Why do so few of us follow our passions in life? Most of us go to work, to jobs we don’t love, working tireless hours for someone else’s vision and dream. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you’ll have a great boss who motivates and inspires you to do better and friendly colleagues that support each other, as you all face daily internal and external challenges. And when your day is done, you get home feeling neither high nor low, just fortunate to be employed.
For those that aren’t so lucky, it’s a challenge to even get through each day. You dread waking up and having to go into work, your boss has an inferiority complex and makes your life very difficult, you’re part of a culture where you always feel like your job is at risk and are surrounded by colleagues that are so infused with fear, they stab each other in the back to get ahead.
While the first example sounds much better than the second, neither should be acceptable. Life is too precious and short for us to spend even one second of our day not doing something we love.
So why don’t people take “leaps of faith” to do what they love? Fear. Fear of failure. Fear of not knowing where to begin. Fear of not making money. Fear of losing insurance coverage. Fear of upsetting their family. The list of fears goes on and on. Those fears are certainly warranted, but at what cost?
“It took me twelve years of sprinting up the corporate ladder, living to work, moving six times, relationships being destroyed and compromising my values and beliefs to finally wake up and realize, I had jeopardized everything I was passionate about: traveling, getting married, having children, and becoming an entrepreneur. Now, I don’t want to come across as a victim because I definitely could’ve had better balance in my life. However, I was so fixated on getting to the next level each time, despite feeling constant stress and anxiety, that I lost all sense of what was important to me,” explains James Adamy, CEO of Ju-mp. He, like me, left a cushy corporate job to start a business he is passionate about, helping professionals network with the right business mentors and coaches to solve professional problems.
Six years ago I took the leap from someone else’s dream to start building my own company, Due. Here are tips I’ve learned from experience and from the mentors and coaches who have guided me through the process.
1. Mitigate fear.
Why do we feel fear? Fear is a product of uncertainty, and any entrepreneur knows that a startup is filled with uncertainty. So, in order to mitigate fears, we must put strategic plans in place that have tangible outcomes. Plan several months prior to help ensure a seamless transition.
Sometimes the best way to mitigate fear is by walking through each worst case scenario, and realizing that the failure isn’t so bad. As long as you plan for the worst case, you can take better measures to avoid them.
Sometimes we even fear success. Starting a new business may lead to more work, more money, more opportunities, which can also lead to less time, losing friends, and a dwindling social life. Think about creating a work-life balance to embrace the success rather than fear it.
2. Develop a network.
Immediately become immersed in your new passion outside of work at every opportunity. Attend local meetups, seminars and conferences, and reach out to people on various professional and social networks. Do everything possible to start meeting people who can potentially become clients and/or business colleagues. You’ll need to start thinking strategically about experts and the right people to be as lean as possible.
3. Learn and develop new skill sets.
While many of the skills you learned in corporate America are transferable, a startup is a whole new challenge. Read books and blogs, take online courses and find mentors/coaches who will help you through the challenging times.
Often following a passion means trying something you’re familiar with, but the business and leadership aspects are a little more challenging. Managing a team in corporate America and rallying under-paid, equity owners in a startup are two very different challenges. Skilling up in finance, negotiation, operations, and every hat a CEO needs to wear is a surefire way of guaranteeing success.
4. Run your personal finances like a startup.
This will never be exact, but put some rough numbers together for the following: How much are my startup costs? When do I anticipate generating revenue? How much? Overhead? Can I get a loan?
Once you come up with your number, add a few more months for your runway and use that to establish how much money you’ll need in the bank before you part ways with your current organization.
There are two costs you need to consider, your own personal financial situation, and the finance of your startup. Start cutting back all the unnecessaries in your life to get your personal “burn rate” down to a minimum, then calculate a year’s worth of runway to provide a windfall. Bootstrap your own personal life to start adapting to what it will be like owning a startup and applying principles to your own finances.
Having a support system is so important for success. Knowing that you have family and friends cheering you on can make all the difference in the world. If for some reason that’s not the case, you can always fall back on the like-minded individuals you met at conferences, meetups, etc.
Russian Gamer Brothers Are the Newest Hidden Billionaires
Russian-born Igor and Dmitry Bukhman are seeking growth to challenge Tencent and Activision.
Almost two decades ago, in a remote Russian city best known for its butter and linen, two brothers shared a bedroom and a Pentium 100-powered computer they used to code their first game.
Wall Street wants a piece of what they’ve built since.
Playrix has met with some of the biggest banks “and visited their skyscrapers,” said Dmitry Bukhman, 34, citing meetings with dealmakers at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp. For now, though, “we are focused on growing the business.”
He and Igor Bukhman, 37, are the brains behind Playrix Holding Ltd., the creator of popular games similar to Candy Crush, including Fishdom and Gardenscapes, with more than 30 million daily users from China to the U.S. and annual sales of $1.2 billion, according to Newzoo. That makes the company one of the top 10 iOS and Google Play app developers by revenue, data from researcher AppAnnie show, putting Playrix in the same league as Tencent Holdings Ltd., NetEase Inc. and Activision Blizzard Inc.
Today, each brother is worth about $1.4 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. They haven’t previously appeared in a global wealth ranking.
Their road to riches started in 2001 in the city of Vologda, almost 300 miles (483 kilometers) north of Moscow, where Igor learned from a university professor that he could sell software online. He decided to try with Dmitry, who was still in high school at the time.
