QRANK Trivia Game Developer To Headline Texas Exes Digital Media Forum

Every day thousands of people around the world log on to their Facebook, iPhones, or iPads and play QRANK.

Play what?

QRANK (sounds like crank) is a social media app that offers a daily brain scratch in the form of 15 general knowledge or current event trivia questions. Since being launched by Ricochet Labs earlier this year, it’s quickly risen in popularity. Esquire magazine, in its September issue, listed QRANK in its Encyclopedia of Now as one of the “80 people, places, and ideas that matter right now.”

The developer of the addictive trivia app — Rodney Gibbs, MFA ’96, CEO of Ricochet Labs — is one of five guests who will be on hand at a Texas Exes Austin Professional’s event next week to discuss digital and social media in our work and play.

QRANK players choose 15 of 20 cards that have questions from seven categories: business and government, entertainment, history and place, life, literature, science and nature, and sports. Points are awarded based on the difficulty of question and the speed at which the user chooses the correct multiple choice answer. Once players complete their final question they see how they rank among users in their city, state, country, and globally.

A frequent name among top players in Austin is UT journalism clinical professor Wanda Cash, BJ ’71. “It’s an affirmation of how much absolutely worthless knowledge I have in my head,” Cash says.

She first heard about the game from the Texas Tribune. Its editor, Evan Smith, is a self-proclaimed QRANK addict, and the Tribune has hosted multiple QRANK live games at Jo’s Downtown. Businesses can sign up to have QRANK live, so players can compete head-to-head against their friends or other patrons at that specific location.

It’s no surprise QRANK came out of Austin. UT’s hometown has solidified its footing in the cultivation of entertainment technologies, with many gaming studios located in the capital city, South by Southwest Interactive giving now-successful programs their “big breaks” (including Twitter in 2007), and major companies, like Facebook, setting up shop here.  

At Wednesday’s event at the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center, four industry leaders will share their thoughts on Austin and digital entertainment in a panel discussion moderated by the Cockrell School of Engineering’s new media manager Juan Garcia, BS ’03. 

Besides Gibbs, attendees will hear from:

Lori Durham, BBA ’89, the vice president of operations at Austin-based video-game publisher Aspyr Media. Durham has led teams responsible for the development of more than 150 video game projects, including franchises such as The Sims, Call of Duty, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Guitar Hero, and others.

Chris Apollo Lynn, BA ’02, founder and editor of music and culture blog Republic of Austin. Lynn was voted Best Local Blogger by the Austin Chronicle in its 2010 Best of Austin awards, and Republic of Austin won Best Local Blog. Lynn also has a background in traditional and social media marketing campaigns.

René Pinnell, BS ’05, CEO and co-founder of Hurricane Party, a social networking app. Pinnell has also been active in Austin’s filming scene as a writer, director, and producer.  

Intrigued yet? Register ($20 for Texas Exes members and $30 for nonmembers) here


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