October 15, 2011

Holy Schmolies, where has the time gone?! Well, as most of you know by now, I am now onboard with OpenFeint! I am STOKED. Great company, great people doing awesome things in mobile. Seriously, I love the DR (developer relations) team, every single one of them. I am one of the directors on this team. A big thanks to Eros for making this happen. I do have to say that I am bummed I don't get to work with Jason Citron as he left 2 days before I signed on, LOL. But these things happen, nothing lasts forever and people move on. I have no doubt he is headed to great things and will continue to kick ass in Silicon Valley.

Got to work my first convention as an OF rep down in Austin at GDC Online. It was great to see all my favourite developers and meet a bunch of new ones too. It was effing hot down there! It makes for some great fun on rooftop patio parties in the evenings.

Happy to say I'm back on track with the relocation down to San Francisco! I'm in the middle of the H1-B paperwork and hoping to be down there for mid-November, beginning of December. Fingers crossed immigration doesn't "request further information" to delay the process. I feel optimistic.  =) I'll be glad when that's over and we've made the move down. I am tired from all the back and forth and I'm not a fan of working remotely. I miss my team!

I'm back down in SF this week- Oct. 19-26. Excited to be back with my OF muffins and start seriously apartment hunting with my husband Adam!

September 1, 2011

I suck at waiting.

Big deal, don't we all hate waiting? I am still in job hunt mode so waiting to hear back from people is especially hard I think for me right now. Job hunting is this weird combo of hustle all you can while waiting and praying to hear back from people in different capacities and through the different stages of the job hunt/interview/negotiation process. I suppose it really is the ultimate "Hurry up and wait" scenario.

I'm an impatient person as it is. And I love working. So the combo drives me a little nuts. But of course, I recognize it as a chance to self examine, take a step back and dissect WHY I struggle with it so much. There are lots of reasons: 
  •  I am a control freak and right now I am NOT in control
  •  I am a work-aholic and I haven't been working for a company for a month. 
  •  I don't like being in limbo (plays into the control thing)
  •  The situation plays upon insecurity and self-doubt
  •  I get bored of selling myself and my awesomeness over and over again. I'm bored of that pitch
  •  I get frustrated when people don't call me/respond back when they say they will
  •  The ego recognizes this as the perfect opportunity to spin and weave elaborate stories to get me worked up and stressed out
So there's my list of negative, complainy-pants annoyances of having to wait and its tie to my journey with job hunting. So what am I going to do about it? I'm an adult and one thing I am in control of is how I react to it. So these are my continuous mantras and reminders during times of impatience:
  •  Acceptance: the more you resist reality, the more unhappy you become. You can fight it all you want, it won't change. So you know what? Just fucking embrace it. This is hard, but try. And don't give up
  •  Focus on positive things/activities: Go out for lunch with a friend, read a book, play some games, call your Mom (This may or may not be a positive)
  •  Every life challenge is an opportunity to gain wisdom: Even if you can't see it at first, this is how you learn, grow and become a better person
  •  Don't stop hustling: It ain't over til you've signed on the dotted line (and as I found out earlier this Summer, even then there's no guarantees). Keep networking, talking and sourcing out people who can help you find your next gig
  •  Just sit with it: We all have a habit of attaching ourselves to our emotions and then they become a part of us. Try envisioning yourself taking a step away from the impatience, fear, pain, etc. Just stand there and "be" with the emotion. Don't bury it, just let it exist and let yourself ponder it. Then imagine that emotion passing over you like a wave in the ocean. This will make your life a lot easier
  •  Don't be afraid to follow up and ping people: If you've been waiting, then call/email that person if it's been a few days. It shows you're interested and confident
  • Be grateful: Get yourself into a positive headspace by looking at all the amazing people and things around you. Just being born in Canada makes me want to cry tears of joy. There is a lot to be appreciative of.
  • Be present, live in the moment: Most people would kill for a little time off. Take advantage of it. Go for a hike and really pay attention to the wonderous beauty that is nature around you. Get your hands dirty in your garden, reconnect with the earth. Take a nap. Go for a bike ride, a jog, a swim. Do all the shit you've been wanting to do for the past 8 months but never had the time for. You'll get a job soon enough then you'll wish you had spent that time off wisely and enjoyed it to its fullest instead of wasting it feeling sorry for yourself and stressed out
  •  Stop the stories: As the all-wise Byron Katie would say, "Who would you be without your story?" Have you ever noticed the elaborate, dramatic stories that we tell ourselves when we're upset? Well just stop. Stop them. Right now. Seriously. You'd be floored at how much that rules your reality. Watch, you'll tell yourself to stop and then 5 minutes later you'll be back chattering to yourself about someone or something that pissed you off that day. What this does is create an underlying layer of unhappiness in your life. Think about that. You probably think you are happy, but consider the background chatter that is always going on in your head; Are you putting yourself down? Are you stressing about this bill or that deadline? Are you mad at the guy that just cut you off in traffic? Guess what, all that oh-so subtly, negative-slanted chatter is tarnishing your spirit. Your spirit really just wants to be carefree, filled with joy, love and laughter. You are blocking your fundamental, god-given right to happiness with something as simple as all those little negative things going on in your head
We've all been in a place of impatience and we most certainly will again. Try to make the most of it and learn about yourself in the process.

