Name: Adhocracy Incorporated [ADHC]
Type: Corporation in shell alliance <ADHC>
Size: 237 pilots
Home System: J130735
The Only Thing That Saves Us From the Bureaucracy Is…
As one of the longest-standing groups living in w-space today, Adhocracy Incorporated [ADHC] has demonstrated an uncommon degree of stability. The history of w-space, though only four years in the making, is already littered with the dead or dying remains of formerly strong organizations. Thriving since November of 2008 in an area of space that seems to actively discourage survival is a feat in and of itself, but the manner in which ADHC has achieved their longevity is just as noteworthy.
Their story begins four years ago, when the founding members of ADHC were still members of EVE University and living in losec. They were relatively new players, as most Uni pilots are, but even at this young age (or perhaps because of it) they had begun to chafe at some of the bureaucracy and restrictions that the University saw fit to impose. When I spoke with some of ADHC’s oldest members, they didn’t get into too many specifics on their break from EVE University; they still harbor respect for their former corporation and maintain blue standings with them. At the time, though, some requirements in particular stood out as particularly cumbersome and overbearing. As a result of this and other disagreements over the direction of the University, approximately 20 members broke away and formed Adhocracy Incorporated in November of 2008.
The creation of this new project can be understood as a direct response to their experiences within the University, which they considered a highly bureaucratic and inefficient organization. The idea was to create an organizational structure that had no formal hierarchy and would therefore be highly responsive to changing conditions and challenges, while at the same time giving their individual members greater freedom of action. In name and in structure, the founding members of ADHC created an adhocracy, which is a “structureless organization….that operates in opposite fashion to a bureaucracy.”
In practice, what this means is that there are no formally-established leaders or protocols, and successful projects are the result of individual members stepping up to fill roles as needed. At first brush, this kind of eccentric (non-)structure might seem doomed to failure. It’s true that reducing bureaucracy is often beneficial to organizations, but eschewing clear-cut responsibilities and structure entirely leaves a group open to dangers just as perilous and frustrating as inefficiency. What if nobody steps up to take on an important responsibility? What if the person who does step up is incompetent? These are some of the questions that ADHC’s founders were forced to confront, and given the fact that they’ve made the system work for going on four years, it would seem that they’ve found their answers.
Keeping It Together
For the last year and longer, Adhocracy has maintained a near-constant size of about 250 members. They haven’t changed CEOs or made any noise on the EVE-O forums that would indicate distress, and their killboard shows a fairly steady stream of activity since June of 2011, and with solid efficiency ratings to boot. Overall, they’re pretty low-profile unless you find yourself on the business end of one of their fleets.
When I asked them about how they’ve apparently managed to keep their organization running so smoothly, they cited their small size and having goals that are not overly ambitious. In addition, they maintain a lengthy recruitment process (even by EVE standards) that focuses more on personality than skillpoints, and they specifically look for pilots who are “self-starters” or “content creators.” In an organization driven by the efforts of as broad a base of members as possible, it’s easy to see how this would be a crucial trait for recruits.
Furthermore, it’s pretty obvious when speaking with them that they have a very open and jovial culture. I was invited to their comms for a 30-minute interview with two or three members, but I ended up spending almost two hours talking with several of them about topics that ranged from w-space history, to epic fights they’ve had in the past, to “[their] love/hate relationship with ponies.” The longer we spoke, the more of them would just pop down to the channel to see what was going on and then offer their take on the organization. Suffice to say, it was clear just how easy it could be to fall in with the easy-going nature of their group and develop a desire to pitch in to make things work.
Possibly the best-known creation of Adhocracy Incorporated is their Wormhole Fundamentals video series. As many pilots know, w-space is a unique area of the game, and pilots who do not have direct experience with it often find the mechanics confusing. With the hope of enabling more pilots to try their luck in the gateless unknown, Asayanami Dei and an adhocrat team he assembled set out to rectify this problem by creating a series of educational videos aimed at demystifying the wormhole playstyle.
They began with the basics: what wormhole space is, how system effects work, how to purposefully close wormholes, etc. After this, they moved into more advanced topics such as w-space connectivity, PvP hunting tactics, and how to run relic and data sites. They’ve completed a total of eleven episodes at this point, though there was about a year-long gap between the 8th and 9th episodes when Asayanami was working through some real life concerns. Their most recent release, on August 7, 2013, covers how to run capital escalations in C5 and C6 space, which is of great value to any group looking to move up and take on the most difficult Sleeper sites for the first time.
