Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Culture Shock: Textbook Evaluations

There were definitely times as a game developer when I'd have "I can't believe I'm actually getting paid to do this" moments.

The other day, I receive an email from a textbook publisher asking me to fill out a survey on one of their books; they're considering a new edition and they want to know what teachers think of the current one. I happen to already have a copy, so it doesn't involve any extra time on my part to evaluate the thing -- I did that months ago.

So, I'm offered a complimentary copy of the book that I already have (hello, ebay), plus another book of my choice, plus a small amount of cash. In exchange for the privilege of letting a textbook company know how their products can be better modified to serve me, and knowing that they'll actually listen. Twist my arm, why don't you!

I never had this in the game industry. No one ever came to me as a programmer and said "here, we'll pay you to tell us what new features to implement in the next version of Visual Studio". No one approached me as a designer saying "we'd like to give you this complimentary copy of our mind-mapping software, just let us know if you find it useful." It's an entirely different dynamic.

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