On May 6th, 2013 I made the decision to create a new Corporation called Stay Frosty. This Corporation would be based on old-fashioned ideas of solo and small gang piracy, adult responsibility, and a "no-rules" policy built on honor, fairness, and freaking common sense. Our only goal would be to undock and play Eve in whatever way we chose to do so. Without a care in the world about what other people thought about it. Our way. Without politics, drama, or bullshit.
Believe it or not, that was two years ago. On that day I was alone in this quest. But I have not been alone since that day. Since that day over 1,000 players have joined our merry band, some for a short time, some for a longer time. Sixteen different Corporations have been spawned from within our ranks, that I know about. Former Stay Frosty pilots can be found everywhere and current Stay Frosty pilots fly wherever they wish. At nearly 240 pilots strong Stay Frosty continues to grow, thrive and be incredibly active across all of New Eden. Our pilots can be found in Low Sec, Wormholes, exploring, running missions, and causing trouble in Null Space.
Our reputation for engagement is spreading far and wide. Stay Frosty brings the "good fights" and that is exactly what we want to be known for. Granted, some people see us differently - as blobbers, as pirates, as cheaters, and all the other labels I won't mention. But that is part of the story as well. We wouldn't be doing a very good job if we didn't have our haters. And goodness knows, we've had our fair share.
Yesterday I had a new member tell me they wouldn't be playing Eve if it wasn't for Stay Frosty. That is a story I hear almost every day. And if anyone wonders why I do it, why I continue to do it, it is because of players like that and the stories I hear from them. I believe the "Stay Frosty" philosophy is spreading across the universe. I hear it from people far and wide. My friends who have moved on to do their own things, each has taken a piece of that dream and made it their own. That is amazing. And incredibly encouraging.
We've exploded over 43,000 ships in the past two years. We've held three huge FFA events, participated in the NEO Tournament, and founded a thriving and amazing Alliance called A Band Apart. ABA is an entire Alliance built on the core philosophy of Stay Frosty, a large corporation of connected players each allowed the freedom to choose their own paths. Without fear.
This crazy idea really worked.
I couldn't have done it alone. I've been incredibly fortunate to have drawn amazingly talented and dedicated players to our cause over the past two years. From our leadership, Directors, Diplomats, and member corporation CEO's and Directors - all the way thru every member in every corporation. They are the ones that have worked hard, stood strong in the face of adversity, and have built this group into what it is today. I salute them all.
And what is this thing today? It still feels new to me, I find it hard to believe two years have passed, it seems like only yesterday that we were "doomed to fail". And yet, here we are. Oh sure, the whole thing could go ka-blooie any second now, but I don't think it will. In fact, I believe we've only just started to scratch the surface of our full potential. Like any new organization, our membership only continues to learn, expand, and strive for new horizons. Where will this journey take us? Only time will tell.
But I know one thing for certain. It will be awesome to be a part of it.
For those of you that don't know, Stay Frosty is an old-fashioned solo and small gang PvP Corporation (some call us Pirates) that only does one thing - we undock. We only have two rules: keep your word and don't hurt your Alliance mates. That's it. We don't believe in CTAs, alarm-clocks, participation limits, or any other stupid rules. We share loots, we have each other's backs, we warp into danger, we take on all challenges, we explode and re-ship. No one gets yelled at. No one watches the kill-board. You don't even have to be on comms, unless you want to. The only thing we ask is that you have fun playing Eve. That's it.
That is us. If you are having trouble finding that in your Eve experience then I encourage you to come join us. We always have room for you. You will have a blast.
Here is to the next two years. Where will they take us?
Let's find out.
Also check out what's going on in Lucifer's Hammer!
Last week I lost my first ship. I'd become rather bored with the small bounties and the easy kills of the rats in High-Sec. I've spent the last few weeks waiting for my skills to train. One after the other, slowly, my newb modules were being replaced by T2 modules. So I yelled over to Rixx, what do you think about level .4? Isn't that Low Sec? He told me to go ahead, but you're just gonna get blown up. I figured I would just be careful and it would be okay. I was feeling pretty confident in my flying abilities. I did get blown up. However, I learned a lot from that first experience and it was rather exciting.
I had ventured out to the asteroid belts in Carrou, killed some higher bounty rats, bounced out sold stuff then went back and forth, only kind of paying attention to local and d-scan. Had I realized it, I would have noticed that the same folks were popping in and out, yet one person was always staying behind. I was feeling pretty good in my Merlin with my tech 1 guns (hahaha), I had made some big bounties, repaired my ship and went back for more in a belt where I had killed all but one or two rats. And I foolishly stopped paying attention to local and the dscan (duh). I was in the belt trying to take on a Defender when 4 folks popped up in the belt with me. I didn't think too much about it at first, I was having enough problems killing that damn defender, and then I noticed these people were shooting at me, and then I saw the swirly pretty lights and I couldn't warp anywhere. WTF is that???
And just like that my ship was blowed up. Rixx came running in, get your pod out of there, you don't want to get podded! Wait what?!? I got my little pod out and went to a station and thought about what had just happened. Their little spy hung out in the station while I was there, but I already knew enough at that point to wait until the next day to get out.