If you’re looking to move into w-space, thinking about branching out to other activities in your home or static system, or are just curious about how it all works, I highly recommend watching the series. They’re polished, clear, and to the point. The following video on how to close wormholes safely is the 4th episode in the series, and provides a representative sample of what to expect:
EVE Online Wormhole Fundamentals – How to Crash Wormholes (Ep 4)
Having seen a call for pilots to help them film on SiSi recently, I attempted to get some hints on what was next for the series. They remained tight-lipped, though, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
The following is the interview I had with ADHC members Asayanami Dei and Jonnykefka. Incindir Mauser, a fellow TMC contributor and ADHC member, joined us partway through our talk. Other members also joined in after I had stopped recording, and their contributions were used to fill in some of the information above.
Abis Cann: I have with me here Asayanami Dei and Jonnykefka from Adhocracy Incorporated. Why don’t you guys explain what you do in game? Let’s start with Asay.
Asayanami Dei: Me specifically?
Abis: Yeah, what do you do with the organization?
Asay: Well, since I joined I’ve been a recruitment officer, I’ve been a diplo, I’ve done logistics for the corp, and I basically just spend my time in PvPing and occasionally making ISK in w-space.
Abis: Sounds like a little bit of everything.
Asay: Yeah. Asayanami is actually a jack-of-all trades, she can pretty much do anything in the game. I enjoy all aspects.
Abis: How about you, Jonny?
Jonnykefka: Well, I’m an adhocrat. I also do a sort of bit of everything in the corp. I don’t make the sleek videos that Asay makes, but I move stuff around, I do PvP, I do PvE when there’s nothing better to do. I occasionally FC when the need arises, and uhh…
Asay: Get us all killed.
Jonny: Well, you know, only a few times.
Abis: You said “adhocrat.” What does that mean?
Jonny: So, we don’t just call ourselves Adhocracy because we think it’s a cool name. That’s actually how the corp is organized. An adhocracy is a sort of pseudo-political structure that has no formal hierarchy, where basically if something needs doing, someone just steps up and does it. It works mostly because as a corp we’re made up of people who are all independently competent and very self-sufficient, and what that means is that when something needs doing almost anyone in the corp can step up and do it. There’s some restrictions based on skills and how long you’ve been in the corp and things like that, and we have levels of, we have some levels of security and things like that. But it’s mostly just that we don’t have a formal hierarchy aside from ‘we have people we’ve saddled with director roles so they have to deal with the corp interface.’
Abis: You make it sound like a bad thing.
Jonny: Have you looked at the corp interface recently?
Abis: Yes, I’m a director in my own corp.
Jonny: It’s a pain.
Abis: Yeah, more of a joke.
Abis: That’s an interesting structure. I’ve never heard of that before, and it seems to have worked pretty well for you.
Asay: Back in 2008, I believe, there was a group that, basically the corp is originally a group within the EVE University. It was a bunch of guys running around in lowsec having a good time, and they felt that some of the rules that the Uni enforced on them were too strict. Eventually they broke off, one of the members created a separate corporation, the Adhocracy. That was about four-and-a-half, five years ago, something like that. Eventually they moved to w-space and it grew from there.
Jonny: Oh, they moved into w-space pretty much on the day Apocrypha came out.
Abis: Yeah, that was one of the questions I was going to ask, because ADHC was formed about four months before Apocrypha came out. Did you guys form up specifically for wormhole space or did you just move into that?
Asay: I think that, well I personally think that they moved to w-space originally because it’s, well, it was the unknown back then and no one really knew what it was about. The environment it provides is perfect for what we’re supposed to do, and being Adhocracy is, you know, unrestricted efficiency, as we call it, that’s our motto. It lets our members do what they want in-game, what they want with their time, grow individually, etc., etc. So I think it was simply a perfect environment for the corp.
Abis: Gotcha. Given that you guys seem to do a little bit of everything, do you have a focus?
Jonny: I would say that, if we have a focus, it’s PvP. There’s definitely, we do PvE to fund ourselves but PvP is what people really enjoy doing and what we will prioritize above pretty much everything else, given the opportunity.
Abis: I didn’t get a chance to research this particular aspect – what class of system do you live in?
Jonny: Historically or now?
Abis: Both, I suppose.
