The ASTRO Gaming office is located in San Francisco, California not far from AT&T Park and is filled with dozens of talented people that have continued to impress me since my first day in the office. Ryan Gero, highly skilled in the deadpan delivery is one of those talented people, specializing in Customer Relations and helping our ASTRO family when things need a little extra help.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Ryan and talk/joke a little bit about who he is in and outside of work.
K: Right… Who are you again?
Ryan: Ryan. I’m currently CRT (Customer Relations Technician/Team) person. I also manage the stream team.
K: What exactly does that entail?
Ryan: I do email support. I do the @ASTROsupport twitter and I manage or coordinate the ASTRO Stream Team and find new people and get them all affiliated with our staff. Hopefully they already are.
K: Is there anything you do here that is not your official title?
Ryan: Uh, sometimes I do QA stuff with Phil. Sometimes I go to events and do CRT stuff there.
K: What are you known for around the office that’s not work-related?
Ryan: I played Titanfall really well when it was out. Me and John would do games over there back when we had free time. The glorious summer. It was great. 3:30, cases are all done and we’d just play Titanfall for the rest of the day.
K: How’d you first get into gaming?
Ryan: I’ve just always played games. Since I was four or five. My dad had a PC and we went to a software rental shop—because we actually had those—and we’d take a bunch of floppies for different games and my dad would just copy them all. He was the first pirate. I would just play Sim Ant and Sim City constantly. And uh… Wing Commander.
K: What game are you currently playing?
Ryan: I am playing a whole crap ton of Eve online. Civilization V, Civilization: Beyond Earth… and I want to play Endless Legends but I haven’t gotten it yet. Probably this weekend. Turn based strategy is pretty much my flavor of the month. I wanna play Halo—I gotta force Sarah [my wife] to play that—go through my childhood.
K: Is there a game series or game that’s been with you the longest that you can’t get enough of?
Ryan: I have played… just an obscene amount of World of Warcraft over the past 10 years, but I think I’m done. I just literally can’t enjoy myself anymore. It’s a great thing, I’ll probably play other expansions as they come out just to see what they do with it but… actively playing it? No. I’ve switched from WoW to a harder drug which is Eve Online. Eve Online has more of that community aspect—it’s forced community. You can’t do anything unless you actually talk to people.
K: What’s your favorite ASTRO memory?
Ryan: Astro memory? Skee-ball. Championship was the best thing ever. We have a skee-ball hobby team which we take way too seriously. And we happened to—for no reason, without training or practice—win the San Francisco area Championship for Skee-ball in 2014.
K: Oh, this question… Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Ryan: In an alleyway.
K: Hooked up to Eve Online?
Ryan: Next to Starbucks…with a laptop. …Nah, I’ll probably still be here. Grand Emperor of ASTRO Stream Team.
K: What do you hope to see for the future of gaming?
Ryan: I’m really optimistic about Steam PC. I hope it makes PC gaming have a much bigger audience and more of an actual like… say over the games that get created. Because right now console has pretty much… it’s the marker for where graphics are going. You can only go as well as the graphics can go on a console. And a video card by itself on PC is two times more powerful than the entirety of a gaming console. PS4 is like 1.84 terraflops and an NVidia 760 series video card is like 4. Just by itself.
K: If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would you say?
Ryan: You should have started playing Eve earlier.
K: How did you get into the gaming industry?
Ryan: Uh, I used to work for Hewlett Packard, and I was kind of a gaming consultant for them when they were doing the touch pad. Originally I was there to just—their innovation program for just helping incubate technology, but then we started making the touch pad, and nobody knew anything about apps and things like that, so they would ask me what applications they wanted to port over to the new tablet so we could have a good launch. They ended up just… totally off the thing. If you remember the touch pad, it was very brief.
K: What advice would you give someone who wants to do what you do?
Ryan: I don’t have any idea how I got here. No seriously, I worked for Hewlett Packard, I did this gaming thing—I worked with ASTRO at some point, I met [Walter Duccini]… and I got here.
K: What’s your favorite ASTRO product?
Ryan: A40’s with MixAmp Pro.
K: What is your favorite non-ASTRO gaming related product?
Ryan: Oh god… Logitech G9X Mouse. They don’t make it anymore. I’m mad they stopped making it. It was the best mouse ever, it only had two buttons on the side and it’s a perfect weight. I don’t need an 11 button MMO mouse, stop making them.
K: What’s the most important part of a game to you?
Ryan: The level of immersion. Pretty much getting into the experience. I used to be really into shooters back when I had the reflex for it but now it’s just like trying to have a little escape when I’m at home. The more immersive a game is, the more I get into it. It’s just an all-around joyous feeling. The less I think about reality, the better.
K: What’s something that drives you? What are you passionate about?
Ryan: My Eve Corp. I have actually got like ten messages from them on my phone since this meeting started.
K: I can attest, reader, he has in fact been checking his phone through this entire conversation. Which has only lasted like 15 minutes really so… the addiction is strong with this one.
Ryan: We lost another ship in the war. It’s very important. I’m not kidding. [Laughs] Also I play Civ games with my friends back east and around the country.
K: Do you have any hobbies?
Ryan: Sometimes I like to go out and do photography. I usually like to do pictures of graffiti, nature—I really like to go to Santa Cruz. So it’s really an excuse to go to Santa Cruz and walk around.
K: What is your favorite vacation spot?
Ryan: Vacation spot? I didn’t even have a honeymoon. It’s not in the cards yet. …If I was going to have a honey moon, I’d go to either Hawaii or Las Vegas. Las Vegas was really fun. I’ve been there once for CES. I never actually went to the CES, I was just there doing a separate event for Hewlett Packard and it was awesome. Also Coachella was very fun. I’ve been there once. I also worked that and didn’t get to have any fun but it was still enjoyable. This would be a great vacation if I wasn’t working. CES—THIS would be a great vacation if I wasn’t working. Hawaii: Distant dream.
K: Best movie of all time in your opinion?
Ryan: Primer? That no one will know…
K: The music that is, to put it succinctly, your jam?
Ryan: Just bands in general? It’s pretty much Wutang Clan, NWA, lots of Indie rap… Ace of Rock, LP, Gorillaz, System of a Down… and then I’ll just go randomly back and listen to Chill Wave with baths. I go all over the place.
K: Aaand speaking of jam, what is your favorite food?
Ryan: I particularly like making stir frys… and omelets… I usually like… two slices of bacon, four eggs, half a pepper–red, green, a fourth of an onion, some avocado—we’re all there.
K: Realizing I haven’t eaten yet… that sounds good. Uh… what do you do to better yourself?
Ryan: Absolutely nothing. [Laughs] …Uh…No, I don’t know. I just try not to be a dick.
Sage advice for anyone, really. You can follow Ryan on Twitter if you’d like to continue to keep up with his antics, and definitely stop by the blog later for more about The Crew that brings you unparallelled audio quality, customization and comfort for your gaming headset experience.