Hello and welcome to this blog! The past few weeks I have been working on a couple of new concepts. One of which is Crowdkans.nl, a concept of a friend of mine. And I got a few personal and very insightful lessons from a great Dutch marketeer called TopPresentatie.
I will be exploring these and some other things in this blog post. I will be as clear as always, writing out my considerations on the subjects at matter, and give an insight in how I run my business. There is a big change you too can take something away from it!
Get a better interest rates while at the same time supporting the creation of a greener world, and do this by helping tangible companies with specific (local) projects.
That is what ‘Bart Kers’, a friend of mine, is trying to achieve with Crowdkans.nl. An interesting proposition in times where savings at the bank are next to nothing and you can’t spend your money.
You can find his own motivation over at his bio. As this bio is in Dutch, a summary of mine: he is an engineer with an entrepreneurial spirit and a knack for economics, and now he wants to contribute to the world by helping crowdfunded (local) green projects find the right people that want to invest.
This project of him is one of the counselings I was giving. He wanted my advise on how to start an online business and had a few technical questions. I was able to help him get to the core and make it small enough to start with. So that is what he then did: create a blog over at Crowdkans.nl. If you like his idea’s, message him or leave a comment at his blogs. We have a few nice technological tools in the pipeline to help you with finding and managing these crowd projects for yourself, but we need to know how much people are interested in this.
And then on to a disclaimer here. I need to add a few words from my own here because his website is about financial advise, or can be viewed as such.
I personally think there is a severe lack of education on finances in our current economy. The downside is that you are likely to not understand the risks of the information offered on this platform. On the other hand, Bart wants to educate people more so they understand how they can make a difference in the world with wisely choosing how to spend their money. And he want to give them the tools to make their own decisions.
I know from my personal experience while being an engineer for advieskeuze.nl that the area of financial advice is a heavily regulated one. The products are way too complex most of the time, the motives of people offering products and services are questionable, and when there is money involved suddenly even the mightiest of mind seems to bow to the wishes of the Mammon.
But I am also a fervent advocate of education. Finances is one of those area’s, where I think that regulating it by introducing advisors attributes to an even bigger downfall in education.
That is why I support his idea. And yes, he is an integer person, I can vote for that. He is a ‘real’ engineer from his childhood, just wanting to explore the options and give an objective overview of what is possible.
I haven’t blogging over my personal game projects for a while. Those who follow me over at twitter can see the long pauses between posts. And if you read about the business opportunities I am exploring, you might to come to think that creating games isn’t my passion anymore. But at the same time gamefeelings.com starts like this:
It is this discrepancy, among others, that the Dutch marketeer ‘Patrick van Gils’ (from TopPresentaties.nl) pointed out and tried to help me make more sense of it.
I learned this during an online training ‘Pitching and Presenting’ that was hosted by Qcredits. A quick insight into Qredits: I have a loan at this company. They provide government backed (EU) funding for starters, and their goal is to help you get a stable company running. To achieve this, they providing free trainings (currently online) and also provide a coaching service.
Back to the subject at hand. I was in this training together with 7 other attendees, and this Patrick held this amazing presentation. Without slides of course. And with a lot of questions involving us, the attendees, but always in control of where to go next. This guy was a living and breathing example of his profession.
His 2.5 hour presentation was already too short to get all his messages across. So me trying to sum this up in a few statements will fall short miles of his (even already limited) attempt. To help you better understand what to do if you want to do this yourself, I will show you the steps that I took myself.
- It is all about introducing yourself efficiently. To do this, he gives you 6 points to work at to get a better introduction. Write it down each step.
- Who am I. (hint: present yourself as an A brand)
- What is it that I do. (hint: get it to 1 or 2 words)
- Who are my buyers. (hint: who do you aim at, 3 activities you do, the thing you solve for them)
- What are my questions. (hint: always ask something)
- What is their response to my service. (hint: pain, medicine, gain)
- How to get the message across. (hint: passionate)
- A thing about introductions. If you are going to take 1 hour of time, give a proportional introduction of 5 minutes. If you are meeting someone for a few minutes, give a proportional introduction of 3 sentences. But ALWAYS reserve some time to introduce yourself. It is needed to establish a trust relationship between humans. It will massively enhance the effect of your talk if people know where you are coming from.
- A thing about presenting online in services like Zoom, Teams and Meets: while speaking look at the CAMERA (not at the screen), position yourself well so that you are near to the camera and your eyes are at 1/3 from the top (2/3 from the bottom), make sure everyone sees the one talking by having them pin the main guy/girl talking, don’t use slides because they will hide yourself and a lot of the message is in the words (if you are doing this right) not in the presentation, ask everyone to have their camera and mic on all the time (so they have to pay attention).
