Larry Hryb during Xbox Media Briefing at Electronic Entertainment Expo 2009.
Connecticut, United States
|Other names||Major Nelson|
|Alma mater||Syracuse University (S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications)|
|Occupation||Director of Programming for Xbox Live|
|Known for||Host of "Major Nelson Radio"|
Lawrence "Larry" Hryb (//), also known by his Xbox Live Gamertag "Major Nelson", is an Emmy Award–winning Director of Programming for the Microsoft gaming network Xbox Live. His blog "Xbox Live's Major Nelson" provides an inside look at operations at Microsoft's Xbox division. He picked the Gamertag "Major Nelson" after a character by the same name on the 1960s U.S. television comedy I Dream of Jeannie after it was recommended to him by his TiVo. Larry dedicated his Gamertag to Larry Hagman after his death in 2012. Prior to joining Microsoft in 2001, he was a former programmer and on air host with radio broadcaster Clear Channel Communications. Hryb graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Television, Radio and Film production from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.
Work at Microsoft
Larry Hryb worked as the Director of Promotions for Clear Channel Communications in Hartford, Connecticut for WKSS from 1989 to late 2000. In early 2001, he began working with Microsoft; his first role at the company was as the editor in chief of MSN music. Hryb moved into Xbox division of Microsoft in 2003. Hryb was instrumental in the development of the Xbox One, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, Kinect and the 'New Xbox Experience'. He was also a member of the small team of people who devised the concept of 'Xbox Achievements,' a popular feature of Xbox One and Xbox 360 games; similar features were later adopted by Steam, PlayStation Network, and other gaming platforms. Outside of Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, Hryb is one of the most recognizable faces at Microsoft, and is one of the most public faces of Xbox.
Hryb has advised dozens of gaming and non-gaming companies and communities on how to best engage with their audiences using digital tools and social networks. In 2012, he was named one of Mashable's '13 Bona Fide Geeks to Follow'. Hryb performs product reviews and mentions through his various social media outlets - Twitter, his award-winning podcast, Google Plus page, YouTube profile, and his personal blog - for lifestyle-related products and services. He has said that he declines hundreds of offers a year because, in his eyes, he does not want to talk about a product or service that is not worth talking about. This approach has resulted in the MajorNelson.com blog, podcast, and Twitter to become some of the most influential and valuable areas to get exposure in the gaming and entertainment industry in terms of reach and impact. Hyrb runs all of his social media properties himself. Hryb has been approached by numerous brands to 'sponsor' him; he has reportedly turned down many seven-figure offers.
On October 26, 2015, Hryb hosted the largest game launch ever (Halo 5) in a four hour long broadcast. In a partnership with Google, and certified by the Guinness World Book of Record, the broadcast of the Halo 5 broke all existing records for a game launch live stream.
Hryb is also on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/majornelson. Currently he is one of the most influential personalities in the gaming industry and has the most active/followed personal accounts at Microsoft. Hryb joined Twitter in 2006, and has pioneered several uses of Twitter that have gone on to become Twitter standards, including 'livetweeting' of events (like CES or E3) and using Twitter as a contest mechanisms like his #FreeCodeFriday promotion. Today is it commonplace to see Twitter used as a contesting tool based on processes he first developed. Hryb also consults and advises various consumer facing Fortune 500 companies on how to engage with their audiences, and is often cited in demonstrating 'best practices' in social media white papers and research. On April 1, 2015 Larry did the first ever Periscope from a Hollywood red carpet. In October 2016, Larry passed over 1 Million Twitter followers, putting him in a rare club of personal brands with that many followers.
Hryb is most known for his popular weekly podcast "Major Nelson Radio", available on iTunes, Xbox Music Marketplace, and from his site. He does interviews as well. Direct from inside the Microsoft Xbox team, Hryb and his colleagues including regular co-hosts Laura Massey ("lollip0p"), and Eric Neustadter ("e") discuss Xbox One, Xbox 360, Kinect, Zune, gaming, technology, other next generation consoles (including the PlayStation 4, and Wii U), among other subjects. His show regularly hosts interviews with people in the gaming community, and offers prizes to listeners through his "Name the Game" contest, where he plays a short audio clip from a game, and a winner is drawn from the correct entries. Additionally, regular features of the podcast include "Xbox 101", a segment devoted to various features on the Xbox One or Xbox Live, Gadget discussion where they discuss the latest and greatest gadget. Many companies have contacted Larry to review or cover their products to reach this audience, but Larry has declined stating that he only wants to talk about products he actually uses and are of high quality and value. Recently, as convergence takes place with the auto industry, they have also started looking at vehicles that use technology in a new and exciting ways.
There is also an after show, an easter egg where Hryb talks about random topics. Hryb and Neustadter regularly joke about each other's Xbox Live gamerscore and gaming habits. Xbox 101 is also a series of "Inside Xbox" videos on Xbox Live.
