Employee Spotlight – Greg, Sr. Software Engineer @ IMVU

Employee Spotlight – A New Series

IMVU’s Employee Spotlight is a monthly series that focuses on IMVU team members and highlights some of the cool things they get to do every day.

Greg, Senior Software Engineer (Avatar name: “gregory”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Greg first joined IMVU a little over two years ago, he had just received his master’s degree in Structural Engineering from Stanford. “I thought IMVU provided a great opportunity for me to jump into the Computer Science world,” Greg recalls. And that it did. In his role as Senior Software Engineer, Greg’s primary focus is on coding – and lots of it. Even in his spare time, Greg works on developing his coding skills (when he’s not motorcycle camping or hanging out with his girlfriend, that is).

While the ability to ship high-quality features to customers quickly is essential to success as a Senior Software Engineer, it’s not what Greg cites as the key factor to doing his job well – instead, it’s the ability to work well on a team. Greg explains that his job, “takes really great communication and a willingness to learn, because you’re going to have to get out of your comfort zone a bunch of times.” One of the consistent challenges that Greg faces is the need to please a user base of over 110 million.  Some of you might remember when Credits were first made available for purchase within IMVU’s 3D Chat application, as opposed to just via the Web site – Greg was one of the guys who made that feature possible, and he says it’s definitely one of the most fun projects he’s had the chance to be a part of.

While the daily intellectual challenges Greg’s job present are definitely one of the perks, he says that the best part of working for IMVU is, without a doubt, the culture the company fosters. Not many companies have the CEO sitting at the same kind of desk as his employees. “He’s just one of us,” Greg says. “We’re all kind of like equals here. That’s almost symbolic of the empowerment we get here. I feel like I can make a really big difference in the company with any side project I want. I have a voice.”

We couldn’t be happier that a little over two years ago, Greg made that decision to step out of his comfort zone and try something new. Are you interested in trying something new like Greg did? Check out our Jobs page for current openings at IMVU!

Creator Showcase – The May Edition

IMVU’s Creator Showcase is a monthly series that highlights Creators for their content creating achievements. Our Creators populate the shop with products expressing their talents, skills and artistic vision while all IMVU users enrich their experience with these millions of products to dress up their 3D avatars and decorate their chat rooms.

May’s Creator Showcase features Dalamar1013, a Creator who has been with IMVU since 2007.

Dalamar1013 is known for his many helpful texture tutorials in our Texture Developing forums. From tips on body mapping, creating accessories, or a refresher on how to make a bundle, Dalamar1013′s inspiring tutorials have helped many new content creators. A design engineer in real-life, Dalamar enjoys making a range of products for IMVU”s catalog including making custom versions upon request. He is motivated by his own creator energy but above all wanting to have fun! You can spot his popular hairstyle products worn by many around IMVU’s chat rooms.

 

To learn more about Dalamar1013 and hear his advice for new creators, please read our forum post.

Update regarding Service Outage

As per our earlier communication, IMVU has been the target of another external and malicious attack starting around 12 noon on Saturday, June 1st (Pacific Time). As before, our systems and data continue to be secure while our internet connection services get impacted. As a result, on June 1st, our customers again experienced problems accessing our website, 3D Chat and various features of our services throughout the day.

We sincerely apologize to our customers who could not enjoy their IMVU experience in the manner they are accustomed to. Our team has been working non-stop to address the issues to ensure our customers can get back online, chat with their friends and play. We will continue these efforts and keep you updated. Meanwhile, we appreciate your patience and thank you for being part of our community.

 

Information regarding recent outage

We wanted to share some information with all our customers regarding the site-wide issues we have experienced starting at around 3 PM on Tuesday, May 28th (Pacific Time). The difficulties you all experienced trying to use IMVU’s website and/or 3D Chat client were the result of an external and malicious attack on our internet connection services. Our databases and all information systems remained completely secure and no account information was compromised. However, our customers experienced partial or complete lack of connectivity to IMVU over a period of 36 hours. The disruption to service was intermittent and at various times affected some or all of our customers.

As of right now, the website and client are fully accessible. Our team has been working around the clock to resolve the problems and continues to address any remaining issues caused by this disruption.

Please follow our forum post for continued updates regarding any remaining issues and their resolution.

We want to express our sincere apologies for the inconvenience and will continue our diligent efforts to ensure you are all enjoying IMVU to its fullest.

