Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Published on September 16, 2012 By Draginol In Internet

Some of you may recall that I was going on an extended sabbatical after War of Magic shipped.

I still remain active online but as I detailed on Freakonomics, the long hours over many years had taken their toll and I was going to diversify what I spent my days doing.  What started out as a sabbatical after War of Magic evolved for the reasons I outlined on the podcast into a semi-retirement.

My libertarian friends have called it "Going Galt". But that's really not an accurate way to put it. I'm not striking or taking my ball and going home. 

What I did was take the approach with Stardock that had been taken with Neowin.net (we are a co-owner of that site).  Which was to be hands-off. I'd stay involved in smaller ways (write computer AI, help with web design, transfer skills).  

On the games side, Derek Paxton took over Stardock Entertainment.  His experience making Fall from Heaven (the Civ IV mod that is) and his business experience at Novell has really helped transform the games side into producing much better quality games than we previously were capable of doing.

On the software side, Jamie McGuffie, former VP of Compuware joined us and has really improved the way software gets made here.  We make a lot fewer things but we make them a lot better.

It took over a year to make that transition but for the past year, it's been a different world for my family, myself, and the companies I participate in.

But stepping back isn't "going Galt". I'm still the CEO of Stardock, for example. It's just that my primary sources of income no longer come from these entities. 

Instead, the new team has the vested interest in the company's performance. My role is to play it forward. Transfer skills and help people achieve what their individual goals might be.  

By contrast, Going Galt is a reference to the book Atlas Shrugged where the "movers and shakers" went on strike in response to a society that increasingly believed the individual should be sacrificed for the collective.  

I don't buy into that philosophy. I just find that such beliefs are too simplistic for this age. At some point, people's priorities change. What matters to them changes.  I wonder how Rand's writings would have been if she had had children, for instance.  

The problem with wealth is diminishing returns. At some point, it stops making much of a difference in your day to day life.  And my point in saying that is that in John Galt's world, there were no diminishing returns. Industrial accomplishment and wealth were infinite drivers. But they're not.  


Comments
on Sep 16, 2012

Going troppo, then...

on Sep 16, 2012

Well that'll upset the Internet trolls who think they can strike back at the libertarians by not buying stuff made by Stardock.

on Sep 16, 2012

Tangent: On

Re Internet trolls. They're always mad about something. It wouldn't matter whether I made money on Stardock or not. To them, they're awaiting some type of Karmic retribution. Because people like me represent the most reprehensible aspects of human society -- which is, to them, anyone who is not like them or does not share their world view. 

They're kind of like the opposite of the parent who lives through their kid. In this case, they hate people they don't know and try to imagine what that person is like and hate on that.  It's kind of sad really.

Tangent: Off

Back in 2011 when this really started getting going, it was really hard, at first.  I mentioned this in some of the interviews I've given on the topic.  All that extra time that used to be spent working. And when all you've been doing is working non-stop, it's hard to get used to "normal" life.  But it got easier. Continues to get easier.

The consumer software side (Object Desktop) is the side that's felt the most effect I'd say.  We got very lucky to have Derek and Jon join us.  But desktop enhancements are a lot tougher/weirder/nichier thing.  And I think our non-enterprise customers have been the impact of that a lot more.

That said, I think things have gotten much better in recent months and continue to get a lot better on that side.  Start8 is looking awesome. Multiplicity 2 is about to be released. Fences 2 is basically done. And there's some really cool stuff in the pipeline.  

 

on Sep 16, 2012

Frogboy
Re Internet trolls. They're always mad about something. It wouldn't matter whether I made money on Stardock or not. To them, they're awaiting some type of Karmic retribution. Because people like me represent the most reprehensible aspects of human society -- which is, to them, anyone who is not like them or does not share their world view.

Unfortunately, there will always be an element of society that hates success.... that of others because they can see none in their own lives.  And the sad thing about it is that hard working ma and pa type companies, who treat their employees more like family than production line grunts, get lumped in with the corporate giants they see as having few, if any scruples. 

I believe Stardock to be in the former category, but it's not that the trolls can't differentiate between the two.  No, it most often boils down to sheer jealousy, rather than a different view of the world.  The way I see it, this kind of troll has low self-esteem and is a failure because he/she compares his or her inabilities to the success of others, and in doing so they are already defeated. 

Fortunately, I have a healthier philosophy than that.  I never aspired to be wealthy or famous and never became either, but I'm still a success. I pretty much raised two kids on my own, who turned out to be decent human beings who are doing a decent job of raising my grandchildren... who in turn are turning out to be pretty decent kids themselves.  That is all the wealth I need, and if it's the only legacy I leave then I've done alright.

As for your going into semi-retirement, Brad, good on you.  At least you'll be able to spend more quality time with your family, which can only be a good thing.  As I understand it, they didn't see a lot of you for extended periods while you were putting in such long hours on the gaming side of things, and while you can't make up for that, it's time that's gone, you can certainly bless them with more of your time, love and effort from here on in.

 

on Sep 17, 2012

As for your going into semi-retirement, Brad, good on you.  At least you'll be able to spend more quality time with your family, which can only be a good thing.  As I understand it, they didn't see a lot of you for extended periods while you were putting in such long hours on the gaming side of things, and while you can't make up for that, it's time that's gone, you can certainly bless them with more of your time, love and effort from here on in.

My activity level reached its new level probably around last November. So from then on is the new level.  I've talked on Qt3 and elsewhere over the months that I had migrated to living off my asset portfolio rather than Stardock -- I couldn't burden my successors with my cost if they're being measured by financial performance.

Anyway...

I got a lot of emails from people who heard either the Freaknomics podcast or the Wired article who thought my motivation was political.  Or more specifically, they took the *timing* of those articles (Obama and the "You didn't build that" thing) and believing that I had decided - in July - that I was "going Galt".  And that's not the case. 

What got those articles rolling was a blog posting from last year which had gotten picked up. I can't really state it any better now than I did then. It had nothing to do with politics or ideology.

on Sep 17, 2012

sometimes I miss the point but weren't you able to hire some people as a result of something Obama did. How'd that work out.

on Sep 17, 2012

sometimes I miss the point but weren't you able to hire some people as a result of something Obama did. How'd that work out.

No.

On the other hand, I haven't had to lay anyone off because of anything Obama did either.

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