Yu-kai Chou’s Audio Interview on Doubt the Doubts

Lifestyle Gamification Talk

Hey guys, I recently did a talk with the podcast show Doubt The Doubts, explaining how to use a game-based philosophy to eliminate doubts that prevent you from pursuing your dreams and what you are passionate about. I also talk a lot about how I started my career, which I describe in another post.

If you have not gone tired of my voice based on all the Beginner’s Guide to Gamification Videos, Enjoy!

One-Two Punch and the Uppercut: The Art of Cold-Emailing

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Cold-Emailing is frustrating

Have you ever had the frustrating experience where you emailed someone you didn’t know very well, and never got a response? Feels pretty bad right? No one really likes cold-emailing, but in order to strive for more opportunities that wouldn’t regularly show up at your door (customers, mentors, advisors, investors, etc etc), you are often required to contact people you’re not already buddies with.

But what if they don’t respond? Should you email them again? But haven’t they already implicitly rejected you by not responding? Aren’t you annoying them? The entire experience can be very demoralizing.

A story of Yu-kai Chou RECEIVING cold-emails

However, before you give up hope, I want to share a couple quick stories. In 2007, I went to an entrepreneurship event hosted at the UCLA Anderson School called StartupLA. I signed up for the spontaneous 1 minute pitch at the event. After the event, I was catching up with a lot of work so I only made sure I followed up with a handful of key people that I had to meet.

However, I got an email from a struggling entrepreneur that the judges didn’t really like during that time. He said it was great meeting me and wanted to catch food/coffee sometime together. Being in my stressful catchup mode, I felt warm about the email but ultimately ignored it (I didn’t want to appear like an asshole and reject such a polite and sincere offer).

A couple weeks later, I received another email from him, saying that he knows I am busy, but it would be great if we could catch coffee sometime. I actually did kinda mean to respond to that, but it sat in my inbox for almost a week, and it felt a bit awkward responding with “Sorry I didn’t get back to you earlier…” so I also kinda let it go…

LUCKILY, this guy had the persistence of the Uppercut (will talk about soon!) and emailed me again! By this time, there was no excuse for me and I was compelled to respond to him IMMEDIATELY. We then scheduled to get some dim sum together.

Continue reading One-Two Punch and the Uppercut: The Art of Cold-Emailing

How Yu-kai Chou started in Gamification in 2003 and became a Pioneer in the Industry

Gamification Expert

New to Gamification? Check out my post What is Gamification & my Gamification Framework: Octalysis

From Gaming to Gamification

Recently, I have been getting more and more people asking me about my experiences as a pioneer in the Gamification Industry.

Gamification (or the widespread adoption of it) seems so new that it feels difficult to make the claim of starting in 2003, when catchphrases like “Cloud,” “Social Media,” or even “Web 2.0” weren’t even popular.

First, to clarify, I didn’t start “playing games” since 2003. I played games throughout my entire life, from my South Africa days to my Taiwan Days, all the way to my Kansas, California, and Vancouver days (yes, long stories…)

I was a hardcore gamer, and whatever I played, I needed to be the best at it. I was almost incapable of playing a game casually. It was either all or nothing. When I play games, I would whip out spreadsheets to figure out the exact combos that would make me win, read about strategy guides while in the restroom, and become a known thought leader in the forums of various games. There was even once when I broke into my college friend Jun Loayza‘s apartment through the window (he was in class) so I could practice on the game that he owned.

Interestingly, my transition to a Gamification Entrepreneur and Designer came from an epiphany I had when I was in school. Back then I played the Blizzard Game Diablo II very heavily, and had more than 5 characters above Level 90 and a couple above level 96. I was pretty hardcore at it. But at one point, my friends started to quit the game and move onto new games. Eventually I quit too and was in this transition period between games.

And then I suddenly felt extremely empty.

Continue reading How Yu-kai Chou started in Gamification in 2003 and became a Pioneer in the Industry

Chou’s Lifestyle Gamification Speech at Google

A while ago, I wrote a post about my speech at Google on Lifestyle Gamification. After knocking off a lot of stuff on my to-do list, I finally had time to rip the video and upload it onto the internet. The actual presentation is around 30 minutes, but for some reason Vimeo thinks it is 73 minutes. The Q&A below is about 10 minutes and you actually get to see me talk (instead of just being a dark wraith). Hope you enjoy it and learn something from it!

If you would like Yu-kai Chou to speak for your organization, just email yukai[at]yukaichou.com.

How to Master almost Anything in Life through Gamification

Chou Notes

Printers suck.

I’ve had some decent successes in my life in a variety of tasks/hobbies/work that I do.

The three things that can get you to do something well:


1) Confidence
2) Concentration
3) Condition

Also, for preparation work, you need to

1) Always be self-reflecting
2) Always be strategizing (or optimizing)
3) Always be learning from people who do it better

If you master these things, this can help you SIGNIFICANTLY boost your level at anything you do, from playing games, consulting on gamification, doing a hobby, personal skills, to even getting girls 😛

I used to suck at almost everything I do until I figured some of this out. Now I’m good at a lot of things (not everything), or at least I quickly get good at the things I’m serious about. It’s not really about being smart, but it’s about mastering a system. The key is “Doing it well” so the way you do it is more important than your intelligence.

Hope this helps and more tips will be awesome in the comment section!