Celebrating 10 Years of Snowman

Today marks the 10th anniversary of Snowman and we are so happy to celebrate this huge milestone with our community of creatives, dreamers and players. We are thankful for the support we’ve received over the past years from a long list of people who continue to inspire us to develop artful experiences.

Ten years ago, Snowman founders Ryan and Jordan set out to build a small to-do app to solve a problem they had themselves. At the time, they knew they wanted to pour their love for design into a project that was very personal to them but had no idea it would lead to eventually building out an entire creative studio.

Snowman Founder, Ryan Cash, reflects on past projects and how much the vision for the company has changed…

“Wow. It feels like just yesterday that I wrote this. Truth be told, I had no idea what I was doing. I knew I had an idea that I was passionate about (Checkmark) but had no real plans beyond that. The idea was that I’d quit my job, we’d finish the app, we’d launch it, I’d probably go relax on a beach in Thailand for a while, and then–and then who knows. I was young, naive and hadn’t thought about the future in any real way.

Well, things didn’t exactly work out that way. Checkmark came out, and while it was profitable and well-reviewed, we didn’t exactly hit the jackpot. One thing led to another and we got into making our first game (Circles). Another thing led to another, and we started working on a more “real” video game. A game which we cancelled. But that led us to start working on what became Alto’s Adventure, and, two and half years later when the game came out, so much changed. We had a hit on our hands and started to think about what was next. What were we going to focus on for the next few years? The stars aligned and we teamed up with my good friend Sam Rosenthal on Where Cards Fall, which accidentally kicked off our quasi-publisher journey.

We hired a few people and had a real company on our hands. We stayed small for quite a few years but remained focused on creating artful experiences that we hoped meant something to some people. A few years later, some of our very own team members had an idea to make something for their kids, and before I knew it, we started something I never would have thought we’d be working on — an entirely new company centred around creative digital play for children.”

Snowman Founder, Jordan Rosenberg, discusses overcoming doubts, making connections and the driving force behind the team…

“10 Years In, and what a ride it’s been.

Still to this day, one of the most important moments for me at Snowman was when we were about a month away from launching Alto’s Adventure. Ryan and I looked at each other and thought maybe Alto wouldn’t succeed in an App Store filled with so many games. How would anyone find it, and why would they play Alto over another game? I mean, we loved it and played it all the time, but we were so immersed in the game that it was hard to gauge if it would resonate with other players as well as it resonated with us.

When we launched, we contacted every blog, tech site and app review website we knew to spread the word. We were leaving nothing to chance. The next day we woke up to a storm of tweets, and positive reviews! Alto picked up traction and made waves in the indie game scene literally overnight.

It made me realize there’s no room for doubt. All that matters is if you’re making something for yourself. This philosophy is now the driving force behind Snowman’s product creation. As I write this, I have Kevin Kelly’s “1000 True Fans’’ essay ingrained into my mind. If you make something for yourself, there will always be others looking for the same thing. So all we (as a team) need to worry about is if we enjoy playing what we’re making!

As long as we continue to do this, I know that the next 10 years will be equally amazing, interesting and exciting for Snowman. Getting to work alongside the most creative, wonderful people I know while also getting to build games and experiences we’re collectively truly passionate about is a pretty awesome thing. Thank you to everyone at Snowman, past and present, who’ve been part of this incredible ride — excited for what’s to come next!”

As the team started to grow, the founders began incubating an idea for a new project that brought them through new territory and eventually became its own studio! Members of Snowman quietly worked on a product for kids that could encourage creativity and learning through open-ended play. For years, the team connected with educators and playtested with kids to bring a digital playroom to devices around the globe.

Pok Pok Co-Founder, Melissa Cash talks about watching Snowman grow and her journey alongside the team…

“I remember when Ryan and Jordan told me they were making a productivity app called Checkmark and that they would be starting a company called Snowman. They were two serial entrepreneurs who’d been starting businesses and side hustles together since childhood, so nothing about that news surprised me in any way. What happened next did — within just a few years, they turned one small app idea into a world-renowned creative studio.

For most of that time, I was just Ryan’s sister and Jordan’s friend. Before I knew it, I was part of the team myself and it felt like I was never anywhere else. The team at Snowman is wonderfully talented, interesting and different from one another — like they are all ingredients in a secret sauce that only they have the recipe to. It was one of the most inspiring places to work — so inspiring, in fact, that a few of us ended up starting an entirely new company together!

If I know this team as well as I believe I do, the next decade will be filled with more incredible surprises — and I can’t wait to see what they are! Congratulations on 10 amazing years!”

Of course, every successful team needs equally supportive collaborators. At Snowman, we’ve always valued our relationships with our partners and could not have made it without their insights, hard work and creativity. So many of the projects we’ve worked on started from chatting and brainstorming with other game dev studios and eventually grew into the games that we know and love.

Senior Producer, Andrew Schimmel, shares his experiences working with our partners…

“Being able to work in the indie games space over the years at Snowman has been a wonderful experience. Collaborating with so many talented individuals and studios within this community has been one of the greatest gifts during this time. It’s truly been a privilege for me to have worked on games with studios like Agens and The Game Band and see those creations realized for players around the world. I feel deep gratitude for the lessons we’ve taken forward from these projects and the friendships that have resulted from the process.”

Thank you for 10 amazing years! Here’s to many more…

Whether you’ve been with us from the beginning or just recently joined our community, we’re so grateful for the continued support over the past 10 years and can’t wait to share many more memories and milestones with you.

Thank you so much to our staff and collaborators for continuously sparking innovation and inspiring us each day. We’re so excited to be doing what we love alongside some of the most motivated and talented creatives in the industry. It is because of all of you that we are able to continue to create meaningful experiences that may sit with you for a short time, but that sit with you for a long while.

To send us off into the next chapter of this journey, here are some final words from Ryan…

“So here we are, ten years later. We’re closing in on thirty people and we’re busier than ever making things I’m really proud of. We hope we’ll make a difference out there, even if it’s in a small way. Our team has become a second family (and set of friends) and I’m truly grateful for each and every one of them. Not just the people working here today, but even those who have come and gone throughout the years. I’ve learned something from every single one of them. Your team is everything, and so today I want to celebrate our team more than the products we’ve made or the brand we’ve built. A huge thank you to each and every one of you on the Snowman team, past and present included. It’s also been an incredible joy to partner with some of the most talented indie teams in the world like Land & Sea, The Game Band, Agens, Slingshot & Satchel and more. Thanks to our customers, our players, our business partners, the media, the platforms and everybody else who’s supported us over the last decade.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last decade it’s that we never know what’s around the corner. The only thing we do know is that if we follow our noses they’ll usually lead us somewhere great. Or at least interesting. And if not, we’ll learn, we’ll persevere and we’ll grow.

Here’s to the next ten years.”

If you want to chat about our games with other players, join our community on the Snowman Discord server! For all upcoming news and updates, follow along at @builtbysnowman on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

If you’re a member of the press who’s interested in chatting about this release, please contact Ryan, ryan(@)builtbysnowman(dot)com. You can view the press kit here.

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