Octalysis Certificate Achiever: Sameh Ibrahiem Emam

The New Level I Octalysis Certificate

In 2020, we have massively revamped our Octalysis Certificates. We have raised the bar in terms of what is required to obtain a Level 1 Octalysis Certificate.

The intention is that, if you have a Level I or II Octalysis Certificate, you are capable of applying the Octalysis Framework and principles to projects, much like what consultants at The Octalysis Group does.

For those who don’t know, here are the requirements for the Level I Octalysis Certificate.

Also, here is the list of amazing individuals who have obtained their Level 1 and Level 2 Octalysis Certificates

“Plastic Water Bottles & Water Bottling Industry” from Sameh Ibrahiem Emam.

We like to showcase the work of people who have obtained their certificates to showcase the standard of quality required to get the Level I Octalysis Certificate, as well as get a taste of things people will learn in my Octalysis Prime mentorship platform.

Sameh obtained his level 1 Octalysis Certificate with his submission “Plastic Water Bottles.” Sameh designed his own plastic water bottle with an accompanying app in an effort to reduce plastic waste. Check it out!

Congrats Sameh. Your future in gamification and behavioral design is bright!

Preparing for the Post-Covid Resistance

How bad is the Covid-19 Corona Virus

So there are two issues to consider here:

1) virus/health/quanantine (natural disaster)
2) lockdown/economy/social unrest (man-caused issue)

For (1) the question is how bad is it and are the human actions overreacting. If you look at this graph, if countries don’t take extreme measures, it grows radically fast.

With all the underreporting I think things are way worse than it is (many places even if you have symptoms you can’t get tested due to resources. A governor in Mexico said that the data shows confirmed cases only have rich people and therefore poor people aren’t at risk, without thinking it may be that only rich people can get tested.

I think there is an issue with people comparing historical disaster numbers (that have ended) with CURRENT COVID damage (oh look, this historical thing was 12x worse). But COVID is still doubling every few days and we might just be seeing the beginning.

Also, counting deaths to confirmed cases is also an illusion because based on exponential growth, the deaths today are from the much smaller population of confirmed cases a few weeks ago, so match with the denominator of TODAY it appears small.

Perhaps an interesting comparison would be with “resolved” cases, namely deaths vs recovered ratios.

Many regions show numbers closer to 1 death for every 2 recovered people.All this is to say, don’t underestimate it please. The power of exponential curves means that in one day it could cover more ground than the whole previous month. It’s a life or death situation that should be treated seriously.

Yea, we lose a lot of freedom, but if each person has an invisible fused bomb on him/her, I’m sure we would agree losing that freedom temporarily until the bomb threat is resolved would be a prudent move.

Most nations are doubling between 2 to 10 days. Some people say that our lockdown measures are like an elephant getting attacked by a house cat, and in panic, jumped off a cliff (the reaction was more dangerous than the threat).

Well, look at New York. New York was a “calm elephant” that didn’t take strong measures until much later, and now it’s the new Wuhan with some describing it as an apocalyptic war zone.

I know there is a lot of different info out there and perspectives, but for you and your own family I would urge you to be cautious. I already know over a dozen people in my own personal network (none of them Asian) who have COVID. It’s pretty bad and doesn’t just effect the elderly.

Even if you recover it could leave permanent lung damage.
No need to panic, but take cautious steps. Having a calm mind with active (and cleanly washed) hands is good.

There is an estimation that if no or late extreme measures happening, this will end up with about 10 – 50 Million deaths worldwide. The range is pretty large and I believe in it (IF countries and people continue to act the way they are).

In that effect, locking down economies and the DEVASTATING impact MAY be still worth it. Which leads us to (2)

(2) The human-caused economic crisis due to a lockdown…I think would be way worse than previous recessions. Previous recessions were usually about the financial “elite” (as a convenient word but not saying they are better) using too much leverage and suffering: bankers, financial firms, investors, technologists, even home owners. But the foundational economy could still run pretty well.

Waiters, cashiers, and factory workers were obviously indirectly impacted but still made money and spent it at grocery stores. The financial “elite” later on uses this foundation to build back their wealth.This time around the foundational economy is being wiped.

Most restaurants, manufacturers, airlines would go bankrupt in 2-3 months of this lockdown (which is why the US Gov approved $2 Trillion to try to keep them alive). I think this would lead to massive unemployment.

Case in point, Nevada’s historical high in unemployment/week was 8,945 in 2009. A couple weeks ago their unemployment claim was 92,300.

