I think I may have missed the most important thing with my last post on hubris. It's not just the feedback on your product you have to listen to. It's any kind of advice whatsoever. And you have to really listen.
Going from corporate to indie is a completely different sport, and what works for corporate game development doesn't necessarily work for indie and may even be harmful. Overlarge teams, stealth mode, and overly rigorous coding practices are just a few things that pop to mind immediately. So the overarching thing is it's valuable to listen to other indies and learn the rules of this strange new sport. You're practically starting over.
Just one example - Torpex's PR guy told us we should make a MySpace page. (Yeah, this was a while ago.) He may have been wrong on the details but he was right on the idea - we should have started doing our own social marketing / networking, whether it was MySpace or Facebook or what. Our excuses for ignoring his advice were twofold - neither one of us wanted to take on the extra work, and it's hard to get started. When you first put up a page like that you're going to start with an unimpressive number of likes and fans, and the worry is that creates a sort of unimpressive social proof. "They only have fifty likes? Pffft." But you've got to start somewhere, and the sooner you start the better. Who knows how much of a community Torpex could have built up over the years.
This is something I've learned from playing story games and reading Keith Johnstone: real listening means allowing yourself to be changed. It's not enough just to hear someone.
Even without the hubris of being succesful in the world, most people have a nearly instinctive tendency to react negatively to new information. Some management science calls it 'reactance'; child psychologists call it 'bad first reaction.' We tend to shoot down others ideas. We don't want to be changed. When I was told to not launch the Kickstarter yet, my first reaction was, "But! Out of money out of time!" But that was just an excuse. I just didn't want to be changed.
If you can recognize that tendency in yourself, you can get past it.
And, speaking of social proof on social networks, please help me build some up by liking the Happion Labs / Energy Hook facebook page.
"real listening means allowing yourself to be changed"... love it and I'm all for anything that devolves from a contest about who's right and who wrong (aka ego feeding) and toward a more positive outcome.
Posted by: Michael Guerrero | December 13, 2012 at 01:22 PM