Category: GamerDNA

Community Manager looking for job

As of this past week, I am no longer employed at gamerDNA and I’m now looking for a new job.  Myself and five others were laid off last week, freeing up the company a bit so that it can operate at break even and continue to do awesome things.  A news article about the situation came out earlier this week with some quotes from our CEO Jon Radoff, if you’re interested.

Working at gamerDNA was an amazing experience and has helped my career in huge ways.  I’m very thankful to Jon and the rest of the staff for giving a (at the time) 20 year old from Ohio the opportunity to work at a video game internet startup.  I came on board in March of 2008 as the eighth employee, when the company was still meeting at Jon Radoff’s house and our desks were his dining room table.  I saw the company grow quite rapidly, move into its first office, change our name and rebrand itself, and launch GamerDNA.com in early June of 08′.  I remember the meeting that we had where we decided on the new logo, the awesome work of art from the super talented Sean Duhame.  Everyone was always involved and kept up to date on what was going on in the company, and I came to love our Wednesday “Lunch and Learns”, where the company would have lunch together and update everyone on the progress that we were making and any big news or exciting projects.

I’ve been to PAX twice now, I’ve been to BlizzCon, GDC and E3…all because of GamerDNA.  Two years ago it was just a dream to be able to go to those events (especially E3..such a video game nerd’s dream!).  I even had the pleasure of launching a website at E3 and representing the company in interviews for MTV.com and Current.TV.  Most recently I put together all the PR for our GamerDNA.com relaunch on Sept 2nd, which resulted in the most coverage GamerDNA.com had ever received for one launch.

GamerDNA gave me a huge amount of opportunities and responsibilities, and for that I am very grateful to Jon Radoff and the rest of the team.  What started out as an entry level marketing position (“Game Talent Lead”), later turned into a Community Management role and then ultimately my role as Online Marketing Manager.  It was a great ride.

If you haven’t yet, please check out yesterday’s blog post which included a picture of the product team at gamerDNA.  It was taken last week at our company party at Trapper Markelz’s house, and it shows a great group of guys that have become my surrogate Boston family.

So what’s next?

Now I’m interested in going to my next dream job, a Community Management job at a video game developer or publisher.  I don’t have anything lined up just yet, so I’m still looking and applying to various job opportunities out there.  I’m looking to take what I’ve done at gamerDNA, take all my passion for Social Media and Community Management, and turn that into a career at a game company.  That’s my hope, at least :)

If you’re interested in finding out more about all the cool stuff I’ve done in my time at gamerDNA and more details on my experience, please check out my LinkedIn Page: http://www.linkedin.com/in/samhouston .  I’ve updated it quite a bit and it’s basically a web version of my resume.  If you’d like to get in touch with me directly, please shoot me an email at Sam AT QforQ dotcom.  I’m willing to relocate for a new job, and I’m especially excited about CM roles that will give me the opportunity to interact directly with gamers, as well as work with press and represent the company at events like PAX.

Other things on the horizon are a relaunch of GameIndustryTweet.com with updated pages and a new look….and some time relaxing and catching up on all these video games I need to finish :) .

Thanks for reading this far, if you know of any exciting Community Management gigs in the game industry – Please give me a shout!

-Sam Houston

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The Product Team at GamerDNA (Photo)

Last week we got the GamerDNA product team together at Trapper Markelz’s house for some Beatles Rock Band, food, and beers.  It was a great time with lots of fun had by all.  Before we all headed out for the night, we all got around the GamerDNA Banner and took a photo.

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).

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).

I’ve spent more time with the above dudes than I have with any one else in the past couple years.  They’re like family, and they’re all more than awesome.

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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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Little bit of Catch-Up

Turns out that I haven’t been that great on keeping up with the blog this year.  Maybe I’m not cut out to be a blogger…but I’m glad I have it.  I’ve got an idea for a post about Twitter that I’ve been meaning to do…and I imagine I’ll also have a lot of stuff to talk about this summer because of all the adventures at work.

