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Tuesday
Sep102013

Handelabra Games: Turning a passion for games into a business

(As part of the LaunchHouse Accelerator program, I'm blogging a bit over at smartbusinessblog.biz. This post was originally published there.)

I am an entrepreneur because of Steve Jobs. Yes, it's a horrible cliché, likely to get even more horrible as a pair of movies chronicling his life and work make their way into the mass consciousness, but as I like to say - I was into Apple way before it was cool.

Jobs was once quoted as saying, "Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again."

It was when I first began learning the truth of this statement that I set out to start making my own apps. The old me would sit around and wait for someone else to do something. The new me chose to take the steps necessary to make those things happen. The trick is, this isn't a lesson one learns in one brilliant stroke, I continue learning it everyday. This is why it took 3 years and more than 10 apps to realize that I didn't want to be making just apps. I wanted to make games. 

My partner John and I love games. Board games, video games, mobile games, social games; you name it. This passion is what lead us to move away from making apps that "fix a problem" into games that entertain. We know games, and we know what's fun. We also know that there are tons of fun games that exist only on the tabletop and that our experience over the last 3 years has put us in a perfect position to bring these games to digital platforms, helping those companies get their games in front of a wider audience, make some money, and yes frankly, bring a little fun into the world.

We've been headquartered at the LaunchHouse for about a year now, pretty much ever since I knew it existed. The atmosphere of collaboration vs. competition was something I had heard vague stories about in mystical places like Silicon Valley but had never experienced firsthand in Cleveland. After seeing it in action watching the end of the last LaunchHouse accelerator class, I knew this was something I wanted Handelabra to be a part of.

While I'd spent several years learning how to effectively and efficiently build good software products, there was a certain special sauce missing. Some combination of networking, collaboration, finance connections, marketing acumen, et cetera, wasn't quite coming together for our products.

I'm hoping that the accelerator process can help me put the focus on the areas Handelabra needs help with.

We're only two weeks in but the first two topic areas, finance and storytelling, are already two major areas where I had lots to learn. The most important piece, that I mentioned I have to relearn everyday, is that this isn't rocket science. These sorts of things are learned by lots of people everyday, who are no smarter than me, and I can be one of those people shaping the world.

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