Why Status Points Matter: Game Technique #1 – Status Points

Game Technique #1: Status Points

Yu-kai wrote Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, & Leaderboards several years ago in the middle of the buzz era of gamification. His argument was simple: there is something in gamification (what he called Human-Focused Design) that IS important and useful in designing experiences for humans.

Yu-kai wanted to differentiate the knowledge he had acquired from 10,000 hours of playing and studying games (not to mention his consulting work with hundreds of companies) from other organizations who were jumping on the gamification trend without the expertise.

Thus, the title of the book.

But Game Technique #1: Status Points, still matter.

Let’s start with status.

Status is a huge motivator in many areas of life. Recognition of status stems from our neurobiological ‘settings’ as humans. Even lobsters, who diverged from humans 350 million years ago, have hierarchy and have status in that hierarchy. Once a lobster loses a fight, it won’t fight the same lobster again. In your experiences, you don’t have to make your hierarchies quite so rigid.

Continue reading Why Status Points Matter: Game Technique #1 – Status Points

Octalysis Prime Community Game Techniques: January 2018

Octalysis Prime Community Game Techniques: January 2018

Every week in Octalysis Prime, members share game techniques they find in the wild. 

Each week, a game technique is selected to the Short List for 2018 OP Community Game Techniques.

Here are January’s…

Fog of War

This is an approach to anything represented by a map, a technique used in strategy games and some RPGs.

In it’s most simple form, the entire map starts hidden by the Fog of War.
When the player moves himself or his pieces, the fog disappear, revealing the map underneath.

Adds an element of unpredictability (CD7) and choices regarding exploration with instant feedback (CD3).

Continue reading Octalysis Prime Community Game Techniques: January 2018

Mayur Kapur Wins the Food Heroes Octalysis Design Challenge

The Octalysis Group loves putting design challenges to our larger gamification community because we know a movement is growing around Human-Focused Design and we want to tap into the potential of many designers and thinkers in this community. After the success of the Food Heroes Octalysis Design Challenge, there will surely be more design challenges on the near horizon.

The design challenge was arguably the hardest The Octalysis Group has designed yet. Entrants were required to show demonstration of Octalysis Gamification as well as submit a Strategy Dashboard, Octalysis Ideation/Brainstorming, and visual deliverables such as Concept Wireframes/Storyboarding.

Because of the difficulty, several significant prizes were also up for grabs, including exposure on Octalysis Prime (immortalized design), a Level 2 Octalysis Gamification Certificate, and the potential to interview with The Octalysis Group.

Mayur Kapur was drawn to the challenge after being a fan of Yu-kai Chou’s work for several years. He saw the past work The Octalysis Group did with Food Heroes and JUCCCE and also saw the promise in future work with the Food Heroes program in China. The Food Heroes mission is both about sustainability and making the planet a better place, but also in creating agents for that change in the children we are raising today. And it all starts with the food they eat, and the food their parents eat. The idea is simple but powerful, educating children to take responsibility for what they eat and also for their bodies and health will make the world a better place in the present and in the future.

Mayur learned from previous entries to the Habitica Design Challenge (see Ivan Milev’s Habitica Design Challenge submission) as well as the SuperBetter Design Challenge to ensure his design proposal fit the needs and quality required by The Octalysis Group but also by the Food Heroes team. The Food Heroes team provided several informational interviews to give background on their extensive goals, including specific obstacles to overcome. After all, the winner of the challenge would be able to contribute to the Food Heroes continuing goals of implementing 1) Teacher training to millions of teachers; 2) A 12-month subscription box with food education elements.

The potential impact of such a design challenge was also something Mayur was eager to contribute to, and his expression of this desire was a great start to the interview call with the Food Heroes team. Mayur clearly wanted to win the challenge, and had passionate responses to all questions which showed the depth of his 30+ slide presentation and design but also the detailed and methodical nature of his thought process.

Here is Mayur’s submission.


The Octalysis community was not short on great proposals. The other finalists, Simón Duque and Ulric Kenji Kurashige submitted excellent proposals, making it a tough decision.

But Mayur stood out. And it is a pleasure to announce him the Winner of The Octalysis Group’s Food Heroes Design Challenge with Food Heroes and JUCCCE!

So you don’t miss future design challenges, join Octalysis Prime to be the first to know about our next challenge!

Thank you to all participants! And see you next time for another exciting challenge and a chance to showcase your Octalysis Gamification knowledge to the world!

Why Sales Manager Motivation Needs A Makeover

This guest post was written by Jonathan Palay, Co-founder of CommercialTribe.

Why Sales Manager Motivation Needs A Makeover

Use new levers to improve performance

Previously, we explored the core drivers of motivation in the sales organization and why our traditional coin-operated, compliance-driven sales culture may finally be ripe for disruption in Why Seller Motivation Needs a Makeover.

Conventional wisdom suggests that we place more training and development emphasis on the seller. Look no further than the budget spent on training sellers vs. managers. In this article, let’s explore why the frontline sales manager is actually the key to change, their current sources of motivation, and how to disrupt the status quo to build a sustainable revenue generating machine.

