Gamification Expert &

Behavioral Designer

Yu-kai Chou of 2010

Today is the first day of a new decade.

Yes, some argue that 2011 should be the beginning of the new decade, but I don’t care. At least my bank uses the format 1990-1999 and 2000-2009 to determine one period. Perhaps if I failed on my goals this year, next year I will say “NOW is the beginning of the new decade. ROAR!!”

But lets hope not.

THIS is going to be the year. This is going to be the year where I straighten out everything in my life, where I finally launch the long-boiled fleet of Carriers, D-Web enabled Corsairs, handful of Arbiters, and of course a couple observers.

I’m not going to make a “New Years Resolution.” I don’t think they really get met much. It’s more like a joke that appends “expected to fail and renewed the year after” (and I do have high respect for those who actually meet their NYR for an entire year). Instead, I will create principles of how I should live my life in 2010, a “plan” or “strategy” on how to become a stronger character on my server, conquer harder quests, and beat the game of life.

Here are the things that I think are essential in 2010 for me to convert all the things that I have built up to into actual success:

2010 is the Year of Hustle

I like to think through a lot of things, contemplate how everything comes together, see trends, match personalities and parties, and analyze everything on each step while I am taking actioning. As a result, my execution might be slower than it could be. This is the year where I WILL improve my execution and hustling. After all, in our industry the first to market usually does not produce winners. It’s the ones that execute the best that are the winners.

2010 is the Year of Accountability

Since I run a virtual team of around 12 people, accountability can be an issue as small things might slip through without anyone making a big deal about it. This WILL change in 2010. I say this not only for myself but for my entire team that I am leading. Everyone’s action items will be very clear, and if it is not met, everyone else should know and the person needs to catch up with progress. Even if people are working for free, if they can’t stay accountable and reliable with their tasks, I would rather have a smaller team of consistent people than a large team of unreliable people.

2010 is the Year of Discipline

There are many things in my life that I need to be more disciplined for. My Faith, my relationship, my health, friendship and things I enjoy doing. I realized that the only way that I can have a more “balanced” life is to live more disciplined in my choices. I WILL spend more time in my Faith, optimize my time in my relationship, make healthy choices that does not use up more time, cut down on sleep but stabilize on the hours, help out friends more but hang out less, and cut down on unproductive entertainment that will not matter 5 years from now.

In order to afford being an entrepreneur, extreme discipline is required. I will live my life as a Productivity Artist, carving out a new masterpiece in the form of days that I cannot be more productive in, day by day.

2010 is the Year of Cashflow

As a startup, we’re always weaker on cashflow. In 2009, we have nailed down some good models and have cash streaming into the business. However, most people are still underpaid and most money still is poured into operations. In 2010, we WILL scale out our revenue and generate enough cashflow for everyone in the company to earn what they deserve and be able to produce more value for the company. In 2010, we will make both our fundraising and revenue goals and become a strong company.

2010 is the Year of the Visa

This is only my special situation. Being an entrepreneur is hard enough with many risks and limitations. However, the mere fact that I was born in a different country prevents me from creating the maximum value I can for my company. There are numerous ways I can “hang around” in the states, but none of them are ideal and they cost me an unfair amount of money.

When I’m in the states, my own company cannot pay me (besides the “returning” of the invested/lent money in the company before), but once I leave this country, I can get paid again. So in order to get paid by startups, foreign-born talents need to leave the country and spend their income dollars somewhere else. How does that make sense? I mean, 20 years ago when the laws were set, it was true that if foreigns aren’t around, you would pay locals instead. But nowadays you will pay high-skilled technology foreigners anyway, except they will not spend the money locally and local talents won’t get that extra income.

There are two ways that I see this happening. One is that Viralogy will be making so much money in 2010 that it can sponsor me and pay me a “competitive executive salary” (which for a startup is usually not a good business move). On the other hand, there seems to be a New Entrepreneur Visa that is being debated in Congress. If I get one of those, I am sure that I will be able to bring Viralogy into new grounds that change the industry while creating hundreds of new jobs.

