TWO PIECES ON THE “RUST” VIDEO GAME

The first piece I want to go over today actually goes across two articles. One is in Vox and then one was in The Guardian. They’re talking about the same topic. That topic was the decision by a video game developer to randomize the gender and race of a character you play, and then just make it permanent. So basically, it’s not changeable. The Guardian piece is by the actual developer, Gary Newman, and then the Vox piece ads a little bit more color to it. 

I think I like this one so much because it makes the things we talk about all the time in Diversity Apps so clear in this example. The game that they’re talking about that Newman created is called Rust. It’s basically a survival game. You play as someone who needs to find food and shelter. Basically everything you need to survive. It’s multiplayer, meaning other players interact with you as you’re going through the game, so you make decisions about working together or rating other people’s stuff to try to survive, whatever you’re trying to do to achieve your goal. It’s pretty popular. It's been downloaded over 3.5 million times and it's in what's called active development, so things are always changing with the game. It’s always being updated. They made this update so instead of defaulting to when you start the game, this bald, naked white guy, in the game the character is randomized for both race and gender. And like I said, you couldn’t change it. Some people got really upset. They got, specifically about race or specifically about gender or both, and he mentions in the article, he sorts of breaks down in the article that he was getting the most complaints about race, which you should read through. And gender was across the world and he got—and this comment I just think sums up the whole thing. It’s an email he got from a male gamer where the male wrote, “I just want to play the game and have a connection to the character like most other games I play.” He is complaining about the fact that he had to play as a woman. That’s the whole thing. Most other games he plays, he wants to have a connection like most other games he plays. It’s right in front of you, right? When this game was started, when Rust was created, you defaulted to a white guy. Was anyone complaining? Can you imagine what the eye rolling would have been if someone complained “Why do we default to this bald white guy?" It wouldn’t have had the same effect, and here’s this male gamer emailing him and saying, “I want to have a connection to the character.” And minorities and females who play video games, no one even talks about this. If you want an AAA game, how many games can you think of that have the main character, main protagonist, as someone other than a white male? It’s a great piece.

Newman talks about that it was a cost decision that they made. And he doesn’t feel like it has anything to do with the gameplay. Race and gender don’t impact how the game is played. It doesn’t impact the outcome of the game or how you achieve your goal. It’s really well done. I think the Vox piece also adds a little bit more specific examples and talks about gaming in general, specifically Gamergate, specifically where this question came up and what the outcome was from that. It just fit things very well into context, and you couldn’t make up a better email. This idea of connection–we talk about that all the time: when kids see themselves in media, when they see themselves reading a book, when they see themselves when they’re watching a movie or playing a video game, they can imagine themselves. That’s the whole thing right there. I think I really just love this piece. I don’t think I’ve smiled this much when talking about a piece like this. Definitely check it out.

WESTEROS HAS A RACE PROBLEM

Season 6 of Game of Thrones premieres today, which I’m sure many of you are fans of the books know, and that’s actually the reason that the next piece caught my eye. It’s called “Westeros Has a Race Problem” and it’s by Caroline Siede. Many of the complaints about the lack of diversity in the show has been met with the response that the show is really talking about the British Isles. It’s something like a fantasy book show that is really talking about a fantasized version of the British Isles. And you know what, there aren’t a lot of Asians or other minorities in Yorkshire, England, so that’s how it goes. It’s basically like if you take a show like The Tudors for instance, the argument’s the same; there isn’t anything you can do. What the author tries to point out is that there are a few simply saying that it isn’t really a logical argument, and she talks about a few plot things, obviously the biggest one being this entire world is built around magic. There’s magic in the form of dragons, white walkers, etc, and just the geography of Westeros is 3.5/4 times bigger than the British Isles. She goes through some smaller nitpicks which she says are smaller nitpicks. It’s just simply that the medieval age in Westeros is much longer than the medieval age that happened here, and the longer winter season just really doesn’t make sense in the sense of farming happen and how do they manage? It’s never really discussed. And really what she’s trying to say that those big elements like farming, the Catholic Church or what is supposed to represent the Catholic Church–he’s changed those things, and we don’t care that he changed those things because those things aren’t important in the 21st century. This show without question is a contemporary show for a contemporary audience, and race still plays a huge role in our society. So if we were to take this so-called historical fictional piece and suddenly inject diversity into it that would be jarring for viewers, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it, and that doesn’t also mean that you should then make the argument for some reason it’s not allowed. If we watch the show, and you really should, it’s a great show, take a look at this piece. Enjoy the show, but take a look at this and recognize the possibilities of really what it could be if it chose to be.

