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Lanzer's Journal
Recent changes in Gaia HQ
For a while now Gaia had been a big company working under big strategies and big rules. By big I mean that we as a company has about a hundred people all trying to do what we can to make Gaia a better website. In order for us to orchestrate a large team, many of us end up spending more time managing teams, while the dynamic of how great ideas come from lunch time conversations, or ideas big and small come from chatting with users online become less and less possible.

The result, which should not be surprising to many older Gaians here is that there were many decisions made in the past that upset the community, while many core features are left un-attended. The "just do it" attitude changes to "let's do what majority will agree to do after the next big meeting" attitude.

To make a long story short, it took us a long while to really sit down and just allow creativity roam free and let individuals run wild with ideas and addressing specific user concerns. The recent flash game updates or the heaven forum are some of those examples. There came a point in which we notice that acting like a bigger company comes at the expense of not being able to quickly respond to the need of Gaians as our level of communication also took a toll.

Realizing what we need to do is not enough. When we're a team with a hundred people, saying "let's work like when we have very little people" is not easy to do at all. In the meantime, the cost of keeping a large team was taking a toll.

To keep a large team going, Gaia HQ need a large sum of money. It's kind of simple math but what it all means is that everything lead to what many Gaians called "Gaia was becoming money hungry". This is another aspect that act against our goal of creating a great place to hang out.

This week we've been making a number of changes that are painful. It focus around reducing how much money we need each month by reducing the amount of people within Gaia HQ. Similar to what happened two years ago, it lead off to some very painful decisions and moments.

As we continue moving forward. We vow to place more and more focus towards fixing broken features, building better events, telling more stories, and adding features that are core to the Gaia community.

But that's not all. We also have efforts which will allow us to create games and features for people inside and outside of Gaia. The thought process is simple - imagine if we build a game and we only ask Gaians to help pay for it, we'll need to push much harder and nobody will be happy. Compared to us building a game for both Gaians and people on other sites such as Facebook to also play it and help pay, then the stress over asking only Gaians to keep our teams going will be less. Hope that makes sense.

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