Bryce Blum recently left his comfortable job at a Seattle law firm to launch his own legal practice and a new startup — both focused on the exploding eSports industry.
Competitive video gaming is just starting to take off, especially around the Seattle region, where industry giants like Valve and Microsoft continue to attract a lot of attention from gaming enthusiasts. Don’t understand all the hype? Just check out the scene from the last time gamers competed for $18 million in prizes at the Dota 2 championships inside Seattle’s Key Arena in April.
It’s a big-money industry with lots of potential, and Blum wants to get in on the ground floor.
He maintains a legal practice that represents eSports teams, event organizers and others in need of legal services around the industry. He’s also the Director of eSports and in-house counsel for Unikrn, a startup that burst onto the tech scene earlier this year and has already drawn national attention and caught the eye of investors like Mark Cuban and Ashton Kutcher.
“I’m a lawyer, sports fan and an avid gamer,” Blum said. “Somehow, I managed to combine these passions into a single career.”
Meet our new Geek of the Week, and continue reading for his answers to our questionnaire.
What do you do, and why do you do it? “I have a full-time practice in eSports law, representing teams, leagues, tournament organizers, influencers, and other service providers in the eSports industry. I’m also the Director of eSports and In-House Counsel at Unikrn, an eSports startup based out of Seattle. Our mission is to heighten viewership and engagement around eSports.
The why is pretty simple: I love my industry and want to support its growth in any way I can. It’s also just a lot of fun.”
What’s the single most important thing people should know about your field? “That it exists. I like to say eSports are the largest phenomenon no one has heard of. If you’ve never heard of eSports, take the Google deep dive. Trust me, your mind will be blown.”
Where do you find your inspiration? “I’m a sucker for the texts from early American history, and for a good movie speech. I get that it’s corny and cliché, but this type of stuff actually resonates with me.”
What’s the one piece of technology you couldn’t live without, and why? “My iPhone. I travel a lot and I’m pretty much wired in 24/7 — much to my girlfriend’s chagrin. It’s everything I could possibly need to stay connected, and it fits in my pocket.”
What’s your workspace like, and why does it work for you? “I have two work spaces: my condo and an office at the WeWork in South Lake Union where Unikrn is based. Home is better if I need total silence to just hammer out deliverables, but the energy from the Unikrn team is contagious and too fun to miss out on for more than a couple days in a row.”
Your best tip or trick for managing everyday work and life. (Help us out, we need it.) “Work out in the morning. Getting exercise out of the way will give you more energy and it frees up evenings for fun — or more work. Plus it makes you feel like you’ve started off the day on a productive foot.”
Mac, Windows or Linux? “Windows.”
Kirk, Picard, or Janeway? “Kirk.”
Transporter, Time Machine or Cloak of Invisibility? “Time Machine. But I want the version that comes with a remote control for life. I want to be able to rewind, fast forward or go slow motion at will. Start by quickly rewinding to invest in Google, Microsoft, Snapchat, Uber and Twitter. Then fast forward back to the present, bring an NBA team back to Seattle and pretty much do what I’m doing now — but without having to worry about money ever again. With that out of the way, I’d revel in being able to skip the worst parts of life — traveling, mostly — while being able to relive the best moments at the click of a button.”
If someone gave me $1 million to launch a startup, I would: “Do something in eSports. I can’t tell you what. This dream might actually come true and if it does I’ll kick myself for spilling the beans.”
I once waited in line for: “When I was 10 years old, I waited in line for a few hours starting around 11 p.m. to see the national premiere of Rush Hour. So worth it.”
Your role models: “My mom, who never stops trying to improve the world around her. My dad, who commands the respect of everyone he meets by being the most thoughtful and genuine person I know. And my grandmother, whose entire life is a constant reminder that family is everything.”
Greatest Game in History: “Super Smash Brothers for Nintendo 64, or basketball.”
Best Gadget Ever: “Vitamix.”
First Computer: “I honestly don’t remember. I know, I’m an awful Geek.”
Current Phone: “iPhone 5.”
Favorite App: “Twitch.”
Favorite Cause: “The Center for Children & Youth Justice. I have a lot of causes I’m passionate about, but I love this organization. It focuses on juvenile justice and foster care systems reform.”
Most important technology of 2015: “Is the Google driverless car done yet? If so, I pick that.”
Most important technology of 2017: “Jet packs. I feel like we’ve been promised jet packs since my childhood. Still holding my breath.”
Final words of advice for your fellow geeks: “Don’t stop pushing until you find a career you love. It won’t be easy, and it might take a long time. But life is too short and you spend too much of it working to do anything that doesn’t make you excited to get out of bed in the morning.”