Some of you may recall that I was going on an extended sabbatical after War of Magic shipped.
I still remain active online but as I detailed on Freakonomics, the long hours over many years had taken their toll and I was going to diversify what I spent my days doing. What started out as a sabbatical after War of Magic evolved for the reasons I outlined on the podcast into a semi-retirement.
My libertarian friends have called it "Going Galt". But that's really not an accurate way to put it. I'm not striking or taking my ball and going home.
What I did was take the approach with Stardock that had been taken with Neowin.net (we are a co-owner of that site). Which was to be hands-off. I'd stay involved in smaller ways (write computer AI, help with web design, transfer skills).
On the games side, Derek Paxton took over Stardock Entertainment. His experience making Fall from Heaven (the Civ IV mod that is) and his business experience at Novell has really helped transform the games side into producing much better quality games than we previously were capable of doing.
On the software side, Jamie McGuffie, former VP of Compuware joined us and has really improved the way software gets made here. We make a lot fewer things but we make them a lot better.
It took over a year to make that transition but for the past year, it's been a different world for my family, myself, and the companies I participate in.
But stepping back isn't "going Galt". I'm still the CEO of Stardock, for example. It's just that my primary sources of income no longer come from these entities.
Instead, the new team has the vested interest in the company's performance. My role is to play it forward. Transfer skills and help people achieve what their individual goals might be.
By contrast, Going Galt is a reference to the book Atlas Shrugged where the "movers and shakers" went on strike in response to a society that increasingly believed the individual should be sacrificed for the collective.
I don't buy into that philosophy. I just find that such beliefs are too simplistic for this age. At some point, people's priorities change. What matters to them changes. I wonder how Rand's writings would have been if she had had children, for instance.
The problem with wealth is diminishing returns. At some point, it stops making much of a difference in your day to day life. And my point in saying that is that in John Galt's world, there were no diminishing returns. Industrial accomplishment and wealth were infinite drivers. But they're not.