Ron Curry is the CEO of Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (iGEA). Since joining IGEA in 2008, Ron has played an instrumental role in tackling the emerging issues surrounding interactive entertainment, and demonstrating the positive influence of computer and video games in the broader community particularly within the education and health sector.
Balance the Grind had the opportunity to talk to Ron about how he manages his (very) busy schedule, typical day in the life of a CEO, applying mindfulness as a way to balance and plenty more.
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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your background and career?
I’ve spent most of the past 30 years working in the video game industry.
This has stretched across distributors, publishers, platform holders and culminating in my current job representing the video games industry at IGEA. I fell into the industry by accident, working for a merchandising company many years ago.
One of my clients was OziSoft, who at that time represented Sega in Australia along with fledgling companies like Sierra, EA and Eidos. I studied marketing after high school (back when you could do that at TAFE) and later in life went back to do an MBA.
2) What is your current role and what does it entail on a day to day basis?
My current role is CEO of the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association. IGEA represents the business and public policy interest of Australiana and New Zealand companies in the interactive games industry.
These include companies who developer, publish, market, and distribute interactive games and entertainment content and related hardware. The role has three main components; advocacy for the industry, communication and research.
3) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
What makes this job so interesting and appealing is that I don’t generally have a ‘typical’ day.
If we look at a snap shot of the past week or so:
- I’ve had a conference call with UNICEF discussing child rights and online gaming
- Discussed games funding with various politicians,
- Attended a Google presentation
- Stayed up late for a weekly global conference call with my counterparts in Nth America, UK, Asia and Europe
- Attended a steering committee meeting for Melbourne International Games Week
- Meeting with members (and a potential member)
- Working on two secret projects!
In there was also reviewing submissions to the government on issues around AI, Innovation Strategy, taxation and online safety.
What is typical about my days is they generally start early. I like to get into the office before anyone else and knock over all the overnight emails and catch up on the huge volume of reading that the job involves.
This includes keeping up to date with legislative issues, seeing what our members are doing and keeping an eye on the issues that might be bubbling up just over the horizon.
The best part of the job is that I work with an amazing and talented team (who never fail to make me look good!) and a Board and membership who allow the team and me the scope to be the best we can be.
4) In between everything you do and all your responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life?
Balance is incredibly important and requires discipline to achieve it.
Starting early, I try to get away from the office at a reasonable time, which usually gives me time to go to the gym before heading home. I find the gym acts a circuit breaker between work and home, allowing me to reset.
I also apply small disciplines in my day around technology. For example, if I’m making a return train trip to work or to a meeting, one of those trips will be technology free; that means no phone! This gives me a chance to actually process what’s happening, take stock and mentally prepare for the next meeting.
Over the years I have done a lot of travel and I have learnt that it’s important to take a bit of time to yourself when away. If possible, I tack on a day or two annual leave to enjoy where I am, do some sightseeing or simply sit on a beach and chill.
5) What are some of the things you do to take time out and recharge?
I’m a believer in mindfulness, but still have to work hard to ensure I actually apply that belief. Part of that is using technology to help.
For example, I use the Breathe function on my Apple Watch to make me stop at that moment and be mindful.
I pay attention to how I’m sitting, the sounds around me, how do my clothes feel on me, what can my fingers feel, things like that. The practice just brings me back to ‘now’. Similarly, I use the stand feature on the watch and ensure I go for a short walk, even if it’s only down the office stairs to get (another) coffee!
Evening meal time is really important. I have a family of 6 and we try to have dinner at a time when we can have the most amount of us at the table, which could be 2 or all 6.
The rule over dinner is absolutely no screens and this applies to everyone, including guests. What this allows for is deep and engaging conversations, generally a lot of laughs and the opportunity to really appreciate the food.
Did I mention video games are a great way to take time out and recharge?
And I’d be remiss if I forgot to mention my dog, Rogue. There’s nothing like a pet to make you take time and to remind you that just ‘being’ can be full of joy.
6) Are there any gadgets, tools or products that you can’t live without?
I’m a huge music fan, so my Airpods, headphones and Bose wireless speakers are essential. I have a portable Bose speaker which is the first thing I pack when going away.
In fact, my wife may have complained on more than one occasion that I have too many sets of headphones (is that even possible?). Every room in my house has a device to play music on.
And while I hate to admit it, I really can’t live without my iPhone – my whole life seems to reside in it, including some cool meditations and mindfulness apps.
Away from tech, I need my NutriBullet – I love piling it up with stuff after the gym or just making a smoothie.
Oh, and my car(s) and motorbike. I really love driving!!
7) Do you have any books that you love and would like to recommend?
I read a fair bit, so that’s a long list. But I guess on the top of it I’d recommend Buddhist Book Camp, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Leading Mindfully and a book by a friend of mine, Stabbed Ego: A Thug’s Journey to Enlightenment.
8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
If you’d like to have a conversation with us about how you balance the grind, get in touch with us!