Al Del Degan Hosts Darren Machalek
Listen to the episode here: Podcast
[00:00:00] Al Del Degan: Hey everybody. Welcome to the show. my special guest today is Darren Machalek. I mean, there's so much exciting things that have happened with Darren and his life. We go way back actually. so I'm gonna just start out with, hi, Darren. Welcome to the show.
[00:00:12] Darren Machalek: Hi, thanks for having me.
[00:00:14] Al Del Degan: So I know the listeners of the show, they really enjoy. Hearing, people's origin stories,mainly focused I guess, on your, career, but, if you want to add some of your, personal trials and tribulations as well, you're more than welcome to, but can you give us a bit of a run through, how you got to where you are today?
[00:00:32] Darren Machalek: All right. So a little bit of, my background, born and raised in Winnipeg. so great city love that city. when I turned 18, I pretty much packed my bags and moved to Calgary. and again, nothing wrong with that city. Absolutely love it. My family is still all out there. love to go back every year and visit with my family and wonderful city.
But, I went out to Calgary to go to university. And I just wanted to, to start fresh, you know, like when your growing up, you know, through high school and you make your friends and lifelong friends, you almost have this identity thrust upon you. And I saw this as a good opportunity to move to Calgary, start this new chapter in my life and really find out who I wanted to become and create that identity of who I wanted to so I got accepted to both university of Manitoba and, Devry Institute of Technology here in Calgary. And I went, you know what? This is a great opportunity. I'm going to go to Calgary. I'm going to go to Devry. It's an accelerated program. So it's a four year degree in three years, by the way, this is not a plug for Devry, they're not getting any money.
[00:01:37] Al Del Degan: Are they even still around?
[00:01:38] Darren Machalek: They do in the U S they're. They're all online here in Canada, but they're still in the U S. But I got my bachelor of science in computer engineering technology, from the U S so I have an American degree, great hands-on program. And then after I, I left, and graduated Devry I started my first company, which was to make video games.
So me and three other friends started this company and we started working on a role-playing game and submitted our application to Sony. And then we are going to develop games for the PlayStation portable, and then we got rejected by Sony. And you think you're 21 years old, just finished university, your hopes and dreams of creating video games is crushed.
but we didn't, we didn't take it that way. We, we said, you know what? This is kind of cool. We got rejected by Sony. This is a multi-billion dollar company. How cool is that? I still have the email. I still have the email. I, one day I'm going to get it framed. You know, after that we're like, okay, well, I guess we better go get jobs.
[00:02:39] Darren Machalek: So I got a job at an auto parts warehouse just to kinda keep me going. And then one day I saw this company online, never heard of them before DKTek Software Corporation. And I'm like, oh, they're looking for a software developer. So I applied and sure enough, they called me back. I'm literally in the middle of this auto parts warehouse.
I get the phone call. We'd like to come in for an interview. And I'm like, oh my God, I was walking on cloud nine. It didn't matter that I didn't have the job. I just had an interview as a software dev. And I was walking on cloud nine that whole day. And I'm like, okay. Did I even listen to what they said?
Where am I going for this interview? So I go on their website and I see two addresses. And I think you might remember this two addresses and I'm like, oh no, this is a 50 50 chance here. I'm like, okay, I'm going to pick this one. This one seems logical. So show up and I picked, right. And I remember mentioning, I think it was to you and, and this is where we met Al and you're like, well, you passed the first test.
You found the right list of the two. So did my test. And, I guess I, I did well. We did the interview. Did the test. I think I tried to bribe you guys with movie tickets. Cause my girlfriend at the time was looking for a movie at a movie. but nonetheless it paid off and I got my first crack as in the industry.
you know, and I'm, you know, Al you talk about how we know each other and, and the journey. I wouldn't be where I am today. If you guys didn't take a chance on a junior developer with zero experience, I, I would not be here. I would not have the experience. I don't know where my life would have been, had I not had that.
so just, a little, thank you. And I've said that to you many times, but just so your audience knows our relationship.
[00:04:24] Al Del Degan: I want my audience to know how important it is that you can hire junior developers and, you know, create new, career trajectories and change the world. Right? Like, I mean, you're a living example of that and wait until everybody hears the rest of your career trajectory. Cause it's pretty amazing.
