“Have you heard of design tokens?*” Dan Mall asked.
“Nope,” I replied.
Dan spent a few minutes explaining the concept to me. Teaching complex things in an easy to understand manner is one of Dan's superpowers. If you’ve ever spent more than 10 seconds with him, you have probably experienced this.
I spent the next couple of hours brainstorming with Dan about how Arcade could be successful. Understanding the potential paths to success and empowering people to adventure on them is my superpower, or so I’ve been told.
Next Dan introduced me to Mike Carbone, who reminds me of a young Han Solo but from New Jersey. He’s scrappy, smart, and is always up to more than he lets on. He’s also got that heart of gold quality to him. And when you fly with Mike you’re going to end up on the fastest ship in the galaxy.
On the first call with all three of us, Dan had us talk through what we wanted to achieve together. That was followed by a real conversation about our fears and concerns, both personal and professional. That’s when it got real. We talked about the real time and financial sacrifices this would require. The impact it would have on our families, the challenges we have within our families, and our own personal struggles (depression & anxiety for me as an example). This wasn’t a “side project;” this was going to be a serious attempt at building a sustainable endeavor.
It was a beautiful, but hard conversation. That’s when Dan smiled and said “let’s make new mistakes.” In that moment the heavy emotional solidarity transmogrified into fun, optimism, and momentum. Mike and I laughed out loud and agreed. The pact was made — we had each other’s backs. Let’s do this.
A few months later we have a working prototype, a letter of intent to form a company, and all the chaos that comes from vision to product to revenue to company. We are at the “product” stage of that last phase.
We also have Julia Fernandez, our stellar product design intern! Julia’s appetite for learning, knack for asking great questions, and considerable design skills are definitely a superpower. If you, like me, also said, “Yeah, what’s a design token?” Julia’s got you.
We want to invite all of you (subscribe!) to join us as we make new mistakes. We’ll learn, grow, and succeed together. We’ll have fun along the way. In 2020, I think we can all use a bit more of that.