Over the last few days, I got with KSI Viktory 7 about his new job in KSI as Executive Director. The job is not easy, fair, nor at times fun. The fact of the matter is its a demanding job that requires skills you must understand and master during, before, and after to be known as a successful candidate. In this interview, we will both address the personal and professional sides of Vik.
Nex: How do you feel about becoming the new Executive Director?
Vik: I feel a little bewildered, to be completely honest. It wasn’t a role I ever expected to be asked to fulfill and hold in my time in KSI. There have been so many great leaders that have held the community leader[ship] role that I’ve known to do an amazing job at it. So, naturally, I’m a little nervous that I [may] mess it up.
I am also excited, and ready to get going. I want to leave an immediate impact on the community in a positive way and begin pushing us in directions we’ve only ever talked about in the past. Turning this really amazing hobby into a professional organization, and allowing KSI to be a brand that is tied to helping our fellow gamers.
Nex: What do you do for a living and all that jazz?
Vik: So for years, I have been a culinary worker. Worked around numerous kitchens. I’ve kind of done a little of everything that can be offered in the field; Fine dining, franchised chains, catering, food truck, remote contract, in-home cooking, schooling, diners, and so on. I feel confident I’m really good at that. Recently, I took a step back into something more normal and took my culinary skills to a grocery chain that has a restaurant department where I currently work during the outbreak of COVID-19 as one of the management personnel. It’s a lot different, there is much more structure to what I am doing now and it’s taken some of the stress of 60+ hour weeks, unsociable hours out of my normal weekly routines and it’s been a very positive change, even during the “apocalypse”.
Nex: How did you get into KSI and why did you stay?
Vik: So at the end of 2007, I received an Xbox 360 for Christmas with a copy of Halo 3. Naturally, I spent the rest of my holiday break getting super into it, playing almost every day for multiple hours. Eventually, in my random matchmaking adventures, I came across a stack of KSI players and got absolutely world starred. It wasn’t close. I was the only player on my team that managed to hold their own at least somewhat. They sent me a message, I assumed it as mad **** talk but was pleasantly surprised when it was an offer to the game with them. Joined their lobby, and played together for a while. It was at the end of this session that they asked me if I wanted to join the community, and I obliged not really knowing what KSI was, or exactly what I was getting myself into.
It’s pretty cool to think about how this is a shared experience between myself and almost every other member of the community. Being recruited in, getting a wide-eyed perspective of how large the community is, how interactive it is. It’s really amazing to know that this has been a replicated experience for almost 17 years and still going strong.
To be brief, what kept me here all these years are the people. The type of people you meet in KSI are truly one of a kind. Diverse, interesting, passionate. This community has a knack for bringing in the most wildly contrasting personalities and somehow this melting pot of different people can come together and build something great will always keep me here.
Nex: How do you feel personally about leaving the DoE position?
Vik: It’s slightly disappointing because Education was my project. I designed it, shaped the content and the instructors, and spent hours integrating it into the Clan Ops structure. I know I gave it a solid foundation, and whoever ends up taking that role in the future will do wonderful things to make the department even better than it is now. I just hope to keep some involvement when I can, maybe host a workshop or even write some new curriculum as I can!
Nex: What are your worries about taking this position?
Vik: I think my main worry is I could fail; there isn’t someone above me that can fix it, or shoulder some of the burdens. I’m the last line of defense and it falls on my plate to get **** done. A smaller, secondary worry is I won’t have as much time to game as I would like, but that’s a small sacrifice so that our members can have more events, activities, and friends to pursue gaming the way I won’t be able to.
Nex: What do you believe is the current state of affairs in KSI like?
Vik: The current situation in KSI is mediocre. There are a lot of really amazing selling points in the community. Numbers are actually up, activity is taking more a forefront across the entire community, our leaders are better than they ever have been. But, on the other hand we have dead departments, lack of community initiatives, less large scale events, less of an emphasis on keeping KSI fun. It almost seems the community as a whole is in Maintenance Mode; trying to maintain the status quo for fear of being too big, or shrinking too much. I think that attitude ultimately will lead to a decline if we do not do something to shake it up, make it interesting again. I think the rest of this year will be crucial in developing the community into more than a husk of what it used to be.
Nex: You mention that you feel that KSI stands in a rut or well maintenance mode, do you as the ED feel this is something you as the former DoE could have addressed before taking this new role or not?
