Some CEOs might forget to thank the little people, but Celia Francis, the CEO of WeeWorld, is not one of them. After all, little people–three-inch digital avatars that represent 20 million real users–have been at the creative center of her career.
WeeWorld is a virtual universe where users create online versions of themselves known as WeeMees. Users may display their WeeMees–complete with accessories, stylish clothing, and more–in hundreds of digital and mobile forums and use them to express emotions. For example, WeeMees weep when sad and smile when happy. Users can even build homes for their WeeMees, and they can post quotes, poems, and blog entries to create original works of creative self-expression.
“They are a form of digital identity,” says Francis, who earned both SM and MBA degrees in management. Since she joined WeeWorld in 2004, when it was a seven-person operation, it has grown into a digital universe. Francis says WeeWorld is the seventh-largest teen site in the United States and now has more than 50 employees. The site is free for users but makes money through licensing, advertising, and virtual goods.
“It is an almost entirely new type of media,” says Francis. Charmed by the concept of a digital identity with infinite possibilities, she knew exactly why WeeWorld would appeal to teens. “Self-expression and playing with one’s identity is core to that age group,” she says. And WeeWorld is a safe environment: “On WeeWorld, no one can identify other people. It is friendly and protected.”
For Francis, who lives in London with her husband and two young children, being part of WeeWorld has been an amazing opportunity. “It is probably as close to ideal as I can imagine for myself,” she says.
Francis sees a bright future for WeeWorld. “Anyone from MIT who is looking for a cool job should write,” she says. “The teaching in the area of product development at MIT was fantastically inspirational. It has been a great joy to find that practicing product development in the real world has lived up to those expectations.”
Anti-aging drugs are being tested as a way to treat covid
Drugs that rejuvenate our immune systems and make us biologically younger could help protect us from the disease’s worst effects.
These materials were meant to revolutionize the solar industry. Why hasn’t it happened?
Perovskites are promising, but real-world conditions have held them back.
The baby formula shortage has birthed a shady online marketplace
Desperate parents just want to feed their babies. They’re having to contend with misinformation, price gouging, and scams along the way.
I tried to buy an Olive Garden NFT. All I got was heartburn.
Our newest issue spells out what you need to know about the dizzying world of digital money.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.