Changes Happening at LAN Mob

We’ve been a bit less frequent at blog posting for reasons I’ll get into later in this post, but I wanted to touch base with everyone on some changes happening at LAN Mob. We’ll have reached our third year in business this September and making progress towards our five year plan for the business. Our esports teams are making strides in team play and individual ranks, and I’m excited for what the summer will bring for our business

A Departure

One of the more difficult things to happen in the last six weeks was Sage departing for a new job. He had his own personal reasons for doing so and we all wish him the best and have left the door open for his return someday. Sage was a considerable contributor to all the projects we had going, giving constant feedback and ideas. Together we’ve tried things that have succeeded and things that have failed, and through this we’ve learned and grown together.

As an entrepreneur I’ve always seen failure in a way as an indirect success. In a new industry like ours we don’t always know what will work until we try it and find out, which sometimes means failure. The old saying is it’s better to have tried and failed than never tried at all. I know Sage in particular has taken the failures hard and often on himself, and I wish that weren’t the case - we've always failed as a team and honestly wouldn’t be where we are today without all of that effort, successful or not. I deeply appreciate his time at LAN Mob and look forward to the day when we can work together again, and until that day am grateful for his continued presence as head coach of the Rome Revolution League of Legends team.

New Blood

We opened up a job posting on Facebook over the weekend and received 25 applications in a few short days. Thank you to everyone for applying! There are a lot of traits that I look for in a new hire above and beyond just having strong video game and game system knowledge. The most important to me personally is how well that person will work with kids, as they make up a good portion of our customer base. Rob and Enrique are amazing at this: ensuring we keep games, language, and behavior age-appropriate.

Other things like work ethic are a major consideration. Familiarity with us at the shop was an added bonus, and every name we recognized received extra consideration as we already had some idea how well they would fit with our company culture. The majority of applications were from people we did not know, some who lived as close as a block away, but many of these had not ever really been to the shop.

We brought three of you in for interviews and after careful deliberation reached a consensus among our staff on the next hire. It’s my pleasure to welcome Alex (A5) to the LAN Mob team!

Alex looking busy

We first met Alex through the summer camp we ran in 2016 and I was happy to see his application come through. He’s been a consistent presence at the business since then, often stopping in for our special events and participating on two of our esports teams. Alex graduates this summer and is headed to college locally, and we felt his knowledge of games, positive attitude and good energy would be an asset to LAN Mob. There is a lot to learn about how we run day-to-day so Alex has a curve ahead of him but we’ve already begun training and getting him up to speed as quickly as possible.

More Changes

My goal with LAN Mob has always been to make the kind of place that’s awesome to work at. With any job there are always going to be parts of it that we don’t like, but how do we make the job as close to something we love that it doesn’t feel like work? In the past I’ve pushed on the team with individual projects and tried to get them to shape LAN Mob and the events we offer tailored to their own interests, but this has sometimes led to unneeded stress and anxiety.

Sage let us know of his leaving on the eve of his departure for a Florida vacation back in mid-April, so I've been working 30+ hours/week at the front desk in the meantime. This got me re-acquainted with the position and how we interact with customers and our social media on a daily basis. It also gave me a reminder of the parts of the job that feel stale or out of place. In the end we've engineered this place, and if there are parts of the job that need replacing or improving we're within our powers to do that. All the time on front desk also allowed me to put some creative thought into how we can better improve the front desk job and our business. This led to some wild and crazy ideas that the more I thought about, the more they just felt right.

So over the next couple of weeks you’re going to notice some changes at the shop. The front desk will be moving, we’ll have some new furniture and technology set up, and we’re going to aim to be a more active part of your experience at the shop from the front desk. This is the neat thing about being a small business is that we can constantly reinvent and redefine what our work is and how we interact with everyone. Together with some of the changes that are coming down the line from the good folks at ggLeap, we can really start to reconsider what it means to work at a LAN Center. I’m excited for these changes and what they mean for us and look forward to sharing more with everyone in the coming weeks!

$100 Summer Week Pass

We have summer passes available to all 17 & under - $100 flat for unlimited gaming Monday - Friday noon - 8 pm. We defnitely encourage everyone to get outside and enjoy the summer while it’s here, but if you’re a parent and need a spot for your kid for a week due to work or other commitments, we’re open every day at noon.

Events - Zehn Masters Summer Series & Thursday Night Fights

We’re eyeballing the Zehn Masters Summer Series and all it’s Fortnite goodness, but also taking a pause to look at our qualifier sales from the Spring Series. There was a considerable dip in qualifier sales from Zehn 1 to Zehn 2, so much so that we suffered a large loss on offering the series to CNY. We feel like this is a great opportunity for CNY to compete on the national stage, but also we need you guys to show up and support the series through your qualifier tickets. This is a chance to play against some of the best in the US and level up, and potentially even win some cash - the Spring Series brought gold medal cashes in both Hearthstone and Street Fighter V bringing $600 and $400 cashes back to CNY. Even if the Zehn Masters is a break-even venture to our business, it's a huge win for us to get some local players on a national stage and a shot at huge prize pools.

It only works if people show up for the qualifiers! So we’re proceeding carefully into the summer series but absolutely need more participation from everyone locally. Even if you don’t always feel like you’re guaranteed a victory, competing is a great way to improve, and supporting us locally means we can continue to bring these offers to you.

Likewise with the Thursday Night Fights, we saw a dwindling of attendance into Season 2, and have had to cancel the last two fight nights due to low attendance. If fighting game communities locally are something you care about then show up and participate, and we’ll keep grinding it out. Ultimately our business by it’s nature has to follow popular trends, as interest always wanes in one game and moves on to another, sometimes very slowly and sometimes quite abruptly - like the night Ninja and Drake played Fortnite together and broke the Internet. FGC is maybe a bit of a rarity in it’s offline-local scene focus, but again we need to see your faces around the shop come event night if these are events you wish to see continue.

Blogging Regularity

If you follow us regularly you may have noticed a drop-off in blogging activity. Blogging is one of the activities that we do at the front desk during the downtime where the shop is at medium to low activity and not requiring too much of our focus. It helps us fill those empty hours more productively by creating content for the business. We've focused in the past on putting out 3 blogs a week (Monday/Wednesday/Friday), and this has led to the question of if we're forcing quantity over quality. I initially tried to step up and fill the void for this blogging schedule in Sage's absence but I found I didn't have much gaming content to put forward given my work schedule and current League of Legends obsession. I also saw the struggle from the others to put together the content on time at a quality they were happy with.

With some of my other plans for the shop we're going to need that time back for the front desk, and again this is one of those self-imposed prisons we've made for ourselves: we publish three times a week because that's the standard we've set for ourselves of what's possible and adequate for an active blog. I spoke to both Rob and Enrique individually on this and we all agreed that dropping this standard will allow us to publish when we really have something to say (like this post!), improving our blog quality, reducing a stress on us, and freeing up those hours at the front desk for new endeavors.

We're small enough to make these transitions and as always are open to guest blog content - if you have something you'd like to write about a game, or an experience at LAN Mob, or even something about CNY in general that you want to get off your chest: contact us on Facebook and we'll see what we can do to get it published!
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