Recruitment—Critical Mass

Recruitment: The bane of any budding CEO. Starting out as a freshly minted corp can be difficult; a good beginning would be to gather a small group of friends or fellow capsuleers with a common goal. To grow beyond this stage and beyond your circle of friends can quickly become more complicated; how do you convince other people to join your cause? The biggest problem in growing, is you need to keep in mind for every three people you bring in, at least one will fall out at the bottom end. Recruitment is an almost endless process of replenishing lost or inactive members and growth. Content is the key to keep your current members interested, and form the anchor for new people that want to join your group. The simple fact is that 90% of EVE players lack the confidence or imagination to create content themselves, and rely on key people to do this for them. If this 90% does not get entertained, they will slowly fall away, become less active or leave for greener pastures. To combat this, you need to have a core group of content creators, no matter what the content is: probers, fleet commanders, jokers, storytellers, charismatic characters, theory crafters, and leaders. Once you have a core group, or a management team in place for your corporation, the next target would be to grow and get bigger. At this point, the corporation will be self fulfilling. Critical mass is the point you are aiming for—be big enough that a few lost members or periods of inactivity will not destroy what you have built, or in best cases, have outsiders want to join you because you are big enough to provide the content they need. Breaking this point is the hard part—how do you get there, how do you get to critical mass? Large alliances like PL, RvB, or Goons will have broken well beyond this. Many people flock to the content they can already provide; their name alone is powerful enough now to supply them with an almost endless stream of replacements for their lost members. It’s the smaller alliances that interest me more; the ones that have made it, but choose to remain the size that they are and manage their numbers carefully to achieve this. Shadow Cartel, Dead Terrorists, Overload Everything (who were still a thing at the time of writing -ed), and Snuffed Out are great examples of alliances that are small and perhaps insignificant in the large scheme, but make a large impact to the environment they inhabit. They grow too big and they have nobody to fight, they don’t keep up with their competitors and they suffer in the battles with each other. 2015. I asked w0wbagger, CEO of Shadow Cartel Alliance and he said: “Lowsec is an ecosystem that can easily be destabilised resulting in a shit time for everyone, we are certainly guilty of contributing to this in the past, it is important to keep the right balance…” Advertising is a great way to help get your numbers to the point of critical mass; most alliances and corporations make use of these type of mediums. Propaganda to make them stand out from the rest, and to give outsiders a glimpse of what it would be like to fly with them—truthful or not—inspires people looking for content. Dead Terrorists and Shadow Cartel rarely post propaganda; the quality of their core group of content creators is enough to keep their numbers steady. Anyone or any corporation that knows them and would be suitable, would only be added at their leisure and choice, when a spot becomes available. When I asked w0wbagger to confirm this, he agreed: “If you do well, it is easy to grow extremely large as people tend to want to join you. If you do this however, you tend to get no fights, and struggle to run roaming gangs as the area you live in can’t support the size of fleets you end up running consistently, which in turn ends up with a bored membership. For this reason we tend to generally only recruit corps when we lose a corp.” He continued by adding:  “…as for individual members, we will keep up a level of recruitment that counters the general attrition you get in EVE, only ramping this up if we get to the point where we are regularly finding gangs we can’t engage.”
Arguably, king-of-the-hill at the moment in lowsec in terms of numbers is Snuffed Out. Despite losing two corporations earlier this year, they are still going strong. Out of the few noteworthy lowsec alliances, Snuff can field the most capitals and super-capitals and regularly does so. Snuff scouts are feared throughout lowsec, everyone knows that the hammer can come down. Which begs the question, have they become too powerful for their habitat, or are they still able to get the fights they want? I asked Hunlight Faithus [SNUFD] that, and he had the following to say: “We don’t actively recruit, we don’t have to, the real benefit of our position is that we can be selective, you can’t fly what we want you to fly? You can’t come in.” This demonstrates the power of being in a position, beating the critical mass point; you can be selective and choose whom you want to join, rather than taking lower skilled/low experience -pilots to bolster your numbers. Hunlight added: “Personally I don’t believe we are the biggest and baddest, all our fleet members, including those in Supers are in the alliance, unlike some others.” He continued: “If we appear to just have the biggest balls it is because we have and we like to throw them around. We are about equal size to SC and DT, but because we are so selective we have quality on our side as well.” When I asked Hunlight about where he would see Snuff going from here he just noted: “Timezone coverage, the difference we can make is just that, we can control the EU timezone but are heavily outnumbered in the US timezone, something we need to work on.” So there you have it. If you endeavour going into the constructing of a corp or even an alliance, make sure you find the right place for it. Push hard to get to the numbers you need for your end-goals, live where you can provide and get fights, and have a core team of content providers. Eventually, you will get to the point where you can be more picky and choose your new applicants rather than take what you can get. One day you will get to the point where you can face up against the likes of Shadow or Snuff, and not have to run at the sight of their scouts.  
Tags: Nashh, recruitment

