2010 Review and 2011 Goals

About this time of year I like to review the goals I set for myself in the current year and think about my goals for the next year. So here’s a rundown:

2010 Review

Here’s what happened to my 2010 goals:

1) Finish recently started secret BFG project and watch it make tons of money. (This project turned out to be My Tribe on Facebook and I can’t comment on it’s financial performance.)

2) Release a top 10 download title. (Unfortunately this title was cancelled so BFG could use my team and I on My Tribe, it’s unlikely to ever be finished, which is a shame because it was turning out very nicely.)

3) Get married (Yep, did this on July 5th on a beach in Vancouver :-) )

4) Complete 9 more toastmasters speeches so I get the competent communicator award. (I did speech number 6 and then took a break from Toastmasters due to be overwhelmed with stuff. I’m aiming to go back through, see 2011 goals below.)

5) Get a Canadian driving license (Passed with flying colours.)

6) Build up my Aikido club, get some decent mats, and become profitable as a club. (Built up the club to 5 regular members and the venue got some decent mats, still not profitable though.)

7) Build up my health and fitness more. (Did tons of walking and also the Grouse Grind several times plus a week-long Aikdio seminar. Definitely felt fit this summer.)

8 ) Improve life work balance. (I took 2 weeks unpaid vacation so I could spend it with my family and I didn’t stay late at work much, although I did quite a few after work social/networking events. When I’m Indie again in 2011, my life work balance will improve a ton.)

9) Sort out my looming tax situation. (Did both Canadian and UK tax returns and managed to pay a huge unexpected Canadian tax bill – it wasn’t pleasant, but it’s done now.)

Based on my own calculations I’d say I had about a 70% success rate in meeting my goals, which isn’t bad.

I also did a whole bunch of other stuff I’m proud of including:

- Saved up enough money to go Indie again in 2011, yeah! This is as a result of careful budgeting, getting a $500 discount on my rent, and Helen (my wife) getting a job later in the year.
- Co-created the Vancouver Indie Meetup group and made a ton of amazing friends.
- Learnt a ton about Facebook game instrumentation and metrics. Also learned some interesting new ways of thinking about business.
- Converted some of my existing IP to XBLIG in only two weeks! (it’s due out soon)
- Competed in several game jams to make mini-games.
- Learned XNA and got a test game running on my Xbox
- Gained over 30% net profit in my first 6 months trading on the Stock Market.
- Hosted a week-long Aikido seminar in Vancouver.
- Did the Grouse Grind in under an hour.
- Drove the family to Osoyoos (the only Desert in Canada) for a vacation.
- Had a weekend honeymoon sans children on Bowen Island.
- Improved my acoustic guitar playing a lot and learned the basics of slide guitar.
- Cobbled together the money to pay an unexpected $16,000 tax bill!
- Finished my orthodontic treatment! My braces are off but I have to wear a retainer for a while.
- Had some mercury amalgam fillings removed (3 down, 3 to go)

2011 Goals

So then, here are my 2011 goals:

1) Have great fun making Indie games for the entire year.
2) Do some design consultancy for backend royalties. (contact me if you are interested)
3) Make at least $100K (I’ll aim relatively low for my first year back in the driving seat).
4) Build up the Vancouver Indie Meetup into something even more awesome.
5) Finish my Toastmasters CC manual (4 speeches to go) – I took a break when things got crazy earlier in the year.
6) Keep fit and beat my Grouse Grind time of 56 mins.
7) Go to Hawaii
8 ) Have an awesome Spring/Summer with my family in Vancouver and go on some roadtrips.
9) Move back to the UK and have some money in the bank when I arrive.

2010 Mistakes

It’s also good to review what mistakes I made in 2010 to make sure that I have learned from them. I made some pretty big ones:

- My dad was very ill over Christmas 2009 (he had been in ill health for years). Luckily he recovered and I thought about flying back to the UK to see him to spend some quality time with him in case he got very ill again and didn’t make it. But I didn’t go because we were crunching at Big Fish on a Facebook game and I didn’t have any spare money for flights. In late March he suddenly became seriously ill again and I flew over to see him and managed to speak to him for a minute or so before he passed away on March 27th. Apart from the whole experience being extremely traumatic, I deeply regret not following my instincts and going over to spend time with him earlier in the year. Jobs come and go, and you can pay back credit cards, but you can’t bring back a loved one for one last conversation. That’s the lesson I learned, real hard. Don’t make the same mistake that I did or you’ll regret it forever.

