TrafficDito Interviews: The Filipino iOS Game Developer Behind Streetfood Tycoon
We’ve been following Streetfood Tycoon ever since we discovered it from Janette Toral of DigitalFilipino. From that day, we’ve seen it get featured on several blogs, written about in newspapers and even featured on TV shows. Whoever says SF Tycoon isn’t a success is (pea)nuts.
What’s cooler than media attention? Downloads! And Streetfood Tycoon now has 320,000 of them! That isht be cray yo. At one point, it was also the #1 strategy game, the #1 family game, and #3 on the overall app store ranking for the Philippines. And this game was created by a Filipino.
Of course, the next question we had was, “Which startup or company is behind this?”
KuyiMobile (yes, that’s the answer just in case you also have the same question) is a name some of us have become familiar with especially with SF Tycoon’s popularity. What really blew us away was this: did you know that it’s basically a one-man team?
A true entrepreneur, Erick Garayblas founded KuyiMobile 3 years ago.
He keeps a blog for curious people like us if you want to learn more about his game developing adventures. BUT, if you want to know how a day in the life of an independent Filipino game developer goes or what his “theme song” is, read on.
For Philippine startups and all you budding entrepreneurs, this interview is for you!
1. How does your typical day look like? Can you walk us through a day in the life of Mr. Erick Garayblas?
My typical day starts at 10am. Brunch for 15 minutes before I turn on my computer and start work. I work in front of the computer at 2 hour intervals and take 1 hour breaks in between to save my back and eyes. My breaks are usually spent jotting down notes or sketching ideas—which translates to work too. I take a break at around 3pm either to take a nap (Team Batugan FTW!) or chat/spend quality time with my 2 lovely girls—my wife and daughter. I resume work around 8pm and work until the wee hours of the morning (1-2am). I make sure that weekends are spent w/ family though sometimes I cheat.
2. Before launching your apps, do you set goals for things like number of downloads? Did you have something like this for SF Tycoon?
I usually set a goal for number of downloads when it comes to paid apps. For Streetfood Tycoon though, it was my first free-to-play game that took advantage of IAP so I honestly have no idea. To quote Manny Pacquiao: Now I know. :)
3. What was the most difficult part in building SF Tycoon? Why?
The most difficult part was the last 10% (or last few weeks). I guess everybody feels the same way when finishing a project—the last part is usually the hardest and takes the longest to accomplish. A lot of small issues come up, you get burned out, suddenly life becomes redundant, you get too excited and just want to get it out the door.
4. Can you share with us the most inspiring comment you’ve received from a player?
There have been a lot of inspiring comments/reviews for Streetfood Tycoon and I honestly can’t single out any but I would like to note that the support I received especially from our kababayans have been so overwhelming. THANK YOU SO MUCH! :)
5. If you were to name the top 3 things Filipino game developers should have to succeed, what would they be?
Creativity, determination and patience. One needs to have a creative mind in order to come up with the most wicked ideas. Determination will make sure you finish what you started and patience is required in order to overcome the biggest obstacles.
6. Aside from Kuyi Mobile, are there other app developers or teams (even in non-game categories) here in the Philippines that we should look out for?
7. What are your thoughts on work-life balance?
Funny you mentioned this. Since last year, I set out to have one ultimate goal—to have 4-hour workweeks, as inspired by Timothry Ferriss’ book. Not that I don’t enjoy what I do but I would love to do other non-computer-related stuff in the future as well. I would love to get back to comics illustration, sports, giving summer art classes to kids and hopefully make my own children’s book someday as well as find more time to cook. Yes, cook.
8. Do you have someone who you look up to? Who is s/he? Why?
None in particular. There are companies that inspire me though—Apple, Valve, Twitter and small (but successful) indie teams like Imangi Studios (Temple Run), Lima Sky (Doodle Jump), Nimblebit (Tiny Tower) and Rovio (Angry Birds). If you look up the stories of these guys, it’s just amazing and truly inspiring.
9. What’s next for KuyiMobile? Are we seeing even more addicting games in the coming months?
Definitely more games. I can see myself doing this until my eyes can’t read anymore or my hands are too old to type. I’m currently working on improving an old game of mine called “Jump Rope”, a huge update for Streetfood Tycoon (for all the avid players!), the Android port, and I plan to move to a new game right after, hopefully by August. I’m also planning to work on my first non-game app, if my schedule allows it.
10. On a lighter note, if a song were to play when you enter a room, what would it be?
Staying Alive by the Bee Gees. This is also my ringtone. :P
Streetfood Tycoon is Erick’s 8th app in the 3 years since KuyiMobile so really (and I don’t want to be Captain Obvious here), success doesn’t happen overnight. His 8th product might be your 10th, 23rd, or for us… maybe 2nd? HA! Now that would be THE dream. If Erick was able to do it, why can’t we all?
Now for those still wondering what Streetfood Tycoon is, (first of all, where have you been?) it’s an addicting iPhone game based on the very Filipino concept of owning a street food cart and selling (no surprise here) street food items like kwek-kwek, fishballs and french fries. AppsManila wrote a good review on it that you can check out.
I hope you had fun reading his answers! Do you know of any other local entrepreneurs we can bug?