First off, GDC was a great time and I’m really glad I got to go.  Being at a convention that was filled with Game Industry Professionals was a very cool experience/feeling – you could really feel the tight knit community that the Game Industry has become.  Everyone knows each other, helps each other, great discussions are had, and tons of fun is had as well :) .  I definitely want to go back next year!

Since GDC things have been pretty busy both at work and outside of work.  Earlier this month I was given the opportunity to speak on a panel with Scott Macmillan and Darius Kazemi at the Independent Game Conference (IGC) in Boston.  Scott and Darius are two local independent game developer guys, and I’ve came to know and become friends with them mostly because of Twitter…so it was very fitting that we did a panel about “Networking for Indies” that focused on leveraging Twitter.  Overall I think we did a pretty good job and I learned a decent amount about what I’d like to do in the future, if I get the chance to do a similar panel.  It was my first panel/time speaking at a conference, so I’ll strike it up as a WIN!

My last bit of news that I wanted to document was that I’m going to E3 next week!  When I look back at what all has happened over the past year..it’s pretty hard to believe that I’ve had the opportunity to go to PAX, GDC, and now E3.  I’m super greatful to GamerDNA for sending me to these events and letting me take part!  Right now I’m putting a few things together for E3 that I can’t really talk about, but I’m very excited about them.  This will be my first E3 and I’m expecting it to be an awesome experience, with lots of new things to done and lots of new people to meet either for the first time, or the first time outside of Twitter ;)

That wraps it up for this blog post, I hope to stop by after E3 and share some pictures/stories, as well as write a couple blog entries about Community Management and another on Twitter.

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How to Engage your Audience on Twitter

Great, your company is now on Twitter, you’ve convinced the boss or PR/Marketing that you should be there and now you have tons of followers.  What do you do next?

Engage your Audience

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Quick Update


I’ve been thinking about updating my blog for awhile now…I often think of great topics but I never get down to actually doing it(obviously).

Some quick updates:

Last October I went to Blizzard’s BlizzCon, a convention for fans of all of their franchises (Starcraft, Warcraft and Diablo). It was very very cool..an awesome game convention that was put on by just one company. Every marketer/game company person that is incharge of putting on events for their brand/company should go. They really take things to another level and you can’t help but go away and be excited about everything that Blizzard is doing. Hell, I’ve hardly even played any of their games and I bought about 50-70$ worth of swag :P

Things are continuing to go great over at gamerDNA. I’m really busy with some new responsibilities, experience, and some great mentorship/learning opportunities within the company. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings, especially the next 3-4 months. March will bring my year anniversary at gamerDNA and it is amazing to think about how far we have come in the last year.

I’m continuing to be active in the social media space…namely Twitter. I’ve got a post that I want to write this week about game companies being active on Twitter, sort of a short update in response to my post last August.

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PAX – A good time in Seattle

(Full Disclosure:  I did a write up on the gamerDNA company blog so I’m going to keep this fairly short and sweet.  The purpose of this is to give my personal take and record some of the more fun, notable events)

It has now been a week since the last day of PAX and I’m still getting back into the swing of things.  Last week I had the pleasure of attending PAX with three others from gamerDNA from Thursday through Monday which was the entirety of PAX.  We went there on a mission:  Go to the biggest gaming expo in North America and talk to people about gamerDNA.  All in all, I’d say it was a success.

If you haven’t gone to PAX before, you should.  This was my first time going to PAX and it was the biggest gaming event that I’ve ever been to.  Last year I went to SOE Fan Faire and Gen Con and those don’t even compare to the size of this event or the amount of fun had at PAX.  The PAX officials have reported that about 58,500 people invaded Seattle and attended PAX, well over the 37,000 that they had last year.  I wonder what they will have next year…and how they will fit everyone in the Seattle Convention Center.

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Are video game companies active in Social Media?

Sure, many game companies are using social media these days as advertising platforms, but are they really using Social Media to the extent that they could be doing?  I don’t think so.  How can they step it up?  That’s simple.

They need to listen.

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What kind of gamer are you?