About a minute went by and I was like REALLY? Four people (five if you count their spy) and a rat to kill one Merlin with tech 1 guns, are you kidding me?!? The ridiculousness of it all was a bit laughable, but I enjoyed it. Since then, I have been paying a lot more attention to local and the dscan - I am more aware of who is there not just at a glance, and I am now fitted with tech 2 guns (a modest improvement). But I am still gonna publicly mock a group of players who gang up and attack a newb in a Merlin. Seriously, shouldn't you be out there trying to blow up Rixx or something?
I'm going to do something a little different today and talk about the Avengers. Specifically in regards to the new film currently playing in theaters around the world, Age of Ultron. Film review is, believe it or not, not entirely outside my wheelhouse. I once wrote movie reviews for a newspaper and was a film reviewer for one of the first internet based film sites. I've even been a sometimes news hound for Ain't It Cool News and was even listed as a critic on Rotten Tomatoes until a short time ago. So I do have some bonafides.
This isn't necessarily going to be a "review" exactly. It is in fact going to be a defense of the following statement, the new Avengers film is the perfect distillation of and the best example of a "comic book" movie ever made.
I'm going to tell you straight up that I am a fanboy. I do not fall into Marvel or DC 'camps' and I enjoy all types of movies. My connections to the comic universe run rather deep and, like many of us, I've suffered thru an incredible amount of horrible crap in my life in order to live to see this modern resurgence in comic based movies. I've watched the Hulk and Spider-Man television shows, the Howard the Ducks, the Burton Batman's, the endless line of "this is the best we have" rationalizations. I'm not here to destroy any of those, each one has its merits - as camp, as lessons, as rose-colored glass history - but let's set the ground-work as adults here. A lot of stuff was truly not that great.
I wrote a piece once after I came out of the theater for the first showing of Jurassic Park, the main point of which was the coming revolution in CGI and what it meant specifically for SuperHero films. Other people saw dinosaurs - I saw Iron Man. It took a lot longer to get here than I thought it would, but the promise of that dream has finally arrived. There can be no doubt that we are living in the age of the SuperHero. Perhaps soon to be glut, but that is a topic for another post.
The modern form of this wave came with Spider-Man, Watchmen, and Nolan's Batman trilogy. And the thread that led directly to Ultron started with the first Iron Man. You don't have to be a 'fanboy' to appreciate what Marvel/Disney has done since then. The establishment of a connected universe is unprecedented in movie history. The only close approximation would be the Bond films and they don't really count. You'd have to go way back to the very early days of serials in order to find something even close.
Except for another form of entertainment - the comic book.
Weird huh? Perhaps what makes what Marvel has attempted so unique is the thing us fans of the genre have been screaming at the screen for decades - pay attention to the source material. How many times in the past have we had to suffer fools who told us, "We had to change this because it just wouldn't work in a movie"? I mean, come on, this is a comic book we're talking about! And we are making a film! We can't have people running around in tights, that would be silly. We need to make the bad guy into a cloud or people won't take us serious.
If Marvel has proven anything in the last decade it is that the source material can indeed be handled directly. That putting silly things like talking trees and racoons on screen actually works. That Norse Gods and Iron Men can exist together on screen. Cosmic powered Androids are not silly. They are actually pretty damn awesome when you think about it.
And this latest film, Avengers Age of Ultron is the perfect example of that form. It is exactly like a Giant-Sized Avengers Annual came to life in front of your eyes. Do you remember Annuals? Those huge year-end tomes that brought everyone together, that had crazy guest appearances, nutty plots, insane "Action Packed" pages? I do. And this film feels exactly like those did.
To me, it is the ultimate example of actual, real, comic book filmmaking. Where Nolan's Batman felt like a Graphic Novel, the Avengers feels like a comic book brought to life.
It is an amazing thing.
Will we get tired of comic book movies? Perhaps. Goodness knows there are a lot of them on the horizon. It is starting to feel a bit overwhelming. But, as I tell people all the time, this is exactly what happened to comics - it was called the glut for a reason. Hopefully the quality will remain and we'll be fortunate enough to enjoy the ride while it lasts. Because nothing lasts forever.
Until then try to enjoy what we have. It's ok to be a kid again, to lose yourself for a few hours and thumb thru your comics. That's what they have always been. A diversion from real life. A trifle. Something your Mother throws away when you go off to college.
If you haven't heard Sindel's latest parody song, you are really missing out on a real treat.
Tomorrow is Avengers! And Stay Frosty's 2nd Birthday Celebration!! And the weekend!!!
I've been putting hats on Eve Avatars since the Summer of Incarna, shortly after I started my Twitter account and joined #tweetfleet. I've lost count but we are probably talking around 400 or so hats, give or take. Early on it started as simply a lark, a joke even, a protest aimed at mocking the monocle and the idea of over-priced real world monied items in the store. But since those heady days it has slowly and surely evolved into an expression of individualism.
I joke around a lot. I tend to not take things seriously. But after years of plopping hats on top of avatars even I must start to admit - the idea has merit. It is hard now, against the overwhelming preponderance of evidence, to understand why some form of hat is not more widely available in the character creator. Let's face facts here and admit to ourselves that Eve needs hats.
