Caught between a Qualitative and a Quantitative place

The evolution of Community Management as I’ve seen it in recent years.

After being laid off from Couchsurfing this past July, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my career, while I’ve also spent a lot of time interviewing with companies. This is the longest period of time that I’ve ever been looking for a job, which has been a source of both introspection and lead to some observations about the changing landscape of Community Management as a career and occupation. I’ve written this blog post to help describe some of the challenges that I’m currently facing and what I’m seeing with the current crop of Community Manager positions that are open these days.

To reference the title of this blog post, I think I’m caught between the transition from community being largely focused on qualitative data, and now to a place where quantitative data is more and more important. Many employers are looking for data and success metrics that prove an applicant’s success in past roles, which can sometimes be hard to provide. On the flip-side, some companies don’t focus on or ask for these metrics and they are looking for other qualities in an applicant.

Though the growth of the job market has increased opportunities for a community professional, it hasn’t brought much clarity or consistency to the role, leading to a number of different challenges to those in the market. More specifically, I’ve noticed a few different specifications that Community Managers can get into, while the line between community and marketing continues to blur.

Build Relationships with Users

For a long time, much of the focus of community was to build relationships between a brand and its users, as well as connecting users to eachother. It’s often the goal of a community team to build brand advocates, increase positive sentiment, create community connections, and gather and process product feedback from users.

Most of my career has been spent doing exactly this, where I’ve spent countless hours talking to users, running user meetups, getting product feedback, and making sure that development teams are aware of what users want and need in the product. Many small companies focus on this process because they are trying to build a product pre-traction, or they’re trying to figure out how to evolve and grow. You may see big companies have their community manager focus on these tasks too, since they probably have other employees that focus on audience growth and user acquisition.

For the most part, I think community is still largely about building relationships with users, but I’m seeing more and more that companies are putting emphasis on marketing related activities. My most recent example of this split is my time at Couchsurfing, where I was 100% focused on helping support the product development teams and our VIP user programs, while we had someone else that handled all of our Twitter/Facebook/blog stuff. While this was good for me because it allowed me to focus more, I think the break from social media may have caused me some harm in terms of keeping up with the latest social strategies and techniques.

Social Media Specialists

During the same time that Community Management has changed, so too has social media management. Social media is no longer just an aspect of community, it has grown into a fulltime focused position that requires vertical/platform specific strategies and content generation experience. Each platform has its own weird ins and outs, with different communities requiring a different approach and unique platform uses.

It’s no longer good enough to just be on social media, it’s important to make sure you’re creating the right content in the right places. It’s also important to make sure that you’re measuring all of this activity and how it affects outlet growth, as data can indicate what tactics are working and how you need to adjust your strategy. The evolution of social media management is where I’ve seen marketing have the most impact on community.


Other observations:

  1. Writing and content creation is increasingly important for some roles. Creating content rapidly and using it as a means to drive traffic and user acquisition is often rolled into Community Management.
  2. Specialized CM’s for subject matter communities. The need for a community manager to be an expert in, or very familiar with a subject matter has become very important to employers.
  3. Make sure you’re documenting all the success you’ve had in your current role, especially metrics and data. I’ve sometimes made the mistake of not taking notes of various numbers, percentage increases, etc. that were the result of my work.

The need for people-people

Through all of this change, it’s still very important that a community professional is a “people person”. It takes a lot to be able to work with a community of users that just went through a bad product launch, or address a community that has received a buggy marketing promotion. In past jobs I’ve been described internally as the “meat shield” and I’ve had to join the frontlines of the community to help address a prickly situation. Since the community manager is often the most public touch-point for users, it’s very important that the CM is good with people, especially when the company is in a tough position.

A community manager is someone who has to wear many different hats and work with most departments across an organization. I’ve found that most CM’s enjoy this variety, but I think it has lead the “Community Manager” title to become a catch-all term for anything that doesn’t fit into product or marketing. We’ve also seen the requirements for a successful community manager continue to expand and evolve, which can make it tricky when you’re transitioning between roles.

