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The Lifecycle of a CEO/Director (CCP PLEASE READ)

First post
Jack Paladin
Goonswarm Federation
#1 - 2012-01-31 15:27:19 UTC
tl;dr An attempt to outline what CEO's / Directors have to deal with to run a corp. Politics, Drama, Workload etc etc

Many of us, especially CEOs and Directors, are all to familiar with the burden that is bestowed upon us when we take up the position of either running a corporation or helping to run a corporation.

I understand that the views I express in this thread will not be comparable to most other corporations for the very simple reason that all corporations are setup and run differently. I ask that you keep this in mind as you read on.

Every CEO and Director has their own way of running the show. Again, this is dependent on a number of factors such as the amount of members you have, how active your are, how organised you are, and what your corp focus is. (different focuses may require more work than others)

For arguements sake, I will use my corp as a model for this thread. Important to note that I am the 2IC of the corp.

A bit of background first.

My corporation was founded close on 8 years ago and has been running solid pretty much ever since. I wish I could take credit for being around for that long but sadly, I came along much later. Our primary focus is ... well, it has shifted somewhat as we have grown and gained more experienced. I would say we are primarily an industry focused corporation involved in pretty much everything to do with industry. We do have a pretty competent PVP wing where industrialists can retreat to for a change and where dedicated PVP pilots can get their fix. Ofcourse having PVP pilots in an Industry focused corporation thats in a PVP alliance certainly helps keep the alliance happy, but I will not be dipping in that at the moment.

Moving on.

You have the amazing idea to start your own corporation. You chose a snazzy name and start spamming the recruitment channel for members (yes, many of you would have seen me in there :P). This is fantastic! You get a couple of members in your corp and start doing activities together. The current workload (as a CEO) is acceptible and you are able to spare a decent amount of time playing the game (instead of running the corp).

3 months on

Your corporation reaches 25 members. The volume of members is more demanding on your time and there is a need to start laying down some rules/policies etc. So you decide it is time for a website. Now ontop of your duties as a CEO, you now have to organise a website/forum. Luckily, you manage to find someone who has the skills to make a forum and control access using API authentication. At this point the workload is becoming a bit more than one person to handle and you find yourself spending a very large portion of your time ensuring your members are happy and your corporation is ticking over.

More members.

Your corporation swells up to 50 members and they come from multiple timezones. You are not able to be online 24/7 so you appoint a 2IC to run things in your absence. Ontop of this you appoint couple of Directors to assist in the running of the corporation. Depending on what you do they might help our with Recruitment, PVP, Industry etc etc. They will help take over some of the smaller tasks you have to do in order to free up some of your time to continue growing the corporation and implententing new policies. The website/forums require more work from your web dude and pretty soon it more a less becomes his full time job trying to keep all web-related stuff running.

6 months on.

You are approached by an alliance to join them. This is great news, you have been able to develop and grow your corporation to the point where it becomes attractive enough to join an alliance. However, the alliance has some strict requirements. You must continue to grow your corporation upto 150 members within 3 months. You must have a very clear and organised corporate structure. You must have a Ship Replacement Program in place. You must have x amount of members online and x amount of kills per month etc etc etc.

I can keep going on and on but as it is this is turning into a threadnaught. The above is what I consider the basic life-cycle of a corporation up to a certain point.

At some point ... the CEO, Directors, Officers, basically anyone involved running the corporation will not be able to cope with the workload and continued demand for their attention. The CEO rarely logs on anymore and when he does log on he has to deal with an inbox full of members problems/questions etc. Several convo invites at once. A wardec. A recent corp theft. A spy. etc etc, The end result.... burn out. I am sure that you do not need me to explain why this happens, but when it does happen it can be very detrimental to the corporation and in most cases, the corp will fold. This depends on how well and organised your corporation is.

This thread is dragging on and I am starting to lose my focus. The point of all this is to outline how involved and difficult it CAN be to run a corporation successfuly. Many corporations will never reach this point and will likely fold or just go awol.

The Point: KEEP IT SIMPLE! The less work you have to do to run a corporation, the better chances it will have at surviving the life-cycle.

I have learnt this the hard way. I have burnt out many many times before because I got too involved, took on too many responsibilies and just couldn't cope. I was no longer playing EVE but instead running a virtual business. I do that in RL, do not need it in my free time!

