Analysis

Talent or Luck?

einstein-tongue-luck-or-talent

There’s a lot of discussion about “bad luck” and “good luck” around here. My mom, who was visiting from Boston last week even asked me, “Do you believe in luck?”

My answer is that our concept of “luck” is fundamentally time-based. In other words, given enough time (or iterations), luck, or randomness, melts away, and each of us tends to our talent level.

For example, you can look at a guy like Matt Cohler.  He joined LinkedIn when he first got to Silicon Valley around 2003. Luck? Maybe. Then he joined Facebook. Luck? Hmm… Now he’s an equal Partner at Benchmark. At this point, it’s getting hard to claim luck as the explanitory variable for his success.

Were you unlucky not to raise money before the crash? Were you unlucky when your co-founder went wacko? Were you unlucky not to sell your company when it was soooo close? Maybe, but there may also be a pattern that a third party could easily discern.

I can point to 30+ lucky things that happened to me in the last 10 years that have allowed me to be where I am (where ever that is…). When people ask me about it, I tell them it’s mostly luck. And that’s true for each individual event. However, the full truth is that if you back away and look at a person’s career over 10-15 years, those thirty lucky things happen because of their processes and decision making.

For instance, those thirty lucky things happened because my team and I always work hard enough to have multiple options for every key success factor such as revenue sources, where to lease real estate, who to raise money from, who to hire for a key position, who to partner with, methods for trimming costs, etc. These thirty lucky things happened because I had reasonable judgment on who the good people were. They happened because I chose to move to San Francisco instead of staying in Boston. They happened because I stayed in the game long enough to survive 300 bad things so the 30 good ones could fall on me. Etc. My processes and judgment were such that over time, I am where I am. Over the same period, some people have soared higher, some lower.

It often feels like luck plays a huge role. But as time goes on, there is no such thing as luck.

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We’re looking for a Lead Artist

Here was the post we put up on CraigsList:

Lead Artist for our online games company with 1 billion page views/mo.

We’re building an online games experience second to none. We already have 2 million users and 1 billion page views per month and we think it can be 10X better. All we’re missing is a passionate and creative Lead Artist to lead the way on the art side.

You’ll get to work with a team whose last company signed up over 200 million people and with one of the legends of casual games who has done this three times before. You’ll be the go-to person for creating the visual look and feel of our games and our website. You’ll be first among equals of a talented team of artists and designers who will work along side you. This is a very hands-on position. You will get to supervise outsourced teams of game developers, providing them with the art and design to implement and insuring they maintain the integrity.

We are building casual games and targeting a female audience, so you should be interested in those types of games and in serving that audience. Our games are Zen-like, they are not violent, they are low on competition, and they are high on cooperation.

We have a sense of humor, we like to have fun, and we are pretty innovative so you must be the same. We also love what we do and work our asses off.

We see a huge opportunity in the casual games business over the next 4 years, and we are running toward the opportunity. It’s that time of life for us, and you should be in the same place.

You should have prior experience developing social or casual games with strong visual appeal for web platforms or PC. You must have superior artistic skills and background with producing visual art. You must have strong team building skills and the ability to communicate with other studio disciplines and management.

Skills

  • Experienced artist and manager capable of working in a wide variety of appealing styles. Our core audience is social and casual game players, primarily women 35+.
  • 3 years experience in game development with 1 year as lead artist or art director.
  • Strong illustration skills.
  • Strong character design skills.
  • Strong animation skills.
  • Excellent knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, Flash animation, and other art/design apps.
  • Bachelor of Arts and minimum 2 years training covering design, illustration and animation.

Our last company sold for over $100M. You’ll be mentored here by the best in the industry. Our offices are in downtown San Francisco, near BART, Muni and MoMa.

Send your bio and portfolio to our talent czar jwong@oogalabs.com

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Ooga Sponsors Social Games MeetUp

As we continue to build our gaming company one of our goals is to promote community in this space.  We are literally surrounded within a 12 block radius by some of the coolest companies in social games now.  Ooga wants to provide a forum for sharing ideas, insight, metrics, and experiences together…so we started the Social Games MeetUp.

Our kickoff event on Dec 9th was a wild kick ass success.  Held at the art gallery 111 Minna, we hosted over 200 game aficionados.

The event was titled:  “Five Minutes With Ten Social Gaming Virtuosos”

Check out this speaker lineup:

  • John Nguyen from MySpace
  • Bret Terrill, writer of “Bret on Social Games”
  • James Currier, CEO, Ooga Labs
  • Marc Wilhelm, Creative Director, SGN
  • Jing Chen, Co-Founder, Developer Analytics
  • Sean Clark, EA Pogo
  • Craig Sherman, CEO Gaia Online
  • Saurin Shah, Digital Chocolate
  • Hugh de Loayza, VP, Zynga
  • Jim Greer, CEO, Kongregate

In attendance was a who’s who of the local gaming space; MTV, Peanut Labs, Small Worlds, Mochi Media, PlayFirst, Yahoo, Google, RockYou, Slide, OfferPal, Zynga, SGN, Pogo, Dev Analytics, Three Rings, Kongregate, Gaia, and many many more.

If you are an Engineer, Dev, Designer, Art Director, Entrepreneur, Investor, and/or passionate about Social Games please join our meetup;
http://www.meetup.com/SocialGamesSF/ and look for the next event invite.

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