“We had no experience, no business understanding whatsoever—everything we could imagine was writing games,” Igor said.
The U.S. is Playrix’s biggest market, followed by China and Japan, the brothers said in a recent interview in Tel Aviv, where they spend some of their time. The two remotely manage about 1,100 employees, including personnel at its Ireland headquarters and developers in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
“For $3 billion we won’t sell”
The brothers’ first product was a game akin to Xonix in which players must use a cursor to open pieces of a hidden picture before being struck by flying balls. They wrote it during a summer break and generated $60 in the first month and later $100 a month, about half of the average salary in Vologda.
“We thought, ‘If one game makes $100, we can write several dozen of them and make a lot of money,”’ Igor said.
Their second game, featuring an animated character designed by an outsourced artist, brought in $200 a month. Their copycat of Tetris brought in $700 a month, but the brothers shut that down after learning that the game was protected by a license. In 2004, when the business reached $10,000 of monthly revenue, they registered a legal entity, rented space for an office in the basement of a book warehouse and hired other staff to accelerate production.
In the early years, they sold casual games through sites such as majorgeeks.com or download.com, before moving to bigger platforms like Yahoo! and AOL. Then, within the past decade, games started moving first to Facebook and then smartphones. Many of them were available for free, with users paying only for certain in-game features.
Playrix makes most of its money from in-app purchases and the brothers mostly shun advertising, which detracts from the user experience. Ads generate less than 3 percent of revenue, Dmitry said.
“It was a major challenge for us to switch to developing free-to-play games—that’s totally different DNA,” Dmitry said. “Free-to-play games aren’t games that you develop, release and move on to making another one. They are services that need to be supported constantly as users are waiting for regular updates.”
Playrix succeeded in this transition, achieving worldwide recognition over the past three years with Gardenscapes and its sequel, Homescapes, a new variety of match-3 puzzle in which a player completes rows of at least three elements to pass levels and progress through an animated storyline—in this case, helping a butler named Austin renovate a house with a garden.
“Austin engages in dialog with you, you help him to select ways to decorate the mansion, you dive into the history of this character and become related with him,” Dmitry said. “This genre variety we introduced—match-3 with meta game—became very successful, and other companies started copying us.”
“Playrix is certainly responsible for the first major innovation in the match-3 genre since King Digital Entertainment Plc seemingly had the market locked down with Candy Crush,” said Newzoo analyst Tom Wijman. “Playrix managed to add a layer of complexity and ‘meta game’ to the match-3 genre without driving away casual mobile players.”
The company employs several full-time script writers who work on Austin’s dialog, and it’s always improving the games, Dmitry said.
“It’s like apps, like Spotify—people can use them for years,” he said. “More and more people are getting accustomed that it’s perfectly normal. Why not pay $5 to get pleasure from playing a game on a smartphone rather than watching videos or listening to music?”
While Playrix hasn’t introduced a new title since 2017, the company recently acquired several gaming studios to expand into new genres, Igor said, declining to disclose which studios until it releases games developed by them later this year.
Successful titles attract whales. Activision Blizzard acquired King Digital in 2015 for $5.9 billion, and a year later Tencent led investors in an $8.6 billion deal to acquire a majority stake in “Clash of Clans” maker Supercell Oy.
Could Playrix be next? In February, the Information reported that it could be sold for $3 billion, citing Chinese firms iDreamSky Technology Holdings and FunPlus Game Co. as potential suitors.
The brothers dismissed the report.
“For $3 billion we won’t sell,” Dmitry said with a smile, while acknowledging that Playrix had been discussing strategic options as recently as last year, noting its meetings with Wall Street banks.
Their goal, for now, is to become a “top-tier gaming company,” that rivals Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts in the West, and NetEase Inc. and Tencent in China, Igor said.
“We want to grow as big as they are, using developer talent from our region—the former USSR and Eastern Europe,” he said.
There’s no magic number that would compel the Bukhmans to sell the company, because they say money is secondary to doing what they love.
“Some may think that when you have a lot of money, everything becomes different and more interesting, you start doing different things,” Dmitry said. “But no. We just keep working.”
KPMG RELOCATING IN STAMFORD, ADDING 110 JOBS
KPMG LLP plans to add 110 jobs over the next five years in a new Stamford office.
The audit, tax and advisory firm recently signed a long-term lease and plans to renovate space in the former UBS building at 677 Washington Boulevard, which it expects to occupy next spring. KPMG has had a presence in Stamford for nearly 40 years, where it currently employs 315 professionals at its location at 3001 Summer St. The firm’s Hartford office has 231 employees.
“KPMG’s commitment to growing its operations and creating jobs in Connecticut is a testament to our top-notch workforce and unbeatable quality of life,” Gov. Dannel Malloy said. “It is an encouraging sign that world-class companies are continually choosing to set up or expand operations in our state.”
The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development is supporting the business expansion in Stamford with a $3 million grant in arrears for leasehold improvements, equipment and other project-related costs. Portions of the grant will be released when certain job-creation milestones are met.
THE 7 MOST IN-DEMAND TECH JOBS FOR 2018
The 7 most in-demand tech jobs for 2018
CIO | Jun 6, 2018
From data scientists to data security pros, the battle for the best in IT talent will wage on next year. Here’s what to look for when you’re hiring for the 7 most in-demand jobs for 2018 — and how much you should offer based on experience.
Source: Computer World
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