Short answer: I didn’t. Not entirely. I’ll explain below…
I know, I know. You’re like “but… the title…”. We will get there, I promise.
I had a job that was becoming a career. I had been there for two years and three promotions. Everything was pretty stable, and while the work wasn’t exactly what I loved, my coworkers were awesome and my job wasn’t very difficult. Last August, my friends approached me about joining them to form a company to make a blockchain game, and it sounded like a great idea so we formed Lucky Machines, and started to get to work on Lucky Races.
Originally the project had nothing to do with NFTs, but we started to figure out how to raise money for the company and help fund the development of the game, and we didn’t like the idea of a Kickstarter or GoFundMe (we had little success with these platforms in the past). This was in Autumn of 2021 when the NFT “gold rush” was in full swing. Considering we were making a game specifically for the blockchain, we realized that this was the perfect opportunity to not only fund our project, but give our potential players a deeper investment in it, as well as prove the possibility that NFTs could push the web gaming space forward in a meaningful way.
With this decision came a new set of challenges though. Originally, for me specifically, it was entirely doable to balance a day job, working on the company in the evenings, and sharing quality time with my girlfriend. However, as we developed our 3D art pipeline and the workload grew substantially, my balancing act began to fall apart.
As we were quietly eating dinner together one night, my lovely partner hit me with a one-two combination that left me reeling. She told me that I was tired and cranky all of the time, and that she felt like what little time we spent together wasn’t quality. She was right. Let’s unpack this. We both work, so the window of opportunity for quality time is already only a couple hours per day. At the time, my job had me from 9a-7p 6 days a week. We would come home, have 8p-10p to make and eat dinner, and then she would need to go to sleep because she gets up quite early. After she would retire to the bedroom, I would start my evening shift making 3D models in Maya. This would usually take me well into the 2a-3a hour, then I would quietly slip into bed and get about 5hrs of sleep (if I could turn my brain off, which rarely happened) before having to repeat the cycle. It was burning me out, and all three things were starting to suffer in quality because of that.
An important choice
I had a day job, a company with my best friends, and a loving partner. One had to go. It’s like a dying plant, you trim off the worst of it in hopes that the rest will recover. Obviously I wasn’t about to sacrifice my relationship, and the opportunity with our company was just too big to pass up. So, bye-bye day job. I sat down with my partner one night, we discussed the financial impact of the decision and she did something that proved why I’m so in love with her: she supported me. She said “I trust you. You can do this. We can do this.” The next day I told my bosses that they would have me until the end of the week.
They were startled, but understanding. On my last day they had me meet with the big boss in a last attempt to keep me on, but the decision was already made. It was a great conversation, and there’s no bad feelings between me and them, I just needed to move on to bigger and better things.
“So… you didn’t quit your job to make NFTs?”
Not entirely. I quit my job because the other things I had going on at the time were just more important. Coincidentally the more important things also included making NFTs. These things bring value into my life that the job just couldn’t. I put in 1.5x the hours per day on work now, but somehow have much more time to focus on the parts that really matter.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share a bit of my journey with you all!
-Daniel Dugan Co-Founder, 3D Artist, Game Designer