I viewed the subject of hats as a test, a litmus-test, that pushed the envelope of creativity. I use it when I interview potential CSM members, to see where their head is on the subject. Not because I actually wanted hats in Eve, but because I wanted to know how they think. This was before. Once I recently started collecting these hats into a single location on my hard drive, in an effort to preserve them, did it really start to dawn on me. A change in my own attitude towards headwear.
Perhaps it was the recent implementation of Ship Skins? Maybe that is what has pushed things over the edge? If we can have customized on-the-fly ship skins, then why not hats?
And while I am well aware that many of these hats would not be appropriate in the context of in-game Eve - I challenge you to tell me they all wouldn't? Just look at that guy in the upper left corner? That is an Eve hat. The yellow woman? Eve hat. The orange woman across from her? Eve hat. And so many more examples.
Most importantly, from a supplier's perspective, people want hats. In fact, I believe they'd go nuts for them. Our avatars are the only true expression of ourselves in-game. It is about time we got the chance to decorate our heads.
This is getting real. And Eve is real. Isn't it?
Ship skins have arrived. The implementation of this feature has to be, in my humble opinion, the smoothest and best introduction of a new feature into Eve that I can remember. It works at a level that makes it seem as if it had always been there, hiding off to the side somewhere, waiting for us to discover it. Well done to all those involved in setting this up and getting it incorporated into the game.
I never gave much thought to ship skins. I enjoyed flying the Police Comet when it was introduced, but only because people donated ships to me. On my own I would never have bothered. My ships don't tend to survive long enough to make the investment worthwhile. The entire feature was more of a curious oddity than anything else. It was "neat" and fun to look at, but not something that I cared all that much about. The hope that someday we'd be able to put Corp/Alliance logos on our ships was about as much thought as the feature deserved.
But now? Now there is no arcane blueprints to deal with, the skins are embedded into your character for use whenever you want. They have become a part of you. A choice that can be made. This is revolutionary. Now it doesn't matter, now there is no building, or industry, or loss (generally speaking, at least for permanent skins) only choice. No one is more surprised than I am about what a huge mind-shift this is turning out to be.
I was shocked yesterday at how many of these things I had in my redeeming system. Apparently I have stolen or been given a lot of skin blueprints over the years. I think I had at least eight of the Police Comet skins, I gave the extra seven away to Corpmates yesterday. In addition to the three Fanfest Quafe skins, I also had at least a dozen more to choose from. A few are the 30 day variety, which I am honestly not that crazy about. But why wouldn't I always fly a Quafe Tristan?
I honestly think I will choose to always fly a Quafe Tristan. Why not? Click done. Wow.
Ok, so this is obviously a feature that will be building towards the day when we can add our own Corp/Alliance logos to ships. That seems all but assured now with the new Alliance logo submission process churning along. But it also got me thinking... where does this end?
Naturally our minds all jump to the Hello Kitty pink ships that have haunted the Eve community for years. But, while that might be a silly thing, the idea of custom ship skins is entirely possible. And I don't mean custom ship skins designed by CCP, but rather the potential inherent in truly custom ship skins designed by others. While the idea of pink ships in Eve might be a bit much (maybe?) there is an extremely wide spectrum between Quafe and Pink. A wide spectrum that someone like myself could exploit to develop some truly interesting and profitable skins. Want to see some flaming skulls? Or tribal tattoos? Or anything on a Caldari ship?
The possibilities are endless. And that can potentially be a bad thing. Goodness knows we don't want to start seeing sponsored ship skins, Coca-Cola reds, and Monster Energy Drink Hyperions, such garish displays would ruin the game. (I don't believe they'd actually ruin anything, I just think they are a horribly bad idea.)
Between the beginning and the horrible end-game, there is a lot of territory. And when it comes down to it the true potential of ship skins lies in the individual nature of the choice we now have. This choice doesn't affect anyone except you. This is a strange feature that has no implications beyond the individual pilot in a way that few features do. It is all about you. Ship skins don't affect game play, that don't damage anyone else, change anyone's game, they are truly and simply cosmetic.
But watching a ship transform before your eyes is transformative in ways I hadn't anticipated. I'm shocked to find that I really like it. Like a lot.
It should be interesting to see this continue to develop. I'm ready to design some awesome skins, just let me know.
Part of this post was written up as a news story on New Eden Express.
I didn't have a lot of play-time yesterday. Mostly I had three distinct moments in Eve that turned out to be rather short bursts of activity. Days like that make it difficult to build any sort of momentum, and momentum is important in Eve. Or at least, it seems that way to me. This doesn't count the thirty minutes I spent warping around and having people run away from me, which is pretty typical and doesn't count.
During the end of that frustrating thirty minutes a group of us discovered a Svipul inside a Medium Plex that had a Huggin friend with him. Luckily they can't lock very fast and we all got our Frigates out in time. This started us thinking and we decided to quickly form up and take them on. The system was only a few jumps away and I raced back to pick up my Curse. Nothing fancy, but enough to make problems for the Huggin and allow my mates to clean up.
