The Edinburgh Reporter chats with Go Yeti!
Anthony Magrath, a techie-entrepreneur and founder of Nevistech Ltd, an Edinburgh-based technology start-up.
Steven Collier, a graphic artist/illustrator and founder of the WetYeti range of greetings cards. We are working in collaboration to develop games for mobile phones targeted at the family market.
What do you think are your business strengths and weaknesses?
Anthony: As parents with young kids, we understand our market. We were brought up in the video-gaming era, when every one of our friends were obsessed with video games and home computers. I used to write games as a teenager before it was cool to be a geek.
Steven is a prolific artist and has exceptional talent which he has bought to bear in creating some original and fun characters and artwork which feature in the game.
What was the defining moment on your career path that has got you where you are now?
Anthony: A few things inspired me to start a business. Firstly, the explosion of mobile phone usage has created a huge market for Apps and some of the most successful games are similar in complexity to the ones I used to write as a teenager. The cost of entry is also small: it is possible to start a business with not much more than a laptop, some talent and enthusiasm. An inspiring moment was when I visited Thailand last year. Due to the levels of poverty and lack of state welfare, people have no choice but to be entrepreneurs, whether selling shoes in the street or running food-stalls.
Steve: I believe that a defining moment was probably the birth of my first child, when my perspective changed and I re-evaluated what I wanted to do with my time. My spare time and work balance kind of merge together, which I don’t mind as I enjoy both.
Do you think you achieve a good work/life balance?
Anthony: starting a business is very time consuming and starts to envelop your life. I constantly eat, sleep and talk about what I am doing. It has meant that the whole family is involved in the business, like it or not! But since the business is centred on developing family games, we have a captive test-tribe and have been amazed at the inspiration that has come from getting the kids to test the games and think about how they could be improved.
Steve: A lot of my work is done from home so I can be with my family and get them involved in the process. I like to think that I can pass on some of my skills to my kids in a happy and creative environment which my home provides, although the house gets a bit cluttered and chaotic some of the time! I see my family values mirrored in Anthony’s and I hope that we can evoke some of this in our Yeti games.
What makes Edinburgh the best location for you to live and/or work?
Anthony: Edinburgh is an exceptional city to live and work in. Having lived previously in London, I appreciate it’s strong sense of community, the big-village mentality, whilst having the feeling that Edinburgh is on the map internationally. I love the architecture and vistas. I love the proximity to East Lothian beaches.
Steve: After spending time in larger cities like London, Paris and Mexico city, it has made me very aware of the small scale community that we have here which I really enjoy.
Having such far reaching cultural festivals like the fringe gives Edinburgh the feeling that we can be globally connected.
Who are your business heroes?
Anthony: It sounds a cliché, but I have to admire Steve Jobs for his clinical focus and technical ambition. Our daily lives would be different without the inspiration coming from Apple’s technology.
Steve: my wife, who has an innate ability to run her own business, which she has taken from humble beginnings and made very successful. (Ed: awwww!)
What are your business goals for the next year?
Anthony: Right now we are in the process of releasing our first product, a fun family game for the iPhone called Go Yeti! available now on the UK App Store! In the coming months we will focus on promoting the game and extending its reach globally.
At the same time we will start work on the next game. We have many, many projects in the pipeline and more ideas than we know what to do with!
Steve: my goal is to keep my “graphics factory” producing original artwork for Anthony’s wild and wonderful game ideas, which never seem to end. It is going to be an exciting year as lots of ideas are on the table and they all look like winners.
Best job advice you ever received?
Anthony: Find your “white-space” to operate in. People can be great at many things, but focus on what only you can do.
Steve: keep your accounts/books in order!
Go Yeti! is available for the iPhone on the Appstore.