Today is International Women's Day and to mark the occasion we'll be highlighting some of the incredible women working in the games industry across both PocketGamer.biz and PCGamesInsider.biz. You can catch all the profiles on PocketGamer.biz here.
As well as her work at Dirtybit, Ståløy is also a board member of the ODA network, the leading meeting place for women in tech in the Nordics. Last year on International Women's day she was named as one of Norway's 50 leading women in tech.
PocketGamer.biz: Can you tell us about your current role and what it entails?
Anette Ståløy: I joined Dirtybit as VP of business and marketing almost four years ago. Working in a small company like ours, with 18 employees, my role covers many areas in both management, live ops, biz dev and marketing.
As part of the management team I work on strategy and planning, recruiting, company culture and in general facilitate and do my best to support our teams so they can focus on their own areas of expertise.
I’m also responsible for our partnerships and business relations, as well as our ad operations. Not a single day looks like the day before - just the way I like it!
What did you study (if anything) that helped you get into games? What courses would you advise for aspiring professionals interested in your areas of expertise?
I originally signed up for programming courses after high school, but changed my mind after listening to a talk by a Norwegian entrepreneur who shared his story about following his dream and building a successful business.
So I ended up in a business school and got a Bachelor in marketing, internationalisation and management. My education led me to exciting jobs where I got a broad experience in sales, management, recruitment and business development, all areas that I believe are beneficial for someone in a role like mine.
I also think that one of my strengths is the perspective from having worked in both start-ups and smaller companies, as well as in big corporations.
That said, I think that what is most important working in management and business development is the mindset, people skills and your motivation and drive.
Where did you get your start in games and how did you progress into what you're doing now? Is this something you ever imagined yourself doing?
The first game I remember playing was Zodiac on a Commodore 16. Growing up in the 80s, I have a lot of fond memories from playing games in my childhood.
Me and my best friend got up early to play Super Mario Bros before school, and rushed home after school to play more. Games have been part of my life ever since, however I never imagined that I would ever work in the games industry.
Until the day I, almost by accident, read an article about the success story about Dirtybit and Fun Run, and saw the job posting, I never even considered working in games as an option. Now, I can’t imagine ever working with something else!
What part of your role do you find most fulfilling?
I really do love my job and all the things I get to learn and experience. I like the traveling, to meet with and learn from all the friendly people in the industry.
I really do love my job and all the things I get to learn and experience. I like the traveling, to meet with and learn from all the friendly people in the industry.Anette Ståløy
But the best part, without a doubt, is coming to the office, kicking off my shoes and spending the day with my co-workers. I feel lucky to get to take part in building the company and working on company culture.
I’m incredibly proud of our team and what we accomplish - being a small company located in the west coast of Norway and still reaching the top charts in the US with our games.
Do you think there are any misconceptions, public or professional, surrounding your area of expertise?
I run into misconceptions all the time, about games, about players, about the industry in general, and also about my work. Instead of being offended, I try to remember that misconceptions usually comes from a lack of knowledge and from people making assumptions.
So, every day gives new opportunities to share facts, numbers and good stories, and to open people’s eyes about the industry.
My favourite talking point when talking with people from outside the industry here in Norway is how important gaming is as an export industry with so much potential.
It’s a huge surprise to them that globally it generates more revenue than the global seafood trade!
Is there anything about the job/industry you wish you would have known when first joining?
Not really. I knew when joining that this was a new industry to me and that there would be a lot to learn. I still learn something new every day and think that is the way it’s supposed to be.
A glossary perhaps could have been useful. It did take me some time to understand what people were talking about, with ARPDAU, CPI, ROAS, ECPM and what not.
What other advice do you have for someone looking for a job in this profession?
Start building your network, attend games jams and industry events. Reach out to people and ask for advice and introductions. And then send the elevator back down - share what you learn and contribute.
If you are building a new team, make sure you bring in people that can cover all aspects of game dev, including management and business development.
As a recruiter, my advice if you are applying for a job, is to make sure your CV, portfolio and motivation letter all are polished, have the necessary info and make it clear that you really want the job.
Is there anyone in the games industry (or anyone else in general) who inspires you?
Yes! In the games industry, my shoutout goes to Kate Edwards! Not afraid to be outspoken (and to rage) about controversial topics, sharing her wisdom, asking the important questions, and for being so super cool!
Outside the industry, I find great inspiration in many role models and I’m also lucky to have people who are supportive and who’s cheering for me.
One of those, is someone I have admired from early on in my career, Anita Krohn Traaseth, an outspoken and successful business leader in Norway. Anita has been supportive and has helped make the games industry more visible in Norway.
She is an excellent role model for women in leadership roles and has taught me about values and courage, inspired me to push my own limits, to stop chasing the perfect - that good enough is good enough!
Happy International Women’s Day!
You can read more profiles of some of the incredible women working in the games industry right here.