Just for the last week of April, California received 533,568 unemployment claims. I still think this is still just the beginning of the iceberg (unfortunately…)

With this MASSIVE amount of unemployment, there is going to be social unrest, desperation, racial aggression and more. It is for this reason why I left the US as this would not be good for my twin daughters Symphony and Harmony. (Taiwan has a stable society and I believe the worst is already over here).

So onto the (semi) good news:

The Post-Covid Resistance: Beginning of the Heroes Journey.

I believe the virus issue will be dealt with in 2-8 months. I believe the economic issue would last for 3-5 years.

But during this time there is a huge reshuffling too.

Political structures, power and influence distribution, old way of doing things – all this stuff would be shuffled up.In stable times, a lot of things are locked up in Ice and move extremely slowly.

In chaotic times, things become fluid like water (before they stabilize and becomes Ice again). This means that better than any time in history, we are able to hustle and strategically position ourselves to make an impact in the Post-COVID world, replace broken systems in the old world, and achieve things that were never possible before.

In my mind this is like after the Terminator Judgment Day, the remaining humans (who were NOT in power nor respected prior) need to come together and protect humanity against new threats (hmm…like AI-powered robots taking over).

At least for myself, this new sense of purpose at least fills me with hope and drive (instead of just doomsday survival mentality).

I immediately think about 100 things I need to do to make this positioning happen for myself during this 3-5 year reshuffling period.

I plan to share this journey with everyone in hopes more people get inspired and join me on this too.Of course, if I’m the only person passionate about this, I would still do it as it is providing me many benefits. I just hope more people can be on this journey with me too.

We can be part of the Post-Covid Resistance together.

How to become Irreplaceable in your Company

In Times of Crisis, all the rules change

In times of change, it’s often a good idea to think about how to become more irreplaceable in your company. Many organizations use times of crisis as an opportunity to “trim the fat” – looking at people that are just doing okay things at okay levels but usually not bad enough to let go.

In times like these they start to evaluate who in a company actively takes the company to new levels or at least increases the chances of the company surviving.

And the unfortunate thing is, most of the time the people who are doing the best work are not recognized compared to the people who are good at getting credit.

Case in point (I literally just thought of this as I am writing this email): many years ago I helped my wife who was working at a big bank write an email to her VP.

He immediately printed it out and asked to meet with her. In the meeting he exclaimed that she saw everything that he is worried about so clearly and he decided to give her a lot more new responsibilities on an important project.

The project my wife spearheaded turned out to be the only project that was launched within the deadline AND within budget in her seven years of being there.

Now here’s the kicker, a year later the VP met with her again, and he said, “If you had not written that email to me a year ago, you would have actually been laid off…failure to recognize talent is Management’s fault but I’m glad we didn’t make that mistake.”

Here’s the thing. My wife has financial engineering skills that is way beyond me. She will often discover calculation flaws in a large institution that would take three months to mathematically prove to coworkers! However, she’s not good at empathetic writing, human motivation, and behavioral design. That’s where my strengths came in handy.

Now I didn’t think I would actually save my wife’s job when I wrote that email, but based on the motivation profiles of her coworkers, I thought it would be a helpful thing to do (and yes I do listen carefully to my wife when she talks about her day).

Again, just because you are good at your job doesn’t mean your value is recognized by your company.

Another one of my talents is to create visual models and frameworks (here’s an Octalysis Prime video about how I figured out my strengths).

This one up here is the 2×2 Corporate Matrix. While I don’t want to spend a lot of time going through this in detail, they key here is that some people try to thrive in an organization through strong political skills, while some try to thrive through strong performance. Of course there are people who have both.

The key here is that, during times of peace and stability, political skills often get rewarded. After all, since everyone is comfortable, the motivation to not disturb/anger others exceeds that of delivering great work.

But that suddenly flips around during times of crisis. It’s a do-or-die situation for both the organization and the managers that make career-affecting decisions. They are not going to risk performance/survival just for those that make them emotionally feel good (employees that go golfing with them and do mutual home BBQs)

Ever wonder how startups with only twenty people and very little money can beat huge companies with twenty-thousand people and billions of dollars? (Often these large corporations simply give up and buy the startups for a Billion Dollars).

It’s because for a startup it is ALWAYS do-or-die. Every startup employee needs to constantly learn new skills and unleash their full potential because… the default is death.

If one team member performs mediocrely, that’s 5% of the organization being mediocre! As a result, everyone NEEDS to be Performers and Stars in the above 2×2 framework, and there is no room for Politicians. 