August 18, 2011

Tattoo FAQs

This blog errs on the side of the more personal, but I figured it was time to create a blurb relating to the most common questions I get asked about my tattoos. I don't mind people asking. As much as how popular tattoos have gotten, I am still part of a minority subculture. And most people (women particularly) will never get as heavily tattooed as I am. And that's OK!

How many tattoos do you have?

It is no longer a question of numbers. I'd say about 30% of my body is tattooed. That will probably change.

Who has done your tattoos?

I've been tattooed by:

Mikel Johnson
Craig Driscoll
James Acrow
Adam Shields 
Jason Kundell

What do they mean?

They all mean different things. Trust me, we all have better things to do than me rambling off the story attached to each one. But not every tattoo has to have some deep meaning. Not all tattoos represent a dead relative or pet. Some of mine are meaningful and some are funny and some are purely aesthetic. 

I think the better question would be, what do tattoos in general mean to me? And even then that's a complex question. Ask 100 people get 100 different answers; that's the beauty of tattoos. Tattoos, to me, are self expression, creativity, me claiming and owning my body. It's an outward representation of inner strength and individualism. They are therapy. They're fun, cool and they piss some people off. They're my close-minded, asshole filter.

Tattoos are the dues I've paid for inner strength and integrity. They are a part of me.

Do tattoos hurt?

Yup. They sure do.

Then why did you get so many?!

No pain, no gain. Pain is fleeting. Anything worthwhile in life is hard... shall I throw some more cliches at you?

How much did those all cost?

I honestly haven't kept track, but definitely thousands. But a lot less than you've spent on clothing and hair products in your lifetime most likely.

What's your favourite one?

I love all my tattoos equally, just as you do your children (wink wink).

Wow, your tattoos are cool!! Wanna see my Taz wearing a tutu? *starts undoing beltbuckle*

Uh, no thanks.

What do your knuckles say?

"DARK SIDE" Yup, I'm a big Star Wars nerd.

What are you gonna do when you're 80?

Be a cool tattooed ol' lady.

What do your parents think?

It didn't go over well when I got my first one at 19. It's been 18 years so they're over it now. Even if they tell you they'll never forgive you, they will. They're not THAT important.

Do you plan to get more?

Sure do! Not sure which will be next, but I'm only gettin' started.

What advice do you have for me when getting a tattoo?

DO YOUR RESEARCH. This is not a light, impulse decision to be made at the cajoling of friends or while drunk. Google artists/shops in your area, look at as many portfolios as you can. DO NOT price shop. This is typically a "you get what you paid for" scenario. Don't get a hella sick tattie in someone's basement. Go to a professional shop that follows sanitary processes. You can get diseases if you don't, and a terrible tattoo that you'll want to cover up or laser off later in life (both are very painful and expensive). Trust me, take your time, knowledge is power and go with your gut. It's going to be on there for a while.

If you have any more questions feel free to email me (see contact page). 

August 15, 2011

Is Neil Degrasse Tyson right? Have we stopped dreaming? I think in many important ways, yes we have. This is sad. Others I think are still dreaming and they are creating incredible things. I was inspired by James Altucher's latest blog post about how to re-spark creativity, and it made me think about our imaginations and allowing ourselves as adults to dream. 

