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“Have a ten year vision and a six month plan”

By on May 27, 2011
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At the Virtual Goods and Social Games Summit on Wednesday, Jens Begemann, founder and CEO of wooga made a statement I liked.

“I work in a fast-changing industry. I have a ten-year vision and a six month plan.”

I love this advice. Admittedly, one of the reasons I love it is that it suits my character, but there are better, deeper reasons than that.

Know where you’re going

It’s important to know where you’re going. As an entrepreneur, you have to keep a lot of people satisfied: your customers, your partners, your staff, your investors, your suppliers. The list sometimes seems endless.

It’s important that they know where you are leading them. Sure, the market will change, but a lot of people feel happier if they can just trust that at least *someone* knows what is going on.

Having a ten year plan will convince them that “someone” is you.

Don’t believe in certainties

A ten year vision is great, but don’t get too hung up on it. Ten years ago, Google was in its infancy, Facebook hadn’t been invented and social games didn’t exist. Having a detailed three year plan for a startup is foolish, and you run the risk of executing a plan that was created when circumstances were radically different.

Execute well

The thrust of Agile development, the Lean Startup methodology and all the tools and processes that have improved the art and science of being an entrepreneur all focus on making progress. So you need to be clear about what you are the team should be focusing on for the next little while. Six months seems like a great time period for that.

I know I’m biased. I’m great at having a five year vision and a three month plan. Jens has pushed both of those periods out by a factor of two. But the point remains.

Long-term vision is great. Short-term goals are great. Just know pretend you know what is going to happen in the bit inbetween.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com