Friends and Business

I’ve had a bad experience with friends and business. I started a company with a couple friends and things went bad.  Real bad. Losing friends bad.  Three guys that worked together on some great and challenging projects, hit deadlines, spent late nights together discussing everything under the sun, now haven’t spoken in any meaningful way in over a decade.  In my defense, I was young and dumb. We all were. There was no plan or budget for marketing, no ideas to generate buzz about us, nothing that a modern business needs to thrive. I have accepted my role in our failure. There are a million little things I could have done better, communicated better, budgeted better, worked harder. It was a humbling, painful, learning experience. The worst part wasn’t that I had to take a retail job, or feel adrift in life again, it was that I lost my friends. So when Jeff approached me to start a gaming company I was understandably nervous.  I would not risk the friendships I had for anything, much less a shot in the dark on something we’d never done before.  But being in your thirty’s (OK, late thirty’s) is a different world than a 24 year old. I’ve been through a lot of growth; kids, Master’s degree, steady and fulfilling career, home ownership.  I trust my partners to do their best, to commit their time and effort to creating the best games we can.  But more than that, I trust myself.  I know more about research, marketing, and networking than I did back then. I also know how hard I can work. I know how to budget my time. I know how to harness my passion to be great.

I can admit to myself that the failure of my first company was due to a lack of trying and hard work. That is a painful admission.  No one wants to admit that they didn’t try their best. It’s way easier to blame the market, or the timing, or other people. Were there things I didn’t know? Sure. But I did nothing about that.  I didn’t spend time learning about the business we were in, the market that was out there, or a host of other things that contributed to our failure.

Lesson learned: If we are to fail, it won’t be because I didn’t work, learn, or plan hard enough.

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