Jonny: So the corp for a long time, when it first moved into w-space, lived in a class-4 system with a class-3 static. It functioned primarily by raiding our static and harassing the residents of C3 space, a lot of fun for a while. And then eventually – and this is a perfect example of the adhocracy at work – and so then someone came up with the bright idea to move up to higher-class space. And as happens, it got put to a corp vote and eventually people decided it was going to happen, and there was just a day when someone said “it’s happening, grab your stuff,” and we moved up and we’ve been in class-5 space ever since.
Asay: Yeah, I think the corp simply outgrew the class-4. Umm, in the beginning it was a bunch of new people, relatively new. You know, originating from the Uni. Once everybody got enough SP, it was time to move.
Abis: And that’s been a good transition for you?
Asay: It’s been working out, I think.
Abis: That’s less than a hearty endorsement.
Jonny: Well, it’s introduced us to, so here’s the thing – is that when we lived in a class-4 with a class-3 static our prey was almost exclusively carebears, there were very few combat-oriented corps in lower-class space. So when we moved up we started getting into bigger fights, we started getting into fights that used capitals, we started getting into fights where people were employing tactics that we’d never seen before. As a result, if you look at, if there was a way of just graphing out the corp’s combat efficiency over time, there’d be a bit of a dip around when we moved.
Abis: When was that?
Jonny: Oh, geez. I’d have to look it up. I don’t even remember anymore.
Abis: Would you say a year ago? Two years ago?
Asay: Keep talking. I’m going to look it up.
Jonny: Okay, but basically it’s been a good thing because it’s given us, I think, more interesting gameplay, it’s given us more challenges. It’s definitely, we definitely felt like we’d gotten everything we could have out of lower-class wormholes. So, it’s definitely been positive but it also means that we’ve occasionally had far, far bigger losses than we ever had before.
Abis: More money, though. I mean, C5s provide a lot more funds than a C4.
Jonny: Yeah, they do provide a lot more ISK. It’s also in some ways more expensive because we lose more, and we lose very expensive ships. But the other catch is just that it’s a little harder to get the ISK out of the higher-class space. Not in terms of logistics, but because you need a certain number of capital pilots, and you need the right combination of webbers and capitals, and the right types of capitals and things. There’s a whole art to running escalations.
Jonny: We’ve mastered the art but it took us a little while.
Abis: Yeah, there’s a learning curve for pretty much every group. Escalations are definitely not something where you could have a relatable experience with something similar before you actually do it.
Jonny: But, you know, I think the most recent Wormhole Fundamentals video was actually our introduction to escalations. So, you know, we feel pretty comfortable with it now.
Abis: I was looking at some of your statistics on Dotlan earlier today. You’ve stayed pretty much steady around 250 members for about a year now, you haven’t changed any CEOs or done anything that would really indicate any turmoil. What do you credit with this stability, considering that a lot of groups seem to break apart, split, re-form, etc.?
Jonny: We stay small. We don’t try to grow out into any kind of, like, empire of wormhole systems. We’re very, in our own way, exclusive in our recruitment. I mean, because, and I said this earlier, but because of the way an adhocracy works, we need members who are individually very competent and also members who will gel with the group. The few instances that we’ve had of, of actually forcing someone to leave the corp – and I think that’s only happened, I think, two or three times – it was because they just couldn’t play well with others effectively. So we’re very picky about our recruitment and we have a very small, close-knit group as a result.
Asay: I looked it up. It was, I believe 2011, somewhere or something like that. When we moved.
Jonny: So roughly two years ago by now.
Asay: Uh huh. Yeah, we’re famous for our long-ish recruitment process where we look very closely at what, well at the player behind the character. We recruit, we don’t really care about what you have trained, your skillpoints or your whole background. Those matter, but…
Abis: So what is important to you?
Asay: Personality of a person. What can he bring into the corp? That’s the main thing.
Abis: Alright, so you’re looking for a good fit, personality-wise.
Incindir Mauser: I am one of Adhocracy’s recruitment officers, and largely what we’re looking for is people who are gonna mesh with the group overall, more of a personality thing. Primarily what we look for is people that are self-starters, we’re not really big on having a group of followers. We like people who are pretty much self-motivated.
