Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Published on March 7, 2009 By Draginol In Blogging

As some of you know, I started out in life with relatively little. It’s one of the reasons I don’t tend to be the most sympathetic person towards people who spend their entire lives being poor. 

Americans who are chronically poor, in most cases, can look at their own poor choices as being why they’re in the state they’re in.  The remaining are people who are physically more mentally disabled and those people I have endless compassion for.

Being wealthy doesn’t mean you’re better than others. It just means that you have managed to adapt yourself to the social/economic conditions of your environment.  That happens to be a skill I’m reasonably good at.

For me, wealth has never been a goal. Freedom is the goal. I want to be free to do what I want which requires a threshold of wealth to be obtained. Beyond that, I don’t care. I’m not heavily motivated to build empires of wealth just for the sake of building empires – particularly if it results in some loss of personal freedom.

Different people have different levers that motivate them. Some people crave respect. Other people crave adulation. Still others use wealth as a score card to live a life of achievement. And there are of course people who crave material wealth because that’s what makes them happy.  For me, it’s what I said, freedom. I want to do what I want to do.

I’d argue that I have a form of narcissism. Not the self-love kind but rather excessive self-ego. I do care about other people and how what I do will affect other people but I relentlessly pursue my own personal agenda.

A normal company of our size wouldn’t have its CEO out on the forums mixing it up with customers. And for good reason – I’m pretty rude and unprofessional. When I get into the mud with some disgruntled customer, it makes me and my company look amateurish and it costs us money in terms of business.  Clearly, since I know those things and will still continue to hang out on the chat channels and the forums chatting with other users rather than using an alias or having “handlers” do that sort of thing I must have other priorities  and I do – being able to do what I want.

In my experience, most people who are wealthy are people who have become extremely adept at doing what they are doing. And what they are doing produces wealth that enriches them.  What happens, in many cases, is that the means becomes the end – their ambition becomes the goal rather than the means to a concrete objective. It’s a path that I think leads many people to have regret later in life.

Some people, which we’ll generally call “losers”, look at the most successful people and think they’re greedy. If only that were the case. The most successful people are often people who are achieving for achievement’s sake with money being the scorecard. That is what I am trying to avoid. 

Sometimes, when I get busy, I will nearly forget why I’m working so hard. Because I happen to be so good at what I do, new opportunities arise to do even more – the ambition starts to become an ends unto itself.  So I have to remind myself why I do this – freedom.  The freedom to live my life as I see fit. To able to be the husband I want to be for my wife and the father I want to be for my children without having to compromise.  It’s often a delicate balance between sticking to ones goals and controlling the urge to let ambition take over.


Comments (Page 2)
on Mar 10, 2009

Frogboy


Speaking purely of myself, I've never thought of myself as having a massive IQ.

I'd say you have a massive game creating IQ. 

 

GC2 / SoaSE ftw.  I guess demigod is more GPG's puppy, but are you working on the AI in demigod also?

on Mar 10, 2009

To use a computer analogy, IQ is like how fast your CPU is.

 

I'm not really an expert on IQ. I only have a basic understanding of psychology. But from what I have come across, I believe that IQ is a measure of functioning in the pre-frontal cortex (executive functions like working memory, realizing when you are about to do something stupid, paying attention) as well as a measure of your accumlated knowledge in specific (and undoubtably biased) areas. Interestingly, perscription meds for ADHD target neurotransmitters important for pre-frontal cortex functioning. I saw one study in which IQ went up from normal to about 117 average among a group of 23 ADHD individuals. Most of the increase came from a sizable boost in "performance IQ", not the knowledge type. Go figure.

 

 

 

on Mar 11, 2009

Cool. Freedom is a sincere reason for a CEO to work hard towards achievement. Myself, I am a bigger fan of people who work hard for accomplishment, to create something, to do something great, or to be someone with a life worth living.

Way to go completely missing the mark..

He BECAME a CEO to be free to "dos something great, or to be someone with a life worth living". that is the very definition of freedom. Not to work hard towards achivement. Yours is one of the most insulting posts I have seen in a while.

on Mar 11, 2009

IQ means intelligence quotient. It is (Developmental age / chronological age) * 100... so a 10 year old with the development of a 15 year old has an IQ of 150...