As children we are encouraged to dream and think of silly, fantastical things (My parents can attest to my elaborate stories as a young child about my imaginary older brother which were spun upon one of my teachers. I was so good she believed me). As we become adults we are bogged down with the realities of life. There's no time for dreaming. Only stress. And bills. And responsibilities. And this is true. But why can't we do both? Seems like a trivial thing to offer, but haven't so many of us lost the ability to dream?

Tony Robbins talks about goal-setting, short term and long term. I am from now on going to refer to all of my goals as dreams. Why? Because this way I will not limit myself in my goals within "reality" or in other words the constraints I have put upon myself through insecurity, doubt, my perceived abilities (or lack thereof) and other people's/society's constraints, limits and all that crap. And goals sound so... BORING. Dreams are MUCH more fun. And who doesn't want to achieve their dreams?! Dreams can be achieved and also don't necessarily have to become reality. Sometimes it's just FUN to dream. With no consequence or coherence. Just have some fucking fun already!

Here are some of my dreams (in no particular order):

-  To live for a few hundred years (I want Ray Kurzweil to be right about singularity)
-  I want to be a millionaire
-  Be the happiest I can be
-  Help others as much as I can in that moment
-  To create cool games (I've done this at IUGO and have had other game concepts almost see the light of day through major publishers)
-  Achieve physical fitness the best I can
-  To eat raw vegan as often as I can
-  It'd be fun to be a stylist (fashion, not hair)
-  I think I'd be a good VC, specializing in games/social/mobile
-  I'd like to give away a million dollars
-  To work for a company/people who I am inspired by, truly feel passionate about and that I like!
-  I hope I can meet aliens some day
-  I always want animals in my life
-  To become a motivational speaker
-  I hope I'm just like my Grandma when I get old

These are just a few off the top of my head. The idea here is to keep the list alive. Make sure you revisit it periodically. Your dreams will change and who knows, maybe you'll make a few come true and you can cross them off the list.

August 4, 2011

Ugh. I have some bad news. I am now jobless. AGAIN. I am not taking it personally at all and I wish everyone at Glu the best. I worked with some fantastic people there.

I also am not worried about finding work. I am confident in my abilities/offerings and a person like me is in demand. It's just a big ol' bummer that I am back in job hunt mode (not my favourite) and that I'll have start over again at a new company. I'm back at square one. But, I am a fighter and super driven. I love gaming and I am as determined as ever to work hard and succeed like crazy, where ever I end up. 

On a brighter note, I have surpassed the one year mark for this blog! Holy Schmolies! How time flies. I promise to keep running with this and bringing it as up-to-date as I can. Life never seems to be dull around here so I'll continue to share that...

My latest game addiction:


I know I know, much like GodFinger I am late to the boat on this one. Wowie do I love this game! I can totally see why it is still in the top 100 TOP GROSSING games on the App Store. It is a beautiful, elegant, simple-yet-complex, compelling game! I am entranced and addicted for sure. NimbleBit knows great games, no doubt about that. 

Stay tuned as I figure out where I go next...

July 2, 2011

Well, the cat is out of the bag! I am ecstatic to announce my new role as Director of Business Development, gPartners for Glu Mobile! I can't even put into words how happy I am. Glu has really been killing it this past year in the premium F2P social games space. They have literally risen out of the ashes from being a shell of a company that was struggling to find its direction and identity as the good ol' traditional mobile days faded away. I am sincerely impressed with their games and was pleasantly surprised by the talent and passion their awesome team has. I am honoured to be joining them.

I will be working here in Vancouver, BC for Glu for the Summer while my permit gets processed. I hope to be down in San Francisco for the Fall. This is an absolute dream come true. My husband and I have been talking about moving to SF for a few years now. I am so in love with that city. This is a huge achievement in many ways for me to get this job as well as living the dream down in SF. I am very proud of everything I've done and achieved in the past few years in gaming but man, this is only the beginning. I feel I have only scratched the surface of my potential and capability with my career and as a person. Watch out Silicon Valley, here I come!

June 21, 2011

Happy Summer Soltice! My favourite day of the year. I know I said I'd blog soon after my last post but wow, things have been a little nutty to say the least. I got to E3 and had a ton of great meetings and chats with friends and potential employers. God I love the gaming industry, so many cool people! I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of interest in me. I walked away with a few intriguing possibilities. I've been flying around interviewing and there are a couple that are getting quite close. I hope to nail down my final choice soon! 

