Octalysis Primers Start Consulting Business – Part 2: Joel Schmidt

In our last post we introduced two passionate Octalysis Primers: Joel and Daniel Schmidt from Germany. If you missed it, check it out first.

These brothers, friends and now also business partners, recently started a consulting company named Smithery. They do UX consulting with a focus on digital learning experiences. Shortly after launch they are already working for two clients!

Joel Schmidt

Joel, age 21, is the younger brother of the two.

After High School I took a year of Bible School with the aim to find myself and figure out what I wanted to do.

I have experience with outdoor experiential education: group activities and team-building exercises and more and more got the feeling that I should do something with business consulting.”

During the interview we observed that we could really see Joel in a consulting position as he comes across as very disarming and kind.

We had a good laugh together when we mentioned that people would likely accept him telling them what they do wrong and should improve. To which Joel simply replied: “Yeah that’s true“, with a perfect disarming smile.

What is it like to work with your brother?

In April 2021 I felt in my heart that it was time to move on. I quit my job as a scaffolder and started Smithery with Daniel. It is great to work with my brother. We’ve had our difference in the past, but we grew very close together now. We often take a walk in the evening to really talk about stuff. Yeah, it’s really nice to have such a brother”

Daniel adds: “Amen to all of that. And Joel adds so much value to the way I do things. He sees so many things that I would completely miss because I’m all about the structure. Joel is like fluid; he understands my structure but can flow through it like water, making all sorts of connections.

How did you land on Octalysis Prime?

“When I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to do, Daniel suggested to sign up for Octalysis Prime.

He reasoned that no matter what I would choose, when working with people, understanding motivation will always help you.

Also even if it is just for yourself. It is very useful to learn more about what moves you, what you are hard-wired to do, and how to motivate yourself to do stuff.

What did you get out of Octalysis Prime?

Actually, the ‘side-stuff’ has helped me the most. I really resonated with the videos on how to improve your life. It has helped me a lot to structure my life better and make better choices.

For the business, the core about Gamification and the Octalysis framework provides a solid foundation. Particularly useful are the videos that cover the importance of thinking through the four phases of the User Journey.

Something great, and fun, about Octalysis is that it provides a language to talk about motivation in a much more meaningful way. We now see Core Drives everywhere! When watching a TV show we often point out to each other things like: “That is a really good Core Drive 2 example!”

Can you tell us something about your Octalysis Certificate?

Of the brothers Schmidt, Joel was the first to earn his prestigious Octalysis Level 1 Certificate.

It is really fun to analyze a product, like an app or website, and figure out how to make it more fun and engaging. Going through the steps of defining the Octalysis Strategy Dashboard definitely helps. It helps to make clear what is important for the design, and you can refer back to it during the Brainstorming to get the focus right.”

What the Future Holds

We are looking forward to seeing Smithery grow into a recognized consulting business in Germany, and to read your updates in the Slack Community. This is just the beginning.

Good luck and Prime On!

Octalysis Level 2 Certificate Achiever: Colin Hahn

“Wait, didn’t I already see a blog post about Colin Hahn’s Octalysis Certificate recently?”

Yes, you did, Colin is on a roll! He attained his Level 1 certificate with this submission about Talent Development. And very shortly after submitted for the prestigious Level 2 Octalysis Certificate, which he achieved in one go!

The chosen experience to analyse and improve is Leadership Engine, a program to develop new leaders at Douglas Dynamics.

Douglas Dynamics is a publicly traded manufacturing company. They produce work truck attachments and install attachments onto work truck chasses.

Currently, 230 of the 1,750 employees are in first-level leadership roles: Team leads, Operations managers and Office managers. But the new leader experience at Douglas Dynamics is inconsistent and ad hoc, creating a significant opportunity for the new Leadership Engine program to improve labor productivity, engagement, and turnover.

Colin diligently creates a full Octalysis Strategy Dashboard, capturing all the information required to guide the design process. For Level 2 this also includes Feedback Vehicles, Feedback Mechanics and Rewards.