INTERVIEW WITH JULIE KERWIN, I AM ELEMENTAL

Kabir: Alright guys, on the Weekly Spotlight we have people from the kids industry focus on this issue. Today, I’m really excited to talk with Julie Kerwin who is the CEO of I Am Elemental (IAE). I Am Elemental was created to present a more positive representation of females in action figure form for young girls and boys. Julie, thank you so much for coming on.

Julie: Thank you so much for having me.

Kabir: So you guys launched back in 2014 as part of a huge Kickstarter campaign, but before we get to the success of that, how did you come up with this idea?

Julie: So it started with a conversation. You have to remember we’re going back to October of 2012. We were in development for almost two years before we launched on Kickstarter. There was really nothing out there. And so the conversation began, and the question was, “Why does Spiderman appeal to a boy of 4 and a man of 40?” But there was really no female equivalent at the time. Take yourself back to 2012. I was actually doing a lot of research (not research, research for pleasure) on developmental psychology and children’s development. Angela Duckworth had just come out with her pioneering study out of University of Pennsylvania that had come to the conclusion that grit and persistence and perseverance was often more important than even intellect to success. I had just read a book by Paul Tough that was analyzing her research and the research of others. I had a gone to a lecture by a brain expert named JoAnn Deak who had also gotten a lot of things stirring in my head. The mythology around I Am Elemental but it’s really is true is that I went to bed one night thinking about this question and talking about it with my husband, and I woke up the next morning, and I said I have the answer. It’s not superheroes, it’s superpowers. And I took the Periodic Table of Elements and I wiped it clean, and I started writing in character traits like grit, creativity, wisdom, courage, bravery, all sorts of things. When my husband came home from work that night, we bought like 30 domain names. IAmElemental.com was one of them. That is how the concept came to exist. And it’s really interesting for me whenever I have to share this story because even though we were in development for a long time in terms of creating the figures and preparing for the Kickstarter, when I think back and I review all my old notes, so much of what came to be was literally created in that very first week. There were so many elements of what we wanted I Am Elemental to represent, what the mission was, and symbolically how we were going to use these figures as the personification of power. It was all there right from the very beginning.

Kabir: It’s almost like you had read all this stuff and synthesized in this one moment. Everything came together in that one night.

Julie: Totally. It’s really, really true. It’s funny—it’s all these ingredients. I say that it’s like a stew that really all came together at that one time because I was also obsessing over the British BBC series Seven Up. I don’t know if you’re familiar with it, but it started decades ago and it was this director who went on to direct Oscar-nominated films. But Michael Apted was a young man, and they started this documentary where they took a cross section of 7 year olds around the UK. They called it Seven Up and chose 7 years olds because they said, “Give me a child and I’ll show you the man,” which is I think some sort of saying, I forget who says it. But it always fascinated me because what ended up happening was this one little documentary about 7 year olds living around the UK from various backgrounds and financial backgrounds. It became wildly popular, and they started following these kids every 7 years… Yes, it’s still on. Right around the time of I Am Elemental I had just watched 49 Up. What they do is they revisit and visit the original people and they show you old footage. I had called my husband while I was watching it and said, “You have to see it,” and he said, “What, what’s going on?” And I said, “These people are exactly who they were when they were 7.” It was really a remarkable thing to see. So that too was built into this concept because this idea of “you want to hit them early and you want to instill these ideas in them while they’re young and when their core is forming.” There were so many other things. The books I was reading to my son came into play here. So everything, you’re right, it was this stew that joined together in one moment.

Kabir: I want to go back now and watch videos of myself when I was 7 to see if I was that person. This is really fascinating. You talked about how there’s an appeal of Spiderman to a 4 year old or a 40 year old. Was the plan to always do action figures or was it—you had this idea that there are certain values that need to be instilled at a young age that focuses on girls, on females. Was it always going to be action figures or did you think of some other ideas?

Julie: No, it actually was. The idea was action figures because we were actually trying to do a couple of different things. We had three goals. The first goal was actually that we wanted to change the conversation about the hypersexualization of the female action figure. So we argued that the female action figures that were on the market were not being produced for children. They were being produced for the adult male collector. And I said they were more Hooters than the heroine. So that was one of the goals; to create an action figure with a healthier breast to hip ratio and put something out into the world that was representative of what a healthy female really looks like because we thought that was important in terms of the messaging we wanted to send to children.

