Found this tidbit from Fleen. Penny Arcade’s business man, Robert Khoo, answered a few questions from the reddit community about the business of Penny Arcade. You can almost hear the joy in his answers. It’s clear that he loves what he does. The one answer that really stood out for me was this:

And this may seem weird to everyone… but I don’t actually care about money all that much. Money isn’t a terribly interesting motivator for me – it’s a high score mechanism, but I see PA as a business simulator. It’s about tweaking inputs and maximizing output… some of that is revenue, sure, but there’s all sort of other parts to it. Customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, etc… So as appropriate as it is, seeing the whole thing as a game has probably helped me do this for… 10 years now? lord.

The fact that money isn’t really a factor in the business that Khoo has built and the fact that he mentions employee satisfaction in the same breath as customer satisfaction says quite a lot. I think if more businesses focused on their employees, corporate culture would be far less oppressively pedantic.

I think there are a lot of things that corporations can learn from what Khoo has done. Sure, Penny Arcade is a special case in many respects. But the underlying concepts behind what he’s built are ideas that can be adapted to businesses big and small.

Also, working like an insane man doesn’t hurt either:

Depending on if I swim in the morning, I am in the office at either 8:30 or 9:00 AM. I’ve already answered between 20-30 emails before I’ve left for the office, but by the time I get to the office I probably have another dozen or so that need attending to. (for reference, I get between 150-250 actionable emails a day)

From there it’s very liquid. I’ll be on conference calls, meetings with different teams at Penny Arcade (Mike/Jerry, Designers, Merch, Ad guys, Tech, Child’s Play, PAX, etc.), and then dealing with my own projects. Like I said in an earlier answer, I deal with a lot of the “new” and undefined business, so each and every day is different.

I’ll try to grab dinner with different folks here (at any time of the year, SOME PART of Penny Arcade is in crunch mode… PAX events, site launches, CP events, merch launches, etc… people work late), and continue to work into the night.

If there’s a game I’m playing actively with the office, I’ll hop onto one of the TVs here to play between 9-10PM… that seems to be the magic hour for most folks here when we’re playing on Live.

I’m usually out of here between midnight and 2 am.


  • Anonymous

    So they have an office, see, and they let the workers play xbox live while they’re there, see, and–and they’re still “in crunch time” and “working”, though, see, only they work harder, see, because they can have fun on the job and–oh, bollocks, the economy is ****ed.