Opinion: What NOVOS Means to Me: The Life of An Intern at NOVOS

by Aaron Schonfeld

As I wrap up my time as a full-time intern at NOVOS, there are many things that I learned while I was here about, Esports, gaming, startup life and much more.

Ok, so I am going to start with a little bit of background about myself before I get into my experience at NOVOS. My name is Aaron, and I am a summer intern for NOVOS. Currently, I am in Israel as an RA for the Israel Summer Business Academy which is a partnership between Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) and the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. I am from Maryland in the United States and going into my junior year at WashU. I grew up playing sports outside and playing your typical sports video games only (Madden, 2k, MLB the Show). I was not allowed (thanks Mom and Dad!) to play any fighting games when I was a kid because they were too violent.

Over the years, I had played some Fortnite and shooting games, but none where I was able to get into it. I had friends who were into Esports, but I never really understood the appeal. I followed traditional sports and did not even think about Esports. Personally, I did not believe that Esports should be considered a real sport.

So this summer after many interviews I got into NOVOS! I went in not knowing what to expect from this small startup that centers around the esports world. I had never worked a full-time job before, so I was also excited to experience the full workday. I was immediately welcomed into the company and given a large amount of interesting work. Or, Itai, Shira, Gal, and Shai (and many other amazing friends) all were able to welcome me into NOVOS with open arms. They each were able to teach me about the industry in their own way.

The first step was understanding how the industry is growing so much (although it’s already huge!)! I was able to understand how Esport will soon compete with any sport in the world in terms of revenue and popularity. To be honest, I was not a believer in the sport at all before joining the NOVOS team, but once I got here I have understood its excitement and joined its following. The second step was understanding the NOVOS platform. I learned the rationale behind the creation of NOVOS. As someone who has played organized sports in my childhood, I understand the importance of training in a framework. I would practice throwing while playing baseball with my brother, hitting in the batting cages and staying in shape so why should I not do the same for esports?

My Desk at NOVOS

NOVOS is built to be the same type of training for gamers. It was created so gamers can practice specific parts of the game on their own time. In NOVOS they can practice aggressiveness by focusing on getting a kill in a certain amount of time. This is important because it gives Esports the legitimacy that it deserves, as it gives them a platform to practice correctly.

After understanding the purpose of the platform and it’s potential, I was able to work on the marketing and different online platforms that NOVOS was a part of. I enjoyed engaging with users on Discord, the popular gaming messaging platform. I was able to explore Discord and talk to users on our specific channel. This was especially special for me because I helped our server grow in size and engagement throughout my time here. I was able to understand which marketing and communication strategies worked well while interacting with the users. Discord is a fairly new platform with many young users, so it is important to understand how to appeal to such a specific demographic.

Interacting with users from around the world and of all ages was a great experience because each user was different. I was able to help them as much as possible and become better gamers because I was able to better understand the very deep motivations of our users.

I was able to also focus on marketing through Medium, Linkedin, Instagram, and Facebook (NOVOS is running all of those platforms!). Each of these platforms is significant in corresponding with users, but none are as unique as Discord. They are the traditional social media outlets that I needed to learn about to introduce myself to the new world of marketing. I also created some new marketing strategies which fit our market on each of these platforms.

Gal and me gaming

Overall, after a few significant months at NOVOS, I was not only able to learn about marketing, I was able to learn how to be a part of a startup company and go to work each day. I was able to stay focused for however long each day lasted. Some days were shortened to 6–7 hours because of activities, while some lasted until 2 or 3 am (our HackathoNOVOS)!

I am thankful also for the great environment which surrounded me at NOVOS and in Tel Aviv. Many people dread their jobs every day and can not wait to leave so they can see their friends. I was blessed with NOVOS because I was able to have fun with everyone in the office while working. The company culture was perfect for my first office job. From pranks to playing video games together, I was able to get close with the office throughout the summer. For example, during the HackathoNOVOS when we stayed late, we all were able to spend time together, work and have a lot of fun.

So, now that my time in Tel Aviv is coming to a close I am sad to see myself leaving NOVOS. I will leave with great experiences professionally and socially, which both were important to me while experiencing my first ever job.

NOVOS, thank you again for a great summer and I will continue to play Fortnite as much as I can. From now on, I will always Take Gaming Seriously.

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