You may ask WHY? WHY did you take on so much if you couldn't cope? Simple. My love for the game. My determination to be successful and be the best. To feel like I had accomplished something in this amazing game. To me, being apart and helping to run a successful corporation that is accomplished in every aspect is the end-game.

@CCP - Please contact me for a private convo/mail so I can highlight what it is I am trying to convey in this thread. I have many ideas I wish to share.
War Kitten
Panda McLegion
#2 - 2012-01-31 15:48:19 UTC
Just post your ideas and share with the class.

Otherwise you're just going to get trolled for posting a wall of text that boils down to...

tl;dr: Organizing people is hard work.

I don't judge people by their race, religion, color, size, age, gender, or ethnicity. I judge them by their grammar, spelling, syntax, punctuation, clarity of expression, and logical consistency.

Jack Paladin
Goonswarm Federation
#3 - 2012-01-31 15:51:03 UTC
Reserved - Ideas incoming.
Krixtal Icefluxor
#4 - 2012-01-31 15:51:12 UTC
War Kitten wrote:
Just post your ideas and share with the class.

Otherwise you're just going to get trolled for posting a wall of text that boils down to...

tl;dr: Organizing people is hard work.

You typed what I was going to type. I love synergy.........P

Indeed tl;dr.

"He has mounted his hind-legs, and blown crass vapidities through the bowel of his neck."  - Ambrose Bierce on Oscar Wilde's Lecture in San Francisco 1882

The Mittani
Goonswarm Federation
#5 - 2012-01-31 15:56:36 UTC
use a team structure so you don't have single person dependencies in key positions, learn how to delegate, stop micromanaging



Consortium of stella Technologies
#6 - 2012-01-31 15:59:31 UTC
and don't TL;DRs come at the end? SUMMARIZING?

I am aware of my own ignorance and have checked my emotional quotient - thanks for asking

Rodj Blake
PIE Inc.
Praetoria Imperialis Excubitoris
#7 - 2012-01-31 16:00:10 UTC
Pretty much what The Mittani said.

Surround yourself with like-minded individuals and allow them to run things (within limits of course Blink )

It also helps if you try to run things as a chairman rather than a dictator - ie form a consensus amongst the senior members rather than ruling with an iron fist.

Dolce et decorum est pro Imperium mori

Abdiel Kavash
Deep Core Mining Inc.
Caldari State
#8 - 2012-01-31 16:03:30 UTC
Never assume that just because it's a game, managing 50/100/150/1000 people will be any easier than managing the same number of people in an out of game corporation. I've seen many people (in EVE and in other games) go "heck yeah, I'll recruit some people, give out fancy titles, throw up a POS, and conquer the universe!" and then end in burnout three months later.

Being a CEO is not a reward, it is hard work. Not many people can do it, and not many can appreciate the rewards.
Mr Kidd
Center for Advanced Studies
Gallente Federation
#9 - 2012-01-31 16:03:37 UTC
The crux of the problem isn't the responsibility of running a corp. The issue at heart here is the lack of features in POS management which safely promotes delegation of duties. In it's current state you literally have to give away the keys to the empire to do it.

Hopefully, CCP is revamping the POS in a way to allow more flexibility with roles.

Don't ban me, bro!

Jovan Geldon
The Scope
Gallente Federation
#10 - 2012-01-31 16:07:49 UTC
Jack Paladin wrote:
The CEO rarely logs on anymore and when he does log on he has to deal with an inbox full of members problems/questions etc. Several convo invites at once. A wardec. A recent corp theft. A spy. etc etc, The end result.... burn out.

Obviously the solution to this is to never log on
Goonswarm Federation
#11 - 2012-01-31 16:32:08 UTC
The Mittani wrote:
use a team structure so you don't have single person dependencies in key positions, learn how to delegate, stop micromanaging


this works well when your directorate regularly logs in

Twitter: @EVEAndski

"It's easy to speak for the silent majority. They rarely object to what you put into their mouths."    - Abrazzar

Serene Repose
#12 - 2012-01-31 16:34:06 UTC
Your first mistake was in thinking you could do the job since you're so verbose. You'd make a great assistant. I can understand why someone as meticulous as you finds a boogie man behind every bush. What interest CCP would have in your rather overstated statement is beyond me, however...(and I do hate to agree with this fellow) what the Goonwaffle said is true:


Let things slide.

