On the sad side we lost comments from triverse for conflict of interest, PikoInteractive [hopefully it is just a pause until the KS], we likely scared thenavguy off [we should be respecting his friendship], Pipercub is getting super hermetic and UKMike also is not writing much.
The last 3 are all people that know Mike and may be able to offer some insight on how's the mood on the CC team .... and we do need some kind of gossip/rumors/news to keep us sane.
Hopefully if someone feels like saying something positive he/she should feel like she should be allowed to do so in this very thread as opposed to feeling intimidated, threatened or worse.
I wouldn't read too much into things like this, UK has been busy with family, I have family and hobbies that are honestly more interesting than commenting on this daily, would I rather take the plane out and fly the Blue Ridge mountains on a sunny day or rehash this, I'm going flying! I am not deliberately being hermetic, some things need more words than others and I'd rather not repeat myself over and over, many people are doing a great job of making the important points all over the web. I also don't want to play into something that MK has been working at very hard, putting a face on a large groundswell reaction to claim that its just this one guy, or this one podcast or that one forum. I also know allot that I can't or won't comment on for various reasons, simple honest reasons such as people asking to be left out of it, or that the source is communications sent in confidence which I will keep. But I will say that there are a few more people than UK Mike and I that are reading and even commenting on this thread that are stakeholders in all this. I think UK Mikes response to thenavguy's questions was spot on, and summarily ignored. I also bear no ill will toward the Coleco brand, it was my first console and I would love to see good things for that name. Those of us "in the know" are astonished that they did not look into what they were putting their name on closer, there was so much bad news already tied to this thing. I will do my best to explain what you asked though, what are they thinking with some of the issues discussed here.
Phases of participating in an MK project. One thing that has been touched on is how John Carlson was thrown under the bus, and backed over. I was amused and annoyed by him but now he is in the same boat that quite a few of us are in; an MK project alumni club. I would sit down for a beer with John if I saw him, he probably had no idea what he was getting into. There is a very clear pattern of how things progress in one of these projects and almost anyone involved in one would have the same story. A few years ago I was looking for a Subaru Baja turbo and they have been out of production since 06 and not easy to find so that meant dealing with the used car market, I found a clean one at a dealership in Manassas and went to look it over. It was one of those buy here pay here kind of places but the truck was clean so I wrote them a check and left with it. While I was there I could not help but feel like I was on the set of some reality show, things felt scripted and contrived as if the employees were playing roles and working from a script. I posted about this on a car forum that I am on and someone responded that I had seen a "system store" in action. As it turns out there are consultants that will come to your dealership and teach you how to process customers to get the highest number of sales with the least effort and there is a flow chart that customers are passed along resulting in getting them into a car or out the door very quickly. I think that MK has developed a system store method for utilizing talent for turning his dreams into reality. The first phase is that he has an idea for a entrepreneurial venture but only that, not the means or methods to make it into a real thing. Phase 2 is finding the people that can and offering them future value in the form of stock or other benefit such as one company paying back the other. There is allot of "WE" in this phase, your damn near partners and it is the two of you 51% and 49% all the way baby. The we is also you working while he is learning what you know and then popping off for a wine tasting while you get the work done. Phase 3 is looking for your replacement while your still involved, that person is given the same deal and story and never told about you if at all possible, if needed new promises of future profits are created, In his own words quoted on this forum, ran out of stock to sell, created a new company. Then your off the project, maybe you just stop getting calls, maybe your called hard to work with, maybe the company is dissolved, but whatever method it is your promises of future compensation are up for re-interpretation. Phase 4 is denial and diminishing. Any negative aspects of the project are attributed to you while your role is continually downplayed "Yeah, yeah, he wrote a few articles but wasn't really a part of it" or "He just made a few phone calls but wasn't really a part of it" etc.