- On a similar note I realised after my dad passed away that I should be spending more time with my boys and guiding them along as they were having troubles with various things. I tried to negotiate working part time at Big Fish during the summer, but they wouldn’t allow it, so in the end I took two weeks of unpaid vacation (the max allowed by my contract) in a single block at the end of the summer. Perhaps I should have fought harder, or even just quit, but it would have really screwed up our finances that had just taken a beating from a massive unexpected tax bill. I just really needed the time off to spend with my family and to process my emotions. As a result I’ve mostly locked my thoughts and emotions in (not healthy) so I can deal with them in January when I’m not at work all day. There may have been a better way I could have dealt with all this, although at least I did lots of acoustic guitar playing which has helped. Also I believe I can spend even more time with my boys being a good influence and teaching them stuff, so I’ll need to really get on the case with that in 2011.

Well, there you go, two very personal mistakes that stand out the most to me. There have been tons of others too I’m sure, but I prefer to focus on all the stuff I did achieve in 2010, especially with my father passing away early on, as that rather “knocked me for six”.

So what about your goals for 2011, and your successes and mistakes in 2010? Please let me know!

9 Responses to “2010 Review and 2011 Goals”

  1. Celso Riva Says:

    Is really sad what happened with your father. And I agree on what you says. Actually the main reason why I went indie is so that I can stay with my family/loved ones more time than if I had a normal office job.
    I might make less money but certain things in life like love, freedom, etc have no value. BEst of luck with 2011.
    I made a sort of postmortem of my 2010 in this blog post:
    http://www.winterwolves.net/blog/2010/12/friday-catblogging-merry-christmas/
    and next friday will speak about 2011 goals :)

  2. Brian Says:

    I’m excited for you, Jake! If you need someone to give your future projects thorough examination I’ll help out as best I can. :)

  3. Htbaa Says:

    Nice blogpost Jake. Think I’ll go do the same. Although I still need to keep quiet some of my 2011 goals :-) . I guess I’m more or less in the same situation of feeling trapped and need to do something about it. Which I will, but have yet to wait to do that for at least 5 months.

    2010 Wasn’t a very good year for me. So I hope 2011 will be at least a bit better.

    Best of wishes to you and your family in 2011 Jake.

  4. Kyle Says:

    My 2011 goal: Do not purchase a single game or DLC for all of 2011. This includes Pay What You Want sales and piracy. Demos and free games are allowed. Begins 2010-12-31 23:59:59 and ends 2012-01-01 00:00:01

    Re: Your $16k tax bill… ouch! And I hope you surpass your goal of $100k in revenue in 2011!

  5. Grey Alien Games Says:

    @Celso: Absolutely certain things in life are priceless, like being able to go outside and enjoy the sunshine when you want to, and I’m trying to get more of those things. Thanks for posting your post-mortem. I hope that 2011 is much better for you.

    @Brian: Hi Brian, nice to hear from you. You certainly did good with Faerie Solitaire. What are you working on next? Whatever it is, I wish you success with it, and thanks for the offer of help.

    @Htbaa: Sounds exiting! Well I hope that everything pans out well for you and your family in 2011 and you won’t feel trapped anymore.

    @Kyle: Ha, that’s a pretty interesting goal. You just reminded me to go and check Steam offers :-) If you go through with your goal, you’ll never be able to buy any of MY games in 2011 ;-) I hope 2011 goes great for you and your family.

  6. Helen Says:

    Some years are inevitably tougher than others, and this one was probably not one you will look back on with fondness in years to come. Hopefully you will move into closer alignment with your true goals during 2011 and find the time to just be, as well.

  7. astk Says:

    I did the same mistake like your dad case in 2009. Regret to hear that you had the same.

    Anyway, just keep moving on. Happy new year too.

  8. Grey Alien Games Says:

    @astk: Sorry to hear that. Yes for sure you have to keep on moving. I’m also sure that’s what my dad would’ve wanted.

  9. Grey Alien Games » Blog Archive » 2011 Review and 2012 Goals Says:

    [...] when I like to review how I got on with my goals for the year and set new goals for next year. Last year I had about a 70% success rate, but this year the success rate wasn’t so good for a variety [...]