Lifestyle Gamification: How to Convert your Life into a Game

Lifestyle Gamification

This is the origin of the my Lifestyle Gamification concept (known as the FD Lifestyle back then – living real life like a hardcore gamer).  This is the core philosophy that set me on the course of entrepreneurship, of being a speaker, a social activist, a career coach, a gamification expert and many more, and I want to share this to urge you in joining me in the passionate path of leveling up and completing cool quests that make a difference in this world.

Being a hardcore gamer is fun and makes you feel accomplished…temporarily

It all began in 2003. I was a hardcore Diablo II player back then, and I would spend a significant amount of time figuring out how would I build my character, assign the right skill points, assemble a team, and conquer difficult quests. I was quite good at the game and I helped a lot of my friends plan out their character skill charts and level up according to it.

Then came the time when my friends started quitting and moved on to another game. I quit too. During this time, I was in that transition phase between quitting a game and moving on to the next one, and I suddenly felt extremely empty.

I realized that I had I spent thousands upon thousands of hours getting more experience, leveling up, accumulating more gold, collecting better gear. And now I have nothing. My account will be deleted after 3 months of inactivity. It seemed like a big part of my life simply disappeared. What now?

Lifestyle Gamification: Pursuing a game that will last and be meaningful

So I started to think, what kind of game can I play that tons of people are playing, and they can’t just quit when the next big thing comes out? The conclusion I reached was: it’s pretty much the game of life.

So, if I were my own RPG character, I wouldn’t stay in town all day, be idle, and walk back and forth, back and forth. NO!! I would go out and kill monsters, get more experience, level up, and conquer cool quests of course.

I then realized that everyone is playing this game, but not everyone realizes it, especially when they are in high school or college. I figured that, if people are still in town just being idle, (watching TV, partying, not doing much with life) I can gain an edge by being out there getting more experience, meeting high level characters, assigning important skill points, and leveling up. Then one day they will realize (out of college) that they are playing this game too, and they will need experience to level up and overcome whatever quest they feel they should conquer with their lives. By then, I would be at level 20 or so with a strong head start.

Ultimately, my goal is to be the strongest player on my server.

Helping people level up and ally with them is the best way to conquer complex quests in this real world

In most MMORPGs, high level players can help lower level players level up faster. That’s what I have committed my life to do too: get people to realize they are playing this game and help them level up as fast as possible, so that we can help each other out in life(in Lifestyle Gamification, I call this Vertical Networking).

So I want to be the strongest in my field, and team up with all the strongest in other fields. Together we can complete cool quests to solve problems that the real world faces. In a game, the quest could be killing a monster or building a large empire. In the real world, a quest could be solving global warming, making a better search engine, or running a successful non-profit. The beautiful thing about this particular game is, when you play it, it can be just as thrilling, and it actually makes a difference in this world. You would have made a positive impact in peoples’ lives, and you would be wealthy and reputable if you play it well. Sounds like a good deal.

What money can’t get you, the Lifestyle Gamification can

In Lifestyle Gamification, we also call people who just want stability and comfortable lives NPCs. NPCs become the environment instead of living passionately. They live everyday to support their existence and buy cool stuff on the side. They slave for 5 days a week so they can do what they want on the weekends. If you think about it, this doesn’t make sense.

Why do you make money? You make money to increase the quality of life. But you spend so many hours in your life working anyway, that IS your quality of life. It makes little sense for people to pay a lot of money for you to be miserable your entire life. It makes a lot more sense to get paid a bit less, but have your whole life do what you are passionate about and play throughout.

I welcome you to join Lifestyle Gamification

So this is what I do. I work over 90 hours a week. I also play over 90 hours a week. People I have Lifestyle Gamified also spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to become a stronger player while accomplishing amazing things for their age. Because I feel like I have a better life than most people without necessarily being better in person, I want to bring the philosophy of combining work and play to people, whether through myself, my company culture, or the services/products that it provides.

I want people to have fun while working by doing what they are passionate about. I want those who are extreme in what they do (like hardcore gamers) to be extreme in what truly matters in this world. So for those who want to play their entire lives and become successful on the way, I welcome you to join Lifestyle Gamification. Lets ally up.