By creating an Octalysis Graph to analyze the motivation provided by the current experience he identifies the key areas for improvement.

After Brainstorming for features to fill the gaps and make sure the new experience is motivating for the main Player Type, Colin created visuals to explain his ideas. A requirement for the Level 2 Certificate.

This is his proposal for an improved visual dashboard.

Congratulations Colin for reaching this impressive milestone and adding your name to the Hall of Fame! You’ve earned it.


Try out Octalysis Prime for FREE, if you also want to master all the skills required to motivate your employees.

Octalysis Primers Start Consulting Business – Part 1: Daniel Schmidt

Did you know that two of our Octalysis Primers are from the same town in Germany? What a coincidence, right?

Or maybe not so much, these two handsome men are actually brothers! But Daniel and Joel share much more than a last name, they are both:

– Passionate Gamers
– Driven to make learning more fun
– Co-owners of Smithery

Smithery – Forging great learning experiences

Unlike their own experience at German university, Joel and Daniel strongly believe that “learning can and should be something fun.”


Armed with knowledge about Human Motivation, Gamification and UX Design, they started a consultancy business. It is cleverly named Smithery; a place where powerful things are forged, by the brothers Schmidt.

They started working for their first client only two days after launch!

Daniel Schmidt

Daniel, age 29, is the older brother of the two.

In the past years I have worked with many organizations in the field where two things that are close to my heart come together: Nerd Culture and Christianity.

As a leading force for e.g. Allianzmission and MainQuest, he is well-connected and respected through-out Germany.

What is it like to work with your brother?

“I have worked with many different teams, and luckily we have so far always managed to establish a family like culture. But working with your actual brother is really something different.

The age difference between Joel and myself is quite big, 7,5 years. So when I was growing up and going through early adult struggles, Joel was still a child.

In recent years we have grown very close together, and have established a deep sense of openness and trust. Which I think is absolutely necessary because our working relationship is intertwined with our family relationship.”

How did Octalysis Prime help you start a business?

Daniel joined Octalysis Prime after reading Yu-kai’s book Actionable Gamification.

“I have had six years of study and research around topics like Motivational Psychology and Gameful Design at university. But my understanding of these topics came to a new level by digging into Yu-kai’s work. It is actually even bigger than that, a whole new world opened up!

There is also a lot of merit in being part of the OP Slack community. There are some people in the community who just breathe valuable information. And it is great to share different perspectives with like-minded people.

One repeated lesson that stood out to me is to always come back to thinking about motivation – the difference between Human-focused Design and Function-focused Design. To answer the question: joining Octalysis Prime helped with everything.

Can you tell us something about your Octalysis Certificate?

Daniel mentions that he is not all about certificates, as his main focus is on the intrinsic motivation for learning. But he is very happy that he put in the effort to obtain his prestigious Octalysis Level 1 Certificate:


“It is very helpful to take something that you think you know and have studied well, and then have somebody who really knows look at your work and give you feedback that brings you back to reality.

Because the required quality thresholds of the different certificate levels are really enforced it has real value. And it provides the reassurance for myself that I have learned something well.

I know so many people who managed to get their university degree that I won’t take any advice from. Earning an Octalysis Certificates really means something.”

Fun Fact

To wrap up the interview, Daniel shared an amusing story about Octalysis Prime:

He once spent half an hour to click the ‘Defend the Castle’ button in the Challenge Section of the Island exactly 100 times. This made the dragon fly away to patrol for a hundred times, but unfortunately did not reveal any Easter Eggs.

“You may all thank me for testing this so you don’t have to!”

(Button used to say ‘Defend the Castle’)

Part 2 Coming Soon!

A big thanks to Daniel for the interview! Read more about Joel Schmidt’s perspective in Part 2. Spoiler alert: “Joel is like fluid“.

Octalysis Certificate Achiever: Colin Hahn

After attending the Behavioral Design Masterclass last year, Colin signed up for a Premium yearly subscription on Octalysis Prime.

