Hello! I hope everybody that is reading this post is doing well, I was planning to produce a very nice video celebrating 10 years of Piko Interactive. However, I think it is best to leave it for another occasion, as I am trying to optimize our time to close some pending projects and move full force into the next ones.
We have been a bit silent in the last few months; there has been several reasons why. First of, I (Eli) became a dad again 2 years ago, and oh God, how that changed my day to day. My daughter and son now are a bit older, and now I am finding myself having a bit more time at the office than before. However, back in 2021 I made an investment for Piko. That turned out to be a time/effort/money blackhole way worse than a couple of children.
In summer 2021 I sold our small Garage Condo where we had been operating for a year, to purchase a 1.6 Acre residential property sitting next to a major highway in San Antonio Texas. Our idea was to turn the house (with a in-law suit) into two offices, turn the workshop in the back into a third office, and then build a greenspace park with a couple of food pods and connect to one of the most beautiful parks and greenways in San Antonio: O.P. Schnable Park.
The Plan was to make it 100% renewable and 100% self-sustainable with solar panels, septics, and water wells. Some of the green areas were going to feature vegetable beds, as well as fruit trees.
Unfortunately, we were completely blocked by the neighborhood behind our property because of potential noise and traffic. This property has been used by the neighborhood as a buffer from the highway ( protect them from Traffic noise, lights, littering, graffiti etc) there is even a billboard easement and a communication shed/box in the backyard approved by the city. Sadly, the city of San Antonio denied our request of this land being a neighborhood commercial property and we had to change our plans. We still used the house as the office for a while, but we had to move into the back workshop ("office 3"). I started remodeling the workshop as it was mostly a garage shell. We started in July 2022, and we were able to move by late September 2022. However now we had a whole house (or duplex) that was empty. I started remodeling the house in August 2022 and oh boy, did that was hard. I am about to finish the last few touches to put it up for rent Today (May 3rd, 2023); funny the last touches are just some new coaxial connection covers.
I built a 300 Sqft structure right next to the workshop to act as storage and break room (we won't be able to use the restrooms in the house anymore once rented). It's only a shell, but only really needs insulation, walls and the toilet and sink. My plan is still to rezone the backyard to, at least, office space so we can start developing it into what I call a "Micro Campus"; where we would have all we need for our future and growth. Some of the ideas are a proper workshop for production and assembling, a studio for video and audio recording, a main floor, a mini library, and some other quirky ideas like a big tree house etc.
We already lost all the investment on the engineering firm, the architect firm and the applications for rezoning on our previous attempt. But I won't go down without a fight, we have hired a very popular real state law firm and they are confident we will be able to use our property the way we want to considering that a major interstate highway has encroached into it and changed everything around it.
The purpose of this story is not to excuse myself of why we have been a bit silent and slow at projects etc. But to share a bit my vision for the future. Once we rent the duplex we will basically eliminate our office cost on a monthly basis, and we made it so we don't have to pay bills like water, sewer and we have installed a solar system to be 100% off-set on energy costs. I regret not installing a battery, but my plan is to eventually make the workshop 100% off grid with solar panels, battery, and a windmill to create enough energy to keep computers/servers running at night. We also have a gas tank that we will use in emergencies (generator) as Texas has one of the worse energy grids it seems (we lose power constantly!)
Without a cost for office and utilities, we will be in a much better position to grow in all directions. In more IP, better projects, new productions, new IP, and may be even more employees. My vision for the micro campus is so that people can become members, and use the main floor, reserve the library, the studio, the conference room, the treehouse; also have workshops, events, you name it. It will be an uphill battle, but I hope we gain support from the city, and we are given permission to fulfill the vision.
THE NEXT FEW WEEKS
In the next few weeks, I got to go through all of this:
I have to clean up the workshop as it is only about 625 sqft. There are just hundreds of little things to do in there, but I plan to have it all in those 27-gallon plastic buckets soon. And after that I will start a production run of everything people have been asking us to have in stock. All the backordered items etc. will be produced and we'll have them ready to ship. This will also help us dispatch a lot of pending orders. At the same time, I'll be working on the Piko version of the latest released we did through Midwest classic. Moto X SNES, Legend of Wukong, And Switchblade II Jaguar. Also at the same time, we'll be working on the calamity jane Kickstarter rewards, we have been working on it on an ongoing basis, and we are almost ready to take on the limited animation autobiography.
Once it is all done and we don't have anything pending to do, we'll move into our biggest and most ambitious project to date. The Bleem.net project. This project was announced I think... in 2020? and it's been in the works since then. I think this is going to be an "industry disruptor" of some sorts (or the dumbest idea ever attempted), and I can't share many details as this project has morphed A LOT, and I know there are sharks circling around to get information. My plan was to have 250 games for launch, however in summer of 2021 we had a major legal attack that led us to lose about 20 game IPs from our list. I've been working into that 250 game IPs and we may not get to it for launch, but we'll be close; we have acquired a lot of cool games lately and some major IPs. I suggest you sign up to the bleem.net newsletter email; I hope what we have prepared for you-all makes you happy, and its of EVERYONES' Like.
There are LOT more details that I left out, like our Retro TV channel in Latam, our new TV Shows (English versions in the works), or stuff under NDA, but Thanks for reading the ramblings of a passionate retro lunatic, and let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or our Discord if you have any comments or questions!