March 16, 2019

Perspective

I realised yesterday that I now find myself in a position for which I did not have empathy five years ago.

I spend anywhere between three and eight hours a night working on content for Passable Media and Passable Gamers. It's worth considering that I do this largely for fun; the conversations I'm having in video, audio, or written form are conversations I would otherwise be having in person. But of course, there's a part of me that would love to make money doing what I enjoy, regardless of the likelihood of that happening. How could I not? I'd love to expand the team, work towards making the Passable brand something real and concrete. I accept that it probably won't happen, but my plan is to keep at it, and see what happens.

Five years ago, my friends started No Pun Included, then called Level Up Games. We started out recording a weekly show on Twitch looking through board game related Kickstarter campaigns, and selecting one to back. It was a simple concept, but we quickly amassed a small but dedicated fan base. And I say "we", but besides the two to three hours spent recording once a week, I had no involvement in the social media side of things expect for retweeting the "we're going live now" messages. Sometimes, more often than I'd like to admit, I'd flake at the last minute because of work, or tiredness, or illness, or simply because I couldn't be bothered, and the writing should have been on the wall back then.

Looking back, I saw every additional thing they wanted to record, every project, as some kind of encroachment on my free time, and there's no doubt in my mind that I was exceptionally selfish and uncaring towards my friend's goal of making the show succeed. I saw it as a hobby, comparable to our old weekly D&D game where we were just meeting up to have fun, I most certainly didn't see it as a business. When the pair moved out of the area, I abandoned ship without so much as a second thought-- I wasn't willing to travel ~20 mins there, ~20 mins back, plus the few hours spent recording once a week, and I definitely wasn't up for doing any extra recordings at the weekends. To begin with I made platitudes that once they settled in I'd get involved again, but I think I knew then that I was fully out. And we've barely spoken at all since then, maybe three times?

And my god, how they've flourished: Two successful Kickstarters to their name, over 28,000 subscribers and 2.2 million views on Youtube, 1,300 followers on Facebook, 4,800 followers on Twitter, 2,400 on Instagram. Nothing short of spectacular in the past five years. The drive that they have to make No Pun Included succeed has been a huge influence on my attitude in starting Passable Media, and it's also given me this little bout of self reflection. So I guess I just want to take a minute to shout out to my far more successful friends: I'm super happy for you, and I'm sorry that I didn't believe in what you wanted to do.

I also cannot emphasise enough that they didn't ask for this piece, they do not know it's going up (and nor do I know if they'd particularly approve of it). This is just a combination of "check out how well this couple are doing" and "wow, I was a terrible friend".

EDIT: I found my Ryuutama review! It's lovely to know I'm still there in some form.

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