Yu-kai Chou started Gamification in 2003 and became a pioneer in the industry.
“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. 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. When I played games, I would whip out spreadsheets to figure out the exact combos that would make me win.”
“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.”
“I thought, I spent thousands upon thousands of hours getting more experience, leveling up, accumulating more gold, collecting better gear. And now I have nothing. Is there really no meaning to all the time I have spent in the past few years?”
“I then started spending an obsessive amount of time trying to figure out how to make games more meaningful as well as make life more fun.”
“I created a professional network which turns a person’s network into something exciting as though that person was recruiting for a Mission Impossible quest. People had nicknames, they had “abilities” with levels assigned to them, and they get points if they helped out someone in the network.”
“I also turned my Excel spreadsheet and Access Database into something I called “The Alliance Game” where I would keep track of what all my friends were doing, where they were in life and see how I can help them become more successful. I call this vertical networking.”
“I also remember walking into conferences in the early 2000’s with my elevator pitch, “I am a specialist in turning products and productive tasks into games.” Only to get the blank stare: “We don’t play games here…nor do our customers.” How awkward.”
“It was about in 2006 when I finally dove into high tech startup products. I recruited a team and we launched FDCareer, a site that turns career development into an RPG game.”
“Helping people level up and ally with them is the best way to conquer complex quests in this real world.”
“Together we can complete cool quests to solve problems that the real world faces. In a game, the quest could be killing a monster or building a large empire. In the real world, a quest could be solving global warming, making a better search engine or running a successful non-profit.
“The beautiful thing about this particular game is, when you play it, it can be just as thrilling, and it actually makes a difference in this world. You would have made a positive impact in peoples’ lives, and you would be wealthy and reputable if you play it well. Sounds like a good deal.”
“The reason why I’m in gamification is not because I think it’s “interesting” or “cool,” nor because I think this is a money-making buzzword in a booming industry. I’m in gamification because I’ve lived it and breathed it throughout my entire productive life. It is my passion and the dream I am living.”
Jil Hrdliczka, Founder of Knowledge Network adds –
“There are hundreds of young learners like Yu-kai Chou walking the passages of the Pretoria Chinese School and other schools in South Africa. Who knows what they are thinking, which fields of study are being pioneered and the businesses that will emerge from their thoughts.”
“I hope all the learners in schools partnering with Knowledge Network take note of the use of spreadsheets and databases in gaming!”
“And that entry into entrepreneurship starts at school,” says Jil Hrdliczka, Founder, Knowledge Network.
“So best to listen up when spreadsheeting or coding / programming spreadsheets or creating fantasy creatures or animating sprites on a water fountain or viewing streets in foreign cities gets announced as the KN Session for the day by your mentor.”
“I can’t begin to imagine where it might take you in time.”