Of course, by the time I returned the targets had moved on. A few more systems down the line, but across Okka. Now I typically won't take a large ship alone across the Okka barrier, this is simply a pragmatic rule of thumb, since Okka is often camped. All our potential scouts were in Reit at the time, but Okka was clear and I decided to jump thru to help them take care of a Stabber. Once again, by the time I arrived the Stabber had moved on. We waited inside the plex for a few moments and managed to grab a pair of poor Frigates. I don't purposefully engage in this sort of thing, but we happened to be there. Breacher and Tristan.
Sure enough, on the way back across Okka I ran into a gate camp and lost the Curse. As you can see from the kill-mail, I was not going to escape that.
I came back later to the news of a couple of Svipuls next door. I jumped into mine and went hunting, but they ran off. Eventually one of our scouts reported one in Okka and Skir and I went off to take it on. I landed at the plex early and decided to go ahead and engage. Sadly the Svipul was not alone and once I was engaged an Eris de-cloaked and started pumping insane deeps into my shields. I melted rather quickly and tried to warn Skir, but he was already jumping the gate. This was not turning into a very good day.
As usual however, if you wait long enough fortune will smile upon you. Returning home reports began to come in about a Rattlesnake a few systems over. Tia Aves was following him, but it appeared he was just warping between gates and he was neutral. More then likely he was high-tailing it to HS and we'd miss out. I started fitting up other ships and waited to hear what might happen. We only had about six players in our gang at the time, so this could be a tough fight. If it happened.
Sure enough, two systems away, the Rattlesnake appeared at a plex. Tia was already in warp to get tackle. Hurriedly I made the decision to grab my Rook. As you all know I loathe ECM but the Rook is at least combat fitted and, since we didn't have numbers, I thought it would help balance the field in our favor. We also had a Maulus on the way, between the two of us we should be able to keep him at bay.
By the time we arrived he had burned over 200k off the gate and Tia was just about to die. Luckily our staggered arrival meant others could grab points as I burned at him. I started asking for some assistance and Nashh and his group responded, so back up was on the way. Just as our Comet pulled off I managed to get point and hold him. Jams finally caught and he was held down. In between cycles I started taking some serious hits, but we held him long enough for Skir's Domi to get close and the Bastards to show up.
3.8b Rattlesnake go boom.
Thanks to Tia for sticking with it and holding on. And for our friends for the assist. Much appreciated.
I came back after Dinner to reports of a Drake. Common refrain huh? I grabbed one of my Hurricanes and started moving across gates. Skir was already in system hunting him down, but he kept moving and it took awhile for us to get him locked down. Eventually he landed on the other side of the gate from me, but he was neutral. The plan was to engage, then warp off, heal and return. However, once I landed I realized I had grabbed the AC Cane and not the Artie Cane. I made the decision then that the Drake would die. I burned at him and got so close I could see his eyes! Between him and the gate guns I was taking furious damage, but I remained calm and focused on breaking his shields. It was going to be close, but once his shields broke he went down fast. I had 6% armor left. I think Skir said his armor was about the same.
All my mods were toasted and I had almost no armor left, so I immediately started burning back home. As it turned out, I was going a tad fast and didn't have a scout set up. As usual that didn't work out very well for me. I jumped right into Adi and Nashh who were coming to look for us, and with everything toasted I didn't really have any choice but to align out and wait to go boom.
Due to popular demand I've decided to add another post to the CEO Advice series and talk a bit about one of the most important decisions a leader needs to make - Delegation. In the world of Eve this boils down to appointing Directors to assist in running the Corporation. But delegating authority can take many forms, much of which depend on the type of (and goals of) the Corporation you have in mind.
This makes it a challenging topic to give advice about within the confines of this post. There can be no doubt that delegating aspects of authority is crucial to the long-term success of your Corporation. You can't be on-line all the time, and what happens when you are logged off is critical. But there is so much more to it than just a careful way of preventing things from sliding into chaos. A leader that delegates simply to plug holes in his or her on-line time is making a huge mistake.
One of the biggest challenges we face within the realities of Eve is the person sitting on the other side of those screens. In many cases, we simply do not know them well enough and the barrier to getting to know them can be a vast ocean. (Figuratively and literally) This is why so many Corporations form around real-life friends and associates, the opportunity to "know" your leadership council is a powerful one. But not all of us are so fortunate. So how do we decide?
I will tell you straight up honest here, I do not have all the answers. While I have been extremely fortunate to be surrounded by a great group of leaders in Stay Frosty and in A Band Apart, I have also been burned. One Director turned crazy on us and opened our forums to the world, brought down our TS and joined the Corporation that declared war on us. One of our Corporation CEO's nearly brought down one of our member Corps last Fall. The important part of these stories is that those exceptions failed miserably. And they failed miserably because good leaders stepped in to deal with them decisively and with strength. As stated before, those lessons made our entire organization better and stronger.
Character is what I look for primarily. Those with strong character tend to rise to the top and should be recognized. It is important to note that this is not a statement against other players, many of whom may also have strong character, but a positive statement regarding a specific approach to the game itself. In other words, how someone approaches playing Eve is as important as who they may or may not be as people. There are tons of great people in our Alliance, but you can't make them all Directors. But this doesn't mean they can't all be leaders. Because they can.
