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Summary: I am looking for co-founder(s) to start a game company with me. If you, or anyone you know, is interested, please contact me. (Alternatively, if you want to invest or provide funding, that would be very nice in its own right.)
It recently occurred to me that if reducing existential risk is indeed the most important goal, then I ought to actually do something about it. Turns out, for most mortals (including myself) the best option for reducing ex-risk is through donations. With that in mind, I'm going to start a game company. "Why a game company?" you might ask. Well:
* I've been making games since I was 13.
* I've hit my 10,000 hours of game programming a while ago. If I want to make a game, it will be made.
* I've studied a good amount of game design theory and have had some opportunities to put that knowledge to the test with success.
* I've worked for two different game companies. I've written games for computers, handhelds, and mobile devices.
* I've funded, designed, programmed, and published my own game.
* I am very familiar with the process of developing games. Everything from team structure to tools to game design.
I hope it's clear why starting a game company makes sense for me. Now, you might ask, "Why will you succeed?" Well, I have an answer for that too:
* Leverage all the rationality skills I've learned from LW.
* Leverage all other scientific knowledge: from psychology to statistics.
* I'm not attached to any particular game genre or game idea. Whatever gives the most ROI is good.
* There is a lot of low hanging fruit in terms of what games are easy to make and are almost guaranteed to be profitable. (Most people don't choose these ideas because they are easy, have been done before, or the people want to make other games.)
* Focus on making games as cheaply as possible. (Leverage 3rd party tools and other companies.)
* Have a structured approach to designing and developing a game, rather than an adhoc one like most companies have.
* The company will be built around scientific principle. (A/B testing is just one aspect of that.)
* The company will measure and analyze everything (or as much as possible), not only in the games it makes, but also in the company itself.
* The company will be completely transparent on the inside. If everyone knows everything about the company, it's more likely that they will find new creative ways to improve it.
* Anonymous feedback for every employee (especially founders).
* The company will hire the best people. Since it's well knows that the best people are at least 2x more productive (that number is much higher for some positions, e.g. programmer) than average, there is no reason not to let the salary (and benefits) reflect that. I think paying 10%-20% higher than competitive rates is justifiable and will help bring in the best talent.
* Every employee's goal should be to automate their position: either by replacing themselves with a program or another employee of same/lower skill. (This way each employee can focus on higher level problems.)
Some of these ideas are untested, but the point is to create a company that is open to experimenting and testing things out.
My personal goals:
* Create a highly profitable game company.
* Become more experienced in starting and running a company.
* Gather more data on how to start and manage a company.
* Create connections within the game development world.
* Sell this company as quickly as possible. (Since this will be my first startup, I anticipate a lot of mistakes. There is no reason not to start anew as soon as a good opportunity presents itself. Selling the company, or most of company's IP, would be ideal.) (Going public is possible, but very unlikely.)
* I'm thinking ideal route would be: Incubator -> Angel funding -> VC funding. Focus purely on development, while contracting out the publishing.
If you are interested in joining me on this mission, please contact me. If you know someone who might be interested in this, let them know. All points I listed above are open to negotiation.
I'm looking for:
* Someone who can contribute a lot to the company from the first day. (This will most likely be a business person or a game programmer.)
* Willing to commit to this and to work overtime.
* Able to start this year. (If we get enough runway funding, we should start in a few weeks.)
* (Bonus) Experience in game development field.
* (Bonus) Located in The Bay Area. (Though I'm potentially open to relocating.)
* (Bonus) Experience with starting and running a company.
* (Bonus) Versed in the art of rationality.
* (Bonus) Also wants to donate to SIAI or other ex-risk reduction organisation.
* (Bonus) Can contribute seed capital.
If you know anyone who is interested in funding the company, please have them contact me as well.