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Saturday, April 17, 2021

UF alumnus, founder of Trendy Entertainment, discusses video games, ethics

What began as a lecture on ethics in the tech industry by a Gainesville entrepreneur quickly diverted into discussions ranging from video game addiction to super geniuses.

Augi Lye, chairman and founder of Trendy Entertainment — a game-development studio — spoke about his experiences in technology and the video game industry to a crowd of about 15 on Thursday afternoon at the UF College of Engineering.

But shortly after he began, the topics veered in several directions.

Lye, a 2006 UF electrical and computer engineering alumnus, founded and invested in a number of startups in Gainesville, such as Trendy and Hacker House. He began his presentation describing technology industry ethics as varying degrees of gray, such as dealing with racially stereotyped character designs from a French artist.

From there, the lecture turned into a roundtable discussion. Some members of the audience seemed unfamiliar with the video game industry and were eager to ask questions.

Lye answered them in an upbeat tone, appearing to enjoy the audience’s interest.

“Do we want to foster good communities, or just let people do what they want?” Lye asked about building a healthy customer base for a game.

The audience, made up of mostly middle-aged men, asked Lye if he would compare video game addiction to drug addiction, briefly changing the direction of the event. Lye still answered, disagreeing with the statement.  

UF computer engineering senior Nick Evans, 21, said although he thought the talk seemed unfocused, he thinks Lye’s unorthodox approach to business has created success.

“Personally, I think Augi is a pretty influential guy in Gainesville,” Evans said.

[A version of this story ran on page 8 on 2/6/2015 under the headline “Talk by UF alumnus turns into discussion on video games, ethics"]

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