So let's take a look at this from a different perspective. What makes a good Director? A good Director is someone that understands what the Corporation stands for, what its purpose is, and what the general goals are. That is obvious. More importantly however, they know what that means for them and how they can take those ideas and put them into action. This action varies from group to group, it isn't the same for a Pirate Corp as it is for a WH Corp or a Null Corp or a Indie Corp, or any other organization. In our situation the primary goal of our Directors is to help drive content on a daily basis, keep gangs running, encourage players, and deal with issues as they arise. We don't have assets that need to be dealt with, or structures to feed, etc.
For us the primary role of our Directors is that they play the game, in-game, a lot. We need active, engaged players to keep our momentum moving along. It helps if that also translates into social activity in our various applications. This activity is crucial to keeping things active, engaged, and alive. Nothing is more dangerous to a Corporation than the perception of death, quiet, and non-activity. (And that is true in all Corps)
We've had to remove Director's roles from players that have (for whatever reason) stopped being as active. This is not a condemnation of their character or a judgement against them, only a fact of life. Activity has to remain a bastion of responsibility, it is just the way things are in Eve.
Be smart. Don't over-commit to people until you know people. Take things slow, learn and grow together. Talk a lot. Communicate openly. Share your dreams, your goals, and be clear about what you expect from them. Let them make mistakes. It happens, we all do it. And we all should learn something from them. Not everything is the end of the world, try not to be so dramatic and dogmatic. Understand that there is a person on the other side of that screen, a person who may become a friend.
Don't be afraid to delegate. It is one of the clearest signs of a good leader. And the only way to build a great Corporation.
From November 2009.
I honestly do not remember the details surrounding the creation of this piece. I was in Dissonance at the time, having recently vacated Providence again. We had moved somewhere deep down in Insmother I believe. Lord Drakken was a Corpmate and, as these things sometimes do, the "touch it" joke took on a life of its own.
Whatever the details, this remains a favorite of mine. So Euro.
As an Eve CEO you have a lot on your plate. Growing a vibrant Corporation that provides content to its members, recruiting new members, laying out the broad strokes, keeping things on track, playing a game, finding your niche - it is a never ending litany of tasks, projects and challenges. Just remember, you asked for this.
Because this is Eve your reign will be stuffed full of tension and conflict, it is unavoidable. And let's be clear right up front, for those of you that enjoy throwing words around without thought, we are not talking about "drama". Drama is the unsupported and inappropriate use of tension to garner attention, and should not be used to label every single piece of action that happens. Tension and conflict on the other hand happen whenever anything is moving forward. If you are not experiencing some level of tension and conflict you are doing something wrong. You are not moving. And not moving is bad.
Tension and conflict are not, in themselves, bad. A leader that throws his or her hands up in defeat at the first signs of trouble, is not a leader. Trouble is the natural and expected outcome of progress. Trouble provides opportunities for solutions. Innovation stems from conflict. You cannot progress without it. You can't find solutions without problems to solve. This is simply the way things work. Not only in Eve, but out here in the real world as well.
When I first started Stay Frosty I created an organization that was totally open. We'd be the totally open Pirate Corporation. Not only with our recruiting policies, but in the way we dealt with Corporation Hangars, assets, leadership, essentially everything. This was great in theory and I knew from the beginning it probably wouldn't work. And sure enough, little by little, most of those things were changed in response to player conflicts. And while we remain one of the most open Corporations in all of Eve, even we had to adapt to changing circumstances and adopt a more viable structure. The important things stayed, but permissions, structure, passwords, tiers, some important infrastructure improvements had to be made. If we hadn't made them, we could not have started the Alliance. Despite the betrayals and thefts we turned those regrettable incidents into positives. We grew.
And growth, not only in numbers but in other important ways, is always the goal of a good leader. For him or herself and for the Corporation as a whole. And for the individuals who have decided to play ball in your court.
If I have one piece of advice to give the budding CEO, or even those more experienced, it is what Steve Jobs was saying in the quote that heads this post - "Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do." Knowing the difference between something that requires immediate and decisive action and something that will most likely resolve itself is critical. More often than not most conflicts tend to resolve themselves in time. Solutions appear in calm reflection. And circumstances change. Often the best thing you can do as a CEO is doing nothing else but being the anchor in the eye of the storm. Confident. Assured. And certain that nothing will move you from that rock. More often than not, that is the kind of leadership that is needed.
And then there are the fires. And fires need to be put out. A fire cannot be allowed to burn and requires swift and decisive action. Over time I've developed what I like to think of as my "Fire Plan", which is a series of bundled steps I take whenever a fire is detected. I won't go into the details but essentially they represent a series of actions that I take immediately upon potential trouble. Protect the Corporation is primary. All of those actions can be reversed if the situation resolves, the Fire Plan doesn't include any negative actions - only positive ones. And while protecting assets, forums, and materials is important, the key action is the reach out communication portion.
Let's be honest here. Most conflict arises from a lack of communication. It has been argued that all conflict arises from a lack of communication. Whatever, the point is that more often than not, communicating resolves most conflict. Frank, honest and strong dialogue tends to resolve most problems. Either from you or one of your leaders, reaching out to those affected can be a huge step in the right direction. As long as you do so with the goal of resolution, you'll be surprised just how often it works.
