Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Wise Man

One of my terrible habits is a constant use of quirky sayings.  Today's entry is dedicated to the saying:

"A smart man learns from his own mistakes.  A wise man learns from the mistakes of others"

Today's blog is dedicated to the developer of Aura, the leader of Aideron Robotics, Marcel Devereux.

About Marcel

Marcel is an extraordinarily gifted contributor to the EVE development community.  Aura is the defacto Android app for all things EVE.  His personal corp site is one that all organizations should strive for. A suite of powerful tools that enable an enormous amount of feedback to his corp members and leadership.

After working with Marcel, I found that he was extremely charismatic and bull headed.  This is not to deride his behavior, but strong men are imposing and strong wills often clash.  I partnered with him at the start of 2012 to push my industry operation from middling to larger scale, and on that front we succeeded greatly.  We managed to generate the program I had always dreamed of, reaching sales figures upwards of 50B/mo.  

Also, in this time, Marcel taught me an enormous amount to bring my own game into the big leagues.  With his extensive knowledge of Google's wide assortment of tools, I was able to upgrade my capabilities and jump into brand new possibilities.

Also, I took away a series of lessons:

1. Don't Develop Alone

This first point is the most difficult in any creative project.  The project is your baby, no one can nurture it like you.  This may be the way to start, but it becomes a massive burden.  The more people that rely on your product, the more they demand of you.  If you're not careful, all of your time is sunk into a side project, and there's no time left to explode spaceships.

This was a major point of friction when working with Marcel.  I was not skilled enough to help take some of the load, and my demands were complicated and hard to implement.  This was one of the major reasons our project closed down; too much demand on one person.

2. Keep It Simple, Keep it Clean

I think it's extraordinarily important to go peruse Aideron Robotics website.  It is the foundation that the entire corp is built around.  The major reason it's so successful?  It's exactly what you need, and not overbearing.  The forums are light-weight (and mobile friendly), the application tools are easy to read.

Design has been a critical component to Aura and Aideron Robotics website.  It is a component that I have trouble replicating.  Many of my own tools get close, but end up failing to wall-of-text.  Time will need to be spent in the foundation focused on the front-face of Prosper.  Also, being an electrical engineer, my code tends to be utilitarian, not efficient... so focus will need to be paid to avoiding code pitfalls.

3. Be Honest, Be Open

One of the temptations that arose from being tied to Aura was to add restrictions to protect Aideron.  Farming APIs, barring war targets from the app, unscrupulous data farming for profit.  Marcel made a point to directly state that ANY use of Aura for covert personal gain would mean the complete death of the app and its place as a primary resource for players.  He is completely open about the behavior and operation of the app, while still retaining control over the development.

4. Be accessible

The reason Aideron Robotics was my favorite corp to be in was connectivity.  The forums were active, we chatted both in-game and out constantly, it was very easy to chat business or pleasure with anyone in the corp.  Also, with the extensive Google integration, there was a connectivity that fostered further connectivity thanks to the various tools that all interconnect between G+, Google docs, and IM.

5. It's a hobby, not a job

The first rule of any EVE venture should be for the pursuit of fun.  As soon as the GAME stops being fun, there is no reason to continue.  It's easy to get caught up in commitments to others, to think "they are depending on me", but there is no reason to be in this kind of project if it's not fun.