#275: Gamification Guru Explains Psychological Drivers of Engagement

This exciting episode features the author of a fascinating book called “Actionable Gamification” by Yu-Kai Chou.

Yu-kai is one of the earliest pioneers of gamification and is a regular keynote speaker and lecturer on gamification at organizations including Stanford University, Google, Tesla, and Boston Consulting Group, among others.

Yu-Kai’s insights came from many years as a gamer and realizing the strategic value that the best games offer to their players.

His “Octalysis Framework” has become the bible for many brands who aspire to the extra-ordinary levels of engagement that true gamification can achieve.

Listen to enjoy this masterclass in gamification and how it applies to us as loyalty marketing professionals.

Show Notes:

1.) Yu-kai Chou

2.) Octalysis Framework

3.) Get the Actionable Gamification book by Yu-kai Chou here

4.) Metablox

Audio Transcript

Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m your host, Paula Thomas. And if you work in loyalty marketing, join me every week to learn the latest ideas from loyalty specialists around the world.


Hello, and welcome to episode 275 of Let’s Talk Loyalty. It’s an exciting one for me today. As I’m interviewing the author of one of my favorite books on loyalty, it’s called “Actionable Gamification” by Yu-kai Chou. As a lifelong gamer, Yu-kai realized the strategic value that the world’s best games offer to their players. And he developed a framework to clearly identify which human needs they appeal to. He’s one of the earliest pioneers in the industry of gamification and he’s a regular keynote speaker and lecturer on gamification at organizations, including Stanford University, Google, Tesla, Boston Consulting Group, among others.


I’m delighted to have Yu-kai, on today’s show to share his work. The Octalysis framework he developed has become the Bible for many brands who aspired the extraordinary levels of engagement that true gamification can achieve. I hope you enjoy this masterclass in gamification and how it applies to us as loyalty marketing professionals.


Paula Thomas: So Yu-kai, first of all, welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty. 


Yu-kai Chou: So happy to be here. 


Paula Thomas: Great. Great. I set you off air, there that I, I am a fan of your work. Somebody did recommend your book “Actionable Gamification”, um, about five years ago, if I’m not mistaken. So I’ve been listening to and following your work for a long time. So I know our audience is gonna be super happy to hear all of your, um, expertise, but before we get into all of that, Yu-kai, as you know, we always start this show talking about a favorite loyalty program. So given all of your expertise, um, I would love to hear what is your favorite loyalty program? 


Yu-kai Chou: Yeah. So I’ve worked through a variety of loyalty programs, seen, experience analyze, and I think my favorite one is one I did for, uh, Porsche in Europe and, and this was piloted in, uh, Austria. So, uh, you know, car companies, what they’re trying to solve is trying to increase touch points with the customers. And, and this is very important. I think a few later on, which is loyalty, shouldn’t just be it, uh, transactional every few months. Yeah. Loyalty is about a constant relationship. And so, Sure. What they want to do is how do you get people to interact with their brand more often? And so we help them design a loyalty program that’s called Boneo. And what it is is that first to, to use the app, you need to own a Porsche, right? So there’s some barrier to, to get there. Okay. And then. Based on how you drive your Porsche, you know, in terms of driving safely, how you interact with other Porsche owners who have the app too. Yeah. It’ll start giving you points. It’ll start giving you little rewards to redeem, but more importantly, it also connects to the whole Volkswagen family and it allows you to upgrade to your next car more easily. So the Volkswagen family has Bentley, has Bugatti. It has a variety of other car brands and Mexico, Audi too. Yeah. So, so it’s you feel like you’re getting integrated into the whole family and of course, that creates loyalty, right? If you don’t wanna stick to loyalty to Porsche, you can actually still maintain loyalty to the other brands in the family. And what we saw was very cool was that, uh, users spent 5.5 minutes in the app every single day while they were not driving. They’re not allowed to use it while they’re driving , but after or before they drove, they played with the app. And so that was a goal that they were trying to accomplish that, day to day relationship with a customer. 


Paula Thomas: Wow. I mean, that is, I think the best answer I’ve had to the question Yu-kai, honestly, when I think about, um, that exceptional performance, I mean, such a sexy brand, I mean, we can’t deny Porsche is exceptional, but as you said, it’s also a family of brands. So I love that strategic thinking there that you talked about in that I might not drive a Porsche, my entire life. So actually, how can I work within the family? So in terms of cross-sell and upsell, I think that’s brilliant. And in terms of like, and, and I know you won’t be able to share anything, a confidential Yu-kai, but in terms of their expectations, versus that reality, five and a half minutes a day to, to spend in an app, which is, you know, obviously gamified for a brand exclusively. And again, it’s not really to do with the fact that you buy a car for maybe emotional reasons, maybe functional reasons, but you don’t buy a car to play a game. So how did that measure up to your expectations and maybe push themselves? 


Yu-kai Chou: I think for a car company, uh, having their customers, think about them on a daily basis, uh, outside of just driving the car, I think is phenomenal. Yeah. And you see a lot of utility apps or, you know, if you spend, again, this is average, right? So this includes people who just come in and come out or don’t touch it or what not, so, sure. Um, you know, most of the time, if it’s over a minute, a day on average, it’s quite good because, you know, some companies don’t have a minute a month, right?  um, so, so I think having five and .5 minutes means they’re truly engaged. They’re not just tapping it and say, all right, I’m just gonna click here and redeem something or collect some coins. They’re there because they’re immersed in experience. Yeah. And so I think that was, uh, Way beyond the client’s expectation that we’ve seen enough, uh, implementations in our design. So we are not super surprised, but obviously we’re happy, uh, that it did come out the way it did.


Paula Thomas: Wonderful. Wonderful. So, listen, um, you are, dare I say at the father of gamification. I don’t know if that’s a term you use, but, um, you know, certainly the world’s leading thinkers, I think in fact rated number one, um, in well, three out of four years in terms of the, the global index of gamification gurus, so again, super excited to hear, um, first of all, the background, in terms of how you got into, you know, marketing strategy and formulating this very structured thinking and very helpful thinking, like how did you, first of all, get into creating this Octalysis Framework that you’re going to explain for our listeners today.


