Minding My Business: Overwatch League Commissioner Nate Nanzer
Name: Nate Nanzer
Position: Overwatch League Commissioner (through game publisher Activision Blizzard)
Where I’m from: El Cajon, Calif.
Where I call home: Irvine, Calif.
Focusing on right now: Launching the league next week. We’ve been working on launching Overwatch League for over two years now and next Wednesday is going to be the culmination of a lot of hard work from a lot of people across the organization. Right now, I’m really focused on making sure that all the different teams across the league -- from our broadcast team, event team, content team, marketing, all of our marketing, PR, social functions and league operations -- have all of their ducks in a row for the launch.
Best advice: The question I get asked most often from an advice perspective is, “How do I get involved in esports?” My best advice is that if you want to get involved in esports, you should already be doing it. Whether it’s volunteering at a local event or writing a blog -- even if only your mom reads it -- it’s still content and you’re still out producing stuff. Get involved.
People I admire: I’m super lucky sitting here at Activision, where I have two awesome role models -- Blizzard Entertainment co-Founder & CEO MIKE MORHAIME and Activision Blizzard CEO BOBBY KOTICK. Looking at the games industry, one of the guys I have admired throughout my career is (EPL club) Liverpool CEO PETER MOORE, who before his current role ran competitive gaming at EA and EA Sports and worked at Xbox and Reebok.
Must have for a new hire: Somebody who is able to really listen and learn. Somebody who is able to come in and resist the urge to jump into decision-making mode and take some time to get to know people. Someone who will get to know what we’re doing, learn a lot and be a collaborative member of the team. One of our values here at Blizzard is that every voice matters, and it’s something that we take seriously.
Book shelf: I’m a big TIM FERRISS fan and I’m reading his “TRIBE OF MENTORS” right now. It’s a really cool read. I also listen to a lot of audio books and a ton of podcasts. I’m a big history buff, and when I’m not thinking about esports or games, I’m usually listening to a history audio book or podcast. The best podcast in the world is “HARDCORE HISTORY” with DAN CARLIN.
Must-have music: I have a pretty eclectic taste. What I listen to most is actually hip-hop. I’m a bit of a connoisseur of '90s East Coast hip-hop, but there is a lot of great stuff out today as well. I’ve been enjoying the latest N.E.R.D. album. I also listen to a lot of Jazz -- ART BLAKEY, LEE MORGAN -- a lot of guys like that.
First thing in the morning: Make an espresso, which is the first of what will be many espressos over the course of the day. I like to get up a little bit before my family. I try my best every morning to get up and make breakfast for my kids before they go to school. I don’t get to spend nearly as much time with my kids as I’d like to with the job that I have right now, but that is something that I like to do every morning.
Talking tech: My smartphone is sort of my life. I have an iPhone 8 because I like to have a button on my phone. I’m not ready to move to a buttonless phone yet. The one area of technology I really get into is actually building my own PCs. The most satisfying thing to do as a PC gamer is to build your own PC. Like you have to earn it a little bit. Much to my wife’s chagrin, I like to build one every year or so.
Food for thought: I could easily live on Mexican food three meals a day. I spent about 10 years on the East Coast, which was very difficult for me because the East Coast is just completely incapable of making quality Mexican food. So, it’s good to be back on the West Coast.
How I unwind: I play a lot of "Hearthstone" on my phone. It's another game we make here at Blizzard. It’s a card battle game, and it’s awesome. I used to love to play poker back when that was a thing on the internet.
Day in the life: I spend the majority of my day in meetings. We have a bunch of different teams that are working to deliver the Overwatch League. I spend a lot of time meeting with them and making sure that everyone is all aligned on what we’re delivering from a content perspective and operations perspective. Just a lot of time working with our different teams internally. I also spend a tremendous amount of time talking with and working with our owners making sure that they have everything they need to be successful. Something that’s really rewarding for me is that we’ve worked hard to create this league where there’s now some kids who play a video game for the same guy that TOM BRADY plays football for. That’s pretty cool, and I don’t think it should be lost on anyone how cool that is.
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