Wednesday, May 14, 2014

My Job History

This post is an updated version of one from several years ago.

I had a request to post on my job history in the Uni, and how I got to be CEO. I'll try to summarize as best as I can without loading up my chatlogs from 7 years ago (yes, I do save all my chatlogs. I'm weird). Dates will be somewhat approximate, as I'm trying to reconstruct this from memory as best as I can.

I first joined the Uni in Sept of 07. For the most part, I just hung around in forums, chatted with people, and wrote a few short guides, covering areas such as types of tanking, how a passive tank works, etc... As time passed, I tried my hand at a few other jobs, such as mentoring some people. That spring, I was approached by a director named Acacia Incana.

At that point, there wasn't the same type of organizational chart for the Uni that we have today. People didn't necessarily have defined job duties, but she was in charge of the hangars and most tackling 101 classes. She had been put in charge after series of industrial people had left the uni, such as kodell and finrear. I'm not sure who was exactly in charge of what previously (and I'm not sure all the directors even knew). She hired me as a hangar officer, which was an interesting job.

I was given a set of screenshots and told "make the hangars look like that." Apparently, hangar officers (meaning just Acacia and Dlar) had simply just compared what was in the hangar to a screenshot, then pulled modules from our sorting hangar to refill it. This was extremely time consuming, and not exactly user friendly, as the same hangar might be in 2 different screenshots from where she'd had to scroll down to get all the mods. Additionally, there was no monitoring of backstock except by eye. A lot of times, we'd be completely out of a module before we noticed we needed to restock our backstock, let alone our front hangar supplies. The hangars lacked any sort of overarching organizational scheme, and frankly scared me quite a bit at the thought of having to deal with it.

I did some work to make hangars a bit easier, and got some assistants. I had the idea of using API pulls to automatically generate stocking reports and production requests (Turhan would implement and surpass my idea later), but lacked the coding skills to really implement it. I did put into place some procedures to try and make things easier than just looking at screenshots, and to simplify how to order new items when our backstock was low.

That June (i think), Acacia moved on to Bob and I was promoted to full hangar manager (not director). Dee Carson (Director of Ops under MM, who had just replaced Kassie that winter) had begun organizing the Uni into something that looked like an organizational chart. During the summer, the Director of Logistics job was either unfilled, or filled by Sabre A for a few weeks (a pvp guy and director who had been in and out of the Uni several times). Sabre A left the Uni once again, the position was unfilled for a while, and I was promoted to Director of Logistics at the end of the summer. I had only been in the Uni for less than a year, and hadn't even been playing eve for 2 years. I now had a staff, and managers underneath of me (as a side note, one of my managers was Irdath, who's mining classes continually started wars). Turhan got my old job as hangar manager, and I started trying to figure out the other divisions and integrate them into a collective unit.

During my tenure as Director of Logistics, we completely revamped how every one of the divisions under logistics works, added new programs like copying services, refining services, byom, freighter production, and pyos. I added an entire new division (marketing - Pyos), and did basic planning for a future expansion into a transport division. We redid our entire hangar structure (got rid of some hangars, retasked others, changed what was stocked). I've seen Dee, Acacia, and Sabre (along with some other directors from my time as a student) move on in EVE, and Keld (then the Diplomacy Director) get promoted to Director of Operations, and eventually CEO when Morning Maniac stepped down.

After several years as Director of Logistics, Keld approached me about taking on a new role. In September of 2012 he was having some major changes in his life, and needed someone to take over as Director of Operations. Traditionally, a Director of Operations will run day to day stuff in the Uni when the CEO is unable to take an active daily leadership role, or is staying on as a figurehead. I performed in that role for almost 6 months, during which time Keld felt that his future in EVE was coming to an end, and felt it was time for him to step down as CEO. He chose me to become the next CEO, and we spent some time coordinating the transition before announcing my new position in March of 2013. At that point, Keld stepped down from being a leader in the Uni, following the footsteps of many other leaders from our past.

As Director of Operations and CEO I've implemented some significant changes. Our approach to wars and wartime operations have seen some fundamental shifts. Our rules of engagement in different areas of space have been updated to what I believe are a better fit with the current state of EVE. Additionally, we've expanded opportunities for our students to participate in activities with people outside of the Uni. Our campuses have heavily expanded, with large percentages of our students finding their niche in solitude, low-sec, npc null, w-space, or mining. I would like to think that I have implemented some positive changes to the Uni, and will continue to do so in the future.

Over the last 7 years, we have seen many changes. Its not always been a smooth transition, and sometimes change took longer than it should have, but I think the current Uni is much better than what we used to have, and think it will continue to improve.

 Its been a lot of changes during my time in the Uni, with each individual I've mentioned (and many more) all changing the Uni and leaving their mark. While some of the names are more remembered for the drama when they left, they did have positive effects during their tenure. If I ever leave the Uni (I really don't want to. I like my job), I plan on learning from what I've seen with them and leaving quietly, so only my accomplishments and not the drama are remembered.

Monday, May 12, 2014

What is it like as CEO?