Yu-kai Chou: Yeah. So I wouldn’t say I’m the Father of Gamification. I, some people call me the Godfather of Gamification, but, I’m not, I definitely wasn’t the first person. Okay. I think I was one of the, the different pockets and niches that have been exploring this passion. And, uh, I was blessed enough to, have received a lot of recognition, uh, for my work, but there are definitely people who started before I did, Okay. Who didn’t get as much credit. But I’d say my journey started in 2003. So almost 20 years ago. Yeah. Where I, you know, I was playing this game called Diablo 2, and I invested thousands of hours making my in-game character strong, accumulating points and gold and gear. Then at one point, my friend started quit the game. So I quit too and then I just felt extremely empty. I felt like, wow, I spent those thousand hours accumulating and building and growing. But once I quit all that is gone, you know, in life I’m still, you know, the same loser getting nowhere. So I just thought, how can there be an experience where you know, like a game that can keep playing, but the more hours are spent on it, the better, my real, my real life is. And also I was curious about, yeah, there are all these important things in the real world that I know I should do, but I just don’t want to do. And in the game, there’s no real purpose to play in the game. You know, there’s all these things are fabricated and there’s random stories. But I get so drawn to it. So it’s like, can we actually learn from these games and understand how they draw your brain into that experience and apply it to business? Can business, uh, create experiences where interacting with them, buying from them, uh, is as engaging as playing a game. So that started my long journey into gamification, created a few startups, and then I think a pivotal point was in 2012. Okay. When I published my, my learning and insights, on to my blog, yukaichou.com, which is called the Octalysis Framework. Yeah. And that was when things took off, like it was organically translated into I think, 16 different languages. Wow. And I started getting a lot of invitations to.  uh, teach and design the framework and consult on at a place like Stanford University, Yale, Oxford. Yeah. Tesla, Google LEGO, variety of places, and, uh, you know, here too, where I, where I am today. 


Paula Thomas: Yeah, absolutely incredible story. Um, and yes, the framework makes so much sense at a human level. Um, so I will be very honest that I’m not a gamer. I know the demographics are changing in terms of gaming profiles. And I guess the, the whole industry itself, or the idea of gamification is probably a lot broader than what we might have thought about 20 years ago. For example, when it was just war games and World of Warcraft and all of those kind of things. So, so I know the genre has grown. It has definitely grown within our profession as loyalty, you know, loyalty marketing profess. What I do think is, um, we probably don’t realize the depth of human understanding that needs to go into a gamification strategy, so that I know is a core belief of your own. I was watching your TEDx talk there, for example, before we came on today, so given that there are eight core drivers of human behavior that are almost essential, I think, uh, is what you might say for a good gamification strategy. I think we should just, you know, let you explain them for the audience so we can get a sense of, and relate to them, I guess, as human beings as well. And any examples you have as well, of course, Yu-kai, in terms of maybe a loyalty program that has, you know, leveraged a particular core driver would be super useful. 


Yu-kai Chou: So, first of all, the reason why it’s called the Octalysis, it’s a combination between the word octagon and analysis. Okay. So visually it’s an octagon and it breaks down all human motivation to eight core drives. So everything we do is based on one or more of these eight core drives, which means that if there’s none of these eight core drives there. There’s zero motivation. No behavior happens. Okay. And, and then there’s different natures of those core drives. There’s some, we call White Hat Motivation core drives, make people feel powerful in control, they feel good. There’s no sense of urgency and, uh, so they procrastinate. Okay. And this what we call Black Hat Motivation core drives, which make people feel urgent, obsessed. They’re very, um, they really thrill about it, but in the long run, if that’s the only motivation, okay. Uh, it could leave a bad taste in their mouth because they feel like they’re not in control of their own behavior. Okay. And then we have what we call Left Brain versus Right Brain Core Drive. So Left Brain Core Drives, deal, extrinsic motivation, things you do for reward a purpose or a goal. Okay. But you don’t necessarily enjoy the activity itself. So once you obtain the reward, you hit your goals. You get used to the reward, it becomes stale. You stop doing the behavior. OK. Whereas Right Brain Core Drive. Deal with intrinsic motivation things you do, just because you enjoy doing it. And you would just, you would even pay money to experience that. And even if we lost all our progress the next day, you would still wanna do that activity today because that’s how we measure our quality of lives. You know, how, how much time we spent on things we just enjoy doing. So, so with that, That Octagon, uh, we break down this eight-core drive. So I’ll quickly go through what those are. Core drive one is what we call Epic Meaning and Calling. So it’s, it’s basically doing something because you feel like a person bigger than yourself and in a game, you’ll see that theme about, oh, you know, the world’s about to end, but somehow you’re the only person qualified to save the world.

Sure. So you’re like, oh, it’s very motivating. And so. In the business world, uh, how it plays out is, you know, how people can feel like they’re making a difference to the world in terms of charity, you know, sustainability. Yeah. There’s some themes with honor. And so, um, you know, I’ve worked with, uh, customers where our clients, where, when they give out these loyalty points, they, they say one of the pains is that people are doing these actually getting these points and then they.

um, after a whole month activity, they only can redeem $5 and they feel like, wow, my actions are worth are worthless. Yeah. But then it’s like, you can convert that to say, Hey, instead of getting a $5 gift card, you can, uh, donate it and actually 10 children wouldn’t have to start tonight because, because of your points.

Yeah. And now you feel like, wow, I made a difference 10 kids today and you feel like you’re making the world a better place. Yeah. And that makes you want to stay with that experience more. And of course, a lot of, uh, loyalty programs are theme based in terms of. , you know, you’re in a mission together.

You’re making the world better or there’s some more playful ones, you know, you’re like the in, in the superhero league. So they’ll all those all help with getting this Epic Meaning and Calling feeling inside of the, instead of a loyalty program. Okay. So Core Drive Two is development accomplishment. And so this is basically.

uh, the feeling of progression leveling up achieving mastery that makes you feel excited. And I think this is the most commonly understood and applied in the, in the loyalty program world. So, um, basically development development is points, right? Points and badges. Yeah. So it shows the sense of progression.

So maybe you’re, you’re doing the same things over and over and over again. You see this number growing higher, the progress bar moving forward, and you feel like you’re getting somewhere and badges is what we call Achievement Symbols. It symbolizes the sense of accomplishment so achievement symbols can be many different forms.

It could be, uh, badges, trophies, uh, uniform changes, black belt, white belt, martial arts, uh, which of course is leded to, uh, uh, quality management and six sigma. Sure. Uh, but the key thing is that it must symbolize an accomplishment, uh, if you give people a badge for every silly thing they do, then it’s just a icon really doesn’t mean anything.

Okay. Um, and, and then some, and so sometimes logic tends to use that. Obviously already used in terms of like punch cards, you see growth numbers, you see numbers go up. That’s common. I think from achievement standpoint, um, you know, what you do is you level up, you gain new status, right? Starbucks, you can, you can a, you can earn like a higher status and, uh, airline miles, you get, you become gold member.

And then ideally that also unlocks certain power. So that, that status and, uh, status symbols that represent your new status is very useful, One example is when I was working with a, a pretty large bank at a different country. I was saying that, imagine if you have a high status member and every time they walk in the banking center, like they get, they get sort of pin, right.

