Day 28: “Come At Me Bro” and the Avalanche of Meeting Requests

by Eli Hodapp

GDC is the overarching theme of this week. We’re in full-out preparation mode. With our party secured for Tuesday night, this morning I opened the flood gates of meeting requests. In previous years, I had requested people just email us with a specific subject so I could filter it easily. The process then involved emailing back with a few time options, marking those times as “pending” in the calendar, then waiting for a response.

The problem with this is that we have such demand for meetings that doing that it doesn’t take long for my entire schedule to be filled with “pending” meetings waiting for people to confirm. This slows the whole process to a halt, as I continue to get more and more emails while I wait for people to respond. I can’t just re-use pending times either, because it seems every time I do that the person who had the original pending time slots will email back immediately taking them.

This usually results in a panic mode about a week before conventions where I’m just like, “You know what, just IM me,” and publish my contact details on TouchArcade. This year, I started things off by doing that. I originally published the story at about 6:00 AM American time, sarcastically tweeted that I had opened the flood gates and to “come at me bro(s),” and only a few moments later my IM client was blowing up.

I’ve learned from previous years, and this time the contact information I’m giving out for people to contact me both for meeting requests and to find us at GDC are all things I can turn off easily. When I first started doing this a few years ago I’d naively give out my real phone number. It seemed like a good idea, as I want people to be able to get in touch with me if they can’t make the meeting, can’t find us, or need to reschedule.

Unfortunately, while I had the best intentions, people took me handing out my phone number not as “Hey in case you need it at the event,” but instead as “Hey, just call me whenever. If you’ve got a new game coming, advice, dinner recommendations, want to chat, just whatever, whenever, give me a ring.” This year everything is routed through Google Talk and Google Voice, two services I can just completely shut off.

Anyway, demand for meetings this year has been insane. I’ve really never seen anything like it. Through the whole week, double-booked on the hour we’ve got 80 available appointment slots. In 12 hours yesterday, almost all of them are full. Unfortunately, for me, getting bombed with meeting requests over the course of the day meant that I literally did not even have the opportunity to leave the house to do anything more than go pick up a pizza, which I scarfed while I booked more meetings.

I’m really not sure what we’re going to do, as I’m basically to the point where I’ll be turning developers away since there are just not enough hours in the day to fit anyone else in. We’re going to have eight people there too. I’m not sure where I’m going to draw more writers from to meet demand next year.

I suppose the GOOD news is that with our schedule almost full, I’ll have very little to do to prepare for GDC in the coming weeks… Aside from break the bad news to developers that we don’t have time to meet with them.