[00:04:42] Darren Machalek: Yeah. And I will also say just, just as a, a little call here for DKTek, like not only did I get my first opportunity as a software dev, but I learned a lot of cool things about what a company could be, and we're going to get into my future of my company now, but some fundamental pieces that I'm inspiring to build the culture of my company came from DKTek.
It was, it had that startup vibe. It was laissez-faire right. Like we have work to do. And we were very serious with our clients and our projects, but it was just easy going, you guys, you and, and, and Chris Kelly treated people. Right. You know, it wasn't micromanagy and like it was guys, we have an objective, we had the big project schedule on the wall.
We had a fridge full of Red Bulls and let's do it. And we did it right. We, we did really well in delivering the major projects we had. And for me personally, Like that, that casual, we were serious about the work we do, but we're a team, we're a family. We went out to Banff for our retreats, every Christmas, right?
Like it built a foundation or planted the seed in my mind of what I wanted to build as a company. So going on in my journey. so you guys inspired me in many, in many ways. you know, then after that DKTek shifted focus, and I, I started my second company, which was L 99. inspired by video games cause I'm an avid gamer.
It was Level 99 Software and it was just consulting with you guys for, I think it was about a year, you know, we, we tag team on some projects and did that brief stint. And then in 2008, as we all know, 2008, the market and the housing market and the economy just. No one was hiring contractors. And at the time we were working at a major client and their contracts dried up, but they had a full-time role as a systems analyst.
And they said, do you want to make that transition? So in 2008, December 1st, 2008, I joined this company and worked as a systems analyst and then things rapidly took off. I think a year and a half in, I was then moved into a temporary manager role of corporate systems. So managing the team that does like finance, HR, like managing all of those corporate applications.
then once I moved from that temporary role, like it was a term role. I moved into a manager of systems planning, which,and I'll, I'll share where we worked. We worked at the Calgary Airport Authority. At that time, they started the planning for the new international facility. And my director at the time, Paul Lawrence saw something in me.
[00:07:24] Darren Machalek: And this is another person that took a chance on somebody who had zero management experience. And he said, I liked this guy. I want this guy. And he was tough. He was a tough director, but fair. Right? Like he, he would give you rope, and, and, and let you, and let you go well, but you better deliver on what he asked for.
And I did. I, you know, I think that's the beauty of I, going back to that point, a young manager we're hungry, right? I don't have experience, but I'm hungry to try and achieve and be successful. And, and it worked. And for, I did a brief stint as that manager of systems planning and Paul then moved from IT to a larger portfolio executive director of terminal integration.
He is overseeing that whole big program of taking the existing terminal and the new terminal and making them work together. And he got to pick two people on his team, the moment he started it, and he said, Darren, I want you to be one of these people. And he's like, I want you to be general manager of terminal integration IT.
And I want you to build a team, put the team together because I know we're going to be successful. And I did. This was, I became a general manager, like very short timeframe. I'm now running a multi-million dollar. Like I don't, I'm not talking one, $2 million. I'm talking tens of millions of dollars. And he knew that I'm a nerd when it comes to budget and finance and despite having ADHD, like, and a lot of people see it as detriment.
Now I'll get into where the detriment of ADHD comes in but, hyper-focus is one of our superpowers and budgets, projects, things like that. I get my hyper-focus and he knew this, like, he didn't know how to HD, but he knew he gave me something I could run with. And boom, I was running the entire budget for Paul.
If he trusted me to not just run my IT Piece, but our entire team budget. And that went on up until about, I would say about 2016 when we slated to open the international terminal. And we got an opportunity to work again together on the IFP project, right? You were part of the, the actual IFP core project team and I was on terminal integration.
So another great opportunity to work together. and. We, we opened an international terminal in 2016. Like we delivered on this and, and my role as general manager, was to take the existing terminal, and the new terminal and make them work from an IT aspect. So my project team, we had to gut a lot of the technology systems in the domestic terminal put in brand new project systems or new systems.
IT systems that would work in the international terminal. So like if, if for the audience to give you some examples,if you use the flight information displays or the check-in kiosks, The self bag drops, like everything that you use from an IT aspect. that's what we made sure was well integrated and working successfully.
