Indie Community Blasphemy

“A business is a legally-recognized organizational entity, existing within an economically free country, designed to sell goods and/or services to consumers or other businesses, in an effort to generate profit.”

Using this definition, apparently, makes one AN EVIL MEANIE-HEAD.

I give up.

31 Replies to “Indie Community Blasphemy”

  1. What’re they arguing with?

    Me, primarily.

    :)

    Apparently, the problem is the “generating profit” portion of the econ101 definition. I was discussing the difference between a hobby and a business (the “lemonade stand isn’t really part of the Food Service Industry” thing, you know?) and was met with “I run a business, but my focus is only on releasing games — I don’t focus on profit.”

    My response was that according to the definition, a business kinda HAS to make an effort to generate profit …..that’s sort of the entire point…..

    This, according to private messages, makes me EVIL and MEAN and INTERESTED ONLY IN STATUS and other assaults upon Unique Special Snowflakehood.

    As I said above, I give up.

  2. You know, fanfic authors focus on releasing stories and don’t get profit until they sell original work to a publishing house. What they’re arguing against is the same concept.

    Yay for them that they have time to stroke their hobby, you’re too busy running a business to care.

  3. Unless you strike that oh-so-perfect balance where the business sustains itself (as well as those running it) and you love the hobby, profit is quite necessary to make the effort continue. Gordon Gecko was right in that respect.

  4. You’re pretty much spot-on……., but comparing these Oh-So-Serious RPG Design Artistes to fanfic authors would probably get me burned at the stake.

  5. I just read all 165 posts in that thread. Christ, what a car wreck.

    Given that you and Phil Reed put out ePublishing101, I think you’ve addressed a lot of these issues before. I’m not sure what they were looking for that could be summarized for free in brief, frankly.

    The indie audience, bless ’em, is a niche market right now chiefly supported by a lot of same folks who write the games. Nothing wrong with that, just a smaller pond in an already small pond.

    I think my brain broke when Ryan Macklin said that he used business practices, but was not interested in generating a profit. I realize that breaking even is a big deal for self publishing, and no one gets rich at it, but starting a business (with a business plan) with no intention of working towards a profit doesn’t parse for me. I would say that it’s like writing a thesis – an academic project rather than an actual business venture. Possibly even performance art, if you really want to go out on a limb, but it’s not exactly publishing.

  6. I can accept someone who is not -making- a profit claiming they are a business. Many businesses fail, and others fail for some period of time. If you have a business plan, you’re losing money or just breaking even, and you hope to make money later, I’m okay with you being defiend as a business.

    If you don’t care about making a profit then you aren’t a business, even if you do end up in the black. That doesn’t make you somehow less important to the world. I think a case can even be made it might not be a hobby. It could be your charitable work designed to improve the human condition through creating better games, thus increasing the worldwide joy level. That might be a life work, or a calling, or even a spiritual vocation.

    But it’s not a business. Just as curing disease for a profit motive isn’t charity, and going to work every day isn’t a hobby.

  7. Who cares, Gareth. Be a meanie-head, and be proud of it. Wear your meanie-head t-shirt for all to see. Leave the lemonade stand operators to discuss their art on the street corner…

  8. But what about The Art? The Art That Is the Soul of Gaming?

    Oh, the newly-named-individual-character-trait-that-reflects-humanity!

    (You see, I have a much better way of modeling humanity than has ever been done in those other games. You start with the premise that…)

    Seriously, Gareth, do what I do: stop reading online forums where the ratio of annoying to enjoyment is greater than 1:1 (or, in my case, greater than like 0.01:1, but that’s me). I find it does wonders for the blood-pressure and disposition.

    After all, you’ve got a business to run…

  9. Keep in mind that a lot of these very same people will turn around and crow about their mad bank and how everybody but them doesn’t know how to make money selling RPG stuff. Despite this being crazy, it’s often kind of necessary, because the money they’re talking about is usually enough to buy food and booze at Gen Con if they can manage to get their hand in the till each evening*, and certainly doesn’t stand up to decent profit/loss statements.

    The “We’re not business people!” guys are in the same clique as the guys who lecture Gareth about how he doesn’t know how to run his business.

    * Seriously — One of the complaints about the Forge booth in 2006 was from people who couldn’t afford con expenses without a nightly payout.

  10. Hence why I only skirt the edges of the community, gleaning what information I need. You see people there mix up the definitions of Business and Vanity Project. Me? I like money. Turning a profit is very inportant to my business. If this means I’m a meanie-head, and evil, so be it.
    I’m a evil meanie-head, but I’m in good company.
    And after the vanity projects are forgotten, my business will endure.

  11. a quick braindump, might contain logical errors.

    I skimmed it on one of my study breaks.
    -=-
    The weakest argument in there is “The plural of anecdote is not data”, and is best refuted in a great post in everything2:
    http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1670443&displaytype=printable
    -=-
    Even outside of that great entry in e2:
    the plural of anecdote is anecdotal data,
    and the combined forces of anecdotal data and vetted data is a good approach to having information.

    It is information that I want, at the end of the day.
    Good decisions can be made with good information.

    Good decisions could lead to success, and if part of you success-definition is $$$, then good information is intrinsically worth $$$.
    -=-
    Hurrah for $$$, one of the modern world’s ways to let me know that what I am doing is worthwhile to them.

  12. I hate you more, sir. Your announcement of response in that thread will now require me to return to the site and read it.

    Things would probably be far better if I just stayed away. This is your fault, sir. ENTIRELY your fault!

  13. Buncha hippies. :)

    I know where you are coming from. I do have to say that I honestly don’t care if people are interested in making a profit or not when they produce games. To me, the end result is the same: cool games I can sell on IPR. That said, business folks tend to be more interested in promotion and other things I find valuable. I do some promotion of my own on a lot of games, but it’s nice when people chip in.

    On an unrelated note, I did, luckily, nip the “payout at the end of the day” thing in the bud this year at GenCon. It’s a bookkeeping nightmare for me, since I now run the business (yes, I said business) end of the IPR/Forge booth.

  14. “I think my brain broke when Ryan Macklin said that he used business practices, but was not interested in generating a profit.”

    Taking that statement completely out of context (I haven’t left to read the thread yet) it makes some sense to me. I could certainly see someone using “business practices” in an effort to simply minimize the financial drain of carrying on their hobby, without the goal of an actual net profit.

    ‘Course that still doesn’t make their hobby a business.

  15. I am interest to see your opinions on my take on the sitch, especially as we’ve had (cordial) differences of opinion on ePub business issues, strecthing back to the ePub101 days.

    Hunh.

    I just realized that in these sorts of threads, I rarely see “cordial disagreement.”

    CU

  16. I am interest to see your opinions on my take on the sitch

    I’d love to actually get into a discussion about the whole thing, but it’s not going to happen at SG. The sheer amounts of venom that I get thrown at me most of the time there, any time I’m viewed as threatening their Unicorn Land of Rainbow Self-Esteem (as termed it, above), has pretty much driven me off.

  17. You know, I saw that thread from the beginning, down to the car wreck part, then all the way to the end, and frankly, I didn’t really learn much aside from: “we who publish (for all intents and purposes) micropress game books do it because we like it.” Ok, cool. And if it stayed there, it would be fine and dandy, but then they gotta invoke The Man, like anyone who is actually running their micropress as a business is evil and meanie, as you put it. I tried to sum it up in these posts as a difference between publishers and Publishers, but the post got pretty much ignored in favor of continuing the yell-fest.

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