Conflict and tension are normal by-products of organization. Knowing how, when and where to deal with them is the mark of a great leader. Don't be afraid. Don't throw up your hands and walk away. Stand firm, be fair, and deal with what is in front of you. And know that your members are counting on you, watching you, and making decisions based on your actions. Or lack of action.
You are constantly being judged on your merits.
And remember, you asked for it.
I hope that you've enjoyed and learned something from this mini-series this week. I've been a CEO both in-game and out of game, so I hope that I've been helpful to those of you that are considering becoming one yourself. And, perhaps, given some insight into the process.
Yesterday I discussed the merits of building a proper Mission Statement for your Corporation. This is something that first-timers typically scoff at, but it is critical to focus your efforts and provide clear goals to not only yourself, but those that may follow you. That is a crucial first step along the path of building a Corporation, but there are other steps - like getting the word out - that I want to discuss with you.
For sake of argument let's assume you don't have the inclination to spend six years making an awesome, well-read, horribly creative blog of your own that attracts a tremendous audience every single day. Just for the sake of argument here. So what else can you do to help spread the word about your shiny new idea for a Corporation? And keep in mind, everything is about scale when it comes right down to it, the more you put into it the more you get back. I did in fact spend six years writing this blog, so I do get a tremendous return for that investment. Your time, on your own scale, is also an investment. There are no short cuts to hard work.
Don't despair, there are more tools available to the potential Corp CEO than ever before. Getting the word out is easier than it has ever been before. So let's take a look at the tools that are available to you.
Traditionally posting a recruitment thread on the Eve Forums is always step one. This is traditionally the first step of starting a new Corporation for good reason and it should remain your very first step. Not only does it work, if you keep it active every day, but it also serves as a handy link you can share with people in a pinch. I still recommend you do this immediately when you are ready to start recruiting.
In-game recruitment ads are a good second step. Just be sure to post them in areas where potential new recruits will be hanging out and not to far from what will be your base of operations. Especially when you are starting out, many people simply don't want to have to move across the universe to test out your new idea. Most people won't. But these ads do work and help to make you "seem" like a real Corporation.
Seeming like a real Corporation is important. Even with only you at the helm, you can do things that make it seem like you know what you are doing. Setting up a forum, even a free one with ads, is better than not having one. What are you going to do about Comms? Do you have a Slack or Tapatalk account? What about a killboard? You don't have to go and set all these things up before you recruit your first player, but these are the things you may need if you want to grow past a few friends. Remember the scale, a few friends may be all you are after.
And get a public channel right away. Do eet!
Today we have Twitter, Slack, Skype, Facebook, G+, and many many more tools at our disposal. I honestly can't imagine trying to start a new Corporation without being involved with at least some avenue of Social Media. And while not all of these are important, being involved in at least some of them is. This is where active people hang out together and you should be in the mix.
As a recruiting tool the benefits may not be obvious. But recruiting is about more than just finding people that may want to join your Corporation. It is also about building word of mouth. Everyone already on social media also already comes along with their own audience and network, a network you may not have access to. But they do. Especially if you are starting from scratch, exploiting other people's networks can be very important. We all know someone, and that someone might just be interested in what you are doing.
You may not know this, but I re-tweet every single recruitment tweet I see on Tweetfleet.
Get in there and mix it up. Show some personality. Link stories that you find interesting, that might apply to your goals, and don't be afraid to cheerlead your own Corporation.
Your personal style is going to play a huge part in the type of Corporation you build. There is no way around it. This is a good thing. As the leader your Corporation should reflect you, and likewise, you should reflect your Corporation. This makes you the primary Cheerleader for your Corp. You are its biggest fan, you believe in what you are doing, and you want to jump up and down and tell everyone about it! Go Team Go!!
Remember the scale. Your own scale may vary, but within reason you are the one that believes before anyone else does. So tell them about it. Tell them in local. Start convos. Send evemails to old friends in-game. Get the news out baby!!
I used to drop links to the Stay Frosty article in every local I went thru back when we first started. Every single system, once I started to leave, drop a link. I have no shame.
Luckily, all the photos of me in a Cheerleaders outfit have been burned.
In real life or in-game (or both) friends are the bestest. You can't beat friends. But you can exploit them. Either they can join you on your crazy crusade or they know people that might want to. Friends already sorta kinda like you, so they are great for getting the word out about what you are doing. It is called a network for a reason, a giant spider-web of connections, potential connections, and potential new recruits. Invite your friends to your awesome public channel, talk in that channel, tell them to invite their friends.
You may not have a blog, but you can comment on them. You may not have enough members to set up a 200 man public roam, but you can fly in them. You may not have 14b to hold an FFA, but you can participate in them. Being active makes you active. Not only can you have a lot of fun, but you get to meet new people, hang out with successful players, and learn new things.
Your Corporation is going to be awesome. I just know it.
Tomorrow the last post in this series will talk about what to do when everything goes down the toilet. Tension and conflict baby. Tension and conflict.