As I look for a new role, I’m keeping all of the above in mind, in hopes that I can find the right role for me while also making sure that I pick up the skills needed for a more successful future.


What do you think? Let me know by shooting me an email at Sam@SamHouston.me, on twitter @SamHouston, or by leaving a comment. You can find me on Linkedin if you would like to learn more about me — let’s connect! Thanks for reading!

My time is up at Couchsurfing

I recently published a blog post on Medium.com about my change in employment, specifically that I had been laid off by Couchsurfing. You can read the full article here.

In the interest of being straight and to the point: I was laid off from my position of Community Manager at Couchsurfing last Tuesday and I’m now looking for a new full-time job. The news has left me with sadness, as well as a lot to reflect on and think about as I begin the hunt for a new job, and a new company.

I’m currently looking for Community Management or Social Media Manager roles in San Francisco or Seattle. I prefer to work with smaller teams and have the ability to influence both strategy and the execution of community/social media. If you have any leads or would like to chat, please contact me on Linkedin.

Saying goodbye to an adventurous 2012

Closing the chapter on one of the most formative years in my life is a curious feeling. I’m nervous and excited for 2013 and what it will bring to me, and I’m thankful for what I learned and what I became in the year that has now passed. While there were some trying times in 2012, I think I’m in a much better place now.

When I went home to Ohio for the Christmas of 2011, I had a hard time grappling with the fact that my hometown no longer felt like “home”. I went to bars and met people that I’ve known for years, but there was a part of me that couldn’t fully relate to them, and I’m sure they couldn’t fully relate to me. At this point in my life, San Francisco is home for me and it is where I feel the most comfortable and relaxed. Today I returned from my week long trip to Ohio for Xmas 2012, and this year I was much more comfortable and OK with being home, as I now had a much better mindset from which to approach things. My time with my friends and family was much better this year, as I no longer was distracted by the overwhelming feelings of being in a place that once felt like “home”, a place that may now feel a bit strange.

I often refer to this year as the year that I had my quarter-life crisis. Since my birthday is on January 2nd, the year and my age are very closely intertwined. As a 24 year old this year, I had to learn to be comfortable and confident in my own skin and in my personality, and I had to become comfortable in my career. I wrote about this over the summer, where I talked about my career/job change at BandPage, and when I described “being real” and authentic. This year I fully embraced my independence, which meant defining myself independently of anyone else, any job, and any career path that I’m in. I learned a great deal about myself, I went after some goals, not the least of which was exercising more and taking up cycling, which resulted in a loss of over 30lbs in the past 6 months. As I took on and conquered new challenges, this year has been freeing and greatly rewarding for me, for which I’m also very thankful.

Golden Gate Bridge bike ride

My bike after a very foggy ride over the Golden Gate Bridge

In November I quit my contract at EA/Origin and decided to take a new job at Couchsurfing as their Community Manager. Relatively quickly after joining Origin, I realized that I’m not as comfortable working at big companies as I am at small startups. There are a lot of things you can and can’t do at big companies, there are lot of things you can and can’t say. Things are usually more defined for you at larger companies, and there are usually many more people involved and many more moving parts involved in pushing forward projects. Working at EA was a culture shock, after coming from the small startup, “just get shit done” environment at BandPage.

I started my new role at Couchsurfing on November 20th and it was like a breath of fresh air. Couchsurfing has a massive, deeply passionate and engaged community of well over five million members that have been couchsurfing for years. It’s worth mentioning that “Couchsurfing” has many different meanings in different contexts. Couchsurfing can mean the company that I work at, it can mean the actual act of Couchsurfing, and it can mean the website or mobile applications that the company develops. I feel very fortunate to be trusted by the company to help shepherd a community that is so passionate and emotionally invested, and the role has presented a lot of fun and interesting challenges.

