NakeZe - Man­ager, Mind­f­reak

Be­hind the scenes with Al­bert “NakeZe” Nas­sif, owner and op­er­a­tor of Mind­f­reak

Hyper - - CONTENTS -

YOU NEED A GREAT WORK ETHIC, PA­TIENCE, ABIL­ITY, AT­TI­TUDE, CON­FI­DENCE, AND EX­TREMELY THICK SKIN IF YOU WANT TO MAKE IT IN ES­PORTS

HYPER: What’s in­volved in own­ing and run­ning an es­ports or­gan­i­sa­tion like Mind­f­reak?

NAKEZE: Own­ing and run­ning Mind­f­reak is ba­si­cally a part time job in which I have er­rands/goals I need to get done dur­ing the day and night. I'm of­ten forced to take time off work, or in­ter­rupt my work­day with on­line calls from in­ter­na­tional part­ners as time zones wouldn't per­mit us to chat when it's more suit­able. The re­ward is see­ing my old team mates, and the dif­fer­ent teams in Mind­f­reak, hav­ing such great sup­port, which I some­times lacked dur­ing my com­pet­i­tive ca­reer.

HYPER: How has the es­ports scene in Aus­tralia grown and changed in the time you’ve been in­volved with it?

NAKEZE: In 2009, a cou­ple hun­dred dol­lars was con­sid­ered a mas­sive win. in 2016, our Call of Duty team com­peted for more than $500,000 in Aus­tralian com­pe­ti­tions alone, and then fin­ished up with $1,600,000 at the cul­mi­na­tion of the whole year’s com­pe­ti­tion: the Call of Duty 2016 World Cham­pi­onship.

HYPER: What are some of the unique chal­lenges as­so­ci­ated with grow­ing and par­tic­i­pat­ing in es­ports in the Asia/Pa­cific re­gion, par­tic­u­larly in Aus­tralia?

NAKEZE: One of the hard­est parts is try­ing to com­pete in­ter­na­tion­ally when 99% of pro­fes­sional play­ers in Aus­tralia are play­ing as a hobby, with es­ports com­ing sec­ond to school­ing and work. The next part is find­ing part­ners who are will­ing to sup­port and fuel your am­bi­tions, though we've been lucky enough to work with a lo­cal dis­trib­u­tor in Aus­tralia (Blue­mouth In­ter­ac­tive) and have three out of five of our part­ners all linked with this com­pany.

HYPER: From your per­spec­tive, as some­one who has been both player and man­ager, what does it take to be a high-level es­ports com­peti­tor? What tips would you give to any bud­ding es­ports pros out there?

NAKEZE: The most im­por­tant thing is heart, it doesn't hap­pen overnight, not for any­one. You need a great work ethic, pa­tience, abil­ity, at­ti­tude, con­fi­dence and ex­tremely thick skin. If you want to make it in es­ports, you need to be­come a stu­dent of your cho­sen game, learn ev­ery­thing you can about it, and treat ev­ery mis­take as a learning ex­pe­ri­ence. One of the most fa­mous quotes that goes around in the Call of Duty scene is: "Win­ning is teach­ing, los­ing is learning".

HYPER: Fi­nally, if some­one wanted to get into es­ports team coach­ing and/ or man­age­ment, what kind of skills/ ex­pe­ri­ence would they need?

NAKEZE: I'll be re­ally blunt here, there is a dif­fer­ent bucket of fish with ev­ery or­gan­i­sa­tion’s man­age­ment. Some have trained and qual­i­fied pro­fes­sion­als, some have lo­gos cre­ated and some dis­pos­able in­come and that's as far as it goes. It’s an in­vest­ment and you need to treat it that way, don't ex­pect to make some­thing out of noth­ing. Above all, you need to ded­i­cate time to mas­ter your craft. I'd like to think I've been blessed with the teams i have, their ma­tu­rity and loy­alty is lit­er­ally bet­ter than 99% of teams world­wide and they un­der­stand that we need to work to­gether, just be­cause i run the or­gan­i­sa­tion, doesn't mean i run them. The level of mu­tual re­spect and trust is what keeps us go­ing, and keeps the fans loyal to Mind­f­reak as their favourite play­ers al­ways stick around. I truly be­lieve that peo­ple re­mem­ber Mind­f­reak for the faces of the team, not the logo on the jersey.

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