On blogposts…

So it’s been a while since “hello, world”, in both the FunRigger blog posting sense, and the historical sense, and I’ve been reminded that part of my duties include regular blog posting. So now I’m faced with the challenge of coming up with a new blog post at the drop of a hat.

Fortunately, I’ve at least spent some of the times cycling into work pondering what I should blog about, if not actually the content of the posts themselves. These musings have generally fallen into a number of camps:

  1. The “are you crazy?!” camp.
    These are that describe the processes of what we do, and how we do it. These posts will expose our very workings to scrutiny. High risk postings, perhaps, as they could have a number of unintended effects – giving away a competitive advantage, or showing to our customers that occasionally we do stupid things. Yes, I know everyone does stupid things, but not many people admit to it. We do, move on. But I like these kind of posts for two reasons. 

    1. If we’re doing something stupid, and we haven’t realized it yet, I’d like to be told about it sooner rather than later. The only thing worse than being called an idiot when you shouldn’t be, is not being called an idiot when you should.
    2. We’re not really giving away a competitive advantage by talking about how we do things. You see, the thing about competitive advantage is that it comes from either a much higher level, or a much lower level. It comes from a strategic perspective or the ability to execute. As Sun Tzu said – “All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved”. As long as I’m not shouting to the heavens about a confidential strategic approach (in which case, #1 should be invoked), there’s no real danger here. And if we aren’t able to execute, then that blog post is, quite frankly, the least of my concerns.
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  3. The “Discarded Idea” camp.
    At first glance, this might easily be confused with the “are you crazy?!” camp. Basically turning round to the world and saying “have some free stuff on us”. We probably thought the idea to be noteworthy enough to spend some time discussing internally before discarding, and it probably made it close enough to the top of the pile to stay in my somewhat overcrowded headspace long enough to make it to a blogpost. Either that or it was sooo stupid that it stuck in my head for a completely different reason, in which case it would fall in the “stupid stuff” section from above crazy camp.
    So the thing is – when I first started off writing games (waaaaay back in the 1980s) I was incredibly precious about my ideas. I didn’t let anyone know what I was thinking about, and carefully picked what I was going to develop as the best of the best. But even the others I was convinced were worth hanging onto because I could move on to them after I’d finished the current project.
    Now as I’ve grown older, and hopefully a little wiser, I’ve learned two really crucial things about my earlier approach. 

    1. Firstly – they weren’t the best ideas in the world. The vast majority of the most brilliant people in the world… Are. Not. Me. Other people have had better ideas than I have. Fact.
    2. The second thing I learned was that ideas are living things – they completely, totally, and utterly fit the definition of living organisms that I was taught in biology class at school. This is probably worthy of a blog post all of it’s own – and I leave it to you, dear reader, to let me know what camp this one falls into – but has a key point that needs highlighting. Ideas cannot survive in a vacuum.

    So how do I know all this? They died – I can maybe remember 1% of them. All those … ideas, were lost in time, like tears … in the rain. If I’d shared them with others, then maybe the essence of some of them would have gone on to become reality. Not my reality, not how I’d envisaged it, but reality nonetheless. And maybe then they’d have brought entertainment to me, as well as input to whomever had taken the idea and used it to fuel their own vision, their own (better) ideas. When I considered the fate of my ideas back then, if I’d paid more attention to Shakespeare, maybe my ideation would have led to innovation.

  4. The “Not-yet-discarded idea” camp.
    So this is when we get into really dangerous ground. It’s one of the most tempting things to post about, to be honest. It’s that point when we first come up with a concept, we’re all really excited about it, and we’re qualifying the market potential. It’s the point at which we have the most to gain from asking the market, and the most to lose. If I have an idea in the shower in the morning and blog about it in the afternoon … well, there’s not that much time-to-market advantage for us at that point. But it’s also the point where your input to our process can give us the biggest win. So it’s a balancing act between strategic importance and tactical importance. I’m still learning to balance at the moment, so I apologize in advance to investors and shareholders alike if I spill the beans on our megagazilliondollar idea. But other people still need to be willing and able to execute it, and do it faster and/or better than us, so they/we shouldn’t worry too much.
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  6. The “metapost” camp.
    So this is broadly similar under the skin to the content of the “are you crazy” posts. It’s very much a how we think about things (or when I’m feeling self-indulgent – which is most of the time when writing something like this – how I think about things). These posts are likely to be identified by my fondness for drawing analogies to other processes. Basically the longer I stay on this planet, and the closer I approach a reasonable understanding of a particular subject, the more it looks like everything else. As we used to say (and presumably many people out there still do), kung fu is everything, everything is kung fu.

So there we have it. Post the Second. I’m curious as to what you all think.

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