Couchsurfing (the company) has a very flat organizational structure, one where open communication and suggestions are always welcome. Our CEO, Tony, deeply believes in working with the community and strongly influencing product development and iteration based on community feedback. I’ve never had an opportunity like this, to empower a community to have great impact on the products that it uses, and this is an extremely exciting opportunity for me. I’m very thankful that I took my friend (and now co-worker) up on her offer to get a beer and learn more about Couchsurfing, since it ultimately led me to interview for a job that I’m confident will be great for me personally and for Couchsurfing (in all contexts).

This year will be one of great importance to me, a year which was packed full of memories of great highs and some occasional lows. I turn 25 in roughly 36 hours and tonight I’ll be saying goodbye to an adventurous 2012. I hope 2013 will be as good to me as 2012 has been. Happy New Year’s – let’s make 2013 a year to remember and celebrate.

 

First day back

Today (7/23/2012) was my first day back at EA, otherwise known as Electronic Arts. It also marks my first day back in the video game industry, after a nine month fling in the ever alluring music industry. I’m now a Community Manager for Origin, EA’s one year old digital store and PC Game download client. I’m working alongside J “OneLetter” Goldberg, who previously worked for Volition as the Community Manager for games like Red Faction: Guerrilla and Saints Row: The Third.

Being back in video games, and being back at EA (for the 3rd time)…it honestly all feels quite surreal. The closest analogy I can come up with is your first day back at school, after a long summer break.

As I waited for the shuttle down to EA’s main campus (EA Redwood Shores), I ran into several people that I knew and used to work with. As I walked around the campus and waited for my orientation, I saw several people that I knew and they welcomed me back to EA. It was all a reminder that I used to work for EA..I used to work in video games..and I know some people!

And then came the meetings, meetings with a bunch of new people, and the hazy feeling I had for about half of the day. That feeling that you get when you show up for your first class, or when you sit down at your desk after a long vacation from work. I had a hard time shifting gears, changing my mindset from what works for musicians to what could work for an international public company with over 9,000 employees. I had a tough time remembering community management tactics and strategies for the game industry, as well as remembering what I like to do in this space and what I’m really good at. I knew that I was good and that I had fun with all of these things…but I couldn’t put anything into words just yet.

But luckily it started to come back to me. I started to remember how things worked, remembered all of the great people that I’ve worked with and met in video games, and I started to get genuinely excited about what could be done and what we should do at Origin. That’s not to say that I wasn’t excited before, but now it felt a bit different.

Up until that point, it was hard for me to understand what had happened in the past month. It was only just over a week ago that I was working at a 40 person startup in downtown San Francisco, but now I’m working on the 5th floor of one building that is a part of a campus of four buildings with thousands of employees.

When I left video games last year I was a bit jaded about the whole industry. I was frustrated with where it was going, with some of the latest trends, and with where my career was headed. But now I’m excited again, excited to work with J and the other Community Managers and marketing and public relations folks across EA, to work with the EA.com and Origin teams, and to help shape the future of EA’s relationship with gamers.

The team wants to make an impact and do something a bit different. It’s not going to be easy, but I think we can do it.

Thanks to everyone that reached out to me over the past few weeks and gave me support and words of encouragement, and recently all of the words of congratulations. I’m very fortunate to have a lot of very supportive and friendly people (friends!) in my life.

I’m still going to do some music stuff for fun and outside of work, and I hope to continue to explore my writing on this blog and perhaps other blogs.

Thanks for coming along for the journey! :)

Keep Movin’ On

It’s a shame that I haven’t updated my blog for the past 8 months, as I’ve done some really great things in that time. I’ve been a part of several BandPage feature launches, gone to SXSW 2012 and helped run and promote a 9 day music festival (that we ran ourselves and had 200+ bands…), I’ve met some amazing people along the way, and been more than fortunate to work with many of them every day. BandPage has become like a family to me, and showed me that you can build a company full of amazing people that are real, genuine, inspiring, honest, and caring.