This is what I got:
- Who am I
I am Erik de Roos from Erik de Roos Software. I build good software and give good advice. (His comment on this was: elaborate on ‘good’, choose 2 other words that better describes why it is good. And get ‘game’ in, you need to add this. Even if you are still switching to it, you still need to get jobs in it to get proficient at it.)
- What is it that I do
The trick here is to get more compact. 1 word that makes it clear: programmer. 1 word that makes it attractive: passionate. (His comment on this was: get back to ‘software engineer’ that is a more common word for the services you provide.) So I replied with: I am an expert and passionate software engineer. (His comment was: don’t call yourself expert. But my reply was: I build software professionally for 10 years now. And he was like: ah yeah that is something you should emphasize then. And everyone has the notion of an expert having at least 10 years under their belt.)
- Who are my buyers
I help companies with custom software solutions, I aim at companies that need custom software solutions.
I solve scalability, performance and complexity issues.
(His comment was: that ‘custom’ one is a really really good addition there. It helps in defining your area of expertise, your value, and it will be immediately clear to the customer if you are a fit.)
- What are my questions
This point is more about education me, the business owner, that I need to listen carefully to how people react to my questions. If I ask the right question, the answer of the client will tell more than just the plain answer. It will tell about their frame of thoughts. And this can then be a hook, where you use their frame to ask about how you could be of help. This will massively increase success because you are into their familiarity by using their frame.
A think I could ask to start: how satisfied are you about …? (your software development process, the game ‘age of empires’, etc)
A few things that I could ask at the end of a (sales oriented) conversation: how did this conversation go (we just had)? What appealed to you the most? What do you think of it?
And even if I can’t sell my product to them, I could ask if they know someone that would benefit from my services. And then continue: keep that person in mind, how would he/she benefit from my services?
It is all about the information that is in the reply to a question.
- What is their response to my service
Part 1, the pain: At the companies I work for I see that their software gets more complex without it solving that much more of their problems, and with that adding more functionality becomes even harder.
Part 2, the medicine: That is why I offer to give insights, make the (hard) decisions needed, and actively solve the problem.
Part 3, the gain: Work faster, work smarter, and have happier colleague’s. (His comment: Use -er words here like happier.)
- How to get the message across
In this part Patrick challenged us to get up to the mic and sell ourselves. So this is what I came up with:
Hi I am Erik de Roos from GameFeelings.
Faster, smarter, happier.
Let me explain: I have 10 years of experience as a software engineer. And I see at my clients the recurring issue of their software getting more complex without really solving that more issues. So that is why I offer to give insights, make the decisions needed, and actively work myself at solving the real issues at hand.
Because of this you can work — faster — again, is maintenance — easier –, and are the other employees — happier — with their working environment.
Is there someone in the room here that needs custom software?
(His comment was: that was a really good introduction. It had everything in it. You looked at the camera, talked enthusiastic. One thing you could add to it, is to append to the question: ‘or knows someone’)
My wish for you, my reader, is to be inspired by this and evaluate your own introductions. Even if you aren’t an entrepreneur, you could benefit from this in a normal company environment where you are introduced to someone new. Be honest, be personal, get the needed information over across to get a good impression about you and your services.
So back to the question I proposed earlier: where does this all fit into GameFeelings? Gamedev? Blogs? Am I going full software dev?
I have to change some introduction on gamefeelings.com. That is for sure. It is too much focused on the games itself, rather than the process of building them. The main thing I provide on this website is insights in building (game) software and running a business. This website has become less of a place to promote my own games or talk about them.
But I was, I am and I remain a software engineer. And my main service is to build software. I am switching this to be more into the game development domain, like the games, their back-end network services, their tools, the game development process itself. But both business software dev and game software dev go together if I keep emphasizing my own take at this:
a passionate expert custom (game) software engineer, out to help others get faster, smarter, happier.
With me spending more time on helping others and (re)defining my own strengths and weaknesses, I get idea’s about how to further improve my portfolio of services.
I do need to think about it some more. But I have had thoughts of setting up a fully automated mentoring website or app to get people to build software more easily.
Mentoring is currently available on a personal level and I think that is of so much value that everyone should have access to it. But there aren’t that much mentors to go around, there services aren’t cheap, and there is a high barrier of entry.
The emphasis is on mentoring, because I think the hard part in (software/game) product development isn’t so much about how to learn to code but more about the struggles you face once you need to make decisions. Or when you feel you are getting stuck, demotivated, time plans don’t work out, people seems to ignore you, things like that.
But first I want to finish my other game projects. After I have gathered some more money to pay for them. Hehehe.