[00:10:27] Al Del Degan: Ya, and I bet you a lot of people don't realize that, even though each airline has all these different pieces of technology in their own area they're actually just using it. And it's actually put in there and managed by the Calgary Airport Authority itself. So like all the technology in the building with the exception, I think of the U S area, cause they kind of do a bit of their own stuff, in security and stuff, but you still provide all the wires to those locations and probably some of the hardware as well. but yeah, like people don't realize that the Calgary Airport Authority is a pretty massive IT company, and you were basically running that show, which is really cool.
[00:11:03] Darren Machalek: We had a great team. I, you know, I, I thank you for the, you know, I was running the show. We, we couldn't have done it without a fantastic team. Like, you know, I had one project manager, senior project manager, Damien Griffith. For those of you looking for a great project manager, I still recommend him.
we won a project of the year from PMI for our terminal integration. So we had to renumber the whole terminal. If you remember this, the terminal used to go backwards. So from south to north, it would go ABC. Right? And because the, international terminal was built on the south side, we had to flip the whole terminal around and you think, oh, you're just changing gate numbers and letters, but all of the IT systems, your baggage is routed based off of those gates and carousels and labeling electrical designs are all done through that.
[00:11:58] Darren Machalek: We had to flip it and it was a portfolio under our program we were delivering on. And the crazy part about this is we had to do this in one night. We had to flip an entire terminal in three hours because we couldn't disrupt operations.
[00:12:12] Al Del Degan: 24 hours. Right. Airports run 24 hours a day.
[00:12:15] Darren Machalek: Yeah. So Damien and I, and, and the team, I, I, you know, there was a grand team, right?
Like electrical, passenger experience, baggage, everyone. This is a team effort. but Damien and I built the plans. Eight, months of planning on paper for three hours to execute in one night. And I'll tell you this, nobody lost a bag. Nobody got lost in that terminal. Cause we, we did it smoothly and we were rewarded.
PMI recognized us as being project of the year, which was, which was fantastic. so the year of opening 2016, there was a reorg within IT. So I wasn't part of IT. I was part of that terminal integration, but there was a reorg and I was asked to take on another general manager role. But remember, the terminal is not open yet.
I can't leave my job. So they, they gave me a second general manager role to manage and a second team to manage. so now I was general manager of IT operational systems, as well as general manager of terminal integration. so I led that up until we opened in October. I think we opened Halloween, of 2016.
And then once that was done, I moved into my final transformational role, which was general manager of airport systems. So I completed my term, the terminal opened yay success,that we reorg'd the department. And the new role was general manager airport systems, which was. like a solution design engineering team.
So, you know, all those new things we put in on the new international terminal, we, we designed those. So did that for a few years and, and I apologize, very long-winded audience. I'm sorry. I'm still talking about my history 2016 happened. It was great. 2017, was moving along smoothly and that's when, my life hit a big bit of a twist.
So back in 2010, my mom slipped and fell on some ice and she had a traumatic brain injury in which she lost motor function, memory, everything she was hospitalized and couldn't even feed herself. Couldn't remember my dad, it was bad. That was 2010, and she started to recover. like she got motor functions, started getting her memory back.
She had to learn how to write again. Like, and thankfully she got all of her motor function back, but she suffered longterm cognitive damage, brain damage. So, memory short-term memory is, is a challenge for her. So that's in Winnipeg, my mom and dad and Winnipeg. So that happened in 2010 and then 2017, My dad had a heart attack in his sleep at the age of 63 and passed away.
And my mom who can't take care of herself, like she can't cook for herself. She can't like that's, that's how bad her brain damage is. She's fully functioned. Like I can have a great conversation with her, but those fine details. she, she can't do. And her primary caregiver, which was my dad passed away. And my dad worked, at CP Rail for 35, 36 years.
One company, his whole life had a pension, was retired. He just retired. He retired. Yeah. And then passed away and I needed to make a choice and a lot of thoughts. And for those of you that have had a death in the family, you go through this period where you start re-evaluating everything in your life. So I was remotely taken care of my mum, from, from Calgary and she's a Winnipeg and trying the best I could and I had that to manage.
And that was tough. That was so tough. And I said, okay, what am I going to do here? I can't, I can't sustain taking care of my mom and, and have this full intensive career at the airport. And I went, you know what, life's too short. my dad worked for one company for 35 years and I don't think he would ever change that.
You know, he, he loved what he did. He was a machinist at CP Rail and he loved what he did and they took good care of him, but I didn't want that to be me. You know, I was coming up on 10 years at the Calgary Airport Authority and it was, it, it was a great place, great people. it still is a great place and great people.
