How Yu-kai Chou started in Gamification in 2003 and became a Pioneer in the Industry

Gamification Expert

New to Gamification? Check out my post What is Gamification & my Gamification Framework: Octalysis

From Gaming to Gamification

Recently, I have been getting more and more people asking me about my experiences as a pioneer in the Gamification Industry.

Gamification (or the widespread adoption of it) seems so new that it feels difficult to make the claim of starting in 2003, when catchphrases like “Cloud,” “Social Media,” or even “Web 2.0” weren’t even popular.

First, to clarify, I didn’t start “playing games” since 2003. I played games throughout my entire life, from my South Africa days to my Taiwan Days, all the way to my Kansas, California, and Vancouver days (yes, long stories…)

I was a hardcore gamer, and whatever I played, I needed to be the best at it. I was almost incapable of playing a game casually. It was either all or nothing. When I play games, I would whip out spreadsheets to figure out the exact combos that would make me win, read about strategy guides while in the restroom, and become a known thought leader in the forums of various games. There was even once when I broke into my college friend Jun Loayza‘s apartment through the window (he was in class) so I could practice on the game that he owned.

Interestingly, my transition to a Gamification Entrepreneur and Designer came from an epiphany I had when I was in school. Back then I played the Blizzard Game Diablo II very heavily, and had more than 5 characters above Level 90 and a couple above level 96. I was pretty hardcore at it. But at one point, my friends started to quit the game and move onto new games. Eventually I quit too and was in this transition period between games.

And then I suddenly felt extremely empty.

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Chou’s Lifestyle Gamification Speech at Google

A while ago, I wrote a post about my speech at Google on Lifestyle Gamification. After knocking off a lot of stuff on my to-do list, I finally had time to rip the video and upload it onto the internet. The actual presentation is around 30 minutes, but for some reason Vimeo thinks it is 73 minutes. The Q&A below is about 10 minutes and you actually get to see me talk (instead of just being a dark wraith). Hope you enjoy it and learn something from it!

If you would like Yu-kai Chou to speak for your organization, just email yukai[at]yukaichou.com.

How to Master almost Anything in Life through Gamification

Chou Notes

Printers suck.

I’ve had some decent successes in my life in a variety of tasks/hobbies/work that I do.

The three things that can get you to do something well:


1) Confidence
2) Concentration
3) Condition

Also, for preparation work, you need to

1) Always be self-reflecting
2) Always be strategizing (or optimizing)
3) Always be learning from people who do it better

If you master these things, this can help you SIGNIFICANTLY boost your level at anything you do, from playing games, consulting on gamification, doing a hobby, personal skills, to even getting girls 😛

I used to suck at almost everything I do until I figured some of this out. Now I’m good at a lot of things (not everything), or at least I quickly get good at the things I’m serious about. It’s not really about being smart, but it’s about mastering a system. The key is “Doing it well” so the way you do it is more important than your intelligence.

Hope this helps and more tips will be awesome in the comment section!

How to Be Influential (5 Tips)

How to Be Influential

5 Tips on How to be influential

Not everyone wants to Gamify their lives, but almost everyone wants to be influential and respected within their community.

However, the majority of the people do not become that, mostly because they are so comfortable with their existing social statuses in their groups that they don’t know how to change that.

Here are some guidelines to help you become more influential within your circle. Your circle could mean anything from your small group of friends, your class, your department, or your entire organization.

1. Be Influential by Becoming the Best

This is the most straight forward but most difficult way to become influential. It simply means being the best at whatever your group is doing. In fact, most respectable and influential individuals from a group are the ones that have mastered their skill sets the most, whether it be basketball, sales, programming, Gamification or just video games such as Diablo 3.

The way to do this is simply match talent with hard work and become the best. Nothing fancy. Interestingly enough, a lot of people who become extremely successful later on in life still highly respect their childhood friends who were remarkable in a game they played, even if the childhood friends are not very successful themselves.

One key to note is that the activity you excel at must be shared by all the people in your circle. If you are the best at chess in a chess club, you will be respected as everyone is doing it. But if you are best at sales but your circle does operations and finance, then it wouldn’t have the same effect. Finally, conduct yourself in a manner that minimizes jealously.

2. Be Influential by Becoming Useful

If you don’t have the ability to become the best at what you do (by definition the majority of the people), another way is to become useful. This means that you are always there to help everyone out, and always have the right resources handy when it’s needed.

This is much easier to accomplished because you do not need to be the most talented at something. You just need to be the most prepared and most available out of all. If you are the one that brings something when no one else thought it would come in handy, or you remembered a piece of information that suddenly was needed, people will start to trust you. Eventually, as you are there for everyone and people start to rely on you more and more, you start to gain in respect and influence.

One key to note is that you want to make sure you don’t do it in a manner that suggests people can simply take advantage of you. You want to make sure you maintain a strong core and are only helping because you want to help instead of being trample upon. Learn how to occasionally say no to show you have a backbone.

3. Be Influential by Becoming Audacious

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The Lazy Man’s Way to Become Successful: Start Early

Successful Turtle

There’s always going to be people smarter than you and people dumber than you

Everyone wants to be successful in life. However, not everyone has what it takes to get there. Life is competitive, and to constantly keep up and excel over your peers is a tough and struggling battle.

Sure, some people believe that they can dominate everyone based on their natural abilities and intelligence, but you would be a fool to deny that there isn’t someone smarter and stronger than you out there (if you happen to be that one person who truthfully qualifies for that, email me and I’ll apologize to you personally). For most of us, gambling that you are the ultimate genius is a risky way of winning any battle.

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