Yeah. That says that. And they walk in that everyone bows to them and says, welcome, you know, Platinum member. Honor member, Member of honor, right. And it’s like, wow, how many times in your life do you get to feel like you’re a king or a queen. Right. Totally. Yeah. And so, and so this is, this is a nice look when you have the digital component, but also the brick and mortar.

A brick and mortar kind of, kind of experience that you can deliver. So it makes people high status. Now,

Paula Thomas: can I just add, I just like the word you used there, Yu-kai actually it gives them power and I do completely get the gaming, um, idea of power. And I think it’s exceptional when that. Does result, as you said, in the real world.

Um, and my favorite example of that, as you said in the airline industry, I remember when I first joined working with British Airways and I realized that gold card holders had priority access to the call center. Now that is true power for a busy frequent flyer who has a problem with the flight booking.

Everything else may be totally irrelevant. So the, the transactional rewards, of course, but I just really like the word power that you used because that’s what really matters in terms of the status is I get looked after when I need help from somebody. So I think it’s a brilliant example.

Yu-kai Chou: Yeah. One example that I think about right now, probably difficult for some company to execute is let’s say you have a high status member checking in the airport, right?

Yeah. Yeah. And, and, uh, but we, but they realize, Hey, this person’s kind of like going late, uh, you know, in terms of getting on the plane. So let’s say they get a call and says, Hey, we, we know you checked in like pretty late, just four minutes ago, but don’t worry. We’re we’re, we’re gonna wait for you for, until this time.

And he’s like, wow, I got taken care of. Yeah. So I’m proactively reshot. You told me not to worry. Yeah. Um, because usually at that I’ve experienced that you’re rushing with your luggage. You’re running around. You’re panting and that’s all fine. I think we should rush cause we’re late, but the worst is like, maybe I’ll miss my plane and I’ll miss the important conference or speech.

And so just having someone says, Hey, we proactively reach out to tell you not to, or you still have to, you know, hopefully increase your speed, but you don’t have to emotionally worry. Yeah. I think that will make, people’s like, wow, I love this airline. I wanna stick to this airline.

Paula Thomas: Totally. Totally. I I’m sure all the operations people listening are are, are going, oh my God, that would be impossible, but you’re right in principle, first of all, it is the reassurance, as you’ve said.

So, you know, reaching out to say, we know you’re on your way. This is what we can do, uh, get here by whatever time. And, and we’ll sort it out. I think that’s a wonderful idea. So, um, absolutely great. Okay. So what’s the next core drive?

Yu-kai Chou: So we’re on core drive three Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback. Okay. So this is like LEGO give uses the basic building blocks and there’s infinite amount of ways for, to use their creativity, try different strategies. See combo, uh, see feedback and then go back and adjust. And it’s very gaging. So this core drive deals with things like, self expression, meaningful choices, autonomy, um, and just allows people to do things in a non-linear way. Now a lot of times people see like, like say a traditional punch card loyalty program as very linear.

Yeah. You buy 10 times, you get one free, you get buy 10 times you get one free. There’s no creativity involved. There’s no expression of style. And so some easier ways to introduce this is to say, Hey, you know, you’re red, you know, do you want to, uh, spend a few. Redeem right now and get a small reward.

 Or do you wanna save up for a big reward that just introduc me a little bit of a choice psychologically shows that makes people happier. Okay. And more engaged. Nice. Or, and then, so in gameplay, we have you. High risk, high reward strategies, low risk, low risk reward strategy. Or there are things where you can get collectibles and the collectible allows you to dress up an avatar. That look more interesting. Yeah. So you’re expressing your uniqueness. So anyway, anyway, that makes people feel like I am a unique human being and no nice a hundred people. Going through this program will have a hundred different types of outputs that makes them feel happy. And that’s, you know, that’s on the right top of the Octagon, which means it’s the White Hat intrinsic motivation core drive.

Nice, nice. And usually we see that as the longest type of gamification, like every green, every game in the world, that’s timeless has this core drive, like, you know, chess poker, ma all those things. Okay.

Paula Thomas: It’s super powerful then yeah?

Yu-kai Chou: Yeah. It’s, uh, it’s the hardest to implement sometimes, but it’s the longest lasting.

Okay. Once you have that.

Paula Thomas: Okay, good to know. Yeah. Yes. I think creativity is something that, uh, yeah, certainly I always kind of aspire to being more creative, so yeah. Wonderful to have those opportunities

Yu-kai Chou: And, and you’d actually see that, uh, you know, It’s not driven by the company, but consumers still do that.

So some people like me include, would just start at one point, start pulling out a spreadsheet and figuring how to optimize, strategy, how to like, oh, all my, I need to use by all my groceries with this credit card, I need to move all my points here, cuz it doesn’t expire and I need to redeem on that. Yeah. And then, so, and so once you pull off. This optimization, the strategy, this creativity, then people just are set. They always stick to their. Strategy, even if it’s like, oh, this is like 2 cents better than the other strategy. Mm-hmm okay. There’s like, this is my game plan. I gotta stick to it. And they’ll correct their spouses if they, if they don’t play the game correctly. Oh, wow. Okay. Yeah. Brilliant. So then it’s like constantly top of mind when, when you pull out the spreadsheet to optimize your yeah. Your loyalty. Now imagine if a company actually. Understands this and says, Hey, we’ll give you tools to, to, to optimize. And we have different ways that you can strategize about how you’re gonna do that. Uh, I, I have seen. um, Bank of America has this, this unique credit card that will say it’s what call a hunter smart design, where it’s like, you get to choose every month for this one month. What, what, what do you want? Five X reward points on and okay, so it’s like, well, next month I’m gonna be digital. I’m gonna buying a lot of digital products. Right? So, so you choose that. And now you’re obviously wanting to use this card to buy your digital product. You won’t wanna use any other card. Sure. But then the other one’s like. I’m traveling next month. So I’m gonna switch, switch it to travel. So now you feel like you’re creatively playing this game and optimize it based on strategy.

Paula Thomas: Sure, sure. Makes sense. Yeah, no, absolutely. And I, I think you’re absolutely right. The U.S. market in particular, um, is so mature and there’s a lot of people understand the game of loyalty. Particularly with credit cards. So there’s incredible businesses built on the back of educating people with, you know, hack this and do that and whatever. So yeah, totally, totally makes sense.

