It’s been little over a week since I left Xbox and Microsoft altogether. I’ve mentioned my wish to write this letter to a lot of people, but it took me a while to get these sentences together as these 12 months were so intense and I can’t stress enough the impact its had on me. For better or worse, I have become nerdier, have an impressive collection of tech gear and way too many Xbox games 🤷
I really do believe I had one of the coolest jobs in the world. I always felt blessed because I was making a living by doing something most people would kill to do for free. I knew that. I also knew that whatever I was doing at Xbox, fans cared. Consequently, very early on I decided that they were who I was working for and my mission was to give Portuguese fans what they deserved.
For those new around here, my journey at Microsoft began when I first applied to be a Business Intern. I had no idea I would end up managing PR, Social Media, Events and Partnerships for Xbox Portugal. Working in Gaming was never part of my plan, yet it felt so right. As a kid, I got into games thanks to my older cousin. In my adolescent years, I was playing heavily, participating in forums and selling games to other people. Video games were always there and part of some of my dearest memories.
Many of the things I did this year, eg. being the host of a live stream, managing a stand at a music festival, creating visual assets from scratch, were activities I never thought I’d be able to do! There’s a Satya Nadella quote that stayed with me “Make it happen. You have full authority.”. Turns out, you just have to put your mind to it and you’ll be able to do anything. It is by being so empowered and motivated as I am now that I have also never felt as lost. I don’t know what I’ll do next and there is no backup plan.
🌈 Let’s take time to remember some of the best moments 🌈
Getting the insider look
I remember being probably the first person to receive an Xbox One X in Portugal. I unboxed it and felt so lucky! I also got to experience Surface Hub, Surface Go and other Surface family devices in first-hand.
Another really great memory was watching Phill Spencer (Executive Vice President of Gaming at Microsoft, aka Xbox Big Boss) make an exclusive global talk for everyone on the team. I was listening to him talk not as someone who has all the answers, but as someone who trusts in the team and fans to guide him the right way. I wasn’t someone watching from the outside, I was part of the team.
Events are tiring
Being part of the Xbox team allowed me to go to pretty much every major Gaming event in Portugal…and a few others. I would highlight Rock in Rio Lisboa as the most challenging one, but also the coolest experience ever. During those 4 crazy days, I got to witness Sea of Thieves being discovered by young boys and girls, and sometimes their parents too. Experienced some amazing brand activations and sang along to Bruno Mars, Katy Perry and HAIM.
Skills learned include: Setting up big 4K TVs, how to use a
screwdriver and the right screws. I developed a lot of arm strength from carrying boxes with consoles… oh so many consoles. I am now also aware that retractable utility knives (x-ato for the Portuguese) are the real MVP.
Livestreams never start on time
Thanks to streaming being huge in Gaming, I knew I had to dip my feet in it with Xbox. Started experimenting with OBS and slowly improved the setup while trying different ideas to grow our Mixer fanbase. With that, I noticed how much I enjoyed interacting with people in real time, developing relationships with fans and growing a community. This also contributed to giving Xbox a face to Portuguese fans. BTW, you can expect new projects over on twitch.tv/anarlguerra, so follow me there!
In addition, I tried out really cool new games which otherwise I wouldn’t have and rekindled love with old classics such as Gears of War 1 and Sonic & Knuckles.
Can I just live in the office?
Ever wondered what a shopping center looks like late at night? Well, I guess it looks just like Microsoft does! There’s the security guy and a couple of stupid kids (that would be me) doing God knows what. When you really love your workplace, you don’t really want to leave because it’s fun. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t working over-hours in the office often. Bruno and I were more interested in investing our time on other projects. We explored hidden warehouses and found lots of old techy things. We enjoyed fixing things. And We ended up doing some movie nights with lots of candy.
Friends to watch Marvel movies with
Throughout my contact with agencies, media, content creators and gamers, I managed to find a group of people with similar interest and with which I felt at home. Some of them I ask advice for my projects, others get invited to my podcast or I get invited by them. With most, we just have fun discussing what we love.
I want to give Special Thanks to the following people:
🚒Bruno Nogueira — Player 2 and partner in crime. The few times I didn’t think something was possible, you were there to tell me it was. To me, you were part of the Xbox team and I will spend forever trying to repay you for the support you gave me this year.
👀Madalena Cardoso — A force to be reckoned with. Despite your busy schedule, you managed to look out for me. Your retail knowledge and thoughtful questions helped me prevent mistakes. Knowing you would be there for me gave me the relentless courage to take on important tasks I didn’t think I was ready for.
🧠Carlos Duarte — Mentor and God of tech PR. Much of what I learned on how to best deal with media, influencers and colleagues, I owe it to you. Your opinion is held high on my standards. By believing in me, I believed in myself. Thank you.
🤴Pedro Carvalho —A prince turned king. What could have been 2 weeks of worrying and sadness, were, in fact, times for memory-making. Some things you’ll do worse than me, some you’ll do better than me. I can’t wait to see what you will do with Xbox Portugal. Good luck!
⚔️Catarina Ferreira and the Xbox PT Dummies — A wild spirit that dreams and can’t be tamed. Your never-ending will to fight for Portuguese Xbox fans gave me the strength to push the boundaries and “make it happen” no matter what. I’ll keep supporting the Dummies’ journey now as a simple fan and friend.
This was one hell of a year that for sure paved a new future: For me, who realised she definitely can’t be put in a box; For Xbox Portugal, who now listens to fans like never before.
I want to thank every single human and alien who followed my journey by listening to The Ana Guerra Podcast or checking my Instagram Stories. My excitement with Stories lead to over 70 Saved Stories which you can see right at this moment.
If you follow Xbox Portugal’s Mixer channel, good news for you! I’m going to remain a co-host along with my colleague Pedro Carvalho. Plus, you should still be able to see me in some gaming events. I’ll be around 😉
There’s never been a day in age in which gaming is as big as now.
The video game industry is about 5 times larger than the music industry and 1.5 times larger than the film industry. However, the lack of knowledge and understanding about the subject is almost as bad as when I was 15.
Gaming is so much more than Ninja and Fortnite.
Here’s what Gaming means to me and Xbox 👊
Leaving was hard. I still don’t feel like I’ve left, just feels like I took a few days off. I continue to speak about Microsoft as if I’m a member of the team. Maybe being Microsoft is a mindset. If you make it your own mission to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more” thanks to technology, then you never really leave Microsoft, do you?
Are you an Xbox fan? What is your relationship with video games?
Clap your heart out 👏 if you liked the article!
Subscribe to my Podcast here: