What differentiate your company from others?
It's a hard one to answer, when we hire some people, we try to hire people that can fit with the other employees so we can have a big family by then end. So far, we’ve been good at it and it’s always fun to work at 3Mind. Everyone can give their opinion on the project and we can sit all together and change some aspect of the game if it has been approved by the managers. And because of the Covid-19 situation, even when the pandemic will be gone, we’re thinking to work 2 days home and 3 at the office.
What are the qualities to be a good owner?
- You absolutely need to listen to your employees and be able to wear more than one hat. I’ve been doing administration, finance (paid, compatibility, etc), Design, Integration in the game Engine, QA, Producer, Marketing, Getting some funds / loan, pitching to investors and game publishers.
- And you should never let go, even if it’s very hard, because having a company is never easy, don’t let it go !
- Perseverance and Patience
Where do you see your company in 5 years from now?
Tripling the company size, we will have 2 games on the market and we will continue to make awesome games and attract publishers and gamers all around the world.
"I always wanted to be my own boss, I’ve been thinking about it since I’m a teenager"
Why did you start a company?
I always wanted to be my own boss, I’ve been thinking about it since i’m a teenager, I’m 43 years old right now and for people around my age should know about the era “before the internet that we know now” the BBS (bulletin board system), at the age of 8 years old I was the owner of one the biggest BBS in the 450. So, I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and the gaming industry it’s something that I know a lot about and I love games, having been playing since Atari.
Talk to me about your installations?
We’re located on Saint Laurent Street, near Duluth, good place and good view from our office, there are plenty of restaurants as well. We have a super meeting room, big tv’s, we have a big server installation and the materials for the employees are following the curve. We are waiting for the new Nvidia Cards to upgrade our pc’s.
How many hours do you work per week?
At the beginning, I would say 60 to 80 hours per week, I was always thinking on how to succeed as an entrepreneur, what I should do and how, it was a lot of paperwork at the start (business plan, investors pitch, CMF application, etc.) Now that we have a strong company, I do normal hours per week but I always have my phone and emails near me.
How many years did it take you to build a solid foundation?
It tooks us almost 4-5 years to finally have a strong structure.
What motivates you to wake up every morning?
○ Having my own business motivates me a lot, we worked so hard to have this opportunity and we don’t want to fail. ○ Also, speaking with the team, seeing them motivated as I am and seeing the advancement of the project each day, it’s something indescribable.
How would you describe your management style?
I try to be there for every employee, I treat them with respect and listen to them. I want them to be part of the company and not feeling that they are only pawns.
What is your expertise?
We are expert at developing good quality games, asset’s and finding good partners to achieve those milestones. We are also experts with the Unreal Engine. We love designing narrative games, and building documents for investors.
Describe one of your days?
- As one of the owners, I first read all my emails in my bed (I just woke up, 5-6 am)
- Go in the shower to wake me up, eat breakfast, kiss my kids before they go to school and then go back in my man hood (my basement, where I have my work computer, big tv’s and all the consoles to game) pandemic .
- Since I’m wearing a lot of hat, I prepare my day, I have all the tabs on my main browser, since we’re working on Google Drive, all my follow up documents are already open (I never closed them) and I take a look at each of them and see where the team is.
- At 10am is our daily scrum meeting, where I need to know where everybody is actually at. And follow up of their task for the day / week.
- After that, I can do many things, Admin, QA, I play a lot of our game and give feedback to the team and I also enter bugs into our Jira database. And answering some phone calls during the day regarding the company, etc. I finish my day around 5-6 but usually answer other emails all night long.
`` You need to build a fanbase, try to spread your company in every social media not too often because you don’t want to annoy people ``
What’s your best advice for someone who wants to start their own company?
Try to find a partner or two as motivated as you, this will be the key to succeed and be able to start a business. You can get motivation from each other, alone can be harder, because you have no one to kick your butt if you don’t feel like moving on. And try to find people that can form a team right at the beginning (someone who can do all the Admin stuff, an Artist, a programmer and a Designer could be a good start.) And then try to apply for the CMF (Canadian Media Funds), it’s the best funding program out there. If you want some cue about this program, I can help, we received a lot of help at the beginning and I want to give it back.
What do you think is the most complicated when setting up a company?
At first, I’m assuming that you don’t have any experience with a company, so you don’t know where to start. I’ve been there, I struggled a lot, especially to find some funds to start the company and have your first office and employees. Not having any background or experience to show to the investors will be hard, very hard. But try, this will give you your first experience and the people you pitch to, could give you good information for your next steps. ○ So what’s the most complicated thing, it’s obviously finding funds, once you have your funds the next more challenging thing will be to find a good partner (if you don’t have one yet) and find key employees that will bring your company to another level and they have to be faithful to you, so treat them well.
How did you get funded? How did you find your business partners?
I found my business partner back in 2008-2009, we worked together at Ubisoft (me from 1997 to 2008 and him to 2000-2006), I came back from 1 year of sabbatical from Mexico, where I helped an indie studio overthere, so I came back in Canada in 2009 with an business idea, tell him the idea and he immediately accepted and since then we are partners. We did some services for others to get some bread on the table but it’s really when we got accepted by the CMF in late 2016 that the company really started and never stops since then.
What’s the biggest challenge when working with your partners?
The biggest challenge is when we don’t have the same vision on something, it rarely happens but when it does, we need to argue and give strong information on why we should go that way, etc. 99% of time we finish with the same ideas, modified with the other vision, but it only gets the initial idea stronger.
How do you promote your company?
This is hard, you need to build a fanbase, try to spread your company in every social media not too often because you don’t want to annoy people. And if you find a publisher for your game, he will do most of the job. But again, finding a good publisher is not easy as it sounds.
What inspires you the most?
Studios that started small and now they are a reference in the Montreal / Quebec area. (Beenox, Behavior, Ludia, Frima) and some other indies studios that have purchased by major studio (Compulsion with Microsoft, Typhoon with Google Stadia, Tuque with Wizard of the Cost, etc.)
You’re working on your own IP, how did it start? Where did you get the inspiration for your idea?
Actually our first game which will be released soon (I can’t say the dates as we speak, we’re waiting for a confirmation from our publisher) the idea started with a bunch of internships (Rookie Division) back in 2015. The game was put on hold until we decided to submit this idea to the CMF (Canada Media Funds) and it was accepted in 2016, we received the funds and started the production. This project has been a rollercoaster but we finally did it and the game will be released soon, finally!
What would be your suggestion to artists who want to work for your company?
Show us a strong portfolio, only add your best shots and the software you used for your props, etc.
What’s your suggestions to students who want to break up in the industry?
At 3Mind we have the “Rookie Division”. We welcome any students that need an internship to have their diploma, I never did the count, be we had approximately more than 100 internships since we started that division. And many of them now work in the industry, I would like to give a % but I can’t, I’m assuming that most of them have successfully found a job in the industry, so, never let go and persevere and you will work in the industry.
What do you think is lacking in this field in general?
As an indie, it is very difficult to hire good ressources with experience, having all the major studios in the gaming industry in Montreal, it is very hard to try to convince someone from a bigger studio to come work with us. So I’ll say, hiring good ressources is a lack in this field.
How would you describe the industry today?
It’s very hard for an indie like us to overtake the masses, there are tons of good games going on steam / epic everydays and if you want to make some sales, you need to be at least in the top 5-10. I won’t say the industry is over saturated, but you need to stand out of the crowd to make some sales. By having an original game and having a good publisher.