September in a Nut Shell

The last month and a half have been very crazy, wildly different, and sometimes a rough journey.

The week after my last blog post, I went down to Hartford to see Blink 182 and Weezer in concert.  I had pit tickets and I was very excited since it was the first time I’ve ever seen them that close in concert.  Unfortunately, the night before the concert DJ AM died, a guy who was a very close friend to the Drummer and Bassist of Blink (Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus), and was the only other person (other being Travis) who survived a fatal plane crash last year.  This made the concert very emotional for the guys in the band, with the guys being visibly upset on stage during the show.  You definitely could tell that this was a tough show for everyone, and about four songs in Mark had the band and everyone in the audience have a moment of silence.

It was a really interesting experience for me as a fan, to be a part of this very emotional and very personal time for these guys.  This is a band that is very responsible for my musical tastes today, and a group of guys I’ve admired as people and musicians for several years.  All in all I’m very glad that I could be there and be a part of this historical moment for the band, and it’s something that I’ll remember for a long time.

Now that brings us into the first week of September, which was the launch week of the new GamerDNA.com.  This was something that we had worked on for a substantial amount of time, and it was my first PR project that I worked on entirely by myself.  I had to make the PR plan, write the press release, coordinate all the press interviews and demos, and much more.  It was an interesting learning experience since I had never done anything like that before, but it was satisfying in the end.

All the work ended up paying off when we had write-ups in Kotaku, Mashable, VentureBeat, Big Download, Fast Company, SideQuesting, and an appearance by myself on GamerTag Radio Podcast.

The night before we officially announced everything, I stayed up way too late making a Walk-Through video of the new site and uploaded it to YouTube.  I’ve never done that before either…and Adobe Premiere continues to be a big frustration, particularly when it comes to Codecs.  I’m happy with the outcome, though, so check it out here!

Literally the next day after the launch, I was on a plane to Seattle for PAX 2009.  I spent my first day in Seattle hanging out with my friend Dayne, who is an Associate Producer and Community Manager for Monolith.  Dayne gave me a tour of the Monolith (my first game studio I’ve ever been to!), and it was very cool.  Everyone at Monolith is very nice, and the team there is working on some very cool stuff!

After that, Dayne gave me a tour of Seattle..and I’ve got to say..I love that city.  There were some awesome parts of the city, and it really reminded me of parts of Cambridge/Boston (except the crappy winter weather).  Seattle was officially added to my “Cities I wouldn’t mind living in” list, alongside San Francisco.

The remainder of the weekend was All PAX, all the time.  On Saturday I had my community management panel, which I put together with help from Morgan Romine from Ubisoft, and our awesome panelists.  Here is the description of the panel:

Saturday, 1:30pm – 2:30pm, Unicorn Theatre

Twitter and Beyond – New Game Communities Online

Online game communities are changing rapidly as social media is being used more and more by gamers. No longer are people primarily congregating on official game forums. They’re talking with each other on Twitter, Facebook, and in other types of online communities about games. For this reason, Community Managers are actively leveraging social media tools to keep online communities informed and engaged with their games. This panel will discuss the exciting transition of game companies using social media to build, communicate with, and engage with players as well as highlight the macro-trends that impact all online communities. Panelists include executives from both the game development and social media side of the fence.

Panelists Include: Michelle Broderick [Moderator] – (Marketing Director and Community Manager, Yelp.com), Morgan Romine (Fragdoll Team Captain, Ubisoft), Jaap Tuinman (Director of Social, Community, & Online Marketing, EA), Sam Houston (Online Marketing Manager, GamerDNA), Meghan Rodberg (Senior Manager of Online Community Relations, Turbine)

The panel had a pretty good attendance, with mostly game industry folks in the crowd (very weird for PAX?). The audience questions after the panel were particularly good, and I enjoyed helping out one of the PAX Enforcers by answering her questions about how to get into the Game Industry and Community Management.

PAX this year was very good for me personally, and the feedback and conversations I had with people about GamerDNA were also very good. The previous year’s PAX was basically GamerDNA’s coming out show, so it was interesting to note the differences between last year and this year’s conversations. GamerDNA had much better brand recognition amongst industry folks and press, which makes me really happy as member of a team of people that work non-stop to bring more awesome to GamerDNA and the Game Industry as a whole.

The remainder of the month was up and down, with the last two weeks being a bit rough.  I found out that a guy I graduated High School with was killed in Iraq by an IED earlier in the month.  That shook me up a bit and definitely made me think about some things differently.

That same weekend I also learned that a very close friend and coworker, Trapper, had a terrible tragedy happen to his family.  His baby daughter had died earlier that morning, and I received the call from another coworker/friend who was helping out.  The next few days were very sad, but it was great to see how we all came through for our friend in need.  Everyone at work showed up for the Memorial Service, and I was very proud to be a part of such a great company and a great group of people.  Trapper gave a great Eulogy for his daughter June, and I encourage everyone to check out his blog post and give him and his family some support.

Life continues to be a journey..filled with awesome times, and sometimes I’m put in some trialling situations.  Here’s to hoping that October delivers more awesome :)

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