Yu-kai Chou: Yeah. So core drive four it’s Ownership and Possession. So this is basically because we feel like we own something we wanna protect, we wanna improve it. We wanna get more of it. . So this deals with things like virtual goods, virtual currencies, um, it’s, it’s the drive that makes us wanna collect stamps or baseball cards. Uh, but it also has this more abstract concept, which is like, if you invest a lot of time customizing your Facebook profile, Dropbox folders or LinkedIn profile. You feel more attachment, hence ownership over that experience. And so even if a new technology comes out, that’s supposed to be better. We don’t wanna switch because you know, this, that system doesn’t understand me. This one does, that’s what my system. And so we can see that, um, how it plays out a loyalty, uh, program is sometimes. We’ll see it comes in the form of collectibles or puzzle pieces. So as you, every time you shop and whatnot, you’ll get a, a random puzzle piece. And if you get all the puzzle pieces, then that unlocks the big reward and the puzzle piece could be, uh, a interesting theme, a different equal image. So it brings a little bit of curiosity. Yeah. And it’s not just the abstract number. Like I got 17 points now I got 48. Now I get 120. It feels a little abstract, but if it’s like, oh, I need to collect one of the 16 puzzle pieces that form the, let’s say sponsor celebrity of this brand. Uh, then it’s kind of exciting. Um, you know, and usually again, these collectibles, puzzle pieces or collectable items, they oftentimes should be themed well, I remember working with LaQuinta, which is a hotel brand. Yeah. And the collectibles, they give out people. Who, uh, who participated in their program, uh, what is related to like to history? Like one is a sun symbol. It’s like, oh, because like it was created in this state where the sun, where the sun shines bright mm-hmm and there’s all these components. So as you collect these, these collectibles, you’ll start to learn about their history and what they stand for and feel more attached to their brand. Lovely. So I think that’s pretty strong too. And, uh, I won’t go into too much detail, but some companies I’m working right now are also, incorporating, uh, blockchain technology and Web 3 and NFTs into loyalty programs. so people feel a longer term attachment and, uh, feel like there’s interoperability. So the things they earn here can be used somewhere else, too.

Paula Thomas: Yeah, I know that’s a, a passion topic, absolutely, for you. Yu-kai so once we, um, you know, go through the full framework, I definitely wanna get a few, even high level thoughts about Web 3.0, because it is a topic. I think a lot of people are very curious, and, and very, I dunno whether concerned is the word, but, you know, they’re just really not sure. Um, what the use cases may be just yet. So maybe it can, uh, help illuminate a little bit on that. But, um, but anyway, sorry, I interrupted. So…

Yu-kai Chou: Yeah. No, and, and they’re definitely a lot of misconceptions and also bad players and, and any early industry that has a lot of hype, like gamification in the same way. Okay. So we happy to explore. Okay. And I do think that in the future, at one point it’ll become, a pretty normal thing. Just like we think about the internet.

Oh, wow.

Paula Thomas: Okay. Wonderful. Okay. That’s reassuring. brilliant. So core drive five. I think we’re on now. Yeah?

Yu-kai Chou: Yes. Core drive five is Social Influence and Relatedness. Okay. So this is what you do based on what other people do think or say. So this deals with things like competition, collaboration, group quest, or gifting, uh, it also has the relatedness piece, which are things like nostalgia, like if you see a product that reminds you of your childhood, you automatically have a higher chance of buying the product. Yeah. If you meet someone from the same hometown, let’s say, working abroad, uh, you automatically have a higher chance of, uh, of striking to deal with that person. Yes. So in the, in the loyalty world, Of course a big motivation is get people to, to share, right. And to bring friends into the system. So, uh, one simple example is like, let’s say you have a restaurant. And if people, instead of saying, people come 10 times and they get a free beer, what if you come 10 times and you can treat three friends, free beer. So, so even though the cost, a little higher sort of one free beer, you get to three. Yeah. But now this person’s bringing three other people who may have, you know, never been this place before. Yeah. And the person, and they’re not getting a few dollars worth of value, they’re actually, they actually feel like a VIP, that it impress their friends, like, Hey, I’m a VIP here, so beers on me. Right. And they’re friends like, wow, that’s cool. I wanna sign up and, and be in this VIP program. So, so you turn like, oh, I just get rewards to you. I get. Uh, extrinsic rewards. I just, I get to look cool in front my friends and impress them and then to do marketing there’s group quest designs, you know, and you’ve seen that in like Kickstarter, Indiegogo or Groupon where it’s like, Hey, if you can get enough people to participate together. Yeah. And you then, then, and unlocks a major reward. And so you could definitely do things like that in the loyalty space too.

Paula Thomas: Well, I definitely relate to that idea. As you said about the beer, for example, Yu-kai, because, um, we would’ve, um, had terminology just on a previous project I worked on where we, we just had this idea that if you made somebody feel like a V I P uh, we used the word a hero, um, that exactly had. Uh, a very powerful way to create loyalty. And I mean, I don’t know about you for example, but certainly any of my friends, if we go for a beer, there’s always a second beer and a third beer. So even though, as you said, you know, there is an initial higher reward cost in terms of saying we’re giving you three, three beers. I guarantee that, uh, you know, the upsell would there would, would definitely pay off. So I think that works on every level. So, and I know it’s easier with beer, um, in my own kind of loyalty career, I’ve given away a lot of chocolate. Um, so I always feel as long as there’s either, I used to say coffee or chocolate, those kind of things are pretty universal in terms of how welcome they are. So I think the same applies perhaps to beer.

Yu-kai Chou: Yeah. I’m not a beer person, but I respect that beer is highly influential in every single culture.

Paula Thomas: There you go. Wonderful. Okay.

Yu-kai Chou: Uh, core drive six is Scarcity and Impatience. So this basically is saying, you know, we want something simply because we can’t have it, or it’s very difficult to obtain. So any type of exclusivity program, you have to reach a certain level of status before you can, before this even opens as a possibility. Okay. Uh, it applies. But there’s also the Scarcity and Time. So, uh, you have, you have to really be there at this time or else you’re gonna miss the opportunity. So, and that creates urgency, right? So this is on the left bottom of the Octagon, which is what called Black Hat Extrinsic. So you’re doing for a reward or extrinsic factor, a goal, and it’s urgent, right? It’s black and you feel a little outta control. And so I worked with a, uh, a loyalty program in, uh, in India. It’s a restaurant loyalty program and what they do is kind of interesting. When you, uh, go to the restaurant, anybody, not only do you get traditional loyalty points, you also get a raffle or lottery ticket. Okay. And every week one, uh, they’ll give out a free iPhone, uh, to, to one of the winners. Now, the thing that the mechanic is that the trick is that. You only have five minutes in the week to see who what’s the winning number. So let’s say I forgot what day? Like Friday from 10:00 AM to 10:05 AM. Okay. Okay. And so, so people are studying alarm plots, right? They’re engaged. They’re waiting for that. And if, because if you can do it anytime you might miss it, but it’s like, oh, I have to. And then after those five minutes you have an hour to redeem. So, so lots and lots of people. Wow. If anything, every week just starts to engage with that, that experience. Yeah. Um, yeah. And you know, they they’re, they have millions of, uh, of users, so, okay. One iPhone a week is less than a thousand dollars. So less than $4,000, they’re engaging millions of people. So it’s, it’s a really strong design there.

