Why a Startup CEO Should Volunteer at a Conference

Casual Connect Amsterdam is about a month behind us now. It was a really great experience for us at SOOMLA. This is the third time we are attending Casual Connect, the 2nd time I’m a speaker at the event and also the second time we are volunteering to help.

Reasons for Volunteering at Conferences

Why did we volunteer to help at the indie game showcase?

There are quite a few people who found it odd that I’m volunteering at the conference. In fact, I’m the only speaker who asked to also volunteer according to the guys at Casual Connect, so I guess it is a bit unusual. For us at SOOMLA volunteering is almost a no brainer. SOOMLA is an open source company and so contribution, sharing work with the community and helping indie game developers out is a second nature.

However, it was such a great experience that I think more startups should at least try it. I’ll focus on my experience and try to share as much as I can. Generalizing my experience would make it mostly relevant to developer focused companies but the same principals could easily apply for companies with other target audience.

What does volunteering mean?

My volunteering experience is with the Indie Showcase at Casual Connect. The volunteering included arriving a day early to brief and help set things up. The main task was helping the indie developers to showcase their games. Making sure their game demos are functioning as planned, learning about their games and helping with demos. In other words, act like you are on the developers’ team.

Is it embarrassing in any way?

One of the things that I was most concerned about is how to save face. What would people think about me if they know I’m a volunteer? Well, like with many other things in life I discovered that the demons were mostly mine and most people don’t care. Of course, I didn’t know that at the beginning and I stressed out enough to prepare some canned responses. Being both a speaker and a volunteer made it clear that I’m not volunteering to save the price of the ticket so part of my canned responses were focused on emphasizing that I’m also a speaker. Other responses I prepared for myself were around being an open source company and wanting to establish a culture of contribution. However, most people didn’t detect that we weren’t regular attendees and the ones that did figure out we have some role in the organization of the event though we are simply part of the staff.

Having a role breaks the ice and makes interactions meaningfulVolunteering at the casual connect event allows for meaningful interactions with mobile game developers.

One thing I liked the first time I volunteered is that it forced me to engage in conversations with other people. Sometimes, coming to a new event as an outsider is not easy because a lot of the people already know each other. Being part of the group of volunteers means that you already know a few people when the first day of the conference arrives. Moreover, the Indie showcase volunteers’ role is to engage in conversations with game developers so you have no doubts when you randomly start conversation with people. Finally, when you do talk to indie game developers, you are helping them out – the chances of them remembering you from all the people they meet is 10 times higher.

Getting backstage access helps you prepare

As part of the event operation you get to know the event team. This is a huge asset down the line as you want to become a speaker, do something extraordinary that will get you remembered or simply get introduced to someone. At the last casual connect, we handed out SOOMLA t-shirts – having a place to store them really helped. At a show before that, I was able to get a mailing list of all the indie game developer simply by knowing who to ask.

Feel free to share:

SOOMLA is coming to GDC and Game Connection

No meeting is like a personal meeting.

Meet us to see the impact of our open source framework

Soombot wants to meet game developers at game connection and game development conference. We need your help to improve the open source framework.
Indie game developers of the world: We want to meet you in person, look into your eyes and show you how much we mean it when we say that an open source framework is exactly what indie developers need in order to succeed. We want to learn more about your studios and tell you about our future plans. Your feedback is crucial to the success of yourself and other using the SOOMLA open source framework.

Connect with us and tell us about your games

We’re going to be at Game Connection and GDC 2014 in San Francisco. If you want to meet us you’re more than welcome to email us at: refael@soom.la

We’ll be more than happy to see you there 🙂

Feel free to share:

Looking Forward to Meeting You at Casual Connect Amsterdam

Casual Connect Amsterdam is just around the corner and we are very excited about it. As in previous years, the conference includes the Indie Showcase which SOOMLA is proud to support throughout all the different conferences. We can’t wait to meet more Indie developers and learn more about your needs.Casual Connect Europe is a conference for game developers

Be sure to also check out my session on Thursday 1:30pm – Addictive Game-Playing Economies: getting players dreaming about Virtual Goods. Will make sure to share the slides and the video recorded session after the conference for those of you who are not attending.

If you happen to attend the conference and would like to connect, please send me an email to yaniv [at] soom [dot] la.


Feel free to share:
Announcement, Events

Unite 2013 Keynote brings some really great news for Unity developers

As SOOMLA is participating in Unite 2013 and I know that many of you guys didn’t make it to Vancouver I thought I would give you a quick overview of the keynote the guys from Unity put together. Some really exciting news to share.

