Here’ll Be The Success Formula

I got this from a book by Harvey Mackay Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt. It’s an old book, but it mentions this formula for success (I read the Finnish version so not totally sure if these are the exact words, but the same idea is there):

success = focus + determination + goal setting (+ courage)

Not sure if this formula is 110% solid and covers everything necessary, but I feel that it indeed has many – if not all – the important aspects for success. Many of you readers mentioned that you are risk takers which in my books means you guys have courage.

If I think of all the rest of the elements, I realize that can ask myself a series of questions:

  • Is my business focused?
    Am I determined?
    How is my goal setting?

Then, I can start thinking of how to create a more focused business? How to become a better goal setter and more determined?

Terribly simple questions, but answering each of them can have a huge impact on me I believe.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Sargon, I would say that you take on the formula the more accurate one. Although how do you guys feel about working on a time restricted licensed property (such as a movie tie in), in that scenario it might prove dangerous to your consumer (meaning whoever is funding the project) for the team to take creative risks in terms of game design, and the consumer will nine times out of ten opt for the safe route, since they generally see video games in the same light as they do with any other revenue streams that their IP may create.

    Basically my question is, how do we as producers keep our teams excited for the project when its clear that schedules will be tight and that the consumer will opt for the safe (and generally less interesting from a design perspective) route?

  2. For I kind of took it to the developement process.
    Usually before you have a product, all your business is virtual, or planned on the future product.
    Determiniation for me, obviously belong to the developement process. Anyone can start a project, not everyone can finish one.
    Goal setting is important in the sense of knowing what goals to set.
    In respect for game developement, I think that primarly means to set a scope that is not too big. I don’t think this got to do with courage. Because this will determine the time it will take you finish the project.
    Its not really risk taken as much as it what kind of project you think you can handle.
    I think courage could mean trying a type of game that is not common as opposed to trying to rely on a formula you know was successful to others.
    And lastely, focus. Focus is very important. Because you can be determined to finish the project, but if you don’t have focus, it will take you ages to finish.
    This is my perspective of the formula, relating the developement process.
    What do you think?

  3. Also you have to be OK with failing if the risks don’t pan out, and then learn from them and try again. Obvious, but many people fear taking risks due to not wanting to fail. Then there’s “fail fast” too…

  4. While being a risk taker can imply courage, in such general terms it’s… well, risky: Particularly as a startup or self-funded sort of venture, any risk you take should be extremely well-researched and understood in as much detail as possible. Unless you’ve donated your soul to a VC, your risks should always be weighed very carefully against your available resources — time, money and talent, just to name a few obvious ones — to ensure that you’re only sticking your neck out for the best possible chance of the best possible ROI.

    The formula does start to describe what you need to really start seriously building a business; without those things you’re far more apt to drop the ball than you are with them. I think, however, that what this describes isn’t so much a path to success as a path to POTENTIAL success; by doing these things you set yourself up with a much better chance to succeed than you otherwise might have.

    It assumes, among other things, that you have a viable business model, a market that will welcome and support a new entrant, an idea that will sufficiently tempt your target audience, and sufficient resources to take your product or service to market and sustain it effectively until your expenses have been recovered and you can start to earn a profit.

    I’m sure the guy didn’t miss this, it just seemed like it was worth mentioning. :)

    The questions you gleaned from it are an extremely valuable way to use it, though. They could serve as a constant reminder of the things you need to keep fostering to position yourself optimally.

  5. The idea behind that formula is certainly has merit but the formula itself seems like corporate brainwash bullshit to me.

    First of all, shouldn’t the relationship be multiplicative? Because right now you can have 100% sucess with 0% determination. Also, right now you can have 400% success, what would that mean?

    But the more deeper problem is: how do you measure “focus”, “determination”, “goal setting” and “courage”. Aren’t these very fuzzy and subjective terms? Isn’t the difficulty exactly that they CAN’T be put into numbers. Yet, setting up mathematical formulas like that suggests that everything can be quantified. Frankly, I don’t think this has any relevance to reality.

    Last of all, there is an important factor missing there: luck. So you need a rnd() behind of it all. ;-)

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