Reply To: New interview with Scott Murphy!

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Gillett, Alistair, 2006-11-10 20:45:08

My thoughts: ….Ken Williams became greedier and less quality focused as Sierra got wealthier, people often didn’t get credit for work they did.. and more …
– Alistair

I read Scott’s interview, and didn’t get the perception he was complaining about me. Maybe I should have read closer.

Scott mentions in his interview being there until a couple of months before the day when most of the Oakhurst location was shut down. That’s two years after I left Sierra, and five years after I left Oakhurst. My interpretation of his interview was that he was complaining about the management that came in after I left. Maybe I misinterpreted his comments and should have been offended — which I wouldn’t have been one way or the other. Management is not a popularity contest, and anyone who thinks it is doesn’t understand how hard it can be to run a profitable organization in a tough industry.

My recollections of Scott are 100% positive, and I always rated Space Quest as one of my favorite series of all time. It’s disappointing the new Sierra hasn’t done anything to keep the series going. Reading Scott’s interview reminded me of how sharp his witt is. I have no idea what he is doing these days, but hope that professional writing is in his future. He is a very gifted guy.

As to me becoming “greedier and less quality focused as Sierra got wealthier, and taking away credit for work” .. I was very removed from the issue of who received credit on the games. I don’t remember how this was decided, but our policy was to be inclusive, not exclusive. I don’t remember a single conversation where someone in project management felt an employee belonged in the credits for a game, and I or anyone else fought to keep them off. Why would we want to do this? As to me becoming greedier: I would encourage anyone who believes it is easy to run a profitable software company to give it a try. Sierra, under my management, had a very disaplined approach to how we allocated funds to projects. Budgets depended on marketing and sales estimates, and were guided by prior success of the author and the division. We had a brand management group who built the forecasts for products, and these revenue forecasts determined the product development and marketing budgets for our products. We had very rigid formulas by which we were able to grow the company, and deliver solid results, in a very tough industry. I’m very proud of what we accomplished, both from a product and a financial perspective. 

-Ken W