Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Continuing Adventures of Baron Munchausen

Maybe I should compare myself to Baron Harkonnen instead?

I think after reading what I said yesterday most of you probably think I should. I got a little carried away there.

It's not my intention to paint a completely negative picture of those I chose to start Skill City with. Not completely anyway. You see while my coders and business partners had talent, they simply were the wrong people to do business with.

You will find countless better blogs than mine which will tell you the right sort of person to form a startup venture with. I personally enjoy Marc Andreesens blog cleverly linked via hyper thermal linkoid technology: click here.

See, the people I chose to start the business with were complete opposites of the "right kind of person" for this task. It doesn't mean they are jerks or bad workers. Quite the opposite, Drew and Chris are the rare shining exception among coders: They actually know what they are doing, they do it well, and they can pass the fizz buzz test.

What they don't have is drive. Marc puts it best on his blog, go read that. They don't share the vision I have for Skill City, and while I know my artist and music guys did, we can't make much without coders.

As soon as things got rough in the office and morale began to sink, they just jumped ship. They don't care about the project in the same way as somebody with a real deep seeded drive to see the project through regardless of hardships. Some of it isn't their fault even. Owning a house puts a large financial burden on you, so starting a company that might require you to go unpaid for a year or even two is probably not a good idea. Doing it anyway and then screwing the company by leaving it is also a poor choice, and one that I regret I have to bring up because I feel strongly thats one of the main reasons why Skill City might not recover from it's current state of "down and out."

It certainly could, if it had the right people behind it. Those who were willing to give more, move it in to a garage business and take day jobs to keep the core business operating and looking good for the public.

The people I chose to work with refuse to do that, further backing up the argument that I chose the wrong kind of people to work with.

This was not their mistake.

It was mine.

See how I put that on separate lines? I think it adds emphasis to two statements that are certainly true. I made a huge mistake in starting a business with them. This is not a black mark on their records, it is a black mark on mine.

Now you are thinking, but aren't you blaming your programmers for your (you and your partners') business's failure?


Remember the too many chefs? They are all to blame for the failure of their soup.

Management is there to take credit when his team does well, and lay blame on somebody else when they fail. Good management gives credit to his team, and accepts the failure as his own when that team fails. I think somebody said that more eloquently once, but it's true.

What else happened at Skill City though? Clearly there were personality conflicts between the founders that we just couldn't hold in any longer. What was the trigger? Why didn't it make any money despite that?

I know you are all wondering these things, and I did make that list of questions to keep me on track. I'll answer it tomorrow though, I have many an email to answer today and a throbbing headache that demands my attentions.

1 comment:

Jon... said...

So what is Skill City completly dead in the water now?

What's wrong with moving back into the garage and teaming up with some talented guys across the world (who BTW CAN pass the fizzbuzz test!) and offering them the chance to work (unpaid) but for a share in the company - that way they'll have a much deeper investment and desire to see things succeed.

If you could possibly think of someone who might fit the bill (and is passionate about casual games and casual game development) I suggest you get in touch (oh BTW I do subtle professionaly - in case you hadn't noticed!)