There's no doubt the interviewing process is daunting, it's not may favourite thing to do. BUT as a Business Development person I have an advantage; I SELL for a living. It's relatively easy to apply that to myself. Also, my incredible network of friends, colleagues and contacts in gaming have really come in handy for this. I did have a couple of recruiters look around and dig up a few things for me, but so far the stuff that has really solidified have been all on my own. It's a great feeling and it's also been very humbling. It's weird, even though I do not have a job right now I am super happy and very grateful for all that is in my life. I feel great!

I'll be sure to post my next position and company as soon as it's official!

May 30, 2011

Oh boy, lots of changes happening here! And I love change. No really, I do! My time with IUGO has wrapped and I am moving on to new challenges and opportunities in my gaming career! I can't even tell you how excited I am. I am considering a few opportunities right now, so the jury's out on where I am landing for the moment. I have a new Twitter feed that is all mine: SarahLuvsVGames . Follow me! During my brief pause I'll be blogging more... I'll have a nice big juicy one for ya later this week. 

My time at IUGO was incredible. What an awesome studio to work for. I loved every moment of it. I learned and accomplished SO MUCH there. I can't wait to see where the studio goes from here (it'll be only "up", you heard it here first). I will always be thankful for my time there and I feel incredibly blessed to have worked with every single one of the team members. Seriously, every one is a freaking rockstar there. I think that shows in the games.

Stay tuned for a big blog later...

May 6, 2011

Pictured above is my female hero of the week, Marissa Campise. I won't give you a complete rundown of the story, but you can read it here. What an amazing chick! Single Mom, put herself through college, yoga instructor and now rockstar VC. And she's only 32!!! It's people like this that inspire me and drive me to achieve my own goals and aspirations in my professional and personal life. Here are a couple of other inspiring articles I've read lately: How an immigrant mentality will get you places, some very wise advice from the always impressive Richard Branson, and one of my new favourite mantras: Bloom where you are planted. I hope y'all enjoy those as much as I did.

I've been playing a lot of mobile social games on my iPhone lately. I'm really enjoying Glu's Bug Village. It's a very well designed, beautiful looking 3D game. And actually it's really just a freemium game, not social. But in any case, I've been very impressed by how much Glu has stepped up their game. Early last year they were in deep trouble with deep losses and a business grounded in the past. They are now one of the leaders in the social/freemium movement and have pumped out an impressive number of titles in the last 6 months. It looks like they made some really good decisions in their hiring and a solid vision. I am looking forward to see how they progress.

I've been a late adopter to Words With Friends developed by Newtoy who of course is now a part of Zynga. I know, it's just Scrabble, but man did they ever do a great job with this game. I love it! I've been playing it constantly for about 3 months now. This will be a mainstay on my phone I believe. I'll also be interested to see what Zynga does with this studio, aside from releasing WWF on Android, they've been pretty quiet.

Over at IUGO, we're working on Sunshine Cruise Lines which I announced at GDC in March. It's looking amazing! We have a couple of other social titles in the works as well. Too early to reveal anything further, but you know I will when I can.  =)

April 12, 2011

So it's been a couple weeks since GDC wrapped for 2011, but to be honest I did not have a chance to go and watch too many sessions live. I've been slowly catching up online sifting through the GDC Vault of videos. There are a few I really wish I had seen in person. Immediately I think of Brenda Brathwaite's talk which was jaw droppingly good. It was intelligent, fascinating, heartwarming, compelling, moving and more. I have never watched a gaming talk so impactful and powerful. I also quite enjoyed Neil Young's talk. It was funny and felt genuine. Those are just a couple that come to mind. I also delivered my session and what a great experience that was. I love public speaking and I am very much trying to hone that skill. Not only do I want to feel comfortable, I also want to cultivate my own style and feel during my presentations. I hope to be a sought out speaker. I am not there yet but I hope to be one day.

During my talk I announced our in-progress social game Sunshine Cruise Lines (SCL). We are VERY stoked about this project. This time around we are self publishing and we've gone a totally different direction with SCL than we did with Lil' Pirates. Social gaming for smartphones is such a new space which means there is TONS of room to play with concepts and mechanics as well as a huge opportunity to innovate. It's looking really good at this point and we'll be launching this closer to the beginning of Summer, we hope. Other than that we just have our heads down and are working hard on projects for the next bit. I won't be attending a convention until E3 which is at the beginning of June. We're working on a few things so I hope we can announce some big stuff in the next month or two. Hang tight for that!

