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Meet Cally

Today, we sit down with the boss and ask him a little bit about running Netspeak.

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Callum! Friends call me Cally. I’m the CEO and co-founder of Netspeak Games. My general responsibilities include raising money 💰 managing investors 🤼 and strategic thinking 🤔.

What does your job title mean?

Ha! It means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and depends on the situation. For me, being the CEO means I am the most accountable person in the room, at all times. If the company fails in any capacity, I am in some way to blame.

This means that every problem is, at some point, mine to fix. Which is why it's so important that I am surrounded by people that I trust. I would literally go mad trying to make everything perfect if it weren't for the people around me.

So really, my job is to sit & think, very deeply, for as long as I can handle. I obsess over all things Netspeak so that when a decision that can ONLY be made by me appears, I make the right call.

What does a day in the life of the CEO look like?

It starts at 6am, generally involving being kicked in the teeth by either my toddler or my dog.

Walkies, breakfast, wrestling, paw-patrol. And then its work at 10am!

unnamed My supervisors.

In general, I read as much as I can possibly get a hold of. Books, blogs, podcasts. It's all data being fed into my brainbox.

I’m constantly in touch with people in the industry. Emails firing back and forth, jumping on calls to chat about what’s been happening outside of Netspeak. It’s so important that I am at the forefront of the industry, in all verticals. Tools, processes, people, companies, government policy, legals, finances. It all affects a company like Netspeak.

Mostly, I am hands-off anything specific to Netspeak’s day to day, which has taken 4 years of ridiculously hard work by myself & many others to achieve. I do get brought in to help resolve situations that have escalated or are at the risk of escalating. I am a qualified coach, and so mostly I am wearing my coaching hat, and asking “why” a lot.

And so really, I sit, I read, I think, I listen. People tag me into things they think require my eyes. A good day is one where 80% of my time is spent ensuring I know enough to make the right decisions.

Netspeak is a studio which cares a lot about staff wellbeing and healthy culture. How do you build a positive working environment?

To quote Timea, “We can’t build the product and THEN build the culture. We have to do both." I would say most of my thinking power goes into Netspeak and Netspeak’s culture as opposed to the product (Sunshine Days). The only way I have found to affect a positive work environment, is to ensure that it's a a core value from the top down. There are no quick wins. It is just really, bloody hard work, and the number 1 priority of the studio.

Have you done anything recently that you're proud of, or want to brag about?

I don't really do much myself any more, but I am so so proud of the team we’ve built here. I think we have 40+ of the best minds in the industry working at a place they genuinely really enjoy & care about. It’s a kind, supportive place to be and I couldn’t be prouder to work here.

Oh but we did recently spend a whole day giving away free ice creams to the people of London. That was fun.

unnamed (1) We learnt a lot about skepticism, confidence and how many ice creams you need to eat before you have the confidence to talk to strangers. The answer is "many".

What’s your favourite thing about Sunshine Days?

Castle season. Full confession - I almost told the team to cancel it. I was this close to saying “Guys, this isn’t based on research or demographic information, the players are not going to like castle season”. I was so wrong. It’s such a testament to why trust is so important, and why it constantly needs to be worked on. If I hadn’t trusted the team, if they hadn’t worked hard to ensure my trust in them was well placed, we’d have missed out on all the fun.

unnamed (1) Me, sitting outside my castle, contemplating what I know about making games.

What's your friend code in SD?

I’m Cally Biggles. And yes, I did put the name "Cally" in the game by myself, for myself. There HAS to be some benefit to starting your own games company, right?

My share code is 2323-8810-7941. I’m in the EU! I have LOADS of gems from this one time where a script went wrong, so I’m always gifting season XP :) 🎁

unnamed (2) My island requires an RTX. Jokes, should be good on anything post-2019.