What we have been up to.
We will update you from now in this way. What are we doing, and planning to do now.
From this week on I will share my work on UltiLeague through this channel. I (Milan) will share updates here, they get right to your inbox 💌, and they stay online as a blog too 🌍. There will be ups and downs, and it can get personal. I will try to do this every week, some will be shorter some maybe longer, there will be times when I need you, sometimes I will just be sharing. I see this as a total community effort!
We are going back to basics with email, you will get frequent updates in this way. You can ♥️posts and comment underneath. I’m looking forward to hear from you!
We are back on track
TL;DR we stalled a bit in response to the world events, but we’re still here. We’re updating the visual design and opening up our operations board so you can see what’s up and get involved. We’re back on track and we’re launching a live viewing party concept soon for you to enjoy.
Because of the latest developments in the world we are all hit with a disc in the face. Personally it hit me hard since I’m a freelancer working on all kinds of projects, 80% of projects were either postponed or cancelled.
Luckily I’m back on track in terms of paid projects for the coming months, and that forges time to work on UltiLeague!
If there was ever a moment to look at the future, it’s now.
We rarely have complete control over the issues in the world. But the way we interact with each other, the small things, the signs of digital love—it adds up.
Where we come from 👀
In the fall of 2018 we started building, sharing ideas and growing the idea of UltiLeague into more concrete plans. In the spring of 2019 we shared those plans and made sure it was something that players wanted.
We got almost 900 players (and growing) that want to play in UltiLeague! That was a sign for us that mixed should go big, and soon. With excelling women and men pro leagues in the world, we should be able to build a mixed league that is global and uniting us all 💚.
After the player campaign, ending with fireworks 🎆 we got questions about the details of our plans. We talked to many many people online and in person. We formed some of those ideas and presented them to you on the website. Then 99 people were so great—so amazing and above all kind enough to grab their credit card to become a founding member. You know who you are… 🤟
This meant more validation for us, 99 people sponsoring in total 192 memberships, that €1920 will go directly into starting teams and enabling players to play in the (showcase) league without having to pay to play.
We learn from every initiative. In particular we learned from the attempt to make a United Ultimate League in 2018; the mixed pro league, we’ve have been in talks with the founder too, more on that later.
My happiness comes more from helping others accomplish things as opposed to my own accomplishments. I'm great at connecting the dots, enabling people. I’m a generalist, so I can do film work, digital and visual design, project/product management, teaching, campaigning, etcetera. I see it as my job is to find and enable the specialists, the rockstars that love to go in depth.
The industry and themes of my work are in community, design, technology and games; this is where it all comes together in UltiLeague.
Now, every waking hour since this campaign I'm thinking about growing UltiLeague... it turned into a healthy obsession.
Luckily my friends and family support me because they see I’m energised by all this. I’m getting excited because of your response and because I’m working with the most amazing team.
I have never been so sure that this is something I will be working on for years to come. People know me as someone that starts companies, UltiLeague is my sixth one, next to countless sideprojects. I’m extremely excited about companies that fix the world and propel humankind forward. When my Ulti.tv business partner Mike first talked to me about the idea to start a global mixed league, ask him yourself how I reacted…
I am confident to see myself working on the mission of UltiLeague in 10 years time.
But then the world, the economy, people got hit by a pandemic. Suddenly it got pretty hard and weird to get excited about a brand new initiative. Not because it in’t exciting, but because everyone is thinking about other things now.
We can wait, we have patience, we are resilient as a community and as people. The idea of having to do a stressful campaign of not being sure when we could organise an event and play again, we just can’t simple do that.
My 🧡heart goes out to all the people working and finding comfort in the Ultimate economy. We have to stay at home now, let’s make the best of it. I’m excited to shape a more Ultimate future together with you!
If we take everything into account. All the brilliant and excited people that are at home right now. ‘We aren’t just stopping coronavirus. We’re building a new world!’
We are learning from the ideas and plans of Todd Curran of the United Ultimate League (UUL), which raised €21.000 of their €43.000 goal (should have made it €42.000 😅) in 2018. It is a great idea and they focused on the US, they partnered with USAU, Savage and Aria. The community wasn’t ready for it, or it looked too much like what is already out there? Maybe Europe is a better starting ground? We’re in talks with Todd to work together with his newly formed merger of Five Ultimate, Aria disc and Savage Apparel.