This week has already been a long week at work, mostly because monday we stayed until about 3am getting a brand new Quiz system implemented and up and running.  Along with the launch of a brand new quiz system we launched 3 new quizzes for players to take.  Now instead of just the Bartle Test (and the MMORPG and Guild quizzes that are no longer with us), we have a Gamer Decades of Influence quiz and an FPS multiplayer and RTS multiplayer playstyle quiz.

Check out our brand new quiz page here and take some tests!

See the bottom of the post for my results.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for what this system can do and we’re working right now on some new types of signatures for people to

use to show theirresults. We’re also kicking around ideas for new types of quizzes that we could put out there for people to take.

Maybe you guys could help out…why kind of quizzes would you like to take? Personally, I’m thinking of putting together a quiz for PVPers.

Lastly, I’ve gotta give a shout to Casualties of WAR , my new Warhammer Guild which is expanding to over 100 people! I’ll also give a shout to Rick over at /Random for being a nice guy and checking out my blog!

Thanks guys, until next time..happy gaming!

(PS. Since I’m being considered a blogger now I figure I should live up to that title and blog
more often now..like more than once every 2 months.  You can count on more entries as time goes on :) )

Here are my results:

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Wow, what an exciting week

Like the title alludes to, this week has been exciting..but really the past two weeks have been good for me.  Since a decent amount of stuff happened I’m just going to dive in, so hold on!

First off, I’m very excited and happy to announce that I’ve been promoted to Community Manager at gamerDNA.  It was official last week but I wanted to sit on it first before I announced it on my blog.  I’m very stoked to be in this position and I’ve been told gamerDNA will be sending me to gaming events in the future to represent the company to gamers.  I’ll also be more active on forums, blogs and in game communities to help represent the company there.  In just about two weeks I’ll be at PAX giving away gamerDNA t-shirts and inviting people to our gamerDNA party so if you’re there, please let me know and you’ll get an invite and a shirt!

I’m still getting used to the job and all the new responsibilities and expectations but I’m enjoying it.  I love the challenge and it is fantastic to be able to work with two things I love to do:  working with games and working with gamers.  Over the coming months you’ll be seeing a gamerDNA podcast unveiled(finally), some more contests for the 360Voice and gamerDNA communities, as well as a TON more blog posts on the gamerDNA company blog .

This week brought the August meeting of the Boston IGDA Chapter which was sponsored by Harmonix (Guitar Hero 1&2, Rock Band, etc) and Ralph Baer, who basically created home video gaming back in the 60s, was the speaker.  Due to the awesomeness of Mr. Baer and Harmonix we had about 5 guys representing gamerDNA at the meeting.  Mr. Baer’s speech was very interesting because we gained so much insight into how little these guys had back then technologically, but all that they did with what they had.  In today’s world you could call this guy a hacker, making the craziest inventions out of what little they had, bringing the video game console to your living room.

After Mr. Baer finished his presentation Harmonix took over the stage and had the E3 preview build for Rock Band 2 for everyone to play.  Incase you don’t know…Rock Band 2 hasn’t even came out yet and it has been played by hardly anyone, so it was super awesome to be able to play the game.  Steve Sopp and I took the stage and rocked out, which

you can see here:

Steve Sopp (far left) on guitar and Sam Houston on Drums

Steve Sopp (far left) on guitar and Sam Houston on Drums

You can also watch a slighly embarrassing video (for me) of us playing Rock Band 2, shot by the Harmonix job recruiter.

Finally, I’ve decided to join the Warhammer guild "Casualties of WAR ", ran by a few bloggers/fansite people I knew from Vanguard: Saga of Heroes.  The guild is made up of a *ton* of MMO bloggers/podcasters and industry people, so it should be a pretty awesome time.  I’m really looking forward to joining these folks in ventrilo and having a good time sacking cities and taking down some keeps.

That about wraps it up, soon I’ll be getting ready for our gamerDNA trip to PAX and I’ll be sending out invites to the gamerDNA party (with free booze!).  Stay tuned :)

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