(To learn how to start the FD Lifestyle, go here: 4 Steps to Master Lifestyle Gamification )

Yu-kai Chou’s Guide to Resume Optimization

A resume is essential in getting a great job, but has been neglected by many. Your resume is the piece of document that creates a chance for recruiters to consider you as an employee. It doesn’t matter how amazing you are at interviewing or how brilliant you are for the job, without a good resume, you have nothing. I have reviewed and edited over a thousand resumes, and most resumes are nowhere near their full capacities. In fact, most resumes that I have seen are only about 10-15% of their actual capacity. People fail to recognize that resume building is a craft. A resume is a one?page representation that lets the company know that, given your GPA and experiences, can you:

1. Create unique value for the company
2. Fit within the company culture

Take your resume seriously

A resume is like a brochure for yourself. Companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and months of expert work to finalize on a brochure that can represent the company. The average student only spends a couple hours piecing vague descriptions together without considering what effects it will have on their recruiting process. Your one page resume is extremely valuable real estate, and everything you put on it must have a purpose. If a sentence does not create value in the recruiter’s mind, you should take it out; if a word does not create value, you should take it out. With a well-optimized resume, you would be able to get interviews even with a less than competitive GPA.

Few seconds to establish a connection

One thing to note is that most recruiters only spend around 10?25 seconds on each resume. Therefore, your resume must not only have good information, it must “feel” impressive. Within those few seconds, you need to already have made a connection with the recruiter. Having a high GPA is obviously the fastest way to do that, but I have seen resumes with extremely high GPAs get rejected simply because it was not put together in a way that makes the applicant seem valuable.

Build a holistic image of yourself

Recruiters are trying to figure out if you are a good person to be on their team. As a result, your resume must reflect you as a person, not just a brain. You must show that you are a well rounded, qualified individual as an employee, coworker, potential leader, and someone to hang out with. A very important concept to pay attention to is Diminishing Marginal Image, which means that if seven lines on your resume say you are good finance person, the eighth line that says you are a good finance person would mean little in the mind of the recruiter. Instead, say that you are a team player, an organized person, or did something creative, even though your next experience might still be dealing with finance.

Continue reading Yu-kai Chou’s Guide to Resume Optimization

The Top 53 Y-gines I have worked with.

Throughout my experiences, I have truly felt the difference in the quality of people and talents. I have always heard that one good programmers is better than ten bad ones, but it is only until this year that I really felt it, not just in engineering, but also in business operations and management.

I can say that my CMO Jun Loayza can finish four times more than what I can do in the same time period (I plan a little more carefully), and I already have a decent track record in finishing more than most people in a relatively short amount of time; one of my programmers can write 56 lines of code that does the exact same thing as 1,800 lines of code from another reputable software company. Having that one genius guy is like having 20 “good” programmers minus the waste of time trying to coordinate.

I’ve worked with a lot of people in my life, and there have been many who let me down. It’s not always that they lack competency, but often times its a matter of work ethics and attitude. Some people perform very well themselves, but they make their co-workers weaker; some people are extremely smart, but lack the execution abilities (sometimes known as a MBA issue).

Many also turn out to be quite flaky, both in communications and executions. I have therefore decided to compile a list of Y-Gens that I have worked with who are simply star performers. I call these people the Y-gines, since they are engines of performance in the Gen Y world. Having and not having these people on your team can literally get your team into a different league.

Note: If you think you should be on the list and are not, either I have not worked with you enough, or there’s something lacking for you to make list. Either way, send me a note, and I will tell you EXACTLY (according to my knowledge and subjective opinion) what you need to do to be on this list. Also, this list is in no exact order so don’t fret if you are not listed high. Finally, if you would like to suggest someone, let me know!

