K10 are quickly becoming a big name in the UK scene as they continue to support teams and help them thrive in our local ecosystem. One of the minds behind that support is Oliver “Taz” Holloway, who can be found screaming his lungs out behind K10 at any BYOC LAN. K10 recently picked up Ex-Coalesce, ensuring them a spot at the first UKIC LAN held at Endpoint’s HQ.
As K10 battle it out in the Grand Final, Taz spoke to UKCSGO about his vision for K10, why they chose this team, and what it takes to run an organisation.
Since this interview K10 went on to win the event and are now the UKIC Division 1 champions. Is that top flight enough?
First of all, to get an idea of what you’re about, talk me through what your vision is for K10.
It’s a really simple one, really. Give amateur players a professional outlook very early on or professional experience very early on in their careers.
Take amateur players that, most commonly you could refer to probably AdamJC, give him the experience of events. If he was to achieve greater achievements, then we can go and support by giving them bootcamps, etc. That’s the whole goal, really. Taking players that maybe are on the cusp of that next tier, that next level, regardless of esport and give them the foundations from content creation to general media, marketing themselves, and giving them sort of the correct tools to move forward in their personal careers.
Then retrospective of that, it’s also developing a brand that wants to cultivate not only champions of their esport, but also personalities within their individual scenes.
Why apply that vision to this team that you’ve just picked up?
This is very new for K10 in terms of the step up in team quality.
It’s very prolific that these guys have been in and out of a stable core for a little while. So bringing them some security, some stability and implementing sort of the K10 standard as it were to this team. We’d like to then sort of stabilise the ship because it’s been a little bit rocky as of recent.
Giving these guys the correct tools and, speaking of dox and other players, we know that they’ve not had that stability and the freedom to sort of grow and express themselves as players in other organizations they’ve had. So, it just made sense.
What’s it like watching these kind of games from like an owner’s perspective where you guys are down big and you have to watch them crawl back?
Yeah, really, really stressful. Some owners might have a better approach to this, and if they do, please hit me up and let me know. But for me personally, I’ve done a lot of things in my life, but for watching your own teams play and you see how much hard work and frustration goes into just practicing the game seeing them in these, these high tension moments, it’s very hard to cope as an owner. But it’s not even the result, the scope of the business, or what might lead because of this result, it’s how much effort they put in and you know, just their moods, their mental and how we could best support them.
For this LAN, what expectations did you guys set onto the team?
To be honest, I’ve seen standards slip for them in officials. They had a very hard time at the back end of Advanced and trying to just secure the spot was very, very hard. So coming into this event it was one thing and one thing only; practice, practice, practice. Focus on getting better as a team, regardless of the result, the result was secondary to just basically making sure that we put the foundations right here.
We went back online, and sort of had a newfound respect for how we play as a team.
How do you entice these players to join?
So it’s actually quite funny. We didn’t really have much of a, well, I’d say a decision when it came to sort of picking up a new team.
We just give Adam, JC and the boys as many tools and many opportunities to make Advanced and improve their careers. It gets to a point where, as an organization, we were going to plateau. We know that we bring a certain set of deliverables in terms of quality and content and marketing for these players.
It was actually between two teams, the ex-Raptors team, now Viperio, and the Ex-Coalesce, now the K10 team. To entice them in, realistically, it was just showcasing what we’ve always done as an organisation. I’m showcasing them proof of funds, just showing them that there is security with inside our organization and we pitched out a six plus six contract for them.
So they are stable with us for a long period of time. They’ve got lots of future growth that there is some goals set in there so they could earn more and do more.
In running an org, what do you need as an individual? What experience do you have that maybe betters you for this position?
Yeah, it takes a very versatile and very calm individual, and at times even I fail at that. It’s definitely my sort of determination that I hold everyone to the highest standard. I bring a culture to the team, if I set the bar so high, my team around me know that there is no exceptions to drop below that.
My leadership and determination to be the best or become the best in the future is definitely what I think entices K10 staff and players to perform better and be better because we just hold ourselves, I like to think, to a bit of a better standard.
K10 have multiple owners, why is that and what do you all bring?
When we originally came together, and I came on less than three weeks after K10 got launched, it was just my willingness to help Finn when he disappeared and then when I found myself as the CEO and co owner of the brand with Ethan [fl0wz], we sort of decided that everyone that comes into the team brings a different element. Ethan is very good with video editing and graphics, I’m very good from the commercial side and the business side, to bring that leadership role. If something’s going wrong, “look to Taz, he knows what to do.”
Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.
Moving forward to anyone that comes into the ownership style or into the management style that we have here at K10, it’s all about just bringing in an extra element. Then combined with sort of one sort of multi purpose tool, the Army Swiss knife if you want to call it that.
What is next for K10?
Longevity and success. Everything that we do moving forward has to have a certain element of retention. So we’ve shown that we can deliver. We’ve shown that we can market. Well, now is the best time to showcase why we’re a brand for the future. So, securing this team for a long period of time, results dependent as well.
We want to make sure that we’re at the top flight of the UK scene. I think moving forward, securing more elements to our sponsorship. Also increasing the overall capital of the company so we can do more; more bootcamps like this, at Endpoint because I can’t stress enough how important a tool like Endpoint’s facility is, so we aim to be here a lot more and realistically, to sum it up, be bigger, be better and just keep grinding.