In March of this year, we announced that Zac, former NISEI president, would be stepping down from his role and that we were beginning the search for a new person for the position. Today, we’re happy to announce that the process is complete, and we have a new president.
Our selection process involved several steps, including two rounds of questions, discussion amongst the NISEI board, and polling the organization broadly, culminating in a final instant-runoff vote. When the dust settled, our team selected Austin, aka “icecoldjazz”, as the new head of NISEI.
I sat down with the new president to get to know him a little better.
(Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and flow.)
First off, congratulations on the position. You might be a familiar name for people who’ve followed NISEI for a while—how long have you been involved in the organization?
Thanks! I’ve been with NISEI since the beginning—I was one of the original eight board members. Up until this point, I led Organized Play, and I stepped in as interim president when Zac resigned.
Since the beginning, wow. That’s, what, almost three years?
The board was announced on August 8, 2018, so almost three years exactly, yeah.
Clearly, there’s something in Netrunner that makes you want to stick around. What is it for you?
Honestly, my favourite part of Netrunner is and always has been the community. The friends, old and new, make the game worth playing and worth keeping alive.
Any favorite community memories?
As a whole event, I have some really fond memories of Euros in 2019. I’d say that one takes the cake for me.
I wasn’t there. What did I miss?
Well, my favourite part of Euros 2019 was hanging out at pubs and making some new friends. I recall a drunken contest with @simili where we raced to name all the European countries and all the US states. I could name more European countries than her but I could only name 49 states. Forgot Indiana, as one is wont to do. 😂
Sounds like a great time. What about your favorite moment in a game of Netrunner?
All I’ll say is my current record is 144 meat damage.
Switching gears a little, I want to ask about leadership. I think in a fairly cooperative volunteer organization like NISEI, the role of the president is sometimes hard to grasp, especially from the outside. What can the community expect from NISEI under your leadership?
The president’s role in the organization is largely managerial, so I’m not sure too much will change at first from an outside perspective. I have some big plans for NISEI’s future, but those are on a scale of years, not months. For the immediate future, it’s going to be primarily business as usual.
Big plans, huh? I’m sure the community would love to hear about those.
Fair enough. Well, on a similar note, what do you think NISEI has done well so far, and where would you like us to do more?
I think we did a stellar job with the recent launch of System Gateway and System Update 2021—it was far and away our most successful launch (so far 😊), and the sets were, as a whole, very well received.
As far as improvements go, I think we could be more responsive to the community and more consistent with our messaging. It’s part of the challenge of having a large and volunteer-based organization, but we are always striving to improve.
Agreed on all fronts. I’ve just got a couple more questions. How do you spend your time outside of Netrunner?
Outside of Netrunner, I mostly spend my time working these days. But that’s not what this question is about, so I’ll oblige. 😅 I like to read, wrench on cars, travel, and have a cigar here and there.
What sorts of cars?
I especially like Japanese cars from the 1990s.
I know nothing about cars, so I’ll take your word for it. Finally, what identity cards will always have a place in your heart?
Liza Talking Thunder carried me to my highest placing finish at any event (15th at Magnum Opus) and I had an absolute blast while doing it. I love the tag-me playstyle she enables. On the Corp side, I have always been and always will be a filthy Jinteki: Personal Evolution player. Access? 😅
No way, I like my brain as-is. Austin, thanks for taking the time to chat with me, and congratulations again on the new position!
With a new president, version 1.5 of the Comprehensive Rules, and the successful launch of System Gateway and System Update 2021, we’re not resting on our laurels. Our next two-set cycle, codenamed “Bashes”, is deep into playtesting—in fact, the first set, “Bashes-1”, has been released from playtesting! “Bashes-1″ is now in the hands of our Creative and Rules teams, who will take the bare-bones designs that Design and Development honed and flesh them out into full NISEI cards.
We’ll have more to say about “Bashes” very soon. In the meantime, please join us in welcoming Austin to the role of NISEI president!