In our ongoing “Meet the Geeks!” series, it’s time to introduce you to our Albuquerque-based Client Manager, AJ Brown! Let’s get to it.
Is there anything more exciting than getting to know your coworkers, and learning some details to accompany their Slack avatars? (That was a rhetorical question, but these interviews are also the most thrilling things we’ve gotten to do in, like, the past two years.)
How were you first introduced to Geeks Who Drink? I started playing Geeks Who Drink trivia about 10 years ago when they first moved into Albuquerque. They started in a little bar called Burt’s Tiki Lounge, and then it moved to a different bar in town so I just followed it around for a long time. I started as a player, and played for a very long time until 2015 when Eric [Kohen, Geeks Who Drink’s Director of Event Operations] and I were hanging out and he said ‘We really need a new host in town’ and I was like ‘Yeah, sure, I’ve got nothing else going on.’ It was a little bit of a struggle to convince them to hire me, but I was like ‘You’ve known me for years, dude, I’m not gonna screw you over.’
Did you get the job? Yes. I hosted for a little more than two years, and then the operations team was looking for somebody to do customer service and tech support. I worked in tech for a very long time, doing help desk and server maintenance stuff, and since I had that background, I kind of threw my hat in the ring. Apparently I really impressed [those] who were running the operations department at the time and they brought me on.
What does a typical day look like for you? Now I do client management and have a significant portion of the east coast. Most of my day is spent talking to new clients to get them prepped [to start hosting GWD trivia nights] and talking to existing clients about promotions or questions they have about arranging theme quizzes. I also work with [Quizmasters], getting them set up for venues, or reactivated, or trained. I spend 90 percent of my day in my Gmail inbox or on the phone with people.
What makes Geeks Who Drink such an absolute delight to work with? I think one of the big things is that we do make ourselves very accessible to our clients. We never ignore them, blow them off, or make them feel like we’re bothering us. Literally every client I talk to, I make a point of telling them ‘This is my direct line I’m calling you from.’ I tell them that if they leave a message, I’ll return their call within an hour, or if they email me, I’ll get back to them even quicker. We make sure that we’re in constant contact with our clients, checking in to see how things are going, making sure that everything is alright, and if they have any sort of concerns about anything, we do everything in our power to address them or help. We try to make our clients feel that we’re there for them, because they’re very important to us. Without them, we wouldn’t be here.
What keeps you excited about clocking in to work every day? I really love working with the [Operations] team. They’re super-great to work with, and make sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. Any time one of us has a question, one of the other two almost always has an answer or is able to help. It’s probably the best team I’ve ever worked with. The other departments tend to be super-easy to work with too. Any time I need something from events, editorial, or marketing, I reach out and ask, and nine times out of 10, I have it the same day.
Is there a trivia-related moment that stands out for you, during your time with Geeks? The first Geek Bowl that I got to attend. It was in Seattle that year, and I got to meet [Jeopardy! host] Ken Jennings there, and a ton of corporate people who I’d never gotten to see face-to-face. Getting to be a part of Geek Bowl was awesome, I’d never been involved with an event on quite that scale before. I’d done theater and had worked behind-the-scenes on comedy shows and things like that, but nothing as big as Geek Bowl. It was cool to see how it all worked, everything that went into it, and how hard everybody had to work to make it look as seamless and smooth as it did to the guests and players who came.
What do you like to do when you’re away from work? Right now, I pretty much play with my dogs, play video games, and do a ton of reading. I don’t go out much, honestly due to the current state of the world. I go out to host my quiz, I do curbside pickup whenever possible, and I just don’t want to deal with people in the real world [right now] because everybody’s an asshole. When things go back to normal, I’ll probably get back into a lot of things. I used to work in filmmaking, did a bit of ghostwriting, won a couple of awards. I had a nationally distributed movie, which was cool. So, I’d like to get back into that again, when things are better.
Wow, what was your role with that movie? I was a co-writer, co-executive producer, and co-star. It’s not a great movie — it’s really not — but we managed to sell it, which was cool.