Sales Managers’ Complex Task List

Most sales managers started as great sellers. Then, they are promoted into a management position where we expect them to gain a completely new skill set than the one that made them a successful seller overnight. Here are just a few of the common tasks sales managers are expected to perform on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis:

  • Field Travel or Joint Calling
  • 1on1s and Team Meetings
  • Forecast Reviews
  • Pipeline Reviews
  • Deal Reviews
  • Account Plan Reviews
  • Territory Plan Reviews
  • Win / Loss
  • Quarterly Business Reviews
  • Performance Reviews
  • Hiring and Recruiting
  • Rewards and Recognition
  • Training

The sales management hierarchy uses Core Drive 8: Loss and Avoidance to drive compliance and ensure these tasks are happening on schedule. Are our reps doing effective discovery? Join the sales call. Forecast needs to roll up. Better vet it. Is a key deal we’re forecasting to close qualified? Deal review time.

We expect managers to perform these tasks. But doing them well…that’s another story. Try sitting in a forecast review and you may be less confident about the forecast, but you will learn more about that particular seller’s upcoming weekend plans!

Don’t Miss Your Quota

Managers, like sellers, are on a variable comp plan. But, instead of being responsible for one quota, managers are responsible for a team quota. The average sales manager gets about 50% of his sellers to goal, but that is not going to cut it. So how do sales managers make plan? Most managers have a couple stars they can count on to overachieve and maybe they even sell a few deals themselves.

The quota system relies on Core Drive 6: Scarcity and Impatience as managers race to capture their earnings opportunity for the time period before it evaporates. It’s no wonder busy sales managers feel justified abandoning some of the tasks we previously explored that don’t help them draw a straight line toward delivering their number this quarter. For everyone in the sales organization, the short-term pressure to hit quota can feel overwhelming. What’s a sales manager to do?

Overreliance on Black Hat Core Drives is Fatiguing

Core Drives 6 and 8 are Black Hat, making us feel obsessed, anxious, and addicted. While they are very strong in motivating behavior, in the long run they leave us feeling fatigued because we feel like we have lost control.

For the sales manager, this often means managing their team feels more like a game of Survivor than a successful career. When half of your reps are underperforming, you have open headcount and one of your best sellers is threatening to quit, it can feel like the job never ends. It’s no wonder managers are left feeling overwhelmed and underdeveloped. As a result, the tasks we expect them to perform to help their team hit quota are either sub-optimized or abandoned entirely.

Getting More Of Your Sales Managers To Plan

The sales manager role has gotten far more complex over the years, but we are still using the same motivational drivers to try to achieve our goals. With today’s millennial-minded sales manager who is looking to be developed and not just hit a number, these forces threaten to either burn people out or churn them out of your organization entirely.

Sales and enablement leaders need a thoughtful plan to counteract these forces that drives long-term engagement and skills mastery. These are known as White Hat drivers. White Hat drivers make us feel powerful, fulfilled and satisfied. It may sound obvious, but consistently getting more managers to plan relies on getting more sellers to plan. And the only reliable way to get more sellers to plan is to develop your sales managers into coaches.

Light The Coaching Fuse

We’ve all had a coach at some point in our lives. When effort meets opportunity it feels like anything is possible. That’s what it feels like to be coached. On the flip side, coaching has its own rewards. Phil Collins said: “In learning you will teach and in teaching you will learn.”

Use Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning and Calling, to help your sales managers realize their higher purpose beyond just delivering their team quota. The best way to tap into their inner Tony Robbins is to coach the coach. Observing sellers in action to provide coaching is commonplace through joint calling or even field travel, but for some reason we don’t apply the same philosophy to our managers. Help them realize their calling by sitting in a one-on-one between manager and seller. Don’t talk, just listen, and then use this observation to coach the coach. Coaching your managers to become better coaches will light the motivational fuse that reminds them why they became a sales manager in the first place!

Give Your Sales Managers A Choice

To many, coaching is one of those disciplines that is way more art than science. But if you are going to democratize coaching for all your managers, you will need to demystify what the best coaches in the world do intuitively.

Use Core Drive 3: Empowerment and Creativity to not only get all your managers on the same page, but also make them feel enfranchised in the process. To do so, look no further than the list of activities expected of sales managers we discussed above. I’m sure you have a point of view on what should happen during those activities. Build a list of criteria.

Now here’s the magic: Put those criteria in front of your sales managers and let them choose which criteria matter to them. What they choose may be different than what you intended but by giving them a choice, they are FAR more likely to use them to coach their teams.

Time for Your Motivation Makeover

The Black Hat core drives that motivate sales manager behavior aren’t going away anytime soon. And even the White Hat techniques discussed won’t be sustained without becoming part of a larger system that makes managers feel like coaching isn’t such a deadlift each time.

Think about what drives motivation for your sales managers. Do you feel like the shoe might drop any quarter? Is it time for a sales manager motivation makeover? Try integrating these white hat techniques into a quarterly plan focused on improving one interaction within the teams workflow. For your sales managers, the goal is to establish a system that puts sales team development on auto pilot.