I see you as the over-officious, autonomous ruler led by the conviction of your own intellectual superiority, but without Khan's rather generous chest. You coulda saved yourself months of grief had you hired a CEO instead of shouldering the awesome burden yourself. Now...all you have are bad memories and a desire for people to be almost as smart as you.

Good luck with that.

We must accommodate the idiocracy.

Ardent Industrial
#13 - 2012-01-31 16:34:43 UTC
Andski wrote:
The Mittani wrote:
use a team structure so you don't have single person dependencies in key positions, learn how to delegate, stop micromanaging


this works well when your directorate regularly logs in

and doesnt go off to play stwtor for months at a time
Hakaru Ishiwara
Republic Military School
Minmatar Republic
#14 - 2012-01-31 16:36:11 UTC
Why not run the corporation so that it is geared towards enhancing your own in-game experience? Take profit from your people's activities. Take fame from a killboard. Take pleasure in knowing that your people are salting somebody else's fields. Etc.

Whatever toots your horn.

If you are not having fun, liquidate the corp assets or hand over the keys and move on to something else.

Additionally, if a CEO hasn't thoroughly thought about why s/he started and continues to run a corporation, then that is their first task of the day.

See Also: Mittani's team-oriented approach. Many hands make light work...

+++++++ I have never shed a tear for a fellow EVE player until now. Mark “Seleene” Heard's Blog Honoring Sean "Vile Rat" Smith.

The Conference Elite
#15 - 2012-01-31 16:37:58 UTC
Just don't put in place any policies or rules, ignore your members, do whatever you want, and encourage mbrs to do the same.


Signatures should be used responsibly...

Goonswarm Federation
#16 - 2012-01-31 16:39:18 UTC  |  Edited by: Andski
basically one thing I've learned from this thread is that I can make a decent chunk of isk/cash undertaking the gargantuan, totally non-trivial task of setting up forums with API authentication for the less proficient among us

Twitter: @EVEAndski

"It's easy to speak for the silent majority. They rarely object to what you put into their mouths."    - Abrazzar

J Kunjeh
#17 - 2012-01-31 16:58:32 UTC  |  Edited by: J Kunjeh
I can only imagine, which is why I'd never want to run an in-game corporation with more than maybe 25 people in it. That said, CCP is finally helping alleviate some of that burden by establishing private Corp forums on the official Eve-o forums. I think that sounds like a big win.

"The world as we know it came about through an anomaly (anomou)" (The Gospel of Philip, 1-5) 

Ajita al Tchar
#18 - 2012-01-31 17:39:22 UTC
I don't understand why this is a "CCP READ!!!111eleventy" thraed.

The way the game shaped itself, many people feel the need to dedicate a LOT of time and effort to running their organization in order to stay competitive. I'm not so sure this is something the developers can do much about. There will always be someone with more time/skills/experience/luck than others out there, setting the bar for what a "successful" (in its field) corporation is. The desire to keep up and compete is understandable and natural. Trust me, I'm in the Burned Out Ex-CEO club myself, I understand exactly what you're talking about and I fail to see what CCP can do to help prevent that. Ultimately, it all comes down to the player. I know I didn't do as well as I could have due to the way I am, my personality, the way I work, etc. Didn't really want to be in charge, but had to step up because of the previous CEO's lifecycle ending Ugh Short of a miracle, not much could have prevented the inevitable burn out and I knew it was likely going to happen sooner or later (attempts at appointing a new CEO were not successful, nobody wanted the weight of the position, it seems).

There are things CCP can do to make corporation management less of a pain in the ass, but they are unlikely to save someone from being the burned out CEO who no longer sees the game as the fun thing it's supposed to be, focusing instead on the mountain of responsibility it is. A saying about poor workmen blaming their tools comes to mind. Good tools and a better in-game corporation management system will surely help some escape the issue you speak of, but none of it will make it a whole lot easier for a corporation to stay competitive (one might even argue that introducing a better corp management system will lead to even more people wanting to try their hand at leadership, leading to more competition and frustration and "fuckthisgameitsnotajob"). If someone doesn't have what it takes, despite what they might think, there's little chance that in-game improvements will be game-changing for them.

