Stephen “Stepto” Toulouse has spent over two decades in the technology industry, including 18 years with the Microsoft Corporation. While there he served as consumer and corporate technical support expert for Windows Operating Systems, technical writer, trainer, crisis communications public relations expert, and spent the last third of his career with the company in the Xbox division. While known jokingly as the “Head Banhammer” for the Xbox LIVE service, Stepto’s responsibilities as Director of Policy and Enforcement encompassed many disciplines.
From developing and implementing policy on the service, to working with partners like development houses and law enforcement, to feature design and reviews for titles, services, and consoles, Toulouse’s role was integral and broad ranging from design to product management to policy. He was also responsible for public communication regarding enforcement and safety to press and customers, and became a popular fixture at community events such as the Penny Arcade Expo and as a co-host on the weekly Xbox Major Nelson Radio podcast.
Most recently Stephen served as Director of Product Management for GAEMS Inc., a maker of consumer electronics. Stephen’s role there was to guide the design and manufacture of a consumer electronics device for gaming consoles, working across a variety of teams (including art design, product design, and quality assurance) and manufacturer contacts (including sourcing, manufacture line, development of Bill of Materials, etc.) in China. Stephen successfully shipped on time with quality to meet a major license partner’s launch date (in this case, Microsoft’s Halo franchise).
Stephen has written for Stepto.com, for over a decade and is well established in social media circles for his use of tools like Twitter and Facebook to interact with his fans and customers. He’s published a book, A Microsoft Life and a spoken word comedy album, A Geekster’s Paradise in addition to several short stories. He is a frequent performer at the popular geek vaudeville show “w00tstock” alongside Wil Wheaton, Paul and Storm, and Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame. He also performs locally at Seattle venues and video game industry events such as the Penny Arcade Expo Prime and East.
Stepto lives in the tiny farming community of Duvall, Washington with his wife Rochelle, a cat, and two Golden Retrievers.