The Decision: A Risk for Creative Art

“Jonathan, working full-time here means you cannot work on any of your side projects. You can no longer uber, you can no longer do YouTube, you can no longer work on anything else but PlayTable.”

I sat there listening to my friend’s words and my heart sank. I’ve known him since 2009, been working with him on many projects since 2011, and since late 2014, started the journey of working on this new project that led me from LA to the Bay Area. This current project is called, PlayTable.xyz. It’s an all-in-one board game console, which can play every single board & card game in the world: we’re creating the soul for board & card games everywhere.

“As a friend, I understand your situation. But, as the CEO of this company I need you here all the time.” I replied asking if I could get one day off to work on my side projects. “No. Jonathan, we’re crowdsourcing in 5 months. I need you here.”

He gave me a weekend to think about my decision. I sent him an e-mail last Monday and apologized. Yes, I decided to not work with PlayTable in the capacity expected of me, and I’ll tell you why I made the decision…

Why I Love PlayTable.XYZ

Before I tell you why I made the decision, I want to tell you why I LOVE PlayTable. I’m in love with PlayTable because of the people who work at the company. These individuals are awkward, witty, really smart, and people who have made my cheeks cramp-up due to unbounded laughter.  They are my friends, some of my best friends, friends who are easy to work with, and friends who tolerate & accept my manic – awkward – obnoxious behavior: I have nothing but love to give, and I receive nothing but love from them.

In addition, PlayTable isn’t a luxury app, it’s a hardware company pushing to make a strong legacy in the gaming world. It isn’t being created for money (unlike other startup “apps”). It’s being created to become the soul for all games everywhere.

Therefore, the concept plus the crew is a reason why I’ve stuck with PlayTable for near to nothing at all. Yes, I’ve been paid less than any minimum wage job in San Francisco to work with them: it’s a true startup. However, though money could be considered why I couldn’t make the jump “full-time” – it isn’t the reason at all.

Side Project #1: Uber / Lyft

I’ve been able to scantily make by through Uber / Lyft. Before & after work I’ll drive passengers around the Bay Area. It’s humbling and therapeutic. I’m a social being who needs human interaction to live. When I’m feeling sad, lost, or brain dead… I go out and drive. It is the hope that a random passenger will start talking and we’ll begin a fruitful conversation: learning about others, sympathizing with others, and hearing the laughter / concerns / opinions from others energizes every manic cell in my body.

[Don’t worry – I’m not a driver who talks when the passengers wants silence. I patiently wait and give everyone their space. However, 1 out of 10 passengers usually ignite a conversation and things get going].

This is something, no matter how much money I’ll make, I’ll ever stop doing. Unlike other opportunities I could participate (volunteering)… this is a project that doesn’t box me into a schedule. Currently, my life is a little too hectic to schedule every activity I have.

[However, once my life is consistent. I cannot wait to get back into youth organizing & mentorship].

Side Project #2: Videos

Late last year I was requested to make a video for The Chainsmokers. It was an opportunity I will never forget and since then, brands have been requesting me to help with their projects. Through networking, I’m finally able to see projects lining up! I think if I push hard enough I could fill my summer schedule with even more!

In the long term, I want to start by becoming a videographer, then a video commercialist, then a filmmaker. This year, these next moments, is all about building up my portfolio. I’m practicing. I can’t stop, won’t stop.

Again, projects are slowly piling up. Though, the money isn’t quite there, at least I know the direction to where I should be headed.

Side Project #3: Random Growth Hacking Activities

I’m an admin for a couple of Facebook Pages & soon to be more! We’re reaching over 70 million people a week with these pages.

[I know the humor / posts of these pagers caters to young tweens, but it’s actually really enthralling work. Again, the pay isn’t good because Facebook hasn’t started monetizing their videos & also because I’m not the original owner(s) of the page(s). Yes, like everything I do, it’s been sticky on the business end: let’s face it – I’m not a businessman… I’m a creative].

Also, other random growth hacking activities pit PlayTable & I in a tough position because I always venture off to participate off the wall activities. Here is an example of what I recently did: 2 Hugs Try to Break The World Record for The Longest Hug. 

I’m a creative who has tons of ideas. Here is an example:

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the artist you created the renowned play called Hamilton, was asked by a high school student if he ever wanted to give up from writing Hamilton (because it took him 6 years to write the play). He responded with:

“All the time. All the time but then you push through it. You push through it because what’s the alternative? You leave that idea stuck in your head forever?!? That sucks! The alternative is you go through life and you had this great idea and nothing came of it because you got tired. Makes your ideas happen.”

As stated above, this is the philosophy I live by: make your ideas a reality. Talk is talk and I wouldn’t respect myself in the morning if all I did was “talk” about my ideas and do nothing about them. It would be hard to work at PlayTable and NOT pursue the ideas floating in my head.

In Conclusion

The aforementioned information above is  why I’m unable to work full-time with PlayTable. Again, I would, if they would allow me to work on my side projects. It hurts a little bit because I know PlayTable will be big in the gaming community (if they market it correctly). But, I can’t push these side projects away or I’ll get depressed.

Thanks for listening.
Philz Coffee Shop – Daly City
8:14 AM

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  • Kirsten

    Hi Jonathan,

    This is random, I
    know, but I just want you to know that I’m happy you posted your
    Guacamole video. I enjoy reading your blog whenever I get the chance,
    and had read about your struggles with this project. Though it might not
    have been exactly what you had envisioned, I just want to say that I’m
    glad you still went ahead with it. (Not that my opinion really matters –
    I’m just a reader and admirer of your work.)

    Anyhow, before I overthink this and make myself sound even more awkward, I’ll just press send now.

    Cheers,
    Kirsten

    ps.
    I would’ve sent this via email, but it didn’t go through. (Okay, really pressing send now.)

    • Thank you Kirsten. This comment really helps at this time. I actually included you in my latest post: http://www.gaurano.com/keep-pushing-forward-dealing-with-struggles/ Anyway, I hope life treats you well & you have a wonderful rest of the week. I’ll see you here or elsewhere! Thank you again. 😀

      • Kirsten San Juan

        Of course! Anytime! I’m glad it helped and I hope you have a great rest of the week, too 🙂