Insiders @ Work, presented by the new job platform Gaming Insiders Jobs, is an interview series featuring experts from the Gaming Insiders community discussing their work day, keys to career success and more.
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By Xav de Matos, Director of Editorial + Community | Follow @GamingInsiders on Twitter
The team page at developer Dots describes Christian Calderon as “a data-minded marketer with a passion for econometrics and video games.” The VP of Marketing and Revenue at Dots is a mobile marketing and user acquisition specialist, former investment analyst, and regular speaker at events held by Apple, Google I/O and Gaming Insiders. This is Christian Calderon, Gaming Insiders community member and industry expert, at work.
Xav de Matos: First of all, tell us about your current role at Dots and, if possible, what you’re working on now.
Christian Calderon: I’m the VP of Marketing & Revenue at Dots, my team’s core function is to grow, retain and monetize our userbase.
Right now I’m working mostly working on Two Dots and a couple games we have in development.
I’d hate to spoil the surprise, but I can tell you that I have never in my career felt more excited to launch something as stimulating and fun as what is on my phone right now.
What is something you know today that you wish you knew before becoming VP of Marketing & Revenue at Dots?
I first joined the company as the head of user acquisition, and was tasked with launching our game, Two Dots. After the game became #1 in over 70 countries, I ended up taking on all of our marketing functions. As the business continued to grow, my role and responsibilities increased to meet the demands of the business, and I am now responsible for all revenue and marketing related functions. My role has shifted from doing almost everything myself to running a team that executes at a higher degree of excellence.
The challenges I face now, that I did not face before, are mostly around empowering unicorns, who already operate at an exceptional capacity, to go above and beyond.
If I had known i’d be in this position before, I would have taken some leadership classes. Luckily I work for an incredibly inspiring leader, who is grooming me to be the best.
Describe the corporate culture at Dots.
Our company has been built by musicians, investment bankers, artists and professional Magic the Gathering players. We are a group of hackers and misfits with a strong sense of mutual commitment, and a particular affinity for dots. We have given partial acceptance to mainstream corporate culture. We are ambitious unicorns, inspired by each other and the world around us.
Who are the team members that you interact with most throughout a typical work day and what makes those roles key your team’s success?
I’ve never felt more confident about a team before, it’s hard for me to isolate any key team member because they are all powerful contributors to our success. One person I will note is Paul Murphy.
Paul is my mentor, CEO and co-founder at Dots and partner at Betaworks. Paul has groomed me since I joined, and continuously empowers me to not only succeed, but to become better at what I do.
If you were recruiting a key role, other than necessary experience, what is the most important quality you look for in a candidate?
We are currently looking for a couple of key roles.
The most important quality I see in someone is their willingness and ability to learn, and master, new things. Because we are a growing company in an industry that is always evolving, the roles we employ can often change based on the needs of the business or changes in the market. We accept that we are not the experts in all things, but strive to learn what we can to achieve excellence.
What is the hardest career decision you have ever had to make?
Leaving KIXEYE was really hard for me. I worked with an incredible group of people there and it served as the foundation for what I know today. Will Harbin was an incredible leader and will forever be someone that I admire. My only regret was that I was never able to beat him at TOME before I left, he always kicked my ass.
What apps and/or software are crucial during your work day?
Slack, Gmail, Calendar, Microsoft Excel, Google Flights, and the corporate Seamless account (the team has to eat!).
What is the best career advice you have ever received?
When I was applying for a job at KIXEYE I consulted a friend during the interview process, Eric Seufert, currently the VP of User Acquisition & Network Engagement at Rovio. He told me to “learn the analytical fundamentals before the qualitative fundamentals. An understanding of how business metrics affect revenue will serve you longer than an understanding of how a single product works.”
This has helped me build a foundation for understanding how revenue works across multiple product types, at different lifecycle stages, and is advice I openly pass on to others.
If you have not read Eric Seufert’s book, Freemium Economics, I highly recommend it.
What do you do to unwind?
I love playing games, and often times I find myself giving the game designers a little taste of their own medicine, showing them that the UA guy can handle business at Magic the Gathering or Settlers of Catan. I have a 6-year old dog name Trigger, he’s a good pup. Sometimes we go running, hiking or rock climbing. I also have a weird obsession for antiques, my house is like a museum of random ancient artifacts.
Is there anything else you’d like to add about your work day?
Sometimes I’ll experience a new issue at work, will need to due diligence on an unfamiliar service provider, or will want someone’s opinion on a trending topic. Having a strong network of friends in the industry has helped me tremendously, because it gives me the ability to call on them in times of need – many whom I’ve met through Gaming Insiders, conferences or meetups. I have learned a lot through the community, therefore I am a strong believer in contributing knowledge back to the community.