Paula Thomas: Wonderful. I was going to ask exactly that, you know, how, how, um, widespread was this restaurant chain? It sounds like it might be throughout the whole country.

Yu-kai Chou: Yeah. It’s actually a loyalty program that works with a lot of loyalty, uh, with a lot of restaurant joints.

Paula Thomas: Got you. Got you. Yeah. Super clever. Okay. Brilliant. Okay. So that’s the scarcity piece and I like the, so essentially you have to be there to, to, to know that you’ve won. And as you said, then claim it within the hour, yeah? Yes. Super fun on the app to check on the app. Okay. Makes sense. Okay, great.

Yu-kai Chou: And I mentioned they do a lottery system, which actually pipes nicely into core drive seven unpredictability And Curiosity. So this is the core drive says, because we don’t know what’s gonna happen next. We’re constantly thinking about it. Okay. So this is heavily utilized in the gambling, uh, industry, but whenever we have a raffle ticket, a lottery, a a, uh, a sweepstakes program or mystery box design. Yeah. You have this core drive. Okay. It’s also the drive that makes us wanna finish a book or movie, which is why, uh, we don’t like spoilers and yeah. And so, um, and yeah, so this is basically about delightful surprises. And one interesting example is Chase, they want more people to talk about the debit cards because they get more, uh, margins from that. And so they create a program, post Chase Picks Up The Tab, which is, whenever you swipe with a debit card, there’s a small chance that you get a text message that says, Chase will pick up your tab, uh, pay for your bill. Yeah. Your $5 will be credit back to your account, have a nice day. So even though it’s not a lot of money and the chance are very low because it’s so unexpected, uh, people are very delighted or excited. It makes them wanna swipe more of their Chase card again. Yeah. Uh, it makes them want to tell their friends and their friends might wanna sign up to, uh, To see if they can play and win. Yeah. And I, and I wanna stress. This only works because it’s unexpected, let’s say they publish their math. And instead of an Easter egg design, it’s a fixed action reward design. So let’s say, they say said, Hey, we’re doing a system where every thousand times you swipe your, your card, you’ll get $5. And now people are doing that math. It’s like, well, on average, I swipe $20 a time. So, wow. After $20,000 of spending, I won’t get $5 back. These guys are agree to hate this company. I’m never gonna work with this company again. right? OK. You know, it doesn’t work, as a fixed action reward design, but as Easter, because they don’t expect at all, when they suddenly get it, they’re like, wow, I’m so happy, I got $5. So, so that unpredictability in terms of core driver seven is what makes this, this mechanic work here.

Paula Thomas: But, but the one challenge that I’ve, I’ve seen with that type of idea, Yu-kai is, as a loyalty program, owner or manager, what do I, how do I communicate that to, you know, a member, you know, because, you know, surely it’s, it’s very difficult then to inspire people about something. If it’s only a possibility and again, it’s not, it’s not a huge reward. So, so how have you seen maybe Chase in that example, you know, tell people about that. Do they openly say it’s just a chance and enjoy the bond?

Yu-kai Chou: Yeah. So. When we think about experience design, we have four phases, Discovery, Onboarding, Scaffold, Endgame . And specifically this is about discovery and onboard how people discover it. And how does onboarding what’s the experience with onboarding and how do we communicate? Because obviously you’re communicating not just loyalty program, but what your business does, right? Your value proposition and all those things. Totally. Yeah. Uh, yeah, so, so that’s a different challenge for every type of, for different types of company. And we, you need to figure out from, some, some of them play a video, some people, uh, but what you see with specifically this type of reward, like lottery based is they will broadcast the winners regularly. Yes. They’ll say, Hey, another lucky winner, another lucky winner, this person just won this reward. Sometimes they’ll do a press thing. Like interview them. What are you gonna do with your new winnings? Right. And so, even though you don’t know the mechanics of this, you see this publications like of people winning. Yeah. And like, oh wow. How do I learn? And there’s probably a little, but that says like, what the, what is this? How do, how do I, how do I get in on this action too? Yeah. Um, and if like those, those are the big lottery rewards, right? If it’s a small one, you could have a, even have a feed. That’s just like constantly streaming says user 553, just one, $5. Well, why don’t we use their five, five? And if they choose their name, like, like happy bunny five, just, uh, on the, so you see this, they’re like, wow, Like every, every minute there’s like seems to be a winner. What is this? And so you entice them to, to dig into and, and learn about themselves. If you don’t want to have this full blown, like education session at the beginning of every experience.

Paula Thomas: Sure. Sure. Okay. Yeah. And one more is the eighth one. Yeah. Yes.

Yu-kai Chou: Core drive eight is Lost and Avoidance. Okay. And this is straightforward. You’re doing something to avoid a loss. You don’t want something bad to happen. It’s the fear core drive. And, uh, what we see here in, in different online engagement programs is like for instance, streak design. Now what’s interesting about streak design is that a lot of people think streak designs are about core drive to develop an accomplishment. Yay. Five days in attendance in world, I feel great, but inevitably, inevitably it becomes, poor drive loss and avoidance because people just become afraid of losing their, their streak. And they’re afraid to like travel because they’re, they don’t wanna miss a day. And, and so this is again on the bottom. So it’s, it’s, uh, Black Hat Motivation Core Drive and the short term, as long as they’re maintained their streak, they are very engaged. They’re very diligent, obsessed every day, they’re on it , but they don’t necessarily feel happy or comfortable because they feel like they have to go back. So the moment they lose their streak, that’s when they burn out, they think, oh, wow, that was a good run. Uh, but I don’t think I’ll ever do like 200 days in a row. So I’m gonna take a break and they’re gone. Okay. So, so it’s important for people who are designing these engagement systems to know the pros and cons and consequences about various types of designs and how they all inter work with each other. Yes. So, yeah, so those are the Eight Core Drives and, uh, and a small example, uh, about how they can be implemented in the, in the loyalty world and other, other, uh, systems.

Paula Thomas: Yes. Well, absolutely like thank you for that yu-kai, I know it’s probably not easy, uh, to do such a whirlwind tour of such depth of information. Um, and I did, uh, think actually, as you were going through what I’m guessing, it sounds like is, um, there’s almost maybe the opportunity to combine, um, the various core drives. So it’s not that your loyalty strategy just focuses necessarily on one of the eight. You can absolutely combine them, is that right?