It is a question I get asked over and over again, "How can I start a Corporation?", or some variation on that theme. Over the years dozens of pilots that I've flown with have decided to break off and start their own Corporation in Eve. Many have been extremely successful, some have not, but to each of them I've given the same advice - simply start writing a hugely successful blog for four years and then use that platform to draw people to your Corp. Done.
Ok, that isn't what I tell them.
In a couple of weeks here Stay Frosty will be celebrating our second year. We have somewhere around 230 pilots in the Corporation, which makes us one of the largest (if not the largest) Pirate Corporations in New Eden. Our Alliance, A Band Apart, has over 600 members and is running along rather smoothly. We continue to grow and expand in interesting ways every day. Building something like that takes time, energy and commitment. It doesn't happen over night. Few people have the kind of drive it takes to achieve a goal like that, or even bigger goals. The good news is that you don't have to. Successful Corporations in Eve have nothing to do with numbers. They have everything to do with leadership.
And with failure. Failure is a huge part of success, both inside of Eve and out here in the real world. Trust me. I started a bunch of Corporations in Eve before I finally got it right. My trail of failure inside of Eve is long and storied, but each experience taught me something important. Each one was not a failure that stopped me from trying again, each one was a lesson from which I learned what not to do. And today I'm going to share with you some of those lessons. If you are thinking about starting your own Corporation inside of Eve, then pay attention. If not, then maybe you'll learn something anyway.
Find something you care about.
Stay Frosty works because it is about the one thing I enjoy doing more than anything else in Eve. I have a game-play style that I enjoy, one that took me four years to find, and I built a Corporation around me that services that play-style. This is a universal truth, build a Corporation that does exactly what you enjoy doing. This seems simple, but it isn't. So many Corporations fail from simple inattention from leadership. I play every day I can because I enjoy what I'm doing. It isn't work for me. So find that thing you enjoy doing and then go find other people that also enjoy it. It can literally be anything.
Focus to a Fault
This can be hard, especially once you start adding more pilots. It is simple human nature that each piece you add will have their own ideas about what you should be doing, where you should be going, and how you are going to get there. This is normal and the temptation to give in to these desires can be extremely powerful. Doing so will eventually destroy your Corporation. It will dilute your focus, spread you thin, and eventually those that wanted to do "something else" will leave you to find a place that does that thing better than you can.
Stay Frosty, for example, is a solo and small gang Pirate Corporation. To a fault. We have a simple and easy to understand mandate. Anything that crosses outside that line is something we do not do. No matter what. If you like that sort of thing, come fly with us. If not, then we hopefully leave as friends. Within that mandate the sky is the limit. Take that mandate anywhere you want, fly to the furthest corners, inside of Wormholes, out into High Sec, wherever - but the goals remain the same.
Stick to your guns. No matter what.
The true key to building a successful Corporation, no matter how big, is finding good people that share your enthusiasm for that thing you want to do. You can't do everything yourself and trying will only lead to burn-out and failure. Share the load, as Samwise would say. This is why having a clear mandate is so important, it helps other people understand clearly what you want to achieve. But it is also a measuring stick against which anyone can measure opportunities and challenges.
I am extremely fortunate in Stay Frosty and ABA to have a great group of leaders that clearly understand and accept what we are trying to do. Because of this, I don't have to hold any hands. Everyone knows what is and isn't the "ABA way" or what is or isn't appropriate for us. And they can easily measure opportunities and challenges against that standard themselves. Give your leaders the tools they need to be successful and let them be successful.
Keeping it all on track is the job of the CEO. Making the hard decisions and being decisive, no matter how painful, is critical. A leader needs to have empathy, but more than anything, he or she needs to lead. If you can't lead, you shouldn't be the leader. That sounds like common sense, but I bet we've all been in Corporations led by non-leaders before. Being CEO is not a vanity project, if you are in it for that reason you should really just stop now. It is hard work, it takes dedication, and it is a lot like herding cats.
Everyone has a different style when it comes to being a leader. The trick is to discover what style works best for you and then growing into that style. Consistency is important, vision is critical, and caring is key. Keep the group pointed in the right direction, anticipate course changes, and generally keep the natives entertained as best you can. And before you know it you'll have a group of people around you that you can enjoy spending time with on-line. After that, the rest will take care of itself.
So to answer your question - anyone can start a Corporation. But not everyone should. Be honest with yourself about your goals, your vision and your level of commitment. Be clear about what you want to achieve and clearly state those goals to potential Corp members. Stick to your guns, never do the easy thing, but always try to do the right thing.
And don't be afraid to fail.
If you jump into a Low Sec FW system and there are 9 people in local, but no one is on a celestial or in a plex - but ships are on scan somewhere - then most likely they are Vultures. People waiting in a safe spot for some schmuck to appear on a plex so they can swoop in and explode them. Or, more likely, for two other entities to fight so they can swoop in to pick off the carcass of the dead and dying.
Pilots in a Militia operating inside a Combat Site or Plex that have zero intention of engaging with those around them, are called Farmers. Farmers exclusively fill their low slots with Warp Core Stabilizers to avoid social interactions. They will often say something in local as soon as you appear on grid, "Not interested", or "No thanks" are common phrases Farmer's will say. Some take this even further by naming their ships "No Thanks" or "Leave Me Alone". These people are not playing the same game as the rest of us.