This compared to big companies in peaceful times – most people just work hard enough to get a paycheck, and then they stop. Extra energy is dedicated to playing politics as that gets rewarded the most.

Few people go on to learn disruptive new skills, take on innovative new projects (after all, why risk all this comfort for a chance of failure?), or come up with new systems to mobilize their workplace. 

During a crisis, just like working in startups, EVERYONE has to become a Performer or Star. This means that everyone should look at doing these things:

  1. Learn brand new sellable skills for the new economy
  2. Go beyond your responsibilities and start innovative projects that could increase your value or the strength of your organization (potentially more importantly – be recognized for it)
  3. Improve on persuasive and empathetic communication skills to guide Management and help them feel secure BECAUSE of your involvement
  4. Start taking initiative and coordinate with other departments to help them charter through new challenges (such as working remotely)

For myself, I immediately looked to innovate in the Remote Work space and created the REMOTE Work Cultural Framework. It has drawn a lot of attention (virtual speeches, podcasts, book request) in just a week!

Of course, I’m not stopping there. There are a hundred things I want to do and learn in order to come out 5x stronger than before the crisis started.

What about you? What have you been doing to ensure that you are making yourself more irreplaceable in your workplace? Or at least, what is your game plan for this? Because business-as-usual is not going to work. Doing the exact same thing and hoping things will work out is not a winning strategy.

Would love to hear back on your plans to survive and thrive through the COVID Crisis and become multiple times stronger in the Post-Covid Economy.

Quick Reminder: the Tier II 30% Early Bird Discount to my 30-day Behavioral Design Masterclass expires April 10th

I’m sending this reminder because I keep getting emails from people that tell me, “Ah! I missed the cutoff for the early bird discount! There just wasn’t a trigger to remind me about it! Could I still get the discount?”

The Tier II Early Bird discount of 30% off expires at midnight on April 10 (depending on your timezone but we usually give a small grace period). So if you feel like you may end up getting these tickets sooner or later, it would be a good idea to get your ticket today and save: http://bit.ly/yu-kaichou

I’ve already said plenty about the 30-Day Behavioral Design Masterclass so won’t boggle you down here besides that I’ll be sharing the best skills and practices currently available to me, and you will get plenty of guided hands-on practice.

Also, if you need more time to decide, don’t worry either because after April 10 it would only drop down to the Tier III Early Bird Discount (25% Off), so you’ll still be able to get it at a comfortable discount.

Here’s another big text link that takes you to the 30-Day Behavioral Design Masterclass. 

(Cuz you probably were just skimming through this blogpost)

It’s time to Upgrade Yourself and Create Next-Level Stuff!

I “fled” to Taiwan right before the California lockdown

This is going to be a time of change and reshuffling. There is a 3-5 year period to hustle and strategically position ourselves to create positive impact in this world.

On March 17th, the moment we heard that our city in the San Francisco Bay Area will start to go through a stay-home quarantine in midnight, we bought a one-way ticket for the whole family to fly to Taiwan.

We literally had two hours to pack out of the blue, and could only bring the essentials for a trip that could be anywhere between 3-8 months. Usually it takes two hours to pack for a one-day trip for my twin daughters, but this time it was like escaping an army of plague. We only grabbed what we needed to survive the plane flight, and planned to figure out where to live and what to wear after.

Taiwan was one of the first countries to get hit by COVID-19, as every week there were 150,000 people commuting between Taiwan and China.

But Taiwan managed it very well and so far has only experienced 3 deaths to date. When we left the US on the 17th we believe (and still believe) the worst was yet to come. In Taiwan we believe the worst is already over (these 2 weeks due to a mass reverse-exodus of people like me, Taiwan’s cases jumped from 50ish to 300ish with deaths 2 and 3 during this time too, but it is not the fault of Taiwan operations and they still handle things very well as will explain below).

Also, Taiwan is very aggressive in testing people so the numbers should be exhaustive (as opposed to many countries saying you have symptoms would not get you treated if you did not travel). Even after the virus wave, I believe there will be so many/much bankruptcies, unemployment, social unrest, and aggression towards Asians that it wouldn’t be an ideal place to stay for my daughters.

Here’s what Taiwan is doing:

All foreign returns including myself are self-manage quarantined for 14 days.

What makes Taiwan stand out is that my neighborhood head (like mayor but for the neighborhood) calls around 2-3 times a day to make sure my family is staying home and feeling well (we get individual calls for each individual in the family).