Yu-kai Chou: Yeah, absolutely. You can have an Epic Meaning Calling theme, it grows into a status, but it, and gives people a lot of meaningful choices. Bring social friends into the experience, allow you to level up faster, gives you boosters, and then you get loyal and then you get lottery or raffle tickets as you keep going. So, yeah, you there’s a lot of ways to combine these concepts together to form a custom experience, uh, for your target.

Paula Thomas: Okay. And you said to us, then at the beginning, Yu-kai that you published this, the pivot point you mentioned was kind of 2012. You published the Octalysis Framework and that’s when I suppose global interest awareness and recognition all came. So that’s actually quite a long time, I guess, a decade now. Um, it looks like that framework has remained Intact exactly as published. Have you seen trends, are things changing, would you say in the world of gamification? Because you know, and, and maybe it is the Web 3.0, um, evolution, for example, but just a as an industry or as a, as a, a thought process, would you say that gamification has evolved in that time?

Yu-kai Chou: Yeah. So the framework, uh, since 2012, uh, the first one or two years there was about two or three small changes. Okay. Based on some feedback , uh, not major ones. Uh, just a quick example, Core Drive Five Social Influence and Relatedness used to be called Social Pressure and Envy. Okay. Um, but it’s, it was not as inclusive. So I expanded that. Once the book was published about five, six years ago, we sold a little over a thousand, uh, a hundred thousand copies. Okay. And, uh, you know, there’s a lot of pirate copies out there, so I can’t help those. Oh, okay. Um, yeah. But yeah, that hasn’t changed about, and the nice thing is, because this is not a technology trend, this is how the human brain works. Yeah. And the human brain doesn’t change every 10, 20 years. Right. So, sure. Yeah. So as long as you understand how the brain is driven, by outside triggers stimuli, how do feel, how do people feel appreciate, feel accomplished? I think that, uh, that’s an evergreen type of, uh, knowledge and it’s useful for individuals and businesses alike. Now when it comes to the gamification industry itself, and this is what I’ve been pushing for a long time, because the industry, I think also look actually worked in, uh, loyalty programs. I had a startup that ran, uh, local loyalty programs for, for restaurants and chains. 12,14 years ago. Okay. Um, but it’s heavily reliant on extrinsic motivation. So it’s saying, Hey, the activity is boring. You don’t like it. But if you do this boring thing a lot, we’ll give you rewards, you know, either monetary or status rewards. And, and so if you think about from engagement and a game design, doesn’t make sense. Like, Hey, we’re gonna create a very boring game. And if you play this boring game a lot, we’ll give you some rewards, right? Yeah. That doesn’t make sense. So I want to say like, yeah, have rewards is good, but again, once the users get the rewards, they might not come back. If the, if they, if they don’t care about it because humans have grown appetites, but rather you wanna make it more intrinsic. So the Right Brain Core of 3, 5, 7, and Power of Creative Feedback, Social Influence, and unpredictability. So give people more meaningful choices. Everything is more intrinsically rewarding and enjoyable when it’s social, either it’s competition collaboration and give them delightful surprises. So when people interact with your brand and they feel more delighted, they feel more excited. It’s interesting. It’s, it’s, uh, surprising and, and brings out their curiosity. They just want to interact with their brand more often. Yeah. As opposed to just being hooked on. And a, a joke I say is most loyalty programs out. There are not real loyalty programs. They’re mercenary program, because if you go to whoever pays you the most, then by definition have no loyalty. Right. You’re immersed. Totally, totally. So I think it’s important for brands to think about, you know, obviously you reward people exclusively to show that you respect them, you respect their patronage. Yeah. Um, and you give back some and whatnot, but I think ultimately, they wanna tab, they wanna become loyal to your brand in terms of your values, your Epic Meaning and Calling. Yeah. They want to be loyal to you because they, they really love engaging with your experience as opposed to just, yeah. Hey, I got $10, so that’s why I come back.

Paula Thomas: Totally. Totally. And I know there’s some misconceptions as well, Yu-kai that, um, you know, you tend to talk about that, you know, perhaps oversimplification of the, um, the expertise that, um, that you’ve just talked us through. So what are the kind of myths in the industry or, you know, in terms of employing gamification, what kind of things frustrate you?

Yu-kai Chou: Yeah, I think it’s, uh, like first of all, a lot of people just think gamification is putting points and batches on things, and that’s it. Yeah. And, and when we think about game design, I’ve done workshops for 10 years. I like to ask people, what is their favorite game in the past and why? And it could be traditional games like Scrabble or Poker. Yeah. And no one has ever said, oh, it’s because they had points for badges, right. They’ll say, oh, it’s because I can play with my friends or my children, or like the strategy aspect. I think it’s really hard, which challenges me. And I think. A lot of companies coming on saying, yeah, we do game patient. And so we just put points and badges on, I think, uh, has made a lot of people feel like, oh, gamification doesn’t make any sense. It’s very fluffy and we don’t wanna do it. Superficial. Yeah. Yeah. And okay. And to a greater extent, uh, just applying different game techniques, game design elements, so things like, requests, uh, Easter eggs, power ups. They just think, Hey, if we just take some elements that are finding games and put it into your experience, it’s automatically fun and successful. Yeah. And that also doesn’t make sense because a lot of games out there are failures. Majority of them, you know, we hear about the very successful ones. Yeah. And, but all of them have game design elements in them. So it doesn’t make sense that you say, Hey, if I just take these game elements that are even found in boring and fail games, into my product, my marketing, my loyalty program, it suddenly becomes successful and fun. And that’s why I really focus on, it’s not the game elements. It’s how it appeals to our core drives. Like you can give people badges, but they don’t feel accomplished at all. You can give people a lot of social buttons, but they don’t feel socially appreciated or connected with other people. Yeah. And so that’s why my work, and I think one of the reasons. I’m getting a lot of recognition in the industry is that I focus back onto the human, onto the, and with it empathetically, how people feel, how to engage and motivate them, how to give them a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives. And that’s more powerful than saying, all right, let’s, let’s give them some shiny object or, uh, you know, a little mechanic.

Paula Thomas: Yeah. Yeah, totally. So, listen, um, I suppose the last kind of main area I wanted to touch on with you was all of the, um, new books that you, um, mentioned to us previously that you’re working on. Um, so I won’t, uh, spoil it by, by giving them away. I know there’s three, so, well, I suppose the easiest one is an update to the book, the original one, Actionable Gamification. So I’ll definitely make sure in the show notes that we link to wherever that’s coming. So when is the updated version coming out of that Yu-kai?

