Celebrating my 22nd Birthday – A look back at 21

Today is my 22nd Birthday, and I'd like to take some time to reflect on this past year, especially since so many things changed in my life during that time.

In terms of a theme for my 21st, I'd have to sum everything up under "Friendship".  This past year I really learned the value of friendship, as I went through some great highs, got through some tough times, and did it all with the help and alongside some great friends.

Coming in close second to Friendship as a theme for my 21st, I think "Twitter" or "Social Media" would be suitable themes.  Social media has made a huge impact on my life, and pretty much everything I did professionally revolved around social media and Twitter in particular.

Everything really kicked off when I made my "Video Game Companies on Twitter", back on January 11th, 2009 (ironically, I start my new job at Perfect World on January 11th 2010!).  What started out as a blog post that I was writing at 1am while watching Edward Scissorhands…quickly grew overnight and later that day was up on most of the major gaming blogs.  It later lead me to create GameIndustryTweet.com as the permanent home for the list – a site that I hope to update sooner rather than later.

One of my favorite people of 2009/my 21st, is Gene Mauro, my former boss at gamerDNA.  Gene was a great boss because he gave me a lot of opportunities to do new things and put myself out there.  Not only that, but he taught me quite a bit and contributed many great things to gamerDNA.  Gene was the guy who helped me build off this new Twitter "celebrity" from GameIndustryTweet, and he gave me the opportunity to lead several projects that were based on Twitter and social media trends.

In March I went to my first GDC with gamerDNA, and we put on our first (the first?) GDC Tweetup, which had over 200 people in attendance.  It was a great event for us, and we went on to throw a similar event at (my first) E3 2009.  Both events were awesome, and I'm so thankful that I was given the opportunity to attend them.  Hopefully I get to go to these events and others this year!

At E3 we also launched TweetMyGaming.com, a site that tracks all of the video game mentions on Twitter.  This was a project that I co-lead from the beginning, from concept, through development, and then represented at E3 in interviews (both video and written form!) with gaming blogs and video companies.

Fast forward and later that summer I was promoted to Online Marketing Manager, took over PR for gamerDNA's Relaunch on September 2nd, and in late October – ended my journey with gamerDNA.

From left to right, Trapper Markelz (VP Product), Collin Waid (Interface Engineer), Steve Sopp (Data Architect), Antares Meketa (Engineer), Jon Radoff (CEO), Sam Houston (ME!! Online Marketing Manager), Russell Miner (Engineer), Sean Duhame (Creative Director).

GamerDNA made a huge impact on my career and my life, and gave me the opportunity to made a lot of great friends.   All the guys pictured above (and even the folks not pictured!) were fantastic people, and I'm happy to call them my friends.  Outside of the people I worked with directly, I also made many friends from all across the country that I owe a lot of gratitude to.  From letting me crash on their couch while I interviewed for my next job, to giving me advice, for being great friends on Twitter…I've met a ton of awesome people this past year and I'm seriously grateful for it!

Right now I'm just wrapping up my last few days in Ohio with my family, right before I fly out to San Francisco to find a new apartment and start my new job at Perfect World Entertainment.  In 2009 I started out the year as a Community Manager, went on to become an Online Marketing Manager, and I'm starting 2010 as Senior Social Media Marketing Manager for an online video game company.  I'm pretty happy about that! :)

I owe huge thanks to my family and friends, as everyone has been more than nice to me this past year.  It has been truly amazing, and I can't wait to see what a new city, a new job, a new company and team, and a new year will bring for me.  Thanks everyone!

This year I hope to find a great place to live, make some awesome friends in my new home of San Francisco, and knock the socks off of everyone at Perfect World and kick some ass in the game industry.  2010 and 22 should be great years for me!

Thanks,

Sam "QforQ" Houston

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