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A Look Back at 2016

The IGDA Leadership Track focuses on advancing knowledge for leaders in the games industry and includes content of interest to senior management, newly formed teams, large and small game studios.  The IGDA Leadership Track offers contemporary firsthand accounts and concrete lessons that can be readily applied by session attendees at all areas of game and entrepreneurial leadership. Topics range from strategic staffing when hiring creative managers to establishing an iconic brand and handling growth.

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IGDA Sessions at SIEGE , Atlanta, Oct 6-9

Personal leadership: Too many Kirks in the kitchen, or, Where are all the Spocks?

Saturday 5:00PM, Oct 7 (Keynote) - Presenter Nick Laing

In game development, when it comes to senior level Directors and Producers, leadership is in an expectation. In our industry we spend a great deal of time defining the traits of leadership. We are not alone in this pursuit, large scale organizations such as multi-national corporations and militaries around the world have dedicated their vast resources and time to understanding what makes a good leader and how to cultivate them.

It is easy to assume that this is an attempt to create the next Jack Welch or George Patton. More accurately though, it is about the impact of the individual on the business or mission. This is the value of personal leadership. Leadership is not limited to just the top-level directors, managers and executives. Instead, leadership is critical at every level.

This talk explores the subject of personal leadership in the game development setting. Individuals from all phases of their game development careers will find this subject valuable. From the large-scale studio executive who can bring back concepts of leadership and how it complements rather than conflates with management; to the junior developer or recent hire who can go to their game job with new knowledge reinforcing the positive impact they can have on their environment, their contributions and ultimately their shipping product.

Nick Laing  

Back in 1999 Nick started at his first games job after a brief stint in comic book books. Since then, he’s worked on all kinds of games from award winning "edu­tainment" games to massive AAA blockbusters from publishers including EA and Microsoft while working on teams of two up to teams of more than two hundred. In his career, he moved from Art to Design then on to Production. Nick currently works as a Senior Producer for Turn 10 on the Forza Motorsport franchise. In 2015 he gave the second highest rated talk at GDC Europe on the hard life of being a great producer. (Rumors still abound as to whether he pulled some punches to grab the number two spot and not outshine the keynote which landed at number one...) In his spare time, he prowls the mean streets of game development everywhere fighting inefficiencies of all kind when it rears its bloated head. We are good. We can be better. Nick can help. @VigilantRex | https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicklaing


From 0 to 300x - Lessons Learned From a Small Team Turnaround

Friday 3:30PM, Oct 7 (Session) - Presenter Luke Dicken

What do you learn when you take a team from decline to 300x growth in one year? This session takes the recent history of the IGDA Foundation and generalises takeaways that apply to game development as well as non-profit management.

Luke Dicken

Luke Dicken is Chair of the IGDA Foundation, a charity for game developers, by game developers, works as a Senior Data Scientist at Zynga and was the first person to be elected to the Board of Directors of the International Game Developers Association from outside of North America. He holds degrees in computer science, artificial intelligence and bioinformatics and is completing a PhD program in AI specifically for games. Luke has written a range of articles and given sessions at conferences around the world, as well collaborating on a number of game projects. Luke has been passionate about AI since playing “Creatures” as a teenager, and is a member of the AI Game Programmers Guild. He was named as one of Develop magazine’s “30 Under 30” for 2013, but hasn’t yet found a subtle way to work that into a bio.


Founder Failures: The Do's & Don'ts of Start-Up Leadership 2.0

7:00 PM Friday, Oct 7 (Session) - Presenters Brandon Huffman, Ashish Mistry

Join us for our 2nd SIEGE Founder Failures workshop on entrepreneurship. Learn how you can navigate business pitfalls by setting up your company to prepare for long-term success. By attending this workshop you will learn:

 

  • How to handle a founder or critical team member exiting: Communicating to your team, to your clients, to your partners, how to set-up a company in case this happens, as well how to adjust to fill that key role
  • How to know you have the right team (board) to pursue this adventure
  • How an advisory board can help you avoid mistakes and who should be on it
  • How to know if your board, can be leaders at growth
  • Knowing when to challenge versus when to reward team members and ways to reward team members on a tight budget

Ashish Mistry

Ashish Mistry is the President and CEO of KontrolFreek. Bringing more than 15 years of experience, Ashish has been with us since KontrolFreek begain as an industrial design project. Ashish earned his degree from Emory University and has been a leader and mentor in the Atlanta entrepreneurial scene ever since. Under his leadership,KontrolFreek has experienced some crazy growth from its humble beginnings in 2009, and has emerged as one of the fastest growing brands in the video games industry. Ashish is also a managing partner at BLH Venture Partners, a private venture capital firm specializing in early-stage companies. When he’s not killing it as our CEO or Venture Capitalist, Ashish loves to work with non-profits, local ATL start-ups, and hangout with his two awesome kids and lovely wife.

Brandon Huffman

Brandon J. Huffman. Brandon (@brandonjhuffman) is an attorney with Hutchison, PLLC. His practice focuses on counseling interactive media and corporate clients on issues related to business formation, cyberspace law, intellectual property and corporate growth. His clients include new and traditional media companies, game and software developers and others at the intersection of technology and creativity. Brandon serves as general counsel to the International Game Developers Association and sits on the Sports and Entertainment Council of the North Carolina Bar Association.


Brand Leadership for Indies

3:30 PM Saturday, Oct 8 (Session) - Presenters Cat Wendt, Blane Humphries

Learn how to hone a public identity for yourself, your game, and your company, so that your fans and financial support can find you.

Cat Wendt

Cat Wendt is the marketing and public relations manager for Greenheart Games and has worked with indie game developers for the better part of a decade. She is also the program manager of the IGDA Foundation Women in Games Ambassadors Program ( foundation.igda.org ), has served as co-chair of the IGDA Women in Games SIG for more than five years ( women.igda.org ), and was honored to receive an IGDA MVP award in 2015. Cat has worked with companies like Playdom, Jelly Belly Candy Company, and UCLA.

Blane Humphries

Blane has an established background in video games, journalism, and professional communications. He began his gaming adventures in the mid ’90s with games such as Westwood’s Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun. Since then, his gaming tastes have ranged from Triple-A to the most obscure indies on the planet. After graduating with honors from Georgia Southern University with a degree in Public Relations, Blane became an active member of the game industry by writing about indie games professionally and freelancing as a PR professional. He is now an Account Manager at Novy Unlimited where he oversees the execution of client campaigns and day-to-day operations of the agency.