Yu-kai Chou: I do hope it’s 2023. Okay. I’m very stretched on many different projects and you know, you mentioning three books. Most people are like, wow, that’s, that’s a lot. Right. That’s a full-time thing. Uh, just there. Sure. Yeah. So, but the, but the first book, um, I think it’s a, a new edition is due, it’s been five years. Okay. And, um, number, number one, I think I can have more modern examples. I think it would have a Metaverse, Web 3 edition. Cool. I think it will, update things. And over the five years, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned a lot about how people, uh, learn this, uh, this content. Yeah. So I can improve some of the way’s communicated. And also, you know, when I first wrote the book, I didn’t know if it was gonna be successful. I could very, very well be those books that solve like nine copies of a year . Um, so in my book, I actually used a lot of like language. That’s more defense like, oh, you may not believe me, but here’s the justification. And I feel like I spent a lot of time, like proving, like, oh, if you don’t believe me, here’s the proof. Okay. Uh, but I think now I know people read it and they do consume it and they like it. Yeah. And I feel like I don’t have to spend all this, all this, uh, all these pages. Yeah. Uh, doing that. And I just have to here’s the knowledge, here’s how to use it and people will accept it. Uh, so I think there’s some changes there that wanna make. Okay. Um, So that’s, that’s the, that’s the update, hopefully in the edition of the second book. Yeah. Okay. For the first book.

Paula Thomas: Okay. Yeah. And the other two, tell the audience, then the other two books you’re working on.

Yu-kai Chou: Yeah. So the second book is titled 10,000 Hours of Play. And, uh, so it’s basically turning your life into your game. And that really changed my life since oh three. So, um, instead of saying, how do I design programs for other people with programs? This is about, if you turn your life into a game, then everything you do will be much more effective, more enjoyable. So it’s a, it’s a six step process, to, to turn life into a epic game, you can play. So step one is, defining your, your game. You know, what game are you playing in your life? What are you trying to accomplish in your life? Yeah. Uh, is it about career success? Is it about saving the world through sustainability, creating peace, you know, just having a stable income, having a good family. Yeah. So you define the game, then you kind of look into your attributes. So the talents you’re born with, and there’s a method to do that. And then based on your attributes, you choose your role in the game. So it’s like, if I wanna, uh, help with sustainability protect the talent, the talent or the planet. Maybe I don’t have the talent to become an engineer. Yeah. Uh, and create machines that protect environment, but maybe I have the talent to maybe become a diplomat and I can negotiate treaties that, uh, are environmental friendly or I become a activist or lobbyist or whatnot. So lovely. You treat the role in the game based on attributes. And then you under you identify what are the skill sets you need to learn to become very strong in that role. So identify what are the skills right now? What are, ultimate skills you need to have as the highest, the strongest diplomat on your earth server or, um, or the best engineer. Right. And those are things you can take courses on. You listen to podcasts like this one. Yeah. You wanna be the best loyalty professional in the world. Yeah. Right. That’s that’s the role and that skills you need to learn. Yeah. Uh, then the fifth one, the fifth step is to, uh, find allies. So people who are playing the same game as you are, potentially complimentary skills. Yeah. So, so if you, you wanna create a, a startup. Maybe you’re a business type, then you wanna find an engineer, a co-founder. Yeah, but maybe both of your business types, the ones more like marketing and sales, the other is more like finance and operations, more organized. So you wanna find people who are playing the same game? Yeah. The last step is about, uh, conquering quest. So identify what are the things you can do? To acquire the skills you need push towards the game, objective and grow with your allies. So it could be finding an internship. It could be reading a book. It could be go volunteer in, uh, in a different country for a while, or just, you know, continue on pushing at your, your current job. So it’s these quests allow you to improve your skill sets level up and also, uh, not only level up with your teammates and your allies, but also grow chemistry with each other. So you can, so you actually, uh, uh, bond better and can do even bigger things in the future.

Paula Thomas: I love that actually Yu-kai, because, you know, sometimes I find it exhausting, you know, all of the talk about hustle and success and all the, you know, the way that, you know, particularly, I would say the Western world tends to view, you know, how we should live our lives. You know, it really doesn’t feel like a game. It feels sometimes like a bit of a chore. So I like the fact that you’re reframing life, that it can be made into this really fun, everyday experience where, you know, as you said, literally gamify your life.

Yu-kai Chou: Yeah. And I think, life is like a game, a game is that you have an objective. Yeah. You have obstacles before getting there and you have your current resources, a game is using your current resources to overcome the obstacles. Yeah. And reach objective. Cool. And that’s much more like life and work than what school teaches. Like most people’s work is not, memorizing a lot of information regurgitating on a piece of paper. Totally. Right. Totally. And so I feel like I’ve learned so much more from games in terms of tackling life issues yeah. Than, than actually from school, unfortunately.

Paula Thomas: Well, I think your parents must be thrilled that all those hours playing, whatever that game was in the beginning you mentioned have actually manifested into something that’s incredibly powerful and impactful in the business world.

Yu-kai Chou: Yeah. At the beginning of my journey, they were very skeptical. They were, they wanted me to stop full around and, and focus on important things. But then as my yeah, uh, career started growing and, you know, and by all metrics, I’m, I’m successful, uh, business field person, then they’re like, oh, we always supported our son.

Paula Thomas: Yeah, that’s great. Great. And when is that book coming, coming out then the game of your life one?

Yu-kai Chou: This one, I dunno. Hopefully. Late next year, but probably mid 2024 is my guess. Okay. I have to wait. Actually, there’s a new, there’s a new effort to push progress on that because my, uh, my Web 3 company, uh, wants to also push that knowledge out about turning your life into your game. So maybe that’s gonna accelerate the book going come back to.

Paula Thomas: Brilliant. And then the third one then something, I think it’s about, uh, rebuilding Ukraine.

Yu-kai Chou: Yeah. So the third one, uh, still super preliminary and there’s not a lot I could share, but I can just say that, uh, I did have the opportunity to, uh, work with, uh, Zelensky’s team. Wow. And, uh, you know, people who, who really like my book and they actually wanted to apply my book to become a required reading for the school system in Ukraine. Wow. Um, because they saw Ukraine as the third largest software development nation in terms of headcount. Wow. But it’s mostly outsource software, so, and they wanted to figure out how to do more original IP. And I thought gamification was a very important piece. Yeah. Yeah. So initially I was supposed to go, fly to Ukraine and meet with Zelensky in January of this year, but then Omicron broke out and they said, ah, little risky let’s delay to March. Oh, nice. And of course, something else very inconvenient happened during that time. And so that was kind of like cancels say, okay, well I guess this project is done donezo. Yeah. People won’t care about learning gamification when they’re being bombed. Right? Sure. Uh, but then months later, um, you know, someone who works very close with him reached out again and said, We have new interests to say like, can you, can we help? Can we figure out how to, uh, design the rebuilding of Ukraine after the war? Because it’s clean slate, uh, starting from scratch. And we can really think about how democracy should go. Um, you know, the economy should education and I think that’s a, and it’s gonna start off with the book. So I think I find that a very exciting opportunity. Yeah. But it’s still very, very preliminary. So I’m not, so I wouldn’t say like, yeah, wait for the book. It’s gonna come out. Uh, we’re still discussing the scope and the details, but I think because my main epic meaning calling is Impact. I want, I found something useful, uh, some useful framework and skill, and I’d like to apply it to improve the lives as many people as possible. So helping, uh, people in Ukraine with the skills that I have, I’m just. Just very, it just excites me and I’m very passionate about it.

