- Apr 26, 2016
Over the weekend, I think most of us have been very distressed and disappointed to see our community get ripped apart and cut open. That may sound dramatic, but for us who saw it all, it’s quite an authentic description. I had imagined LemonPunch’s end as a loving and grateful event where we all peacefully remembered the many good moments together. Tears, laughs, nostalgia, and of course an epic remembrance video. Instead, it went down in hate and distress. While I was bombarded with rather vicious and privacy-intruding personal attacks and threats, my main cause of stress and anxiety was above all seeing the community I founded, and like so many of you had been part of for a long time, end in complete misery.
Unfortunately, we can’t go back in time. Instead, I hope that we can conclude things in the best way possible going forward. However, I do know that there’s a large cloud of accusations around me that I should clear up before that. Many of you were told that I had “screwed Alex over” and effectively pushed him out of the community. Alex is of course to many here close to a hero. He created the unique and powerful version of Clockwork that we used, helped us fend off against various threats, and supported the community loyally for three years. He’s a nice person to talk to and to many of you a good friend.
To me, Alex was more than a fellow Community Director and Lead Developer in the community – he was my fellow company director in Thriving Ventures – the limited company I own. I’ve worked very closely with him for three years, and during that time I have realised that he’s a man of immense talent and potential. However, since about November last year our ability to work together has perished. I would outline specifics, but I don’t feel that’s appropriate or respectful to him. The point is that we couldn’t work well together anymore and I didn’t see us being successful working together in future projects.
On Thursday last week, Alex asked me to give him 50% of the shares in my company. He said that he was in the belief that it was to be his and that he felt entitled to it. In my mind, it had always been clear that Alex and I were both directors – which are very powerful positions in a company - but that I was the only shareholder. I had never said otherwise directly, indirectly or by implication. We had at times discussed the possibility of giving Alex shares in the company if we were to pursue a project in Unreal Engine; creating a game of our own. If successful, we could earn a massive amount of money, and then shares would be the only form of proper security for him. The chat-logs that have been shown to some of you, where I discuss the possibility of giving shares to Alex, was in that time-context. However, despite our passionate desire to make a game, it never came close to be actualised and it never became more than a desire. The same goes for the consideration of giving Alex shares – it was never more than a possibility in the future.
However, I recognised that Alex was very upset about the matter and on Friday we had a proper meeting about the situation. I wanted LemonPunch to survive and was willing to give Alex a severely generous amount of the company’s money to make it happen; severance pay, contractual continued regular compensation – increased if need be – and in no way or shape less influence in LemonPunch. However, Alex was adamant about wanting 50% of the shares in the company. It took a while for me to get to and properly explain the rather uncomfortable reason I simply couldn’t give him shares; I didn’t see us achieving success working together in future projects. Now “why would that stop me from giving him shares?” Well, I have always had and will continue having an immense passion for creating projects, and I’m determined to continue using my company in doing so. Someone who owns 50% of the shares will have a claim on part of all of the company’s future profits and dividends, and massive influence over any future projects. If I did not want to work with that person and include him in future projects, it would have been a huge road-block for my ability to create new projects using the company.
So I couldn’t give him shares. I was eager to find other generous solutions and options for moving forward and keeping everything afloat in LemonPunch. Alex requested that I refined the options and put them in writing. I explained that on Saturday I would be on a date with my girlfriend, on Sunday I would refine and write down options and then on Monday I would present them. Alex,@Rictalspace and @Blackquill agreed, and so when we concluded the meeting I was very optimistic that we would find a solution on Monday and the community would keep running well.
On Saturday, just as I was walking to see my girlfriend, I receive a message from @Rictalspace - “Welp, this is pretty buggered up, have you seen the forum recently?” I hadn’t, and when I was home with my girlfriend everything was already a complete storm of drama that couldn’t be controlled. Alex had told some of his friends in the community about how he felt I had led him on about shares and ownership in the company, and they had then perceived it as that I had screwed Alex over. After that, they had incited tons of drama, abuse and a full community riot that tore the community up and stuck it bleeding intensively. I tried to desperately go on TeamSpeak during my date, explain my side of the story and calm the situation down, but I was overwhelmed. By midnight, Alex publicly resigned from the community and many followed.
It hurts... Not because some people believe I’m a shady businessman, but because I know in my heart that if the original plan after Friday’s meeting would have been kept and followed, Alex and I could have found a solution together in a discreet and professional manner, and LemonPunch would yet be strong and alive. We all would have benefitted from it, and you all would still have this community that you’ve joyfully dedicated so much time and effort in.
Now, we are where we are, and the main thing I want to say is - thank you! Whether you like me or not, I’ve had an amazing three years alongside most of you and I’ve grown enormously as a person and leader. It has made me so proud to see the community we created three years ago turn into a place with so many diligent, talented and passionate people that have come and gone. @Dallas whose passion for creating epic and astonishing events never seems to end. @Blackquill who committedly oversaw the community with incredible ambition. I could name endless people with fascinating and strong records of showing talent and achievement in this community, and I’m so proud to have worked alongside them. Our members were always the most loyal ones. In times of success, they showed ambition, in times of struggle, they showed determination. As a community, we achieved what seemed impossible, and we overcame the most vicious and straining challenges. I’m probably pushing it now, but the historical example of Rome’s rise and fall comes to mind when I think of it all. We achieved and overcame so much – more than anybody would have thought of a Garry’s Mod roleplay community - and yet it was our internal issues and strains that eventually killed us.
Now to what all of you have really been waiting for while reading my excessively long announcement:
LemonPunch will end as you know it. It will go into a pause/closed mode. It may very well come back sooner or later, but it will probably be very different in so case. I intend to continue pursuing projects with passion, and it’s possible that LemonPunch will have a significant role. However, I suspect that it will take some time before that happens. So in the meantime, I hope you’ll find other communities out there where you can enjoy the experience you had here. Maybe it’ll never be quite as good, but I will do my best to help communities provide you with a qualitative experience. I’m very open to licensing out assets of LemonPunch that could be helpful in achieving that. I have two goals going forward – continuing my passionate pursuit of large projects, and ensuring you’ll find the experience you had here elsewhere. Thank you for this incredible time! I hope we’ll see each other sometime soon again and remember the amazing journey we had together.