With changes in my job over the last few years, I have decided to update a post I originally did long ago.

I've found that people don't really understand what the CEO or directors in the Uni actually do, so I decided I'd try to help shed some light on our job. Every department will be slightly different, as each director is in charge of different aspects of the Uni. However, there will be many commonalities.

 First, I tend to set my alarm to wake me up 15-20 minutes early each day so I have time to log into the forums and read whatever has been posted while I'm asleep. I will admit I don't read every thread (Hi&Bye forum, I'm looking at you), but I read all the ones posted to common E-uni areas. Some of the posts may require a statement from me to refocus the discussion, clarify my viewpoint, clarify a University policy, or just because I find it funny. I try to avoid taking sides in major discussions, as I don't want someone to see my post as "This will never change." I will make some contributions if I feel a certain point is being missed. If good points are made in a discussion, I will, and have often changed my view and University policy as a result.

 In addition to the normal areas that students see, there are several forums that are only available to directors/managers. There are actually 3 levels of leadership forums, one for directors only, one for directors and managers, and one for all staff. This is in addition to the forum section specifically for each individual department, such as logistics, education, or human resources. Also, there is a forum section for student records, where it is posted when people have broken a rule, the consequences, communication logs with the person, etc... I comment in any of these forums if I feel its necessary. I need to remain informed on what each department of the University is doing, so I will monitor their threads, and make a comment if a policy decision needs to be made. I rarely post in the student records forum, as there are directors much more suited to this role than me. When i do post, it is usually as the final decision on a specific consequence for a student. In all, I estimate something like 80-100 forum sections I monitor.

In addition to forums, several groups in the Uni have their own Slacks.  I typically will review those at least once a day, reading everything that has been posted.  However, I will admit to skimming the more active ones.

Directors probably have similar duties on the forums, except they will mostly be focused on the sections that are in their Department, have have less of a need to be informed about other sections. They are, however, expected to have a good overview of all of the Uni to provide general leadership across all sections if needed.

Next, I'll check forum PMs and evemails to respond as needed. These could includes status reports or requests from my Directors or managers, questions from students, requests for info from outside people, tech support for the forums, or requests directed at a uni program I directly administer (like refining). I'll check the Uni wallets for any changes overnight. Logging in by itself is an interesting process, as I have 3 main characters devoted to Uni duties (Azmodeus Valar, Irjuna Valar, and University Voice), along with several alts as CEO of various other IVY corps (2 that I need to regularly check and others that need to be checked less frequently), and several ooc alts that do various functions for the Uni. Throughout the day I will continue to check forums, evemails, email, and various web resources we use to administer programs in the University.  I typically receive more daily mails via my position in the Uni than I do in my professional job.

When I get home from work, I usually repeat the entire process listed above, and do it again before I go to bed (my wife is a very forgiving person). During this time I'll also spend some time logged in chatting with management/directors about anything that is going on, department chat channels, chat.e-uni making the occasional really bad joke, or just answering questions that pop up. When not doing corp stuff, I also spend some time in the WHC horribly failing at PVP.

Lastly, I have ownership of all of EVE University's digital assets. That means that I occasionally must do stuff with our web host, DNS, paypal, etc... Thankfully, that is not a daily event.

Now, these are just the normal daily activities related to my job in the Uni. Directors and the CEO have additional duties that pop up. I also will have to look at the director's forum section and comment on any policy or rule changes being proposed. We also have the occasional fires to put out between students, or between directors. We have official meetings where we discuss what is going on, any changes that need to be made, recap the time since the last meeting, and prepare for the future. Contrary to poplar belief, the directorate is not a unified front on many issues. We debate some things back and forth each meeting (or in our forums), before deciding what direction the Uni should take on an issue. Even if a director loses an argument (and I've lost several when I was a Director), we accept it and move forward, supporting whatever the official uni stance will be. Part of being a director is being able to put aside some of your own personal wants in order to support the Uni. As CEO, I contribute in all of this, and have the final decision on all policy changes made.

The most interesting part of this, is that I actually enjoy it. Yes, its a lot of work, but for some reason I have a psychological need to help people (i blame my mother), I enjoy the challenge of running some of these programs, and truly enjoy leading my department. When i was first named logistics director, we'd have something like 4-5 people in that post within the previous year, with no established procedures, and no real hangar organization. In fact, the sorting hangar deeply scared me when i first took over. Organizing the chaos was not easy, but it was somewhat fun. That same experience has carried over to CEO. Except now instead of organizing logistics program, I have to organize the entire Uni and its programs. Thankfully, my directors and managers are quite honestly one of the best groups of people I've ever had the opportunity to work with. In fact, I really wish the people I worked with in my real life job were as dedicated and competent as my managers and staff in the Uni. If they were, my real life would be a lot easier.

Being CEO isn't easy, and it is very time consuming (at least my department is), but it is rewarding for me. There are some aspects of my job I wish I didn't have to deal with (freighter runs of minerals, pointless drama...), but its been great helping the Uni for the last few years, and I don't regret my decision to take the job. Its been an honor working for the Uni, and I look forward to more great years to come.