Right now I operate from Canada and visit Silicon Valley for 3 weeks every two months. If I don’t resolve this issue in the next few years, I will need to return to Taiwan and do my military services, which would be somewhat unfortunate for an entrepreneur. Lets get this out of the way in 2010.

The Future for my Personal Blog

I have also been thinking about what to do with my blog. I’ve built many friendship through it, and even found clients, employees, and mentees from it. However, my schedule forces me to not update it as much as I had hoped. Unlike my co-founder Jun Loayza, I’m not very good at writing shorter posts. Somehow I have to elaborate on everything and leave nothing in the air.

However, when it comes to not writing at all vs spending less time for a shorter post regularly, I think updating the blog regularly is more important. I’m hoping that I can maintain a blog like Seth Godin, with 1-2 paragraphs of daily nuggets (except mine won’t be golden) to keep my readers engaged and keep a conversation going.

Also, I’ve been debating about the theme my blog will take in 2010. I’m stuck between three. For one, I would really like to give my analysis and “outsights” for my expertise in Social Media, since that is what my company does and would probably best align my personal brand with Viralogy. However, I personally am very interested in bringing out the potential of individuals and making them successful, so I would want to write about Power Coaching and help ambitious individuals master their lives in everything they do with lessons and analogies from Gaming. And finally, I also want to have a Gen-Y Leadership blog, talking about my experiences, lessons, and reminders for being a strong Gen-Y Leader, since it is a niche that I think should have more coverage.

I’m still contemplating which direction I should take, but I definitely feel a stronger focus on my blog would be beneficial. Either way, I hope the blog will continue to be fun and educational at the same time.

2010: the year of Legacy

I am committed to make 2010 a year where I make things happen. You know how people can recite the year of when historically significant events happen? 2010 is the best year to create something like that, if only because the year is a lot easier to remember 🙂

Anyhow, I will leave no regrets this year. Please make 2010 the year where you follow your passions too.

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17 responses to “Yu-kai Chou of 2010”

  1. Getting married certainly changes your world. Having kids changes your universe! 🙂 I am glad to read this. Why? It reminds me that it is good to periodically take a major moment to reflect on where you are and where you want to be and what to do about it. Thanks,

  2. Having been a recent addition to the mix here… I am curious how you feel more than 5 years having gone by since this post. You have obviously accomplished many of these things, do you view 2010 as the year it all took the big leap???

    • Haha, I actually think my big breakthrough year was 2012, which was when I got married, stopped doing my last startup, and focused on what made me happy – which is researching and designing for gamification. It all took off from there 🙂

  3. Great job Yu Kai

    Looking forward to what you, Jun, & Viralogy will do this year. I’m pretty excited! Keep hustling!!


  4. Very inspirational. 2010 is going to be the best year! I’m already looking forward to your end of the year post of your accomplishments.

  5. I read your blog every single day, but never commented before. You will make it yukai.. happy new year to you.

    • Wow, you read it everyday? That’s pretty impressive. Now I feel bad for updating it once every 2 weeks.

      Any feedback on what kind of content you like better?

      • Hi, YuKai,

        I checked every single day since the FD stuff started like 2 years ago. It’s like the first thing I do after I reached office. After 5 years of work, 6 months ago, I quit my good paying job and started working on my own. It’s more tougher here in asia to run your own stuff, cause there is never a way to find funding, you are always on your own here.

      • Hi, Yu Kai,

        our work rate is crazy. We have few software developers and few web designers. Sit in the same table to write code for 12+ hours a day. Most of us used to work for consulting firm, and software house, and 1 thing we learn is “CUT DOWN ON MEETINGS AND SOCIAL EVENTS” until launch.

        I hope you do well, and I enjoy watching the “startup life” video very much.
        If only I could provide 1 honest opinion: “Do 1 thing at a time, don’t have so many team members that do so many projects at the same time, it’s just distract your work”. If there is no accountability in some team member, they shouldn’t be in the team, because such behavior tends to build up “trend” and “habits” that others follow.

      • Hey asia, thanks a lot for your encouragement!

        I definitely agree on the difficulty of raising money in asia before you have strong cashflow. How is your busy doing?

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