About the author

Nashh Kadavr

#EVE_NT organiser, lowsec -10 scumbag, blogger and altogether great guy. Starting EVE in 2007, Nashh has been a pirate for most of his years and currently flies with the Bastards.

  • Kamar Raimo

    Very nice. When I rejoined EVE after a hiatus I wondered whether I should found my own corp and thought about things like the ones you describe.

    What I would be interested in is a discussion of what it means to be in charge, because the recruitment part I wasn’t worried about so much, but to identify the people who can run the show when I am not there.

    Well nowadays I am lazy anyway and log in maybe once or twice a week, but it might be interesting for ambitious soon-to-be CEOs on how to deal with that conundrum.

    Also I can confirm the attitude of lowsec “elite pvpers” to remain small. I spent some time with a corp in Outlaw Horizon and they said they really didn’t want to grow beyond 20-25 people because otherwise they wouldn’t get fights. Brave Newbies generously supplied us with targets back when I was with them, but they consistently outnumbered us 5 to 1. If we faced a gang that was roughly our size or slightly larger they would often just not take the fight because they knew we would come in with a well designed gang of 15-20 T3s, HACs and logis that can break a fleet three times their size.

    I fully understand the sentiment of the people you quote and I find it interesting compared to the N+1 nullsec game. In lowsec N+1 stops working at some point. Most importantly because eventually there is nothing to be gained by blobbing your opponent to death.

    • Nashh Kadavr

      good idea, i might write something from the CEO point of view. could be an interesting read…

    • Der Bischof

      Well … I somehow ended up as the second in command in any kind of corp or clan I ever played in (which means, I am doing these things for 16 years now). Cause our old CEO got inactive I took over and started leading our actual Corp (what I literally did all the time, from the co-drivers seat).

      From my perspective a good CEO (and the same goes to an Alliance Exec) must only do two things.
      a.) He must be a figurehead. He does not necessarily be an FC (even if that helps), but he must have some characteristics, that make ppl look up to him. Could be anything … there is no universal formula for that.
      b.) He must be willing and able to delegate/organize. Short after the founding of an corp the biggest part of work will end up on the CEOs desk. But after it grew a bit, the work will get a real pain in the ass. The CEO must understand that there are a lot of ppl in his corp that can do different things far better than he does. He must delegate as much as he only can to his officers. Otherwise eve will only be a second job and he will end up burned out. Also a single person in eve cant know everything … even google does not know everything about that game. But ppl can get very good specialists (recruiters, FCs, diplomats, spys *cough*, logistics, pos-jockey etc etc etc).

      In a good corporation the CEO only sets the corporations/alliances curse, but the officers are the persons that execute it.

      Most CEOs falter at exactly these aspects.

      • Der Bischof

        Note: I was writing pretty much about corporation. But this also fits 100% to an Alliance!

  • DaDum

    Interesting but to be honest you should consider Shadow Cartel, Dead Terrorists and Already Disbanding as a single coalition with SC as the controlling entity. They are a suffocating presence and LowSec is suffering badly because of it, its almost like having our own CFC.

    • AverageJoe

      You really have no idea what you are talking about. There is no coalition. That’s just something you bring up to discredit SC or any successful large group. Learn the politics of low sec before your open your mouth. Thank you and have a beautiful day!

  • DaDum

    Interesting but to be honest you should consider Shadow Cartel, Dead Terrorists and Already Disbanding as a single coalition with SC as the controlling entity. They are a suffocating presence and LowSec is suffering badly because of it, its almost like having our own CFC.

  • Till

    Nice article Nash, very thoughtful insight about what goes through our heads about recruitment.