This year started off very strongly for us, with loads of goals, plenty of energy and enthusiasm, and sufficient resources available to bring the plans to fruition. Of course, in life one cannot control everything, so we quickly found our plans going sideways due to issues unrelated.
I have spent the last 8 months struggling mightily to get back to that status quo, which I have almost accomplished, save for a significant hit to resources that is not unexpected (with 8 more months of business expenses, among other issues) and which we can/must plan around.
At this point, we are more than 90% of the way through 2022, coming off the short Thanksgiving holiday break, with the traditional end of year holiday shutdown scheduled for December. Nevertheless, I am twisting the old development adage and hoping that the last 10% of the year will be responsible for 90% of the productivity. 😉
Seriously, I figured that this was a good point to assert that I am still alive and the company is still quite viable, and to briefly take stock of what has been accomplished (nevertheless) since the optimism of the early part of this year.
First, I will just acknowledge that productivity was severely sidetracked by issues that affected me personally, not by anything directly related to the business. However, when the principal developer of a microISV is hindered, it can’t help but seriously impact the company.
The month after SophSoft, Incorporated celebrated our 40th anniversary, I got an emergency phone call in the middle of the night which precipitated a number of events that turned my personal life upside-down. Normally, I try to be very open about what is happening, but in this case, these are not my stories to share.
Suffice it to say that my story went from having a very controlled life by myself, working at home doing a job I love, and having time and peace to contemplate game designs and business plans, to having (first) one of my children move in, followed (later) by my infant grandchild, to whom I was primary caregiver for a time, and having the overriding focus of my life become attending to the needs of others. This was in no way conducive to product development (and even when I made progress it did not feel like I was).
However, everybody involved survived (literally), I gradually got more time for development, and recently got my home back, so now it is just me and Remington Taile, the feral cat who lives here (especially since the snow has started to fall). It has taken a bit to restore the household to what it was and, frankly, rediscover old productive habits, but I am almost there.
Progress toward Goals
At the beginning of the year, I laid out a number of goals in different categories, so I went back to generally assess my progress toward these goals (which I plan to, of course, do in more detail at the end of the year). Although it felt that all progress just stopped for 8 months, I was actually pleasantly surprised to see how much still was accomplished.
Of my (6) product development goals, I completed one, made good (to very good) progress on two others, made some progress on two more, leaving one that was essentially untouched. The SophPlay System™ made significant steps forward, and we hope to announce the Gamecraft Classics™ product in the near future.
My client development goals were, of course, prioritized, since these are the few goals for which we are externally responsible, and despite personal turmoil, I try to maintain professional (if perhaps familiar) behavior. For Goodsol Development, we completed (on our end) all of the product updates listed, except for FreeCell Plus, which is scheduled for completion in December, although the Action Solitaire update has not been released yet. We have added 100 more Solitaire games to the Goodsol Solitaire Engine with a beta starting any day now, and the new games will soon be added to Pretty Good Solitaire Mac Edition, Pretty Good Solitaire Touch Edition (iPad), and Pretty Good Solitaire Mini (iPhone).
For my other long-term client, I will accomplish one of the goals by revealing (here) that they are Scooter Software, and I have been doing research and development for potential features for Beyond Compare, a product that I was (and am) using essentially every day as part of my development and backup processes, and which I have extolled on this blog, well before they were a client. Although there is nothing tangible that I have contributed to the current release, we hit a major milestone with the work I am doing, which led into an unintentional hiatus for a while, but I am currently working to complete the next phase of development. Whether and when the feature gets included in the main product is well beyond my influence, but I observe that they have very deliberate release cycles, so it may be a while.
Of my (5) general development goals, I have made progress on three, and have done essentially nothing on the other two. In particular, my understanding of 3D graphics, both on the implementation and content creation sides, is much improved, and SophPlay is expanding to have additional functionality (across multiple platforms) in this area. On the other hand, my blogging obviously fell to naught, but this post is an attempt to get back on track.
The business goals mentioned staying healthy, safe, and productive, and I am not sure whether I fully accomplished the latter, but I essentially failed on the (3) numbered goals. Specifically, I certainly did not increase business income and, in fact, had to postpone the planned renovations and repurpose some of that funding to staying afloat. That failure really hurts, but was completely in line with my personal priorities and “you gotta do what you gotta do.”
I didn’t specifically enumerate personal goals, but I did make the best of the opportunity to spend lots of time with my grandchild during a formative period of his life. Also, though I was more closely tethered to the house, I did nevertheless find some time over the summer to get out into nature and exercise quite a bit (albeit less than the previous summer).
After these last few days, which I took as a mini-vacation (completely at home), I feel like I now am back to where I was last January when the company turned 40 years old, and there appears to be no mortal damage caused by the loss of time and money. I am older and wiser (yet poorer 😉 ), and I feel as motivated as ever.
I am looking forward to what comes next!