We welcomed an inspiring guest, Harry Holmwood, Co-founder of Magicave, a company transforming the way we interact with virtual toys, games, and hobbies. Known for his humble approach to leadership, Holmwood emphasizes the importance of every team member in the creation and success of a business venture.
During our candid conversation, he candidly shared his thoughts on the role of luck, humility, and the collective strength of a team in the entrepreneurial journey. As he candidly revealed, his company’s success was not built on his brilliance alone but through the collective effort of a diverse team with different skills and talents.
Dive into the interview to discover how Holmwood juggles his various roles, learn about his unique perspective on entrepreneurship, and get an inside look at the creation of Magicave’s innovative fantasy hobby ecosystem.
Harry Holmwood on Luck, Humility, and the Jack-of-All-Trades Entrepreneur
Imagine your life as a bestselling novel. Harry Holmwood, the dynamic co-founder and CEO of Magicave, suggests a surprisingly grounded title for his own saga: “How to be Lucky.” Stripped of all pretension, Harry’s entrepreneurial philosophy is a refreshing take in a world often dizzy with startup glitterati. To him, the magic doesn’t sparkle from one genius at the helm, but rather from the collective brilliance of the team.
In his words, the company founder and CEO’s role is “to facilitate other people…you find clever people that want to do stuff, and you give them the flexibility, the tools, and the environment to do that.” This emphasis on team synergy underlines Harry’s success mantra: “It’s the people that you’re working with that make the magic happen.” It’s not just about being at the right place at the right time, but rather about proactively creating opportunities for luck to shine.
According to Harry, entrepreneurial instinct might be a blend of nature and nurture. Some are born with an unyielding focus, while others, like Harry, find their strength in versatility. It’s not about being the best at everything, but rather understanding a little bit about all aspects of the business, and most importantly, never ceasing to seek the next new thing. As Harry charmingly puts it, it’s about “getting bored quickly and wanting to always find the new thing.” Perhaps, in this era of hyper-specialization, the real winners are those who refuse to be pigeonholed, the versatile dreamers, and the curious explorers of the entrepreneurial world.
Harry’s Magical Journey: From Dungeons & Dragons to Revolutionizing Blockchain Gaming
From the imaginative realm of Dungeons & Dragons to the intricate world of mobile gaming, Harry has masterfully navigated the landscape of interactive entertainment. His narrative, reminiscent of the meandering paths of a role-playing game, sheds light on the conception of his latest venture, a game studio built around the enigmatic yet captivating world of blockchain technology.
Harry, a man of several entrepreneurial feats, started his journey with co-founding Secret Police, a mobile games company known for its work on the mobile version of Stardew Valley. This venture led him to cross paths with Ed and Steve, both of whom would later join him in founding Magicave, a game studio like no other. As Harry fondly reminisced, “Steve had this great idea for a puzzle game. And it was a nice project.” They set off with a simple puzzle game, but a fascination with hobbies and the multifaceted interests they cater to soon steered them onto a different course, one that echoed Harry’s childhood love for D&D and Warhammer.
One of Harry’s philosophies is his fondness for the unique roles hobbies play in different people’s lives. In his words, “Hobbies sometimes offer different things to different people,” he observed, adding that he has always been drawn to the different facets of hobbies, from the creative aspect of painting miniature figures to the strategic thinking required to create a world in a game. This philosophy would be instrumental in forming the foundation for Magicave.
Magicave started by thinking about how to utilize blockchain in a non-scammy, genuinely interesting way, Harry explained. “There was something very interesting about this idea of provable ownership of something digital.” They believed that this sense of ownership could make a digital object feel more real to a player, which led them to the creation of digital collectibles – specifically, dice. These weren’t ordinary dice, though. These were carefully designed, almost magical dice that could be used to create characters in a game.
Harry, along with his team, wanted to build an ecosystem where players not only play but also participate in creating the game. This led to the concept of Dino or D Number, a hobby around dice that evolves into a player-driven gaming universe. Harry’s vision for D Number is one where the players, much like Lego enthusiasts, have the freedom to build their own games and worlds, giving them as much control and creativity as they desire.
