I left a career in Finance to pursue my dream of publishing board games, and we just funded our first Kickstarter! [AMA]
Hi all, this is me, Jasper. I’m the person, the dog is Ginger. She’s the boss though.
I’m here to talk about my experiences escaping the daily grind and dealing with the uncertainty of a career following your creative passion.
I remember waking up at two in the morning in a cold sweat. I crept out of bed trying not disturbing my then fiancé (now wife), tip-toed downstairs to my laptop, to check something on an investment in a company that, if I told you what it does - without first explaining how through various mechanisms, it is actually an important part of the financial machine that ultimately makes it easier for people to afford homes - you might think was unethical.
In the past 5 years I’ve:
- Quit a lucrative but soul draining career in finance
- Written two (and a half) unpublished novels
- Met the love of my life
- Fostered dozens of puppies
… now I’m publishing a board game about squirrels, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s called Nut Hunt, and it’s ~200% funded on Kickstarter!
So…ask me anything!
I spent 13 years in finance. I ate lunch with billionaires, traded hundreds of millions of dollars with a click, and got sucked out on in poker by David Einhorn.
Due to various things that I am not allowed to disclose, I’m limited in the kinds of things I will or may say relating to portions of my career in finance (unless you are the IRS, my attorney, accountant, or spouse). But, I can talk about the career broadly and general impressions about work in non-specific environments.
I walked away Summer 2021.
Leaving finance was the hardest decision of my life. Most people in finance aren’t making millions of dollars. They’re making hundreds of thousands and living well in some of the most expensive cities in the world.
I walked away with a decent nest egg, but not never have to work again type money. I gave up security and a future that promised a second home – to chase a dream – and hopefully bring some joy into the world.
Gaming & The Genesis of Pine Island
I’m a board gamer at heart. I have been my whole life. I climbed to the top of the kindergarten tic-tac-toe rankings, was a powerhouse at Pogs, beat up Zargon dozens of times, and only slightly fudged my character creation roles in DND.
In my mid-20s I re-discovered a love for Magic the Gathering. I played pretty seriously for a while, battling my way through multi-thousand player tournaments and even wrote strategy articles.
Over the years I’ve designed a fair number of board games. Until Nut Hunt, none of them clicked.
In the depths of quarantine (late summer 2020) Nut Hunt was born. Within the first few minutes of playing the game it was obvious that there was something magical about it.
The gameplay is smooth and organic. It’s exciting with a fox that roams the board scattering your squirrels. And, while light and easy to learn, there’s a nice level of strategic depth layered on top of variance.
After months of testing and fine tuning the game, my then fiancé, now wife, Chelsea and I decided to pursue self-publication.
We founded Pine Island Games and brought together an incredible team to bring the game to life - including Christine Santana for graphic design (Wingspan, Scythe, and Tapestry), and Steven Nickel for illustration (Broken Anvil Miniatures, and stevesketches on twitch).
It has been a long journey full of ups, downs, and in-betweens.
It’s been immensely challenging and deeply rewarding.
Our first game is ~200% funded on Kickstarter and going higher! And we are incredibly excited for the future of our young company!!
Chelsea and I volunteer with True North Rescue Mission in New York City. Since a dog tax is customary, here are some of our pups from over the years.
I encourage supporting your local rescues however you can. The pandemic took not only a toll on us, and our way of life, but on our four-legged friends as well.