How Twitch Motivates Streamers with Achievement Symbols | Game Technique #2

Yu-kai Chou and his team have developed over one hundred Game Techniques, some through observation and some through creation during client projects. 

If you haven’t read Yu-kai’s book yet, get it now to learn the framework behind the Game Techniques (so you know how to apply them). 

Primary Core Drive of Achievement Symbols: CD2: Development & Accomplishment
Primary Core Drive of Achievement Symbols: CD2: Development & Accomplishment

Definition & Primary Core Drive:

Definition of Achievement Symbol:

A visual icon that symbolizes an achievement from the user, such as a Badge, Trophy etc.

-Yu-kai Chou

Primary Core Drive:

Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment

How Twitch Usees Achievement Symbols to Motivate Streamers

For starters, we’re going to go through over 100 game techniques. This is just Game Technique #2!, called Achievement Symbols. And I’m taking a look at Twitch today, which by the way is a platform I think you should all look into and understand. It’s good to know because they are doing a lot of things from a design perspective that have really captured the imagination of a lot of streamers right and those streamers have captured the attention of a lot of advertising dollars. There’s really a big ecosystem right around this.

I remember my aunt asking me about twitch several years ago when one of her students wasn’t showing up for class, so it’s definitely something that is capturing attention from a number of different ways–that student by the way was streaming games on Twitch and on his way to becoming a pro gamer, or at least trying to.

How Twitch is Deploying the Achievement Symbol

Let’s look at this Achievement Symbol (icons for use) from the perspective of Twitch as a streamer.

Lately, I’ve been streaming a game that I like play which is actually a board game called Diplomacy. If you haven’t played before I strongly recommend you get in touch with me and I’ll help you get started.

An achievement symbol is simply a way to show that I’ve developed or accomplished something: developing a skill or accomplishing some kind of goal. And, yeah, it’s part of this larger reality of humans as goal-oriented beings. We like to see progress towards a goal. If we’re lost in the woods not sure how to get to the destination, not so much.

Recapturing my Attention (and Investment of Creative Labor)

Achievement Symbols that Twitch is using here help move me through the Onboarding process. I’ve already experienced some friction in establishing my stream and getting my equipment right, and over 9 hours of streaming, but I’m not monetizable yet. Eventually, I’ll attract advertising dollars to the platform and draw an audience. That’s the value tradeoff between the platform and me, the creator.

Right away you can see they have several achievement symbols to indicate what I can do here. Community, affiliate, partner, and so forth. After viewing my Achievement Symbol from previous efforts, the reward acts as a trigger to view other possible goals.

New Day, New Stream

Twitch recaptures my attention to bring me back into that activity loop. So, that is an extrinsic, but white hat; it feels good. Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment is just one of the 8 Core Drives. And Achievement Symbols (GT#2) is just one of over a hundred Game Techniques.

How uses Karma (Game Technique #1 – Status Points)

This article on Status Points was originally published in February 2018, but was edited and updated in November 2019.

For the last three years I’ve worked with Yu-kai Chou, a leader in the gamification consulting space and developer of the Octalysis gamification framework. As I continue to learn from him, I’m testing my knowledge through a series of posts aiming to highlight everything from the basics to more advanced topics. 

If you’ve been curious about how games impact design in non-game experiences, and how companies like Uber and Apple and Amazon use them, this series of articles is for you.

(Keep this working definition in mind: Gamification is the integration of game elements into non-game experiences.)

Why Game Techniques?

Yu-kai wrote Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, & Leaderboards several years ago at a high point in gamification’s hype curve. His argument was simple: there is something in gamification–what he calls Human-Focused Design–that is important and useful in designing experiences for humans. Gamification is not a fad, and it isn’t going away.

Yu-kai wanted to differentiate the knowledge he had acquired from lifelong games research and consulting work with hundreds of companies from other organizations who were jumping on the gamification trend without the same expertise.

No harm in that, except for Yu-kai there was more to the idea of gamification–adding game elements to non-game experiences–than slapping on points, badges, and leaderboards.

Thus, the subtitle of the book: ‘Beyond Points, Badges, & Leaderboards‘.

A few Game Techniques listed in their Dominant Core Drive
A few Game Techniques listed in their Dominant Core Drive

Throughout the text, Yu-kai sprinkles Game Techniques he has collected through his own gameplay and through the development of engaging experiences with clients.

How does Yu-kai create them? That would require me to read his mind. However, what I’ve observed is that he starts with the client problem and then applies the Octalysis Gamification framework–including the 8 Core Drives–to build engagement and interaction design. These designs, when tied together, create a game loop for the user. Ideally, a game loop that brings the user back again and again.

Now, there are over 100 of these so-called Game Techniques which Yu-kai is freely sharing and making videos about in Octalysis Prime (his community teaching the Octalysis design framework).