Thank you.

Make that a +1!

Are you following us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or all of the above? Well add another social media channel to the lists because IMVU just joined Google+!

Just as much as you love IMVU, we want others to feel the same way you do. With IMVU Community now on Google+, users can furthermore come together and share their great fashions, creativity, and friendships that have formed here on IMVU. Get to know more about IMVU and the IMVU community you are a part of. Stay in the know about all things IMVU at all times!

Google Plus Blog Post

So go ahead, add IMVU Community to your circle and let the hangouts begin!

IMVU 2Go for Android

After the popularity of our IMVU 2GO application, which has been available to iPhone users for a couple of years, we are now expanding the availability of the app to all of you Android users! IMVU 2GO for Android is now available as a free download in the Google Play Store. Already, we have seen a tremendous response to the app and have made a few updates in response to the feedback we received from our community.

IMVU 2GO for Android allows you to stay connected with your IMVU avatar and friends anytime, anywhere. The app enables you to respond to messages, make friends and even chat using your mobile device.

Similar to IMVU 2GO for iPhone, IMVU 2GO for Android includes following features:

  • Messages: Receive and respond to messages
  • Chat: Accept invites and text chat in the chat rooms
  • Requests: Accept or send friend requests
  • My Profile: Update your profile or upload photos to your albums
  • Friends: See your friends list and stay connected with them
  • Daily Outfit Challenge: See the latest entries and vote for your favorites
  • Pulse: Share your thoughts  and connect with new friends
  • News: Stay in the know with the latest IMVU blog posts
  • Birthdays: Know when it’s your friend’s birthday and gift them

We know you may miss IMVU if you step away from your computers, with IMVU 2GO you no longer have to. If you have not already done so, download the app today, sign into your IMVU account and receive a cool, fun gift for your avatar!

Creator Showcase – The April Edition

By KatieMarie

IMVU’s Creator Showcase is a monthly series that highlights Creators for their content creating achievements.

After recognizing a prominent member of the Creating community last month, April 2013’s Creator Showcase focuses on someone who is newer to the scene: skittish.

Skittish has been part of our community for two years now and just began her creator career 4 months ago. Like many of our users, skittish began creating at the urging of her friends. Her women’s clothing products are very wearable and generally urban-styled, although skittish is “still at a point where [she is] discovering [her] market” and her current selections “very well may evolve into something different.” As a newer creator, skittish noted a few groups that have been helpful in guiding her to become an even better creator, namely Free DerivationsDawning Developers, and 3DS Max Group

We think skittish is off to an amazing start with new products being added weekly. Do you have any advice for her and new creators in general? Feel free to post your words of wisdom in our forum post here.We are proud to feature our extremely creative and talented community each month!
Happy creating!

Community Spotlight – The April Edition

By: Varsha

April is dedicated to celebrate Earth and show our support for various environmental causes. Communities from across the world celebrate Earth Week and Arbor Day in multiple ways and our own IMVU community participated wholeheartedly too.  Plus, several environmental charities are receiving cash donations from IMVU to show our commitment to help these causes.

Our Creator community took part in our “Tokens for Trees” project aimed toward raising awareness for the environment. They donated over 3.7 million developer tokens (a type of virtual currency earned by them for selling their products in our Shop). The enthusiastic participation helped us more than meet our goal and as a result IMVU is donating $1,500 to Earth Day Network’s Canopy Project, which will plant 1,500 trees in impoverished communities around the world. Of course, now all the participants are proudly sporting on their profiles, a specially designed tree badge that was gifted to them.

The celebrations continued during the Earth Week, culminating on Arbor Day with our “Gift a Tree and Spread the Green” campaign. We invited our users to gift one, few or all of the six virtual trees created for the event to their IMVU friends. More they gifted, the better chance they had of grabbing a spot on our leader board. The top three winners earned a lot of “green” karma and each got to choose one charity that IMVU is donating $1,000 to. Plus, the IMVU world is now feeling very green with all these trees decorating the various chat rooms. All the tree-gifters are getting their own special surprise from IMVU as well!

