I suppose there is always a story to be told, right? Phoenicia is definitely no exception to that idea, that’s for sure. I mentioned before that Phoenicia is an idea that was formed on the side of a mountain, but the story is a little more elaborate than that.
Let’s begin at the beginning.
You may know the Phoenicia team from our work on the development of the Qimo 4 Kids project. Qimo showed us that we can bring an idea to successful fruition, and Michael and I have consistently contemplated new ideas in Qimo’s wake. His friend and colleague went to the X-Prize foundation, and we discovered that there was a literacy prize ready to launch.
Michael is the brains, Brian is the creativity, and me? Well, I suppose the idea behind Phoenicia was squarely mine. Michael and I, once we discovered the upcoming competition, began to half-heartedly kick around ideas on gaming, laughing and joking that we ought to enter, but we didn’t have a solid idea of what we might actually be able to do. We had no clear game plan, if you will.
It’s amazing how ideas will come if you give them time, and the peacefulness of mind to allow them to develop. Michael and I, together with our children, and my parents, set off on a road trip up into the Appalachian mountains, a place we all adore. Ten days in the quiet solitude of a mountain cabin proves good for the soul, but it also gives the mind a chance to dream, too.
Like I said, Michael and I had continually tossed around a half-joking idea that we should enter the X-Prize competition, and he had talked to his colleague some about what the competition required, but we still hadn’t had the moment, you know? That moment when inspiration strikes.
So, imagine –
It’s late evening our third or fourth night in the cabin. The six of us have eaten dinner, the children are playing a game, my parents are watching something on the television. The sun is setting over the valley, so from the porch of our cabin, we can watch the spectacular colors of late fall turn brilliant shades of pinks and oranges. Our cabin porch is conveniently equipped with a hot tub, so we find ourselves relaxing, enjoying the gorgeous view, and just chatting about nothing in particular, until Michael brings the conversation around to the X-Prize again.
It’s a lovely picture isn’t it? Definitely the moment that stands out in my memory. So, he began to tell me about the requirements of the prize, the goals, the testing requirements, and so forth, and once more he joked “You know, we should enter!”
At that moment, it hit me, and I said, “You know how I’d win?”
And I told him.
I laid out the game, the game play, the idea right there, in that moment. Sitting on the side of a mountain, looking out over the valley, I realized I knew how to compete.
We got really excited, and talked well into the night. And when we came home, we talked with Brian – we would need his expertise on board – to make sure he was willing and able. We studied, we listed, we pros-and-cons listed. We paced, and we might have (I did) had a brief panic at the thought of entering. But when we boiled all down to the basics, we realized that we had something that could teach kids to read. And that the idea deserved a chance.
We have a long way to go, that’s for sure. There’s a lot of hard work coming, and a lot of uncertainty, but we aren’t scared. We’re up for the challenge, we’re excited to see Phoenicia come to fruition.
We hope you’re willing to come along on this ride with us. It’s going to be an amazing journey.