Monday, March 4, 2013

March Post

Hey Guys,

I think I mentioned that I might work as a Project Manager for another game company that’s forming in Roseville.  We started our first project and I decided that I didn't want to continue working with them.  It’s probably best if I don’t get into the details.  Not because they’re bad people.  Let’s just say we had a very different idea on how games should be made.

I was thinking about this as I wrote a midterm paper for the Human Resource Management class I’m taking right now.  The topic we were given was about the challenges of managing a multigenerational workforce.  Sounds boring, right?  I actually thought it was really interesting.  What was going on in the world shaped the mentality of the generation growing up at the time.   I won’t go through each of the four generations in the workforce today.  But according to my research, Generation X'ers, like me, are radically different from the Baby Boomers before us and the Millennials after us.

The biggest traits of people of my generation in terms of business and workplace issues: we’re incredibly skeptical of strangers offering us deals, we hate being micro managed, we don’t work well being told what to do by people that have no idea what they’re talking about, and we don’t need or want structure.  Basically, we want to be given a job and left the hell alone so we can get it done the way we know how to get it done.  Now, we’ll listen to others and follow directions, but only if it’s from a boss that we consider to be a guru or equal on the subject at hand.  But you have to earn our respect first before you can boss us around.  Man, that fits me so well.  That’s exactly how I am.

I've mentioned before that I used to be a musician.  I also used to write for a popular music magazine that focused on metal bands.  I was one of about a dozen journalists when new owners took over.  Every single writer was fired except me.  They also never once told me what to do.  They let me cover my own stories—as many or as little as I wanted.  But I covered a lot, out producing everyone else on the team.  As a concert promoter in the underground metal scene, I knew who all the underground bands were.  I knew who was up and coming, who was getting signed, and who people wanted to hear about.  I really liked working for that company.  Then one day, we had a new editor.

I didn't have a college degree at that time, nor did I want to relocate to their corporate office in the bay area.  So when the editor position opened up, they decided to go with a local, recent Journalism graduate.  He was young and knew nothing about the underground music scene.  It didn't take long for him to piss me off.  I think the second email I got from him, he was telling me what to do.  He told me to interview a band.  I won’t say the name of the band, so I’ll just call them “band.”

Anyways, I knew Band.  I’d done a show with them back when I was playing in my band Stigma.  In short, they sucked.  I wrote the editor back and told him no.  I’m sorry, but I had a long waiting list of good bands that no one had heard of yet that I was trying to get to.  The last thing I was going to do is waste my time interviewing a terrible band that no one wanted to hear about and putting them on the top story that week and making the 9 million users a month that our site got think, “Huh?  They’re doing articles on these crappy bands now?  Why don’t you cover someone good?”  I don’t want to sound like an elitist, but my reputation is important to me.  If I covered a band, it was because they were damn good and people should take a listen.

So the editor writes me back telling me that Band asked him to be covered, that 98 Rock was trying to break them, and that he, the editor, already told Band that I’d be contacting them soon to interview them.  I was really, really mad.  Really mad.

Now, some info here.  98 Rock, aka KRXQ is a pretty important radio station.  You might not think Sacramento is famous for anything other than Def Tones, Tom Hanks, and… ok, nothing else.  But believe it or not, 98 Rock often breaks new bands long before any other radio station plays them.  In fact, radio stations around the country often listen to 98 Rock in an effort to guess which rock / metal bands are up and coming bands.  If 98 Rock was really trying to break Band, then that’s pretty impressive.

So I got ahold of this dj at 98 Rock I’m good friends with.  I doubt he’d care (and this was about 10 years ago), but I probably shouldn't mention his name either.  So I asked my dj friend wtf was up.  He rolled his eyes and sighed.  I could tell he was pretty mad about what he was going to tell me.  Apparently, the bass player of Band was the 6th caller and won some “98 Rock Christmas Wish List” contest.  The rules were anything the station could reasonable do for the contest winner, they would do.  So the bass player’s wish was to get his band played on the radio.  My dj friend told the station manager basically that he knew this band and he absolutely refused to play them.  They got in a big fight over it, but the dj caved-- agreeing to play Band one time at 4am on a Wednesday morning, and that was that.

The next day after hearing this, the bass player was emailing me asking me when I was going to interview them.  So I went to one of their shows where they pulled about 6 people( I think 5 of which were wives / girlfriends) and interviewed them.  I wrote up the interview and story I did about them (all positive), emailed it to the editor and quit the next day.  Four years at a job I really liked, but yeah, I wasn't going to put up with that crap.

I know.  I’m such a rebel, huh?  But I was thinking about this.  Am I making the mistake of treating the Dawnshine team like I want to be treated and not like how they want to be treated?  According to my research, Millennials want to be told what to do.  They don’t want to be micromanaged or talked down to, but they do want direction from their boss.  So by leaving them alone and giving them freedom to run with things, I might actually be frustrating them.  Hmm, that’s something to think about.

I always have a ton of work to do each week.  But I’m going to try and do more design work for Dawnshine if I can.  I’ll see if this helps the Millennials on the team do their thing.  Aside from that, there’s a lot else going on.  I recently met with one of the main art professors from the California State University of Sacramento about setting up an internship.  CSUS isn't known for their art program, but no doubt there’s some great artists there that couldn't afford to go away for school.  I know how that goes.  CSUS (we call it Sac State) does have a really good Computer Science program, so setting something up officially with art students could help open up the door with the CS students.  I still find it funny that Sac State is where I graduated from and I’m just now starting to recruit there after hitting up everywhere else first.  I've just had trouble making contacts there.  Recruiting at Trade Schools that hire career counselors is a lot easier.

Speaking of Trade Schools, I got invited to go to the Art Institute for one of their job fairs and man a Stigma Games booth.  I've done that before over a year ago when I first started this.  So this isn't huge news.  But at least this time I’ll actually be prepared.

I think I mentioned last post that we started making mobile games.  We currently have four games in production.  I don’t want to talk about them just yet, but believe me, we’ll be talking about them a lot soon.  At yesterday’s art meeting, I passed around a design document for one of the games, and I noticed just about everyone that read it laughed.  Mobile games might not be my favorite platform, but we’re still going to be making pretty awesome games.  We’re not going for quick bucks here.

Aside from that, I started looking for marketing people.  We've been talking about a complete over haul of the website, and in general, splitting / and into two different sites.  Right now, they both point to the same shell account.  The one marketing person we have came up with a new logo for us.  I just wanted her to tweak the one I made and turn it into a simple 2d animation that we could play before our videos, rather than completely overhaul what I did.  But I’m glad she did her own thing, because I like what she came up with better.  She’s of the same generation as I am, so I guess that means I need to present her with a lot of information, tell her the problem, and then give her all the freedom she needs to fix it.  I like that.  And I like what she’s doing, even if I don’t get it at first.  That’s fine.  I don’t have to get or understand everything people on the team are doing.  Just like I've decided to take myself out of the loop for figuring out clothing styles of Dawnshine factions.  Anytime my vote is taken out of fashion related decisions, it’s probably a good thing.  I will say that I’m really happy with the job the artists are doing though.  We might be some unfunded indie no one’s heard of, but the artists can do AAA work.

This week, I have a bunch of marketing and PR work to do.  I need to finish some designs and recruit a couple more programmers.  A very, very busy week.  But that’s how I like it.