Starting Up

We thought it would be a good idea to provide an insight into what it is like to start and run an eSports Organisation from scratch. We are very excited about our potential but my god, it is very hard work! A lot goes on behind the scenes which the players and other coaches have no idea about. We have a lot of stories, drafts, and decisions we make so hopefully this will make an interesting read.

Having reconnected earlier this year (~March 2017) and decided now was a good time to start our org, the first thing we needed to do was establish a name. This is more difficult than it seems as this will stick with us for as long as we last and become our ‘brand’. We want to be taken seriously by Sponsors and other business’ so it had to be serious and preferably unique to avoid Copyright issues – a reason we decided against Animus Gaming. A company will not sponsor or be associated with you if you have something ridiculous in your name or negative connotations which clash with their brand. It was a while before we had some unique names, I was a particular fan of Compound Authority but Adam proposed that we should have 2 words beginning with ‘A’, for Adam and Alex. Hence, Augmented Authority was born.

Next order of business was to get a logo. I found the website People Per Hour, where you can hire graphic designers and all sorts of individuals to carry out work for you. £10 later and a week later we had several logo drafts to choose from. We would go on to use this site extensively, with significant variance in the results. The original logo is shown here:
Original Logo

This would form the basis of what we have now. Due to my mathematical background, I liked the idea below of Au inside a square –> Au^2 = Au Au = Augmented Authority.
Optional Square logo

We originally ran with the idea that our eSports teams would use the cross-hair logo, whilst our business activities would operate using the square. We ultimately phased this out and following a redesign of the cross-hair into a square where necessary, decided to use the single logo to keep our brand clear. Having the logo on a square shape made it much easier for our video developers to create a good logo intro. You will probably have already seen this video, the results of which we are very happy with and have made front and centre on our website.
The original
The new logo

As we originally planned to operate under 2 logo’s, we started to work on a second video introduction. This was a nightmare compared to the first and ended up costing 3 times as much. We were screwed over by a developer in Bangladesh who could not do what his profile purported he could do. He didn’t even know how to give text depth to make it 3D. He simply had a lot of intro templates he could insert your logo into. We hired him to edit one of his templates to make a custom intro but it was very evident he had not made the templates and produced very poor work. We liked the fundamental idea behind the introduction so bought the foundation files and passed it onto the video editor who had worked on the first introduction to fix. The differences in skill were night and day.
The original
The fixed version

Next up – building a website.
Both Adam and I have confidence in editing and maintaining a website, the problem was getting one created. We put out an advert for the job with a fairly detailed design you can see here. Our website looks so different to this original design now, but it was important to think through the layout beforehaand. We received literally 20 proposals a day, ranging from £400-£3000 from students to full blown design companies. Narrowing down the proposals was a very difficult task so we included a hidden task. We asked that they include the word banana in their proposal somewhere to show they had read our task. Literally 4 out of the 70+ proposals we received included our secret word. They could not be bothered to examine our design or read the 2-3 accompanying paragraphs, yet expected us to read through their portfolio which looked the same as dozens of other companies. We didn’t feel valued as customers so we only talked to those who showed they had actually read what we were asking for and seemed suitably qualified.

We struggled to find anyone with experience of creating a gaming website until we came across a guy called Sean and his small web design company which was new to People per hour. This meant they didn’t have many reviews but their portfolio was decent and Sean expressed knowledge about the CS:GO scene so we were confident in their abilities. We were quoted £700 for the site and accepted, excited to get underway. Literally the following day, Sean contacted us with a weird excuse about 2 of his employees having to go to Australia and they wouldn’t be able to do the work. He refunded us but it cost about £50 in fees. We did put the work out for bids again but just when we were about to award the job to a second person, they provided us with a draft of the homepage which was nothing like what we had specified. Needless to say, we weren’t happy and our confidence in hiring people through the website for large pieces of work was completely broken.

We decided to make a go of it ourselves, aware it would probably take a lot longer and the design would need to adapt to our capabilities. EquixR installed WordPress with the help of one of his friends. That weekend, I sat down and worked for a solid 25+ hours, setting all the basic layouts up and giving us enough to work with for the future. It would take several subsequent weekends to get all the pages working as intended, but I learnt a lot in the process and am confident we can maintain it in the future. I think doing it myself was a lot more beneficial in the long run and we can always get professional support if we need it. There were certainly a lot of setbacks at the beginning, but the lesson we have taken from it all was to not sweat it and to keep pushing with our goals – we want our teams to do the same.