Back in January of 2009, we noted that a “superstar team” was about to launch in the MMO space, with a startup called Ohai. A few weeks ago, Ohai was sold, as VentureBeat’s Deak Takahashi first reported. And at least two of those rockstars have now moved on. Susan Wu and Don Neufeld are the newest members of The Obvious Corporation, the idea incubator that was just re-started by the former Twitter guys, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Jason Goldman.
Stone makes the announcement in a post today on the Obvious blog. “The most important part of creating this work culture and building these meaningful products is people — but not just any people. People that are often smarter than us, different from us, passionate like us, and dedicated to the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” he writes, stating that Wu and Neufeld, employees number four and five at Obvious, are those kind of people.
Like everything else with the re-launch of Obvious, this move also extends from the past. Stone writes:
Many years ago, when Ev and I were working on Odeo, we met Susan as part of Charles River Ventures, and we knew then that we wanted to work with her. We know Susan to be incredibly smart, talented, thoughtful, and driven to make a lasting, positive impact on the world. Through Susan, we met Don and quickly realized he was a rare sort of affable technical genius—an obvious fit!
They sure love those obvious plays on words.
Stone goes on to note that while both most recently worked in the gaming space (with Ohai), Wu and Neufeld bring a range of knowledge. This seems to imply that whatever Obvious is building right now, it won’t be in the gaming space.
The situation surrounding the Ohai exit is still a bit odd. While the company has been sold, at first the buyer was unknown. Then, in a separate story, Takahashi reported that the buyer was EA. Then Ohai denied this. Then they said they were “in the process of completing a transaction”. Then Takahashi heard that EA had interviewed Ohai employees and did not make a purchase at that time.
Okay, that was 11 days ago, and now most (if not all) of the founding team is gone. Something clearly happened. Regardless, Wu and Neufeld are now with Obvious.
Meanwhile, while not much is known about what Obvious will actually work on, we do hear they already do have a first product in mind that they have started. More to come, I’m sure.
Update: Wu posts a bit more on her own blog, and notes that “We’re in the process of completing a transaction for ohai”. She later notes that Ohai will “evolve into something else”.