By Michael J Gibson, CMO – Kwest
I’d like to tell you a little about a dog named Cosmo.
At the park that I take my dog to, there was a little Boston Terrier named Cosmo. This pup was probably one of the most adorable things on this planet. He had that super snuffly snort breathing style when he got running around and panting, and he was tremendously friendly. And, somewhat unexpectedly, he drives me to build amazing technology with a passionate team here at Kwest.
But the best thing Cosmo did was lie down and crawl across the grass. He’d roll around and just generally have a truckload of doggy fun. I loved his style. Walk in, say hi to the other dogs, and then fwump! Down went his belly onto the grass. He would just revel in it.
I would often watch that and quip “One day, I just want to be as happy as Cosmo with a fresh patch of grass to roll around in.”
Cosmo recently died, but I’ve been reflecting on my observation of him. I realized that Cosmo wasn’t just happy because of where he was, or what he was doing, or even the people around. All of those things helped, but at the core of it, Cosmo was happy because he had the opportunity to be happy. He could BE that happy anywhere there was some grass and his tummy. That’s a lot of opportunity to be happy. So I started considering what my own version of those opportunities were.
In late 2017, I began chemo to treat Stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and while I was internally devastated, I made lots of jokes and tried to be positive and put on happy faces for my medical staff, family, friends, and even my partner. Those happy faces weren’t always genuine, but it made me happy to reassure people that I was doing okay.
Sometimes it was easier to pretend to be happy or that I was feeling good than others. Most days, it was a spectrum, but I coped. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it was just my reality.
While in treatment, I struggled knowing that regardless of my outcomes, it was going to be difficult to start a new life and career. That’s when I met Omeed and Kwest.
Kwest, at its roots, is all about exploration and adventure. Omeed and the original team launched the first platform in early 2016, engaging users in location-based adventure to re-discover their city. Players would solve riddles, puzzles and clues that guided them from one amazing place to the next – completing challenges along the way to earn discounts and free swag. Think of a super tech savvy scavenger hunt, meets guided tour – with a little “Groupon” sprinkled on top.
I was enamored with the idea of bridging the gap between the digital world and the material world. As a long-time storyteller and consumer of technology, and with my time spent working as a marketer for emerging tech, I decided to take a shot and reach out to Omeed. It was a fantastic fit, and we clicked immediately. His time as an “intrapreneur” in the medical field, and his drive to create projects like Kwest tells a story that I couldn’t even possibly attempt to summarize here. Suffice to say we compliment each other wonderfully, and I’m proud to work alongside him.
Fast forward to today, and not only am I completely healthy, at Kwest, we’ve grown to an amazingly talented team of 13 – and have been hard at work building this brand new version of Kwest for the world. With a targeted launch of Q1 2019, our new platform will still focus on location-based adventure – however this time centered around storytelling.
The game will immerse users in location-based, storytelling experiences out in their city – where they play as the main character in an interactive narrative adventure. Think Pokemon Go meets Choose Your Own Adventure.
And we’re more than just a game. We’ve spent the last year and a half building this truly amazing Transmedia Storytelling platform. Our aim is to work with as many entertainment brands as possible – bringing everyone’s favorite books, audio books, TV shows & movies to life through a brand new medium. With Kwest, you now become a character in your favorite stories, and choose what happens in your own unique location-based experience.
And it makes me happy.
I think maybe focusing on simplifying goals and thinking “am I doing something that will help me be happy?” is a good one.
Today, the most important part of the Kwest journey and team are the users. And right now, we’re building a great group of beta users who will get early access and behind-the-scenes info on our process and the game itself. If folks are interested, they can join us at https://www.kwest.app!
I’m worried about my next steps. I can be honest with myself and you folks about that. But I’m also sure that no matter what, I’ll be taking them. Whatever they are.
And I hope you’ll come with us.