Posts Tagged ‘LinkedIN’

How social media helped me land an Xbox gig

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

In the Spring of 2008, I moved to Bulgaria. My wife began helping with her sister’s business – a consulting firm that specialized in servicing foreign real estate developers interested in opportunities in the Republic of Bulgaria. My eldest attended pre-school during the day, while my mother-in-law watched the little one.

Bulgaria was an opportunity for me. We had very low expenses while living overseas and so I was blessed with a chance to build my businesses without having to worry about paying too many bills.

In April, I ran across an article by Chris Brogan entitled ‘Social Media for Your Career’. Chris mentioned a lot of things in the article, but I focused on his mention of LinkedIN. Based on his recommendation, I decided to take LinkedIN for a spin (

One thing I noticed was that you can sort potential connections by geographic location. I decided to see how many people were in my neck of the woods: Sofia, Bulgaria. Right now, there are almost 5,000 people in the Sofia metropolitan area with LinkedIN profiles. At the time, though, there were far fewer – 41 to be exact. With so few people to choose from, I decided to scroll through the list and see what popped out.

On the second page was a rather generic listing for ‘CEO of Haemimont Games’. I had no LinkedIN connections who knew this person, so I had no way to contact him via the service, so I relied on another useful service: Google. What I discovered was that Haemimont Games produced some pretty cool products. Even better, their offices were two blocks away. I called, gave them my credentials as a gaming professional, and asked if they’d like to get together. As luck would have it, they were having a company outing at the local bowling alley the next day and asked me to drop by.

As it turned out, Haemimont was looking for people to help write for their first Xbox title. I’d worked on various game products and Rone, my business partner, had sold screenplays to MGM – we had the skills they were looking for, and I told them as much.

The meeting went well, as did the next one. By the end of May, Moonstew Games was knee deep in our first computer game project (to be released this Christmas).

And that’s how social media helped me land my first Xbox gig. Thanks to Chris Brogan (blogger), I learned about a networking site for professionals (LinkedIN), which pointed me toward a potential business partner. Without those two first steps, I would never have met the good folks at Haemimont Games.

Social media won’t do it all, though. It’s great for making connections and sharing ideas, but it took a real-world connection to seal this deal. That’s just as an important a lesson – something I’ve learned time and time again. The internet is great, but it’s no substitute for face-to-face communication. Instant messages and a webcam can’t replace a living, breathing person.

Likewise, nothing replaces experience. If Rone and I didn’t have a resume to back us up, I doubt Haemimont would have given me more than an invite to go bowling again.

Be professional with a solid track record, be prepared to show that record to others, and strike when opportunities arise – you’ll do fine. Social media can help you find those opportunities, though.

If social media services want me as a user…

Friday, June 6th, 2008

I usually experiment with new technologies and services as they come out. I don’t like to tinker, for the sake of tinkering, though. I like to see what’s out there in case the new hotness will make my life easier. Because of this, even as I experiment, new products and services have a high barrier to overcome if they want me to patronize them in the end – the inertia of the current services I use.

I set up a MySpace account in a fit of boredom. The service had already been out for some time – long enough to become notorious of the immaturity of the content. But it was also known for being a place for artists to self-promote. That interested me. MySpace was good, allowing me to reconnect with some people I would never have been able to keep track of. It was my at-arms-length social network, though. I’d fire off a friendly message now and again, or post on someone’s page, but I wasn’t too engaged.

When facebook came along, it held no appeal to me. What did I need another MySpace for? I had my answer soon enough as MySpace suffered from security breaches that resulted in tons of annoying spam. It got so bad for me that I signed up at facebook and told all my friends at MySpace that I was shutting down my account. I’ve never gone back, and don’t plan to.

A similar tale can be said for Plaxo and LinedIN, except in this case LinkedIN has proven to be such a valuable service that I have no incentive to migrate to Plaxo. And I’m loathe to maintain multiple account and profiles on networks with duplicate scopes. I’m sorry Plaxo, but LinkedIN is where I’m at, and you’re going to have to work really hard to convince me to give you the time of day.

And so we come to micro-blogging and Twitter. Twitter had me – hook, line and sinker. Like others, though, I’m getting frustrated by the little whale that couldn’t (stay off my screen). I don’t think it’s the outages, though, that are driving people to seriously consider other services. While I have a sizeable cloud of contacts on Twitter, and I like simplicity of the service and the “personal news ticker” feel, it’s just text. Other services, like Jaiku and Pownce, use MMS instead of SMS – making them a little more attractive because of the added functionality. The only things saving Twitter right now are the entrenched user numbers and the fact that the other services don’t (yet) have interfaces that are easy to use.

Take Pownce, for instance. If I had a twhirl for Pownce, I’d be in heaven. Pownce Monkey is OK, but there are many things that need to be tweaked before it’s a truly useful application. If Pownce would implement geo-tracking elements a la BrightKite… Well, let’s just say that I wouldn’t shed a tear for Twitter.

Bowling for Business

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

I’ve got a meeting with a prospective client tonight. We’re going bowling! The last time I was in a bowling alley was two years ago. Wish me luck!

In the meantime, if any of you have heard of Haemimont Games, or played any of their titles, I’d love your feedback. Their most recent titles include Glory of the Roman Empire and Celtic Kings.

UPDATE: These guys are very cool. I can’t wait to do business with them.