At AOE Creative, everyone wears multiple hats to some degree. This is especially true for Nabil Pervez, Co-Founder, and Chief Technical Officer. A true renaissance man, Pervez has done it all. From commentating on fighting game tournaments to software engineering to marketing, it’s probably better to ask what he hasn’t done if given a chance.
With one of the busiest calendars at the office, Pervez is always on the go. “Hell,” He deadpans when asked what a typical day in his life looks like. “It looks like Tetris vomited on my calendar.” An early riser, Pervez makes sure to take time for himself (prayer and exercise) before starting his day answering emails. From there, Pervez tackles whatever the day has ahead through strategic planning to ensure that he and the rest of the team achieve their goals. Along with web development, Pervez oversees the structures AOE has in place to ensure everyone stays on track.
“The interesting thing that separates me from the other roles is that I’m kind of a weird researcher [with] a lot of autonomy to think of creative solutions,” Pervez explains. “The big thing for me is understanding the language so I can speak it effectively.” To do this, Pervez truly puts his all into achieving whatever goal AOE has in mind. For example, in terms of web design, Pervez decided to take a year-long course on web development to get certified so he could work more closely with Cisco Garrido, Creative Director, on helping clients create their websites.
It’s a lot of work, but Pervez gets it done. Work hard, play hard is one of the main mantras at AOE, and the office often makes time for in-house fighting game tournaments to relax a bit before hitting the ground running again. Fighting games are one of Pervez’s passions, and they are how he started in the industry. “I was broke growing up; I was the son of an immigrant. I grew up in arcades because we had no money, and roller rinks were [the] safest thing in Chicago. If I wasn’t doing that, I might have been involved in gangs and violence… but the best place growing up was the arcade, and Street Fighter was [my] favorite thing there.”
Street Fighter made an impression on young Pervez, from the game's flashy play-style to the people he met while playing. “There's something about being able to sit next to someone, and you guys are speaking a completely different language that only the two of you understand. It's such a cool moment of being able to share that with someone. You can learn more about each other in a couple of rounds of Street Fighter than you could with an hour of conversation.”
His passion for Street Fighter and fighting games grew as he grew older. During the day, he’d work at his IT job before going home to be a weekend stream warrior. “EVO was religion for me,” He remembers fondly. “I would take off work and get every monitor in the house and put up every stream I could in there and watch them all simultaneously.” Inspired by the streams he loved, Pervez decided to take a crack at it himself. Commentating his matches, he eventually met Justin Varghese through his other friends who streamed. He and Varghese hit it off, having some of the most profound conversations while sitting side by side (and getting absolutely ratioed the first time they played). Eventually, Varghese asked if Pervez would be interested in shoutcasting a tournament together, and the rest is history.
Were they any good in that first tournament? Debatable. Was their passion and charisma contagious to fans in the audience? Absolutely. They bounced off each other incredibly well and raked in a new following almost overnight. From there, both were given opportunities to cast more tournaments and branch out to cast for companies like Activision Blizzard, Amazon, and Redbull.
“I'm so grateful. It wasn't an easy life. You were only as good as your last at bat. That's why it's so important to me, [the mindset] that every single day, I need to be better. I need to better because I don't know if I have tomorrow.”
During his time shoutcasting, Pervez took over digital marketing for PVP Live, where he met Greg Ibanez and Markel Lee. As the trio grew closer, they all began to share a dream of starting sick marketing campaigns for esports teams. That dream would come to fruition through Infinite Gaming, where they would meet and work with Simon Bennett. Together they would help create the branding and marketing strategy for the Houston Outlaws, one of the inaugural Overwatch League teams. Much like any campaign worth its salt, the marketing strategy for the Outlaws began with the critical question: why?
“You have to start with why. You need to understand the purpose of why you are doing what you are doing. What are you trying to solve for? If you don't think through that particular point, you're just doing cool stuff to do cool stuff, and anyone can do that. But critically thinking through and building a smart solution, in my opinion, is what separates good from bad.”
Smart solutions are what Pervez does best. His boundless research and problem-solving skills have helped build AOE into the company that it is today. It wasn’t an easy journey, but nothing easy has ever been worthwhile, and Pervez knows this all too well. “Pressure is a privilege,” Pervez muses. “Nothing is ever promised but death. So my mindset is that I need to be grateful for the opportunities that [come my way].” Gratitude goes a long way, and with that in mind, Pervez knows that only more good can come from continuing to be thankful for every step of his journey.