But if you give a girl a different toy, she will tell a different story.

The second thing was this piece of where we say, “It’s character, not characters.” We were reinventing the superhero myth. That was really born out of the idea of rethinking superheroes in a way that seemed like it would appeal to girls. So the idea of the girl as the superhero and of the one saving the day seemed very important and felt very important to us because there were no really representations out in the toy market where you were buying toys for girls where the girls were the protagonists. And part of what we always say that we are not anti-doll or anti-princess. But if you give a girl a different toy, she will tell a different story. The story implied when you hand a girl a doll dressed in a princess costume versus when you hand a child a knight is a very different thing. It creates a different sort of play and a different sort of way of thinking. That was the second goal. 

The third goal that really evolved in development was we really wanted to make a really forward-thinking, kickass toy because if it’s not fun to play, no one will want to buy it and no one will want to play with it. But it was an action figure from the beginning. Like I said, we viewed it as the personification of powers because we wanted to say something in that space about changing that conversation.

Kabir: Right. Did you think of it—you talked about how it’s not the characters, it’s the actual character. Is it the idea that then the action figure doesn’t necessarily have a superpower or the superpower that they have is really what’s in them. 

Julie: Well, our set up is this. We say the child is the superhero. These figures are the personification of their powers. However, what we did is we give each figure its definition and then a superpower. So we view it as both a learning tool and a jumping off point for play. They do have superpowers, but the kids can think of them in that way, right? The other thing that we talk about, this is kind of part of my parenting ethos on a larger scale. I’ve always subscribed to the notion that kids are capable of understanding concepts like these much younger than many adults give them credit for. It was really important to us that we not dumb it down. Having said that, we did want to give them something as a jumping off point for play.

Kabir: Right, I think it makes sense that there was something familiar, this idea that they did have a superpower but like you’re saying, there was a bigger piece around it and that was the differentiator to make the kids see how this character was different, not just because it was a female but the character that was involved with it. That makes a lot of sense. That’s really cool.

Julie: Exactly. The other thing that we build in, we say “real heroes walk among us” so we also decided to say very early on that we were going to use real heroes as our muses. And so Joan of Arc was the muse. 

Kabir: You launched on Kickstarter in 2014. The first series was around courage. Like you said, Joan of Arc became the muse for that. How many characters did you build around that idea and then what were the specific traits or characters? How did you name them?

Julie: Before we even started developing the figures themselves, I outlined the first seven series. So I took 7 of what I call core powers and then broke them down. We call them digestible bits. I spent many months reading lots of history on ancient Greek mythology and philosophy. I was reading a lot about world religions. I was reading about positive psychology. So I was taking all of these things and what we were looking for character traits that really cross all religions, cultures through history. That was what we were trying to do in—

Kabir: Creating universal themes.

Julie: Exactly. So every power would be something that would speak to people around and to parents around the world and to adults around the world. The first 7 series were decided on and broken down from the very beginning. And then courage was the first on that we launched with very deliberately because we wanted to portray woman as powerful. So this idea of bravery and energy and persistence. These images were one ones that came from a place of power, so it made sense that that would be our first series. Then it was like, “Okay, who will be our muse? Who will the person who represents what we’re trying to say about these powers?” Joan of Arc was chosen partly because she was a teenager when she accomplished her goals, so this idea resonated. You didn’t have to be an adult to do something that required courage resonated. Also, it was a really great tool for design. When you look at the figures, they don’t look like Joan of Arc. They’re kind of a modern retelling of the idea of a knight, but that was a jumping off point for our storytelling. So every series will have a different muse, and the muse comes from some time period and some part of the world that’s very different.

For instance, series 2 now that which we’ve just revealed was wisdom. Our muse for wisdom is Hypatia. It’s so much fun because we were able to totally shift gears and create a whole new look for series 2 because of her ancient Greek background. Series 3 is justice and we already have a muse picked out for her, and that takes us in a completely different direction.

Kabir: This is really exciting. It’s really awesome. It feels very world building. I love to tell stories, so hearing you talk about how you already have a vision for the 7 series is really awesome and you’re revealing it slowly. It’s cool. Very awesome. Obviously with the Kickstarter, you guys raised a lot more than you had planned on. If you go through the process, you said this development took two years, was it something where you were overwhelmed with orders and you suddenly faced the prospect not being able to ship all these out? You had this firehouse of support coming in. How did you guys manage that?