February 8, 2011

Damn, I can't believe I've let 3 months go by since I last blogged. It feels like a lifetime ago. Last blog I spoke of the launch of Lil' Pirates. That changed the course of history for IUGO. It was safely the best decision we made of 2010. We are now working on multiple social gaming projects for smartphones and are entertaining a few exhilarating collaboration and partnership opportunities. I feel as if the tables have totally turned. There is so much going on that I of course cannot reveal at the moment. I'll be sure to post here as soon as I can though!

I also wanted to give props to one of my favourite sites, TED. Oh man could I ever waste HOURS on this site. Two talks that have really stood out for me lately are: Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action and Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability. One inspired me in my work life and the other personal. I implore your to go on over to TED and take some time to watch the talks. They are amazing.

I also wish to humbly plug my speaking engagement at the Smartphone Summit during GDC this Feb 28- Mar 4 in San Francisco. This will be my biggest convention yet and certainly one of the most prestigious in the gaming world. I can't wait! Please come by and have a listen.

November 10, 2010

Wheeeee! Lil' Pirates launched on the App Store on November 4th and it's been an amazing ride! Wow what an incredible journey so far. As our first social game, we were excited and truly believed in our product. But still, a little nervous as in the end we weren't sure how the game would be received by players. Well, our doubts have been quashed. We reached the top 50 FREE apps in the US on the first day of launch! We have been in the top 30 Top Grossing for the past 3 days. At this moment that I type Lil' Pirates is resting at #18 Top Grossing Apps. I am so ecstatic! As is the whole team. Great reviews of Lil' Pirates are also coming in:

We are so flattered and humbled by the response Lil' Pirates has been getting from EVERYONE: players, critics and other companies in the mobile space. As I've mentioned before, things are about to get REAL interesting around here for us. I predict major changes and projects will be coming out and announced this Spring for IUGO. I'll be sure to keep you up-to-date on everything going on as well as random observations and opinions I form along the way. =) Thanks for everyone's support of Lil' Pirates and stick around it's only going to get better!

October 24, 2010

Well, our social game has finally been announced! It's called Lil' Pirates and we've partnered with Capcom to publish the IP. This has been our obsession and our world for the past 4 months. Man did the team ever work their asses off to develop this game. Hats off to each and every single team member that helped create this epic social mobile experience. Go have a good read about it over at Andrew did a great job of covering the game and providing the first exclusive video of it.

This game has already attracted A LOT of attention from some big players. Social is hot right now and what's up and coming is social on mobile. Mobile isn't new for a lot of the big boys but doing social in a compelling, lucrative way on mobile is. What works on Facebook doesn't necessarily directly translate over to mobile devices. The platforms are different, user habits are different and the limitations are different. 

Already we're seeing companies like ngmoco :) and Chillingo getting snatched up at amazing pricetags. This is very exciting for all of us in mobile. IUGO has been bootstrapping it for 7 years now and I truly feel in my heart of hearts that in the next year big stuff is going to happen for our little company. All of our hard work is going to pay off soon. I have been working very hard to bring IUGO and its strengths into the spotlight as well as developing key relationships with exclusive partnerships. I feel this has positioned us VERY well for amazing opportunities. Stay tuned and check back for updates on where IUGO is at here on my blog, as well as press releases announcing exciting new partnerships soon!

September 24, 2010

The topic for today's blog is failure or rather the fear of failure. This is something I have wrestled with for quite some time. I believe the fear of failure held me back from really excelling in school, for figuring out my career path sooner and generally just going for my hopes and dreams. I can remember way back in Grade School and having one of my first real tastes of failure. I worked on a school project very hard and put my all into it. I submitted it and was excited to get my grade back on it. That was until I saw the grade I got: a C-. I was crushed. It made me doubt myself and my abilities. I continued into highschool where I had a number of tuned out teachers who didn't do much to recognize my potential (or other students' for that matter unless he/she was the shining star that got 98% on everything) and nurture that. I wasn't able to do it for myself at that age that's for sure.

