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.

 

2011 – The year of Music

In January I made a post about new New Year's Resolutions, and while I haven't done some of them, I can actually cross most of the resolutions of my list. The one resolution that I'm most excited about and feel like I've successfully kicked the shit out of is "Go to More Concerts".  This year I've gone to Coachella, Outside Lands, seen Best Coast/Wavves, went to a small Alkaline Trio show, and tomorrow I'll be seeing Blink-182 (from the pit!). Next week I'm going to another Blink-182 show down in Mountain View, and I'm even going to meet Tom Delonge, the guitarist for Blink-182. It's super surreal that I'll get to meet Tom, since he's some what of a hero of mine, so I'm very excited to finally meet him and hopefully tell him how much his bands mean to me. Later this month I'll be going to Treasure Island, a relatively large music festival in San Francisco.

Not to mention a new Blink-182 album came out this week, "Neighborhoods", which is their first album in eight years. I also got my first tattoo, which is a huge guitar that's the length of my left forearm.  2011 has been an amazing year for music and I'm super happy about that.

Coachella

Coachella was an amazing experience. Over three days, I saw some of my  favorite bands: The Strokes, Cut Copy, Arcade Fire, Best Coast, Jimmy Eat World, Kings of Leon, Mumford & Sons, and many more.  While having a great music experience, I also had an amazing human experience with some of the best people I know. I drove down to Coachella with a couple friends from San Francisco, and we stayed in a house together with two of our other friends from SF/Boston. The house had a pool and hot tub, grill, and a really nice kitchen & livingroom. Essentially we would go to awesome concerts all day, come back to a vacation home and hangout in the pool and chill out. It was such an awesome experience and I can't wait to do it again next year with the same group of people.

 

My Tattoo

On July 2nd I got my first tattoo: My dad's electric guitar that he named "Old Glory". Old Glory is the only guitar that I own that was my dad's, so it has a lot of sentimental value to me and it's something that I hope to keep a hold of forever. I decided to get the tattoo because I felt like this was one of the best ways to pay tribute to my dad, remember his talents and gift as an amazing musician, and symbolize my love for music and love for my dad – all at the same time. I'm very happy with and proud of my tattoo, and I know my dad would be too.

 

Outside Lands

In August I went to San Francisco's Outside Lands, a three day festival in Golden Gate Park. Not only is the music lineup stellar, but the park is a beautiful setting for a three day outdoor music fest. Joy Formidable (pictured) blew me away with their fantastic sound and fun stage presence, and Muse once against melted my face with one of the best performances I've ever seen. Arcade Fire, Phantogram, The Black Keys, Best Coast, and John Fogerty all put on great shows too.

Next Up?

Tomorrow I drive all the way up past Sacramento to see Blink-182 from the pit. I'm excited to see these guys live for the seventh time, and the first time in over two years. Then on Wednesday next week I'll see Blink in Mountain View, and meet Tom Delonge as a part of his 'Keep a Breast' fundraiser. I'm excited to get the chance to meet the guitarist/vocalist for my all-time favorite band, and I hope to get a minute to tell him how much his band means to me and how much they've changed/shaped my life.

I've got a couple more shows coming up…I'm seeing the Crocodiles and Dum Dum Girls in a few days, going to Treasure Island Music Festival in a couple weeks to see Death from Above 1979 and Cut Copy, and in November I'm going to see New Found Glory.  Tons of concerts!

All in all, I think I've spent at least a couple grand on music this year…but it has been money well spent. Music has transformed my life and has been a central pillar of my life since birth. I've started to think a lot more about music, the music industry, and I hope to work in the music industry some day. I think there is a huge opportunity to take what I do for game companies and bring that to a music company or band…and that has me very excited for the future of social media, community management, and above all else, music.

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.

New Year’s Resolutions 2011

A little late because of my trip to London, but these are my New Year's Resolutions (so far):

  • Get involved in charities or some sort of social good organizations (Gay Rights and some positive San Francisco organization)
  • Start going to the Gym and lose weight, eat healthier
  • Buy more groceries, cook more often, and bring lunch to work more often
  • Play my bass more and start playing in a group of some sort
  • Budget Money and start saving money
  • Take mini-vacations to Seattle, Boston, and other cities
  • Keep in touch with family and friends better/more (Dad's side, Cousins, talk to my sister and nephew/niece more, buddies from High School, etc)
  • Explore San Francisco more and the Bay Area in general (Berkeley especially)
  • Meet more people outside my friend group (people involved in design and advertising/marketing, other startups, other industries, etc)
  • Go to more concerts
  • Start decorating apartment more, especially with cool music stuff
  • Read More
  • Get ADHD Medicine – I used to take adderall and it helped me greatly
  • Stop Procrastinating so much – Most of this stuff, and things in every day life (Work, chores, etc) I could have done much earlier.  The time is now!
  • Play more games/complete more games

Happy 23rd Birthday to me!