I understand that XII Brands is on hold right now, but the idea of a mixed pro league is still alive and instead of Todd with Savage and Aria; we, the people from Ulti.TV and some from Windmill are going at it now.
Where we are 👋
We asked ourselves many times. How do we make this go viral—for the lack of a better word—and how can you help?
In order to understand what we’re building can work, we focus on the design of the mechanics. So that’s what we worked out in this visualisation here. This is how we would envision it, not so much how it is now.
We are looking into a distributed Autonomous Organisational (DAO) structure. This can empower everyone online to do work based on tasks and responsibilities and get a stake in the company. I have experience in Holacracy and combining that with a DAO could make it a totally interesting way of working.
The same with playing. If you play, you should own parts of your team, and in turn, own parts of the league.
Athletes should own leagues, because they make the league what it is.
That is another reason why we are thinking of opening up our operations Trello board to the public so you can vote (and comment to share ideas) on what to focus on next. It’s the Ultimate way to be transparant and it’s great start to make the Holacratic DAO happen. More on that next week.
The visual design was a bit all over the place, we are streamlining that now, with our own styleguide and iconset. It was suddenly easier to ‘start over’ because the design file we worked on for almost 2 years was lost. Well, cheers to new beginnings!
When we’re done with building a proposal, we’d like for you to go at it. Maybe you can improve it by remixing, maybe you can even add more content. For example we made 42 icons to be used on the website, movies, visualisations etc. Maybe there can be even more icons.
Our design file that we will share will be an invitation to endlessly remix and improve the content. What do you think?
To enable more sales of memberships we updated the website to support Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal next to Credit Cards (Stripe). We have a partnership with Stripe, the first €50.000 we will not pay any fees. That means all the payment methods except for PayPal we don’t pay fees. So that’s the most convenient if you want to sponsor a team and player.
We are constantly updating and improving the website to serve our goals. Like we are building team pages now so that countries can better present their intention to have a team. We asked a few country leaders to spearhead that and they wanted to help. More on that next week when we open up the Trello board.
Where we are going 🙌
Ultimately this major upheaval is an opportunity. This is a chance for all ultimate companies to get stronger, to grow ultimate grassroots and come out stronger. When this is all over, everyone should have a new found ownership of Ultimate (and UltiLeague).
With Ulti.TV we are working on a live viewing party game that works with reruns. We can test the idea of live spirit voting on games that have been played already. Hold on to your buts—just follow these letters.
We made a more detailed and visual plan earlier this year, but then the world changed. But we’re still going to go and raise a season for 2020 or beginning of 2021.
Here is the poster that should explain the plan in one overview. What do you think? How can this be better? We will put it on our as soon as you gave feedback on it in the comments below. ♥️
The first season will be small, but we will steadily grow, when our value grows over time we can do more and more.
When we make this work and get a short showcase season in Europe, we can do more than if we don’t have a showcase. Ideally we will start with 6 teams. If that works out we can do a bigger season, still with 6 teams but with more games. For example a bigger season will have both home and away games. Or maybe even 1 home and 2 away games, we will just duplicate the amount of ‘triangle games’ we will do.
Step by step, we’ll grow and we’ll grow to the world.
In terms of campaigning and platform. I have been talking with Momkai, an Amsterdam based (around the corner of my house) design agency specialising in member and mission driven companies. What I found most inspiring is that they co-founded a few companies too, like the Correspondent, which is a global independent journalistic platform. They are more than interested to work with us to setup a healthy (global) campaign that funds the first season(s). More on that in later letters too.
In the meantime… 📺 💻
You’ve probably already checked for content online, and many are doing reruns.
Here are my favourites, be free to share your favorites games in the comments below:
There’s lots of content on Ulti.TV from all over the world, over the years.
EBUC 2019 is great for sunny happy content with lots of funny moments (like me trying to make a wave 👇). Some amazing matches from last years beach.
Last year also brought EUC in Hungary, which one of the most exciting finals I have ever filmed.
Windmill has all their games of the last years on YouTube
Felix from the Ulti.TV team does these great livestream parties that focus on strategy. They are great!
We did an interview with Eurozone, which you can listen to here.
Share your questions and comments below 👇