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Mango_Punch29 karma

The initial inspiration was we were playing ticket to ride, and I wished I could break someone's route. From there a whole slew of mechanics fell into place, and a fox was an excellent disruptive agent. Plus it was quarantine, and I was stir crazy for some woods!

Mango_Punch18 karma

Great questions,

So it was actually somewhat complicated, and I knew for at least 2-3 years that I needed an exit. It was just a matter of time until I found the right outlet. What I didn't want to do is leave a well paying career for a career I also hated.

That's part of why I wrote the novels, I was looking for my something else.

It was honestly a slow build - driven by a lack of passion or feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment in what I was doing.

I wish I could give a specific, and looking back - there were definitely a lot of moments when it wasn't worth the stress and drain, but we took our time before tearing off the bandaid.

When you have to expend a massive amount of mental and emotional energy to do well at your career, you just don't have that energy for other parts of your life. And I slowly realized that was how I was living.


Trick question, chipmunks are squirrels :)

Mango_Punch17 karma

I assumed I would get questions like this, and I think that the economic issues are a lot more complicated than you (and maybe a lot of Reddit) likes to make them seem. In my personal life I support candidates and give to causes that are pro-wealth redistribution. I think we should have a wealth tax and UBI.

As an example, let's get down to the brass tacks of the economics of something like delinquent mortgage servicing.

So, I am assuming this is an area that you aren't familiar with. So I'll explain.

If you have a mortgage, you send your monthly payment to a mortgage servicer. They collect some portion as a "servicing fee" or "servicing strip" and pass the rest on to the ultimate owner of the loan.

If you stop paying, they are also who calls you to try and work things out. If you keep on not paying then the value of that servicing strip goes down. Substantially.

Your regular servicer will often either sell the servicing strip (rights to the now-non-existent stream of payment, and responsibility to service the loan) to a distressed servicer.

Let's put some numbers to it - just as an example. A servicing strip of 0.25% of the loan is worth let's call it 1% of the loan (a 4x), you stop paying and that delinquent strip get's sold for let's say 0.30% of the principal of the loan. So, if we're talking $1,000 of principal, we're talking something that was originally worth $10, now getting sold for $3.

The delinquent servicer has their call center call you, and sends you mailers. Their best case is that you start paying again either the full amount, or at a modified lower rate. If that happens, they sit on the servicing right for a few months, and turn around and sell it for $6 or $7.

But, some people can't pay. So the servicer goes through the process of either REO, or foreclosure or some other process to reclaim value for the loan holders.

Ostensibly, and on a personal level, this is terrible. There is a very real human cost involved.

But let's back up. What would happen if there was no one to service the loan if it went delinquent? If there was no recourse to the borrower? And if mortgages weren't secured by property?

Well, mortgages would be a hell of a lot more expensive. Credit cards are unsecured - but still have recourse and for a lot of people you're looking at high teens rates, versus low single digit mortgages.

So this ecosystem of recourse, and really negative outcomes for some people creates an environment where a lot more people can buy homes.

I think that a lot of our economic system is like this. You can point to extremely negative outcomes for some portion of the population - but it is a tiny sliver of the picture and the rippling impacts. This goes for single family rental, auto, and consumer receivables.

On the other side of the coin, there are huge portions of our financial services sector that people aren't upset about - at least en-mass -that they should be up in arms about. There are dozens of government programs which directly benefit large holders of capital. Special risk share programs, loan programs etc. And people are out bitching about the wrong things.

Let's rewind and go back to the servicing example. For argument's sake, let's say that that was a morally abhorrent industry. How high up would you have to go to start assigning blame? The call center employee? The middle management? Someone in accounting? IT? The portfolio manager? Someone just out of college paying off their student loans?

These are complicated topics. And the vast majority of people in these fields are just trying to live a good life, and do well for themselves and their family in the environment they are in.

I won't argue that there isn't a kind of moral distance that can come about from working in finance. But, I don't think that is unique to that field. Most people in most fields are going to work and performing their tasks and working for that promotion or opportunity, or just existing. Not every employee at Disney is thinking about what their legal team is lobbying for.

I think there are also a lot of broader philosophical questions that are worth thinking about in terms of the structure of our financial services industry, and specifically our government's favoring of specific types of behavior (how much housing have the GSEs actually created, etc). But that isn't really on topic for your question.

To answer your question directly - I don't think I need karmic redemption, or that my story is a redemption ark. That's because I didn't "fuck over poor people" like you're accusing me of doing. That's why in my intro I pointed to the sort of cognitive dissonance between the surface of a problem, and the deeper truth of where it sits in a larger system.

Finance wasn't fulfilling for me, and I ultimately walked away. And part of that is because I believe I am creating more value for myself and the world by publishing board games. But that isn't because I think I was an active participant in making the world worse. I was a piece of a machine that performs a function in society. And that machine creates value in some ways, but is also imperfect.

I do think there's a lot wrong with our economic political system, but your anger is misdirected.

Mango_Punch15 karma

I'll take this in reverse order

'2. I think a lot of great developers are team cat (ehem Jamey Stegmaier), so you are in good company

'1. We did a number of things, but could have done a lot better. The most successful was the organic outreach - tiktok, conventions, and word of mouth. Plus at launch reviewers. What did not do well was our paid advertising. Facebook leads ended up being real underperformers on conversions.

Mango_Punch7 karma

Hahaah, not claymation - stop motion found objects. It's a big money field ;)

And thanks for the kinds words :). Board games is definitely a challenging, but achievable field to be successful in. Plus, it's work that I love.