By Aron Gideon, Eagle Business Program Director
Each year, students of the Eagle Business program participate in the PromeNade where they write and implement business plans for start-up companies. As part of their preparation for the 2016 PromeNade (April 21 and 27), the students will be visited by the owner of PolarPro, Jeff Overall, who appeared on the last season of Shark Tank and inked a $1 million deal. Shortly after, they will participate in Chaminade’s version of Shark Tank where four Chaminade alumni will serve as the “sharks”. In preparation for this experience, 35 Eagle Business students visited Riot Games, founded by alumnus Marc Merrill and accompanied by alumnus Greg Stefflre, both Chaminade graduates of 1998.
The mission of Riot Games is to be the most player-focused company in the world. With over 2,000 employees in 13 countries worldwide, Riot was named the #13 “Best Company to Work For” by Forbes last year. Headquartered in Santa Monica, Riot Games earns more than $100 million per month in revenue as a game developer, publisher, and esport coordinator, based on their online game League of Legends, which is played daily in more than 145 countries around the world by 67 million active users. The 2015 League of Legends World Championship was played in Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena and watched by 36 million people, a record for any esport event.
The goals of the field trip were:
1) To see how successful an alumnus of Chaminade can be.
2) To learn the importance of all departments to the success of a large company (not just the ones that get the attention, like game design).
3) To see a global company in action that succeeds financially while using a flat, fun, and flexible approach to growth.
4) To hear how Riot Games cultivates human resources through extensive recruitment, training, and cultural development practices.
Sophia Colavitti ’17 said “The trip to Riot Games was a very insightful experience, where we got to see first-hand how to operate a very successful business. Clearly Mr. Merrill and Mr. Beck, Riot Games co-founder, utilized their ingenuity and creativity to create a very cohesive environment for not only their gamers, but for the Rioters (employees) as well.”
When the students arrived by bus, they were greeted by a small army of employees and divided into three groups. The large lobby walls were covered with character artwork and promotional videos. A giant statue of Tibbers and his master Annie waited for them at one end. Aspiring computer programmer, Christian Gideon ’19, said, “I found the artwork very appealing and all the statues amazing. The campus is really nice and I like how the dress is very informal.” The groups proceeded to tour the several acre campus that included six large buildings surrounding an exercise yard with basketball court. It seemed free food was around every corner, in addition to the conference rooms, recording studios, arcade, coffee bar, cafeteria, and movie theatre.
More importantly, students saw evidence of the Riot Manifesto, which includes five main points:
1) Player Experience First
2) Challenge Convention
3) Focus on Talent and Team
4) Take Play Seriously
5) Stay Hungry, Stay Humble (be “humbitious”)
After a tremendous tour of the facility, the students were able to spend time in the Riot Games theatre engaging in a 30 minute Q&A period with Mr. Merrill. On their way out to the bus, gift bags with Riot Games gear awaited each participant. The students left inspired and ready to work. Alec Aronson ’17 said “Riot Games was an incredible experience where we were able to learn about the process of an exciting company in person and meet the co-founder of Riot Games Marc Merrill. It really helped me gain insight into how to create a successful company and taught me the importance of the consumer and employee.”