I still have many friends there. But I'm like, do I want to be 35 years at the Calgary Airport Authority? What, what am I missing? Right. Like I had DKTek, I did contracting, what am I? There's something driving me. And I said, you know, I want to make the video game. I'm a creative person. I want to make video games.
Yeah. I just I'm like, I love writing, you know, you and I did a short film together. I love create creativity, creative aspects. I love being a programmer. I love business. Like I learned so much about business and I'm PMP certified. I love projects. There must be a career out there that does all this.
And sure enough, there is video games, video games you have to wear every single hat and do that. So I went, okay. I'm building a plan. Putting together a plan here. And I started building a plan and I said, you know what? December 1st, 2018 will be my 10 years at the Calgary Airport Authority. That would be a perfect date to leave.
And I put in my notice, I gave them a month's notice. You know, I socialized it first, they knew it was coming and I gave my notice. And December 1st I started my new journey and I started, I converted, an old hobby company, into a game company, my old consulting firm into a game company and I created what is called Metawe.
And you're like Metawe. What, how do you spell that? And why are you saying it funny? And it's M E T A W E. And a lot of people would go Mettawee. Yeah. Mettawee but it comes from a Cree phrase, "pe meta way", meaning to come and play, which is great for a video game company. We want you to come in. but also in just taking those root words, Metawe how do, how what's the new way people connect?
You know, we connect online, we connect to playing games, we connect in a virtual sense in a meta sense really., so we take the "Meta" and the "we" together we're in the Metawe. And for those of you that have heard that Facebook has rebranded to Meta. That's a whole other topic that I'm willing to get into after, after I share close out my history.
So yeah, so 2018, December 1st, 2018, I left a 10 year career and started making video games full time. And that is where I'm at today. Oh, I should also throw, because this is big and I don't want anyone to think that there's any kind of cultural appropriation. Yes, the name Metawe is inspired by the Cree language and I am Meitei, so I I'm a member of the Meitei Nation of Alberta.
I have, my genealogy of, of rich, indigenous heritage, consisting of Cree or Chippewa chip away. And, it's fantastic. It's it's actually part of becoming a member of any, meitei group, you have to show your genealogy. And it's so wonderful to go through there and see my heritage documented of, of all of this richness.
[00:19:17] Darren Machalek: So, yes, the name is inspired by my, my heritage and my proud Meitei, upbringing from my mom. So. And that's where I'm at today.
[00:19:25] Al Del Degan: Well, don't, bury this. You just on LinkedIn, I saw that you just posted something really exciting. Do you want to tell us about that?
[00:19:32] Darren Machalek: Oh, absolutely. So we just became a member of the Canada Council of, Aboriginal Business.
Yeah. So like what, we became a member and we got our certified Aboriginal status. Like they have their own certified. So what they do is they allow, indigenous businesses to register with them. They host conferences, networking events, they provide resources for indigenous businesses to help them grow and set them up for success.
But they also connect non-indigenous businesses with indigenous businesses. To help both. Right? Sometimes non-indigenous businesses are looking to partner up with indigenous businesses and to help them to work together, to further both companies, best interest, right. That, has been, very exciting.
So that is where we just recently joined that, the, yeah, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and we submitted our, our proof of, heritage and the company. They gave us our, our Certified Aboriginal Business status, which is fantastic. I'm so proud of just being able to be recognized from that, like, you know, being Meitei to you and I have my Meitei card and all of that.
it's just nice that my business has also equally or our business is also equally, equally recognized, and you know, it's not, and I just want to clear this up because sometimes there can be some negative stereotypes. You know, having my mate, my matey card and applying for certified Aboriginal business, there's no financial or monetary gains having this.
[00:20:56] Darren Machalek: I don't pay less in taxes. I don't get indigenous discounts. I don't get free education. Just for me, it's a sense of pride, right? Like, you know, somebody's Italian, and they have their Italian heritage. They're proud of their food. They're proud of their music, their wine, their culture.