But unfortunately, my time at BandPage is coming to an end soon. We recently decided that my needs and the company’s needs are not quite working out, and that I should try to find something that is a right fit for me. I still really like everyone at BandPage, and I’m leaving on good terms, but it just came down to the fact that the roles available at the company just aren’t the right match for me.

After SXSW, I started to transition into more of a Customer Support role. At first I thought I could do this, and do it well, and hopefully enjoy it. What I found is that I am good at helping people and making them happy, but I just don’t enjoy the challenges of customer support. It’s not creative enough for me, and I wasn’t inspired by customer support. It left me fairly upset and frustrated with my role, and ultimately lead to the decision that I should find something outside of BandPage.

I’ll still be at BandPage for a little while, to help make this transition a smooth one. I’m still on good terms with everyone, including the CEO (and friend) J Sider. I want to thank him and the rest of the BandPage crew for helping make my experience an awesome one, and ultimately being supportive to me when they learned I wasn’t happy any more.

So what’s next? I’m not sure.

What ultimately lead me to leave Playfish for BandPage was an opportunity in the music industry that I see, and I believe is still available today. In my opinion, the relationship that artists/bands have with their fans is sorely lacking, and could be improved upon greatly by using social media in smart ways. I think someone like me, a Community Manager, could be used to interact with fans, create and share content regularly, and make a stronger connection between the artist with the fanbase. And through this connection, there will even be ways to monetize the fans (in a fair way), because you’re creating great content and great experiences for fans.

BandPage is an extension of that. New companies like Shaker and Instagram are definitely a part of that, as are “old” companies like Twitter and Facebook. And media like Blogs, YouTube, and Photos will be key. But they need to be done all in concert with one another, with a strategy, and not left to the guitar techs or the band members (who often just do it when they have time).

My hope is that I can find a way to channel this passion and vision that I have for the future of the music industry into a new role. I’m going to need your help though, since this is something new for me. You can find me on Linkedin Here, and if you know of anything that you think would be interesting to me, please contact me on Linkedin (or Twitter or Facebook).

I want to change the music industry and give fans and bands the experience that they deserve. Hopefully I can find the opportunity to do that :)

 

A new, Musical Chapter in Life

My life over the past few years has been quite the journey. Four years ago I was a 19 (almost 20) year old who was just about to start working at Best Buy for the Christmas season, and a few months later I moved to Boston to start at a tiny startup called gamerDNA. At gamerDNA I was the 8th employee and we worked from the CEO's kitchen table, grew to 20+, went through layoffs and lots of late nights, but created many great memories. Then for the past two years I've been living in San Francisco, working at various game companies, including Playfish for the past year, where I've been working with Facebook Game communities for The Sims and MONOPOLY. Life's been a fucking ride, man.
 

On Monday I announced that I was leaving Playfish and that I had accepted a Community Manager job at a small SF startup called RootMusic. This was the result of some soul searching, lots of hardwork, and it was a decision that frankly scared the shit out of me. At this point I'm pretty well connected in the video game industry, I've had the pleasure of working for some great companies with amazing people, and now I'm turning my back on all of that and starting fresh. Not only did I announce that I was leaving on Monday, but Tuesday was my last day at Playfish, and today was my first day at RootMusic. Intense, to say the least.

I'm extremely excited right now. It's currently 11pm, I got home just recently from my first day at work, and I'm honestly at a loss for words. I've got a huge amount of responsibility and a lot of people are looking to me to make some big decisions and be involved in many different projects. But this is what I've been looking for, I'll get to work at a music company that works with virtually every top Band/Musician in the industry, but also makes a product that a tiny high school garage band could use to great effect. The music industry is changing rapidly, and RootMusic will be there to lead the charge. To think that I've been fortunate enough to land a role at such a company just blows my mind, and I can't wait to spend many years with these great people and go onto this next chapter in my life journey.

