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