Who is Yu-kai Chou?

Gamification Expert

Yu-kai Chou is an Author and International Keynote Speaker on Gamification and Behavioral Design. He is the Original Creator of the Octalysis Framework, and the author of Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards. He is currently President of The Octalysis Group and the Founder of Octalysis Prime. Yu-kai has been a regular speaker/lecturer on gamification and motivation worldwide, including at organizations like Google, Tesla, Stanford University, LEGO, TEDx, Boston Consulting Group, Gamified India, Huawei, the Innovation Center in Denmark, Kingdom of Bahrain government, and many more.

Yu-kai was one of the earliest pioneers in Gamification, starting his work in the industry in 2003. In 2015, Yu-kai was rated #1 among the “Gamification Gurus Power 100” by RISE, and was also awarded the “Gamification Guru of the Year” Award in 2014, 2015 and 2017 by the World Gamification Congress and the Gamification Europe Conference.  He has helped a variety of companies, from seed stage startups to Fortune 500 companies such as LEGO, Google, Volkswagen/Porsche, Accenture, eBay, Huawei, Fidelity, AIG Japan, Verizon, Ericsson, Cisco and more. His work has been featured in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider,The World Journal, PBS, NBC, and many more.

Yu-kai is a Board Advisor for many organizations and companies through out North America, Europe, and Asia, including HatchPad.co (crowdfunding site for young entrepreneurs), Capfields (IT Sourcing company based in Luxembourg), DreamsCloud (biggest company that gathers dreams), Ongo (gamified health platform), BALANCE Edutainment (creators of Pacha’s Pajamas), Loki Studios (creators of Geomon and sold to a Yahoo), Clade (crowd funding platform for the super class), and many more.

Yu-kai is a follower of Christ, and his other hobbies include playing/teaching chess, writing/playing string quartet pieces, writing Chinese novels, rating high quality movies, though he rarely has time for these hobbies. Yu-kai is the proud father of his twin daughters, Symphony and Harmony.

“Yu-kai is at the cutting edge of the field of behavior design.”
               -Nir Eyal, Author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products.

“Yu-kai’s reputation precedes him in the field of gamification, so I know him professionally before I know him personally. Professionally he’s as efficient and effective as a black hat hacker. But personally, he’s as kind and passionate as a white hat artist. Yu-kai himself is the perfect embodiment of his octalysis framework. You may have only seen some aspect of him; but believe me, he has all 8 sides of the octagon, plus the center—he’s sensational.”
               -Michael Wu, Chief Scientist @ Lithium Technologies

79 thoughts on “Who is Yu-kai Chou?”

  1. Hi Yu Kai,

    Recently I flipped your book again after sometime I have first read your book. I pay more attention this round on the last chapter and decided to experience your gamification design here. It’s awesome! Besides the gamified experience, the case studies are inspiring. Keep it up and see you soon in Madrid.

  2. Dear Chou.
    You won’t believe what is happening.
    I’ve subscribed for the 21-day course but after receiving the first letter I didn’t see another. I’ve been waiting for 2 days but nothing changes. I start to feel that there is no epic meanng and calling in my life and you are not really interested in my learning about gamification(
    Seriously, something is wrong. My mailbox is goramza@gmail.com
    Maybe the site fairies can fix the problem.

    Best wishes,
    Anton Atamanov

  3. helloo, my name rendy.
    im a trainer, i need your advice sir, can you hep me about making training session , with content about selling in social media with the delivery system by Gamification (not just sit down in class)

  4. Dear Mr. Yu Kai Chou,
    First of all, I would like to thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience on the topic. I am an IT student and I am just starting to learn about gamification. I saw a few of your videos, they are awesome!
    So, I was wondering,is there some schedule of books that I should read, in some predefined, specific order (as levels) in order to learn about gamification on the best possible way? I was playing games in the past, but I am not a passionate gamer (until now), so I am not sure if I should read something about games on the first place and then read about gamification. I really need an advice for this and I will be grateful if you can take 1 minute of your time and share your opinion with me 🙂
    Thank you in advance,
    No matter what, keep going with your work, you are awesome! 🙂
    Best regards from Macedonia,

    1. Hello Emma,

      Thanks for reaching out. The first book I would recommend is of course my own book Actionable Gamification http://yukaichou.com/octalysisbook , since it is based on my 12 years of experience (though my preference is heavily biased 🙂 ). You can also check out Reality is Broken for Gameful Design, A Theory of Fun for Game Design, or Drive for motivational psychology.

