Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Published on February 8, 2012 By Draginol In Business

I get asked this a lot. And the answer I gave most recently was “About a third smaller than it is today.”

As a statistical nut, I made a pie chart of what I spend my day doing. It was depressing.

Most of my work day is spent doing business stuff.  And the more “successful” (and I use that term with some derision these days) the worse it gets. 

Every week I can count on an hour of legal review. What kind of legal landmines do we need to watch out for now? If you’re a business, lawsuits are a constant threat. To be clear, I should say if you’re an American business since I like to pretend that other countries don’t have ridiculous, out of control, IP laws.

Then there’s accounting. Oh, is there. When there’s tens of millions of dollars going in and out a year, you have to be particularly careful that there isn’t (there is) massive waste going on. As a start-up, I used to track every penny because that’s all we had – pennies.  That’s impossible now and that’s where you learn, after the fact, that we spent $20k on some pointless crap or waste $10k a year on aborted business trips can add up.  A larger company would have a dedicated CFO. But we’re not large enough to justify that. And it turns out I’m a remarkably good bean counter.

Then there’s the interpersonal stuff.  This is, by far, my least favorite part. It’s worse than lawsuits, lawyers, accountants, or even insurance compliance. People. They’re complicated. And it’s never ending.  I like people, individually. But you get enough of them together and they’ll form cliques and from vapor will come interoffice politics.

The interpersonal stuff ultimate leads to some percentage of people loathing everything the management team does because, to them, it seems stupid. When running a business or writing code, often your choices are picking amongst the least stupid option. It’s still stupid, it’s just less stupid than the alternative. But to someone who’s not familiar or experienced with such a situation, all they see is that “the boss” (or their manager) is some sort of idiot.

For these reasons, I definitely don’t dream of having a large company. A small, well run, fun company is much more desirable. 

Luckily, Stardock is a pretty fun place to work. We have a good time and make great stuff.  But it would be easier to keep it that way if it were a bit smaller.  We’re not laying anyone off or anything like that.  We tend to take the long-view approach (next year will be the 20th year since we incorporated). A few small super-teams can do amazing things – without the headaches.


Comments (Page 2)
on Feb 10, 2012

We even had a business forum??

on Feb 10, 2012

what happened with Impulse anwyways?

And is it now just the stardock store?

on Feb 10, 2012

Tasunke
what happened with Impulse anwyways?

And is it now just the stardock store?

Impulse was sold to Gamestop...and yes, at the moment it's 'just the Stardock store', however the NEW Stardock Central [SDC] is not far away...

on Feb 10, 2012

Brad, I hate accountants more than the next guy, but at "10's of millions" of revenue you need a full time CFO and probably a controller as well for oversight.

You know, there's nothing to stop you from hiring a CEO and becoming the CTO "head geek in charge", that way you get to do what you love while some other poor sucker gets stuck with the business crap. That's what lot's of founders in the IT field that I know have done.

on Feb 10, 2012

Rhadagast
You know, there's nothing to stop you from hiring a CEO and becoming the CTO "head geek in charge", that way you get to do what you love while some other poor sucker gets stuck with the business crap.

....and then you ask...."Where am I going, and why am I in this handbasket?" ...

on Feb 10, 2012

How do you handle all of this and still find time to make the AI great? You need a clone. 

on Feb 10, 2012

SoaDA is not under Stardock's wings

 

Without a long standing publishing agreement, or an outright buyout, this is normal.  It's not an indication that Stardock is out of the third party publishing business.  Even a series is often published through multiple outlets when it's not done under an ongoing contract.  You've just gotten used to all the in house developers the big publishers like to have.

on Feb 10, 2012


Quoting Rhadagast, reply 19You know, there's nothing to stop you from hiring a CEO and becoming the CTO "head geek in charge", that way you get to do what you love while some other poor sucker gets stuck with the business crap.

....and then you ask...."Where am I going, and why am I in this handbasket?" ...

 

Well...there is that risk