Gamer reveals how he went from 18 hours a day to owning multi-million dollar tech company
When Lambros Photios, 29, from Bondi in east Sydney, was 18, he spent a whole summer locked in his bedroom playing the game on his computer.
A gamer who spent 16 hours a day engrossed in World of Warcraft has revealed how his obsession helped him start a multi-million dollar tech startup.
At 18, Lambros Photios spent the whole summer locked in his room in Bondi, Sydney, playing the online game on his computer.
The 29-year-old told FEMAIL he “doesn’t have a lot of time for anything else” because his world revolves around the online universe and the friends he made while playing it.
His mother was so preoccupied with his obsession that she feared that he would never lower the controls and “come back to earth”.
“She has reported it with me a few times and, in hindsight, she had a viable cause,” Mr Photios said.
Mr. Photios is pictured here working on his gaming forum – while he was indeed addicted to WoW
The tech guru is pictured here, aged 17, while addicted to WoW. He chose to wear this outfit for a dress up day at school
When college began, Lambros had no choice but to spend less time in his imaginary online field.
This focus on reality led him to start his own tech company, but without his time behind the keyboard the software developer doesn’t think he would have been successful.
“It started when a friend I knew from World of Warcraft asked me to help him create a forum where people could collaborate and work on strategy,” he said.
Mr. Photios had been interested in programming before the project and managed to create the forum after learning some coding concepts himself.
Then fate stepped in – a friend saw Lambros sitting with his laptop open in college and before he could shut it down – noticed he was encoding something.
“He was intrigued by all of this and asked if I could build a website for a family friend’s doctor’s office,” he said.
Now the boss of the tech company can’t even play a game without getting bored
He was 19 at the time and it was to be his first paid programming job – and the start of his journey to Station Five, his software development company.
Mr. Photios explained that “virtual tokens” were what got him hooked in World of Warcraft – the in-game currency, leaderboards and rewards for reaching milestones.
Five tips for building a successful business
1. Set goals in the “real world” outside of your obsession
2. Not having a business plan allows you to remain adaptable
3. You have to work hard – there is no way around it
4. If you are successful, be prepared to give back.
5. You need to stay in good physical health because exercise helps you clear your mind and focus.
“They are addictive because they are modeled on real life,” he said.
“So I subconsciously replaced all of these virtual tokens with real life stuff.”
He created his own measures of success – changing the in-game currency to real Australian dollars.
“I realized you don’t need the game for the accolades – you can get them in real life and take them with you.”
The start-up received the “AFR Fast Starter” award as one of Australia’s fastest growing tech companies before it even developed a business plan.
“I started working from my parents’ house; after three years I made a business plan and at 23 I realized I needed to hire staff, ”he said.
“Of course there is a lot of strategy now, but I think starting without it gave me the opportunity to pivot and create what I have today.”
Today, the company has 71 employees and has grown by 160% in just two years.
He went from working on the medical website to building his portfolio with big brands like BUPA and AMP Capital.
Its commercial success allows it to employ 70 people and help humanitarian organizations in some of the poorest communities on the planet.
Now he’s working on the Swiss government’s World Food Program and “monitoring the peace” in Somalia to allow a humanitarian organization to understand where aid is needed most, in real time.
“We’ve been locked into the program for eight years, which is really exciting,” he said.
“It’s also revealing and confronting because it makes you aware of incidents and makes me realize how amazing it is not to have to worry about going to the office or the supermarket for fear that something will end. to your life. “
Pictured here with his friends, Lambros is thrilled that he can be successful doing what he loves
Helping work is something the young tech guru didn’t think he could do until he was in his 50s or 60s.
“I feel so blessed to be able to give back at age 29. It means I can dedicate more of my life to these causes,” he said.
And his parents couldn’t be prouder.
“Usually, if you go to college to get a degree in engineering and business, you’re preparing to do something in finance,” he said.
Lambros spent 16 hours a day playing the game during free time between college and school
“So becoming a software developer was a risk. But my parents are proud of me for making something out of nothing, ”he said.
And those 16 hour days in the chair certainly helped too.
“There are long days behind the screen in this job and patience is the key,” he said.
Lambros now employs 70 people and is still excited that he can make a living behind his computer screen – what he was once told would be impossible.
It took Lambros “a year to put the controllers down” – now he’s bored within minutes if he’s trying to play a video game.
“I even have a hard time playing something light,” he said.