Talent is overrated

Discussion in 'Indie Basics' started by manunderground, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. Leon

    Original Member

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    I agree that opportunities are everywhere, but there are certainly grand opportunities that aren't everywhere. Such as the group I mentioned above from the 1830's. That is the ONLY time in American business history where a decent bulk of the business leaders DID NOT come from privileged back rounds.

    If you're from modest circumstances that was the only time period in US business that you had a realistic shot at real (insane) riches. So the right place, at the right time can be important.

    If you release a match-3 now, it'll probably sell decently if it's of a good quality, but if you had released the same match-3 game when the genre was just started to get going... You'd probably be very wealthy.

    Agreed - sorta. I doubt you can outsell them, but you could MAYBE out profit them. They have to eat away at millions of dollars of development and advertising/marketing costs before they start making a profit. They might have to sell 200,000* copies before they actually start making a cent.

    Of course, for some indies, I'm sure it's just as tough to sell 200 copies as it is for a major studio to sell 200,000.

    *Random number pulled from rear end :p
     
  2. KNau

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    True enough. I guess the gist of my point was that it does no good to look at the success of others as some magical set of circumstances that could never happen to you.

    Of course we're drifting into money being the only measure of success and hence the determining factor of whether or not a person is talented being if they have become rich. Although partially true, it's a slippery logic slope.
     
  3. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

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    This comparation isn't fair because if you make a game alone (with help of contractors maybe) and earn 100k, you get that 100k all for yourself. Is different for a team or a studio.
     
  4. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    It's actually proven opposite. It's a truism that "A" students spend their careers working for the "C" students.

    People judge success with money banked as that's actually what they're talking about. If you want to talk about things that are more important to get right for a good life (partner, job, kids, blah, etc) then that's a different thing altogether. Looking back on my life, I was happiest when a penniless living in a crap flat, as I'm sure everyone else is gonna put their hand up to too. I've got more money now than ever before (still not rich in any way, just what people would for some reason call "comfortable") and all I do now is worry about my mortgage/kids/work/etc.
     
  5. AlexWeldon

    AlexWeldon New Member

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    Right... acquiring material wealth is the default life goal for people too stupid to find anything else worth doing. Making lots of money doesn't prove you're good at anything except making lots of money.

    Given that medical progress means we're all going to live to 100, or 200, or 1000, or forever, depending on who you ask, I almost feel sorry for the people who've only thought as far ahead as making a few million dollars and retiring by the time they're 50.
     
  6. Leon

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    Good points. In the case of sales = success, that can cover up a lack of talent actually as you say. People assume the company that sells tons of copies know what they are doing, but maybe the success of their product is covering up for some major flaws in their business.

    Who knows, but certainly good points to consider.

    Don't assume success = smart, I guess. :D You need to actually LOOK into how they are doing business. Study and analyze that.

    I was abstracting a little bit.

    My point was that while 200k copies for a major studio seems large, for some indies 200 units is just as big to them. However, the potential is there for an indie to start profiting after 200 units sold, while the large companies need to sell a ton of copies(And as you point out, all the profits could go to you).

    Of course while you have ads running on a website to 3k unique visitors a day they have ads running during SportsCenter, Football games, Lost and so on, being shown to millions. :)
     
    #46 Leon, Jan 30, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2009
  7. manunderground

    manunderground New Member

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    Wow turn my back for a minute and the thread explodes! We've gone way off topic but I think that it's been worth it because there's been a lot of really interesting points made so far.

    I want to chime in and agree with whoever it was that said we shouldn't fool ourselves into thinking that all opportunities are in the past. As someone rightly pointed out if we had released a match-3 game a few years ago we'd have made a lot of money, and while that ship has left the dock there are plenty of new ones coming in it seems. Today there's the iphone (better hurry though) and XBLA/Wii/PS3 store and there will be something new tomorrow.

    I think another really good point that was raised was that it's not nearly enough to simply be a great programmer or game designer. I suppose as a programmer it's easy to think that's everything there is, but it's equally important to have the business savvy to recognize the market trends and "do the right thing" when you're given an opportunity.