It's my birthday!  Today I'm officially 23 years old, and very happy to be around for another year of adventures and great times.

Twenty Two was an interesting year for me; I moved to San Francisco from Boston, started several jobs and dealt with unemployment for a handful of months, had a lot of fun and made some great friends, and learned some good and harsh life lessons.  It was truly a rollercoaster, from moving to a city I loved but had a job I hated, to dealing with unemployment and went through some rough financial and personal times…and then it ended with me landing an awesome job with great people.

I'm really excited about being 23 and the year ahead.  I've got lots of goals, from big to small, and I'll be posting a New Year's Resolution post here soon.  From a career perspective, I'm looking forward to launching Monopoly on Facebook,  continuing to contribute to the Community Management tactics that Playfish uses, and continuing to learn more about my craft and get better and better at it.  Personally, I'm looking forward to exploring more of San Francisco, making some new friends, and hopefully meeting some new people that turn into meaningful relationships.  I've got a job that I love, in a city I love, and I feel like it's really time to start focusing a lot on enjoying life and sharing it with some great friends, family, and maybe even a girlfriend if I'm lucky :)

Right now I'm sitting in San Francisco International Airport, waiting to board a flight to London.  In about 10 hours, I'll be in London for a week for training at Playfish HQ.  I'll be learning how to launch Facebook Games, and learning what all is involved in being an Online Content Manager for an live Playfish game.  I'm excited and feel very fortunate to be traveling outside of the country for the first time ever :)

Thanks to everyone that has been a great friend over the past year and been supportive of me as I traverse life and my career.  It has been great so far, and I can't wait to see what 2011 brings me!

 

Thanks!

-Sam

Stand up for Gamer Rights

Like I mentioned in my last blog post, I've been lucky enough to land some contract gigs while I look for a full-time community management job.  One of the main projects that I've been able to line up is working with the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA), in an effort to raise awareness of their Gamer Petition.

The Gamer Petition is a petition that is arguing for gamers rights with regards to the Schwarzenegger v. EMA case, the "violent video game" case that hopes to restrict the sales of violent video games to minors.  This case is going before the United States Supreme Court, which is the first time a case like this has been ruled on by the Supreme Court.  If the Court agrees with the lower courts/the case, it would mean that video games remain to be protected by the First Amendment and will be seen as Free Speech.  If the Court disagrees with the case, it would mean that Video Games are no longer protected as Free Speech, and would be open to special legislation that restricts the sales of video games, which could impact the game industry in a huge way.

This is what the law proposes to do (For more details, go to the Why This Case? page on the ECA website):

The law that California passed imposes a fine of $1,000 on retailers that sell “violent video games” to minors. The definition used in the law labels a video game as being a “violent video game” if it meets one of two methods of determination. The first method requires a game to be violent in a manner that meets the standard of variable obscenity which has been developed by the courts. This standard provides exception speech that is protected for adults, but may be regulated for minors. Variable obscenity has never been broadened by the Supreme Court beyond sexually explicit material to apply to violence. The second method relies on definitions written in the law that focus on the gratuitous and heinous nature of some violence depicted in the game “upon images of human beings or characters with substantially human characteristics” without defining what “substantially human characteristics” means.

The Schwarzenegger law is trying to undermine the ESRB rating system, which is an organization setup by the game industry to self regulate.  This is the same way music and movies are regulated.  There is no government interference at all – it's up to the industry to make sure their entertainment is rated properly and that consumers are educated well enough to make good purchasing decisions.  At the end of the day, it's up to parents to protect their children from content that they feel could be harmful to their child.  It isn't up to the government to make that decision.  Studies have shown that the ESRB is pretty effective, as 86% of parents of children who play games are aware of the ESRB ratings.

To make an exception to the First Amendment for video games is really scary, as it opens the door for future legislation against "violent" books, movies, music, and other forms of entertainment.  We shouldn't let the government regulate our art and entertainment – This is America, and artists should have the freedom to choose what they want to create, and consumers should have the right to decide what they want as entertainment.  Even if you don't care about this particular case and how it will impact video game sales and video game creation, I hope people realize what this could mean for other forms of entertainment that they love.  I don't think any of us want to see our music, movies, or books restricted or censored.

Please join me in signing the Gamer Petition on the ECA website, as it is a fantastic way to show the Supreme Court that we, as consumers, care about this case and how it will impact our favorite hobby.  The ECA is standing up for us as consumers, and I hope you can help the cause by signing your name on the petition.

Thanks so much!

-Sam

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!