And although my parents had the best of intentions with pushing me to do better and try and excel at school, it came across as simply being pressure-filled and negatively slanted to my teenage mind. I went on into my 20's knowing that I was smart and capable of doing something special which whatever I chose to focus on, but it was the focus I was lacking then. Oh and I was in party mode. I had a million different interests but didn't know which would translate into a career that I would love doing day in and day out. Hence my broad spectrum of education spanning Chemical Engineering, Fashion Design and Business Marketing.

I believe I finally was able to settle down and tackle my fear of failure by having someone important to me believe in me and give me a chance. That person was my husband and we have been running our website for the past 10 years together. It allowed me to learn a ton about entrepreneurial adventures and running a small business. I got to handle a number of the business's facets and gave me a good foundation to move onto whatever I wished to achieve. It also allowed me to finally look my fear of failure straight in the eye and beat it. For this I will be eternally grateful to my love for this.

Once I earned some success through Tattoodles, I turned my eye to video games. I was ready to take the dive into the gaming industry and see what I could do. I got lucky again and was given a chance at IUGO with no gaming experience. Once I got hired I decided to really get serious and focus all my attention into learning as much as I could about the biz and get really good at it. You know, once I was able to push the self-doubt aside, the laser focus I was able to conjure up came quickly and with ease. Things started to happen fast. I began making good impressions and cultivating important relationships within gaming. I quickly rose through the ranks within IUGO and currently sit at VP status. That was a huge moment for me. I had never experienced such a high level of success. A new challenge arose: my fear of the unknown. But I quickly pushed that aside as nothing was going to stop me now.

I now feel like shit is starting to get really interesting and exciting. We're wrapping up a huge social game with a prestigious partner that will launch soon (oh boy I wish I could tell you about it! Soon I hope). The game is incredible and certainly one of the most ambitious mobile games I have seen thus far. We're also embarking on another new enormous project with yet another stellar partner quite soon. These projects once announced and seen are going to elevate the company's status as well as mine. I am very proud of myself yet also very humbled by where I am now. I am humourously aware that things can come crashing down at any moment. I am not immune to failure all of a sudden. I have just learned how to say "FUCK YOU" to failure. I just don't care about it anymore. I am so driven to make my dreams come true that all the other stuff doesn't matter.

So for those who are struggling to make it in any industry or overcome an obstacle for that matter, DON'T GIVE UP. I know that is the most obviously cliche statement I could make but it is true. If you keep pushing and put all of your energy into something you believe in, it will happen. Thank you to all of those who have helped me get here and believed in me. I can only hope to return the favour one day.

September 2, 2010

As some of you may or may not know, I spent about a decade in the service industry. I began in the 'Shwa (Oshawa), Ontario as a shooter girl.  I moved up to server, then bartending in downtown T.O., moved to Vancouver and served/bartended there. I also began moving up the ladder with managing restaurants and bars. I loved working in the service industry; it was fun, fast-paced, lucrative and allowed me to have flexible hours. I left the industry when I was 30 and made my way to gaming 3 years later.

For those in the recruiting area of any industry: If you come across a resume with service industry listed under Work Experience, give this person a serious look. Why? Well, people who work and thrive in the service industry possess extremely valuable skills. Here are a few off the top of my head:

