Hello. I'm João Vítor de Souza and I'm from Brazil. I've been working in the games industry for more than 13 years.
I started developing games for fun when I was 15 years old. In order to improve my skills, I started college for Digital Games (like Computer Science, but focusing on games). During that period, I worked in a gaming startup and later in a digital agency. Both experiences allowed me to publish more than 20 games on the web.
After graduating, I started my own gaming startup in 2012: Cupcake Entertainment. I gathered a small team of talented developers and, designers, and we started working on our first game. We had a lot of sleepless nights, long working hours, and countless meetings, but we all knew that we were creating something special.
After two years of hard work, and no success whatsoever, I realized that I needed to cut costs to keep our business sustainable. That's when I decided to move our company to remote work. It was a tough decision, as I had always imagined having a physical office and a team working together in the same space. But I knew that we needed to save money, and remote work seemed like the best solution.
At first, it was challenging to adjust to the new way of working. We had to set up new communication channels, establish clear workflows, and find ways to collaborate effectively. But, with time, we learned how to make it work. We started to use different tools and software to facilitate communication and project management, and we became more efficient than ever.
I continued to seek out new opportunities to expand my knowledge and skills. I was selected to participate in startup programs like Startup Chile (2014), and Game Founders in Malaysia (2015) with the goal of helping my own gaming company grow and succeed.
I spent seven months in Chile, working alongside other entrepreneurs and mentors to learn more about business strategy, product development, and marketing. It was a challenging yet rewarding experience, and I came away with new ideas and insights that would help my gaming company thrive.
After my time in Chile, I joined a startup program in Malaysia, where I learned even more about the global gaming industry and connected with other entrepreneurs from around the world. It was a transformative experience, and it gave me the skills and confidence I needed to take my company to the next level.
Of course, managing my team from different time zones was not without its challenges. I had to be extra organized and communicative to ensure that everyone was on the same page, and I had to be flexible with my schedule to accommodate different time zones. But, with a little bit of patience and perseverance, we were able to make it work.
In 2017 I raised US$1 million. My gaming company grew a lot, thanks in part to the lessons I learned during my travels and startup programs. I am grateful for the experiences that have brought me to where I am today, and I look forward to continuing to grow and learn as an entrepreneur.
In 2018 I was also selected to join the Scale-Up Endeavor which gathered the Brazilian companies that were growing the most. It was an honor to be part of that group of entrepreneurs.
As we continued to grow, many people told me that I would eventually need to set up an office. They said that it would be difficult to manage a team spread out across different locations and that we needed to have everyone in the same space to be productive. But I believed in our remote work setup, and I knew that it was possible to build a successful company without a physical office.
I had a team of 13 people spread out across Brazil and Germany, and we continue to create amazing games that entertain millions of people around the world. We have found that remote work not only saves us money but also allows us to attract talent from different parts of the world and foster a diverse and inclusive work environment.
However, the pressure and stress of managing a growing gaming company took a toll on my mental health. I was experiencing burnout, and I knew that I needed to take a break to regain my energy and passion for the industry.
That's when I made the difficult decision to step down from my role as CEO and leave the company after 8 years. It was a bittersweet moment, as I had poured so much of my heart and soul into building the business, but I knew that it was the best decision for my well-being.
To help me find clarity and purpose, I decided to embark on a journey of self-discovery and exploration. I began traveling around the world, visiting countries like the USA, Peru, Paraguay, Austria, Slovakia, and different states in Brazil. I immersed myself in different cultures, met new people, and tried new experiences.
During my travels, I found myself naturally gravitating towards helping other companies with their own entrepreneurial journeys. I became a mentor, sharing my expertise in leadership, product development, and business strategy. It was fulfilling to see others succeed and thrive under my guidance, and it helped me rediscover my passion for entrepreneurship.
Eventually, I realized that my travels had given me a new perspective on the gaming industry, and I decided to start my own consulting business. I offered my services to gaming companies all over the world, helping them create better products, streamline their operations, and build stronger teams. It was a challenging yet rewarding experience, and it allowed me to combine my love for gaming with my expertise in business.
After two years of running my own consulting business, I was approached by a gaming company that was looking for someone to lead a new initiative focused on developing new games. Excited by the opportunity to take on a new challenge, I accepted the position and quickly got to work.
The team that I led was based in three different countries: Brazil, Mexico, and Portugal. Thankfully, my experience managing teams across different time zones and cultures came in handy. I knew how to navigate the challenges of communication and collaboration, and I was able to help the team work together effectively and efficiently.
During my 18 months with this new company, I continued to travel, visiting countries like Colombia, Argentina, Uruguay, and Canada. It was important to me to continue exploring new cultures and learning about different ways of life, and I found that my experiences abroad only enhanced my leadership skills.
Of course, juggling work and travel was not always easy. I had to be extremely organized and efficient with my time, carefully scheduling my work around my travel plans. But, with a little bit of planning and determination, I was able to make it work.
I am proud of the work that I did with this new gaming company, and I continue to be grateful for the experiences that I gained along the way. Whether I am leading a team or exploring a new country, I know that my experiences have prepared me for whatever challenges may come my way in the future.
Looking back, I'm glad that I made the decision to move to remote work. It was a challenge at first, but it taught me valuable lessons about leadership, teamwork, and adaptability. I believe that our success is a testament to the power of remote work and the endless possibilities it offers to businesses of all sizes.
Leaving my own company was hard but it was one of the best decisions I ever made. It allowed me to explore new horizons, gain valuable experience, and help others in the process. Today, I am proud to be a successful entrepreneur and consultant, and I continue to seek new challenges and adventures along the way.
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