A 1200-step life improvement plan. 1157 steps to go.
Wait, let’s rewind a bit.
Funny thing happened. I’ve always been entrepreneurial but lazy (lazy in the good sense, think of laziness when it comes to programming. It’s a virtue, which the Perl community noted decades ago). I got a bit bored of my day job and at the same time my ideas, which I’ve been working on since years, seemed to make more and more sense from an entrepreneurial point of view. I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions but in August 2012 I decided I would do one, for the fun of it. I called it a “life-improvement plan”, as a pun on such plans – they seem to be as big a business as they are full of crap (just by looking at the amount of self-improvement books out there).
Just to make sure – my life-improvement plan, this blog, and certainly this company – is no self-help preaching thingy, ending in me trying to sell you one of those how-to-improve-your-life-really-really-this-time-books.
The 1200-step life-improvement plan is a play on the famous 12-step program AA has. I just realised I need a few more steps to reach my goals. What are those goals, and what are those steps? Well, a lot of things happened in one year, so I need to run through the major happenings:
First I was, like, “my job sucks“. Then I was, like, “what if I, this time for real, allocate a few nights a week to build a prototype and see if that could lead to something“. I had all kinds of constraints, mainly lack of time and energy, mostly attributed to my day job and a family of two kids and two dogs. So I added one requirement to the life-improvement plan: do not sacrifice being a good dad while pursuing your new goals. I’m at an age where I can’t afford to code all night long without considering others. This is why I recommend anyone to do this kind of career jumps while they’re young and single. 🙂
I was actually successful in working on a prototype for an app I knew would bring me millions. Being mature enough, and having way too expensive living costs, I focused on what mattered. No expensive Macbook Pro’s, Aeron chairs, height-adjustable desk. Just spent a couple of hundred buck for a new monitor to the existing Mac Mini which I nicked from the living room, installing XCode, and voilá, set to go. However, after a couple of months I was in dismay. I decided the prototype was a no-go, mainly due to my lack of knowledge in Mac/iOS programming and time to pursue it harder. Objective-C was new to me, as was the iOS SDK, but I knew that with a few days of training I get the hang of it – it’s just another language and framework, after all. But the app’s scope just blew up.
So I did another prototype. This time for a game idea I had gotten after a few glasses of red wine around the time Super Hexagon was released. After a few weeks I decided that this is a go. But instead of continuing to build it during the nights – of which I had way too few of – there was other variables now in play. I could not quit my day job cold turkey – my living costs in Switzerland were way to high for that, but with some coincidences and luck, we decided with my family to buy a house and move back to Finland. All this resulted in me quitting my job and deciding to use our way too few savings to ramp up a company. A game studio, the company of my dreams since I was a teenager.
I had some concrete goals and steps in my mind when I formulated my tongue-in-cheek life-improvement plan. Shortly, or as short as you can describe a 1200-step program, it contained the following goals:
- Goal: start doing what you love for work
- Step: do a prototype of one of the software ideas (an iPhone app at that time) and evaluate it
- Goal: Get in better physical shape. I’m athletic, but I haven’t done anything physical in 6 years. It does not show on my figure (thank you, genes), but in energy levels.
- Step: start doing sports which are easy and quick to do in any daily situation: jogging is the best candidate.
- Goal: get filthy rich
- Goal: do not sacrifice anything on the family side (“anything” is taken a bit loosely, but you know what I mean – don’t become a coding ogre who lives at night, not having any contact to your family anymore)
That get-rich-goal might seem superficial, but is actually none of the kind. You see, money is the only thing I lack in my life, always have. I have [had] a good job, a insanely great wife and super adorable daughters, a great family, even some friends. Money is a means to be able to do more stuff I and my family love to do. See, I used “do”, not “own”.
I will describe the progress of those goals in future posts in more detail, but the quick run-down on the status after the first year is:
- The get-in-shape part was the most successful. I started jogging and got into better shape, resulting in more energy to put into this journey. I need to keep doing it – now I have slacked off a bit too much due to the moving out of Switzerland [TODO: insert more excuses here]
- The don’t-sacrifice-your-family went also fine. I did not lower the amount of time I spend every day with my kids. On the contrary, I could actually have done more for my company than I did. I’m a procrastinator and a family man, what can I say.
- The start-doing-what-you-love: here more happened than I could keep up with. Plans changed. Things came up. I quit my job and moved to another country much quicker than I anticipated, but on the positive side, I could jump into the startup life with much more time and enthusiasm.
This blog post is from my personal point of view. These kind of post will definitely be one part of this blog, but don’t be afraid – the main point of view for this blog will be the journey of my startup – about game design and development, coding, game and app projects, progress thereof. And with a good pinch of sarcasm without emoticons and border-line NSFW jokes.
Game Developer, CEO, CTO, Founder, Senior Project Manager… hey, I can choose my own title! Suck on that, mid-European title masturbators! (Sorry about that – had to get it out of my system.)