Asay: And this is needed in w-space in general, in my opinion, because as in hisec you can just, content is spoon-fed to you. You have missions, you have mining, you have trading, etc. Incursions, whatever. The same thing goes for nullsec and losec. PvP just happens, to be honest. There’s a war going on, or I don’t know, hostile ships are going around. And w-space is, you need to go out and get yourself out to look. You need to scan, you need to make things happen, and not everybody is willing to do that in EVE. We need people that will actually create their own game content. They can go out, scan a system, find somebody to kill, find some sites to be run, etc.
Abis: So you want content-creators, essentially.
Asay: Well, mainly. It’s not always the case, but yeah.
Abis: I’ve got a little bit of an idea here, but what would you say, how would you describe your corporate culture?
Asay: Very relaxed.
Jonny: Very family-like.
Incindir: Yeah, it’s really kinda family-oriented.
Abis: Family as in, like, a band of brothers, or family as in g-rated?
Incindir: Uhh…not g-rated. Heh.
Incindir: It depends on the night.
Jonny: It’s like everyone’s the ornery old uncle who gets drunk at Thanksgiving. But basically it’s everyone’s friends with everyone else and we all like hanging out together. Even if it’s like, it makes stuff like mining bearable, because it’s not gonna be a bunch of people sitting in a site cycling modules. We’re gonna be talking shit on comms pretty much constantly.
Asay: We have people that have been in the corp for X amount of time and then something happened, they had to step out of the game, take some time off. We had people that were away from the game, “AFG” as we call it, for years and then they come back. We don’t have a problem with that, we just reinstate them to the corp and that’s how it goes.
Abis: Okay. Let’s transition over to the videos for a little while. What inspired you to make them?
Asay: Well, in general?
Asay: I always like to fiddle with the various graphic programs. I used to make some, for instance, propaganda posters in Photoshop, or stuff like that. Shortly after I joined Adhocracy, I upgraded my PC, which allowed me to use FRAPS and record game footage, so basically I was just playing around with it. I have no graphical degree or background, personally. I just like to, I don’t know, it’s just fun for me. It’s part of the game for me.
Abis: Did you see a need for these videos? I mean, wormhole space is a little bit more, it’s very different from what people in k-space experience.
Asay: I started with making PvP videos. There are still some very, very old videos in my YouTube channel that you can watch and see what I was up to, like, 3 years ago in Adhocracy. As for the Fundamentals videos, I basically thought, well, w-space, yes, it’s very different from k-space, and it has less people, right?
Asay: And people don’t know much about it. Mostly people in k-space, their first thought about w-space, when somebody talks to them about it is, ‘okay so that’s the place people get T3 components from and make T3s,’ right? And there are Sleepers, and they’re dangerous, and you can make a lot of ISK, and that’s it. They don’t know how it works, the mechanics, why it is interesting. So I came out with this idea, we were talking on Mumble and I just wanted to show people why w-space is interesting, show people, draw people to w-space, explain some of the basic mechanics so they want to go there. It was basically a way to get people interested in w-space and hopefully get them to move in.
Abis: So you’d like to see more people in w-space?
Asay: Oh, yes. That’s my main goal in EVE, to get everybody into w-space. Maybe not the nullsecers, but yeah. They’re buttheads.
Incindir: Well, we have to have somebody to shoot at.
Asay: Exactly. It creates targets, and it creates content.
Incindir: I mean, how else are we gonna get supercap kills if there isn’t somebody in nullsec?
Asay: Yes, of course.
Abis: There are a few narrators on different videos that you’ve made. Does everyone get involved with these projects or is it mostly just a core media team?
Asay: Well, it’s an adhocracy, so everybody that wants to gets involved. Basically when I started this I just posted to get some feedback. I said ‘Let’s create a couple of videos explaining w-space mechanics so maybe people get more interested in w-space.’ And people said, ‘Well, okay, what needs to be done?’ ‘Well, I need someone to write the scripts, I need somebody to record them, and I need some, to FRAPS some footage, so you guys will need to do certain things so I can just get the video done.’ And people stepped up.
In less than a few days we had a couple of topics that we were going to make videos on. We already had a couple of draft scripts. After that we just polished those, we recorded them, and I started FRAPSing. That was a year ago, the first video went up July of 2012. And every time we come up with a new topic, we need somebody to write this script and get somebody to record it, I get the footage and it’s done. You decide your level of involvement.
Abis: You touched on it briefly there. What goes into making the videos, and how long does it take?
