Wow, leading a lowsec pirate corp has been interesting. Here are some notable observations.
First, almost immediately I attracted a couple of recruits. In our little three-man corporation, I'm actually getting in more and bigger roaming gangs than I usually did in pirate corps more than ten times our size! What I love about my corpmates is we all seem to have a common enjoyment of roaming (as opposed to camping, or ratting, or buying stuff and fitting out ships, or logging on just to change skills, etc.). Each pilot has been communicative and helpful on our forums and in-game. I have no trouble speaking with everyone on TeamSpeak. When we aren't roaming together, we're happy to roam solo. Any one of us would be top 5 on the killboards of any pirate corp I've been in. In short, what our corp lacks in numbers, it makes up in quality.
About those numbers...it was a little surprising to me how few applications we're getting. But then I looked at the situation again, and I'm not surprised. First, there seems to be a never-ending stream of new pirate corps trying to get off the ground; there's a lot of competition out there. Second, I really do have standards, and I think I put off many potential recruits with my demands. I've chosen to insist that any new Tusker demonstrate the right stuff in the form of killmails documenting at least 5 solo kills, including 2 kills of ships "better" than the applicants: killing a destroyer in a T1 frigate, for example, or a battlecruiser with a cruiser. In the past, I've seen how even a grizzled old pirate corp with a dozen people online can struggle to come up with three pilots at a time to actually go out and fight. At the same time, I've seen how eager new pilots barely able to fit a warp scrambler can see stunning success. The Tuskers want fighters. But I think this requirement is intimidating to many new recruits, who can get in easier with some other corporation padding its numbers.
Looking at all the recruiting spiels from new pirate corporations similar to the Tuskers, I asked myself again why I wanted to risk starting my own. But as soon as I thought about joining an existing corporation, I found something inside me shying away from the thought of seeing the inactivity behind a glowing reputation, the drama of alliances, the feeling of flying solo again even with a half-dozen "mates" online, and more I won't speak of now.
More surprising than the dearth of applications has been the cornucopia of pirate alliances seeking our membership. Several times a day, the Tuskers have been invited into alliances that would link us up with numbers, skilled pilots, and opportunities that we can only dream about on our own. Some of these alliances are really first-rate; I've flown along on some of their ops, and seen some impressive kills. For the time being, however, we're not considering joining any alliance. First, we like targets, and alliances lead to "blues" in space, off-limits in our hunts. Second, as a corporation we're just forming our own unique identity. I'd like to see what kind of corporate culture develops within the Tuskers before casting us into the shadow of an alliance. Finally, I'm enjoying the professional gang we make up, free of foul language and chest-thumping smack-talk. Maybe later.
I've actually enjoyed setting up all the trappings of a pirate corp: the Tuskers have forums, a killboard, and we're even one of the few corps in New Eden with a ransom board. Corpmates Joc and Ronan Jacques have been helping to contribute some excellent articles on the forums to help our corp as it grows and gains a better reputation. Fun stuff when space seems empty.
The Tuskers will probably never be the biggest, baddest pirate corp on the block. Her members now have a fraction of the skills many other pilots enjoy, who have been flying for so much longer. But we can be a living body of committed combat pilots, with a strong comraderie, and enjoying the healthy respect of those we encounter. May the Tusker label always be a badge of honor and pride.