Here is a list of Y-Gines

  1. Jun Loayza: Future Delivery Co-founder/CMO
  2. Michael Cox: California Student Sustainability Coalition President
  3. Andy Tong: MMOABC Founder/CEO
  4. Stephen Johnson: Future Delivery CTO
  5. Chen Mei: Knowledge Master and UCLA Law Student
  6. Jason Jolley: Developer at Future Delivery
  7. Harold Tan: Founder of FastTrackFundraising
  8. Nicholas Chen: Architectural Designer from Taiwan
  9. Edward Lau: Entrepreneurial Bioengineering student from UCLA specializing in neuro-communication
  10. Jackie Laird: JAIC America Analyst on Clean Tech Ventures
  11. D’Artagnan Scorza: University of California Student Regent
  12. Stuysonnie Lam: UCLA Delta Sigma Pi President Fall 2008
  13. Ryuto Kawai: UCLA Materials Engineering Graduate; Business Operations Genius
  14. James Chen: Previous Lehman Brothers Analyst, now Barclays Capital
  15. Katiyana Williams: Bay Area Market Manager at Greenopia
  16. Ian John Lee: Haas MBA Student; former Deloitte Management Consulting Consultant
  17. Ben Chiang: Analyst at Bain Consulting
  18. Josh Yang: Analyst at LEK Consulting
  19. Elizabeth Han: Deloite Management Consulting Analyst
  20. Lorna Apper: Entrepreneurial UCLA PhD Student in Geographical and Environmental Studies
  21. Crystal Durham: California Student Sustainability Coalition Executive Director
  22. Nick Mcghie: Wells Fargo Summer Business Analyst
  23. Vivian She: Harvard PhD student
  24. Shin Kadota: Barclays Capital Financial Strategist
  25. Jason Somers: Project Manager for Pacific Crest Consultants
  26. Drew Steranko: Mathmatics and Accounting Graduate from Kansas University
  27. Tianqi Zhao: previous Lehman Brothers Hong Kong Analyst (anyone know what is he up to right now?)
  28. Dave Liu: Founder/CEO of Good Operating System
  29. Amy Nguyen Tran: UCLA Predental Graduate
  30. Peter Suberlak: Vice President of Professional Activities in UCLA Delta Sigmpa Pi Fall 2008
  31. Albert Chiang: UCLA Delta Sigma Pi Vice President of Professional Activities Winter-Spring 2008
  32. Joseph Yi: Campus CMO for Future Delivery
  33. Max Bottaro: Campus CMO for Future Delivery
  34. Karen Or: Sony Pictures Television Intern
  35. Sarah Cha: JPMorgan Chase Entertainment Industries Group Analyst
  36. Victor Shyu: Consultant at FTI Consulting
  37. Amy Wang: Analyst at PIMCO
  38. Steven Wallace: Future Delivery Developer
  39. Gabriel Mizrahi: Deloitte Management Consulting Analyst
  40. Alex Adams: UCLA Pre-law student
  41. Sam Fong: Entrepreneurial UC Merced Student
  42. Aniq Rahman: Cornell Student and Seriel Entrepreneur (HireCube, WatchmyCell, and BuzzinMedia)
  43. Jared Duval: Social writer and Senior Fellow at ecoAmerica
  44. Harsh Shah: Analyst at Hercules Technology Growth Capital
  45. Nicole Henderson: Senior Research Fellow at Green For All
  46. Lucas Johnson: Co-founder of the BeyondFire Institute
  47. Kevin Weil: Lead developer of Cooliris
  48. Michael Tung: Co-founder of Diffbot
  49. Amit Kulkarni: Founder of Manymoon
  50. Turner Kurt: Field Marketing Manager at Smule
  51. Richard White: CEO of
  52. Ben Christensen: Analyst at Silicon Valley Bank Capital
  53. Alan Hsia: Investment Analyst at Parakletos Ventures

Making sense of the Financial Crisis

I’m sure you all know by now about the Financial Crisis that’s been going on lately. But why did it happen? What does it mean to us as a country? Before anything, lets have a quick summary of what’s going on (I keep it updated as the days go by):

In a very short amount of time JP Morgan took over Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac were nationalized, Lehman Brothers filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch, and both AIG and WaMu are in serious trouble. The Government is now putting in $85 Billion to own 79.9% of AIG, in hopes to make an eventual liquidation event less dramatic. JP Morgan is looking to buy out WaMu too. Out of the big 5 investment broker-dealers, only Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are relatively out of the mess, but still have reported huge losses this year.