In all the festivities surrounding IMVU, we did not forget a not-so-traditional holiday – The Look Alike Day – celebrated on April 20th. We invited our community to have some fun times on that day by dressing up together with their look-alike partner(s) and hanging out with them in IMVU. They took lots of photos and shared them to their Photo Stream to participate in the contest. The photos were unique, creative and showcased the diverse talent of our users perfectly. We enjoyed looking at them all and picking the winners. Dressing up is always an engaging experience on IMVU and dressing up two or more avatars in same or coordinated style is even more entertaining.

Now we get ready for all those May flowers that the April showers are sure to bring. We have many events planned for our community and are looking forward to an exciting month!

Cheers!

Virtual or Real: A look at the Thriving IMVU Virtual Economy

By Kevin Henshaw, VP of Business Development and GM of Revenue

Most people see IMVU as a fun online destination for millions of its customers, where they create and customize their 3D avatars and make long-lasting connections with people from around the world. However, IMVU also hosts a thriving virtual economy with the world’s largest virtual goods catalog, where IMVU customers not only shop for all their avatar needs from the more than 15 million products but also make them. Today, we’ll break down the complexities of IMVU’s economy and show you the general outlines of the flow of IMVU currency.

The IMVU catalog is a unique marketplace where sellers and buyers are one and the same. The catalog is a wonderful expression of digital goods makers who we call Creators. The buyers are both Creators and non-Creators – who are of course first and foremost here to engage and interact with their connections via the 3D chat.

To support this massive virtual industry, IMVU has built a complex, large-scale economy that involves both real and virtual currency and many entry and exit points. A delicate balance is needed and maintained for this economy with the combined efforts of IMVU, its content creators and reseller partners.

IMVU, its customers, Creators and other participants engage in a multi-channel exchange of four types of currency: Real-world money, Credits, Promotional Credits and Developer Tokens. Each currency type can be bought, earned or spent in different ways.

IMVU sells Credits to its users, and provides tools for making products to its Creators. IMVU also provides multiple ways to earn Promotional Credits and ways to spend all virtual currency types, thereby removing them from the economy.

Many IMVU users, including Creators, buy Credits from IMVU with real money. They also earn free promotional credits via various partner offers and activities provided by IMVU. They spend the purchased or earned credits on shopping in the catalog for clothes, furniture and gifts, to buy music from IMVU’s music store and to submit their own products to the shop if they are Creators.

IMVU Creators also earn Credits when someone purchases an item from IMVU’s shop that they have created. They earn developer tokens when their products are bought with promotional credits and use those tokens to advertise themselves on IMVU or to pay for the fee to submit their new products to the shop. The illustration above shows the multitude of ways of their interactions.

Yes, it is indeed as complicated and interlaced as it looks! So you decide – what is more complex? The real world economy or IMVU’s virtual economy?

IMVU Celebrates Nine Years and Expands to Mobile

By Brett Durrett, Chief Executive Officer

In April of 2004, IMVU opened its doors and set forth to connect people around the world. Nine years later, and thanks to the millions of passionate, talented customers, IMVU established itself as the ultimate platform for connection, self-expression and creation. In 2004, we understood that the platform was important but even more important was helping people meet new friends. That vision of bringing people together holds true today and is reinforced with every new relationship, friendship or marriage that has been formed on IMVU.

I started at the company eight years ago when we were a handful of people in a cramped office space in downtown Palo Alto.  I remember the buzz in the room when we had 100 people online. The team, the number of customers and IMVU’s product offering have grown substantially and I am grateful to all of our customers for making this growth possible. With more than 15 million products in the IMVU Shop and more than 500,000 IMVU Creators adding products all the time, IMVU proudly features the world’s largest virtual goods catalog — an amazing accomplishment that we attribute to the talent and dedication of our creators.

We’re proud to have accomplished so much in the last nine years. We also realize that we have many ways that we can make our products even better.  We are excited by the challenges and will be working to keep earning the privilege of having you as our customers.

I am also excited to announce the upcoming release of two new products to help our customers stay connected and introduce new people to IMVU’s amazing community.  We are responding to many customer requests to offer an Android version of IMVU 2Go and it will be available later this month. In June, we will be offering an iOS tablet app that allows full 3D avatar chat.

On behalf of all IMVU employees, I want to express a special thank you to the IMVU community for all of your ongoing passion and support over the last few years. We’re grateful to have you as customers!

Before we go, we thought we’d break down some of our major milestones. Check out the infographic below to learn how IMVU became the largest user generated virtual goods catalog.

 Cheers to 2013!