This is also tooled ENTIRELY for finding deficiencies in learning in school systems. From the very first format through its five major reivisions it has always looked only for problem areas. Its creators always insisted it is not a measurement of intelligence, but a measurement of lack of learning capability. It can be used to diagnose the existance of a learning disability, which can later be narrowed down into things like dyslexia or retardation or ADD or simply lack of educational background (aka, bad teachers / schools in past)

I think intelligence has a LOT to do with success... but intellgience is not IQ. Realizing that money is an enabled for freedom, but that the goal is freedom, is a sign of intelligence. falling into the pit of "money is greed" or "money for money's sake, even if i sacrifice my family for it" are signs of lack of intelligence (you come up with a stupid conclusion to an otherwise simple and obvious question)

on Mar 11, 2009

Way to go completely missing the mark..

He BECAME a CEO to be free to "dos something great, or to be someone with a life worth living". that is the very definition of freedom. Not to work hard towards achivement. Yours is one of the most insulting posts I have seen in a while.

I intended no insult. The desire for freedom can be a powerful driving force. It is not an unscrupulous or superficial reason to achieve. Thousands of Americans gave their lives in the war against terror for politcal freedom, for the ability to return home and live their lives the American way, without worrying about being attacked. There is something about being human that causes people to crave not being controlled. If you are just a peon, then your boss is really the one who has the ideas, and in a sense, you are only working to fufill his dreams (assuming it is not one that you share).

My idea is a little different, though it certainly overlaps. I think Frogboy and me have different personalities. As a CEO, he probably likes to take charge. I am ok with taking charge, but I enjoy solving problems more. I really missed my calling as an engineer. Whereas Frogboy sees success as being at the top of a big company that creates great computer games, I see success as creating a great computer game. In the end, I probably got the raw deal on personality. But what can you do?

on Mar 11, 2009

taltamir
IQ means intelligence quotient. It is (Developmental age / chronological age) * 100... so a 10 year old with the development of a 15 year old has an IQ of 150...

This is also tooled ENTIRELY for finding deficiencies in learning in school systems. From the very first format through its five major reivisions it has always looked only for problem areas. Its creators always insisted it is not a measurement of intelligence, but a measurement of lack of learning capability. It can be used to diagnose the existance of a learning disability, which can later be narrowed down into things like dyslexia or retardation or ADD or simply lack of educational background (aka, bad teachers / schools in past)

I think intelligence has a LOT to do with success... but intellgience is not IQ. Realizing that money is an enabled for freedom, but that the goal is freedom, is a sign of intelligence. falling into the pit of "money is greed" or "money for money's sake, even if i sacrifice my family for it" are signs of lack of intelligence (you come up with a stupid conclusion to an otherwise simple and obvious question)

I disagree with your definition of IQ, given what I have heard about it being normalized. But who knows? I already mentioned that I have not looked into it directly.

Having enough money to live comfortably is very important. Beyond that, pursuing a life that is satisfying for you means much more. If your goal is freedom, then excess money will probably make you happier. But, as you said, not at the cost of losing control of everything else in your life (having relationships, hobbies, etc.)

 

Take a look at this guy:

http://worldblog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/03/02/1816633.aspx

on Mar 12, 2009

My idea is a little different, though it certainly overlaps. I think Frogboy and me have different personalities. As a CEO, he probably likes to take charge. I am ok with taking charge, but I enjoy solving problems more. I really missed my calling as an engineer. Whereas Frogboy sees success as being at the top of a big company that creates great computer games, I see success as creating a great computer game. In the end, I probably got the raw deal on personality. But what can you do?

Bill gates was first and formost a computer engineer, he okayed EVERY snippet of code for the first 10 years of microsoft, sometimes changing it on the spot... that is, someone will send him completed code, he would change or approve it, and send it for distribution. And he kept doing software engineering for years later.

He had the power and freedom to engineer what he wanted, with a team to help him engineer what he wanted, and so on...

I desire this kind of freedom to, to be a researcher / designer and the owner at the same time. To make the most of the money from MY hard work, and to have a team researching and helping me design what I want to build.

on Mar 12, 2009

 I disagree with your definition of IQ, given what I have heard about it being normalized. But who knows? I already mentioned that I have not looked into it directly.

Thats not my definition of IQ, thats the definition of the person who originally invented the concept, and the team who revised it 5 times since.

My definition of INTELLIGENCE has nothing to do with my definition of IQ, I don't try to define IQ... My definition of intelligence is, among others, making smart decisions and reaching smart conclusions.

on Mar 12, 2009

coderunner82


Frogboycomment 13 Speaking purely of myself, I've never thought of myself as having a massive IQ.
I'd say you have a massive game creating IQ. 
 