    On that note, what have some of you guys done to capitalize on an opportunity? How did you plan for it and identify it? What did you do which you think really led to success? For those of you who missed an opportunity, what went wrong?
     
  8. magallanes

    magallanes New Member

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    The title of the book "Talent is overrated" is insidious and clueless.

    The book will not say that talent is useless but put a comparison between a childbirth talent vs acquired talent. Also the book says about "which talent" is worthy and which is not. Is it not so obvious? for example the talent to have a "Fart Award" versus to have talent to predict economic crisis?.

    Its some sort of "Who Stole My Cheese?", is symbolic, is true but its pointless because its show facts that are so damn obvious.

    And the book miss a very important topic :indies!.

    A good indie is a jack of all trades, a indie must known about science, arts, business, marketing.. just name it. You can delegate some jobs (if you are work in a team) but sooner or later a indie must work (in major or minor scale) in every part of a project.

    10'000 hours to be able to success?, how many projects are 10'000 hours?. 10?, 20?, 100?. You can master the "way to be a indie" just in your very first project, in fact some indies has succeeded only in a month of a not so hard work but pure talent/luck/right place-right time. In opposite, Daikatana took over 10k hours of hard work, and truly, you don't want to mess with this game.

    IMHO there are not a clear and defined path to the success, sometimes there are a highway to success, other times there are a dusty road with many detours.
     
  9. Obscure

    Indie Author

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    They may be obvious to you and me and many people here but there are even more people for who these facts are not obvious. They assume that they will succeed without effort, that life will just drop success into their lap without them needing to become good at something.

    You have misunderstood the research. It doesn't say how long it takes to become successful. It talks about how long it takes to become an expert. You can succeed before you become an expert however success becomes easier once you are an expert because you make less mistakes.

    As for the point about indies becoming a success with their first game? The evidence in this forum would seem to pretty clearly dispute your assumption. Most indies don't succeed with their first title or even their second or third - correction, they often succeed at learning something new and realising what mistakes they made but they seldom gain financial/business success or create a truly great game - that takes time and effort, just like the research indicates.
     
  10. hippocoder

    Indie Author

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    Er, actually you really DO need to be in the right place at the right time to hit the megabucks.

    Alan Sugar: his early company got into electronics just at the start of the electronics boom, when everyone was crying out for more and with a product which was cheap. He did it with off the shelf componants and it made him, completely. He did it when there was very, very little competition.

    Richard Branson: he got into virgin megastores (record shops) when the only competitor was a single HMV store nearby.

    Whats the theme for all these "super rich" people? simple, the market was changing dramatically at the time, and they were in the right place at the right time. Do you think Richard Branson would have succeeded if he created his business during the recession with so many people now preferring iTunes and electronic distribution of music? in a word: NO. In fact he would probably have gone bust and there would be no virgin airlines today.

    They did it at the right time when there was no competition and a massive gap in the market. Its not rocket science you know.

    Being in the right place at the right time is EVERYTHING for the big rich people. They did work their asses off but they HAD something very very desirable to work with.

    If you aim smaller, then good riches can still be yours if you work super hard, and I mean harder than you've ever worked before. It can be done, but it will never be on the level of Richard Branson or Alan Sugar even if there is an opportunity, you're fucked now. Because the big companies are now in control. If an opportunity comes up, they'll fill it faster than you can.

    My line is: I'm working my socks off doing products that the big companies simply won't do. That my friends, is the definition of indie and the only hope for my success.
     
  11. Uhfgood

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    I personally think these guys make their own "time". Usually they fill a niche, and usually the create their industries.

    I believe Branson sold records out of the trunk (boot for you UK folks) of his car in the beginning. So he virtually built his own industry. And he did it with hard work.

    Most of these big rich guys essentially worked hard, had a few failures, but kept working until they became millionaires and billionaires.

    Opportunities come all the time, but you need the drive to be able to see them and to exploit them.
     
