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Bing Gordon, CPO at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, has made smart investments in the leaders of the new video game industry, Ngmoco (acquired by Japanese mobile game firm DeNA for up to $403 million) and famed game developer, Zynga. And in his first video game career, he spent more than 25 years at Electronic Arts, working with game developers to produce some of the best video games ever made. He sat down with our own Sebastian Thrun discussing how today’s best thinkers apply key principles to make decisions and how education and gamification create a bond between the creator and user.
Gamification is everywhere: in to-do list apps Todoist and Asana, encouraging you to get more done; in Apple Watch, rewarding you for achieving fitness goals; in Fortune 500 companies’ strategies to boost employee engagement and schools’ plans to improve education.
Everything wants you to move more, get more done—and then reward you for it. You’re supposed to get caught up in the fun of the game, not the tedium of the chore.
“We behave in certain ways because we are motivated by the expected outcome of that behavior,” Bing explains. Whether or not you find valence in your reward is a bit more subjective. It’s a matter of what motivates you. If you take pleasure in achievements (or simply that feeling of accomplishment associated with crossing something off your list), then chances are, gamification works for you. “Motivation trumps everything. Make your users feel like heroes,” he reiterates.
Bing also reflects about his time working with Jeff Bezos when he had joined Amazon’s board. He discusses key management principles he admires from the Amazon leader, Jeff Bezos, notably his top three: customer first, innovation always and long-term over short-term. “Jeff is really the inventor of inventions. Throughout the years he’s learned to listen and develop systems to do that effectively. He doesn’t measure people on outputs. It’s all about inputs—i.e., what’s under your control, what you add to the system, on what date and in what quality.”
You can watch the interview in it’s entirety here