Paula Thomas: I was gonna say to me, I’m actually blown away actually. Uh, to be honest, Yu-kai, that, you know, you know, in the, the depths of, of, you know, devastation that they’re in, that there is that level of human spirit, um, which is already assuming victory. Looking to rebuild the country and reaching out to global experts like you, um, to, to support them and, and literally to be so focused on the future. I’m actually, I think that’s absolutely extraordinary. So, um, yeah. Yeah.

Yu-kai Chou: I like, my mind is blown because we already work with, uh, Ukraine design and development firms when the war started. Okay. And then we said like, oh yeah, You don’t have to show up to our meetings anymore. You know, we understand like this is a very extreme situation and they’re like, no, no, we still wanna do work. We wanna show up. And they, and they’re telling us that, during the day they’re doing work for us during the night, they have to pick up their guns and do like, uh, patrol duty. And, and they said the work for us do the design developer for my company, uh, keeps their mind off of the, the horrors and the war. So like, I, I’ve wow. Nothing but respect for these people.

Paula Thomas: Incredible, incredible on that note, I’ve certainly asked, and I could probably talk to you for at least another hour Yu-kai, but, uh, just wanna give you one opportunity. Is there anything I’ve missed that you want to mention? We’ll obviously make sure to link to your homepage, your, your own website, yukaichou.com We will link to your LinkedIn profile of course. And your book on Amazon. Is there anything else you wanna mention for our audience before we wrap up?

Yu-kai Chou: Uh, we just had a quick, uh, Uh, chat on the Web 3 aspect and the NFT stuff. Yeah. And so. Um, I know a lot of people feel like the NFT stuff’s kind of confusing, but I, like I said, a lot of technology at the beginning is confusing how the internet, the internet was weird. Um, yeah. I remember when I first got paid on by PayPal, by, by selling something eBay, my parents didn’t believe that was real money. Wow. Um, and only when I transferred it to the bank that like, now, oh, it’s real money yeah. So I think a and Uber was strange, right? Getting on someone’s card. Airbnb was strange, so a lot of trends at the beginning just seemed really, really strange. And that’s same with blockchain and Web 3. Yeah. This is the NFTs. And I do think the NFT market is a lot of overhyped. Um, but there’s intrinsic value in the sense that, like an example I give people is that, you know, I sold over a hundred thousand books, and those books are fungible. So people just want the knowledge, the text. So the eBooks just as good, the audiobook is just like a, the item itself doesn’t matter. Yeah. But in my lifetime, I’ve signed about two to 300 books and those books are non fungible. So they’re unique, they’re different, you know, people can trade and they’re, they’re not the same thing. Um, yeah. And so it creates a deeper relationship with an author with a brand whatnot. And so this is what, and so the same concept. Take into digital world is that NFT is a digital item that you can just, I instantly replicate it either has a unique number or, yeah, there’s something serious. So if you love the artist, you like, you like the basketball player, you like this costume, you believe in this vision, this of women empowerment. You own one of their unique NFTs, then you feel like you have something that, that is a better relationship with this movement. Yeah. And so I think when we explain it that way, instead of say, oh, look, this stupid picture is sold for $2 million. You know, then it’s like, oh, that concept is understandable. Whether the, the valuation is too high or not. And, and so this let me to, uh, a new company has started to call them Metablox. And it’s it’s, it’s not about you know, some game or selling some fun things. It’s literally, I started because a long-term friend and partner who works at Google, he said that, oh, Google’s starting to charge for Google photos. And he says that 40 years later, his, uh, grandchildren might not want to pay for grand grandpa’s Google photos forever. Right? Yeah. In which case, all his memories, all of us will be deleted and, and they’re gone. And he says, and Google could also shut down the service if they want, whenever they wanted. And also, uh, they could possibly go out of business and he says, how do we preserve our memories, right. Uh, that are all now digitalized. Yeah. And so this is when I thought about blockchain technology was perfect for this because, um, blockchain is about decentralization stuff. Instead of one company holding all this stuff in one server, it’s a lot of computers, all storing it and managing it. Uh decentral in the decentralized way. So I thought now, even though the technology’s timeless, it’s, it’s connected a lot of temporary projects like, oh, look at this fun game. Look at this funny picture. And I feel like a blockchain, a timeless technology, connected timeless concepts, like preserving your memories and also real estate. So we launched Metablox and it’s really about real world places, real life memories. So it’s basically people can own, uh, represents, representations of real life locations. Like, uh, San Francisco, New York, Singapore. Yeah. And so they can own that, that location, but to level that up and make it more valuable, uh, they have to start collecting memories related to the location. So it’s like important things, big things like, oh, this is where Steve Jobs mets Steve Wozniak or this is where Michael Jordan practiced basketball when he was growing up. But it can just be local, like, Hey, this local chef that everyone enjoyed, this is where he learned. Right? So every, every location has things that are worth preserving for future generations. And so, again, long story short, that’s this, that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to create a, kind of like a real estate Web 3 game. Okay. To preserve humanity’s most important memories.

Paula Thomas: Okay. And if we link to that as well, Yu-kai people can go in and, and understand how to support the Metablox project. Is that, uh, that fair to say?

Yu-kai Chou: Yes. Yes. Yes. So it’s Metablox.co. Okay. And they can go there and they don’t and, uh, you know, they can buy the NFTs they want to, but, but you know, if they don’t want to, uh, and we really help for the movement, if they just say, Hey, I have memories and photos of this location in the studies that we have. Yeah. And they just submit those photos and memories and have a little write up of the context and that will help us. Okay. Like preserve this. This is a, this is a memory preservation project, basically.

Paula Thomas: Okay. I’m gonna have a go. I have no idea, uh, how it’s gonna go, but I will go in and, you know, add some memories to, to your project just for fun and just to learn how it all works. So I’ll be dying to hear how that progresses over time. And please God, you’ll come back on the show in another year or who knows, uh, to fill us in on all of the latest thinking. So with that said, I have loved the conversation, um, really happy to see all of the work that you’re doing. So, uh, just want to say Yu-kai Chou, Founding Partner and Chief Creation Officer for the Octalysis Group. Thank you so much from Let’s Talk Loyalty.

Yu-kai Chou: Thank you for having me.

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