Business Framework

Start Small

Granted this is easier said than done. People have an innate desire to look at the biggest and best and want to start from there. This could be fatal as every tree once once a seed. The process of building from the ground is essential for any product that will remain viable. It also filters out those with an interest as against those with a commitment.

seed sprouting

Earn A Few Pennies

There is the need for a business to monetize quickly. However like the rule above, a business must first learn how to make and manage small amounts of money. The businesses with a stable financial base generally had to fight to stay alive in their initial years. As a result of this fiscal discipline is maintained.

Penny pinching is important. It means that value will be received for every single amount of money entering the business. Also, it enables the management team adapt to funding issues.

Coin Jar

Begin With An Idea

Every product whether a game or a piece of software is a product of an idea. Ideas are the first stage in the design process. It is important that a picture of the piece of software to be developed is formed in the mind of the creators before product development starts.

inspiration

Think Like A Visionary

In his classic book Outliers, Author Malcolm Gladwell talks about how on average it takes about 10,000 hours to master anything. Working full-time, that’s 5years! Business is a commitment and not an interest! It is a process for those who have conviction. Only people of vision can have conviction. Without a dream, one is destined to fail.

Vision

Keep The Faith

Faith is the fire to continue long after you should expire. On a personal note, there have been many horrible days when I just feel like closing my laptop and never writing code again. When I am all burned out. But the next day, I am back at work. It takes a reason greater than reality to believe.

chimney

Ready, Fire, Aim!

There is a strong need for experimentation. In the west african context, there has been no major success in the technology space as a whole. Iteration and continuous improvement are the key. Without failure, there is no blueprint for a business to look at opportunities objectively.

failure

Profit or Perish

There is the need for a business to make a profit. For a startup, the basic reality is that for the first five years, there might be no financial profit. That said, a business can win in other areas especially technically. That is why the foundations of a business must be strong. The important thing is to have something to show for the hard work.

success

Be Positive

There is the need for continuous optimism in the business. For that to happen unwavering belief in the vision of the business must be shown by the leadership of the team. This belief must be backed up by authenticity and integrity. Being a Nigerian, my ears are used to fluff and I know it when I hear it. For most people, this is true. So words must not be rhetoric.

optimism

Continuously Improve Your Business

There is the need for businesses to continue to improve. Yesterdays home runs don’t win today’s games. In the Nigerian tech space one thing I have noticed is that when you hear about a product this year, you come back the next year and even though it is on a new platform, there has been no improvement to it. Granted boys are trying, but trying isn’t good enough. This is where all the lessons from failure tend to shape operations.

improvement

Believe In Your People

One is too small a number to achieve success. Any venture of note while it may be guided by the vision and leadership of individual must involve a team of people working together for a collective purpose. In product development, few individuals can combine Art and Engineering. This means that collaboration must occur. However, respect and trust must be guarded at all cost. Once credibility is lost, the team is no longer cohesive and any mission fails.

team

Never Run Out of Money

Funding is critical for every start-up. In all the years of studying business, one concept stands out and it is the concept of the BI triangle. At the base of the triangle is cash flow. Cash is king. Enough said.

bi_triangle

Attract New Customers Everyday

Customers the most direct way of sustaining cash flow. Seeing that most businesses are tight on cash, the best strategy is to use social media. However, it must be noted that a business must first guarantee that they can deliver the goods before marketing themselves.

marketing

Be Persistent: Don’t Give Up

Never quit!

persistence

Build A Brand Name

On a personal note, this is my goal for game development. When I started game development, I built games because I was going to be an uncle and I felt that games where a way to pass on a legacy. Two years later they have become my brand. But like I tell my solution developer friends, none of them can outcode me. Not only is game development the most difficult part of programming, it is also the most rewarding.

branding

Opportunity Waits For No One

Finally a quote from Sun Tzu “Opportunities multiply as they are seized”. I remember in 2010 when the Samsung Application Developer Contest first came up and I had to develop my first game. Nay-sayers persistently insisted that the ideas will be stolen. Here I am 2 years later with some awards under my belt and I know right now that all this happened because of that one event.

The stage is set for game development to emerge to the fore in West Africa. It will require passionate programmers who are willing to fail and stick with the process. Let the gaming continue but remember opportunities multiply as they are seized!

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High Stakes Gambling

Someone once asked me what I could compare the process of Game Development to and I answer “Gas Flaring” He looked puzzled and asked why. My reply is based on this reality. I watched five gaming projects burn to arrive at this conclusion.

Game Development is an intersection of business, entertainment and technology. Failing which a gaming project is likely to fail. A lot of game developers being programmers naively think that technology is all it takes to build a game. Truth is good games do not need technology.

Games are as old as antiquity. Their intended function is as a means of education. Animals only have one method of passing skills from one generation to the other and it is through play. Understanding this means that the medium is more important than the technology.

That is why I refer to the process of game development as gas flaring. It is possible to hack out the codes for a game in a week. However issues like User Interface (UI)  and User Experience (UX) which most programmers know next to nothing about can kill a game.

Programmers traditionally create software for coercive environments. Think of your favourite word editor. You use it because you want to  get work done. In the process you force yourself to adapt to it. Gaming however is a persuasive medium. You exercise your right to choose. If you don’t like a game you could uninstall it or never play it again.

This means that games must be user-friendly, simple and down to earth. Once this is done, it is easy for a user to come back and play a game over and over. Concerning monetization, I have found that adverts tend to kill user experience on most games.

Personally, I believe that a business needs customers to survive. I would rather give a free version that has reduced features than a free version using advertisement. I believe in working with and for people who put their money where their application/game is. Knowing this, I believe in getting users to pay for stuff in a way that is measurable.

In conclusion, today is the 128th day of the year. We’ve come a long way since the year started. Grateful for the lessons I have learnt but more importantly the person I became. I remain loyal.