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

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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

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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.
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Mini Case Study of FOREST

Click on the image–redirecting to LinkedIn for 10 slides

Another mini-case study, FOREST.

At its core is a gamified timer to decrease distraction from your mobile phone. In 2015-2016 this simple concept of “Don’t use this device or your plant will die!” was voted Google Best App of the Year. In 2018 it was nominated for Best Social Impact App and 2018 it was Google Play Editors’ Choice for Top Productivity App.

It has over 25 million downloads and over 2 million satisfied paying users. It is also responsible for planting over 600,000 real trees on Earth by their users (Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning & Calling) How does such a simple concept have such success? How do you feel about this short term engagement?

Will it keep you hooked in the long term? Would you pay for it?

Game Loops in World of Warcraft, 2 of 2

Missed Part 1 of the series? Watch Part 1 now.

Not sure what a Game Loop is? Try How to Make Game Loops, Part 1/4.

In Part 2 of this series, Yu-kai continues to explore World of Warcraft’s remarkable Game Loop.

When Battle of Azeroth came out, Yu-kai gave World of Warcraft a shot. After about 900 hours, he’s dissected what makes WoW work. Now, he understands why it works on the human brain.

One of Yu-kai’s key attributes in the 10k HP framework is his Learn-Use conversation rate. In only a few months of playing WoW, Yu-kai was able to apply what he learned from analyzing WoW’s Game Loop to help a client build a reputation system for a client of The Octalysis Group.

Then he wanted to learn even more. Now he is sharing it here with all of us!

Training the Stallion Mind to Unleash Creativity, Part 2 of 2

Are you ready to try unleashing the Stallion within?

Many researchers, theorists, and practitioners throughout history have studied, imagined, and attempted to be more creative. Here’s Yu-kai’s take. As always, consider that creativity resides within Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback in the Octalysis Gamification framework. 

This post continues the discussion from Training the Stallion Mind to Unleash Creativity, Part 1 of 2.

Today’s post is about letting go, and letting the stallion run, and roam, free.

Unleash the Stallion: Take 3-5 Minutes to Let Go

For some of us, taking 3, much less 5 (gasp!) minutes to sit still with our eyes closed is a lot to ask.

This is your chance to let the Stallion run free.

If you’ve never tried this–or, if you’re like me, you only try it once or twice per year–you might be surprised by what happens next.

It is very likely an entire host of images and thoughts and feelings will present themselves to (or within) your conscious experience.

Maybe some of these will be useful in your creative endeavors. Or maybe not! It just might be worth your while, even if all I can tempt you with is some unpredictability and curiosity.

Isn’t this just Meditation?

There are many forms of meditation, some of which Yu-kai practiced as a child.

Letting the Stallion run free is not precisely a meditation technique. If anything, it is meditation super-lite.

You don’t need to prepare for it. You just have to sit down, close your eyes, and see what happens.

Want More Creativity?

This technique alone won’t change your life. But maybe it will become one of your Tiny Habits, which could compound over time as part of a daily routine (or help you finish writing that book!).

For more reading on this subject, I recommend Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention.

How Yu-kai Used Tiny Habits to Write ‘Actionable Gamification’

Tiny Habits are powerful. But you may not know how they impacted Yu-kai’s work.

Ever wondered how Yu-kai wrote his first book, ‘Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, & Leaderboards’?

In the development of his Lifestyle Inertia Design framework, Yu-kai came across B.J. Fogg’s Tiny Habits.

Tiny Habits is part of B.J. Fogg’s larger model: Behavior = Motivation + Ability + Trigger (Prompt) [B=MAT(P)]

What are Tiny Habits?

When Yu-kai studied B.J. Fogg, the father of persuasive technology, he was intrigued by Tiny Habits.

Tiny Habits are a small task attached before or after another habit in your routine.

B.J. Fogg described his own application: Whenever I go to the bathroom, I do two pushups.

Only two?

Yes, just two. Maybe you’ll end up doing five or six, or ten. But if the goal was ten or twenty, and felt hard, you might not even start.

Lowering the pushup count increases the Ability in the B=MAT(P) equation.

With plentiful triggers (you go to the bathroom several times per day), the habit of pushups can be formed.

How Tiny Habits Helped Yu-kai Make Progress

Yu-kai had been asked to write a book about the Octalysis Gamification framework. And he wanted to write it.

He even promised attendees of an upcoming workshop that he would provide them a signed copy at the event.

The problem? Yu-kai’s approach was overly Black Hat. He didn’t want to disappoint attendees, and yet he didn’t have enough balance in the Core Drives to get him to the finish line.

Unpredictability to Lead You to Creativity

Yu-kai found a solution.

After completing email or client tasks, he usually took a break with some light gaming.

He made one change, though.

Before gaming, he would read the last paragraph he’d written in his book. Can you guess what happened?

That’s right: Simply reading one paragraph piqued his internal curiosity and began a positive feedback loop of creativity that often saw him writing for several hours!

The result?

He completed the book and did so happily and productively.

New Octalysis Prime Theme Song

My most important project thus far

For those who have been following me, you’ll know that Octalysis Prime is my most important project thus far. I plan to share the entirety of my useful knowledge in this gamified platform.

Currently my 500 page book Actionable Gamification is only about 15% of the knowledge base. With 400 Videos and more every week on OP (About 5-10 min on average), I plan to eventually get as close to 100% as possible.

My end goal is to leave this for my two daughters Symphony and Harmony. If one day I get hit by a bus, I’ll know that everything I want to teach my children is already in this platform. So far we have hundreds of passionate members participating, learning, and upgrading their lives.

The Octalysis Prime Theme Song Launches

This week I’m most excited about the launch of our Octalysis Prime Theme Song by talented musician Melody Hwang. It turned out brilliantly and feels like a fully legitimate contemporary pop song with a game angle to it.

I first approached Melody via her Kickstarter project and asked her if she could create something similar to the One-Punch Man Theme Song. I gave her some suggested lyrics and then off she went – creating this masterpiece that is now my favorite song BY FAR.

Enjoy the song!