This new job is going to be stressful, it's going to be really hard, and it's definitely going to be intense. But I'm really looking forward to a very rewarding experience, and I can't wait to make an impact on how Community Management is done in the music industry. This is very much like a dream job, a dream that I started to formulate recently as I prepared to meet Tom Delonge from Blink-182 and came up with a pitch to him/his manager for reasons they should hire me as their Social Media Manager. They didn't end up calling me back, but the important part was that it got my wheels turning in my head, and it got me to where I am today.

Today is a great day. I can't wait for tomorrow.

I’m speaking at PAX East this weekend!

Hey everyone – just a quick update…

Tomorrow morning I'm heading to Boston to attend Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) East 2011!  I can't wait to visit Boston again, see all my gamerDNA buddies, and see a PAX East that has been reborn to be bigger and better. I'm also going to be speaking on three different panels, each of them about Community Management and/or Social Media.

Here's the list – I hope you can make it out to one of them (or all!) and say hello!:

How Your Favorite Game Companies Use Facebook
Manticore Theatre

Friday, 8:00pm – 9:00pm

Like this. Like that. Facebook has taken the world by storm and has become a crucial platform for community managers and companies to help keep in touch with and grow their online communities. With the constant evolution of social media and Facebook in particular, you may not know some of the cool things happening on your favorite game studio's Facebook page. Join Collin Moore (Community Management Vet) as he moderates a discussion with community managers from across the game industry (Insomniac Games, Playfish/EA, Harmonix, and Robot Entertainment), about the importance of Facebook to game companies, and how pressing the "LIKE" button is just the beginning.

Panelists include: Collin Moore [Game Industry Vet], Sam Houston [Online Content Manager, Playfish – EA], John Drake [Manager of Communications and Special Projects, Harmonix], James Stevenson [Senior Community Manager, Insomniac Games], Justin Korthof [Community Manager, Robot Entertainment]

 

The Roads to Becoming a Community Manager (East Coast Version!)
Wyvern Theatre

Saturday, 4:30pm – 5:30pm

Based on the great feedback we received after this panel at PAX Prime, we've decided to do it again! East-Coast Style. You hear us on podcasts, see us in videos, read our blogs on websites, retweet us, argue with us on forums, and give us high fives at PAX. But have you ever wondered how we became community managers? From games journalism to forum moderation to public policy and QA, every road is different. Find out the random history of some of your favorite game studio community managers, and hear their advice on what skills and knowledge you’ll need to become one of gaming’s next-generation of community managers.

Panelists include: Alli Thresher [Community Moderator, Harmonix Music Systems, Inc], James Stevenson [Community Manager, Insomniac Games], Arne Meyer [Manager, Community, Naughty Dog], Sam Houston [Online Content Manager, Playfish, EA], Jennifer Kye [Company Blogger, Social Media Editor, Gameloft]

 

So I Still Have This Website…
Cat Theatre

Sunday, 3:00pm – 4:00pm

The community-focused panel from PAX Prime is making its way to the East Coast. You've spent the time and money building your community site, and now you're looking to take it to the next level. Maybe you want to get a job as a professional Community Manager, or maybe you're just looking for tips on how to get publishers and developers to pay more attention to your site. Whether you're just starting out, or have been running a site for years, this panel is the best place to get your questions answered. Together, these community managers have represented some of the biggest franchises, developers, and publishers in the game industry, and most of them started out just like you – running a fan site.