Lehman’s bankruptcy would be the largest failure of an investment bank since Drexel Burnham Lambert collapsed amid fraud allegations 18 years earlier. AIG has $1.1 trillion in assets and 74 million clients in 130 countries. If it falls apart, the world will definitely fall into some financial chaos (come Fight Club?).

So why is this happening? It’s primarily because of the nature of our economy. The United States economy is run on two things: Credit and Confidence. People lend money, live above their means, and look to pay it all back with their next 30 years of steady income. That’s why credit card companies are making big bucks here in the US, but less so in other nations. Also, the value of certain entities is not based on how much value it can PRODUCE, but more on how much value it is TO OTHERS. That instantly creates a “virtual economy” : something that works because everyone imagines it to work. In essence, money is a virtual good too. It is only worth something because everyone agrees that it does. A farm is a real good, and it produces real value that keeps people alive. However, people start to agree that a virtual good is worth many times that farm, and as long as you can convince the next person that this virtual good is EVEN more times that farm, you are fine. That’s why when people lose confidence in their currency, hyperinflation like what happened to Germany takes over, and the virtual goods on peoples’ hands become 1/10 of what they were worth yesterday, and everyone comes back to recognize the value of the farm. Unfortunately, it is not the farm owners who become millionaires, but the virtual goods people who go broke.

So how does this Credit – Confidence model lead to what is happening today? Early on, during the real estate inflation, Confidence was high, and a lot of bad loans (Credit) were thrown out there. Later on, people couldn’t pay up with their mortgage loans, and the Subprime Mortgage happened. This is the part where Credit goes bad. The economy tanked, and mortgage companies like Countrywide lost a lot of money. Confidence at this point is not looking stellar.

During this time of Credit gone bad, the 30x leverage that Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers had (for every $1 of asset, they had $30 of debt) wasn’t helping either. Bear Stearns fell apart when Confidence broke and all the entities were trying to withdraw money from it, causing it to be bought by JP Morgan. Lehman continued to suffer from heavy losses based on the bad Credit with the “Subprimates.” It was only holding on by Confidence too. Late August (and this is of course 2008), state-controlled Korea Development Bank engaged in talks about buying 25% of Lehman for $6B. However, it was reported that the Korean bank was “facing difficulties pleasing regulators and attracting partners for the deal,” and they withdrew from it. At this point, Lehman lost its last currency of Confidence, and while debtors wanted to pull money out, Lehman became insolvent and had to finally declare bankruptcy.

Now the Confidence factor is very tricky. It is like the prisoners dilemma in game theory. If everyone felt confident about the situation and kept their money where it is, then things will go fine. However, whoever withdraws their money will be safe themselves and screw over the rest of the people. In order not to get screwed over, everyone becomes the first to withdraw their money, and the system falls apart. This then becomes a situation where fear of a disaster is also the cause of that disaster, quite a self-fulfilling tragedy.

Does a nation have to live by the Credit-Confidence Model and go through this? Not necessarily. However, basing your economy on credit and confidence does make it grow a lot faster during boom (high confidence) times, just like wealth can grow faster if you borrow money to buy a house, and the guy down the street thinks its worth more than what you bought it for. The other side of the flip coin is that it also falls a lot harder when everyone is chasing after the same virtual good with relatively little end value. It is more of a choice based on cultural values. In Asian countries, most people live on the cash they have at hand, save a lot, and mostly start businesses that can be run by retained earnings or profits from previous businesses. In the US, more people rely their standard of living on credit cards and mortgages. The US lives on a huge international deficit, claiming that all is fine as long as it is somewhat relative to the GDP of THAT time. The US is set in a model that is bound to rotate between explosion and depression.

What does this mean for us? In a plane economics model, we should cut down on credit and increase inconfidence? If we all felt safe and do business as usual, things might work out. However, that’s not going to happen. We are all doomed into the “citizens dilemma” of trying to protect our own rights before thinking about the common good, particularly when you are sure that the other guy would do the same thing. When everyone stands up in the stadium in hopes to have a better view of the game, no one can see again. It will only take awhile before the brave optimists start to regain that confidence, somewhat of an “early adapter,”  and have that confidence spread across the nation again. That’s when you see the explosion in economy and a new hand of billionaires again.

As for now, you should definitely think about saving (maybe not in US dollars), consume less, and go on sites that get you a job.