"We measure personal failure personally. And financial failure is completely divorced from our own self worth."
- Finji Games cofounder and CEO Rebekah Saltsman, writing in an email published by indie dev Ido Yehieli.
How do you deal with failure?
That's evidently what a group of devs were discussing over email recently, and one response from Finji cofounder and CEO Rebekah Saltsman was notable enough that Slayaway Camp dev Ido Yehieli posted it (with permission) on Twitter.
It's worth reading if you make games for a living, especially if you do it alone or as part of a small team. Saltsman details her own approach to preparing for and dealing with failure, noting that Finji (which Saltsman and her husband have operated in some form since 2006) runs on a policy of expecting the worst.
"If we always plan for the worst, then nothing can catch us by surprise," writes Saltsman. "We lessen the blow of financial failures by always working on more things and always taking large, interesting contracting side gigs to ensure we are always financially sustainable."
On a more personal level, Saltsman touts the value of clearly separating the financial value of a project from the personal value. She notes that game development often involves trying to guess what the market will look like 2-5 years in advance, and cautions fellow devs against tying too much of themselves up in whether or not their work sells.
"That may sound irresponsibile/laissez faire/stupid - but it is the exact opposite," she writes. "We measure personal failure personally. And financial failure is divorced from our own self-worth."