In conclusion:
- I feel your pain
- if you don't work out as a CEO it's probably because you are the way you are and the way you deal with things isn't optimal, CCP can't truly help that
- CCP, fix your corp management system
Rico Minali
The Scope
Gallente Federation
#19 - 2012-01-31 18:02:00 UTC
All of us CEOs who have been running corps for years know these things to be true, new guys, let this be an insight into what you will be dealing with if you want a strong and succesful corp.

I learnt far to late that the biggest problem is trying to micromanage your corp, sure you want be the one to control it, to be the hand that guides and to shape it to be what you want. You will often fail. Recruiting is hard until you reach critical mass, recruitment is then hard if your stats are rubbish. If your stats are good and you reach critical mass (over 30 but preferably 50) but you have a bad reputation or are in a failing alliance, you will still fail. This is hard truth and its important to recognise it so you can change. Find an alliance and position of strength and you will grow strong as long as you work at it, but as teh saying goes, dont work hard, work smart.

The main thing you need is a command team, start small, make sure you have at least one extremely trustable director. At over 50 members you will want 2 or more directors. At over 100 members what works for us is CEO - 2 directors and 3 officers working as a command TEAM. I trust my command team to do what needs to be done even if I dont log on for a week, or even 2.

You need directors and officers who actively do what you expect your regulars to do. You want some one who is ridiculously good at getting peoples comms and technicxal details sorted out quickly, you want someone to run the forum too. You will want at least one officer who is less interested in explosions and is happy to do alot of the crap behind the scenes.

Most importantly, share the load. Share the responsibility and make sure you share the power, make your command team feel as though they are in command, not just lackeys to you. If you feel as though you have to log on or the corp will begin to slide, then you need to look at your command team and make it better.

By doing the above Sons Of 0din has grown to be one of the premier pvp corps in FA, able to buy its corp capital hulls and skills, we are about to implement an in corp srf to supplement the FA srf and are now able to buy supercapitals for our best pilots, all the isk we make (and our income is very respectable) goes back to the corp on ways they can see. I can log on and go pvp with my corp as often as I like, because the pressure is shared, I have an awesome command team and we wouldnt be where we are if I had tried to lead alone.

That is all. Kthxbye.

Trust me, I almost know what I'm doing.

Jack Paladin
Goonswarm Federation
#20 - 2012-01-31 18:08:58 UTC
My hat goes off to all those offering suggestions and methods of avoiding the infamous 'burnout'.

My attempts to outline what I was trying to achieve with this thread have ... sorta been successful.

But yes, the bottom line, I would really like to see more functionality implemented into the corporation management in-game. I have no illusions that being in a leadership position is demanding, common sense dictates it has to be and will be. But CCP can do alot to make it a bit more ...... streamlined and easy going.

Over the years there have been hundreds of apps developed to help everyone out in some form or another. But these are 3rd party and just like alliances, they come and go. RL kicks in, Burnout Kicks in, development stops and you can end up losing a great app that made your job as a leader, a whole lot easier.

The recent devblog about the upcoming corp forums is a welcomed addition. We are all familiar with having to deal with spies/unwanted eyes reading information we do not want made public. Somebody saw this problem and wrote a mod that performed an API check of a character before giving them access. This is the way it has operated for many years but the downside of this is that it does require a fair bit of work to keep running and a fair bit of knowledge of websites to setup.

Then CCP stepped in and brought in the corp forums which pretty much automate the entire process. Now instead of a web guru spending countless hours setting a 3rd party system up, a Corp CEO can do the same with a click of a button. Sure its nice to have your own website, own domain name, own designs etc but this new addition by CCP is a HUGE step in the right direction and helps to empower a corporation. If you lack the knowledge to setup your own forums, your pretty much out of luck. This is why I am now wanting to draw more attention to the current corporation system and urge CCP to take it further and look into it in more depth. Make it easier for corporations to grow.

We have seen a HUGE transformation in EVE over the past 6 months with Cruicible. EVE is getting back on track. So long as the suggestions and ideas are there, one can only hope CCP will continue to listen and develop the areas that matter.

Please, keep the feedback coming.
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