Vik: I addressed what I could in my role as DoE. But one individual can only do so much, or contribute enough to make a difference. As both a Division Lead of AR and a Department Lead for Education, I believe I left these areas in better shape than I found them and have set a good foundation with both. Going into the ED Role, it just gives the community another piece to the puzzle to become better, and hopefully allow me to take some risks, and set a different tone for our family.
Nex: Over the past few months KSI has gone through a decrease in numbers, members getting angry with the board, board members leaving, and a couple more things. How do you feel about this personally and what do you think will be different while you are the ED?
Vik: I feel that the members made a point, and the point still stands. How it’s approached or communicated with leadership is not necessarily the right way to go about it. The board up until this point has not been utilized to its maximum potential, and this is how I feel I will make the biggest difference as Executive Director. I’m willing to take risks, I’m willing to learn from the other communities out there. I’m willing to put us out there and be different. KSI the brand is old fashioned, and somewhat stuck in a previous mindset that hasn’t suited the community direction for years. Let’s be better.
Nex: KSI is currently at a steady amount of active numbers and activity but it could be considered some of the lowest in some history of KSI, what are your thoughts?
Vik: My thoughts on the lowest activity in KSI’s history? It’s irrelevant. We reset the brand from the traditional leadership, we didn’t have a slew of former people around to rebuild. We did everything from almost scratch and had to build up all the resources to get to where we are now. There were a massive learning curve, there [were] concessions and adjustments, there were lots of growing pains. But the important lessons were learned, and we cannot discount how much effort was put into this version of KSI with maybe 1/10th of the assets. Elder, Kered, Crusader, Koda, Icespot, Heroiism. There have been many leaders here who have brought this community to life, and we owe them as much effort to take KSI to the next level.
Nex: You mentioned that numbers are irrelevant or did I misunderstand, is this not something we should be partially concerned about?
Vik: It’s not that numbers are irrelevant, but there are as of today 610 registered members in our CMS from Senior Leadership to our newest recruits. My concern is for those already here in the immediate future, and ensuring that we retain and many family members as possible. The environment built here needs to be sustainable, and reasonable to the member needs, the community functionality, and the progression of something long-lasting. We are on the precipice of taking a step forward into a realm KSI has never been in before, in the 17 years of our established existence, we’ve never established ourselves as a brand someone could actually see as an organization. The Gaming Community Hobby has evolved around us for many years, and hopefully by opening our doors a bit and changing with the times, will the members and the leadership rise up to the challenge of change.
Nex: You'll be asked this all the time but as the US President is asked I want to ask you. What do you think you will do in your first 100 days?
Vik: I have 5 things that absolutely need to be done in the first 100 days in my position;
i) Install a member into the Director Rank in Clan Ops to push the two divisions in a positive direction, and coordinate proper community growth at the member level. Reaching 750 Members should be doable.
ii) Launch the full Member Services Department under KSI Airy 7 and staffing the necessary positions, also to ensure the Courts are properly supported and utilized within KSI.
iii) Develop the Events team into an independent department with a fully functioning schedule of events on Squad, Division or Community level.
iv) Establish Responsibilities for every board member to accomplish on a weekly and monthly basis, and keep everyone on track to one community direction.
v) Set up Social Media and Stream/Productions to develop individual member brands, affiliated brands, and focus their directions on community initiatives.
vi) Establish KSI as an official organization either an LLC, an NPO, or otherwise.
Nex: What's a personal goal you want to accomplish?
Vik: Personally, I want to establish a charity through KSI and help a fellow gamer through a difficult time. Doesn’t matter if they are a KSI member, or a stranger, but throughout my life, I’ve always wanted to be a part of a philanthropist movement, or work for a not for profit, charity, humanitarian group. The older I get, the more I want to give back and feel like I’m making a difference. Gives me purpose going forward.
Nex: Were you asked prior to the board meeting to be nominated?
Vik: Yes, I was asked if I feel up to the task by some of our fellow leaders, and was approached with the opportunity before it was proposed this past week. I wasn’t expecting it at the time, and it was a sidewinder for me. I did not believe there were those who thought I could lead this whole community. Thinking back to our previous leaders who’ve held that title, I was quite flattered.
Nex: Did you think about not taking on this role?
Vik: Of course. I was very much content with the role that I was in, and was happy to allow someone else qualified to lead take that spot. There are plenty of leaders here capable of doing amazing things in this role, and I’ve never been one to seek roles because I want them, but because I genuinely see an impact I can have, and execute it properly. I’m very big on the procedure, and accomplishing tasks in a timely manner, and establishing a precedent for future decisions. With the way KSI is right now, I just hope I can leave it one day in better shape than I found it, and give another leader the chance to do something great with it