Panelists include: Justin Korthof [Community Manager, Robot Entertainment], James Stephenson [Senior Community Manager, Insomniac Games], Matthew Pruitt [FPS Community Manager, Electronic Arts], Sam Houston [Community Manager, Independent], Jessica Shea [Community Manager, 343 Industries]

 

Please stop by the panels if you can, I'd love to meet more gamer friends, and if you have any questions about Community/Social Media, I'd love to help you.  This is a total vacation for me and I can't wait to relax, walk around PAX, and try to experience the show as a gamer and not as a guy doing press interviews all day.  I also can't wait to see my gamerDNA buddies, as it has been over a year since I've seen most of them.

First day at Playfish/EA


Today was my first day at Playfish/EA, and I figured I'd give the blog a brief update on the excitement so far.  On everyone's first day at EA, you have to go through new hire orientation – something that isn't too exciting, but it's good to get an overall idea of what EA is up to as a company, how it works and motivates its employees, and the various benefits of being an EA employee.  The whole thing lasts a few hours or so and at times it was hard for me to sit totally still for that long (due to my ADD, more than anything), but at least I got some free EA cups and a copy of Medal of Honor out of it :)

Orientation had me excited about EA, and it also served as a great reason to head down to the EA Redwood Shores (EARS) campus.  Since my last blog post, the Playfish gods pulled some strings and got me a full-time desk at the Playfish office in San Francisco, so I'll now be working full-time in SF.  This is absolutely fantastic and I'm very excited for many reasons, but it does mean I won't get to see all my friends at EARS any more than I would outside of work.  Going to EARS for orientation was fun because the campus was awesome, but also because I ran into two awesome people on my way into orientation and while on a tour of the campus.  The first being Peter (Marketing guy for Crysis 2, Alice 2, and other stuff), who I sat about two feet away from while I was at EA over the summer.  Peter's a hilarious guy with similar music and gaming tastes, as well as a great sense of humor.  It was great to see Peter since I haven't seen him in about four months.

The cherry on top was seeing Jaap Tuinman, though, as he played huge roles in my being hired for both my summer contract gig at EA, but also this Playfish position.  Jaap's a fantastic Director of Community at EA Games, and I'm forever grateful to him for all he's done for me in the past six months.  I consider anyone who gets to work with him very lucky.

After orientation, I headed back up to San Francisco and straight to the Playfish office.  I already had a desk with some nice Playfish swag on it (pictured above), and I even had an inbox full of email.  I was shown around the office, introduced to everyone, and immediately went into a couple community/company briefing meetings.  It felt great to be at a job again, and I'm really excited to get started on some community projects for our upcoming games.

So far, I'm really impressed by everyone at Playfish and I can't wait to work with them all.  Across the board, everyone was very smart, nice, funny, and laid back.  The entire company was very welcoming and people seemed genuinely happy and excited to have me there, something that I'm very happy to see on my first day :)

The Online Content Manager role is new for the Playfish SF office and there is a TON of room for me to grow and make the role my own, and I'm hoping to make a huge impact not only on the SF office, but Playfish as a whole.  Community Management is relatively new at the company, so I'm hoping to take what I've learned over the past few years, add a bunch of new knowledge from the Facebook Game community, and do some great things for both the company and our millions of players.

I'm very excited and I can't wait to get started.  Stay tuned!

Accepting a position at Playfish (EA)!

Hello everyone!

Great news! Today I'm accepting at position to work at Playfish full-time as an Online Content Manager in their San Francisco office.  The Online Content Manager is basically a Community Manager, handling all community efforts for their particular game, and I'll be working on the games coming out of the SF office.  This comes with just about a week left before my prediction of getting a job before December would be void – I sure cut it close!

Playfish is a Facebook game company that was acquired by EA a year ago for ~$300 million,  and the company has created about 20 Facebook games over the years.  They're probably most famous for titles like Restaurant City, Hotel City, Pet Society, and most recently have recently released EA IP titles like Madden and Fifa.  It's very exciting to see the opportunities that Playfish has, to leverage both original IP, as well as EA portfolio IP's when creating new games.

