Meet Stephanie Kaiser, Product Lead at wooga. She started as the 2nd employee and has seen the company grow to over 180 people today.
Interviewed by Jess Erickson
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently I am working on four games, one of them being my “old” Monster World that I started around three years ago. The others are three super secret upcoming wooga games. I am responsible for around 60 people, whom I care a lot about. This keeps me happy and quite busy.
Can you see yourself in ten years doing the same thing you do now?
Yes and no. Can I imagine working in a product driven company like wooga? - Yes. But will this product be a game? - Not necessarily. It goes without saying that I believe gaming will change over the next ten years and we will constantly change our way of making games accessible to an even broader audience. Secret dream: starting my own company or finally becoming a bridge builder.
Who is one person you follow on Twitter in Berlin? And why?
Someone I enjoy following, though he is not Berlin based, is Mike Matas (@mike_matas). He is a user interface designer at Facebook, who was working for Apple before. He publishes the pictures he takes when traveling or cooking the most beautiful food in the world (aka food porn). I enjoy stumbling upon things that are not in my normal field of view of industry news in the tech, gaming and entrepreneurial scene.
What was your most satisfying achievement?
Managing to turn an initially not successful game into the biggest monster game on Facebook was satisfying for a short moment. Needless to say, this was a team-achievement (thanks Monsters!). Some months after launch we did a lessons-learned-meeting. In that hour every single team member stood up and said in front of the group that they love coming to work because of this special team. That moment is somewhat even more important than the numbers of the game.
What is the best advice you ever received?
Early on in building the team for Monster World, when I faced a barrage of decisions, I was once told by our Head of Engineering: “You have to call the shots: there’s no-one else to decide for you.” Pretty obvious now, but I was very inexperienced at the time and hadn’t previously been in this kind of situation And the most obvious advice sometimes is the best. What I took from it: surround yourself with people who are not afraid of pointing out the obvious things. Only then we can learn.
Always exit an Autobahn at 60 km/h, no matter how fast you’ve been. It’s saved my life several times. Thanks dad!
What is the most important thing you’ve learned in the last year?
Don’t expect things to happen automatically. If you want something; go and get it. Make things happen. Another thing I’ve learnt: there are very few rules to follow. This freedom is the reason why I enjoy being older today. At 18, I did not know I had such freedom.
How do you define success?
This goes along with my answer to the achievements-question. Of course it is necessary that the games we are building are successful to keep everybody at wooga fed or make the company grow. But what is even more important for me is the fact that the people who are working in my teams enjoy their work and their surroundings every day. This is what builds a creative and productive surrounding where you can make things happen. If I can contribute a bit to make wooga a place where people want to work and we keep creating successful games, this would be one of the many possible successes I can think of.
Follow Stephanie on Twitter @chiefofspace