This post will serve to introduce you to one of the most basic techniques.

Status is important and practical

The desire to improve one’s status is a huge motivator. Recognition of status stems from our neurobiological settings.

And status is practical. When I have a problem learning to code, I go to Stack Overflow, a website with high status in the question/answer space for pro and amateur programmers. When I want high-quality food, I go to a high-status restaurant. When I want to suggest to strangers I have status, I might wear certain kinds of clothing.

One of the highest margin status items today might be Apple airpods.

Contrary to this post’s declaration on November 18, 2019–which suggests Apple has solved a deep customer problem–I see airpods as an example of a product linked to Apple’s larger ecosystem, which oozes status. Because Apple customers have an affinity to the brand and gain a sense of status by owning and wearing them, they are happy to pay for a high-margin product that has cheaper alternatives. (Admittedly I am cherrypicking this example: I don’t own airpods, but I am using a Macbook Pro from 2013, which may have been overpriced too.)

How status allows Apple to improve its margins

From the perspective of the Octalysis framework, Status is linked with two Core Drives, which I will get to shortly. But first, let’s define our terms.

Game Technique #1: Status Points (they still matter)

Now that we’ve commented on a few ways status works in our society, let’s drill down into Status Points.

Status Points are a numeric tracker that shows the growth of a player in the user journey, often symbolizing higher status in the ecosystem.

For now, we won’t go into visual design nor interaction design related to Status Points. Of course, how something looks and feels will also impact the user experience, often to a large extent.

Which Core Drives are Ignited?

Status Points make us feel accomplished and they also provide a signal to others. Therefore, Status Points are influenced by Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment and Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness.

Continue reading How uses Karma (Game Technique #1 – Status Points)

How to use Gamification to Influence Your Friends

How to use Gamification to Influence Your Friends

You can usually tell when someone is trying to persuade or influence you.

However, I actually like the idea of being influenced or persuaded to do things that I want to do. 

Is this true for you?

In general, it feels good to be included in interesting, unusual, or fun events or gatherings. It piques your curiosity when a friend who knows you well sends you information or a book or a gift that makes your life better. And when your friends forget to invite you, you get upset.

So, if you care about being influenced, then your friends do too. It’s part of our makeup as humans. We are nodes in social spheres of influence: individual to family to friends and society. And you are a node across many of these networks.

Continue reading How to use Gamification to Influence Your Friends

Octalysis Prime and Lifestyle Inertia Design

This post is written by Mike Finney from He is also an active member of Octalysis Prime. 

Applying Octalysis

Octalysis. It’s fantastic! It’s actionable! As Major-General Stanley might say, Octalysis is the very model of a modern major framework.

Although impressive and quite understandable, how can we take this understanding of human motivation and increase our personal productivity? Octalysis Prime‘s Lifestyle Inertia Design (LID) to the rescue!

If you’re an Octalysis Prime member like these wonderful people, you can access the LID videos. The videos are a treasure chest that’s hidden inside of the Productivity area. While being entertained, you can get the knowledge straight from Yu-kai Chou’s lips to your ears!

If you’re not yet an Octalysis Prime member, some of that knowledge is here in this article. However, what’s shared here is a mere shadow of what is to come when you join.

Continue reading Octalysis Prime and Lifestyle Inertia Design

How we Design Coins on Octalysis Prime

Creating unpredictability and curiosity

Creating unpredictability and curiosity through a shiny chest of coins seems simple enough. Everyone loves gold. And loves spending it.

But what if you couldn’t spend your hard-earned money?

Collection before utility

The coins on Octalysis Prime were implemented before they could be used.

This was a risk.

Motivationally, you could wonder what to do with these coins. You could discover there is no use for them (yet) and get angry or demoralized. Why do I keep coming back for these stupid coins?

Or, you could be motivated. If there is enough curiosity about what the coins might be used for, you might go on collecting them. Here, the effect is a combination of Core Drive 7: Unpredictability & Curiosity and Core Drive 4: Ownership & Possession.

Meanwhile, though, the user will be ready for feature releases which allow those coins to be used.

Maybe, in a perfect world, the user will even be able to generate ideas on how those coins could be used in the gamified economy. That would be some pretty strong Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness combined with Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback.

Who knows, maybe we will give some of the Octalysis Prime pioneers a say in this coin-based creation!

How to get coins (the mechanics of an activity loop)

The coins are awarded by checking back into the Island after 20 hours have passed. (The chest magically fills with coins after you return from your other adventures on the island 20 hours later, but not a second before!)

Clearly, this is part of a habit-building activity loop. Just for returning to the learning environment, you are rewarded. Hopefully, you continue to learn while you’re there!

To learn how to implement coin-based activity loops and other designs (even before they have explicit utility), check out the ongoing conversations in the Octalysis Prime Slack community.

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

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.