Hello again to our returning More Than Friends and welcome to all newcomers!
When More Than Friends was founded in 2017, part of our initial vision for the company was to celebrate the things that make us unique and to share stories and encourage open conversations. What followed was a bit of an exploration of how that would look. We spent a year traveling to various conventions, selling third-party merchandise, and working with freelance writers. We started a podcast and shared a lot of video game news and whatnot.
Our goal, at the time, was too focused on turning a profit…
We didn’t make a lot of money. Actually, we lost money. (I’m still paying off some debts from unsuccessful convention outings.) But, that’s fine. What’s not fine is, we weren’t making good on our initial promise - Celebrate what makes us unique, share stores, and encourage open conversations. Our goal, at the time, was too focused on turning a profit at conventions and then on the story-telling side we fell into an all-too-comfortable and “safe” cycle of just writing about video games.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with any of that, but that’s not More Than Friends. We’re a business after all, so we need to make money and, don’t get me wrong, video games are great, and we’re going to keep talking about them, but I recognized that we needed diversity and we needed to work towards having a tangible, positive impact in our community.
So I had some difficult conversations. I did some soul-searching. I procrastinated because I was scared. But, now I’m back. It’s just me this time - our co-founder, Joseph Yaden, has moved on to follow his dream of writing about video games, and he’s doing a great job! (You can currently find his work on PlayStation Lifestyle) Don’t worry, he left on good terms.
However, his leaving accentuated the fact that I needed to follow my gut with all of this. More Than Friends represents my dream, and it’s personal - I want to make the world a better place.
I know, I know… It’s the kind of thing that people roll their eyes at or give a quaint smile and a pat on the head to. EVERYBODY wants to make the world a better place, right? Or, at least, everybody WANTS the world to be a better place. If I want the world to be a better place, I need a game plan. More Than Friends is the vehicle for this dream.
So, here’s the plan:
Creativity is the driving force behind just about every awesome and beautiful thing in this world.
The first step in the grand plan begins with creators. Creativity is the driving force behind just about every awesome and beautiful thing in this world, and that begins with a creator. These are the artists, the writers, the musicians, the performers… basically anyone with the audacity to have something to say and the courage to say it. These people represent the life force behind making the world better! Creators are the storytellers; the conversation starters. With this re-emerging of More Than Friends, I want to make sure that I am not only pushing myself to be a creator, but reaching out to other creators and supporting them as much as possible. This leads directly into the next step in the process…
The stuff a creator puts out there is, arguably, more important than the creator themselves. Now, of course, creations wouldn’t exist without a creator, but creations have this almost magical ability to be BIGGER than those who create them. If I want More Than Friends to change the world, then I need to make sure that I’m curating, posting, sharing, and promoting creations. This means that with More Than Friends 2.0, I need to do a better job at providing a diverse offering of stories, artworks, podcasts, and more. Because, if I think about it, nearly everything that has inspired me has been a creation.
What good is a creation if there’s nobody to share it with? This third focus involves bringing people together, having conversations, and enjoying things with others. People are easily united by the things they can love (or, sometimes, hate) together. If I can help provide spaces, online or otherwise, in which people can collectively appreciate and discuss content and how it relates to the world around them, then I’m that much closer to that dream. It is, after all, through togetherness that we can reach understanding.
I want everything that we do at More Than Friends to have some kind of charitable effect…
Finally, the culmination of all of the first three pieces of the puzzle: Charity. By leveraging the power of Creators, Creations, and Community together, we can measurably make the world a better place by supporting organizations and efforts that do just that. More Than Friends has already partnered with Extra Life to help raise money for children in hospitals, but I want to expand on that. I want everything that we do at More Than Friends to have some kind of charitable effect, whether that’s by directly donating a portion of sales to a charity OR by contributing to our community through advocacy or community service.
So, there you have it. This is the plan. It’s more of a cycle, with each piece feeding into the next. Coincidentally, our new logo features four spokes - each one representing one of these four focuses mentioned above. (Pretty clever, eh? Though, that wasn’t my idea - I’ll have a behind the scenes look at our logo design in an upcoming interview with graphic designer Kennedy Franklin for those of you curious about that whole process.)
Moving into 2019 and beyond with More Than Friends is going to be immensely exciting, and full of it’s own slew of challenges, I’m sure. However, regardless of the challenges, I am, above all else, determined to make More Than Friends the beautiful beast I believe it can be! There will be monthly events, weekly content, new shows, podcasts, stories, and more, and I am so freaking excited to share it all with you!
I cannot adequately express just how much it means to me that anyone is even giving me the time of day…
To everyone who has supported me up to this point, and to everyone who is just now jumping in, thank you so much! I cannot adequately express just how much it means to me that anyone is even giving me the time of day, and it is not lost on me how big of a deal that is. Absolutely none of this would be possible without you.
Stay tuned and remember to treat one another as More Than Friends.
Welcome to More Than Friends 2.0
Stephen Marro / Owner of More Than Friends