Julie: That’s a great question actually because it was fascinating. We were in development for a long time. We knew from the beginning we were going to do Kickstarter because we considered it testing the hypothesis. That’s what we kept saying. We’re going to test the hypothesis on Kickstarter and use Kickstarter as a way to prove that there’s a market for this. We saw a hole in the market and we believed we could fill it. That was the point of Kickstarter. As you said, we had a $35,000 ask when we launched and it was fulfilled in 2 days. It was really amazing because yes the parents showed up to buy it for their children, and yes the girl power people showed up because they loved the messaging. But the collectors showed up too, and that was really a remarkable thing because they really were excited by what we were doing. They liked the look of the figures … The adult male collectors who were buying the action figures with the giant boobs and the tiny waist. And so that really pushed us forward so much faster than we expected. So we did end up with a really nice—we sold figures to people in all 50 states and 6 continents. It was a lot of fun and it was a great, overwhelming positive, fantastic experience because the other thing that I think people don’t think about with crowd funding like Kickstarter which is really remarkable is that it is a direct pipeline to your customers and they’re so enthusiastic and they’re so responsive. We were interacting daily who were sharing their stories, sharing their interests, sharing appealed to them about the figures. So it really added a whole other layer of experience that we wouldn’t have had if we just put it in a store. And that is part of what I have enjoyed most actually, and I’m still lucky enough that we’re small enough that I can respond to everyone personally so I respond to every email personally, and obviously I will not survive as a business if it continues at that pace, but I’m enjoying that right now.

As far as fulfillment goes, that was a whole other thing for us where we were determined to fulfill on time because three quarters of all Kickstarters do not fulfill on time. So we felt that making sure that we fulfilled on time was a signal to the universe, to the toy industry, to the people who matter that we were for real. 

Kabir: Yeah, that’s critical. What was your timeline like from when you had your Kickstarter campaign? How many months did you have to meet fulfillment? What was your delivery timeline?

Julie: Kickstarter started May 13 and we went into production as Kickstarter was coming to a close. We had promised a holiday delivery. We had a wonderful factory, and everything was chugging along and everything was moving as it was supposed to. Then the dock workers in California went on strike.

 Kabir: This was late 2014?

Julie: 2014, yes. I’m sure if you think back, you can remember images of lots and lots of ships sitting off the coast of California as the Christmas holiday came. So what happened in a moment of real problem-solving, how do we guarantee this? What we ended up having to do was fly the Kickstarter product in at great expense to ensure fulfillment because we didn’t want to miss that window for our backers. So we flew enough product in to guarantee that all of our Kickstarters would be fulfilled and then we used the slow boat to get the rest of the product. But you have to remember we were doing preorders. And the minute Kickstarter closed, we went in to do preorders. We had a lot of people who had ordered the product who weren’t our backers. It was really stressful and a difficult time. It was! I had to email every single one of those people and tell them I did not think I was going to be able to deliver for them in time for the holidays. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do because I certainly didn’t want to let these people down. It was really however, another kind of lesson in the wonderful superpowers of the people in my universe because everybody was so understanding and really wonderful about it. And I think in the end, we only lost about 2 dozen orders. Even the people who cancelled were not unkind about it. They were cancelling because they needed to buy a gift for the holidays.

Kabir: They’ll be back, right?

Julie: Yes! So we did delivery Kickstarter on time before Christmas and whatever extra product we had, we went from the top of the preorder list sending it out. Unfortunately, the boat did not come into dock until about a week or two after the new year. But it happens! These are the things that happen. And I will say that I can’t blame everything on the dock workers because you make rookie mistakes along the way. You just try to recover from them as best as you can.

Kabir: Managing supply chain is definitely super challenging. Obviously there was a strong reaction right out of the gate from Kickstarter, from your backers. Obviously you guys got great press. It sort of continued with that strong excitement for the product, but what has been your favorite customer story of seeing these character used as a jumping off point for play or a girl telling a different story because we gave her a different toy?

Julie: It’s funny, I get so many. It’s really wonderful, but one of my most recent ones that I love so much was a daddy blogger who did a video with his daughter where she reviewed the figures and discussed them. And one of the reasons I love it so much was that it was very fly on the wall. You had this moment that was really remarkable was that she got to Fear and she was talking about fear and what fear looked like. And the father asked her what she felt fear meant as a superpower and something in the courage series. They had this discussion about what it meant. We were privy to this parenting learning moment here he asked her to think about fear in a different way and asked her to think about fear’s usefulness.