  12. Backov

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    As a Singulariitarian (lol!), I can say that even we have good motivation to become as wealthy as possible as fast as possible - depending on the scenario that plays out, there may be needed life-extending tech that is only available to the very wealthy. If you're not wealthy enough to get that and die before the Singularity, well, sucks to be you doesn't it?

    /crazy
     
  13. Grey Alien

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    Great thread all!

    So a quick bit of maths. Assume 8 hour work day and 5 days a week plus 4 weeks off a year through holiday (I know it varies from country to country) = 8*5*48 = 1920 hours per year. So at least 5 years of constant work to achieve 10,000 hours. Note that during the 8 hours at work you would have to work constantly on the one skill, not surf the Internet, talk to colleagues, take breaks, spend too long in the loo etc. So more realistically that 5 years could easily become 10. OR less if you were a total fanatic.

    As I've been a hobbyist programmer since the age of 8 and coded crazy amounts of time before I was 20, then have been a professional developer for the last 12 years I think I've gone past 10,000 hours.

    Here's something interesting though, I've been doing Aikido for about 11.5 years now and I'm a 2nd dan black belt. But how many hours does that really add up to? Pretty much I did 5 hours per week EVERY week without fail (except for Christmas and the odd illness) for most of that time + about an extra 7 hours once per month for special courses for at least 10 years, plus a few summer schools of 25 hours (x4 I think) and the occasional extra training session. So what does this add up to? 5*50*11.5 (2875) + 7*12*10 (840) + 25*4 (100) = 3815. So perhaps I've done between 3500 and 4000 hours. This means I'm nowhere near an "expert", yet if you said to someone you'd been doing martial arts for 11 years, they would probably think you are. Believe me I'm well aware of the fact that I'm still on the bottom rung (or maybe the 2nd) of the ladder as the cliche goes...

    So to compare with my Sensei who runs a school: He was a full-time Aikido student for many years and trained crazy hours, then for the last 30 years (almost) he runs multiple classes a week and trains at least 12 hours a week plus runs special courses. This puts just the last 30 years at easily 20,000+ hours but if you add on his first 10 years of crazy training then I've no idea what the figure is. People who go to maybe 1 or 2 or 3 of his classes a week will never catch him up, it's like he's accelerating away in a fast car... Perhaps there's a certain amount of hours where you become a Master instead of just an expert?
     
  14. moose6912

    moose6912 New Member

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    Actually, I believe that having the keen eye to see opportunities when they present themselves or even hide themselves from view is a better trait to have. Alan Sugar and Richard Branson could have been born a couple decades later or earlier and they would still have made their fortune. If they were born much earlier, they could have made their fortune by moving to America and making their fortune in the railroad or whatever industry they see a viable market in. Or they could be born later and made their fortune in the dot com era. Being in the right time helps for them, but knowing where to go where opportunity is, is even more crucial for them.

    Certain time periods presents opportunities that are more easily detected by more people (Dot com era of the 90s) and hence, they will be able to more easily use these opportunities, but even in other time periods where there are less visible opportunities, you are still able to success if you know where the opportunities lie. Being at the right time only presents a bigger pool of opportunities.
     
  15. nadam

    nadam New Member

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    Let's say there is one very big opportunity in every decade. Then it is true that there are one or two in everyone's lifetime. But the opportunity could come in a field in which you are not an expert.

    A completely different personality/knowledge/interest was needed to make the 'Ford Motor Company', to create the 'Special Relativity Theory', to create 'Microsoft', or 'Google'. Maybe the next revolution will be in microbiology/genetics, so you have to be an expert of that territory to make the big success.

    I agree, that those persons had the keen eye to see opportunities, but they also needed to be interested in the territory being before revolution.

    (Although personally this kind of 'grand success' is not a motivation for me. For me the only aim is to do what I love. Making a fair amount of money is only needed to be free to do what I love while supporting my child/family. So I would probably make games even if the Next Big Thing is in microbiology.)
     
  16. Grey Alien

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    Actually I don't think you need to be an expert in an area to make the most of a new opportunity, you just have to be business savvy and see the opportunity then HIRE the experts.
     
  17. Game Producer

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    I was about to say the same...
     

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