Archive for September, 2014

Chugging Along

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

IMG_5666Life is good.

K’s been finally able to get to sleep quickly. The routine has gone from lasting about 1:30 (that’s one HOUR and a half) to about 5 minutes, which is fantastic. Well, that’s about 30 minutes of “prep” – washing, brushing teeth, reading, etc., but that was always on top of the previous 1:30 as well.

He’s completely obsessed with the Frozen soundtrack, which would be worse except I actually like most of the songs, so it’s been at least mostly tolerable, and it’s what he wants to listen to when going to sleep. Put ANYTHING else on, or sing anything else, and he says, “Go! Go! Go!” until you switch to the Frozen soundtrack. So well played, Disney.

The kids are still enjoying time at the pool on days when it’s warm (which are starting to get less frequent). J’s kind of swimming – it’s clear that it’ll be time to get him some sort of lessons, as I think it can be a lot easier to learn from someone else. While J still needs his goggles and gets upset if water gets in his eyes, K doesn’t care AT ALL about getting water in his eyes, or going underwater. He’s just like, “Yeah, whatever, let’s go again!”

Work’s been interesting – we’ve been basically working full-time on Wonderspark, which is fun – the idea’s really fleshed out over the last few weeks, and though there are still some handwavey bits, for sure, there is a really solid core game that we can build even if none of the handwavey bits work out at all. So that’s pretty sweet.

It’s still just the two of us, and so progress goes in fits and starts. It’s mostly chronicled here.

This week is all “people”. Monday we’re doing a bunch of user interviews, which is a strongly encouraged part of the Lean Startup process. So we’re basically trying to ensure that we’re ‘filling a need’ or ‘solving a problem’. It’s not about asking people what they think of our solution (the specific game we’re making), but more trying to make sure that there is space for it in their lives, and that it’s solving a need that they have that they’re likely to pay for. The process is usually for more “blank slate” startups, and so translating that process into something like “games” where the need is known but the *specific answer* is not may be a little strange, but we’re gonna give it a shot & see. I suspect that our first interviews will be a bit of a clusterfuck, but that’s what learning is for. 🙂

Later in the week, I’m spending almost every lunch meeting up with other entrepreneurs, including someone I’d worked with very briefly at Big Fish who left a while before I did, but was one of the people I respected most at the company. I’d been thinking about reaching out to him when he unexpectedly reached out to me, and it’s always nice to have people that you liked & respected reaching out to you – I think it’s a sign you did something right. Rather, I think it’s the sign you did the *most important* things right, that people want to work with you again, or at least maintain that relationship over time.

We’ve also spent a lot of time organizing things around the house. Since we’ve got more time, and finally some things have “finalized” about where stuff goes, I’d started moving things around in the downstairs, throwing out/donating stuff that we’re not using anymore, and finally uncluttering large sections of stuff that have been sitting around for far too long without proper attention.

IMG_8405So, for instance, this “alcove” in the downstairs always ended up full of random things, because it’s one of the least-used spaces in the house. But since I’d moved the desk out of that space & over into the downstairs bedroom, which is now our full-time office, I had a chance to pick up a little piece of furniture to properly organize the music equipment, and set up a “station” to house it all in a usable way, which is cool.

Aside from the easel, which gets regular use from the kids, the entire bookshelf is accessible without digging through stuff, which is probably the first time that’s been true since we put the bookshelves in a few years ago.

The rest of the downstairs is finally similarly uncluttered (for us, I know other people have a much more stringent definition of “uncluttered”). But it’s nice to feel like we’re winning the battle instead of constantly drifting further into entropy.

J these days is back into dinosaurs, which is kinda cool, because we’re now building on some already-established knowledge. He went through a probably-induced-mostly-by-me LEGO phase, and while he still makes cars and stuff, the dinosaur toys he got last year around Christmas are back in full rotation again. We’ve been hiding and finding them in the backyard, which is great until one of us forgets where we put one of ’em. I’m sure years from now we’ll find random dinosaurs in trees.

The backyard is probably the source of biggest potential for improvement. One of these days we’ll need to just go in there and basically wipe it all out & restart from nearly scratch. There are still bits of retaining wall that are under the hill that need to get dug out & disposed of, and then just coming up with an actual plan of what to do (and how to do it). Because it’d be easy to spend $100K to redo the entire backyard, which is insane. But at the same time, looking at our neighbor’s yard, it makes the space so much more useful that I can’t say spending some money wouldn’t be well spent when the kids are still small & can run around like a pair of goons out there.

IMG_8341Still doing trackdays, which are fun, but a little less frequently (since with no income, they’re a pretty big expense). Going back to Sonoma on 10/9, which is still my favorite track. Haven’t done the extended Thunderhill, but that may have potential to unseat Sonoma, I dunno. Every time I go I feel like I learn a lot, so that element of it is always really exciting.

It’s nice to have a group of friends to go with, as well – it makes it a way more social experience. It does seem like “trackday” is the new “kitesurfing” is the new “golf”. The thing business people do when businessing. I ended up at a happy hour for Shasta Ventures, through a friend, and talked to one of the partners there, and he’s a trackday guy as well. So there’s a nonzero chance that someday, instead of getting funding by going somewhere & giving a pitch, it’ll happen through some random discussion of the best line through Turn 2 at Sonoma. Who knows.

Anyway – other than that, not a lot going on. Kids, work, more kids, more work. Been trying to get out of the house for lunch to meet up with people, just because it’s nice to talk to other folks every once in a while. But so far, things are going super well. Project’s exciting, life outside of work is fun & fulfilling, kids are doing well, levels of sleep are slowly increasing. If we can get K to skip waking up at 5:30 and sleep, as he sometimes (rarely) does until 7, I think we’d be firmly lodged in the “life is fucking awesome” camp. As is, hell, we’re there anyway.