Asay: It’s not very complicated. First of all, we need something to make the video about. So when we first started it was relatively easy. We needed to explain what w-space is all about so that’s what, that was our first video. Explaining, in short, why w-space is just interesting. And then we moved on to basic mechanics, we explained our wormhole statics, what is polarity timer, Sleepers, how they work, etc. All the stuff you can discover in w-space. And then we moved on to PvP activities like how to use d-scan in w-space, how to hunt people in w-space, stuff like that.
So basically the first thing you need to do is know what the episode is going to be about. Then I always ask somebody to write the script. It needs to be very concrete and short and get the message out there. So someone takes care of that, we record that, and I get footage to fit the script. I put it all together, it takes about two hours per episode, something like that. And, yeah, I release these up. We have, I think, eleven episodes now.
Abis: They look pretty polished. You guys have a nice animation at the beginning, the sound quality is nice. Do any of you have a background in video editing or any education or, you just, learned it as you went?
Asay: Nope, I just learned as I went. We have a couple people doing the recordings, but the majority of this was done by Memoocan, which is a long-term member of Adhocracy and he has a background in, he did podcasts back in the day. I don’t really remember the name of the podcast and I will get back to you with that. It was an EVE podcast running about a year, I think, and it was about two years ago. That’s all I remember right now. Other than that, I don’t think anyone has any background in video editing or graphical design. Except Memo.
Abis: One of those videos, one of the eleven, seems to be a revisit of the mag and radar, the old mag and radar sites. Given that there’s a lot of talk about changes to w-space recently, both from CSM candidates, CCP, and just residents at large, do you worry that you’re going to have to go back and revisit a lot of them?
Asay: Well I don’t worry, I look forward to it. Changes are good and EVE tends to, you know, shift things around sometimes. Yeah, once some major change comes to w-space I will just update one of the videos, release a new one. I’m looking forward to it.
Abis: What’s next for your series? I saw that you had put out a call for pilots to help film on SiSi. Do you have any hints on what that could be?
Asay: Oh, well, I would like to keep the contents of the video a secret, but it’s going to be, what I’d like it to be is a promotional video for w-space as a whole. It’s going to be a…well, you’ll see when it’s released.
Incindir: Dirty wormhole propaganda.
Asay: If it goes well, and I hope it will, it’s going to be very funny and about w-space.
Abis: Well, I look forward to watching it. I’ve watched most of the other ones, and like I said, they’re very polished so I’m looking forward to it. Is there anything else you’d like to say before we call it a day?
Asay: I don’t know. Jonny? Maus?
Incindir: Not really. I think the only thing we didn’t talk about was Bob.
Abis: Oh, praise Bob. Praise Him.
Jonny: And we didn’t talk much about U-boat, but that’s a sort of separate thing.
Incindir: Yeah, U-boat is kind of a separate project from Wormhole Fundamentals.
Abis: Well, that’s definitely something to talk about. What are you getting at there?
Asay: In June or July we, I was actually away from game myself this year due to finals and my final graduate paper, etc. I think back in June. I wanted to restart the whole Wormhole Fundamentals series because it’s been about ten months since the last episode. I wanted to resume the releasing of videos, and we came up with the Hunting in W-space episode. Once that was created I wanted to release a PvP video of some sort because I haven’t done that in a while. It occurred to me that, well, my PC is getting old, my hard drive is getting smaller and smaller each day. So I needed a way to reduce the amount of footage I keep on my hard drive because normally when I make a PvP video I don’t use all the footage I’ve got.
Abis: Of course.
Asay: That’s a general rule of thumb for EVE videos. People tend to pick the best fights to show to the general public and most of the footage is getting scrapped. So I thought to myself, ‘Well, why not use it? This is typical wormhole life I am recording here and let’s just release that.’ So I came up with the U-boat series. It’s basically a series of videos presenting how w-space PvP looks like, really looks like. I wanted to show all the randomness of the engagements, how they happen, and include comms in every episode so people can actually hear what’s going on behind the scenes. It’s not a music video as most PvP videos are. We just released the 10th video of the series, it’s been running for a month now, and it’s been quite popular.
Abis: Most people, when confronted with dwindling space on their hard drive, would get an external.
Asay: Heh. Yeah, but I’m still a student, I’m still poor.
Abis: Haha. Well, that’s sounds interesting as well. Alright, well I thank you for your time, guys.
Asay: Thank you.
Jonny: No problem.
Incindir: Our pleasure.
This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by Abis Cann.