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Brad's life philosophy, for what it's worth

By on May 14, 2008 10:14:05 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

About once a month someone, somewhere, will comment on something I've written saying how "A CEO shouldn't act so unprofessionally in public".  Over the years, I've gotten that message hundreds of times along with predictions of demise for my company due to my "public" behavior.

Obviously, the company's continued survival tends to imply that the fact that I look at customer / developer relationships as a partnership of equals rather than one of master / slave as some "customers" online seem to think is not too damaging.

And even if it were damaging,  I would still do what I do no matter what. That is my primary motivation for having a company: To do what I want.

My personal and professional objectives have always been the same: I want to do what I want to do.

That is my top priority. Freedom.

Freedom has consequences.  I am certain, beyond a doubt, that my public postings on various topics over the years has alienated some percentage of users who have encountered what I written to the point that they have decided to not purchase products and services from my company.  I'm okay with it.  It's a price I'm willing to pay to be able to do what I want.

Now, users on our sites who read my posts know how I "treat" people.  It's not that I treat people badly. I very much agree with the view that we should treat people with respect even if we disagree with their views.

What I don't subscribe to is the belief that because someone buys a product that they get a license to behave terribly.  A person exchanges their money for a product or service and that does not imply giving them the right to heap abuse on us or others.

Stardock isn't a public company. It's not investor run. It doesn't even have investors. It's my company. This makes it a bit unusual in the investor-driven technology industry. In the case of Stardock, it means that the company reflects my values. In particular, transparency and collaboration with others.  

Transparency is a double-edged sword. We won't tell people what they want to hear. We simply tell them what we believe is the truth -- even if that is not necessarily good news for us.

Moreover, it also means we work on the things we want to do rather than what is arguably the most profitable.

Sure, there's a cost to doing what you want to do. I have gotten plenty of ribbing that we're making a TURN-BASED fantasy strategy game instead of making it an RTS.  But I want to make a turn-based fantasy strategy game. It won't sell as well as an RTS would but so what? What good is more money if you can't do what you want to do?

I'm 36. I'm a pretty happy guy.  I enjoy what I do. I enjoy hanging out with people online (most of the time).  And I get to work every day with people who I really like. Not just professionally but on a personal level.  So I tend to think I'm probably doing something right. But more to the point, I'm way past the point where I have to do anything I don't want to do. So I'm not inclined to put up with crap.

Every day at Stardock is FUN.  Even during crunch-time it's FUN.  And why is it fun? Because every day we do what we want to do.

And part of doing what you want to do is being able to show some obnoxious customer the door or making clear that we don't want or need jerks using our stuff.

But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter whether I'm justified or not because I'm going to do what I want to do. And so far, it's worked out pretty well for both me, my family, my coworkers, and our customers.

+79 Karma | 61 Replies
June 20, 2008 8:38:27 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I am in my seventies and a female.

Turn based games allow me to use my mind and imagination.

Bless you for producing Gal Civ in all it's incarnations.

A turn based fantasy game sounds great.

To the guy whose life sucks. You need to find something that you enjoy and then find someone who will pay you to do it. If the second part is not possible, then cut your expenses to the bone and do it anyway. Spending your life doing anything else is just a waste of your life. This really needs to be done before you have others depending on you for food and shelter.

June 21, 2008 9:06:38 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums
Thanks Embird, I'm doing that now (cutting my needs to the bone part). It hasn't been all bad and I would do it all again because I have met many amazing people along the way. Without those bad turns, those wonderful people would not have come into my life. My life really has been a rollercoaster. I've truly walked a mile in everyone's shoes.

People also took my comments too literally. It was more of an irony. Like where I grew up in rural Wisconsin another kid who is the same age as me and who lived like 20 miles from where I did then. He co-founded a fortune 500 internet company, married a wealthy heiress and is now worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Two very similiar people with very similiar backgrounds but vastly different outcomes. Life is like that, unpredictable.

No one shoe fits all.
June 22, 2008 4:32:40 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums
I am in my seventies and a female.

Really? You are seventy-x and you use the internet and play computer games? If that is really true you got my big respect for that. Not everyone that age is that open to the new technologies. I can`t even believe that.
June 22, 2008 11:16:30 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
I can only wish I worked for a company like Stardock.
June 22, 2008 2:43:51 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums
I am in my seventies and a female.Really? You are seventy-x and you use the internet and play computer games? If that is really true you got my big respect for that. Not everyone that age is that open to the new technologies. I can`t even believe that.
I believe it.

I'm forty and I play video games. (Make the darned things, too.)

When you get to be forty, seventy doesn't seem nearly so old to you.

June 22, 2008 6:58:23 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Well said Mr Brad
July 2, 2008 3:29:53 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums
I was reading a book the other day that was the result of a study of elderly people that asked them what tips they had to lead the most fulfilling life and the #1 answer, by far, was "be true to yourself".
July 2, 2008 7:55:29 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums
"be true to yourself"

Bravo! Its astonishing how so many people are living a live of self delusion and denial - image more than substance, and its soooo obvious who is doing it. Its pointless going down that road .... There was a recent cracking quote from Bill Gates on this kind of issue during a speech to pupils at an American High School, when he gave 11 rules for teens:

Rule1: Life is not fair - get used to it!
Rule2: The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself
Rule3: You will NOT make $50,000 a year straight out of High School
Rule4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a Boss
Rule5: Flipping Burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your GrandParents had a different word for burger flipping - "Opportunity"
Rule6: If you mess up, its not your parents fault, so dont whine about your mistakes - learn from them and move on.
Rule7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills and listening to you talk about how cool you are.
Rule8: Your School may have done away with winners and losers, but Life has NOT.
Rule9: Life is not divided into Terms. You don't get Summers off, and very few employers are interested in helping you "find yourself". Save the World in your own time.
Rule10: TV is not real. In real life, people have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
Rule11: Be nice to Nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one!

I Love the last one

July 2, 2008 8:23:05 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums
If we were all Bill Gates, we would all be flipping burgers. It is only because we are not all Bill Gates that some of us can do rewarding things like bringing computers into a billion homes. In California it is so bad that you need a B.S. or B.A. just to get a low wage job, long hours and no benefits!

In the end, you always need someone to flip the burgers and unclog the sewers. That is one thing that disgusts me about America. This dillusion that everyone can be "successful" and have a "dream job". If that happened society would quickly collapse as infrastructure would disintegrate. America is awash in lazy specialists who think they are "entitled" to an easy life.

Now the people at companies like Stardock are really not the norm. They are example of what a company should be.

July 2, 2008 9:14:20 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums
Now the people at companies like Stardock are really not the norm. They are example of what a company should be.

Gets my Vote ....

July 7, 2008 8:09:43 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums
Hail Brad!

This is really an admirable point of view. What Brad is saying, is like words from some higher power. I urge Stardock and other companies to just ignore people that have a mission to just make BS. What Stardock is doing, is IMHO the best way to do things. CEO that talks with the people and love what he does so he cares less what other thinks, that is the way!

So all respect to Stardock, and please leave all other whiners...

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