Thursday, December 23, 2010

A day in the life of OUCH's CEO

You know, there's no such thing as a typical day in my life as I manage OUCH and the Art of War Alliance, so this post is going to be more general than specific. I wrote this because it was requested of me - I'm sure they'll enjoy it, but I hope you enjoy it too.

My day starts around 6:30am when I wake up. I drag myself into the study, collapse into my comfy chair (I'm still waking up!), and check my Gmail and deal with all the emails that came in overnight, answering those that need answering, viewing interesting web pages that they might link to, or just deleting them as rubbish. I then check Facebook and see what's new. One of my friends might be sharing the latest US government outrage about assassinating Wikileaks members or torturing people they don't like, and I'll rage a little and then go and get some breakfast. I usually have muesli with yoghurt and honey and milk, and come back to eat it while I log into Eve Online.

As I log in I look at the top left of my character picture see if there's any new messages for me. I know it's going to be an ordinary day when maybe I've got maybe 2 or 3 emails. I like ordinary days. When I see there's 10 messages or more waiting for me, I sigh and wonder who started another war.... Luckily that doesn't happen too often.

Not that war's a bad thing! To be honest, I get excited when a new war starts, because then I start yelling at people via evemails to tell them what to do as I prepare the alliance for the war that's about to unfold.

But on an average day, I continue logging in while eating my breakfast. (Well, I do that on a not so average day too, but I digress...) I wave o/ in all the channels I'm in (corp, alliance, public, blues, intel, personal, and occasionally evebloggers). Sometimes people wave back. Then there's wave parties as everyone waves. I like that.

I log on to Teamspeak but have myself in the AFK channel so I don't have to talk to anyone while still waking up, and then in Eve I check the messages that have come in. These are either enquiries about joining OUCH or the alliance, or requests for reimbursement for lost ships during training or PVP operations, or queries about training, or someone giving me intel about regional activities, or updates on what I missed out on while I was sleeping. Being in Australia, I'm usually asleep during the peak US / EU times, so I often miss out on the all the excitement. Except on weekends, when I can play during the day at the same time as everyone else. Then I can potentially join in on whatever fleet is active at the time in the alliance or with our blues. I like weekends.

I very rarely chat with anyone at this stage, unless they've private convo'd me to ask me something or tell me something. Then I'll briefly chat with them while still eating my breakfast. I try to keep it short though, because I have to get ready for work after I've done my morning Eve routine...

When I've logged in and there's 10 or more messages, I'm usually also inundated with private convo's or lots of corp/alliance chat - "OMG! WE'RE AT WAR! WHAT DO WE DO! WHAT DO WE DO!!!!! I'M A TEAPOT, I'M A TEAPOT!!" Then I have to calm people down and start issuing instructions. I write alliance mails to remind everyone (which will be for the first time for any newer members) about the alliance's Wartime Operations Policies, referring them all to the relevant forum threads so they can get the appropriate information for their wartime activities.

The senior staff have their own operational activities during war, which is usually gathering intel, establishing scouting operations, and informing everyone of what they need to do. My communications to the corp is separate to the communications to the alliance, and I remind everyone in OUCH that all PVE is banned during war, to read the forum for OUCH's wartime operations policies, and I make sure I threaten to kick them out if they continue to engage in PVE during war.

I've kicked members out for exactly that in the past, so everyone knows I take these operational policies seriously. As a result, we've had wardecs against us cancelled by aggressors because of the success of our policies. I consider them 'victories', of course, which I'm very happy about.

So after dealing with the administration of the corp and alliance for maybe an hour, I log out of Eve and check the forum, answering anything on there that I feel I can provide input on. (Sometimes I do this while still logged into Eve.) Then I prepare for work, and then head off to work. If it's a 'new wardec day', then I'm going to be late for work...

I check evemails via Eve Gate occasionally during the day, answering any queries that might come in, etc.

When I get home from work, I usually log in to catch up with the things that I couldn't do via Eve Gate. I'm usually brain-dead from work, so I just quietly chill for a while. Then there's dinner, maybe a movie on occasions, before I get back into Eve in the hour or two before downtime.

At this time it's usually pretty quiet, so I catch up on forum posts, evemails, or consider my strategies for the future of OUCH and the alliance. I occasionally talk to people that are active, answer queries about training, corp or alliance membership, communicate with blues, or - occasionally - undock and go look for a fight. I know - shocking! As if I get any time for PVP....

If we're at war, I usually do less administration and spend the time moving around highsec in a cloaked ship, antagonising the war targets with my presence, gathering intel, and occasionally waiting for the right moment to pounce. Sometimes I'll lead a fleet of members into battle, always conscious of the benefits of guerilla warfare. I treat all engagements as training operations, teaching the members about how to operate during war, and why certain tactics are important.

After downtime is just before my bedtime, but things start getting a little more active in Eve when EU players start coming online in their morning. My 2IC / Training Director usually comes on at this point, and we're often discussing training plans, PVP operations, or dicussing strategy relating to the future of OUCH and the alliance.

As the time approaches midnight, I'm often considering the day's events, taking into account strategic discussions, and then occasionally writing some alliance or corp message to communicate the evolutionary changes, training or strategy of the corp or alliance, and what those changes will mean to members. I also check the forum to see what other input I can provide, or feedback I can take from discussions to help me decide the future plans of OUCH.

One thing I've always been very clear with is my management style. I try to get people taking ownership of various areas of responsibility so that the workload of running this place can be shared. Maintaining a healthy balance between my life and this game is important to me, you see, so I don't go to the extreme with my in-game time.

This has worked out quite well over the past year, with encouraging others to take on training, answering queries from people about training regimes and ship fittings, and forum moderation. My day usually includes maintaining all those different areas, with all the people that are assisting me with them.

I consider myself a benevolent dictator. OUCH and the alliance are mine alone, and I will not let anyone else take on an in-game position that could potentially be dangerous to my position (eg. taking away my CEO role or disbanding the alliance). Everything that ends up happening is in line with my underlying strategy.

You see, everyone is encouraged to give me ideas and suggestions about how they think OUCH and the alliance should operate, and while I listen to their suggestions, if it's not in alignment with the direction I want to go I will end up telling them why I won't allow it. However, if their suggestions are in alignment with my vision, then I'll allow their suggestions to evolve through discussion and planning, and become part of how we do things.

It seems to work pretty well, which I'm happy about as I have no intention of doing it differently.

Communication with other corps or alliances is part of my game too. Some people PVE, some PVP. I communicate. I love communicating, negotiating, and generally being a diplomat. I love the conversations designed to either obtain information from hostiles, or obtain friendships. When TEST alliance recently moved into our area we were almost wardec'd by them, but I managed to change that around to becoming blue with them instead. From that point on we had a wonderful relationship flying with them, being involved in roams and camps throughout various nullsec systems.

Anyway, once I've finished all my conversations in-game or in Teamspeak, finalised all the evemails I need to respond to (or initiate), and checked the forums, I usually say goodbye to everyone, go back to my Gmail and tidy that up before heading to bed. I take my iPad with me to check Facebook while in bed, browse some RSS feeds in Google Reader, and then fall asleep around midnight.

Thus ends a day in the life of the OUCH CEO.

All of the above is, generally speaking, my standard day. It certainly does keep me busy! But I've been doing that for a year now, and still loving it. At this point in time, I have no intentions of stopping - especially since more and more people are starting to get onboard to help me, which means there's just going to be less work for me. Woohoo!

Ahem. I'll go now...