Originally, Hryb produced the podcast by himself. The podcast used to consist of him giving a monologue and breaking to play prerecorded interviews. On November 6, 2006, he celebrated his '200th' podcast, which was marked with a nearly two and a half hour show. Hryb openly admits that he added to the show number and the figure doesn't accurately reflect the number of shows made. Hryb switched to a #1xx numbering around July 18, 2005, when he did show #136 after the previous '7/10/05 Blogcast'. Major Nelson was interviewed on the Video Game Outsiders Podcast (show #50), where he commented "About a year and a half ago, I started numbering my shows at 100...it makes it sound cooler, bigger numbers are always better."
In 1996 Larry had a non-speaking role of the scorekeeper in the guards vs students football scene in the movie Sleepers, starring Brad Pitt, Kevin Bacon, and Robert De Niro. Since Larry was in a scene with Kevin Bacon, this gives him a "Bacon number" of 1 in Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.
Hryb has appeared in multiple video games. Some of the more famous examples include:
- In the video that plays at the end of the "Ms. Splosion Man" game
- He provides the narration for a level of "The Gunstringer" that must be unlocked while playing the game
As a result of the work he has done, he is also included in the credits of numerous video games.
In August 2014, Hryb was featured as the achievements in ReddX, a Reddit app for Xbox One. In these achievements, Larry is seen acting out popular internet memes. These achievements were met with widespread positive support.
In addition to his podcast, Hryb hosts a weekly one-minute segment titled Major's Minute. Every week on Xbox Live, Major's Minute recaps new content and news related to the Xbox Live Marketplace. As of January 2012, over 45 million Xbox LIVE Members have access to Major's Minute on Xbox LIVE. Hryb was also a regular on the defunct Sirius Satellite Radio program "Level Up", designed for the casual video gamer. In May 2015, Larry began hosting the weekly video show "This Week On Xbox" which airs each Friday on the Xbox One console as well as YouTube.com/Xbox. On the Xbox One console, the show features an innovative interactive elements that allow the viewer to instantly retrieve content discussed in the show with a click of the controller. The show has been extremely successful and in less than a year reaches over 5 million viewers per week, making Larry the top hosts of a gaming video program of all time. On Friday, November 4, 2016 Larry delivered the PAX Australia Storytime Keynote presentation to open the show. It has been noted that this was a rare public appearance has generally Larry has declined numerous offers to keynote events. His talk, delivered to a theater filled with over 3,000 individual (many of whom travelled significant distances to attend) and a hundred thousand more watching online, discussed how he got to his position in the gaming industry and offered valuable life lessons on how to make the most of your career, regardless of field. The 45 minute lecture was well received and many onsite compared it to a "Ted Talk."
Hryb is married to Taylor Johnson, the author of 'The Happy Girl Experiment' blog and lives in the state of Washington. He enjoys photography, Xbox One, and many other gadgets. During Show 478 of the Major Nelson podcast he expressed interest in classical music, noting that he nearly minored in it during his college studies. In 2006, Next Generation Magazine named Hryb one of the "Top 25 People of the Year" in video gaming. Also, in 2009 he was featured on Wired.com's "100 Geeks You Should Be Following On Twitter". Hryb has worked with multiple Fortune 500 companies, advising them on how to use social media to better connect with the community. He revealed that his guilty pleasure is KFC mashed potatoes. Larry Hryb has admitted to having coulrophobia and claustrophobia after waking up from a dream involving the 2010 Copiapó mining accident.
- Hryb, Larry (May 25, 2008). "Show #280: XNA, DRM and more". Majornelson.com. archive.is. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
- Major Nelson from one Major to another
- Hillis, Scott (January 3, 2008). ""Major Nelson" emerges as face of Xbox". Reuters. Retrieved May 18, 2008.
- "13 Bona Fide Geeks to Follow on Twitter". August 2, 2012. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
- "Larry Hryb". Twitter. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
- Hryb, Larry (November 9, 2006). "Now serving over 100,000 comments". Majornelson.com. Retrieved May 18, 2008.
- Show 478: E3, State of Decay and more., "Major Nelson Radio.", June 7, 2013, retrieved June 8, 2013
- Campbell, Colin (December 13, 2006). "Next-Gen's Top 25 People of the Year". Next Generation Magazine. Archived from the original on April 26, 2012. Retrieved May 18, 2008.
- Denmead, Ken (May 13, 2009). "100 Geeks You Should Be Following On Twitter". Wired.com. Retrieved May 24, 2009.
- Hryb, Larry (March 1, 2008). "Show #351: PAX East, SXSW and Battlefield Bad Company 2". Majornelson.com. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
- Hryb, Larry (December 30, 2009). "Show #345: Last show of 2009". Majornelson.com. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
- Hryb, Larry (October 24, 2010). "Show 375: Call of Duty: Black Ops MP, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, Fable III". Majornelson.com. Retrieved July 17, 2008.Hryb, Larry (January 31, 2011). "Show 386: Dead Space 2, Crysis 2 and COD Black Ops First Strike". Majornelson.com. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
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