Gamification talk at Google

Gamification talk at Google.

The speaker makes a few very interesting points in this talk that I’d like to react to.  Perhaps he makes them somewhere else that it’d be easier to quote, but I need to get my thoughts written while they’re fresh in my mind.

One point was that introducing rewards to an existing behavior will “always” link that behavior to the rewards such that if the rewards are removed, the behavior will end or diminish to significantly less than it was before the gaming began.  One example given is that of United Airline’s 1 million miles frequent flyer club, at the time the highest rewards level.  When people got there, they started flying with different carriers because there was no incentive to continue with United.  United then added higher levels, to keep the “game” going.

My reaction is that maybe there’s another factor at work having to do with some reciprocal value the flyer is getting, along the lines of provenance … or history … but then again, above 1 million miles they would still have had the record of more miles, but were not interested in continuing to acquire them because there was no secondary “status bonus” to get more.

Another point was that in gamification, the biggest winner is the “house,” i.e. the casino.  One example was the X Prize given to the first private space mission.  The X Prize foundation got more free press than anyone else benefitted in the actual prize, and the winner was funded by a billionaire and would have achieved the goal without any contest.

A question this sparked for me is: what happens in a scenario where a game is actually multi-user generated and interwoven such that every player is potentially also a house?  In this situation, then, the winners are not only those who acquire the most bonuses, but also those whose bonuses are acquired most?  This is the closest analogy I can think of to the idea of the kind of inter-trading system that I’m developing.

This is also related to another concept like an internet protocol, and the users of the protocol.  The more people use it, the more successful the protocol is and the more likely people will use it for new projects.  This underscores the benefit in this case of the protocol being open source and public domain, so that the “house” is not siphoning away value from the users.

The second point about the biggest winner being the house relates to another question I have about gamification, which is the effect that the observer or house has on the flows that it’s gaming.  This is akin to the idea of the observer affecting the observed.  It’s not possible to measure a flow without to some degree affecting the flow.  It’ not possible to filter a flow without running the flow through the filter, which at the very least slows down the flow.

And here’s another speaker from a different perspective, talking about how much more effective intrinsic motivation is for a different kind of task,  such as right-brain thinking.  He labels the main drivers as Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.  He’s speaking mainly of the white collar skilled work force.

Cash is for SAPS

Status, Access, Power, Stuff

It’s what customers really want, in that order. And this list is also prioritized by “most sticky” and “cheapest to fulfill”.

via Cash is for SAPS | Gamification Blog.

When I read the above, I had a nebulus queezy feeling arise in my stomach.  “Does it really boil down to that?”  Can our collective Id be defined by SAPS?  The article is explaining that in marketing a product to a customer, one needs to realize that those should be the priorities, rather than focusing too much on some kind of cash or “stuff”-based incentive.  I thought to my self that the SAPS model is to “stuff” what my intuition is telling me that my deeper, more universal priorities are to “status”.  Well, if that’s true, I asked my self, then what would I label my top driving motivations in life?  Off the top of my head I came up with: Beauty, Esteem, Excellence, Empathy, Enlightenment, or BEEEE…  That list could probably be shortened to Beauty and Empathy (BE.)

Ha, sounds kinda like hoky new agey spiritual BS, doesn’t it? It does even a bit to me, and yet those are the first labels that came to my mind for my top drivers.  Now, to clarify, the article is talking about priorities in the context of customers in relationship with a commercial marketer, whereas I’m talking about self in relation to Self.  There’s a big difference between these paradigms…. or is there?

In one sense the commercial context is rooted in an existing economic paradigm based on competition within a field of scarcity.  As we humans are creatures of Nature, we will vie with each other for scarce resources in order to survive and be as successful as possible, Naturally (*).  When there is excessive competition, the priorities of SAPS most definitely become uppermost.

As a contrast, people who live within indigenous cultures that have existed on this earth sustainably for countless ages have a very different set of drivers.  It’s difficult for me to define, being that I’m a member of modern society.  But based on a combination of my own intuition and reading about their world view, it seems to me that their drivers are more about caring for each other, having a sense of belonging to the tribe and the landl, having freedom to be as one needs to, and being surrounded with an abundant and nourishing environment that offers everything one needs to live.

On the face of it, the indigenous culture agenda seems like a very different set of priorities than the SAPS model, but ironically each of the 4 descriptions of that view can be interpreted fairly directly by one of status, access, power, and stuff.  However, there’s still a huge difference.  What is it?

To be continued …

* For some, this might not be a given, at least when worded like that, such as to people who view serving others and one’s community as being as much if not more important than serving one’s self.  Well, it can be easily argued that serving others is in fact better for one’s self, when it is collectively reciprocated in the form of the universal Golden Rule.

towards a stable global economy

On 5/2/11, at 11:22 PM, Thomas H. Greco wrote:> One can conceive of many “disasters” looming for the global economy– world peace, a cure for cancer, etc.

Thomas, I think your reference to the global economy is more the global compounding debt money banking pyramid scheme …

I think global economy and trade will of course continue and will be improved with more sound, equitable, and sustainable global currencies. In this realm, Ellen Brown’s recent posts about the role that national banks play has been really enlightening to me. If you look at the national debt more simply as the debit side of a mutual credit system, then Japan’s and the US’s huge debts owed to their central banks at or near zero interest are actually GOOD in terms of enabling a plentitude of circulating currency, assuming those debts remain interest-free. In thinking about national currency in this manner, I’ve been realizing that the “reform” of the money system is a lot closer and more attainable than I’d previously thought possible. The solution is more a matter of how the existing systems are managed, than any kind of a systemic overhaul. Japan seems to have it pretty well figured out. It’s strange though that the private credit rating system that is threatening to lower the US’s credit rating is actually the most at odds with this, because it treats the soveriegn credit issuer as a borrower, rather than as the source of the promise of value at the heart of the national mutual credit system. A stable global money system is so close at hand, and yet seemingly so far due mostly to ignorance or confusion about how the system could work so effectively …