That's the benefit in itself. And for me being Meitei and, and a, and a member of the Meitei nation of Alberta, it's the exact same thing. Right , of just having that pride in my culture. So, yeah, I was really happy to have that and, you know, the first day of being a member, I actually came across another indigenous game developer here in Canada. Like just literally the first day and we're going to have coffee next week. and it's super exciting and I apologize. I'm going to butcher their name. it's Achimostawinan Games, but I think it's,Achimostawinan . Yeah. So we can, we can, you can probably post a link to their, their game site, but they're out in Ontario and, very exciting.
It's it's like finding a long lost cousin. That you just, and you're like, man, we have so much to talk about. Like, so I'm really looking forward to, to meeting with them for coffee next week. So, yeah.
[00:22:03] Al Del Degan: That's brilliant. So the obvious questions that pop into my head right now are, with it's Mettawee is that, am I saying that right?
Picture it like, if it was spelled M E T A W A Y Metawe
[00:22:15] Al Del Degan: Metawe. Okay. So with, with Metawe, What's it been like since you dove in with both feet? Now, I know, cause I downloaded it. You created a smartphone game for landing aircraft, which is very cool. How was that journey? And then what have you been up to since then? Like how has it been running a video game company now? Cause you had already said that that was like the first thing you did was create a company to create video games and then you went through all. 10 12 years of history. And then now you're back to full circle, back to creating a video game again. So tell us a little bit about that.
[00:22:48] Darren Machalek: It is, for the, all of you aspiring game developers out there,making a video game and making a video game business are two very different things. If you like making video games, That's great.
That's fantastic. Maybe just make video games and release them under your own name. running a video game business is, is like playing a video game on hard mode. You know, like you, you now have to be the creative director. You have to be the project manager. You have to be the producer. You have to be the art director, you so, and that's just oversight and the, and the game designer, then you have to program.
and then on top of that, you have to file taxes and run a business and pay GST, find out how you're going to sell your game. And thankfully, there's good avenues out there like Apple and Google, both have their platforms, right. to download games. so making a game is very different than marketing and selling a game, which is very different than running a game business and just making a game and putting it out there.
[00:23:49] Darren Machalek: It's not going to be successful. I can. I, if you are just a lucky, you just get lucky and somebody stumbles across it. Yeah. Maybe, but, it's, it's very hard without marketing to, to find that out. And, my first game Departure Dash available now on the apple and Google, it's been available for four years now, but, It's, it was one of those labors of love where I took my past history and made it one of those clicky, you know, you're landing aircraft and taking off aircraft.
I thought my first game sales were going to translate into me being self-sufficient and being able to afford making another game. And boy was that eyeopening. I, you know, I pulled together a team. The team was contractors. Like I can't do art. So I had an art team and all of that. And that came from my project management experience.
[00:24:35] Darren Machalek: But, yeah, nowhere did I recoup the costs that it took for my personal time. If I did the math on how much I spent, like personal time on it, I would have made about a dollar an hour, so I could go get a minimum wage job and still make, you know, 15 times more than I would as a game developer. so it really plays hand in hand and that was probably the most eyeopening, but then I made two other mobile games and I'm like, I'm not giving up on this.
That's not me. I don't give up. I just didn't find the right recipe for success. So I launched two more mobile games and this time I said maybe how I'm trying to monetize is wrong. I'm going to give these away for free and put ads in them. And so I made a Ready Jump, which is kid friendly, by the way, if anyone wants to download Ready, Jump, you play as a dinosaur and you jump, you just tap the screen and you jump.
and I check the ad revenue on that, and I went okay. This could be lucrative if I had $50,000 in marketing budget to promote the game, but it just wasn't lucrative. So I'm like, okay, I don't have the, the brand to create a video game that's going to sell at a price. I don't have the marketing budget to promote free games.
[00:25:55] Darren Machalek: So what other options are there? And I said, well, You really didn't want to create mobile free games and casual games. You just did this to get the experience. Let's focus on what you want to do, which is creating full fledged, full big role-playing games. And you want to write story? I want to write dialogue.
I want to create interesting characters and worlds. That's the vision. That's the mission. Of Metawe. That's what I started out to was, like to embrace my roots as a storyteller and to create these immersive, imaginative worlds that players can come in and be like, what's this story about, what's the intrigue, what's this world building.
That's really what I wanted to do. And I said, okay, I have experience now of launching games. I have launched 3, and I'm going to say successful games. Finance does not always mean success, launching a game and having experience can also mean success. And so that's what I've been working on for the past, year and a half now is, my, my current role-playing game.