As an active user on the Island and steady participant of the weekly Live Coaching Sessions with Yu-kai, he became quite knowledgeable in Human-Focused Design.

Colin combines this knowledge with his expertise in Talent Development and often gives back as a valued member of the Slack community.

The chosen experience for his submission for the Level 1 Octalysis Certificate is his local Chapter for the Association for Talent Development. Check it for inspiration on organizing offline events!

Stay tuned for more, as Colin has already put in the hard work to submit for his Level 2!

Congratulations Colin on obtaining your Level 1 Octalysis Certificate and adding your name to the Hall of Fame.


If you want to dive deeper into Gamification, Behavioral Design and learn how to motivate your customers, your employees, your kids and yourself, try out Octalysis Prime for FREE!

Octalysis Certificate Achiever: Jędrzej Lewandowski

The success of last year’s Behavioral Design Masterclass is reflected in the quality of the re-submissions we still receive for the Level 1 Octalysis Certificate.

For example from Jędrzej Lewandowski from the Faculty of medicine, Medical University of Warsaw. He took the received feedback to heart and improved his submission well beyond the certificate requirements!

Jędrzej’s chose to analyze and improve the motivation of the members of Soli Deo to organize events for this Academic Catholic Association. Curious? Check out his submission below!

Congratulations Jędrzej for achieving this milestone and adding your name to the Hall of Fame!

We hope that Soli Deo will implement some of your Brainstorming ideas, especially those that emphasize on the already existing Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning cause.

Now it is clear for me how much more additional value I gain from doing the certificate, gaining the knowledge that I didn’t previously gain from just reading and listening. I am very glad that you spent so much time and gave me the output.

Jędrzej Lewandowski

You can find the workshop videos from the Behavioral Design Masterclass, and many more, on Octalysis Prime!

Octalysis Certificate Achiever: Eva Deutsch

Primers on Octalysis Prime often times are very successful in their work or business already. Take Eva Deutsch with 20 years of consulting background who owns the independent game design and development studio BrainBrosia Entertainment.

BrainBrosia covers the entire range of game design, development, art/graphic, and production. While focussing mainly on mobile games, they developed for other platforms as well.
From this position, Eva decided to join Octalysis Prime to level up her skills even further.

Eva’s submission covers the MVP (minimal viable product) of a recruiting app that her company BrainBrosia is testing with medium-sized companies. The candidates go through a Story-driven Swiping app where they learn about the company while engaging with tasks related to the new job.

Eva took the feedback on her first submission to heart, and delivered a great resubmission qualifying for the Level 1 Octalysis Certificate. Congratulations, Eva. Well deserved.

Thanks for your profound feedback. I have tried to include everything you suggested (even have drawn all Octalysis frameworks and redraw slides for transparency).

Eva Deutsch

Do you want to join a community of learners and bring your knowledge of Human-Focused Design to the next level?
Don’t hesitate to try out Octalysis Prime for free!

Octalysis Certificate Achiever: Ashley Nielsen

One of the most rewarding things about the Octalysis Certification process is seeing people learn and progress with feedback. Ashley is a good example of someone who learned a lot in little time.

For her Octalysis Certificate submission, Ashley tackled the Epic! children’s reading app. This app encourages children age 12 and under to read more books and allows teachers to track the activity of pupils.

Ashley also has her own Learning Architecture Consulting company. With a total of 20+ years of experience in the field of Education Design, Learning Architecture helps the best among educators and institutions to desgin educational processes that make their vision a reality. They create customized designs for each system of education.

After only one round of feedback, Ashley delivered a quality submission. Especially her Analysis of the Current Experience is worth taking a look at.

Congratulations, Ashley! Your Octalysis Certificate is well deserved.

“Thank you so much for your thoughtful feedback. I am slowly making my way through it and making improvements. This process is certainly clarifying many of the concepts. So glad I did it!”

Ashley Nielsen