  • Multitasking: Working in a busy restaurant/bar forces you to get comfortable with doing a million things at once , FAST. Servers and bartenders are MASTERS of the mental list and as a result are comfortable in stressful, high pressure situations. You may even consider us to thrive on it.
  • People Skills: All sorts of personalities come in and out of bars in all sorts of moods and attitudes. One gets comfortable pretty quickly in dealing with the vast array of people coming through that door. Knowing how to accommodate and build diplomacy amongst each customer is key to good service.
  • Stress Management: You know that period of weeks or months that a dev team goes into for Crunch Time? Well, at a busy restaurant/bar, EVERY NIGHT is Crunch Time. That feeling of extreme urgency, needing to get everything done NOW and knowing how to balance all of it to indeed get your customers what they need to be happy, is present during every moment of a shift. Now throw stressed out, rude, demanding customers breathing down your neck on top of that and this is a big part of why service industry peeps are effing Superstars.
  • Diplomacy/Negotiations Skills: Back to the rude customers. Good service industry employees learn how to emotionally remove themselves from a heated situation. Knowing how to listen and provide solutions to a ranting customer is a cherished skill.
  • A Sense of Humour: When your night is as insane as it can be and your drink orders are up to your eyeballs while customers are yelling at you for theirs, all you can do is laugh. Humour can also be a great way to dissolve a tense moment between you and an irate client. It can dually be used as a weapon against cheeky comments.
  • Highly Perceptive: Looking for subtle indications of how your clients are fairing is another  skill top service people utilize. From noticing their pace of consumption to low water glasses to plates nearing completing to a customer wobbling and weaving at the bar, servers and bartenders literally have eyes in the back of their heads to stay abreast of each table's/customer's status.
  • Outgoing/Go-Getting/Hardworking Personalities:  Make no mistake, serving and bartending is extremely hard work and highly rewarding. You have to be willing to put yourself out there to deal with hundreds of people in one shift. Typical service staff are dynamic and gregarious in nature.
  • Excellent Sales Skills: If you want to make good money in the service industry you gotta know how to sell and up-sell. Small suggestions of favourite dishes, a higher-end beverage and dessert is what gets a server's average bill up and hopefully a higher tip. Service staff know how to sell stuff they feel passionate about!
 Wow, that's a bit of a speech there, isn't it? I hope this opens recruiter's/employer's eyes to those who have spent time in the service industry and what could possibly make them a great addition to the team. In the least, maybe the next time you walk into a restaurant or bar, your respect and treatment of the staff will get a little bit higher/kinder/more compassionate.

August 28, 2010

I caught this VentureBeat article the other day about a woman named Stevie Case (um, best name EVAR.) I had never heard of her. It seems she had caught the public's attention back in the late 90's for beating John Romero at his own game, Quake. He then subsequently hired her as a game tester and she rose through the ranks VERY quickly to top level executive positions. She also posed for Playboy back in 2000. The article was about her latest job accomplishment as VP of sales for Playspan.

This woman rules for a number of reasons. First, it's just always great to see a chick really thrive and excel in the male-dominated games biz. I am trying to follow a similar path by kicking butt quickly and building a name for myself along the way. She can obviously get shit done seeing as her hard work paid off quickly. Considering she has been in the video games industry for over a decade now I'm sure she is just overflowing with informational gems. I sincerely hope I get to meet her one day and pick her brain.

Now onto the Playboy thing. I can only imagine the range of reactions in and out of the industry on this one. She was satisfying a male fantasy for sure by being the hot chick in gaming willing to take it off. You know what? I thank and applaud her. Thank you Stevie for showing the world (America in particular) that being smart, driven, sexy and comfortable with one's sexuality ARE NOT mutually exclusive. Like all human beings, we are complicated with many sides to our personalities, desires, goals and interests. I think it's awesome that she can do BOTH. It obviously has not affected her career as she has worked in top notch positions for a number of illustrious companies. Again, I'm sure Stevie is a fascinating person to know.

Moving on...

I ended my 6 month addiction to FarmVille a couple of weeks ago and have replaced it with Godfinger. I know this game has been out for a few months, but I got the impulse the other night to download it. All I gotta say is WOW! I was pleasantly surprised. I think one of the reasons I didn't download it out of the gate is that other ngmoco :) games have never really knocked my socks off. We Rule didn't do it for me. But Godfinger? What a great little game. From the simple, clean, endearing graphics to the elegant UI (particularly on the iPad) to the fun sound effects to the balanced gameplay, I think ngmoco :) knocked this one out of the park. I hope this game is making money for them. My gut tells me that probably We Rule and We Farm are more lucrative for them just because it's a familiar game style to users thanks to FarmVille. But I encourage more people to try out Godfinger. It's a superb mobile experience. 

August 22, 2010

This past Friday I had the please of attending the VC event called GROW 2010. Wow, what a day! I must say it was a well put together day of inspiring, passionate people in the VC, technology and new media space. So many dynamic people in one room! The sessions that stood out for me were Leonard Brody's talk and the interviews conducted by Kara Swisher. I also got to meet some lovely people attending the event too. Brian Wong, the upcoming boy wonder from Vancouver really blew me away. 

On a personal note, that was followed by an evening with David Wolfe, the raw food movement's leader and rock star. The amount of inspiration, knowledge and enthusiasm I experienced that day was incredible and overwhelming, frankly. It's a lot to digest in one day! I truly enjoyed it and I can't wait to see what happens next. 