While Playfish is owned by EA, they still manage to preserve a lot of the startup feel and atmosphere, and in general they're going to just trust me and expect me to do great work.  There won't be a lot of hand holding, just the expectation that I'll be creative, collaborate with the team across the board, and do great work.  This is what I LOVED about gamerDNA, and I can't wait to do it in a company that still has the backing of a company like Playfish/EA.  It's a great opportunity for me to learn more about community in the social gaming atmosphere, as well as a great opportunity to learn more about building communities at a large scale via social media and traditional community efforts.  Not to mention the Facebook casual gaming demographic is pretty new for me, so there will definitely be a bit of learning curve that I will have to adjust to.

From the first call I had with Playfish, things felt right.  All my conversations with the SF Playfish people were great, with very intelligent and easy to talk to people.  You can tell everyone is very talented and passionate about doing great work, but at the same time they want to have a good time doing it.  I've even been contacted by folks on the team already, urging me to accept and congratulating me, saying how excited everyone is to have me on board.  It feels great to be working at a place where people want me to be there and are excited about working together.

I should be starting next week, and I'll be working from the Playfish office in downtown San Francisco.  I'll also get to work at the EA Redwood Shores office occasionally, which will be great because the campus is great and I've got a lot of friends that still work at EARS.

This is just a quick post that I wanted to throw up since I literally just accepted on the phone.  In the future I'll be sure to post some more detailed blog posts :)

Update: Just spent two months with EA

Hi everyone! It's been a couple months since the last update..and as always, a lot has happened.

After I lost my job at Perfect World, I started receiving calls and emails almost immediately from people, interested in talking to me and trying to line me up with opportunities that were out there.  Through sheer luck, right timing, and knowing the right guy…I was called by EA, interviewed with them on Friday of the week that I lost my job..then started at EA the following Wednesday.

For the past two months I was a contract Community Management Specialist, and I worked on Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning – An upcoming action RPG being made by Big Huge Games and 38 Studios.  I worked with EA to create our social network accounts for the game, create all the assets for those social networks, as well as create assets and fill out data for Xbox Live/Xbox.com, PlayStation.com and PSN.  That was just the first two weeks, because after that we had to officially announce the Amalur IP to the world at San Diego Comic Con via a panel starring Curt Schilling, Todd McFarlane, R.A. Salvatore, and Ken Rolston.  Luckily I was able to convince the team that there was value to having me be at Comic Con to live-tweet/facebook the panel, so I got to go to Comic Con for a day and spend time with the four visionaries by 38 Studios.  It was pretty awesome!

After that, I worked on various Community plans for Reckoning, and transitioned on to doing more asset creation and data filing for the upcoming FPS "Bulletstorm", from Epic Games and People Can Fly.  All the new PSN icons, Xbox Live icons, etc for both Reckoning and Bulletstorm were made by me – so check em' out!

Besides all that, I got to work with the EA Partners video editor to create some community videos for Reckoning, one of which I'm really excited about since I selected the footage for it and the video came out pretty awesome.  I can't wait for it to release!

Unfortunately yesterday, August 31st, was my last day at EA.  The contract was only two months, and unfortunately there wasn't enough work for me to do to have me sign-on for another contract.  Everyone at EA was awesome to work with, EA Redwood Shores is an amazing campus, and I'm so glad I got to work there for the time that I did.  Working at EA was such a good experience and I'm glad I got insight into what it's like to work at a game company like EA, with a great team of supportive people.

Now I'm getting ready to go to PAX, speak on two panels, and generally have a great time.  I'm really excited to see my friends and have a relaxing weekend in Seattle.  I've got a lot of people to see, luckily some of them potentially job related, and a lot of business cards to hand out.

I'll be following up this blog post with some details about some contract gigs I'm going to be working on while looking for a full-time gig, as well as all my PAX Prime 2010 details and where you can find me.

Summary of this blog post:  EA was awesome, and I'm really glad I got to work there and wish it was longer.  Hopefully there's a next time!