Controlling the narrative. Big time issues here and this is not the MIke I knew. I recall one time we made up a poster to promote RetroGaming Roundup at shows we attend and part of it was quotes from iTunes reviews. Of course we put in some of the best positives but we also had a crop of the negative reviews just to be cheeky, one of my favourites is "There are so few retro gaming podcasts out there, it is a shame this is one of the biggest" still makes me laugh to this day. We have never deleted posts or kicked people off our forums/FB/etc. This is all new behaviour but the cause and effect is apparent, there is a huge and very deep backlash to the things that they are doing and people are talking about it, which is of course bad press. If you add up the negative Vs positive youtube views for example it is obvious that the community is not loving this and they simply cannot accept that is the legitimate reaction to the project. That email about him trying to have a video taken down was very telling. The 24/7 deleting and banning on FB coupled with what is very obviously a small and contrived positive group mixed in with a few casual questions is a desperate attempt to control the appearance of legitimacy where they can. What I am seeing is a N. Korea type farcical presentation of legitimacy, so absurd and easily seen through but clearly crafted to be presented to crowdfunding as look we are real, have a real prototype, and have an adoring fan following, hoping that they don't look at anything other than those sources.
Lying. I can only factually tell you what I dealt with. When he came up with the idea for Retro mag I had recently bought part of GameGavel, which with me being in the denial and diminishing phase he has referred to me as a "small minority shareholder" also known as the only one of his friends who gave him money, and I asked him if this was a separate venture or part of GG and he affirmed that it was part of GG so I said "Ok". When he was launching it he utilized the RetroGaming Roundup show and its media outlets heavily, on a daily basis and there was allot of promising about how the show was going to be integrated and see advertising and representation but when the first issue came we were no where to be found other than in a top ten listing. UK and I called him up and asked WTF was everything we were promised. At first it was a "yeah you know we really had to rush to put this together and maybe in the future ....." but UK and I pressed him on why he had everything else done and pointed out that we could have prepared those things but were never asked. Finally we got the email where we were addressed in a very cold sterile and stiff manner and were told that magazines simply did not do those sorts of things and thats the way it was. That is when and why UK and I stopped writing for the mag. So when he came up with the idea for the console, if you search this thread I have discussed my role in that already, I asked him a similar question, is this studio (which is what it was at the time, a studio to be followed by a console by that studio) a new business or part of GG/Retro and he affirmed that it was part of GG/Retro and as I recall the phrase was something like "Yeah, yeah, its got the RETRO logo stamped right on the front of it" and I said "Ok". And this is what I believed right up until the Indigogo/kickstart of the Retro VGS. If you search the other thread which is now closed you will find my comment that I stood to make money on this system if it succeeded, at that time I was still unaware of the new company that had been created about a month before the kickstarter/indigogo and the RETRO VGS assets transferred into that, and speaking for myself and two other GG/Retro shareholders we were never told about that. When we found out and confronted him about it the response was absurd and has been quoted in this thread. He claimed that it was always going to be a separate venture but that GG would benefit at arms length by free subscriptions to the mag and such. So quite frankly I don't care if it is the greatest console on Earth. If you look at the dates the companies were created and closed and overlay that with the various announcements and claims made you can clearly see that all but the last month prior to kickstarter/Indiegogo #1 of development of concept and the actual product was done prior to the new companies existence with the logo stamped right on it totally disproving the notion it was a separate thing. When confronted by this his response as UK Mike put it was a Coke and a Smile of how we just don't understand why what it did is Ok and good for us. If not illegal it is certainly unethical so any of this talk about the outrage and indignity at how people are reacting to the project is the most pompous and arrogant position that could be taken.
System designed and molds purchased under this company: GAMEGAVEL LLC Entity Number:201029410278
Assets move to this company one month prior to launch: RETRO ENTERTAINMENT TECHNOLOGY, INC. Entity Number:C3823713
Assets were moved to this third company that is selling it as the Coleco Chameleon: RETRO VIDEO GAME SYSTEMS, INC. Entity Number:C3850998