About this Episode

In this engaging episode of the Player Engage Podcast, host Greg sits down with Emily Pierron from Nightmarket Games to delve into the intricacies of her role as a producer and the importance of psychological safety within gaming studios. Emily shares her journey from Eventbase to Nightmarket Games, providing insights into the unique responsibilities of a producer in different studio environments. She emphasizes the significance of organization and supporting team members to ensure they have what they need to succeed.

Listeners will gain a deeper understanding of:

  • The transition from project management to overseeing studio operations and the challenges of remote work.
  • The concept of psychological safety in the workplace and its impact on team innovation and productivity.
  • Practical strategies for improving communication and fostering a positive studio culture, including the implementation of a “single source of truth” for project information.

For a closer look at how Emily Pierron is shaping the culture at Nightmarket Games and her approach to enhancing team dynamics, tune in to this episode of the Player Engage Podcast. Discover the actionable steps you can take to create a psychologically safe environment and why happiness is key to driving productivity in game development.

To learn more about Emily’s perspective on psychological safety and her vision for the future of Nightmarket Games, listen to the full podcast episode.

AI Transcript: Emily Pierron

Greg Posner: 00:07: 00:37: Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Player Engage Podcast. Greg here. Today, we are joined by Emily Pierron from Nightmarket Games. Really excited. We just met at GDC, and this is our first podcast coming back from GDC. Emily has a cool background. She was at Eventbase for two years where she was a producer, and now she’s at Nightmarket Games, which we’re going to learn a lot about today, hopefully on today’s podcast, where she also is a producer. She’s from the Vancouver area. So Emily, welcome to the player engaged podcast today. Is there anything you’d like to say about yourself?
Emily Pierron: 00:37: 01:19: Yeah, Greg, I am so excited to be here. Thank you so much. Yeah, I’m a producer at Nightmarket Games. I feel like every studio has a different definition of exactly what a producer is, especially every studio I’ve been to. For us, we do have a development manager who works on the project day-to-day with the team, whereas I oversee the projects, resourcing budgets and timelines for for the studio, and I work with clients and external stakeholders, and then, of course, helping out with operations. It’s a small studio, so you can really make your role what you want it, and I like to help out where I can, so everything gets done. But yes, Nightmarket Games. That’s the new title.

Greg Posner: 01:19: 01:44: A little bit of jack of all trades here, and you already started answering my first question is kind of what is the role of a producer? And you’ve kind of laid it out in a bare bones-ish way, but if you take someone like me that doesn’t know enough about these different roles that exist out here, is it more like a product manager? Is it a project manager? Is it something else? What would you kind of, what skillset would you say you tap into a daily basis that kind of helps you complete your job?

Emily Pierron: 01:44: 02:48: Yeah, for sure. I would say, well, I do come from a project management background. I have about nine years experience with that in different industries, but it all kind of comes to the same thing of like, for me, like my pillars are like organization and people, like just making sure that the people have what they need to be successful in their jobs. It’s not about me knowing, you know, like how a technical development situation happens or how this person creates art. It’s really neat knowing how I can work with that person to make sure they have what they need. Yeah, with my current role, I’m kind of transitioning. This is the first time I’ve been off of a project and more overseeing the studio. So I’m not involved in scrums or the planning meetings anymore, which is a huge It’s a huge change for me. A little bit lonely, but I’m definitely making sure to, you know, reach out to people more often. But yeah, like the producer role or the development manager role is very project management based. And we follow at Nightmarket, we follow the agile development process. So yeah, it’s a lot of communication.

Greg Posner: 02:50: 03:13: It’s funny, my first job out of school was a support rep and it was easy to quantify how much work I got done at the end of the day, right? You’d look at it and say, hey, I closed 20, 30, 40 tickets today. It was a good day, right? Then as you start changing your roles, it’s like, what defines success? I guess, what would a great day in the day of Emily

Emily Pierron: 03:14: 04:03: You like, right? Oh, that’s so funny. Because now that I’m not on a project, I don’t have Jira tickets that I’m, you know, updating and marking off. So I have my own way of keeping organized and keeping all my tasks done. I would say a great day for me is when I feel like I made someone else’s day better. I still I still do work with a lot of people in the company to make sure that everything is running smoothly. So I like to check in with people. I most recently did a I had like an interview with each person about their workflow to see what they are doing day to day. And then like from there, I was able to make suggestions and like, you know, like process improvements. So yeah, I would I would say like, the best day for me is when I feel accomplished with the relationships that we have at the studio.

Greg Posner: 04:04: 04:34: It’s awesome. You know, we just came back from GDC as we’re talking about it, and you and I briefly met there. And, you know, I’ve been talking to people and said, I think the best part of GDC was just networking with my own company. Because sometimes you don’t get enough time to just speak with the people on your team and understand what the people on your team are doing and how they work. And I love that you put that because, you know, what you understand, like I’m asking you, what is success for you? You’re asking your own internal employees, right? And that can probably help you organize and understand how you need to connect with them.

Emily Pierron: 04:34: 05:03: Yeah, exactly. I had the same experience at GDC. There was four of us that went and my favorite moments, of course, the sessions and the roundtables and all of the parties were amazing and so much fun, but just walking to the sessions or just walking home from the parties with my group, those interactions were so meaningful where you don’t really get that in a remote setting. Yeah, it was really, really powerful for me.

Greg Posner: 05:04: 05:14: So let’s take a few minutes to reflect on GDC because there was a lot that happened in a couple of days. Were there any specific insights or trends that really kind of resonated with you and what you’re working on?

Emily Pierron: 05:14: 07:13: Gosh, I would say that the main thing, I guess it’s like based on the sessions that I chose for myself and the roundtables, but culture was a huge thing that people were talking about. Just struggling to get a culture or like build the culture from a remote and hybrid environment. It’s just not the same as it used to be, you know, if you can’t lean over to your desk mate and ask a question or start a conversation. Yeah, so I think that like, there was a lot of things that our studio we’re currently doing like we have something called a coffee chat where we’re automatically paired up with someone once a week and you talk to that person for 30 minutes. Usually, we end up talking about non-work stuff. We also have a Friday activity where one person every week is running this Friday activity and they can do anything. It can be an experiment. I always like to teach something, playing a prototype. It can be what it is, but In our studio, I feel like there are so many holes still where we’re not connected. It was so obvious when I was at GDC hanging out with my coworkers being like, oh, I didn’t know that about you. We just don’t have those moments. I remember there was one panel that was talking about having a remote working space. It’s the same idea as though you were sitting at a desk in an open office. But this would be so you would just have like a meeting that’s always open. You can drop in and kind of work on your own, but have that company there as well. So you can ask questions. Maybe you’re working with, you know, like your your manager is in the same space. So you can ask questions. You can start conversations. And if you needed to do deep work, you can, of course. jump out of the meeting. That’s something I’m interested in looking at for our studio to see if that’s something we can implement. Another thing that complements it that I saw from a panel was doing no-meeting Fridays and light-meeting Mondays. I don’t know, have you experienced this before?

Greg Posner: 07:13: 07:23: We used to do no-camera Fridays, which some people did and some people didn’t, but I mean, I’m all down for no-meeting Fridays and light-meeting Mondays. That makes the week sound great.

Emily Pierron: 07:23: 07:58: I know, right? We had on one of our projects called EtherMerge, a No Meaning Thursday, which the team loved. It was really successful until it wasn’t. There was people that were on multiple projects, so some projects were doing the No Meaning Thursday, some projects weren’t. It wasn’t really successful there. And then of course, during submission and code freeze, it would get pretty difficult to plan around. But yeah, it’s something that I’m interested in looking back at again to see if we can accomplish that.

Greg Posner: 07:58: 08:37: First of all, I like the no meeting Friday, but I like the open meeting space idea. I never really thought about that. It’s a way to promote that cooler talk or that water cooler talk that used to exist in offices because some people sit here and they just want to shoot the shit with someone for lack of better words. I can’t talk to my wall all day, the wall stopped talking back to me. So having someone else on the other line that can kind of talk about what happened in The Bachelor, what happens here, what happened there, right? It’s just kind of a fun space to kind of maintain that because we’re in this weird place where companies are forcing back to office, other ones are not. So how do you have that balance where you can still kind of communicate openly and freely that’s not a Zoom meeting? And I think even though it is a Zoom meeting, it’s a little less

Emily Pierron: 08:39: 10:05: Less pressure, less agendas. I would say our studio right now, it’s the couple of minutes before we start the meeting. That’s when we talk about Love is Blind and we talk about Love on the Spectrum, all of the shows that we are watching right now. It’s just, yeah, it’s just not enough. And yeah, I’m really excited to see how we can, you know, just build more relationships. Another thing that came up was, this was from a really great round table where one studio was talking about how they have, like, I’m not sure the cadence, but they had an in-person meeting where they would fly everybody out and they would make that like a priority in their budget so that everybody could meet each other and talk to each other. The meeting, because our studio currently has in-person town halls every quarter, but it’s kind of like a presentation format, right? So we’re all in the room, we’re looking at the screen, whereas this other person has it, so there’s activities, there’s bonding things to do. It’s a little bit more engaging and in-depth. That’s something that I’m really interested in hosting and figuring out. Yeah, I think that would be really, really impactful. The person even said like after that, every time they do that, like engagement and production like is like skyrockets because everyone knows their communication styles. And yeah, it’s just a new way of working.

Greg Posner: 10:05: 10:07: Is there a specific type of topic or it’s kind of?

Emily Pierron: 10:08: 10:28: I think this person would do it based on maybe something they wanted to workshop together. It wasn’t project-based, but maybe like, here’s one of our studio values, here’s an activity to do. That’s fun. Yes, and I think that’s how I would run it as well, but I definitely need to look into it more and see what’s successful and what people have done so far.

Greg Posner: 10:29: 11:18: I like that. You mentioned pillars earlier, and I never really understood the concept of pillars until an earlier podcast where I spoke to this guy Ivan Zagara from Social Point, and he told me, here are your pillars when building a game. And not everybody, a lot of people have been speaking about that since then. And it goes back to one of my first questions to you. It’s like, how do you measure success now when you’re in a different type of role? And when some of you started talking about pillars, I was just kind of like, I love that concept, right? It’s almost a way to measure, am I building something that’s going and aligning with my core values? And I think ever since then, and I’m not in a developer or a producer or any type of role like that, but even in my day-to-day work, it’s like, all right, what are my pillars? And I just, I don’t know, it’s a concept I’ve learned to come in love because it helps me stay a little more organized. And I am one of the least organized people I know.

Emily Pierron: 11:20: 11:23: I love it. At least you admit it, right?

Greg Posner: 11:23: 12:10: You got it. I envy people that have such great organizational skills. Like we said in our pre-call, I have this giant monitor that’s just stacked full of crap. It’s just like, how am I supposed to find where I’m going? I’m so disorganized and luckily everything always knock on wood. comes together at the end of the day. But I’m thinking about these talks that you’re mentioning. I was like, that could just be a fun talk. I’m like, why do we set up these pillars? Who’s following these pillars? And try and get more people aligned to like, here’s how I look at things. And I think you get a better view of your own company when you understand everyone’s in something, in it for themselves. Like, how can I help you? How can you help me? How can we work together to get towards this joint goal? And again, it all comes back to if I had a few minutes to shoot the shit with you in a Zoom call beforehand, maybe we could figure this out. But But we only jump on calls for meetings. So I never really get the opportunity to get to know you for lack of better words.

Emily Pierron: 12:10: 13:13: Exactly. And I do think that pillars like come hand in hand with values. And like the company values, your personal values, they kind of do have to mesh to make, you know, like a good cooperative situation, even the way that, like, I was in a pretty like, I didn’t know where I wanted to go. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to get back into games. Because I had worked at a you go. way back in 2015. I knew I wanted to get back into a studio, but I didn’t know how to get there. What I did was I drilled down in my personal values and I only applied to jobs that matched my values. I ended up only applying to two places, Nightmarket Gains and one other place. I got offers to both. It felt like it was such a match. When you create and you highlight what your personal values are and make decisions based off of that, I think it’s just a really holistic way of living. You’re able to fall back on the values that you can make decisions from instead of having to struggle.

Greg Posner: 13:13: 13:25: Yeah. No, I love it. And what you just mentioned kind of goes to kind of you wanted to come back into gaming, but let’s go back to when Emily was in grade school, right? What were you thinking at that time? What did you want to be when you grew up? What were you

Emily Pierron: 13:26: 14:07: What were your dreams at that time? I wanted to be famous. That’s what I would say to everyone, which meant acting for me. I actually did go to university for acting and that’s what I graduated from, but halfway through, I realized, this is not the industry I want to be in. I didn’t like having to do auditions and kind of like be, you know, I really value stability, basically. And what I found was that I was really interested in directing. So my program allowed me to do a lot of the directing roles for the last half of my program. And then from there, I went to project management. So yeah, it’s definitely a pivot.

Greg Posner: 14:09: 14:13: At least you got to try it out and see whether or not it was for you or not for you.

Emily Pierron: 14:13: 14:19: I’d be dreaming about it right now if I didn’t. Yeah, it’s a nightmare now. Exactly.

Greg Posner: 14:21: 14:45: Let’s talk about Nightmarket Games. Nightmarket Games, if people are listening, might know there’s a bunch of Beyblade games, Slug Terror, Slug It Out, and coming in in May, there’s gonna be a new game, Titan Crash. But the first thing I’d like to focus on is that Nightmarket Games has been rebranded recently from Epic Story, right? So why? Why rebrand?

Emily Pierron: 14:46: 16:32: Well, there’s a couple of factors, honestly. It kind of another, like, let’s go back to values. We actually had a, I think it was like an eight week workshop where we ran this with our HR consultant, the leadership team did, where we actually re-evaluated what our values were. And then when we came out of that, we’re like, oh, this doesn’t really match up with even the title of Epic Story Interactive. And we can, we kind of always like had dabbled with wanting to change the name because it was very long. Like, I mean, my email was, Emily.Pierron at EpicStoryInteractive.com. That’s just way too long. It was a headache. Also, people would completely think that I was from Epic. I remember the first conference I went to with Nightmarket, people were lining up to talk to me. And then I would be like, Oh, no, I’m from Epic Story Interactive, a small indie studio from Vancouver, and they would be visibly disappointed, and then walk away. And I was just like, Oh, my gosh. So it was it was a long time coming. We did run a like a studio wide, like, what should we rename rename ourselves back in 2022. And it There was a similar theme based on Vancouver and our nature and the city. There’s a night market in every culture and every region. Everyone can relate to a night market. There’s a Richmond night market, the Christmas night market. There’s so many night markets here in Vancouver as well. it did really feel like something that was closer to our values than Epic Story Interactive was. So yeah, there’s a few reasons why we decided to change and I’m very happy for the rebrand.

Greg Posner: 16:32: 16:34: Just like an easier email address, right?

Emily Pierron: 16:34: 16:36: Yes.

Greg Posner: 16:36: 16:49: Was there a sense of confusion from the community? Is it something that you were able to easily kind of let your fans and your followers know? I guess, is there any like, Ooh, I wish we did that instead or thoughts like that.

Emily Pierron: 16:49: 17:36: We weren’t doing it by ourselves. We have a marketing consultant, Mike Gallagher, as you know. He really kind of guided the ship for us. So it was like he kind of told us what to do, whereas like we would do the legwork. I think it was like a really well planned out rebrand. It happened on March 11th, where we switched over all of our accounts. We had a whole blog post about why we’re changing. Everyone’s going on different podcasts and different ways to reach out and really explain why we are rebranding. So I think it was a pretty successful way to do it. It wasn’t just a sneaky like, oh, let’s change our icons, let’s change our names. But yeah, so I think it’s pretty successful so far.

Greg Posner: 17:37: 18:25: Great. Yeah, it seems like it. And we got to, again, meet up at GDC. Mike was there and we don’t push sales here on the podcast, but Mike is great. Mike Gallagher, he did a podcast. He helps us build our own community ourselves. So we love Mike and I’m glad to hear it’s all going successful. I mean, it’s a great name. It fits it well based on the night markets and I’m excited to see what comes. I want to talk about a topic that you seem passionate about. which is psychological safety, because this is a topic that Mike let me know that you’re an expert on. And when you and I first spoke, I thought I knew what psychological safety in gaming was because, you know, we do a lot with trust and safety and protecting that side of the world. But I was wrong in that. So can you give our audience, our listeners, kind of a high level idea of what psychological safety is in gaming studios?

Emily Pierron: 18:25: 18:57: For sure, it’s very different from trust and safety. It is. Psychological safety, it’s the belief that you will not get punished or humiliated for voicing your thoughts, ideas, concerns, or questions. It’s not specific to the gaming studio, but it is very, very impactful. Like, you could really take this for any kind of career or any kind of industry. But yeah, it’s just being safe to say your ideas. And that really is how innovation grows within a studio.

Greg Posner: 18:57: 19:09: So what gets you so fascinated? It’s a great topic, right? I’m not trying to come at it in a different way, but like, how do you get fascinated in a topic like this? And how do you start digging deep into psychological safety?

Emily Pierron: 19:09: 21:30: Yeah, so I first heard about it on a webinar that I was listening to by someone from BC, Tina Mary. She was discussing it in the way of like for your project and how to be successful in your project. And when I heard about it and I heard the definition, I was like, oh my gosh, that is something that I’ve never been able to articulate, but I’ve experienced so many times in my career. So many memories honestly were like flooding back to me. And one that really stood out to me that made me want to dive deeper into this was I worked at this studio so long ago where it was like the behavior of this one manager was just completely ignored. I would say that this person would like be maybe classified as like a toxic genius. I know that that word gets thrown around a lot, but they were very good at their job on paper, but their interpersonal skills and managing skills, leadership skills were non-existent. They had a direct that was really distraught working with them. They were always walking on eggshells. When they would ask questions or for clarification, they would get snapped at in front of everybody. And I remember feeling like the secondhand embarrassment for this person. And then what really The day that it all brought it together for me, this person, the direct, was sitting at their desk sobbing into their arms because they were so stressed out and just confused. and their manager was right beside them, just ignoring the whole situation, typing away on their computer, talking to other people. I was just like, this is not okay. I knew deeply something was wrong, but I just didn’t know at that time what to do. I didn’t know how to handle the situation. A lot of this stuff comes from top down. your culture is the worst person at your studio. Everyone has to be their best selves. I immediately flashback to that moment thinking, I can’t believe that was happening in this huge studio and everyone saw it happen and nothing really came of it. That’s really what brought me to psychological safety and how I want to run a studio and make sure everybody is empowered to say their ideas in a safe space.

Greg Posner: 21:41: 22:31: They think they’re God’s gift to the world and every idea that they have is right, right? And I think being a great manager is listening and hearing what your employees have to say and taking it. Maybe it’s not always the best idea, but entertain it. And I mean, you just defining kind of that secondhand embarrassment is… I mean, the fact that you had, and maybe I don’t know if you did, but you did something about it. You spoke up and maybe not directed to that person, but you wanted to make a change, right? Again, many people probably don’t even know this is really a thing, right? Or what to name it. They just know they have a crappy manager that’s not helping enable them to do what they need to do. How do you maintain a culture like this of openness? making sure that everyone is heard. When you’re looking at Nightmarket, how do you put those principles into place there?

Emily Pierron: 22:32: 24:41: I would say it’s an uncomfortable one because what I do is I just talk about it. I talk about it with everybody. The first time I mentioned this with the studio was I gave a presentation on psychological safety. Then at the end, we ended up breaking into breakout groups and everybody just talked about their experiences and how they have been treated in the past, how it made them feel, their experience with actually psychologically psychological unsafety, because it’s really more obvious when it isn’t safe. But then when it is safe, you can feel your team getting into the group and thriving. So I do a lot of just having those spaces, also having forums for feedback, anonymous feedback, or just a safe space where you literally say it out loud. This is a safe space. You won’t be punished for anything you say here. Or, like, this is a confidential conversation. Like, I will not tell anybody about what you say. Like, those types of, like, just, you know, like, saying things out loud so that people understand what they’re getting into. Another thing that I implemented was the – I guess not implemented, but I, like, I was digging into the SBIN feedback model, so it’s situation, behavior, impact, and next steps. There’s a ton of them. There’s like SBINN, SBIIN, like, you know, the acronyms, but for us, it’s SBIN. And the idea is that you give feedback to everyone all of the time. So the point of it is building trust with your team and with the people you work with every single day by giving positive feedback and realizing what they’re doing. Like, oh, the way that you handled this conversation, I really appreciated it. Now everything is better moving forward. So then when you need to do When you need to give some correcting feedback, the person already trusts you and it’s not an awkward situation. They know it’s coming from a really good place. Yeah, I think it’s a lot about communication and just being open and vulnerable and it’s scary, but in the end it does work if you can do that.

Greg Posner: 24:42: 25:53: It’s funny how, you know, I’m just taking notes here, sorry, but like, you know, we talked about communication and this whole conversation began talking about kind of the open meeting spaces, communicating, you know, with this all work from home thing. And I was reading a report earlier and it’s just like, people are becoming less herd mentality. We used to have this herd mentality as people where we wanted to be in groups, we wanted to be in larger groups and do things together. And since COVID, whether you want to say it’s COVID or not, it’s almost like part of us broke where people aren’t as engaging with one another anymore. It’s more siloed off. We’re all working from home. I would not want to go back to the office if I had to, but I do miss that camaraderie with my team and having that open communication. It’s hard when it’s remote. How do you balance these things of open communication while you’re working remote or trying to find times to do things? It’s a lot of things to juggle. I wanted to ask you a question. To reverse what you were just talking, what happens if you’re on the receiving end of this feedback and you’re at a company that maybe doesn’t really have the right tools for you? Are there anything you can recommend or suggest to people that might be struggling with this?

Emily Pierron: 25:53: 27:12: Yeah, I’ve definitely been on both ends where I’m giving feedback in a not great way and I’m receiving it in the same way. And I look back at my younger self and I really wish that I didn’t take things as personally. I think that’s a huge, huge skill to learn is that when you’re working in an environment, everything you do is towards a common goal, right? When you receive feedback, I honestly take a breath and make sure that I’m actually listening to what they’re saying. One part of the feedback model is that you have to ask, are you open to receiving feedback right now? Because a lot of the times, maybe people aren’t open and they wouldn’t be listening to you and it wouldn’t even be worth it. You take a moment and say, yes, I’m open to receiving feedback and just know that Maybe the person is describing it in a personal way, but you have to figure out what is this feedback actually about? What were my actions and how did it impact somebody else? What should I do moving forward? I think if you’re able to separate it so that it’s not a personal attack or a personal conversation, then it makes your whole life easier.

Greg Posner: 27:14: 28:08: We used to, for an older company, we would butt heads every once in a while, but after work, we would all go grab a beer and we’d have a good time. It’s one of those things I’d say, if we’re out grabbing a beer afterwards, having a good time together, at least we know what we’re arguing about at work is related to work and we’re both looking to what’s most productive for us and for our customers. Whereas if we were grabbing a beer and all fighting, we knew there’s just true, for lack of a better word, hatred there, but we knew kind of how to separate that balance. But I’m wondering if there’s any things like Slack or Discord groups for people that can get that and just kind of get these things off their chest, like looking for people to talk to. Obviously, there’s like BetterHelp and stuff like that, which is separate, right? That’s more of a, I think… Yeah. But I can’t think of the word here. Are there any groups that you’re aware of online where maybe these types of communities exist or maybe not even yet?

Emily Pierron: 28:08: 28:57: Yes, honestly, there’s so many. I’m a part of so many Discord groups. There’s weekly conversations where people will ask a question and then everyone will give their answer and start a conversation. When I’m really in a rut, I will definitely look to Reddit for help. It feels like Reddit has infinite answers and I really appreciate it. It’s also something that you could even start within your own studio, like having like maybe like a lunch and learn or like some kind of like, not a lunch and learn, but like a weekly like chat where everyone just sits down and kind of like talks about anything, you know, where it doesn’t have to be like work related or it could be, you know, like there’s just having like that kind of open space is really helpful. Reddit.

Greg Posner: 28:57: 29:47: From everything at Reddit, if you want to feel good about yourself, go to Reddit. If you want to feel bad about yourself, go to Reddit. Just go to Reddit. They got everything there. It seems, and I might be making a jump here, but based on everything you’re talking about, it seems like you’re in a good place and you’re in a happy place. It seems like you feel like, I think I’ve read this, happiness you think is a way to help elevate people’s work and get more done. A happy staff is a hardworking staff. I don’t know if that’s a saying. Now it is. Can you kind of, I mean, you do link, I think, productivity and happiness together. I think, I don’t know where I read that. Maybe I just made the assumption based on everything that we read. But are there any ways you approach this on how to make sure that everyone’s happy? How do you make sure that everyone’s kind of bringing their A game, even if they’re in a rut? And maybe this isn’t as easy a question or question.

Emily Pierron: 29:49: 32:21: Well, you are correct. This is the happiest I’ve been in my career so far. I absolutely love this studio that Nightmarket Games is. I do think it comes from top down. The first day, Chad, our CCO, I remember being in a meeting and him being like, oh, I made this mistake. He just so effortlessly was talking about a mistake he made and the impact it had and what he’s going to do moving forward. I was just like, damn, I’ve never seen that. I was so impressed. I do feel like giving people the space to make mistakes is huge. In terms of productivity and processes, yes, this is my favorite topic for sure. One of the first things that I implemented at Nightmarket Games was, I call it the single source of truth. I remember when I started, I just couldn’t find information anywhere. I was trying to look up a ticket. I was like, what’s going on with this ticket? I have no idea. There’s conversations happening through video and DM. There’s Teams channel. There’s Jira tickets. There’s emails. It was everywhere. It was really causing miscommunications and frustrations within the team. People were being frustrated with each other. But there was no clear, this person’s wrong, this person’s wrong. It was like, no, the process is wrong. The people aren’t wrong. So now what we do is we, for our team, we use JIRA as the single source of truth. So everyone knows that when you look at that JIRA ticket, it’s going to have the most updated status and you’re going to be able to see the whole history of what’s going on there. And it, like, immediately, people were giving me feedback saying, like, this is amazing. Like, I, like, I was able to, like, get something done right away. Like, I didn’t have to, like, go and have a conversation with someone because I saw what they had written. And, like, in the long run, it also, like, helps build that history. So, when you’re starting a project, you’re wondering about, oh, how did that project do? Use that tech. You can go and look through and see, like, what they used. So, it’s stuff like that. Like, even just, like, recording your meetings. I know people, like, When I say I record all my meetings, people think I’m crazy, but it’s so helpful to go back and reference your notes or even just send it to someone that is in a different time zone or was maybe on vacation. These little things like recording your meetings, taking notes, even just the single source of truth, these things seem kind of small, but they do make a huge impact when you do it, when you’re using it consistently.

Greg Posner: 32:21: 32:52: Yeah, I mean, I feel like a struggle of every job I’ve been at is, is my information in Google Drive? Is it in SharePoint? Is it a video or an email that you slack it to me? And there’s just so many different tools to communicate and different systems to be looking at, it becomes a frustrating thing. And I love that because yeah, taking that away and say, hey, everything you need, will be in JIRA and maybe something is elsewhere, but JIRA will tell you to go look here to figure that out. I think that makes a ton of sense and that’s great to hear.

Emily Pierron: 32:52: 32:54: Yeah.

Greg Posner: 32:54: 33:06: Usually about halfway through, which I think we’re past, I do our rapid fire question round. Cool. You get to answer some rapid fire questions here? Let’s do it. All right. Emily, what did you have for breakfast?

Emily Pierron: 33:06: 33:08: I haven’t had breakfast.

Greg Posner: 33:08: 33:09: Oh my goodness.

Emily Pierron: 33:09: 33:12: It’s 9 a.m. Pretending now.

Greg Posner: 33:12: 33:17: I guess it is 10 a.m. If you were to go to a bar, what drink are you ordering?

Emily Pierron: 33:17: 33:19: Diet Coke.

Greg Posner: 33:19: 33:21: What is the last book you read?

Emily Pierron: 33:21: 33:23: Crucial Conversations.

Greg Posner: 33:23: 33:25: What is the last game you played?

Emily Pierron: 33:25: 33:27: Stardew Valley.

Greg Posner: 33:27: 33:30: What is your dream vacation?

Emily Pierron: 33:30: 33:36: Dream vacation. I guess I’m going to Greece in two days. Nice. Yes.

Greg Posner: 33:36: 33:38: Nice. That’s awesome apart.

Emily Pierron: 33:38: 33:40: I’m going to Thessaloniki.

Greg Posner: 33:40: 33:41: I’ve never heard of that, but okay.

Emily Pierron: 33:41: 33:41: No one has.

Greg Posner: 33:42: 34:05: That’s awesome. Well, safe travels. Thank you. As a producer at a gaming studio, you were looking to come back to gaming, you’re at gaming. You’re off the hot seat, by the way. What is the next logical step? Well, if Emily could have anything to do next in her career, and I feel like most people say, I don’t know what I want to do next, but what would be the next logical step of something you’d like to see accomplished for your own self?

Emily Pierron: 34:06: 34:44: Well, I always say that I want to do what Dennis is doing. Dennis is the COO of our company. I enjoy working with him and I enjoy the tasks. I am doing a little more of that operation stuff, but I really just want to be able to Going back to culture, I really just want to be able to build that culture in the studio and be known as a studio that is the best place to work, makes really fun games, and is growing. I really just want to see the studio succeed because I think that’s how I will succeed as well. Anything to get that done.

Greg Posner: 34:46: 34:58: If you had to give an elevator pitch to our audience about Nightmarket games, type of games, obviously you’re going to say best place to work. It’s fun. How would you describe Nightmarket games?

Emily Pierron: 34:58: 35:29: Nightmarket Games, currently our games are like match three action games like Slug It Out and Beyblade. We work with a lot of IPs and brands and that’s really what we specialize in. Although we are releasing our new, our own IP called Titan Crash coming in May 2024. But yeah, like we are really good at working with brands and we’re really good at, you know, like building fun games. So that’s what I would say about that.

Greg Posner: 35:29: 35:45: Emily, I think that’s all the questions I have for you today. I’ve really gotten to enjoy our conversation learning about the studio, learning about psychological safety, just learning about yourself as well and what works from what you’ve learned at GDC. Is there anything else that you would like to just share with our audience while you’re here?

Emily Pierron: 35:45: 35:53: I would say just everyone be open and ready to take on any kind of conversation. Be nice to everybody, just the normal things.

Greg Posner: 35:54: 36:21: Not enough people say that on here, but everyone should just be nice to each other. We’re all humans at the end of the day, and we all just want to play video games, so let’s just be nice to each other. Exactly. Well, we’ll have Emily’s information on our Player Engage website and podcast and everything, and we’ll have Nightmarket Games there as well. Emily, this has been fantastic. Again, thank you so much for teaching us about both the producer role and psychological safety and everything, and I look forward to talking to you again in the future.

Emily Pierron: 36:21: 36:23: Yeah, thank you so much, Greg. I appreciate it.

Greg Posner: 36:24: 36:24: Have a good day.

Emily Pierron: 36:24: 36:25: You too.

Greg Posner

Avid gamer with a passion for storytelling. My goal is to unpack the narratives of customers, partners and others to better understand how industry-leaders tackle today's challenges.

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