The FlipSid3 Tactics founder says the nature of managing an esports team has changed dramatically.
Hector Rosario sparked his passion for esports when he thought his athletic endeavors could go no further. It was a new frontier in his life, a frontier that's horizon is always shifting. When Rosario founded FlipSid3 Tactics a half-decade ago, he says his primary focus was on helping his esports athletes improve their games. Now, as his organization has expanded across continents, the job looks more like managing a full-scale business endeavor and trying to stay on top of the latest industry trends and insights.
Read on for Rosario's fascinating thoughts on why his particular career path into esports may not be quite so viable in 2018.
Find Your Grind: Tell us a little bit about yourself, Hector.
Hector Rosario: I was born in New York and grew up an avid sports fan. I competed in various sports throughout my life, even through college and beyond. Once I decided I peaked in my playing career, I diverted my attention into my second passion: gaming. I started with StarCraft 2 and Heros of Newarth, but it was really my transition to Dota 2 that started my career in competitive gaming.
I entered the esports scene in 2010 and never looked back. After the first International Dota 2 Championships, I founded the esports organization FlipSid3 Tactics and have been running it since that day. FlipSid3 are now in many more games than Dota2, including CS:GO, Rocket League, Rainbow Six, SFV, and many other titles. As an esports owner, I saw a big gap between the tools available for study in traditional sports versus esports. Thus, myself and three others founded a second company, Statshelix, to create stats and analytics tools to enhance the performance of competitive players.
FYG: How would you describe your job to someone who knows nothing about what you do?
HR: My role in esports is unique. I run a data company that supports players/productions and at the same time I am responsible for professional players. I don't have a typical 9-5 job because we have teams in Asia, Europe and America. Those different time zones essentially make it so I am always on call.
When I began, my role was to facilitate the growth of our players in game and out. Eventually, it turned into a giant marketing firm because I was constantly meeting with companies and working with content creators to create narratives. Lately, it has been investment conversations and planning out expansions with said investment. The nature of esports is one of constant adjustments. The industry is constantly evolving and so do my responsibilities.
FYG: What kind of experience or degree would someone need to get a job like yours? How did you obtain that experience/degree?
HR: I went to school for economics. While my education has helped me with my organization skills and how I interact with others, as far as the knowledge side of my degree, I have not really used a ton of that information in my career. That being said, I am constantly learning and reading on what I need to make my company stronger. I had to learn marketing, photography, videography, and business administration.
The best teacher for me was trial and error. If you want to be successful in this industry or any other, the key is to never stop learning, never stop trying to improve yourself and bettering your grasp of your space. For esports, some great places to start are sports management programs, or MBAs, or go into a JD program. I think one of my biggest regrets education-wise is never auditing or taking a contracts law class. That would have been insanely helpful, especially in the founding years of my companies.
FYG: What advice would you give to kids in high school, especially kids from rural areas, who want to get into esports?
HR: There is no one way into esports. Find what you love and follow your passion. If you haven't figured out what that is yet, my suggestion is watch videos, take classes, just dig in and get your hands dirty with some of the things that interest you and see where it takes you.
If you need some ideas, programming or coding classes are a great start, or graphic design. Those two can lead you down so many different paths in gaming from game development, to website creation, to analysis, and so on. If your passion is competing, focus on perfecting your craft and try to go to as many events/cons as possible. I grossly underestimated the networking opportunities those things afford when I started in esports.
FYG: What kind of lifestyle does your career allow you to live? What sort of salary and work environment can people typically expect from a position or field like yours?
HR: I travel a lot and don't really have a non-esports social life. At this moment, it's not a good idea for anyone to start their own organization. I will say that this is the best time to work for a major brand. If you have good interpersonal communication, a strong character, and a healthy work ethic, you can get into management fairly easily. Good division/team/staff managers are hard to come by. I wouldn't recommend for anyone to shoot for being a CEO without some experience in management, marketing, and public speaking.
FYG: What strengths, skills, or character traits do you think are most important for your position?
HR: Vision is the most valuable asset to anyone in my position. We live in an era where information is everywhere at the tip of your fingers. The people who succeed are those who are able to connect the dots, pick out what information is pertinent, and make correct predictions based on it. For esports, understanding which games have the most potential, which players are the most valuable (low cost and high upside), what staff to add/bring on, and what direction to take your company is are key. That being said, no one will ever have perfect vision. Along with the confidence to know you are right, you also need to have a healthy dose of self-awareness. There will be times your predictions are wrong; you have to analyze those too. Figure out what went wrong, when and why, and adjust. Adaptation is a necessity for success.
FYG: What does it mean to you to Find Your Grind? Why is it important?
HR: Your grind will never be mundane. What you are going to grind in your life is something you love and are passionate about. If it starts off feeling like a chore, it’s probably not it. Whether it’s esports or something else entirely, my suggestion is find something you enjoy and can do without realizing how much time has passed. That is your calling.
Words by Chance Solem-Pfeifer on Mar 24, 2018