A little more than a year ago, I started the Unity3D User Group in Seattle (link). And I must first admit that the reason I started the group was rather selfish.
Let me start the story from the very beginning. After I left Sony and started Studio Pepwuper in early 2010, I soon realized a big problem I hadn't considered before making the leap - that I was no longer in a herd.
I was working alone for 99% of the time - just me and the trusted laptop. It never bothered me that I wasn't working with anyone else. I wanted to do everything myself and learn the ins-and-outs of every aspect of making an iPhone game and building a business around making games. I was excited, focused, single-minded.
(My dog in the uber packed car when we drove up to Seattle from LA)
I was going through all the drafts I'd written for this blog, and found this post I started in December 2011. Laura and I had just moved from Los Angeles to Seattle the month before. Everything was new, exciting, exotic. We were in love with the city (and we still are) and we didn't even notice the rain despite the fact that it was the fall going into the winter.
I saw this question on Quora - "Epiphany: What is the most profound epiphany you ever had?"
I don't have epiphanies very often, so I had to share the one that jumps to mind and add my two cents to this question.
Here's my answer:
"What is indie?" the younger boy asked.
"Indie means you have to work harder." the older brother answered.
I watched a Japanese film called I Wish in July. It's a story about two little brothers trying to re-unite their separated parents - an uplifting film that made me smile.
In the film, the dad of the two kids was a singer/guitarist in a small band that had just published an indie album. The boys didn't really understand the meaning of indie, and had the conversation quoted above.
Washing up, the act of cleaning dirty bowls and dishes, became a meditating ritual for me a year into starting the business.
It was by no means intentional. I never liked doing washing up. In college, my roommate and I would wait until the very last mintue, when we could smell the mold on the dirty dishes in the sink, before we'd go into the serious discussion of whose turn it was to do the dishes.
We didn't have a dish washer at home when I was growing up (very few did in Taiwan back then), so washing dishes had always been an unpopular chore. I'd take the trash out, wipe the table, run to the store... anything I could do to avoid having to put my hands into the sink and scrub the dishes full of grease.
Thunder and lightening, we had a sudden storm yesterday morning in Seattle that knocked out the Internet in the entire apartment for the whole day. Without TV and Internet, I didn't know what to do with myself in the evening when I had planned to catch up on email.
So I turned on the iPad, looking for an app to kill some time with. I remembered that I had downloaded the Korg Analog Synthesizer app when it was on sale a few weeks back, but never got over the initial curiosity to actually understand how it works.
If you also grew up in the 80's, you know how excited I was when I had the chance to go to Nintendo yesterday.
To say my decision to start Studio Pepwuper was influenced by Nintendo would be a huge understatement. Without Nintendo, we wouldn't have what we know as video games today. And despite many industry changes and technology cycles, Nintendo continues to create some of the purest forms of interactive entertainment today.
Wednesday night, I walked downtown to a startup event by IdeaMensch. Many great talks at the event from non-profit all the way to web startups and offline retail (ice cream). My favorite talk was from Rand Fishkin, of SEOmoz's fame, a talk that's highly energetic, educational, and entertaining. (link to slides)
One of the things he talked about that really stuck with me was the topic of humility. The importance of being humble seems to be a lost art in this day of age, when everyone around us is shouting, and media constantly reminds us of rich bastards with huge egos.
I almost spent $10,000 to impress a girl. Almost.
Three years ago last month in June 2009, I proposed to my wife. From idea generation, coming up with a strategy, drafting a plan of attack, setting priorities, scheduling, budgeting, all the way to the execution and implementation, the entire "operation proposal" took several months and lots of brain juice. I wanted it to be special, I wanted it to be fun, and I wanted it to be something we could talk about for years to come.
I had several ideas for how I could "pop the question":
The hardest questions to answer are the ones about ourselves.
When I was having my quarter-life crisis at the grand age of twenty-eight, I started looking for an answer to this all-important question: What Do I Really Want to Do with My Life? The answer to this probably changes depending on my age. But I knew if anyone asked me on the spot, I would have no answer. I couldn't live with not having at least one answer to this question.