foraging friday

Minecraft's founder and his new house

February 6th 2015
Author -

This week we are going to talk about Minecraft's founder and his new house. 

Markus "Notch" Persson is a 36 year old Swedish programmer who just bought the most expensive house in Beverley Hills for $70 million dollars. 

Real Estate Video of the house (warning music)

Photo Gallery

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How did Markus make his money?

A computer game called Minecraft. At the start of the game you appear in a 3d world of blocks. It allows you to build things out of the blocks, a tree cube can be crafted into a house, a rock cube can be crafted into a sword, and so on. You gather resources, explore and build, and sometimes fight off monsters. Its your space, you choose what to do, it gives you the control to be as creative as you want.

Minecraft was a personal side project as Markus worked as a game developer for a Swedish company. One weekend in the summer of 2009 he started Minecraft, he released it in alpha, unfinished, with no instruction manuals. He sold 40 copies that first weekend. Each Friday he released more updates, and sold more. As sales grew he went part time at work. Players talked with each other about how to do things in the game. Markus talked with them about how to expand the game. The community also contributed a number of mods for the game.

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One year later in the summer of 2010 he had sold 200,000 units and he left his job and set up a business with two co-founders. January 2011 they passed 1 million units, April 2 million, November 4 million. November marked the games official released, moving from a $10 a game to $20. 

Over the next few years they continued to develop the game with their customers. By 2014 they had it available on PCs, as an app to play on mobile phones and tablets, and on the X-Box, Playstation etc. They had 40 staff and were making $100 million profit a year. 

In September 2014 Microsoft bought them for $2.5 Billion! Markus left to go back to creating little, interesting things. Markus currently has a net worth of 1.5 billion. 

Lets do the sums

So Markus' new house is 4.6% of his net worth.

Lets say you are worth $728,000 (ABS 2013

If you were to buy the equivalent house as Markus, based on your net worth, you could spend $33,500 on a house.

To Markus a 70 million dollar house does not seem that much after all.

A brand new Ferrari at $300,000 is like us buying something for $145!


What does this story mean for your business? I believe Markus' success came from three characteristics.

  1. Passion – he did what he loved, he made a game he loved.

  2. Distribution – digital is a great way to distribute, make it once, copy it as many times as you like, push updates whenever you need. The price can be kept low, and the delivery is instant.

  3. Let the customer decide – You can do what you want in the game, from the start Markus talked with his players. He made a game he loved and then a game they loved. The players who bought his game then promoted it because they enjoyed it.

Now I am not suggesting you make 1.5 billion in the next 5 years, but there is room for improvement in your revenue.

How are you taking advantage of digital distribution? How close are you to your customers? How often do you ask what they want?

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