Rough waters ahead
Apologies it’s been a while since my journal update. The last few updates had all been made on the Gaia pledge pages and I’ve been spend more time fighting fires than anything else. It’s hard to take time out from work to write, and it’s especially hard to write when there’s only bad news to share.
Since the day me, CP, L0cke and Bluecow returned to Gaia, we had the strategy to divide and conquer. CP and Bluecow work on external projects to bring in more revenue or investments, while me and L0cke focus on Gaia itself and continue serving the community. The team tried a number of projects from Lucky Live, Hi Pop, PocketCon, to making more mobile games. Back in 2018 PocketCon picked up a lot of interest from investors, and things were looking promising with potentially more money for us to create new projects.
We kept trying different projects because we were faced with a simple challenge. We wish to grow as a company, but we don’t want to put more pressure onto existing Gaia members for funds. If we can have additional business that generate revenue, then we could simply focus on making features and events for Gaia, stop placing any focus on revenue projects and be the community that Gaia once was.
In mid 2018 Bluecow had several Chinese investors lined up and things were looking good, our teams had been pushing ahead with having 3 projects running at the same time, and each project has a lot of promise.
But things started taking a turn for the worse as tension between China and the US continued to build, and China’s economy continued declining. Within a few months the promised payments from each investor were delayed due to their funds being cut short. The company made a few loans to make ends meet while we waited, but eventually figured out that the investment funds were not happening, and we were in a pinch.
As matters were getting worse, it was the day for the big Gaia server migration. Gaia Online faced a lot of issues and instabilities, which end up hurting our revenue at a time of need.
At the end, we did the only thing that were were allowed to do, which is to cut any of the external teams to make ends meet. During this transition, funds were short, and payments to everyone were delayed. All founders cut our salaries by half, and took out money from our savings to help pay for everyone else’s salary, and other staff members also had a paycut to make ends meet. But as of today, we are still several weeks behind in payment. Reason being that during any layoff, the company still responsible to pay off any vacation time and other outstanding costs, which set us back by about a month.
As of today Gaia is cash flow positive, meaning that we make more money than the expense of running the company. However we still need to catch up in back pay, as well as a few loans that were made.
Gaia as a company is safe, but we are under a lot of pressure to catch up in back pay. Most staff members were very understanding of the company’s situation, but there are a number of staff that need every paycheck to make ends meet, so as a company we put this pressure on ourselves to make things right for our staff members.
It will take a few months for Gaia to stabilize and catch up in payments.
Meanwhile, we are still focused on the Gaia projects that means the most to us, which is the upcoming holiday event, as well as the Gaia mobile app. The Gaia rewards program was just released as a replacement for the GC bonus system, which hopefully will help speed up our recovery.
In the meantime, I hope that you can be patient with us, as we get back on our feet and continue building Gaia for you. We are lucky and grateful to be able to do what we love as a full time job, and we will continue working as long as we can.