entrepreneurial path? I don't prescribe that it must be financial. If you focus on that, you're losing the message.

Who are your peeps? Who are the "giants" whose shoulders you are standing on that enable you to see further?

*image courtesy of

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