I’m No Longer the Only Full-Time Employee at Stonemaier Games!

21 November 2019 | 31 Comments

After running Stonemaier Games as my full-time job for the last 6 years, I will soon be joined by our first-ever full-time hire.

A few months ago, I realized a few things:

  • My life was changing in ways I hadn’t anticipated. For nearly the entirety of Stonemaier Games’ existence, I’ve chosen not to pursue romantic relationships and instead prioritize my business (and the many amazing people involved with it). But then I met Megan. I still love my company, but I love her too, and that’s changed how I want to spend some of my time. It’s also made me more efficient during the 60 or so hours I work each week (compared to 80), but that’s not enough for a growing company.
  • Stonemaier Games was scaling to a level I couldn’t keep up with on my own. Every day, I receive dozens–sometimes many dozens–of direct questions, and many dozens of new conversation threads appear on our game-specific Facebook group and on BoardGameGeek. I respond to all direct questions, but I must admit it’s been difficult to keep up with all of the indirect threads. We’re fortunate to have such a passionate group of people who answer questions in those threads (and tag me when I’m needed), though I don’t want to miss out on important information and insights.
  • My game design time was continually decreasing. For several years now, only a fraction of my job has been game design (though an increasing part of my job has been game development). As a result, certain games–particularly the massive open-world exploration game I’m designing–haven’t received the time or attention they require to actually become a reality someday.
  • The list of “things we’re not doing (or doing well)” reached a critical mass. I keep an ongoing list of things that Stonemaier Games (and myself) could be doing, but I either don’t have the time or expertise to do so. Or I’m just bad at them.
  • A number of outsourced tasks could be consolidated. There are so many little jobs that we outsource to various people, as well as some bigger jobs (like US replacement parts). I like outsourcing because it lets me pick and choose people who are good at specific tasks and only pay them when they’re actually doing those tasks. But I realized that we had enough of those various tasks that a talented candidate could handle on their own–it seemed like a good time to consolidated.

All of these factors accumulated to help me see that hiring someone amazing could make a positive impact on Stonemaier Games, myself, and the people around the world we seek to reach.

I’m a big believer in hiring people who have already made a positive impact on your organization (see article here). That’s how I hired Morten. So that narrowed the field quite a bit. Also, I knew that I needed someone in St. Louis, as certain aspects of the job are inherently tied to our warehouse and me being here. I couldn’t find anyone among our general job applicants who fit that description.

A few candidates quickly rose to the top of my list. Both were friends, which can be tricky, but I really needed someone that I can trust with full access to accounts and data. It was very difficult to choose between them, though I wasn’t alone in the process, and in the end we made a decision. (If there’s another company looking for a Director of Communications, though, feel free to contact me at jamey@stonemaiergames.com–I have a fantastic recommendation.)

Actually, before finalizing the decision–in the midst of it, really, though I was starting to lean towards one person–I went to New Zealand. While I was there, I asked that applicant if they could respond to emails and keep an eye on social media. Basically, I had an opportunity to test the waters before diving in, and the person responded to the challenge by making my life significantly easier. I think that’s an underrated quality, something you can’t really see unless you test those waters: Does the applicant make your professional life easier/better?

That person, Stonemaier Games’ new full-time Director of Communications, is Joe Aubrey. Here’s how Joe describes himself on his new staff page:

Joe Aubrey is the Director of Communications for Stonemaier. He handles a large portion of customer interactions, including US parts replacement and organizing parts replacement helpers around the world. If you ever want to ask Stonemaier a question, but don’t want to bother Jamey, send him an email! Additionally, Joe will be in the background of many different Stonemaier projects, providing leadership and support every step of the way.

Joe is an avid rock climber and loves spending time outdoors and traveling. Throughout his other hobbies, board games have been a steady presence. From watching his father play war games, to teenage memories of playing Dune, to relaxing evenings of Viticulture with his partner, board games have been a source of joy for Joe and he looks forward to facilitating that experience for others around the world.

I’m excited for Joe to officially join Stonemaier Games in January, and I’m sure many of you will see him on our social media and email accounts. I’ll still be as involved as ever, though–I love that I get to interact with you every day in so many different ways. Joe will simply accentuate and elevate our communication. Joe isn’t going to use any accounts that use my name or face, so if you get a response from Jamey, it really is Jamey.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on this process, and if you have any questions for me (or Joe), feel free to post them in the comments below.

If you gain value from the 100 articles Jamey publishes on his blog each year, please consider championing this content!

31 Comments on “I’m No Longer the Only Full-Time Employee at Stonemaier Games!

  1. Congrats Joe! And Congrats Jamey!

    I’ve been wondering for a while when you were finally going to bite the bullet and bring someone else’s talents to help out at SM.

    Here’s my bold prediction! You are now going to get a taste of what its like to have other talented people around you and how it allows you to delegate tasks you are less interested/bad at to people who are interested/good at and you will hire another full time employee within 2 years!

    1. A second unasked for bold prediction! :) You are going to get an itch since mastering the SM brand to expand out into lighter/different games than SM would publish and in 5 years either start a sub brand underneath SM or purchase a small brand to operate through!
      (GNG is not ever going to be for sale, but if SM was interested in 5 years I would definitely be interested)

  2. Congratulations Joe for the new position and Jamey for having such a successful company that you need a full-time staff member.

  3. Congrats Joe! I had the opportunity to meet Joe at one of your game nights, Jamey. We played Root and I taught him and Dave Irish Gauge. It was a fun evening and he made me feel welcome as part of the group. Can’t wait to see how he grows with Stonemaier!

  4. This is great news. I am so happy – mostly for you, but also for Joe and Stonemaier Games and of course for Megan. This sounds like a very healthy development. All the best to all of you. Looking forward to many more exciting and wonderful games.

  5. I know that it is hard to delegate, trust, and have patience with things that are so important to you and things that you have a very specific vision and priority for. It can be a anxious and stressful situation but hopefully as you develop the working relationship, communication, and shared vision and priorities it will become a rewarding and beneficial arrangement! Congratulations on all these steps in your personal and professional life. Thank you for being such an awesome influence in the gaming world and in people’s lives and I’m sure Joe will continue and expand that influence.

  6. Awesome! I’m new to Stonemaier gaming as of September through your fabulous game Wingspan! I hope adding more folks to the fray allows you to succeed even more than you already have!

    1. Thanks for asking, David! I’m actually pretty bad at these “favorite” type questions. If you don’t mind, I’ll reframe and answer in a couple different ways. I’ve had a recent fascination with a relatively unknown gem called King of Siam. And some of the games I’ve played the most include A Feast for Odin, Pandemic, and Viticulture.

  7. Welcome, Joe! And Jamey, do you realize that you’ve DOUBLED the size of your workforce? That’s awesome. You listed great benefits of having a full-time associate, but one of them is certainly the enhanced degree of collaboration from working with someone who is also full-time in the daily operations.

  8. Congrats, Joe!

    Good for you as well Jamey for recognizing it was time to grow and delegate some of your work so you can focus on what’s most important to you and your company.

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