Who am I?

Head Grunt, David “NfoCipher” Bunt - I'm a programmer..
Experience: With over 14 years professional experience both in corporate and small business environments. I'm a Linux junkie, have a healthy respect for macs, but cannot tolerate anything microsoft related. Been there, done that, never again.

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Lunch with Jay

2008-09-15 @ 08:15 in Business

I broke from my normal routine of running to Dairy Queen and had lunch with Jay Brandrup who owns Kinetic Communications. We walked down to John's and I had the two-handed cheese burger. I highly recommend clicking on the tour link on Kinetic's site and see how completely awesome their building is. I've never placed much importance on the "look" of your workspace. I just want something that functional ie: a desk that will not break when I overload it and the most comfortable chair you can afford. However after visiting Kinetic's building I started to question my minimalist workspace attitude. How far can a home business go? What sort of business have I lost by not having a traditional office space with a server room that customers could tour?

It may sound funny, but some companies build nice looking "network operation centers" just so they can walk clients around. On just about every job interview I've been on they take me on a tour of the server room. Have I become so jaded over the years that the site of a rack of dells flashing, 67 degree temperatures, and the constant hum of fans just doesn't impress me at all? Does it still impress normal people? There's nothing "magical" about it - they're servers.. But in the back of my mind I'm thinking just maybe I'd have more customers if I setup such a room and walked people around it. Ah, but what customers am I after?

ChickenWare was meant to be a game studio. A virtual game studio at that. Why have all the overhead of an office space when there are plenty of tools and high speed lines available? The question has always been - how can I pay the bills while I'm making games? Well, the byproduct of building server/client games is having an infrastructure that's great for hosting. I have the hardware, the network line, the backup generator, and the UPSes. So I decided to attempt to pay for game making by selling hosting. One hosting customer wanted to know if I could handle basic tech support for their company. Sure, why not? They're good customers, they pay their bills on time, why not expand my services? Next thing I know I'm going to owner's house and doing basic tech support for his family. In reality, I'm doing everything but making games. I have no time nor the energy to code.

Enter Jay - I explained my situation and here's what he had to say about it:

Learn to say no.

According to Jay, you only have 100,000 hours of work in your lifetime. 40 hours per week * 50 weeks a year * 50 years. Do not spend a single hour doing something you don't want to be doing. You should also not do anything that is not your core business. In other words, I need to stop doing everything and just focus on game making even if it means losing money. I've always been leery of putting all my eggs in one basket. My friend Ryan has always told me to find ways to generate streams of income from multiple places. So I have the hosting thing, some veterinarian patient education software, consulting, and I teach college level Linux and programming part time. All of these keeping me from actually writing games. I'm tired and my time management isn't what it should be. Something has to give.

Kinetics is profitable because Jay does nothing but web design. You don't go to a neurologist for a rash, that doctor will refer you to a dermatologist. His company doesn't do hosting, consulting, brochures, etc. - it does web design. Anything else is outsourced to a company that specializes in that particular area. Obviously I need to change my approach as my current one just isn't working. As for the lunch itself - $30 bucks and an hour of your time is the cheapest education you can buy.