The Biggest Mistake I Made Last Year


If you are serious about making your start-up a success, make that your sole focus. Don’t do anything else. Don’t write a book. Don’t teach a class. Don’t take a consulting contract. Don’t volunteer for a board.

The biggest mistake I made last year was doing all of those things. I published a book on judo (it’s a long story), was chair of the board for a medical non-profit, took several consulting contracts and agreed to teach a few graduate classes.

I realized that I needed to take a leap of faith. I couldn’t ask investors to take a risk on our business when I was hedging my bets. Giving up guaranteed paid work to devote your time to something that you only believe will pay off isn’t for the faint of heart.

It took some time to disentangle myself. I had signed contracts, a commitment to the board. One by one, though, I have finished those commitments. Now that I am able to devote 100% to 7 Generation Games, I realize what a huge mistake it was not to do this sooner.

People have such a capacity for self-deception, and I’m not immune. I would get a few bugs fixed on the game, or attend a pitch competition and think, “See, I can get this done and work on these contracts at the same time.”

Here’s the deal – when you work for a start-up , you have to wear many,many hats. My new schedule is four hours of game development, two hours of marketing stuff and two hours of management stuff every day. That doesn’t mean I work an eight hour day. It means that I do a MINIMUM of that in each area and then more in at least one of those areas.

Now that I am full time on 7 Generation Games, I have more time to spend on planning, identifying what we need to do and in what order. So, more things get done and not just the highest priorities but also those things that may help us further down the line. Things get done BETTER. Whether it is a commercial for our games, an accelerator application, PHP for a report on game usage or javascript for a game activity, having more time to devote means it’s more polished.

Now that I finally have full-time to work on 7 Generation Games, I am kicking myself that I did not come to this realization sooner.

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