It's called Project Kenora. Right now, that's its working title. we're currently in the process of trademarking the official name before we go public with it. and we're working with our legal team on that and yeah, it's a full fledged RPG set in space. It's a scifi adventure, with indigenous roots as part of it too. So there's, I'm drawing from that as well. essentially it's, there's a new planet, that earth is starting to reach out to like what earth is expanding out to start to colonize new planets and essentially the earth government, the United Nations said.
Okay. you know, as part of reparations for the land, it Canada in the United States that, you know, was, was taken and, and we're going to give these planets free to indigenous groups and go out and you guys recreate your own societies and your own land under, under the earth government, but you'll still go do that.
And there's this one planet called Odenow, but they get free reign of this planet, but it's overseen by a corporation and the corporation gets one core city and then gets to mine minerals. And that plays into a whole intrigue there of corporations and indigenous land. And, you play as a member of this corporation.
Her name is Kenora. That's why it's called Project Kenora and she is Meitei. Mixed blood she's mixed blood and her whole thing here is she's an agent of this corporation executing the corporations will, but she's going through this struggle of this identity of working for a corporation and trying to get her roots because she's never, she was taken from a young age to work for this corporation, and she's never had that opportunity to embrace her community.
And it's that struggle that she goes through and that's what the player gets to experience. And there's so much more, but that's just the Coles notes of a scifi adventure. there's I mentioned indigenous,inspiration there, you know, people see things like cyber punk, you know, there's games out there.
There's a whole genre of science fiction cyberpunk, and you look at it. And one thing I wanted to do different was you see cyber punk and always in the background you see characters, like all of the signs are either written in like Chinese characters or Japanese characters. And, you know, that was kind of the futurism for cyberpunk of, you know, that fusion, that cultural fusion.
I went, I'm doing something different. I'm going to do all of the characters on all of the buildings, in Cree syllabics. And if you look up Cree syllabics, they look super cool. Like they, it looks scifi and futuristic. And so neat. And so working with my concept artists. And if you go check out on Twitter @Metawegames, a lot of my concept art is up there.
You'll see our buildings have the Cree syllabics on there. and, and that's what I want is those glowing neon lights with, with a language that people, a lot of people wouldn't recognize like, oh, out of the global population, not very many people speak Cree or see Cree syllabics. So I wanted people to be, whoa, what is that?
And then they start researching more. Wow. That's Cree that's really cool. I want to see more. What does that mean? And I want them to go onto the Cree online dictionary, but oh, wow. That means restaurants. That means beer and start getting that cool pop culture piece from the indigenous undertones that are, that are in the game.
And it's just something cool I wanted to play with.
So how far are you into this game now?. so it's, I have a playable. Like you can play it like me. I can play it or a test or can play it and it start the, the first zone. it's an open world, so you can go and do multiple things and there's branching storylines.
so I would say it's a pre-alpha state, but I didn't want to start bringing on contractors and other teammates until I was ready. And so last year I was ready. I'm like, I can't just use dev art or art. I find online a free art online, never steal. I always, I always credit the artists and what, what they did.
but I, I used that temporary art until I was ready. And last year we were ready and we hired four artists to the project team. We have a character concept, artist, a building concept, artist. We have a three character animator and we have a props animator. So I have four, four contractors working right now.
[00:31:22] Darren Machalek: And they're located throughout the globe. Like it is an international team working on this. It is super cool to work with people from other countries on, on this initiative. And this year, 2022, we're what nine days in. I'm going to be expanding the team out to probably about four more. So, I want to bring on board a, and this is going to be targeted.
Certain roles are gonna be targeted. I want to collaborate with some indigenous concept artists to create the clothing of this world. I want to inspire the, the, the fusion of indigenous traditional clothing with SciFi modern clothing and, and basically say, okay, this town looks like this. What would they wear?
And so that's, that's one role, a UX UI designer. I I'm bringing on board, another prop animator and, and another concept artist. So we're really going to be ramping up to four more contractors this year, to, to keep going with the company.
[00:32:18] Al Del Degan: Let's go full circle again. Let me ask you a, Dangerous question. Are you going to be open to hiring junior developers in the future?
[00:32:25] Darren Machalek: 100%? And by the way, it's even these concept artists, I don't need game experience. I need passion, right? So like you can teach people how to program. You can teach people those technical skills, passion, you can't teach passion, you can't teach, you know, ambition.