  5. I’m reading your book; I just got to the bit about peoples chess style reflecting the wider historical situation – ace. Your book is full of these very insightful snippets – my ‘meaning’, ‘scarcity’ and ’empowerment’ drivers are fizzing and popping and feel like they’re winning!
    Thank you – just wanted to say that.

  6. Hello! Hope you’re alright, my name is William Hartshorn and I live in the UK studying at Birmingham City University. I currently doing my dissertation, which is on ‘The Future of Gamification.’ After following your channel over the last few months and reading your book and I have to thank you for the knowledge & research you have shared, the Octalysis Framework you have created is a fantastic theory, its the best out there!! I was wondering you would able to help me out and answer a few questions for me for my primary research?!


  7. Here is the thing… you are awesome, the Octalysis is the best Gamification Framework out there; it is very well done and it has the wise of a man who is the best of the best in the Gamification World, in it. I am glad that I had the opportunitie to be part of one of your workshops, my life changed and now I am part of the gamification world 🙂 !!! Maybe some day I will be a Octalysis hero 🙂 so I can spread the word in my country about the framework and the beauty of Human Focused Design (gamification)

  8. Is it weird that I find myself looking forwarding to coming back to this blog, learning more and getting my ninja skills on? Thank you Gosu, for practising what you preach!

  9. Hi,

    No, thank YOU for being awesome! I am so happy my friend told me about you.

    I am also thankful for the videos. I started reading your book this summer, but I have had to finish a previous project and go back to school for the fall semester. I have so much reading this semester, I haven’t been able to finish your book yet. So, thank you for the videos!!!

    1. Great! Let me know when you finish the book and would love some feedback and maybe even a review on Amazon! 🙂

  10. Just finished the book! Woohoo! Now i m going to find those surprises and get the next badge.! I rarely comment, so consider my comment a huge success!

  11. I’m working at gamifying my middle school science class and could really use some ideas and refinement as well as resources. Any ideas?

  12. Hello Yu-kai Chou,

    I am sherine Ashraf. I study Computer Science Engineering.

    First of all, Amazing work that came from hard work, I am really impressed by the work for autistic people. This what made me choose my bachelor project to be about Gamiification for autistic adults. I hope you can help me please as this is a new field and not many people know about it. I need to ask you some questions(mail/ Skype/ telephone/— what ever you like) that will help me in my research a lot if you don’t mind 🙂
    Waiting for valuable reply
    Thank you in advance

    1. Sorry for the late response Sherine. While Autism (and many other health issues)is something I would love to help on (and I do help with clients in healthcare), my time is stretched so thin that I’m literally sleeping an hour less every time I take a Skype meeting like this. I would recommend you to read my book first, and if you can demonstrate that you get the concepts within, I would love to have a chat with you after.

  13. I found Yu-Kai by accident. I was searching for a good domain for my idea and decided to get RewardUs.com. I asked a friend what he thinks and he suggested I do not buy that domain. He said he knows a guy who owns RewardMe.com and his startup just failed and I should not be doing this stuff anyway. Out of curiosity I contacted Yu-Kai and asked him how much he wants for his domain RewardMe. The amount was much greater vs RewardUs so, … anyway I started looking at his site and learning about Octalysis. I got mad at my friend he never told me about such awesome framework. I did loose a friend – friends should share, not hide awesome things from each other; but I got so much more.

  14. I first heard of you via The Art of Charm podcast and instantly had to know more. I’m working on ways to implement Gamification and Octalysis with my team to improve our performance as a department. As a recovering game-aholic myself, I’m very excited about transitioning these habits from actual video games to things that really matter.

    Also encouraged to see that you’re a follower of Christ!

    Thanks for all you do, and I’m excited to keep learning!

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