I’ve also had—it was one of the more beautiful but tragic stories. Very early on, I got a lovely, lovely and poignant email from a mom who said that when I ordered these figures I had no idea how important they were going to be to me. In the time between placing the order and having received them, she discovered that her daughter had actually been sexually abused, her young child. And so she was using the figures as a tool to prepare her daughter for going to court and having to testify. So that was the first time that we realized that the figures had a greater use beyond just as a toy and that they were also really useful—

Kabir: To build up the courage.

Julie: Yes, and play therapy. And a lot of teachers are using them for stories. From a fun standpoint, we got the most hysterical stop motion animation from a girl who is awesome. She used her American Girl doll as the villain and the American Girl doll kidnapped Honesty and all of the other figures had the save her from the American Girl doll. It was set to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. It was pretty amazing. We also have a friend in China who does stop motion animation and he did amazing stop motion animation of our 6.5-inch Courage figure fighting robots and Godzilla.

 Kabir: I know we touched on this a little bit, but you announced your series 2 based on wisdom. And that’s available for preorder now, correct?

Julie: Yes, we’re in preorders. We’re in production right now. Unless there’s other issues, but we’re hoping for an August delivery on that. It’s been really well received. Like I said earlier, Hypatia is our muse. We call them Wisdom Warriors. I really am very proud of them. There’s a lot of pressure. You want to feel like you can do it again. I was a little bit nervous, but we love them. They turned out really beautiful.

Kabir: This is very, very exciting. When you look ahead, I know you said you can see the 7 series as planned out. Do you plan on expanding outside of action figures? Obviously you have things on the website like a workbook/activity book that relate to the action figures. Do you see yourself moving into different media?

Julie: That’s the big question. That’s the million dollar question right now. When we started in development, we outlined everything. We outlined video games. We outlined content. There’s a lot that can be done. We deliberately didn’t give the figures a back story because play is at the heart of what we’re trying to do. We wanted kids to be the creators of the story. So that was huge. There’s ways to do it and it has to be done carefully, but that’s the thing that we’re parallel processing at this point because we have to keep our plans and goals in terms of the product development because the figures are at the heart of what we’re doing, but you’re right, there are so many other opportunities. We’ve been approached a number of times already and it’s in constant discussion. But we don’t want to dumb it down. So we have to do it very carefully where we translate it. I mean, you know, because of the development you’ve done with your game in terms of making it accessible to children, but also a value.

Kabir: That makes a lot of sense. You’re saying we want to expand, but we want to do it in the right way, and we want to make sure that you don’t hurt what you’ve done and you don’t dumb it down. That definitely makes a lot of sense. When we go back to Toy Fair, there’s been a couple of articles that have been written. “This is the Year of the Girl at Toy Fair,” and you sort saw, I guess a lot of toy makers focusing on diversity, bringing out characters that you normally don’t see. Did you notice that as a larger trend at Toy Fair? You were probably running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

Julie: I’ve noticed it in general. Obviously, as we were in development and launching the Kickstarter, it became. There was like a culture zeitgeist. People really responded to what we were doing, but we also hit a moment in time where the conversation—we were trying to change the conversation. We came into it as the… we were kind of at the forefront of this changing conversation about gender and toys, about diversity, and so we’re thrilled. Obviously, it’s really exciting to see these women and people in positions of power who are running these big companies who are responding to what’s happening. They’re hearing the noise. They’re hearing what the customer wants, and they’re giving it to them. So I do think it’s wonderful because they’re pushing that needle further faster than I imagined would happen when we launched. I think it’s terrific.

Kabir: Have you been able to connect with some of these younger companies and swap some war stories?

Julie: Absolutely. I’m a very big believer in paying in paying it forward. The Roominate girls are the reason we have the wonderful factory that we have. I always take a call if someone reaching out to me for help. Obviously most of what I get are people in that sphere. So I think it’s a wonderful, wonderful thing. The other thing too that I found... We we’re just at a conference at the White House on gender and media and toys, and it was really remarkable from both the perspective of someone who is a bootstrapping entrepreneur in the space who is trying to change the conversation about gender and toys, but also as the mom of two boys. We say we are girl-targeted, boy inclusive, and it was really, really, really important that the figures be considered cool and interesting enough that boys would want to play with them too because I am raising two boys. I really like the fact that what kind of started as conversation a few years ago when we were launching about the ways that girls play has now evolved into a conversation about the way that kids play. I find that really gratifying. I think it’s wonderful. It’s terrific. I also think it’s bizarre too because you said, “Oh I should go back and think what I was like at 7 and think about whether or not I’m the same.” I think you will find many things are the same. But also for me when I think back to my childhood, I grew up in an era that really was all about girl power and gender equality. I say it’s interesting to me because it doesn’t go up. It goes in waves.

 Kabir: So this feels like an echo to you?

Julie: Yes! Very much so. I feel like we’re kind of having a conversation that I was already having and I was processing as a child myself, and I think it’s great because I do worry about what’s out there in the universe with the way that social media portrays men, women, girls, boys, the way that Photoshop has affected the way that we perceive people, and things like that. I think it’s wonderful.

Kabir: Absolutely. I think you’re wonderful. I think what you’ve done and what you’ve accomplished so far, I hope you gave yourself a pat on the back, and like you’re saying, I’m sure it’s gratifying to not just have the conversation focused on girls. We’re talking about boys too, and boys should be playing with these toys. I plan on getting some for my little guy when he gets a little bit older. 

Julie: Sometimes you can end up in a bubble and it was interested because—one of the things I said to you earlier. It had kind of been decided and so much of it in the first week, one of the things that we decided from day one is that they would have brightly-colored skin because we didn’t want to associate any one power with any one ethnicity. So, that was a huge factor, but of course we use this muse. So it’s an interesting balance when you’re talking about diversity. It’s funny because sometimes there’s only so much you can do. We’re trying to push it forward, and yet I still get criticism sometimes, so it is a really interesting balance. That’s another reason I love what you’re doing and I love this fact that we’re all talking, having these conversations so openly because it’s an important conversation, don’t you think?

Kabir: Absolutely! I think that’s 100% correct. It’s like you’re saying. Listen, we didn’t want to be associated with a certain ethnicity and then someone else is doing something different and they’re focusing on ethnicity and that’s fine. That’s how they’re telling their story. I think DIA is working on a set of guidelines when you’re making a kid’s media product, here are some things to think about to make sure it is diverse and inclusive. But it’s not. One thing that we’ve stressed over and over again is that we come up with these questions to ask yourself, not every answer to this question is going to be yes and not every answer is—it doesn’t mean that you’re not making a diverse and inclusive product. It means that you’re thinking through it. And chances are that if you follow these guidelines, you are going to come out with something that is diverse and inclusive. That doesn’t mean every single box is going to be checked, it happens. I still think the mere fact that the people behind the product have thought through it and that they are focused on that as a value, it’s natural that the product will then reflect that. I think what you’re saying makes a ton of sense, and I think that the more people that are talking about it, focusing on it, and doing what they think is the right piece, we are going to get there. It’s a matter of time.

Julie: Exactly. But I think you’re saying—I love the way you said that. It’s so true. You can’t be all things. As long as you are being very conscience of which boxed you’re checking and are not, and taking ownership of it, and acknowledging it. It takes a village. We’re all going to move it forward.

Kabir: Exactly! When I was talking to the Tinybop CEO a couple of weeks, he was very open. He was like, “Look, we haven’t always done exactly what we needed to do or done it the right way, but we’re very clear on wanting to get better.” There’s an openness to the fact that, look, this is what we’re focused on. Do we always hit the bull’s eye? No, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to keep striving for it.

Julie: I’ll tell you, week one I got an email. I was called a shadist. Yes, they called me a shadist. They accused me. I had to actually think about what they were saying because we made fear the darkest figure. It was our dark matter. It was our power that needed conscious thought behind it. It was mysterious and it was dark. And so there was a design element behind it, but we were reminded of the messaging that we were inadvertently sending by making the more difficult power the darkest power. And one of the things that we’ve always said is that fear is not the villain. We don’t have a villain. Fear is one of my favorite figures. I think that fear is a really important thing. I always say we’re born with the natural biological capacity for fear because it protects us. But it doesn’t matter how I intellectualize it. When people look at them, they see fear as the darker power. I am mindful. It’s like to your point, you do have to think about those boxes, and how you’re checking them off. So we had this design element that inadvertently offended some people. And so I took it very seriously.

Kabir: That’s perfect! Rather than you getting offended or getting defensive, you thought it through. Listen, you had a basically a step of empathy. Trying to see it from their perspective. That’s the whole thing. That’s the conversation that needs to happen. Like you’re saying, that started, you guys caught the wave of this, and I think we just need to keep pushing it further. As long as we’re focused on continuing to do better and realizing how someone is going to react to that, I think we’ll be on our way.