Curt Schilling On The Failure Of 38 Studios
"Outside of, like, personal family - losing my dad - it was the most devastating thing I've ever gone through. It's still something I'm trying to bounce back from."
Curt Schilling is sitting quietly - almost serenely - in Champions Stadium as he speaks to a reporter from the Boston Globe. A storm is rolling in, and the champion under-16-fast-pitch girls softball team he coaches is facing elimination in the USSA World Series II. It's been a little over a year since 38 Studios officially declared bankruptcy, and the court case against the organization is still ongoing. He and his family have lost almost everything.
"It was so hard," explained Schilling, "because I had pushed and pushed. I had 300 families of company employees I had to take care of, including my own, and it failed. And I've lost a lot in my life, but I've never failed at anything. I was going to win...but I couldn't get it done."
"It was probably the first time he ever failed at anything," said his wife Shonda, in a separate interview. "I never saw him so beaten." Shonda was never in favor of Schilling's decision to found the company, though she's refrained from gloating about it. "Had I not seen him the way he was, I would have. To see somebody down that low, you can't kick him."
Schilling, she says, has found solace in teaching softball. It's how he's coping with the loss, with the bitter, terrible defeat that comes with the failure of his pet project. Schilling had plans - big ones - for the revenues his studio was to raise, but ultimately they came to nothing. Although Schilling points a few fingers at people who contributed to the failure - Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, one of the chief investors, ranks high on that list - ultimately, Schilling admits, it came down to him.
"It's on me. I was the guy. At the end of the day, it's because I failed to raise outside capital."
He's still sad. He's still bitter. But he's coping, and looking on his situation with remarkable wisdom; this is reflected in how he coaches his girls. He's not a rough coach, nor is he an angry one. Instead, he's encouraging and nurturing. When the girls mess up, he simply informs them there are zero players in Cooperstown - or really, in the world, - who've never made an error. He simply tells them to "grind it out," and push past their shortcomings.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the lesson that you should take away from Schilling's failure. The lessons he gives his girls on the field can be very easily translated into the sphere of the inventor. There isn't a single independent developer, a single entrepreneur, or a single inventor in the world who hasn't failed at something at least once. Eventually, you're probably going to put out an invention or a game that fails, unless you're one of the lucky few. Don't get discouraged.
Learn from it. Fight through it. And at the end of the day - like Schilling - you may someday be ready to take the field once more.