Scribd vs Oyster Octalysis Analysis: Why Scribd Survived

Unlimited reading sounds nice, doesn’t it? It sure did to me, too. I started using two subscription-based services in 2015, Oyster and Scribd.

By September 2015, Oyster was shut down. But in July 2016, Scribd seems alive and well.

Why did Oyster shut down? How did Scribd survive? Let’s use Yu-kai Chou’s 8 Core Drives of Octalysis to pit these e-book reading subscription services side-by-side.

As we dive in, let’s keep in mind the following context:

  • Oyster and Scribd were both probably aware their business models were unsustainable from the outset. They would need to attract users and then convert those users to a slightly different value proposition.
  • The marketplace for reading and publishing and the character of subscription-based e-book services is very new in the online space (but subscription publishing is very old otherwise).
  • Kindle Unlimited is somewhat immune from this scrutiny since it is one of many Amazon companies, and, in the reading industry, it works well alongside Audible, Amazon’s Kindle marketplace, and Goodreads.

As always, let’s use the following 8 Core Drives of Octalysis:

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Gamification Analysis of Medium (Octalysis Level 1)

First Impression

I first used Medium when I noticed several writers I followed using it. In the beginning, I wrote a story about my journey to the 2014 USA Memory Championship. I also reposted stories I’d written elsewhere, like this one about role models. Later, I experimented with Publications to house related stories.

I’m excited about long-form written content. Some information, debates, and stories simply demand more space for thought, discussion, and reaction. This is the context I had arriving at Medium in April 2014. Over two years later (June 2016), I’m back to take a close look at Medium from a gamification lens.

Before we start: This Gamification Analysis of Medium (Octalysis Level I) will focus on the composition side, meaning the writing of stories and responses and letters. In a future post, I will 1) discuss the reading and consumption side of Medium, and 2) detail my Octalysis Level II journey through Discovery,Onboarding, Scaffolding, and Endgame.

As always: I’ll be referencing the 8 Core Drives of Octalysis throughout:

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Gamification Analysis of Slack (Octalysis Level I)

I first used Slack with friends in a mastermind. Later, I created my own group to give and receive one-on-one feedback with other writers.

In the mastermind case, I downloaded Slack thanks to Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness (my friend sending the invite) with the aim of improving our group’s ability to stay connected and help one another (also CD5).

On the writing side, I was primarily motivated by Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback, with a focus on consistent, fluid communication with partners and collaborators to enhance my creative freedom.

In this post, I’ll be examining the primary Core Drives Slack plays on with a focus on Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness. I’ll begin with a discussion of the Black Hat techniques and finish with White Hat techniques.

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Yu-kai Chou analyzes Jane McGonigal’s SuperBetter 1.0 through Octalysis [Day 1]

A gamification analysis of Gamified Self-Improvement and Recovery (Jane McGonigal’s SuperBetter 1.0)

Jane McGonigal is one of the most well-known speakers in the gamification space. Her two TED talks and her book Reality is Broken are pretty iconic and even canon for the gamification or gameful design space. However, I’ve played with her product SuperBetter in the past, and I felt like there are many aspects that could be improved to retain (and hence help) a larger user base.

I feel that many people would sign up for the service because of her celebrity and inspiration, but perhaps because of some UX design issues may feel a bit discouraged and leave before reaping the best benefits from it.

Especially since she is launching SuperBetter 2.0, I thought it would be a good time to make a video commenting about SuperBetter 1.0 so her team can make the second platform even better.