A personal note on past, present and future..
Before I continue the series on metrics for free-to-play, I want to take an opportunity to comment on this week. I promise, I'll get back to the lessons soon.
I was finally able to announce this Wednesday that my well over 8 years at Sulake and Habbo Hotel are over. It's a time I will always remember fondly, for many reasons. By far the longest period I've ever worked with one business, it's been challenging, educational, fun, exciting - and, yes, at times also exhausting. I've been lucky to enjoy great workplaces, excellent colleagues and wonderful businesses since starting my professional career in the latter half of the 90s, but Sulake has been by far the most interesting of them yet. Indeed, most times it didn't feel like work.
Still, I'm itching for something different. I'm not quite sure what yet, but I couldn't focus on figuring that out while inside Sulake, with all the questions to explore and day-to-day problems to solve any business has being a distraction from this personal exploration. Nor would it have been fair for the team there if I hadn't given my energy to those things. Finally, this means our whole family is suddenly free of attachments and we can now consider opportunities anywhere in the world.
It turned out that the day after I handed in the office keys and revoked my passwords, some rumors started flying about regarding Sulake. While I don't know the content of the internal discussion any better than anyone else, what it looks like is that the company is doubling down on putting its focus on product development. That's absolutely the right thing to do - the teen market deserves to be served with great products, and the core creativity values of Sulake and Habbo can be explored in ways Habbo Hotel has not yet done. We have not seen in public yet what precisely is the plan, but I expect to see both changes to the existing products, as well as something new, probably combining online and mobile platforms in interesting ways. My leaving the company is completely unrelated to this development. Lets wait for the dust to settle and try not to jump to conclusions on behalf of the team.
But back to me. Getting involved in a small way in the emerging Helsinki start-up scene through AaltoVG, Startup Sauna and advisory work has strengthened my feel that while all sizes and stages of business are interesting to optimize, there's something uniquely exhilarating about the beginning. I love teams small enough that the members can really take the time understand each other - even when they're not in agreement. Still, I thrive in change, be it early or later. It takes a special kind of courage to keep changing things even after pieces start to work, but losing that ability kills any business. So, I'm looking first of all for that exciting team to be part of and the awesome vision for a different world to create, never mind whether . the current idea of how to get there really works or not. I have some ideas I'm brewing, but few great things happen alone, so the team takes priority.
That's the future. For the present, I'm happy to get an opportunity to spend more time with my 14 month old daughter (she's being her usual bubbly self here as I write this), catch up on reading, meet people, exchange thoughts and hopefully also do more writing here. I want to thank everyone who has already reached out, whether with best wishes or with ideas or even offers of help. It's been great to hear from all of you, and I'm looking forward to all the conversations I'm sure will follow. My calendar is filling up with more meetings than I'm used to! The requests for help have also been welcome - while I'm not ready to make any long-term commitments yet, I'd be happy to try to help out in the short term with any problems you have my expertise might be applicable for. Do let me know. You'll find various ways of contacting me on this blog, if you already don't have my info.