Haven’t we been here before?

Looks like I'm back on the job hunt again!  Yesterday I was let go from Perfect World.

It's a long story, but basically I wasn't a great fit for the company and they weren't a great fit for me.  We saw things quite differently in terms of social media, branding, and other areas..and (in my opinion) that lead to me no longer being at the company.

All in all, it's for the better, and I'm thankful for at least a few things.  I now live in San Francisco, which I love more and more every day, and Perfect World gave me the chance to do things that I hadn't done before.

In my next job I'm hoping to be more community management focused, while still utilizing social media to grow the fan base.  I want to build brand loyality for the game and the company/studio that I'm working for.  I want to do this usual the many social media mediums to give people access to the studio in new and exciting ways.

To echo my post last time I was in this position…I'm so thankful for my time at gamerDNA.  It showed me how a company should work and how people can work together, respect each other's opinions and expertise, and work towards a common goal.  The things I learned about web development, working at a company, branding, social media, and the game industry are invaluable.

Now I just know a bit better what I want in my next gig and some more questions I should ask next time I'm in an interview.

If you know of anything or would like to talk to me about a Community/Social Media position in the game industry, you can contact me on LinkedIn at Linkedin.com/in/SamHouston and via email at Sam at QforQ DotCom.

I'm hoping to stay in the SF Bay Area, but if something is exciting and the opportunity is great, I'm open to moving.

Thanks for your support everyone!

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

Moving to San Francisco and working at Perfect World Entertainment

I've got a job!

Senior Social Media Marketing Coordinator – That's my new position at Perfect World Entertainment, a video game developer and publisher in Redwood Shores (South Bay of San Francisco, CA).

After about two months on the job hunt and several interviews and meetings with various companies, I was able to find a great opportunity with an exciting company – Perfect World Entertainment.  I will be joining the Marketing and PR team in just a couple weeks, working alongside ambitious and energetic folks that are trying to take over the Free to Play MMO space in the US.

Perfect World is probably most commonly known as the developer publisher of Perfect World International, their main MMO in the states which gamers can play for free, but can also buy items in-game through their cash mall.  You've also probably seen the Perfect World cash cards at your local 7-11 or GameStop.

Perfect World also has two other games out now, Jade Dynasty and Ether Saga Online.  They've got a number of new games coming out next year, with Kung FOO! coming out very soon.  What most people probably don't know, though, is that Perfect World published the popular PC RPG "Torchlight", which is a game that released this fall and was developed by former Diablo/Blizzard devs at Runic Games in Seattle.

To sum things up – Perfect World is a very ambitious company that is very successful in China and they want to make a big impact in the US.  Their current games are doing pretty well (1 million active players across their three F2P MMOs right now, I read in an article most recently), and they've got quite a few coming out in the new year and beyond.  They're doing some exciting publishing deals (Torchlight for example), and I'm very excited join Perfect World as they transition into a new phase of growth and expansion.

As I mentioned in my last post, the prospect of focusing 100% of my energy on using social media to build game communities and market games is *very* exciting to me..and it is ultimately what made this position a real winner for me.  I'll be joining a great team with some big goals and a totally open canvas in terms of what we can do.

Perfect World has community managers for their games, and I'm very excited to work with them to help build stronger and bigger communities around their games. With three games out now (and more coming next year), we should have a wealth of content to share and talk about with our community.  I'm going to try to really push things forward in the F2P MMO space, which based on some of my research doesn't seem to get a lot of love in the community department.  I'm very excited to get on Twitter, Facebook, build our blog presence, and hopefully get into other mediums/platforms so that we can interact with our community in the places that they are online.

Ironically, the week that I accepted the position, Perfect World relaunched their web portal and launched a new company blog.  I encourage you to check out the site – Nice work guys!

This job successfully rolls up my passion for community, social media and marketing into one role – and I'm very excited.  I've got big goals for myself in the social media/game space, and I think this company and this team will help me attain those goals.  I'm looking forward to starting in just a couple of weeks!

The whole F2P MMO space is new to me, and working directly for a game developer/publisher…but I'm looking forward to learning what works, what doesn't, and taking the journey along the way.  If anyone has any suggestions/insights on F2P MMO community, please feel free to contact me!

On a different  note – I now need to find a place in SF in a very short period of time. If anyone needs a roommate, or knows someone that does, *please* contact me ASAP.  I need everyone's help, since I need to move cross country *very* soon.  Thanks for any help you can provide!

In summary…I'm scared, excited, and very anxious to start a new chapter of my life in San Francisco at an awesome game company and in a dream role of a job.  It was a great Christmas/Birthday present, and I want to thank everyone for all the encouragement, support, and help that got me here!

Thanks!

Sam "QforQ" Houston