GC2 / SoaSE ftw.  I guess demigod is more GPG's puppy, but are you working on the AI in demigod also?

Well in all our games it's a collaboration whether it's developed here at Stardock or externally.

Sins of a Solar Empire is awesome because of Ironclad.  Demigod will be awesome because of GPG. 

My contribution to Sins was in helping come up with most of the frigates and cruisers and much of the economic system, the constructor ships, the two resources and that they're asteroids.

My contribution on Demigod is probably a bit more substantial because the original game designer left GPG last Summer just as we were getting involved and so Mike Marr (GPG) and I had to step in and essentially come up with a design to finish the game.  So in Demigod, I came up with the ideal of upgrading Citadels, having flags, having flags that do something, having what is available in the Citadel to purchase be due to war score (Mike and I collaborated on that part a lot), Favor items, Favor points, and lots of little details.

But while that list seems big, it is dwarfed in comparison with the whole game as a whole.  I don't think I'm a particularly good game designer, I'm just a very very experienced gamer so I tend to have a feel for what game mechanics will work in practice.

on Mar 12, 2009

SlyDrivel


To use a computer analogy, IQ is like how fast your CPU is.
 
I'm not really an expert on IQ. I only have a basic understanding of psychology. But from what I have come across, I believe that IQ is a measure of functioning in the pre-frontal cortex (executive functions like working memory, realizing when you are about to do something stupid, paying attention) as well as a measure of your accumlated knowledge in specific (and undoubtably biased) areas. Interestingly, perscription meds for ADHD target neurotransmitters important for pre-frontal cortex functioning. I saw one study in which IQ went up from normal to about 117 average among a group of 23 ADHD individuals. Most of the increase came from a sizable boost in "performance IQ", not the knowledge type. Go figure.
 

I can't pretend to say what IQ is other than that IQ tests on the Internet are BS (even if you get all the answers wrong you still get like 105 on some of them).  I had to take one in college and it involved figuring out a lot of patterns and shapes, and a few story problems.

What I am saying is that I don't think my cognitive ability is particularly exceptional regardless of what my IQ is on paper.  I think what has helped me become successful from a "talent" point of view is my ability to absorb knowledge, recall it quickly, and build new knowledge with it.  

Mostly, though I would say that I'm successful because my particular talents happen to be in high demand at this particular time in human history and combined with a lot of hard work over time has made me a success.  Had I been born 100 years ago, I wouldn't be rich and if I'd come of age now I probably wouldn't be rich. 

on Mar 12, 2009

SlyDrivel


My idea is a little different, though it certainly overlaps. I think Frogboy and me have different personalities. As a CEO, he probably likes to take charge. I am ok with taking charge, but I enjoy solving problems more. I really missed my calling as an engineer. Whereas Frogboy sees success as being at the top of a big company that creates great computer games, I see success as creating a great computer game. In the end, I probably got the raw deal on personality. But what can you do?

I didn't take what you wrote as insulting so don't worry.  

But I don't I communicated what my motivation is well enough.

What you seem to describe is a motivation for power. That's not my motivation. I don't care about being in charge of a company.  It's much more basic than that: I want to do what I want to do. 

 

on Mar 14, 2009

Draginol


I don't think I'm a particularly good game designer, I'm just a very very experienced gamer so I tend to have a feel for what game mechanics will work in practice.

 

I'd say that's what makes a good game designer to me: understanding what game mechanics work and create a balanced game.  And having really good AI helps in the games you guys make alot too because they are mainly strategy games (as opposed to FPS's or an RPG game).

 

 

on Mar 14, 2009

Out of curiousity, what other game designers would you consider good also?  I consider Sid Meier another really good designer because of the mechanics and balance he gets out of his games (not including the games that just have his name on it for marketing).  Molyneaux I would consider not good because his ideas outweigh his actual implementations usually imo.

on Mar 15, 2009

What you seem to describe is a motivation for power. That's not my motivation. I don't care about being in charge of a company. It's much more basic than that: I want to do what I want to do.

Interesting. I can see what you mean. You worked hard so that if you wanted to change your company and start creating great computer games, then you could do it. You had the freedom to do that. And if tommorow you had another idea, you could run with that. That sort of freedom takes a lot of effort.

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