That's what I look for. Right. You know, I would say that, to the audience, you know, if you're ever looking for talent and you're creating a talent pipeline, hit up SAIT, hit up UofC, hit up your local university and trade schools, hire these junior people, give them slack. Like, they're not going to know, but I'm going to tell you that it's an and yes, they're going to get experienced three to four or five years.
They're probably going to leave you. Yes, they are. That's inevitable. That's inevitable. But. That's the beauty of a pipeline. That's the beauty of this. You can create a wonderful talent pipeline and it's better to have a junior resource for three to five years pumping out great things for your company, then to just have to settle with somebody. Do you know what I mean? Like, it's hard to find that ambition and passion and absolutely, developer roles. I'm the only developer right now. I'm the only writer and developer. and I'm working with, I made a friend, up in Edmonton. he runs a board game shop and their name is very similar.
he runs Pe Metawe, which is the full phrase, of the Cree. and he runs a board game shop in Edmonton. So check them out. If you're up in Edmonton, check out, Pe Metawe Games, awesome company. They do consulting as well, but we made friends, we became friends and we were talking and he's what he's doing is he's creating programs for internships.
he's working with company to help create programs for internships. And he's like, would Metawe wanna hire interns to do like software development testing? All that I said, yes. Let's do it paid, you know, I don't, I don't. And maybe this is just my opinion, not please don't think I'm, I'm, I'm, looking negatively upon anyone for it, for this, but I will always pay internships.
[00:34:23] Darren Machalek: I believe that just because somebody's inexperienced doesn't mean that they don't have value. Right. And, and I, even if it's something small minimum wage, $20 an hour, whatever it may be and just for their, their three months, or four months. It gives them that sense of pride and ownership. I got paid for doing something and it also gives me that sense of I'm not taking an advantage of this person.
I'm getting value and I'm paying them for that value. So we're going to be interns. and my I'm going to only hire like, this is I I'm saying this recorded audio your five, 10 years from now. You're going like Darren, you said this, I got it on audio. I'm only gonna have. Devs out a university.
I'm not going to hire a AAA. you know, somebody in the industry for five, 10 years, and you're gonna be like, why, why wouldn't you want that experience? I absolutely would love that experience. But game dev is a passion industry and I want that passion. I want those junior people to feel that and give them that taste of it.
Maybe they try out game dev for three to three years and they go, I don't like game dev. I want to go work at, you know, a big company. I want to develop APIs. I want to do, I want to develop blockchain. Cool. But at least I gave you that experience to do that and go forth. And then I'll bring in another new junior devs and I'll train them up and set them up for success.
Like you guys did with me, right. At DKTek. You guys took that chance. And as I said, you guys inspired me. I hope to do that. For the next, new software developer, that's coming out of school. I give them 3, 4, 5 years experience and maybe they go create, the new disruptive technology.
And they, they changed the world who knows, maybe they don't, maybe they just get a great career, , get married and have kids, or maybe they just enjoy their life as is. I don't care. I just want to be able to help those people. and so yes, I'm making that commitment. All my devs will be fresh out of university or college or just even an impassioned person that says I've never done game development for it, but this is what I want in my career.
[00:36:28] Al Del Degan: Right on. Well, Darren, I mean, you're, you're a, you're a huge inspiration. you know, I hired you originally back in the day, because I could see that passion just pouring out of you when you were sitting in our office.
And, and I'm so glad I did because, you certainly changed a portion of the world in, in a better way. And I think you're going to go on and continue to do that going forward. So huge pat on the back. And, and, I'm actually proud of you, Darren. I'm inspired and proud at the same time.
So that's. thank you so much for joining us today on the show. I really appreciate it. I'm looking forward to having many more conversations with you and, you know, just thanks so much for being here.
[00:37:08] Darren Machalek: Great. Thank you having me at any time you want me to back, I would be more than happy to talk. You know, me, I'd love to talk so.
[00:37:16] Al Del Degan: Awesome. All right, everybody. Thanks for joining us today. we'll see you next week. Every Tuesday morning at 8:00 AM. We have a new episode, so join us. And if you want to be a guest on the show, reach out to us. And, we're also looking for hosts. It's a community podcast so if you'd like to host an episode of your own, please reach out as well. So take care, everyone. Thanks for listening.