Today, my friend Sean was finally able to announce to the world that he has been hired by IGN to serve as Associate Producer for their Social Media team.
While I didn't know the full details until today, I've known something was coming for a few weeks now as he has been teasing out hints here and there among the group Facebook chat that the Kinda Funny group admins have. But even though today's news doesn't come as a complete surprise, it's still something to celebrate and I am so proud of how far he's come.
This is a picture from the first day I met Sean. We were in San Francisco a couple of days early for the first Kinda Funny Live last year. We had interacted every now and then through Facebook or Twitter, in large part because he was working hard last year to match up Kinda Funny Best Friends in hotel rooms to bring down the costs for people.
This day, Thursday, May 14th, 2015, very much changed my life.
It started with a tweet; that Sean was excited to be getting a personalized tour from Jared Petty of IGN. I replied I was jealous. He responded asking me if I was in town yet. When I said yes, he DM'ed me and invited me to join him, sight unseen. I had tried to arrange my own personal tour with Ryan McCaffrey in the weeks leading up to the event but he was swamped with E3 prep at the time and unable to accommodate me, so this was a great second chance to tour this place I had admired for so long.
We met in the hotel lobby and started walking toward the IGN offices. As I touched on in one of my write-ups from this year's Kinda Funny Live, we hit it off immediately. He very quickly became the first of many real-life Best Friends I have made from the Kinda Funny community.
Jared, one of the kindest and most humble men I have ever met, took us through the offices on his lunch break and everyone we met that day was incredibly kind and gracious. I have been back in there for two separate group tours since - one the weekend of PlayStation Experience and one during the festivities of this year's Kinda Funny Live - alongside seeing a lot of the staff at the IGN House Party celebrating Beyond 400 and Unlocked 200 last year. And every time, every single one of the staff members I have met has been incredibly grateful and welcoming and kind.
Fast forward a few months after that initial meeting with Sean to a time where he and his friends at Knerds asked me to start contributing to their site. Unfortunately, I have since prioritized the work on my own site and been unable to really keep up my end of that request, but the first piece I wrote officially "What Being a Knerd Means to Me," further details my friendship with him and the guys over there.
It hasn't all been perfect though. In his relentless pursuit to attain the goal he achieved today, I've lost a little bit of what made that first meeting special. In the impromptu trip we took to PAX South earlier this year, I lost track of Sean for a lot of that trip while he went away to network. The same thing happened at PAX East. I don't blame him for it. And it has obviously worked out for him in the end. But I also lost sight of Sean, the guy who invited me along for an exclusive IGN tour, and only started seeing Sean, the guy who was hungry enough for the job to leave friends behind in search of it. Even at Kinda Funny Live, we wound up hanging out almost entirely in disparate groups. In one regard, this was great for the community as we were able to spread out our weird pseudo-celebrity status and meet a ton of other Best Friends. But at the same time, I genuinely (and maybe selfishly) missed my time with him. Because that initial invitation to IGN set the tone for the rest of my amazing Kinda Funny Live week, my amazing rest of 2015, and the continued amazing-ness that I have been blessed with in 2016.
My sincere hope is that now that he has landed this dream job, he can reign in the need to make connections in order to make more connections in order to land the job, and he can go back to being that excited young guy who was willing to meet up with a complete stranger for a tour of IGN. We've often discussed the notion that if any of us (me, Sean, Alex O'Neill, and a handful of others who have been working our asses off for these opportunities) ever made it, we would do everything in our power to bring the others along for the ride. To his credit, Sean, despite being somewhat distant at PAX East, has absolutely been holding up that end of the arrangement. He talked Alex and I up to Andrew Goldfarb regarding a vacant News Editor position, which in turn led to Andrew talking to both of us about the position at the IGN Party at PAX East that night. They wound up going a different route but it still meant the world that Sean helped put me on their radar. Alex and I were giddy the whole rest of the night about feeling like we were on the cusp of making it.
And I have no reason to think Sean will stop fighting for us now.
And so it begins...
Sean's celebration today is a victory for all of us who have been inspired by the guys at Kinda Funny to branch out and create our own thing within this incredible community. He is the first of us to get this level of opportunity with IGN, but I guarantee he will not be the last.
Congratulations Sean! I hope I can join you in that podcast room again soon...