Compensators (also known as Linkers)
Solo pilots that suck so hard at Solo that they need a "compensator" to sit on a gate to give them that extra edge so they can win fights. You know one is around when you jump into a new System and see a neutral Loki (or Tengu, or Proteus, or that other one) sitting on the gate. Compensators can be easily identified, typically, by the insane and unnatural speed of their ships. And their small equipment.
Typically an Ibis, Bantam or other small ship mysteriously sitting alone in a Medium Plex still alive when you enter local. He is not still alive because he is awesome at PvP, he is still alive because he has a Combat Recon in there with him!! Curses! This strategy is so obvious it is amazing that anyone falls for it. (See also "Farmers")
Bros are two pilots that fly together in some insane combination of death that no one can really do anything about it. Typically they are also Compensators. An example is two Orthrus pilots being followed by a link Loki and achieving ludicrous speeds and distances that any normal ship cannot compensate for. Bros do not linger long enough for defenses to mount, they move quickly and strike fast.
The Talker runs from social interaction in order to achieve social interaction. He/She will run from an engagement but only because "I wasn't ready", or "I beat you guys the other day", or "You blob", or some other excuse. Strangely this action does not prevent the talker from filling up local with boasts regarding his, still unseen, PvP powers.
Show and Tell
If you warp into local and see a blingy ship on a station, you can be pretty sure you just warped into a Show and Tell scenario. Typically this happens when someone is holed up in station and decides everyone in local would like to see what he bought with their Plex. Knowing full well they have no intention of engaging with their blingy ship(s). The Show and Tell is usually marked by constant links to their fits, so everyone can see their bling.
A term used to describe someone that isn't actually Santo Trafficante who really wishes they were Santo Trafficante and hangs out on gates to smartbomb passing pods and small ships, typically in a T3 Cruiser. So sad.
Ghosts are people in a better ship than the one you are flying, who would most likely win any engagement, who decide to warp away instead. Usually the only image you have of them is the ghostly remnant of their ship in the space it occupied before warping away. Interesting in that the warp trail is typically yellow.
These are only a few of the colorful terms we use to label others in an unfair and totally biased manner in Stay Frosty. Rest assured that often these terms are used in chat and comms with even more colorful language surrounding them. If you recognized yourself in any of the terms used here, rest assured it applies to you. If not, then you'll just have to wait for the next post.
So what terms of endearment do you use in your Corporation?
PS: Just to clear up some confusion for those readers without the benefit of a sense of humor, this is intended as a piece of humor. A post to laugh at, or with, or about, or chuckle softly to yourself, whatever you enjoy. In fact, most of these terms are not ones we use in Stay Frosty at all! Shocker!! They are ones I use in my head or ones I made up on the spot this morning while writing. Hello creativity!! However, because I am the CEO of Stay Frosty I can legit say "we" as in the Royal use of the word. This, along with The Corp Amex Card, the key to the Executive bathroom, and the unlimited drinks in the Frosty Pub, are the benefits of leadership. So get over your hurt feelings. Sheesh.
|L to R: Sugar Kyle, Unknown, Mynxee, Grimmash, Mord Fiddle, Unknown, Argos Gelert and Rixx.|
I drank to much. My memory is fuzzy and I apologize to the two "unknowns" in the photo, you aren't really unknown - its just that I can't remember your names. I blame the noise and the alcohol. The photo was taken by my wife and it was still early in the evening, more people came and went as the night went along. Turamarth Elrandir also showed up at some point with his family, and Veskrashen and his wife Sheeana al-Seyefa among many others.
Having finally made it to Fanfest and now my very first local Eve meet, I can tell you honestly that I have the bug now. Meeting actual humans that also enjoy Eve, or used to in some cases, is pretty gosh darn awesome. Kudos to Sugar for putting this on and for being an incredibly amazing human being. I hope to be able to make more of these in the future. Not just in Washington, but in other places as well.
I encourage everyone reading this to check out Eve Meet and see where the next meet-up near you might be. And if there isn't one, you should really think about hosting. It doesn't have to be a big deal like Eve Vegas or Eve Down Under to be fun, heck Saturday night was just a bunch of people showing up at a restaurant for the evening.
I had a lot of fun and had some great conversations, not all of which were about Eve.
And the next day I even got to see some real spaceships at the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum in Washington.
Click to download full sized Wallpaper
This weekend my wife and I will be attending the Washington Eve Meet in Falls Church, VA. Which means less than two weeks after driving back from DC jet lagged and tired, we will be driving back. This time, hopefully, without the jet lag, six hour flight and two hour customs ordeal from the last trip.
Sugar Kyle will be there, as will Mynxee and Mord Fiddle, several members of A Band Apart and hopefully a lot more Eve players to meet and hang out with. We are both really looking forward to it. We decided to make a weekend out of it and see the sights in DC before the meet and on Sunday. My wife hasn't been to Washington in a long time so we'll do some sightseeing on Saturday and then visit the Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum on Sunday.
Should be a great weekend and hopefully I'll have lots of stories and photos to share with you all next week.
Keep the courage.