Who are the two people who inspired me to become a game publisher? Interestingly enough, neither of them was named Baum.
The first was Tom Smith, the World's Fastest Filker. Sounds like an odd choice, doesn't it? Maybe this will help clear things up. In March of last year, the restaurant I had been working at for the previous 8 years went under. It wasn't the drudgery that Tom Smith experienced in the mortgage industry, but the subsequent layoff (just a few months after Tom released that song) gave me free time and the impetus to change my life.
It also helped set up my expectations of success. If I'm able to support myself and do something nice for myself and my fiancee every so often, I'm doing well.
The second one was Aldo Ghiozzi of Impressions Advertising and Marketing. He spoke at a seminar on breaking into the gaming industry at DunDraCon 32 (just one month before my layoff). His advice was cynical. He said, (I'm paraphrasing here) "There's no guarantee your game will succeed in the marketplace. In fact, it probably won't. But you'll never know until you try."
So, without a job and not much else to lose, I proceeded to try. I have since gained employment, which gave me more money, but less time. I'm still trying, though. And I'll keep trying as long as I can pay freelance artists to illustrate whatever it is that I write.
Keep voting on the poll, guys! Everything's got at least one vote, but Real Raw Wrestling and Better Than Rifts are leading the pack with three votes each.