TEN:005 | How to Run a World Class Esports Organization with Marty CEO of Splyce
A longtime veteran of the entertainment world, Marty “@Lazerchicken” Strenczewilk worked in theater, film and television for over 10 years, primarily in New York city. Esports started as a passion when he began writing blogs and managing class guides for World of Warcraft. He landed his first esports gig at a startup, where he led production on one of the most successful first-time broadcasts of a World of Warcraft tournament. He then went on to found Splyce in the winter of 2014 with his wife Meghan Strenczewilk (Business Director) and his longtime friend Vincent Garguilo (Creative Director). Software developer Jeff Appis was the 1st Splyce employee and is still there today.
Since founding Splyce Marty and his team of players, managers, coaches and staff have gone on to become a world class and top organization globally, competing in 8 titles currently I believe. They have won Blizzcon in WoW pvp, they have multiple top five finishes and a win already this year in Call of Duty at CWL Columbus Stage 1, a win at Dreamhack Atlanta just at the end of July in Halo and many other top finishes across their other titles.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
- [2:24] Game titles that Splyce is really proud of as well as those mentioned are Starcraft and Marvel vs. Capcom. Splyce has three of the best Starcraft players in the world and a dominant MVC player as well going almost undefeated into EVO
- [3:40] What does esports mean to you?
- [3:56] Grew up having an original atari, sega genesis, etc. Gaming since 7 years olds
- [4:30] Grew up surrounded by sports but got back into gaming after being in entertainment for a decade because of the competitive side
- [5:10] Esports fills that need and hunger for competition combined with my love for video games
- [5:27] Is it different in other parts of the world? In Korea it’s part of pop culture. You have 14 year old girls excited about meeting a Starcraft of LoL player, not Justin Beiber. This is different than the dynamic of esports in the US. It’s very unique depending on the game and the region you’re talking about
- [7:30] How do you decide if a game is worth investment or continued investment?
- [7:34] It varies pretty widely and it’s not a simple explanation of meeting specific criteria and we will be in your game
- [7:55] For example: fighting games, last year was the coming out moment for the power fighting games
- [9:03] 1. What is the potential cost? 2. What’s the caliber of player/teams you’re capable of getting? 3. Brand Personality. Another part is how can you make money in the game and the scene itself and is it growing
- [12:05] Worst moment in esports?
- [12:11] Being relegated out of ESL Pro League for Counter-Strike Global Offensive
- [14:11] Have learned from that experience and have began building the core team back up, but at the time that was tough
- [14:29] VALUE BOMB Don’t be afraid to start over and make changes and tweak things if things are not working
- [14:56] Biggest accomplishment so far?
- [15:00] Having built out the staff at Splyce. We have powerhouse staff here. We have people who are incredible at what they do
- [15:50] Really flexible schedule is really great but also the passion and the love for what they do at Splyce
- [16:53] The real accomplishment is making a workplace that people like to work at and are really excited to work with each other
- [17:00 – 21:45] VALUE BOMB Marty shares his wisdom about running a world class esports organization. Not just offering dumb perks, but having the CEO be accessible if any of their staff need them. Splyce has a number of opportunities for staff to work on things that really matter.
- [22:00] What makes an esports organization successful?
- [22:05] The toughest thing that people haven’t started doing is stepping outside of traditional I heart esports talent. We try and make those hires of people that maybe have less esports experience but have developed some real world skills
- [25:40] How do you gauge the success of an organization if it’s at all even possible?
- [25:55] This is a challenging conversation
- [28:00] In multi-gaming organizations whose the “better” organization
- [28:26] I don’t know if there is a straightforward answer to this
- [31:05] My goal is to win Championships not prize money
- [32:45] VALUE BOMB No one remembers second place, being number 1 matters
- [33:15] 5 Question Combo Breaker
- [33:18] Best advice someone has ever given you? Do things that don’t scale, a paul graham blog
- [33:35] What does the esports industry need to do to grow and continue to be successful? Real monetization. Expanding out beyond the current channels we have to explore new channels
- [34:18] What are some potential revenue channels that haven’t been explored yet? One of the biggest is being the official xys of a large group of teams. That’s the next step to sponsorship
- [36:09] Best play or the most memorable moment in esports? Bance’s play in the waterfall last year at Call of Duty Champs.
- [36:50] Resource that’s been beneficial to you in your career? Startup School, a video series on youtube where startup founders teach a class and it’s recorded. The Hard thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz is killer.
- [38:00] Daily habit that’s been the biggest factor to your success? Personally, it’s been getting organized.
- [40:30] What is life like as the CEO of an Esports Organization and what does it take to be successful? You have 4 jobs as a CEO: 1. Raising money or being in the position to be able to raise money, 2. Business development, 3. Finding great people, 4. Developing culture. On a day to day level it’s all about interfacing with players and staff and meetings and quick touch points with all other departments.
You can engage with Marty on Twitter @lazerchickenzzz, he’s very accessible. Also on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. You can also visit the team’s website at Splyce.gg. He’s also on Reddit trying not to feed the trolls. :O)
3 Big Narratives
- Don’t be afraid to start over and make changes and tweak things if things are not working
- No one remembers second place, being number 1 matters
- Culture is a driving force in your company
- Do Things that Don’t Scale – a Paul Graham Blog
- The Hard thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz (NOT an affiliate link)