Did you know that Starcraft 2 is remastered, and free to play now? Or that it can help your career? No, you don’t have to become a pro gamer.
We are organizing another Remote Meetup with my team and I was searching for a game we could play together to bond. Shopify CEO, Tobi Luttke is a huge fan of Starcraft 2, and (contrary to me), a gamer. I struggled to reconcile that with my prior experience – I just didn’t like that game so much when I played it first.
I firmly believe that I learned more about building businesses from playing Starcraft than I’ve learned from business books – Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke
Years ago, I preferred the “landrush” approach to strategy games (my fav being Red Alert 2 mostly because of corny soviet-inspired humor). I would get all my factories in place, get my ducks in a row, produce a giant army (of soldiers, not ducks), and only when I was ready, I would attack the opponent.
What makes Starcraft different (and was bugging me at the time) is that you cannot wait too long. The battlefield is always evolving, and waiting for the conditions to be perfect is a losing strategy. It immediately became an experience similar to my workday, where I have to prioritize things as they come along, not as I wish them to be.
Mike has an excellent article on Starcraft & Shopify that goes DEEP into this topic:
StarCraft is like a constantly evolving game of chess with incomplete information about the opponent’s layout, pieces, and attack/defense strategies. You must continually “read and adjust” your go-to-battle strategy as you learn more about your opponent’s positioning, buildings, and army composition. It’s an iterative loop.
Speaking of Shopify, Alex Danco has a great article “Six Lessons From Six Months at Shopify”, where he points out another game popular there:
It’s the one game that anyone at Shopify can expense. Because it’s just bound to be good for Shopify if people play Factorio for a little while. We’re building supply chains for our customers; logistics networks; and Factorio makes a game out of that kind of thinking. And you know what, it’s actually not surprising, cause that kind of thinking is super fun.
(I’m also super proud of my Brother-in-Law who helps make Factorio. Go Jerzy!)
Alex’s article also has a really good piece of career advice, that I have used inside Automattic with great success:
Familiarize yourself with the dozen senior people at Shopify who have the final call on really important decisions, from Tobi and Harley on down. You need to familiarize yourself with their operating philosophy around business and around how Shopify works. Go consume every written memo and every podcast episode (we have a great internal podcast called Context) they’ve ever done, get inside their heads, learn their perspectives and their preferences, and learn what gets them to say Yes to things.
Having an “internal model” of your “superiors” is an excellent way of not only doing what they want, but also making them do what you want.
If you know how somebody thinks, and operates lets you frame your ideas in a way that is appealing to them, or adjust them to meet mutual goals. It’s a first step of leading UP the chain of command.
Games and other media can help you understand well, the game being played around you. Don’t be clueless.
Free stock & Free PR.
Austin Distel is a recurring revenue consultant that found an interesting way to stand out. He contributed loads of high-quality, free, and useful stock photos to Unsplash.com – THE site with free images for your blog posts. In return, he gets powerful SEO, branding & recognizability.
Check it out – chances are, you might have seen his face on the web. It’s the type of win-win solution that I love the most.
What can you do to help others help yourself?
Tyler Cowen is a Remote Believer now.
Tyler Cowen is a professor of economy at George Mason University. He has a wildly popular blog Marginal Revolution, and a podcast “Conversations with Tyler”. For the podcast, he used to interview interesting people from around the world, travelling to meet them.
However, the Covid remote work experiment has forced him to try doing that over the Internet. Despite his previous conviction that remote interviews will not be the same, to his surprise the episodes were just as good as the one in-person. There are milions of such stories.
Of course a fair amount of the economic activity will return to in-person. But enough people got forced to try otherwise, and didn’t resent the experience. Tyler still plans to travel post-covid, but estimates that a significant number of interviews are going to be remote from now on.
And that is the beauty of Real Remote™️. You can choose to do it, whenever it makes most sense, and you don’t have to be committed one or the other mode of operation.
Lessons Learned from Apple
Avy Faingezicht has shared his lessons he learned at Apple. I’m going to leave a few quotes here:
Everyone is winging it. Yes, experts too. What we call expertise is nothing but a mix of self-deception, ruthless focus, pattern matching ability, and just enough training data.
Truly, there are no adults.
Things happen because people make them happen
People are willing to listen to faceless systems more than they are willing to listen to other people’s opinions. Bake opinions into CI checks and no one will break them. Pick your rules carefully.
“Rules” that have long outlived their use is one of my biggest pet peeves.