People said they were looking at me, and I vanished. Not so much – I’ve taken three days out and I’m back now.
I’m pleased that towards the end of last week I was able to make a few points that received some positive reaction ... but it’s no wonder, since I was selling a database, and what D&D-phile does not want another database?
But where I have people asking to be ‘counted in,’ and where we come down to the question of ‘who would be in charge,’ I want to make this most clear: I’m not a candidate for president. I wouldn’t be running for the position. And most of the people here wouldn’t want me.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I would like to build the database (along the very competent suggestions made by Symeon), IF I could find someone who had the necessary technical skills to make it work and to make it accessible. Contrary to Zak’s assertion, I don’t have to be in charge. I’ve worked on a lot of projects with other people in charge – most of them creative – and I am quite capable of working with a team of other people who agreed on a common goal. This is not at all impossible. I have worked on magazines, I have been part of theatre, I have worked in film and it IS possible to gather a large number of contrary people together and produce a final product that is innovative and even astounding.
But ... I am an elitist. I will make things for common, ordinary schlubs, but I won’t work WITH them. Moreover, I have no interest in creating anything in which everyone is entitled to representation. It may have been misunderstood that when I suggested an ‘association of players’ I specifically intended that said association would be highly limited in its representation.
You can’t raise the consciousness of anything by catering to the lowest denominator. Suggested databases would be presented to ‘raise the bar’ and provide a standard which, hopefully, the greater community would wish to emulate. Once that standard was established, membership in the association would be open to all – who measured up. Not by my standards or Zak’s standards, or by any single individual ... but certainly by those who had worked hard on their worlds and who felt they had something to lose by diluting that effort.
So when people talk about an endless list of house rules and hundreds of worlds, they’re really missing the mark. I’m talking about a lot of house rules being thrown in the dustbin, and worlds with them.
And this is why I say, you wouldn’t want me to run this.
Now I have to come back to the subject of money. If I could have it my way, I would fund this entire thing out of pocket. If I could hit on a project that earned me some phenomenal sum (a book made into an ‘A’ film, say), I might do it. That would neatly get rid of the subject all together.
At the moment, however, I’d have to opt for Plan B.
Plan B recognizes that money is necessary for any venture. I have approached people and asked straightforwardly for marvellous sums of money. On one occasion in my life I managed to start a business which succeeded in losing capital for eight different investors ... none of whom, after the fact, blamed me for the failure. I blamed me for the failure. Either way, they declared their losses on their income tax forms and I made a mental note not to put myself in that situation again. It’s more fun borrowing money from the bank.
The bank is out, and investors are out. Option three would be to raise money from the masses, and this specifically I referred to in the last post when I said I had no intention of asking anyone for money. The masses can keep their five dollars for their morning coffee. The very idea of trying to sell any created product to eyeballs for paltry bits of money sounds like a helluva lot more work than it’s worth.
This brings me back to pocket money. People want to know how serious I am. I’ve given it thought over the weekend and I think that I could reasonably commit $500 right now. Which isn’t bad, since I don’t have a thing to spend it on. It’s not enough money to pay a programmer to design anything, but it might buy some substantial bandwidth – if that was the sort of thing needed. I don’t know, I haven’t asked anyone any questions yet. But if you want to know the level of my seriousness, you can measure it from that. Would that I had more money. I find it likely that I will have more money.
If it seems a sad amount to some of you, I tell you right now that I could probably fund a stage play, do rehearsals, advertise and make money on the venture, enough to split seven ways between the cast, myself and the two technicians I’d hire. We’d make enough money to get really drunk on a Friday night. It’s all a question of sensible decision-making.
And if I may continue this digression for another paragraph, I have found that most times, in starting a business, any time you ask for advice you’re going to hear the same four words: “You have to buy ...” This is nonsense. Most anything you have to buy is, right now, sitting in someone’s basement, taking up space that the homeowner would rather have for some other purpose. You only have to show up and haul the thing away.
Finally, to wrap this up, I am the sort of person who believes in the practice of increasing the cost of things in order to keep out the riff-raff. I’ve already said that is my purpose. Here I’ve outlined two specifications.
I said that I was in no hurry, but if anyone wants to take a step forward, I’ll make this offer: If you have a world that you think deserves notoriety, and you are prepared to kick in as much as me ($500), then we can talk. You can keep your money in your pocket (I don’t want it), but if we get enough interest going we’ll arrange to meet in Seattle (how you get there is your business) in about six months. Someone who knows how (perhaps JoetheLawyer) can set up a non-profit and we’ll sign on as partners (after our own lawyers look at it, naturally). We’ll spend a weekend hashing out what we want to accomplish, how to build the site and how to keep it funded. We can elect a president (gawd knows I won’t be running) and establish rules of entry and responsibility.
If that’s not good enough for anyone, then I’m done with this for the time being. I figure, if it falls down, I lose less than a week’s pay. I can live with that.