To the casual observer, there was nothing particularly unusual about the party of 30 people eating pizza at a Round Table restaurant in Folsom California one hot August afternoon in 1994. Oh, they were fairly rowdy alright, and judging by the conversations heard buzzing around their tables, rather nerdy (even for northern California) but those who saw them eating pizza that afternoon had no way to know that these 30 people had just embarked upon the kind of adventure that only comes around once in a lifetime.

This adventure started on Monday, August 1st, 1994 at precisely 4:47 PM Pacific Daylight Savings Time. These 30 people knew from the beginning that the adventure would bring challenges like they had never known – they welcomed the challenges. They also knew that there was more fun awaiting them than most people even dream of. But who were these people, and what was this adventure they had just begun?

They came from all over the globe, and had incredibly diverse backgrounds. They were programmers and farmers. They were engineers, designers, computer and video experts, ranchers, mathematicians, dreamers, magicians, musicians, marketing types and even normal people (at least two of them).

Among this diversity, could be found plenty of common ground. Separately, as competitors, or in smaller groups, they had been in the business of creating computer video technology for up to 16 years. They were a veritable Dream Team of computer video specialists, who had designed and created over 35 of the most important and best-selling products in the industry – including DCTV, the Video Toaster, and the first-ever computer video effects system – created way back in 1979 on the Apple II.

This group had come together to form a new team now, because they had seen a wonderful new opportunity – a way they could guide the technology of the personal computer and the technology of video together and take part in creating a whole new kind of television. That’s the thing that brought these people together, you see: a genuine love of television, and a desire to do their best to make it better.

They decided that they would have to name this bold adventure – a name that would combine the best elements of their chosen technology, with the lifestyle in which they would soon be immersed. What do you get when you combine computers, video, a single-minded goal, and the attitude of enjoying the challenge of meeting the goal into one company? Play Incorporated.

Now that the venture had a name, it needed leadership. In a bold and unconventional move, the group picked not one leader, but two. Paul Montgomery and Mike Moore are Play’s co-CEOs because separately, they have each acquired years of leadership skills running successful businesses, and together, their talents and abilities complement each other to such a degree that no other leadership structure made sense. Mike and Paul’s first priority was to capture the creative energy of the new company in the form of a product which everyone at Play had a hand in designing: the Snappy Video Snapshot. Snappy was immediately a smash hit, and has become the best-selling video add-on of all time.

With Snappy successfully launched, they could turn their attention to the reason they had come together in the first place: to help create the future of television. This common goal has turned into the most ambitious personal computer product ever: Trinity. Trinity required the design of more than 30 custom chips, and the writing of more than 3.5 million lines of software code. Even though Trinity is poised at the brink of spectacular success, its invention was to push the resolve and creativity of its creators to their limits.

to be continued . . .