About Me

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Web person at the Imperial War Museum, just completed PhD about digital sustainability in museums (the original motivation for this blog was as my research diary). Posting occasionally, and usually museum tech stuff but prone to stray. I welcome comments if you want to take anything further. These are my opinions and should not be attributed to my employer or anyone else (unless they thought of them too). Twitter: @jottevanger

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Simulacra's Omega Day

I heard from Andy Sawyer on Monday that Simulacra has gone into liquidation. I think this is public knowledge and it actually happened a couple of weeks ago, although their websites don't show this. I wonder if they are expecting to keep things ticking over whilst all the parties decide what to do next. Andy was a key figure there and was also my non-academic supervisor. This unfortunate news also disrupts that, obviously.
Simulacra was formerly MWR, which took over the original Simulacra last year but adopted the name as it had a higher profile and an established product, OpenHarmonise. They were working hard to find a business model that balanced their values with the harsh financial realities of being a small fish in the software world, although MWR had a pretty long history in fact, stretching back to the '80s (I think). And whilst I say "small", a look at some of the work they've done and the clients they've left happy doesn't reflect this (the Churchill speeches interactive was so cool!). Whether life is especially hard in the education and cultural heritage sectors, which is where they pitched their camp, I don't know, but it's regrettable that even an adventurous and forward-thinking company like that can expire (with a little help from the bank, I think). I guess it's also part of the deal of being adventurous, but the museum world and teachers will be poorer, I think, if their Magic Studio, for one thing, is gone for good.
There's plenty to mull over for me in this story, but it feels (a) a bit close and (b) a bit unappealing to conduct an autopsy now. Also there's still the chance that something might rise from the ashes and I'm crossing my fingers. In any case I wish Andy and all of the other Simulacra folks well, and thank them for all the help they gave me with my PhD work, most especially Andy. Good luck all.

[with apologies to Bill Fay for the title]