The goal, according to Harry, is to hand over the hobby to the community. He says, “There’s ways that we make money within this ecosystem, but you guys can do whatever you want with it.” For Harry, the journey from the Dungeons & Dragons of his childhood to blockchain gaming was a natural progression, fuelled by his lifelong fascination with hobbies and a dream to create something that made the digital feel more real to the player. His story is a testament to the transformative power of imagination and the limitless possibilities of technology. As Harry puts it, “This is ours. And that there’s ways that we make money within this ecosystem, but you guys can do whatever you want with it.” He has indeed created a magical cave where dreams can come alive.
Charting New Paths in Gaming: Sony’s Untold Secrets and The Journey to Product Market Fit
In an age where video games are released at a rapid-fire pace, Harry, a veteran in the industry, shines a light on the past that is often overlooked. He fondly reminisces about the early days at Sony, a time when an influx of fresh-out-of-university recruits were defining the very essence of gaming. Sony’s unique approach was intriguing—less of top-down directives and more of on-the-spot problem-solving. For instance, when a publishing company showed up unannounced, wanting to put a demo disc onto their magazine, the young, yet resourceful team at Sony didn’t back down. They embraced the chaos, sprung into action, and before long, the magazine with the demo disc turned out to be the most successful in Europe. This remarkable feat underlined the idea that success thrives where passion meets necessity.
Harry recalls a second transformational aspect of Sony’s strategy, which was their knack for breaking stereotypes. The idea was to make gaming appealing to a wider audience rather than just the “teenage boy” market. Sony’s novel idea of placing PlayStations in nightclubs and involving cool graphic designers and famous musicians in games production was a stroke of genius. As Harry puts it, “Sony wanted to make it broader than that…maybe games could be cool. Maybe games weren’t just for teenage boys and, and they were that was tremendously successful.” Sony, in essence, paved the way for what gaming has become today—an all-encompassing, culture-defining phenomenon.
Turning to the future, Harry highlights the struggles and rewards of the entrepreneurial journey. He emphasizes that the path to product-market fit is not a straight one—it involves continuously questioning assumptions, being agile, and learning from failed projects. As he says, “Sometimes just being in the business, eventually, some magic happens that you weren’t expecting. And if you’re able to pick up on those opportunities, when they do arise, that’s when something amazing can happen.” Today’s gaming landscape, however, presents a different set of challenges. With the barrier to entry virtually nonexistent, standing out in the sea of games is more formidable than ever. However, Harry advises that the key lies in identifying who your audience is, and creating something they can be passionate about. After all, success in gaming is not a zero-sum game.
To sum up Harry’s approach in his own words: “If you can let people find out those things for themselves, because the chances are, they’ll do have much better ideas than I will.” This is a testament to his belief in the power of creativity and individuality—a reminder that every team member, and even the community, can contribute to the magic that video games can offer.
Beyond Graphics and Glitz: Harry Unveils the Secrets of Gaming Success and Future Trends
Harry, a seasoned player in the gaming industry, provided some fascinating insights during our recent interview, underscoring that success in gaming doesn’t always require high-end graphics or a billion-dollar budget. He cited the popularity of games like ‘Stardew Valley’ and ‘Minecraft,’ emphasizing that their appeal lies not in their visual finesse but their captivating gameplay and intriguing stories. Drawing from his experience, Harry underlined, “Sometimes all aspects just have to be right for someone.”
The evolution of the gaming industry is constantly driven by increasing player demands and emerging technologies. Recently, one technology that has been a buzzword in the gaming industry is artificial intelligence (AI). Harry believes that while AI has its current limitations, it holds vast potential. For instance, he is already leveraging generative AI in his game development process for tasks like texture creation and character generation. But he doesn’t just stop there. He has also begun to explore the idea of players owning entire worlds in games, complete with their own laws, history, and characters, all generated through AI. “Every player owning their own world that has its own history and its own law and its own gods. That’s an amazing idea,” he exclaimed.
The final segment of our conversation veered towards the advice Harry has for budding software developers and entrepreneurs. For software developers, he stressed the importance of hands-on experience, encouraging them to use readily available tools and resources to start creating their own games. Meanwhile, for entrepreneurs, he urged them to be brave and just start, especially when they have nothing to lose. But Harry also cautioned, “Be flexible. So don’t be so wedded to your idea. It’s good to be tenacious and stick with it. But sometimes something isn’t working, but it might lead to something else.” That something else could potentially be the ‘Slack’ of your industry – a multibillion-dollar tool born from a failed gaming venture.
A wealth of wisdom from one of the industry’s veterans, Harry’s insights provide a compelling roadmap for navigating the dynamic landscape of gaming.