Ever meet somebody with talent you wish you had?

I meet people all the time who have talents that I wish I had. The most frustrating are the people with a gift who aren’t using it to it’s fullest extent, or at all. People who don’t think they’re good enough yet.

The truth is you’ll never be good enough. In your own mind. Go do it anyway. Someone else with think you’re amazing. Somewhere there is an audience that’s missing you. And neither of you even know it yet.

Tonight, I met Justin at a Toastmasters meeting. He’s a man who’s got a talent that I think the world is holding its breath and wishing for.

These links are for you, Justin. I hope they’ll inspire you the way that they’ve inspired me.

Pick Yourself by Seth Godin

Want to chase a dream? Get your eyes checked. by Jon Acuff

The Problem with Comfortable by Rory Vaden


Even if your name isn’t Justin… Get off your butt. Pick yourself. Start! Take the stairs.

I’m waiting for you.

One last laugh for John Pinette

One of my favorite comedians passed yesterday. John Pinette was one the few contemporary comedians that we could listen to with the kids when they were small on our 3,000-mile journeys across the fruited plain. His jokes are frequently retold at Fort Reed, and his humor greatly influenced our family culture.

The world is a less funny place without you in it, John. I was looking forward to seeing you on your 2014 tour, but your sense of humor is apparently needed somewhere else, perhaps in Valhalla. Pour one out for the big guy!

Every time I’m at the gym on the Horrible Machine®, chanting “Raviolis and a nap!” quietly to myself or my inner rage is yelling at people to “Get out of the line!” or I’m suffering carb-withdrawal hallucinations, I’ll be thinking of you, buddy.

I hope to leave as big a legacy of entertained people as you did. (I know you won’t mind the pun. =)

I’m sure Heaven has an all you can eat buffet! Try not to wolf it all down before I get there.

This is why I don’t want employees…

It’s something that one of my mentors says a lot. “Employees are people who come to work late, leave early and steal while they’re there. I don’t want employees. I want team members. I want teammates. People who are committed. People who are all in. People who want to be here. People who have to be reminded to go home at the end of the day.”

GDC Plans

Nothing personal, Jeremy and Mike, but the attitude in this comic irks me. I get the attempt at humor and maybe you need to look for somewhere to work where you won’t feel that way… It’s certainly not what I’m looking for in future teammates.

Lesson learned, the hard way.

I would never imagine that someone could find sincere encouragement to be insulting… but I often forget that people bring more to a conversation that the few meager words that I share. Inspired by Gina’s post, I pointed out what I believed to be an obvious talent that should be cultivated and provided words and links and book recommendations that I have found to be inspiring to a friend.

As our conversation drew to a close, I challenged my seatmate to stop making excusing and to begin to address the self doubt and fear that has held him back from living his great passions. I also challenged him to look hard at his job and to try to imagine what would happen if he unleashed the power of his passions and the clarity of his values on his work in the security field. Because honestly, this isn’t just how one person’s life and work is transformed, it’s also how organizations and communities are transformed one genius at a time. I don’t know what he will do with my advice, but I hope that the hour or so of airing and sharing his passions in the light of day would give him an irresistible taste of what it’s like when his personal practical genius rules over him instead of his fear.

What are you afraid of? | Genuine Insights

Today, I discovered that rage is one of the possible outcomes of encouraging someone else to capitalize on a talent that they themselves have already given up on. Words offered with sincerity and honest praise can be met with hostility born of terror, I suppose. In any event, a sad lesson learned.

I wonder how many budding mentors have had a similar experience of their own and forever withhold their bright encouragement (dare I say cheerleading?) from others?

For me, it doesn’t matter. Insult my pompoms if you like, but I have seen enough people take genuine encouragement and become successful at endeavors that they did not dream possible. Hopeless romantic? Starry-eyed dreamer? That’s me!

In other news, work progresses apace on our major project for 2012, Mayans or no Mayans!

Hot smile

Amen, brother!

I’ve blogged about this before, but the closer we get to hiring team members, the more I am convinced that an approach similar to a mini-project is the right way to start…

I’ve known fabulous programmers flame out in the quizzing cage and terrible ones excel. So unless you’re specifically hiring someone to design you the next sorting algorithm, making them do so on the white board is a poor gauge of future success.

Why we don’t hire programmers based on puzzles, API quizzes, math riddles, or other parlor tricks – (37signals)

Combined with the advice in Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership, Tom DeMarco’s amazing body of work and many others too numerous to mention, I’m confident that we will be confident in our selection process for Game Creators.

Counting down the months!

I’ve never understood why…

I’ve heard stories in every royalty-driven business, but especially in the game industry, about management worries about paying “too big an amount” to royalty recipients. I’ve read stories about how this has alienated talent and destroyed “overnight success” studios. I’ve always found this to be baffling behavior on the part of the alleged management.

I’ve always rejected the lame excuses that pass for justification of changing the deal after the fact or trying to write such complex contract so as to insure that the very people who produce The Success™ don’t get “too much money” out of the deal. (I can’t imagine what “too much money” is myself. Heh.)

Seth’s succinctly makes the point that I’ve always felt emotionally, but could never articulate half so well.

We often hesitate to pay a portion of the upside to someone who is taking a risk, because we’re worried that perhaps, just perhaps, his risk will pay off and he’ll make a fortune…

Seth’s Blog: "But what if it works?"

Thanks explaining it, Seth. We already committed to doing it, but it’s nice to see another genius concur with our own thinking.

For the record, my personal goal is to help every single team member make a fortune. Every time we ship. Every time we help each other reach the end zone, the goal, the finish line.

I can’t promise team members and partners (we don’t have “employees” here) that we’ll make even one fortune, but we are damn sure going to have fun trying!!

I want everybody’s royalty checks to have more zeroes on the end than I can count. I can’t think of a better motivation for them to want to sign on for the next game and do it all again.

Why we employ talent and buy vendors…

Seth’s got the most succinct explanation of the reason we aim to hire talent by preference. We will outsource to vendors for some things, but…

Vendors happily sit in the anonymous cubes at Walmart’s headquarters, waiting for the buyer to show up and dicker with them. They willingly fill out the paperwork and spend hours discussing terms and conditions. The vendor is agnostic about what’s being sold, and is focused on volume, or at least consistency.

While the talent is also getting paid (to be in your movie, to do consulting, to coach you), she is not a vendor. She’s not playing by the same rules and is not motivated in the same way.

Seth’s Blog: Talent and vendors

We aim to hire multifaceted creators to join our cross-functional teams. We treat people the way that we expect to be treated, and in turn, we expect them to put heart and soul into their creations the same way that we do.

We don’t just “do business”. First and foremost, we do fun!