Archive for March, 2011

Corporate Elitism :: The Pros and Cons

Posted in Corporate Management on March 6, 2011 by Easley Thames

It is always the most active members that set the stage for a corporation’s successes or failures.  These people determine the norms, both culturally and in terms of formal rules, and they are far more important than the transient group of casual players who often hop from one opportunity to the other.

Because no two humans are exactly alike, no two organizations can ever be truly identical in the truest sense. However, that doesn’t mean that there are not similarities between corporate “cultures” that can often be summed up in ways that make generalizations possible.

One of the most common self-proclaimed corporate descriptions is possessing many “elite pilots.” While it may be true in some cases, many times the supposed elite status of a corp is greatly over-stated.

In many cases, what we have in a particular corp is not so much an “elite” force, but a culture of eliteISM (and didn’t your postmodern philosophy professor at the 50k/year undergraduate program tell you to be suspicious those pesky -ism’s?).

Corporate elitism (in the context of Eve) is the belief that one’s organization is “better” than the average corp, or ‘maybe even the best in New Eden!’ This belief can lead both to excellence in conduct, which is a positive thing, and/or to some very detrimental psycho-social problems.

PROS of Corporate Elitism

I strongly believe that if you demand excellence and provide strong criticism to those that foul up, you will lose out a few good pilots with weak stomachs, but mostly you remove people who lack the potential or correct attitude to get better.

I have met countless people who think they know everything but perform absolutely horrendously before eventually getting kicked. Excessive e-peen is perhaps the single worst obstacle for combat pilots trying to improve their skills.

How DARE you tell me not to fit plates on a drake!

Sometimes it rubs people the wrong way, but if you’re in a corp where there are constantly groups asking to merge-in, there isn’t really any reason NOT to be picky about people’s choices.

Elitism can also foster a high standard that members aspire to, as well as high-level theory and discussions of how to improve tactics, fittings or fleet composition. These are all critical to the success of a corp and its alliance (if associated with any).

Elite pilots are also among the most helpful because they actually have useful things to teach. For example, it’s much easier to learn about de-cloaking on gates, cycling weapons in lag, how to fly a dictor in large fleet fights, or combat probing from other people than just browsing a Wiki page.

Handled properly, having pride in one’s corp and pursuing excellence is a good thing, especially if your corp-mates are actually as good as they think they are and are willing to pass along the knowledge to their brothers in arms.

CONS of Corporate Elitism

Despite the obvious advantages, a culture of elitism can have some serious drawbacks for a corp. The bigger the egos, the easier it is for small disputes to lead to explosions.

One of the biggest ways this can happen is through blame-shifting. When no one has humility, it’s impossible to apologize for mistakes and move forward. Typically these arguments are most common at the top-leadership level.

Another problem that occurs commonly in corps with a culture of elitism is that the expert pilots can easily go down the road of being unwilling to tolerate the presence of noobs in their fleets, leading to division and/or refusal to run important corp-wide operations.

Sometimes elitists go beyond being helpful..

Corps within corps are never good, and often this leads to a mass-exodus. When players leave a corp they can do a large amount of damage, both in terms of isk and your corp’s reputation.

Even if they stay and make good-faith attempts to help new players, sometimes criticism is simply not constructive. “What the fuck were you thinking?” “Holy shit this is a terrible fit.” Both are not constructive, regardless of whether or not they hold any truth.

It’s always better to explain mistakes and try to correct them – up to a point – beyond which some members are better of just being kicked.

Still, if you aren’t going to kick someone, you might do well to keep in mind that you have to fly with them again in the future and there are limits to what is appropriate.

Conclusion

Contrary to a great deal of evidence to the contrary, I believe that no one wants to be in a terrible corp full of terrible players. Even if a corp looks terrible from the outside, the members within don’t feel that way or they wouldn’t be there.

Even the alliances that seemingly embrace a swarm mentality have a secret belief that their sworn enemies are un-ironically even worse in some ways. It’s human nature to believe you can do things as well or better than anyone else “if you really wanted to.”

However, cracking down too hard on players who make mistakes can be counter-productive.

The problems arise when the honest desire to improve a corp causes the most important members to burn-out or otherwise start to resent others within the organization.

Elitism is beneficial as long as the active members are having fun. As soon as they feel burdened by the corp, rather than proud of it, those elitists will become ticking time-bombs.

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Maverick History :: Our 5-Year Aniversary

Posted in Corporate Management on March 1, 2011 by Easley Thames

The Mavericks will have been officially operating as an internet spaceship corporation for 5 years as of March 30, 2011.

While our name changed once along the way from “The Mavericks” (-MV-) to “The Maverick Navy” (-MVN-), Avi’s project is now officially older than some of the boys he fancies.

I was recently inspired to write a short account of the history of -MVN- from my own perspective. It has been added as a static page of the blog under the “pages” header. Please feel free to check it out.

I will update the history page only as MAJOR events unfold in our history. It will not be touched very often.

Maverick history goes back to March of 2006 when “The Mavericks” was formed. It was not until a couple years later that the corp would reform as The Maverick Navy, but the change was purely cosmetic. The only thing left behind in the transition was one very short-sighted director.

I have to thank Avi for somehow holding such an interesting bunch of players together and tricking us into enjoying it so darn much.

From humble beginnings, the corp has come an incredibly long way:

> We’ve managed to find great members that “fit” here with us.

> We’ve developed new leaders in all departments, including many people outside of the U.S. timezone.

> Many of our pilots autonomously developed an active social media presence, without being asked, simply to share experiences they want to remember. To me that speaks volumes.

> We’ve also built a huge number of giant e-peen machines (aka supers) that are more important now than ever before in 0.0 warfare.

The best part is that we did it all without losing our identity along the way.

It’s easy to be a large corp in Eve Online. It’s even relatively easy to be a moderately-successful large corp in 0.0.

What’s hard is making a corp/clan/guild into a gaming community, with all the benefits that come along with such a thing.

-MVN- has always been a fun community to fly with in this crazy browser-esque click-fest we call an MMO.

Here’s looking forward to another 5 great years (or more) in Eve.