The CDC also texts us daily to make sure we are feeling well, and if not, responding to the text would trigger a special vehicle to take us to the hospital (many global cases were results from Taxi rides to the hospitals).

Even at home, I’m supposed to be wearing a face mask at all times to make sure other family members are not affected (btw, since most sick people don’t know they are sick, saying you should only wear masks if you are sick is not useful).

The Taiwanese government also provides some money for each day of self-quarantine to ease economic impact or get a helper to buy food for individuals etc.

Last week they even sent a full police force to bust into nightclubs, Karaokes, and markets proactively to escort violators back home and fine them $3K – $30K USD which is substantial for a Taiwanese salary.

Again, the people who are fined huge amounts are not confirmed cases, just foreigners returning from risky areas are supposed to be quarantined.

The government is taking no chances of this breaking out. Everyone is afraid of the chink in the armor for the national defense and is preventing that outbreak in all means.

What’s also unique is that each sick person has a unique number. So everyday in the news we will see statements like, “We now know #25 transmitted to #36 as they were attending the same school in the UK. #43 recovered and returned home from the hospital last Tuesday but a follow up check shows that she seems to be getting worse again.”

This is why despite being the inconvenienced quarantine foreign returns, I feel much safer and better being here in Taiwan than anywhere else in the world.

This whole experience became a prelude for me to think about the Post-COVID Resistance, which I will talk about in another post.

Now is the Time to Upgrade Yourself for the New Economy

Online Learning Platform

The world is changing fast, and so must you.

This is the time to upgrade your skills for the new economy
In the past few weeks, the whole world was shaken up. Companies that seem invincible are ceasing operations and in risk of insolvency. Jobs that were thought to be the most stable are seeing the rug pulled out from under their feet. Even the strongest nations in the world (if you look at GDP) were brought down to their knees.

The world is changing rapidly, and therefore so must you. I believe the health/lockdown issues would go away in 3-8 months. But afterwards, unemployment caused by bankruptcies during the shutdown will impact us for the next 3-5 years.

During this time, I believe all the things we already knew the world was moving towards would be coming sooner than expected: 

  1. Companies will take this cease-in-operations to replace their infrastructure with robotics/AI
  2. Remote teams will become more popular, as companies try to continue to save money on travel/flights
  3. Each individual needs to learn to use more tools to make up for a reduced but more efficient workforce
  4. There will be a global surplus in “labor” (systematic work) but a global shortage in “talent” (creative and problem-solving work)
  5. The world will change at an accelerating pace. What you know now may become obsolete 5 years from now

While I am preparing myself and my own team for this, I wanted to make sure this also doesn’t hit my Octalysis audience by surprise. The (half-way) good news is that, this is also an opportunity to position yourself and give yourself an edge in the new economy.

If you’ve ever watched Game of Thrones, the cunning (but villainous) character Petyr Baelish states that “Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder.” Of course, we aren’t going to purposely create chaos like a villain just to climb the ladder (aren’t they supposed to be chillin’?) – but when chaos strikes, we can and should be prepared for it.

Earlier this year the World Economic Forum published a list of Top 10 Skills in 2020. I made a 3-Part Video on Octalysis Prime to explain why these are important skills in the future, as well as what has changed since their list in 2005 (Negotiation, Quality Control, Active Listening got nerfed, while Creativity, Emotional Intelligence, and Cognitive Flexibility got buffed).

Watch Part 2: https://vimeo.com/384891095/ef3848258f
Watch Part 3: https://vimeo.com/384892323/bf549f207c

Here’s also another video I made on How to Become more Visionary as a Leader:

So what’s your plan to upgrade yourself? 

Now is the time to make a plan on how you would acquire needs skills, crafts, and upgrade your Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Creativity skills. It doesn’t have to be through my materials (of course I will try my best to keep up myself and share the latest things I’ve learned), but when things are changing so quickly, standing still would likely be the worse action of them all.

Would love to hear back on what you have been doing or plan to do to upgrade yourself for this new economy. Time to take things next level! 

Let’s get through these turbulent times together! 

Yu-kai Chou
Chief Mentor for Octalysis Prime: https://join.octalysisprime.com/op-fr/
Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yu-kai_Chou

Friendly Reminders:

I’m running a 30-Day Behavioral Design Masterclass June – July.

It will involve collaborative work and cover the 5-Step Octalysis Design process that my consulting company charges over $100K for.

The TIER II (30% OFF) Early Bird Discount expires April 10.
Octalysis Prime is my ultimate Digital Learning Journey. I’ve made over 600 videos on everything I’ve learned. Signup without credit card.