At one time, I decided that I was going to write a blog. I was unemployed, having been laid off from my previous job doing customer service for an insurance company for all of my adult life (six years). I wanted to document both cool life experiences and neat instances where I found innovative uses of technology. After all, I was going back to school for a programming degree, where I hoped to get a job working in augmented reality, social networking, or some location-based gaming (I still think that my idea [which I’m sure others have thought of too] to have an iPhone app where you physically hunt for Pokemon in the real world is the best idea ever).
But, things have changed, and for the better! I last left you at Minecon, where I hauled my poor, unemployed self over to Las Vegas, to help Mojang with their convention. I’d been a volunteer staff member at several PAXes before, so this was right up my alley, albeit with more responsibility, as I was leading all of the volunteers. Things went well, I got to work with one of my favorite game companies, and I made a lot of friends, people that I still see and talk to almost one year later.
At PAX, Minecon, and the month or so after, I brought up the idea of be working for Mojang a number of times. Surely, it was a long shot. This was a company that was absolutely blowing up, and I spent probably the first month of my unemployment playing Minecraft, only to take breaks to shower and eat. But while the game was a massive success, there wasn’t time to do a gradual building up of support systems and staff like most companies have. It needed to get done as soon as possible, to support millions of players, and 10,000 new players each day. While most players bought the game and never had any issues, with several million customers, you’re going to have people who need you, even if it’s just to reset their email or password.
I’d watched new Mojang employees be hired on and added to the team; they each filled a need, and most of them knew someone in the company. It was like adding people to a small family. So I now had worked with the company twice, and I had the skillset to do what they needed. My last job at my previous employer was to help with their online customer service, which was still very new. In January, I got an email saying they’d like to bring me on. I signed my contract a bit later that month (during Minecraft Marathon, actually, but I couldn’t tell our viewers because it hadn’t yet been countersigned!), and have been working for Mojang ever since.
I also did Minecraft Marathon with some friends, in which we played Minecraft for 53 hours and raised $11,000 for Child’s Play Charity. It started off as “let’s do a Minecraft LAN” and turned into this thing where I planned for three months, networked, and got corporate sponsors. We had $4,000 in live donations and a whopping $7,000 in auction items. Thank you so much to everyone who helped, especially ThinkGeek, Jones Soda, J!NX, Junkboy, Wondercraft, M3Sweatt, Bungie, Steve Dengler and LethalDrive.
With a new job at Mojang, the newest phase of my life began. I have a flexible schedule, which means that both my hours and days can be swapped around (though I try to work 9-5, M-F) as long as I hit my total. This, combined with the fact that I work online, presented some interesting opportunities. I moved out of my place at the end of May, flew to Los Angeles for the weekend to help run the Child’s Play Charity annual golf tournament, spent June in Victoria, BC (Canada), spent July in Los Angeles, and did PAX Prime with Mojang in August, and moved to Seattle in September.
Side note on PAX: being a PAX Enforcer (volunteer) has been a huge part of my life the last few years. I’ve made friends, dated an Enforcer, gone on trips with them, and they’re a big part of my social life. I’ve decided that, finances and time off allowing, that I’m going to continue to be an Enforcer at any event that the company does not have a booth at. This includes the newly announced PAX Australia! This convention and community is amazing, feel free to bug me about it if you ever have questions.
So it’s now October, and I have so much coming up. I started my own Minecraft server, which is a casual place for me to hang out, and have gradually started to add a few outsiders here and there. I started livestreaming recently, and I try to combine games with humor. I just did my first stream on the HermitCraft server, and since all of those players are pretty big YouTubers, this is kind of a big deal, and I’m glad that I can be a part of that. I applied for a passport, and in November, I’m flying out to Disneyland Paris to help run Minecon 2012. Afterwards, I’d love to see the company office in Stockholm. Somewhere in there, planning for Minecraft Marathon 2 needs to happen, because that’s tentatively set for January. Lastly, the last nine months spent at Mojang are about to pay off, as our customer support systems are fully operational, many kinks have been worked out of systems, and we’re about to finish off the last of our email backlog. Completing that project, and moving on to how we can now improve what we have, feels very fulfilling.
Life has gotten strange and wonderful. Each week, I meet new people that I really enjoy. Each month, I get to do something new and exciting. Just like the internet, Seattle is full of amazing nerds, and I feel at home with these people both online and off. I’ll try to post smaller, slightly more regular blogs, but you can always catch me on Twitter. As always, I’m both humbled and encouraged by the overwhelming number of people who seem to find these things interesting. Thanks for reading :-)