As games makers it won’t surprise you that we love to make people happy. But not content with just making people happy by making games, Dave only went and got himself named on the Brighton Happy List for 2018. In the words of it’s organiser:
“Happy Lists were born out of a need to provide an antidote to the rich/celebrity lists which worship at the shrine of the wealthy, the bonus-getters, and the tax avoiders… They [name] people who, without thought of personal gain or recognition, do so much to make their communities better adjusted places to live, making their cities and thus the country a better and happier place.”
So we are super proud of Dave for being nominated and put on this list! We thought it’d be nice to share the joy (better late than never) and also give Dave a chance to tell you a bit more about why he made it onto the list.
Hazel: How did you get on the happy list?
Dave: Someone nominated me - I don’t know who! I’m involved with quite a lot of community projects, and I think that’s what they had in mind when they put my name forward. A few years ago I started running a course for dads-to-be - The Dad Course - in Brighton. It’s a short course that men come on in the month’s running up to the birth of their first child, designed to build their skills, confidence, support network and knowledge. I’m a big believer that by investing in and supporting parents we can make a huge difference to the children and parents alike, and thus make the world a much better and happier place. It was this motivation, as well as my own experience of becoming a dad that inspired me to set up the course. About 100 guys have been through it so far, and the feedback has been wonderful.
I also run a true-life community story-telling event called Share Your Story. We put together evenings around important topics of social good (like wellbeing, mental health, loneliness etc.) and ask a handful of local people to share their experiences around this subject. The aim is to get people talking about some of the important stuff that we doesn’t get talked about enough. And then we support people to go away and live good stories themselves - to think through what they want from life and what they can offer the world, and then get on and do it!
On top of all of that I’ve also been lucky enough to be involved in helping others who are setting up community projects in our area. Through that I’ve met some amazing people and seen some great projects get started - but I can’t take credit for any of that!! I like to think that just seeking to be kind and good to people in general is ultimately what helped me get nominated!
Hazel: What does happiness mean to you?
Dave: Wow, big question! In a funny way, maybe happiness is a bit of a deceptive word. Life isn’t always shiny and perfect! Like everyone, I have days where I’m feeling sad or lonely, so I don’t want to give the impression that everything in my life is always perfect, because it isn’t.
But for me there is a deep satisfaction in spending time on things that really matter to me. Part of that is knowing myself well enough to know what it is I really want, and not get distracted by things like money and material stuff that can easily get in the way. I know that I’d rather be doing meaningful and positive work while foregoing a bigger house or fancy things, but it can be easy to forget that sometimes! So making a positive difference in the world is a huge thing for me.
Alongside that, I think it’s all about people for me. Spending time with my family and friends is really important to me, and something I prioritise. I’m aware that time with my kids is particularly precious as they will grow up really fast. Being a parent is hard sometimes, but I really want to treasure these days and make the most of them. Ultimately, a really happy life for me is one where I’m surrounded by people that I love (and that love me!) and where I’m doing work that is meaningful and really making a positive difference in the world.
Hazel: How has happiness played a part in your work?
Dave: I guess as I outlined above really. I need to believe in what I’m doing, and also see that it’s making a positive difference in the world. That can take all different shapes, and I quite like variety in my work - it suits my personality. I’d spent nearly my whole life working for charities, community groups and social enterprises until I came to Gamely, but I really see it as an extension of the work I’ve been doing until now. I definitely couldn’t just go working for any old company, it wouldn’t work for me. But being part of a small group of people who want to do things right, in how they make the games, treat staff and suppliers, the environment and so on is brilliant. And actually I’ve found that as a business we have much more flexibility and opportunity to do good, as long as the desire is there - which it definitely is at Gamely!
On top of that it’s also just a lot of fun! A couple of weeks ago I spent an afternoon drinking delicious coffees and milkshakes in a sea-front cafe laughing and having a great time while play-testing a game with my friends (who happen to be my colleagues!). As I left the cafe I had two thoughts. One is that it’s brilliant that this game we’re making is going to bring the same laughter to so many other people. And the second was that I cannot believe that I actually get paid to do this! I am very lucky.
Hazel: Any plans to spread the happiness further?!
Dave: Always! I’ll be continuing to work on my own projects alongside working with Gamely. It’s a very exciting time, and we have some cool stuff in the pipeline, so it’s very much a case of watch this space…