Embracing the Fail: Or How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love The Chaos

So many of you will know that when I graduated university I set up a ‘games’ company under the misguided thinking that I’d be okay going it alone without any knowledge of the industry whatsoever. I had a client and things looked pretty promising. Naturally it all went pear-shaped and I got terribly depressed for a good few months.

I’d like to thank Devi Ever for helping me realize that things could have gone a lot worse and it’s never the end of the world if they do. Devi made a few mistakes and she’s in a bad situation but she’s still fighting and making games – it made me realize how pitifully small my problems running a company had been. I think at the time with all the stress piling on top of me I thought it was the end of the world – but it’s never the end of the world even if you do make a mistake (except if that mistake is setting off a doomsday device… then it might be the end of the world and you probably shouldn’t have done it.)

I’ve also recently been doing a lot of client work sorting out other peoples issues in businesses larger than the one I tried to run. Apparently the kind of issues I’d experienced in my own time as a director are actually completely normal! I thought for a long time that I was only having problems because I wasn’t ready for them… but apparently it’s common to find that people just aren’t ready to deal with when things get messy. We’re all human and none of us really know exactly what is going on all the time – we all make mistakes!

I look back now at the mess I was in before Christmas and realize a few things:

  • The company made no profit, but it also made no loss. It was practically as if it didn’t do anything in the first place.
  • I spent most of Christmas worrying that I’d lost people as friends because of the business – they’re all still here today and I’m glad of that.
  • Clients are always happy to take more than they are supposed to… it’s natural for people to get as much out of anything as they can.

I also feel that before I left university I hadn’t experienced nearly enough failure in my life: I found all my university exams and coursework easy – I breezed through my presidency at the anime society – I never really had anything go horribly wrong. I kinda needed something to kick me out of my complacency and make me realize that not everything is so straightforward.

I learnt so damn much when I was running my company and I would like to try again soon. I’m hoping this time I’ll stick to my guns and do what it is I do best: make interesting games and run hilarious game jams.

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