Friday, June 14, 2013

More Lessons for You & Me

It's been a while, but I have been busy.   I've worked for two ventures, and kept some projects going on the side here as well.

January, I worked with
And for the last 4 months I was working with Hungry Moose Games co-creating the content for 9 Lives.

There's been lots of stuff I've learned.  And although I've made notes myself, I figure it's great to share with people as well.   So here they are:

  1. Stop making products first
  2. Find a buyer / Funder first
  3. Ask for Solutions instead of guessing them
  4. Mini Milestone vs Big Picture

And here's how each break down:

Stop making products first

Biggest and most common things for nearly everyone to do is come up with an idea.  Create it.  Try to sell it.   While this can work, this is about the hardest way you can possibly do something.   I've spend months creating products and then trying to sell them.  It doesn't work out so well.  Yes, you can research your target demographic better and better, fine tune the process.  But especially in games, you are sort of playing the lottery.  And neither you nor I should have to spend months to buy one ticket.  So what do you do?

Find a buyer / Funder first

You find someone willing to fund you.  So wait, they'll want to take a portion of your game, and you KNOW your game will be big.  Well maybe they will, but you can also negotiate.  You also are risking THEIR money instead of your time and money.  Even if they owned the entire game, (which there's no way you should do that) you keep the knowledge, experience, infrastructure, code, methodology that works.  In other words, they just paid you to go to school to make stuff.  So win lose or draw you'll GUARANTEE to come out on top.

Ask for Solutions instead of guessing them

This is more for utility apps, but it does work for games too.  (I'll be doing my next steps with utility apps, while doing games in the background btw.)  You ask someone what they want and what they would actually pay money for.  And you actually get them to pay the money to get it made.  So yes.. kind of like kickstarter, except you are literally asking people out there for the idea and seed money.  Now I'm creative enough I can come up with dozens of ideas (when I'm not utterly physically and mentally exhausted) and pose them to people.  You can do that as well.  The big lesson is simply to run the initial idea or get the initial idea from a group of people who are them willing to PAY for it to be implemented.  Not the whole thing, just one step at a time.  Which brings us to...

Mini Milestone vs Big Picture

Everyone seems to think in big picture.  That is, what does the final perfect, awesomely polished final product look like.  Which means you try to plan for that.  This is so surprisingly normal and I've done it so many times that I haven't given too much credence to the other way until recently.  Instead of trying to estimate far into the future on things you can't possibly know, plan a 2 week cycle to get something working.  It's pretty close to agile, except that you ensure you have a working product every milestone.  Managing long term expectations with a finite schedule is hell on earth.

So those are the lessons I've learned, and a bit of the "why" behind them too.  Hope you find that useful.

Now there's one thing I left out.  YOU!  Remember the "Ask for solutions instead of guessing"?    Well I'm asking you.  What would you like to know.   I'm a BioWare veteran with over a decade of experience in games.  As well as a number of years in the entrepreneurial effort.  Feel free to ask me what you'd like, or would like to see on here.   I do post these out for your interest as well.

You don't have to ask of course.  But if you have a question.  Why not?

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