This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the traditional gaming industry has gotten a bit, shall we say, stale. Major game publishers are stuck in the financial flywheel created by decades of supporting massive corporate infrastructures located in major cities as well as the need to report quarterly results to shareholders. The result? An over reliance on releasing reliably profitable AAA titles that often means less cutting edge creativity and more financially safe and secure sequels and copycats to satisfy shareholders. We have seen this pattern play out in the traditional movie studio business as well, with sequel-fatigue resulting in relatively new players like Netflix, Apple TV, and Amazon rethinking the approach to storytelling and driving a true renaissance in both episodic and long form entertainment content.

Another byproduct of a legacy industry is the rise of bad actors and bad behavior. The news recently has been filled with stories of companies who, whether due to hubris resulting from their financial success, their systematic internal cultural challenges or their lack of diversity and inclusion, are experiencing blowback from employees and very real consequences in both the court of public opinion and the court of law.

So while the legacy gaming companies hopefully sort themselves out and come back to center, the challenges they are facing, combined with staggering technological advances and a surge in global demand due to the pandemic, have created an opportunity to rethink the future path of the gaming industry. Enter TLM Partners.

TLM Partners was born from a family and exists like a family. TLM stands for Three Little Monsters, the nickname affectionately given to the three children of the company’s founders, Jake Hawley and Evelyn Rivera. Partners refers to the fact that everyone at TLM is an owner, a partner and a fellow Monster.

Recognizing a void in the market and an industry ripe for change, Jake and Evelyn defined a suite of key ingredients that when combined created a perfect recipe for a modern gaming company. These included:

• The belief that gaming talent exists all over the world, not just in the existing gaming epicenters.
• A commitment to finding, hiring, and supporting this new generation of talent and discovering the industry’s next set of superstars, wherever they may live.
• A commitment to using all available tools and technologies to build a 100% cloud based and remote-work focused company. No offices, no commutes, no massive infrastructures, no wasted resources, and no financial anvil tied around the company’s neck. Just the unencumbered freedom for TLM employees to passionately invent, think, design, and create while defining their own work-life balance parameters.
• A commitment to building Centers of Excellence and Internship programs in underserved communities to identify and support the next generation of gaming talent wherever they may exist.
• A fierce commitment to Diversity and Inclusion. Not just talking the talk, but walking the walk. Without the anchor of forcing all employees to live and work in the Bay Area, New York Metro Area, Austin, or Montreal (nor any other major gaming epicenter), TLM has discovered, hired and cultivated a talented, diverse and truly global workforce.
• Hiring a team of senior, experienced executives and fostering a Servant Leadership philosophy among the leadership team. No drama and no politics and infighting. Just true teamwork and selfless collaboration.

So, this all sounds great but what have the results been? Has TLM truly disrupted the gaming industry with this approach? Our numbers speak for themselves:

• TLM’s team has grown from 8 to 200+ people in the last 18 months.
• Our employees are remotely located in 26 countries across the globe.
• We opened a Center of Excellence in Monterrey, Mexico to foster local talent from underserved communities and two interns from this program are now FTEs.
• Our revenue has grown to $40M+ in under 2 years across three lines of business: Professional Services, Technology Licensing, and Publishing.
• We have achieved our Diversity and Inclusion goals and are enjoying the benefits of honoring all voices, perspectives, and opinions within the company.
• We are actively filing patents to protect our intellectual property.

Our TLM journey started just last year and our growth continues undaunted by Global Logistics, supply chain shortages, or tough labor markets. Our approach represents an opportunity to reimagine what the gaming industry can become moving forward. We believe the talented people from around the world are “running to us” for the opportunity to participate in an amazing new way of developing games.

Gaming is, at its core, about inspiring the imagination, creating fun, engaging and often shared, collaborative experiences. Shouldn’t the companies creating these experiences for their customers also create these experiences on a day to day basis for their employees?

We think so.

Written by: Ed Delfs | CMO, TLM Partners

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