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Never Team Up with the Idea Guy

In any startup projects, it's crucial to pick your team members, so crucial that it determines about at least 50% of the success of your project. Teaming up with the wrong people will set you back far, so far that your project won't get anywhere.

How do you choose the right people for your next projects? In real life situations, you don't get a talent pool that's ready to serve you in your next world-conquering project. Your money is limited, and your time is even more so. Let's talk about who are the most likely candidates of your next startup project:
Friends. Friends are good. You hang out with them, you had fun with them. Friends also come in many different flavors and skills, and some of whom are not particularly useful for your project. There will be a certain percentage of them who might be useful. You are in the tech industry, and maybe a handful of your friends are also in the tech industry. Naturally, your conversations with them clicks more than with the chick you tried to pick up at a bar last weekend. Does that mean that you and your friends can immediately start something big? Unless all of you operate in the same wavelength for at least 6 months, it's difficult to encourage your friends to start a project. Your friends have different ideas. Your friends have different opinions. They would have different priorities.
Coworkers. You are working with great people with talented skills. It's naturally easy for you to stir something up at the workplace during those lunch and coffee breaks. You talked about how to improve the company's existing broken procedures. The conversations would later evolve into "wouldn't it be great if.." topics. However, the same situations with friends apply here with coworkers. Your coworkers must also have the same vision as you. Though it's a bit easier to team up with coworkers, sometimes the stress and the amount of work at work can kill your side projects fast.
Family. Family members tend to work on the same fields, and your visions tend to be similar because your neurons are wired pretty much the same layout. They also tend to have the most arguments among each other. Family-owned businesses can be successful, but they can also plunge into the tar pit far faster than any other teams, thanks to the argument last night about who gets to keep Fluffy the dog.
Strangers. Don't even try unless you are ready to pay them money.

This does not mean that it's impossible to form a good team from the groups above. It's still possible if you find the right people.

Let's just say that you have found some team members. You talked about some ideas with them. Your ideas converge like a salad bowl. It has a great momentum, but not for long. You notice that one guy in your team is "The Idea Guy". He talked about his great ideas, and how it's going to make your project great. He spent 70% of the time explaining his ideas, and the other 30% merging other team members' ideas to his own, which means that he spent 0% on the actual project itself.

The Idea Guy tend to be skill-less. That's why he's The Idea Guy. Remember the 1% inspiration 99% perspiration quote by Edison? It applies here like a cookie cutter. Creating new products requires 99% perspiration, and if one of your team member cannot contribute even 10% of that perspiration, don't count him/her in.




Triple Town - Probably the most addicting game?

The popularity of Bejeweled created a massive bubble of match-3 genre that endlessly spawns multitude of puzzle games. From cheap-art-swapped Bejeweled clones without any added creativity, to something mildly addicting like Diamond Dash. However, the most creative spin of the match-3 genre should be awarded to the Spry Fox's creation Triple Town.

I first encountered Triple Town on a Kindle device. Running on the revolutionary e-ink graphics and the traditional D-pad controller, the game is easy to pick up and surprisingly addictive. The fact that the studio did not invest millions of dollars creating revolutionary nth-D graphics, means that the game is good simply because it's good without the extra calories.

The game is played on a 6x6 board initially populated by randomly-generated pieces. Player is given a new piece in each turn, which must be placed on the board. Whenever the player matches 3 or more similar objects adjacent to each other, the objects combine into one object of higher value. Grasses combine into one flower. Flowers combine into a bush. Bushes combine into a tree, and so on until you get to a castle which gives players the highest bonus points. The challenge relies on the strategy where to put the next piece while giving enough rooms for the next upgrade. Monsters (Barbarians and Ghosts) sometimes appear to give a little frustration to the players. Trapped Barbarians actually provide value as they get converted to tombstones, and three or more tombstones combine into a church. Player loses the game when all tiles in the board are occupied and no further upgrades could be made. There is no winning condition other than to get the highest score possible.

Triple Town's design still allows much room for improvements and refinements. One might say to add a "Next" piece similar to Tetris to give visibility to the player thus allowing him to have a better strategy. Larger board, swapping pieces, or perhaps a multiplayer capability could enhance the depth and value of this game.



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