LEVEL-UP YOSI BREAK 01: SHEILA PAUL
Soon as Ben was in the middle, Dagul turned his face into Ben’s crotch and said, “Mic test. Mic test.” I thought for sure I was going to lose my job!
For our first edition of the LU Yosi Break segment, we're going to talk to Level-up Chief Operating Officer, Sheila Paul. She's the boss of my boss which makes her like my er... uber boss. Anyway, just check out our conversation below. Enjoy!
Wauks: Why did you join Level-up? As a marketing professional, wasn’t it dangerous to join a start-up company with a rather uncertain product at that time?
Sheila: I had a pretty good career path at the time back in 2002 with an advertising agency but felt the need to take a risk in my career. I was actually handling advertising for internet products and felt that content was going to be the driver to increase access in the country.
Level Up came at a perfect time! Definitely it was a crazy move, but Ben Colayco was such a good talker that he made me believe that we could change the industry in a big way. After Ragnarok was launched in 2003 I gave a big sigh of relief that our gamble paid off. It’s fun to work in a company where everyone is so passionate about their goals and so much relies on you making the call, it’s different from the corporate environment I came from. Plus I love sci-fi! It’s what really gets me into working on our RPG games.
Wauks: It's a good thing the gamble paid off! I agree with you 100% that Ben is a good talker. I still remember his speech during our Christmas Party. Anyway, it’s assumed that majority of the gamers are guys. How did it feel being one of the few women working in a male-dominated industry?
Sheila: Thankfully I’ve always been open-minded and you definitely need that when working with guys who are so used to working just around guys. I just take all the lousy jokes, the bad habits, the girl-watching, the drinking and smoking (oh, man I think I’m giving too much away about the Level Up culture!) in stride. Actually there are certain advantages to being a woman because you ought to know how to push a guy’s buttons, whether they’re our gaming public or the guys I work with. It’s also funny to see how our foreign developer publishers react when they realize “Paul” is a woman. They expect to take me Karaoke-ing when I meet with them, but then they end up taking me to nice dinners.
Wauks: As the marketing manager before, I’m sure you’ve organized tons of events and you’ve met a lot of players! What’s your most memorable experience with a player or a guild?
Sheila: There have been so many great experiences with players! I remember the first time I was asked for an autograph, at an Armed & Loaded EB in Cebu . I kept on telling them I wasn’t even a GM but they asked for it anyway. You also never know where you’ll encounter a player. Whenever I say the name of the company I get surprised. A guy behind the counter of McDonald’s asked me to help him solve his hack problem. A hotel bellboy at the Atrium near the World Trade Center asked me to bring him back some goodies from Level Up! LIVE since he was on shift and couldn’t make it. I almost didn’t make it to a flight to Davao until the guy at the check-in counter at Cebu Pacific learned I was from Level Up and just rushed me right through.
Another memorable experience was my first big Level Up event, the Ragnarok launch in the Samsung WCG Glorietta back in 2003, I got Mahal, Mura, and Dagul to cosplay as Ragnarok characters since they were small enough to mimic the actual sprites. They were supposed to go up on stage and introduce Ben Colayco. I actually picked them up one by one and place them onstage because there were no steps. The audience roared with laughter soon as they came out. Then they called Ben onstage. Soon as Ben was in the middle, Dagul turned his face into Ben’s crotch and said, “Mic test. Mic test.” I thought for sure I was going to lose my job!
Wauks: Hahaha! Well it's a good thing Ben has a good sense of humor. Okay... enough of the boring stuff! Let's go hardcore! Another online gaming company keeps saying they are number one! Do you have anything to say about that?
Sheila: I used to be in advertising and that’s where I learned that all advertising has to be based on the truth. That’s the way we’ve always practiced it in Level Up. What we say about our games and our company is based on the truth. We might say it in different ways, or make it look pretty, but they are based on facts. Level Up delivers the biggest revenue and has the most number of players. I don’t know what other companies are basing their claim on, but I guess it’s on their conscience if they still want to claim the number 1 spot.
Wauks: I agree with you on that a 100%. Next question, I’m sure a lot of players are wondering… are you single, taken, or married?
Sheila: C’mon, are they really wondering that? Ate Sheila is still single…maybe she works too hard. :-P
Wauks: Well at least you didn't break any gamer hearts. What’s the wildest thing you’ve ever done?
Sheila: There are too many incidents not fit for public consumption... the wildest thing I can mention is singing and dancing my way through Europe to get the trip for free. Maybe working in Level Up could also be one of the wildest things I’ve ever done!
Wauks: Thanks for the great chat boss. Maybe you can give the details of that Europe trip next time we talk (laughs). Any message to all of our gamers?
Sheila: We are working very hard at Level Up to make sure you get the best gaming and online entertainment experience. Keep tuned in to what Level Up! has in store for you, from our current games, our new upcoming ones, and we also have some surprises along the way. See you online!
-End of Conversation-
Again, thank you to Sheila for accepting my invitation for a chat to be posted here at my blog. For the next segment, I'll be talking up close and personal with Level-up's CTO (Chief Technical Officer). Among the questions that I know we are all dying to ask is "Bakit may lag?" Hopefully he can shed light on that issue. Hehe. Cheers!