Did you know that KSI turned 16 years old this month? If the community was a person, it’d be old enough to join now. Many members have been here since they were sixteen, and, for some of them, that’s further back than they’d like to admit. Regardless if you joined half a lifetime ago or just within the past few weeks, KSI has provided myriads of opportunities for its members. The following interviews were conducted with several members who joined at various times over the years, all at the age of 16.
KSI Viktory 7, currently the General of Awoken FG and Deputy Director of Education, joined KSI in 2007. He remarked on some of the skills he’s learned while in KSI that apply directly to real life. “I have learned how to speak to an audience properly with confidence and adequately convey my thoughts on the spot. I also picked up a lot of patience from years of dealing with various types of individuals… From one of my Generals in [KSI Global].org, I learned how to properly write a resume and nail interview processes.”
“My earlier years in KSI were great,” said Nex Addo, currently a member of the News Team. “I used News Team to gain experience in writing. I’m nowhere near as good as I’d like to be now...but I used the skills I acquired and created my middle school’s newspaper. I eventually became an editor in my high school’s newspaper but kept writing for KSI.” He added that there were some negative aspects during his tenure as Director of Web Operations that caused strife with his husband. “Eventually, I had to re-establish time management in real life to balance KSI and my personal life.”
“Well,” said KSI Micro, General of Integritas IR and Web Staff member, “the most important thing KSI taught me is responsibility and how to deal with it. When I first joined [a year ago], I had the mindset of delaying my responsibilities and just ignored issues that [occurred] in front of me. In real life, [changing] this has helped me, mostly in school and other day-to-day activity, but it made me overall a better leader [who] is always dependable to do their job with sincerity.”
The development of leadership mentality seemed to be the consensus among those who volunteered to answer, including KSI Rivers 7, one of the IR division leaders and newly appointed Community Manager. After joining approximately 18 months ago, he revealed, “I’ve also learned a lot about how public service might be, and it’s opened my eyes a lot more to the world of politics. It influenced my decision to major in political science [in addition to] just finance.”
KSI Illusion8, a Lieutenant in Redemption FA, joined in January of this year and mentioned his intention to join the Education department, something he’d never considered before. “I never saw myself as a leader, but now I’m helping lead a squad.”
Aside from leadership and project management skills, KSI develops goal orientation in its members, whether they realize it or not. What may be surprising, though, is what kind of goals they have. It’s not about rank or power for them. It’s about the community and the people who will come after them. “KSI gave me something that I don’t think I can ever pay back, but I sure as hell can help everyone else enjoy it like I did,” said KSI Micro.
“I’d like to move up in the community so I can get to know more people and help members grow. People have taught me how to deal with situations in life and how to be a better person,” KSI Illusion8 added. “I’d like to be able to do that for other people - help teach them how to deal with their problems and become a better person.”
Nex Addo looks at it from a slightly different perspective. Having once been in the high-level leadership role in Web Operations, he is essentially starting over. “My goal is to help and shape leaders [and] give advice to those who are filling the shoes I once did.”
From the past to the future. KSI Rivers 7 said, “I want to help move things forward. I have a relatively new school mentality, so I have a lot of ideas and changes that I feel would really benefit the community.” Additionally, he remarked on how KSI has provided a second family “like I never could’ve expected.”
Longevity comes with its own challenges such as traditional mentality or technological adaptations. KSI’s reputation can be excellent or much less than that, depending on who is speaking. That in itself is an incredible thought, though. People all over the world, from the United States to the United Kingdom to Mexico, even to South Korea and anywhere in between, have taken part in KSI’s history in some way. This community has been bringing gamers together since before a few of you were even born.
With a loaded word like “community,” inevitably family is mentioned. KSI has connected thousands of gamers over the past 16 years, forming bonds between them. Some of these were tested by animosity, but even more developed mentors, friends, and, as Rivers indicated, extended family members. “...KSI Icespot 7 has been there with me through this whole experience. We’ve worked side by side with the same goal, day in and day out. It’s...introduced me to a great friend that I can safely say I never thought I would have made through a gaming community. We’ve had the opportunity to grow as leaders together, and he has made my experience here overwhelmingly positive.”
KSI Illusion8 has had his own taste of the KSI family. “KSI Elle and KSI BabyStream8 were the people who really started to make me feel like it is a family. KSI KamRocks and KSI Monkeypeeps are the two [who] are more like family than my actual family, to be honest.” He went on to add, “KSI xREDDOGx and KSI xTITANx 7 have kind of been like dads to me and helped me to learn how to deal with life itself.”
Given his extensive experience in KSI, it was a challenging question posed to KSI Viktory 7 regarding his influences in the community. “KSI Anubis 7 was probably my biggest mentor, more so in the recent past. He taught me the value of people and why every individual matters. KSI Mizz Airy was probably the greatest leader I have ever met anywhere, period. She always had a plan [and] was prepared for any situation. She taught me in FTLA 101/202 where I learned a lot of useful tips on how to be more assertive, more organized and be able to manage my time to the utmost. [Finally], KSI Tex 7 was one of my original mentors and was able to kind of guide me through the hectic KSI routine when we were thousands of members strong. [She] was always good to me…”
Nex Addo also had difficulty limiting his list of influences. “I want to say [KSI Mizz Airy] if I had to choose one, to be honest; that lady is amazing. She was a mentor to me, and...today we are personal friends. We shared many roles, flipping between leader and assistant. She was always there. KSI Koda 7, even though he can be rough around the edges, [he] means well for KSI...and can teach you how to be relaxed. From [KSI Elderpoot 7], you can learn how to work with people you don’t want to and essentially how to bite your tongue once in a while. He was good at checking me at the front door before meetings. [Finally], KSI Kered 7 is awesome and has big dreams; he can inspire you to think big. One key thing about him is that he NEVER gives up.”
As KSI heads into its 17th year of existence, what sort of goals do you have - for yourself or for KSI? Every single person currently contributing in some sort of leadership started at Private at one point. Where do you want to see the community go in the future? For those of you who wonder why leadership would care what you think, you’re the future of KSI. Your voice matters, and you will shape how this long-standing community moves forward.