Jonathan Palay is Co-Founder at CommercialTribe, a SaaS platform to onboard, develop and coach sales professionals.  Read more of Jonathan’s work here.

Yu-kai Chou’s most important project: Octalysis Prime (OP) finally launches!

Octalysis Prime Gamification

Have you read Yu-kai’s book? Seen the lectures? Watched the TED talk? Joined the Facebook group?

There is so much great free content out there, but the majority of it is for beginners. If you’re ready to take the next step in your journey and truly transform your life with a passionate community, Octalysis Prime is the ultimate place to be.

If you have been wondering why Yu-kai himself hasn’t been sharing more advanced content here on this blog in the past 6 months, it is because he has been dedicating all his time preparing for today’s launch for his ultimate Gamified Learning Platform: Octalysis Prime.

For today’s launch, Yu-kai has already created over 300 exclusive educational videos, a gamified platform that tracks your Core Drives growth while unlocking new powers, and a direct way to connect with him via regular Office Hours.

Everything Yu-kai Chou has Learned

Since Yu-kai’s goal is to pass on the entirety of his knowledge via a Gamified Platform, Yu-kai will cover everything from the most advanced knowledge in Gamification Design (he was elected #1 Gamification Guru by top organizations multiple times), Behavioral Science (the backing of his Octalysis Framework), Entrepreneurship (Yu-kai has started many companies with industry-recognized successes), and living life effectively (Gamifying Productivity, Wellness, Education).

Exclusive educational videos not available anywhere else

Watch hundreds of educational videos developed by Yu-kai Chou at your own time and pace. As you watch the videos, various Core Drives will grow and unlock new powers within Octalysis Prime (ranging from Leveling Up Faster, Opening the Daily Chest more than once a day, to lowering your monthly payments by 40%!)

Octalysis Feedback Companion

Connect personally with Yu-kai Chou

Companies pay tens of thousands of dollars to invite Yu-kai to speak to their employees and get their questions answered. When you join Octalysis Prime, you’ll get to connect with Yu-kai during live Office Hours or in the Slack community.

Live Office Hours with Yu-kai Chou

Got a question or need advice? Then join the Office Hours with Yu-kai Chou that are held multiple times a month during convenient times for members located all over the world.

During Office Hours, Yu-kai answers personal questions of his past and lessons learned, gives advice on member work or personal project/decisions, looks at designs and interfaces while sharing how to improve the user experience. Everything corporate clients get during Paid Consulting would be covered in Office Hours.

Slack Yu-kai Chou some questions

Prefer chat over video? Slack Yu-kai Chou a message at any time and he’ll respond back with an answer. Of course, unless the passionate community of Octalysis Prime charter members don’t beat him to it.

OP Slack Top Gamification Gurus

You’ll absolutely love the community, and I trust that you will become an inherent part of why others would love it too!

A message from Yu-kai Chou:

Dear Friends,

After TONS of hard work, sweat, tears, persistence, creativity, and FUN, we are happy to announce that the Octalysis Prime Island has finally launched!

Octalysis Prime has been my most important project, allowing me to share the entirety of my knowledge (in gamification, behavioral design, entrepreneurship and life in general), while showing the world how a good CD3 gamification platform can be done.

Of course, it is still in the preliminary days, and right now this is an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). However, we already have 200 vibrant members in the community with over 300 educational videos created (I put A LOT of time into this…and I’m still creating 2-3 videos a week!).

Many members have even found dream jobs (working at The Octalysis Group, Music Educational Company, Accenture, and more) with the support of Octalysis Prime.

I want this to be a truly transformative experience – so every member can look back at their Pre-OP days and wonder how they managed to get by without the knowledge, skills and connections (not to mention passion) that they now take for granted.

And none of this is possible without you.

You are the reason why I could do this. With you on board, we are literally making history in the Gamification and Education Platform Industries. Lives will become better and societies improved because of it (I am not using a hyperbole – I’ve already seen it happen!) For this, my entire team and I thank you for it.

Even though Octalysis Prime is a $50/mo experience (MUCH lower than tuition for any college course but potentially much more impactful), I believe it will be a transformative investment for you. Out of all the investments available (including Bitcoin!), investing in YOURSELF is the only way to guarantee Lifelong Returns and Dividends. (For instance, there are a few books that I read that helped me or my company make AT LEAST $100K – $200K more…and that knowledge will keep on applying for the next 50 years!)

So here is my invitation to enjoy the Island experience. Learn as much as you can from my educational videos. Bond with as many members as you can in the Slack Community, and see your life transformed into breakaway success.

I hope you have the Most Epic 2018 Imaginable. With Octalysis Prime, I will be there alongside your journey. Prime On!!

Start your Gamified Transformation today

Join the community of hundreds of dedicated, passionate professionals and learn how to use Octalysis, Gamification, and behavioral design to improve your personal and professional life.

Join the Ultimate Learning Journey: Octalysis Prime now!