Hiring more people is going to be contingent upon gaining the capital to pay them. As we're intent on avoiding publishers and investors who will want pieces of our intellectual property, expanding the team has been the subject of a lot of discussion. Our plan is to find clients who would benefit from our design approach and help them express their company's story via our games. This bootstrapping method has many inherent risks, but the potential benefits far outweigh them. This requires us to be extremely flexible in our short term plans, but we're still able to remain firm in our long term goals.

Of course, more clients will mean more contracts to deal with, which will mean more legal issues and more elaborate accounting requirements. We're working to find attorneys and CPAs that share our values. We're examining the types of clients they take and the work they've done. In this way, we hope to build lasting relationships built on trust. We're also doing our own research into intellectual property issues. We have decided to open all of our code as free open source software, so the wilderness of patent law has been replaced by the equally bewildering labyrinth of FOSS licensing.

The most important thing we're doing to prepare for these upcoming challenges, however, is listening. There's a vast wealth of experience in the halls and conference rooms of GDC, on the web and in your local community. Much of this information is available; you just have to ask for it. Many people are willing to share their horror stories - even their successes. We talk to contractors who work with other industries as well; graphic and web designers, writers and programmers, all have tales that shed light on the most stubborn of issues.

To help encourage this atmosphere of shared experience, we have a policy of transparency at PJ's Attic. We're publishing whitepapers about our design philosophies and business experiences. We do everything we can to respond quickly and comprehensively to questions about our studio. We regularly blog about our journey and experiences. We typically get rapid feedback from our peers, we learn to better tell our stories and we establish ourselves as active, even when we don't quite have that first game out the door yet.

We've learned it's all, well, a learning process. No two studios are exactly alike, but each stands to learn a lot from the other. Our focus on communication, company culture and our business model has hopefully prepared us to quickly resolve issues when they arise. No doubt that means the next road bumps, the ones we didn't foresee, will be that much closer. So perhaps we're not putting the cart before the horse. Rather, we've taken the time to hook up the cart before the horse is running at full gallop.

Corvus Elrod is a storyteller and game designer who is working on bringing his
16 years experience into the digital realm. He has a habit of taking serious things lightly and frivolous things seriously, a personal quirk which can be witnessed on his blog, Man Bytes Blog.

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