Unite 2013 Keynote brings some really great news for Unity developers

David led the keynote with an overview of the industry. The industry today is in this crazy state where most titles are dated after 6-24 months and there is a content hunger for fresh games. Great news for game developers and especially for small teams who still make a large part of the revenue in mobile games. The opportunity is up there for the grabs according to David.
To share the first announcement Todd Hooper was called to the stage. Unity has been working on building a cloud offering focused on User acquisition, Cross Promotion and Monetization. They are starting off with Cross Promotion and will easily allow game developers to integrate interstitial ads with a single line of code and then control them from the dashboard. This is a great way for developers to leverage the Unity community. The same mechanism will also allow game developers to monetize their games by taking interstitials campaigns from bigger games and Unity already lined up many of the key players: Supercell, Kabam, Glu and others.
The second announcement was about Union becoming Unity Games and about Unity plans for becoming a game publisher. On top of the standard package you can get from the average publisher Unity brings great relationship with the platform providers, developer friendly terms and leveraging the community to cross promote. Most importantly, Unity don’t have 1st party games which means that the playground is leveled for indie game developers.
The last announcement and maybe the most exciting for some of the developers is the new 2d engine that will be included in Unity 4.3. We are talking about a flat scene, new physics engine focused on 2d, simplified animation using sprites and many optimizations to make your 2d game run super smooth.
Really exciting news for the Unity developer community. Can’t wait to see these things role out.


Feel free to share:
Announcement, Events

Coming to Casual Connect USA? 3 Ways to Connect with SOOMLA

We are very excited these days as we are finalizing our preparations for Casual Connect USA. Connecting and listening to your feedback is very important for us so if you are coming, it will be great if you hang by and say hello.

Here are 3 ways to connect with SOOMLA during the show:

Setting up a Meeting

If you want to book a meeting in advance we will be happy to reserve a time for you. Tweet us, facebook us or simply drop us an email to project@soom.la and we will take it from there.

Coming to “The Perfect Store” Session

SOOMLA Co-founder will be giving a speech about free to play mobile games based on his articles that got featured on Gamasutra and Gamedev.net.
Hall A, August 1st, 2:30pm.
the perfect store solution presentation by Soomla

Coming Over to the Indie Showcase

SOOMLA is a proud sponsor of the Indie Showcase. We will not have a booth but if you come to the Indie Showcase you should be able to spot the shirts with the robot shaped logo.
Hoping to see you there.


Feel free to share:

Casual Connect USA – Israel Gaming Industry Shows How Much it Has Grown

Casual Connect USA - Israel Gaming Industry Shows How Much it Has Grown


CasualConnect USA is less than 3 weeks away and SOOMLA is proud to be a sponsor of the Indie Showcase. One thing that caught my attention is the strong presence of Israeli speakers in casual connect. The gaming industry have grown quite a bit in the last few years and it’s great to see that it starts to receive some global recognition.

You can see the sessions are also well diversified with representatives from the development side, publishing and tools and quite surprisingly no presence in the advertising and casino tracks that have been a strong focus of Israel based companies in the past.
If you happen to be attending, here are the details about the sessions:
Guy Bendov, SideKick Games
Keeping Your Development Team Motivated to Run the Free-to-Play Marathon
Most experienced developers are used to a particular product cycle. First you brainstorm the concept, then you prototype and research, then you finalize your design and get down and dirty in heavy production, then you QA, finish, launch and start over with a new game. But that’s not how Free to Play works! How do you keep a dev team directed, motivated, and happy when the designs are fluid, development is iterative, improvement is incremental, and launch is just the beginning of a long, long road? Join Guy Bendov, CEO of Sidekick Games as he remembers his teams’ journey to embrace a service evolution reality and the challenges Sidekick overcame to get there.
Yaniv Nizan, SOOMLA
The Perfect Store – Getting Users to the In-game Stores and Keeping Them There
Based on research spanning more than 50 of the top In-Game stores and interviews with leading game designers, SOOMLA has developed a system for giving users an in-game shopping experience that will keep them engaged with your game and specifically with the store component. This session will focus on practical advice and guidelines for building the perfect store.
Eyal Rabinovich, PlayScape
Game Design Vs. Game Marketing: Battle Round (Panel)
Featured for the first time, this quick-paced format will discuss a diversity of conflicts between game design and game marketing. If you’re seeking to gain insights into practical design and marketing approaches, pique your curiosity with new ideas and to challenge yourself to look at your work in new ways – this is a must-attend session. The debated topics will include: Which Should Lead the Way – Marketing or Design, Should Game Marketers Care About Design, Does Game Marketing Corrupt Games and more. Join Eyal Rabinovich (PlayScape) and Tom Hess (ngmocoDeNA) as they passionately debate their different points of view. The session will be led by Brian Sapp from Tapjoy.
Tzvi Kopetz, Applicasa
Production & Monetization Pain Points – How to Avoid Them?
Creating high quality games is important for every studio’s success. The process of producing the game before launch and monetizing it after launch is another key factor to consider. With today’s services, every studio can produce and monetize faster and easier. Tzvi will discuss the pain points of game developers today and how they can avoid them by using the monetization and production tools available today. He will mention which ones are most important, show which types of tools to select according to the type of game being produced, and describe how they are different from one another.
Leonard Frankel, Plarium
Growing a Hardcore Game on Facebook
How we brought a hard-core strategy game to over 4m MAU in less than 3 months.
This will be a walk through on our game mechanics, user acquisition thoughts, platform integrations and payments.
Plarium is the 2nd largest HC games developer on Facebook with Stormfall: Age of War as one of its leading titles.
Feel free to share: