My name is John Kracum1 and I’m the new President of the Florida Mayhem. Not many of you know me, and I hope that will change. I’m not a very public person, but I’d rather be accountable than comfortable, so I want to tell you a little bit about myself before I get to start showing you.
I’m 33, a father, husband, lawyer, washed up gamer2, sports fan3, and am madly in love with the film library of Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’ve worked for this organization for the last year – handling or assisting on most of our legal work, getting to know our teams and partners, and helping solve the issues that any growing organization has. I’ve been lucky to spend a good amount of time with the Mayhem folks4. I’ve lived through our failures as well as our successes. Both of those inform how I will approach my work, and I think giving all of you an insight to both can help set the table for what we want to be in 2019 and beyond.
I’ll start with a couple of positives, since those are what I can build off of5. Our organization has many of the most high-quality people I’ve met across the esports landscape. Everyone here is talented, has integrity, values teamwork, and wants to create something that we, our fans, and the league can be proud of. I love working for this group, and if I can earn the right to do it for the rest of my life, then you’ll all be reading a new letter from me fifty years from now. I’m also proud of the values our team has kept close to everything we’ve done – having paid close attention to the content and other outward-facing work we’ve done, I believe that Mayhem stands for sportsmanship, positivity, inclusiveness, and goofiness, and I believe that those values add up to something that can unite fans across Florida and the Overwatch community. We can be great, but…
We obviously had a lot of misses during our inaugural OWL season, and we will learn from them. The biggest is something that we’ve already taken lumps for, and something I’m happy to say we’ve been addressing over the past year. My take is that we entered OWL assuming it would be as simple as EU Contenders, and we could piece together a support structure out of the people and processes already focused on other titles. Frankly, that didn’t work – what we hoped could be a collaborative lifting up cost us the chance to make a meaningful statement in 2018. We became one of the least relevant teams in the league, and not for lack of character6, but because of a lack of organization and delivery. We haven’t given fans a reason to be as excited as they should be, and that has been a failure of management. I consider myself part of the problem, since if I had a more firm grasp of what we were facing I might have stepped in eight months ago to start doing what I hope to do now, but I’ve been able to learn from us, from our other teams, and from the rest of the League, and I’m eager to steer us in the right direction.
The good news is that we’ve already been taking steps to build something that will be great in 2019 and beyond. Since the start of 2018, we’ve added twelve more full-time employees to our staff focused solely on the Mayhem, plus we’ve added a number of people who will contribute across the organization, highlighted by the recent transition of Hussain Moosvi and our hire of Robert Yip. We’re already light years ahead of where we were last year, and if we were moving into 2018 with the staff we have now, I think we’d be one of the most memorable and fun teams to follow.
But we’re not moving into 2018, and we have a lot more to do. There’s only so much I can tell you before I have to start showing you, so for now all I’ll do is sincerely wish you a great holiday season and a spectacular experience during the second year of our Overwatch League. With eight new cities joining us, a year of lessons learned, and amazing fans7 that have had five months to dream about what we’ll see next, I’m sure it will be a season to remember.
President of Mayhem8
1 100 OWL tokens to the first person to @ me (@JohnKracum) with the right pronunciation.
2 I used to think I was cool after having made the top 10 for my role on one of my progression WOTLK fights and having been a sub on a CS 1.6 team that lost 16-0 to United5 at our only LAN. I’ve met, and work with, way better players than I ever was or will be, and also Joe El Ouassi.
3 BREWERS!, Jaguars, Bucks.
4 Including a fun and memorable night out with Sebastian, Joonas and Johan back in July that almost cost me my flight home the next morning.
5 We’ve been a weak brand compared to some other great organizations in the OWL, but I wouldn’t have been excited to take this job if I didn’t see a lot going right behind the scenes. Also, this is a propaganda piece.
6 I know people loved the walkouts, I did too! I wish I could say for sure they’ll be back, but there are two issues – first, some part of the team began to associate the walkouts with poor in-game performance, and second, the walkouts were a product of the characters we had on the team, most of whom aren’t part of our 2019 roster. If we ever go back do doing them, it’ll be because it’s something the players want to do.
7 I need to shout out our fans – you guys are amazing. From the transplants and unexpected die-hards I met in LA to the incredible Crew that participated in watch parties all across Florida – we love you and are going to do more, bigger, and better, because you deserve it.
8 My business card says President of Mayhem. I love this.