August 19, 2010

Mashable had this article up yesterday and I thought it was very interesting and insightful. Many people claim that social gaming is a fad and on its way down. Although it's natural to see fluctuations, I agree with Jeremy that social gaming is only heating up.You're going to see more acquisitions in the space, more heavy hitters moving in and certainly big brands. I'd like to take the prediction one step further and state that after the snatching up of social gaming companies, these powerhouses are going to turn to mobile.

Mobile combined with social is only going to add fuel to the fire. Once a company has dominated the social space globally, mobile will be the next frontier to conquer. Sure, companies are trying to already, but I don't feel they're taking it too seriously yet and investing big dollars into that area. I predict in the next year or 2 the social giants will be stealing mobile studios left, right and center. This year it's good to be a social gaming start-up. Next year it'll be good to be a reputable mobile studio.

July 28, 2010

So today I got a promotion. It's no ordinary title change. It's a goal I've been working towards for over a year. Today I was honoured with the title of Vice President of Business Development. It's a biggie. I must admit I am extremely proud of myself. I came into gaming a little less than 3 years ago out of relative obscurity. I had a dream of working and excelling in video games. 

I got hired at IUGO, a small indie studio developing mobile games. I quickly was given the opportunity and freedom to spread my wings and start seriously thinking about what I wanted to accomplish. Although my official title is Biz Dev, I got to try my hand and master Marketing, Promotions, Media Relations, P.R., Product Development and Management, Merchandising, Company Spokesperson and I'm even getting the chance to do some game design. I LOVE IT. I love doing a million things at once and I am lucky enough to have an incredible boss who encourages me and allows me to try all this stuff.

So with a lot of hard work, the power of visualization, and the belief in myself, I have now achieved the huge goal of becoming Vice President. I feel like this is only the beginning for me and have already set my sights on what I want to accomplish next. Watch out Gaming Industry, I'm just getting warmed up!

July 26, 2010

Ok, I admit it, I am obsessed with Zynga. It's an easy company to stalk; they've risen to superstardom within the gaming industry in 2 years. Love it or hate it, Farmville is a monolith of a game. I can guarantee this won't be my last blog about Zynga. I think Zynga has nailed it. They have secured and dominated the biggest social destination's entertainment. Here's the latest article I've dug up on Zynga that I found interesting from The New York Times. I dig up and follow all Zynga news with rabid anticipation.  

I don't believe, however, that they know what they're doing in mobile. Farmville for the iPhone sucks, to be blunt. Like most companies, they've underestimated the challenges and differences in the mobile industry. The game is laggy, crash-ridden, bug-ridden and lacking in essential features. But most importantly, the game feels like they simply yanked it from Facebook, quickly ported it over and slapped it up on the App Store. Simply throwing a couple of iPhone-only items to gift or buy isn't enough people. I want clean, intuitive UI on the device, I want gameplay that fits the mobile lifestyle, I want a game that runs smoothly all the time. I LOVE Farmville, but I stopped playing it on the iPhone weeks ago.

I hope Zynga can see the importance of nailing their games on mobile devices too. In my humble opinion, mobile is where it's at for now and increasingly into the future. They need to ramp up their mobile team/efforts and get it right before the mobile ship leaves. They got the timing right on Facebook, but the window for mobile is slowly closing.

But don't worry Zynga, I still love you. =)

July 24, 2010

You've made it to my first blog entry on my new site! Thanks for visiting. My intention here is to cover cool stuff happening in the gaming industry, offer my favourite destinations and articles, and of course a little bit of old fashioned self-promotion. I hope to slowly build up the cool stuff and blog as regularly as life will permit. There are a lot of exciting things happening right now that I hope to talk about VERY soon. Stay tuned for more!

present  Worthiness is your
Fight inertia  Practice  self compassion
Strength can be found in your greatest weaknesses
Never give up Who needs your help today? Lighten up Be a warrior
Don't forget to smile
Be grateful Who would you be without your story?
You are in control of your destiny Love yourself There is great wisdom to be found in adversity Be still Life begins as you exit your comfort zone  Sit with your emotions,do not attach yourself to them Be true to yourself Only you create your own happiness
 Laugh!  Don't fight reality Make friends
  with your demons Be the change you wish to see in the world.