apps fail because…

  • You Didn’t Understand The Problem You Were Solving
  • You Asked Your Friends What They Thought
  • You Listened To Users Instead Of Watching Them
  • You Didn’t Test Your Riskiest Assumption
  • You Had A “Bob The Builder” Mentality

“…Sharon says it’s as simple as validating, or invalidating, three core pieces of the plan: The problem (Is the app solving a problem people care about?), the market (Are there enough people who have this problem?), and the product (Is our product solving this problem for this market?).

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when does tragedy = gameplay?

The tragedy of the commons is an economics theory, according to which individuals, acting independently and rationally according to each one’s self-interest, behave contrary to the whole group’s long-term best interests by depleting some common resource. 

Take an example of overfishing. Every fisherman knows that if there is too much fishing then eventually fish stocks will run out. If all the fishermen could agree to fish at sustainable levels then the fish stocks could last forever. However, if one fisherman starts to overfish then eventually the fish stocks will run out.

When this happens the others might as well overfish as well to get as much as possible before the stocks run out. It only takes someone to start overfishing to mean that it is then logical for everyone else to overfish. The first person might start because they think that just them overfishing will not make any difference but once they start then everyone else soon joins them and the stocks run out.
This is similar to the prisoners’ dilemma. However in the prisoners’ dilemma individuals cannot communicate and so, if they act logically, then they won’t co-operate with the other players and will end up with a worse outcome. In the tragedy of the commons everyone can communicate but it still leads to a situation where a collective resource is overused.

There are some great gameplay opportunities lurking in this kind of model.
Especially where information is limited in some way, and there are competing personal goals that are not always clear to all players.

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too busy to watch the ads on TV

Should game session length mirror the length of ad breaks on TV?

“While 50 percent of DVR users would routinely skip ads, “the number is declining now,” said Poltrack, “because they’re too busy on their phones to fast-forward through the ads,” given that two-thirds of users watch TV while also engaged with a second screen.

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when in doubt re-read rule 1

Rule one has two parts:

a. the customer is always right

b. if that’s not true, it’s unlikely that this person will remain your customer.

If you need to explain to a customer that he’s wrong, that everyone else has no problem, that you have tons of happy customers who were able to successfully read the instructions, that he’s not smart enough or persistent enough or handsome enough to be your customer, you might be right. But if you are, part b kicks in and you’ve lost him.

If you find yourself litigating, debating, arguing and most of all, proving your point, you’ve forgotten something vital: people have a choice, and they rarely choose to do business with someone who insists that they are wrong.

By all means, fire the customers who aren’t worth the time and the trouble. But understand that the moment you insist the customer is wrong, you’ve just started the firing process.

PS here’s a great way around this problem: Make sure that the instruction manual, the website and the tech support are so clear, so patient and so generous that customers don’t find themselves being wrong.

Not everyone who talks about projects are customers (as defined by them having spend money on the product), however they have an impact on brand, community and customers. Understanding how you deal with the customers & community around a brand is a big deal to live service products.

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how to tell an enchanting story

Mostly in the context of telling stories for children on the fly, good advice for general storytelling;

1. Begin with a provocative set-up
2. Explain how something happens, either to the main character or the environment
3. In one or two sentences, tell how the plot thickens. The stakes are raised when tension appears
4. Mentally analyze the reaction of the audience and adjust accordingly. If the listeners aren’t engaged by this time, strengthen the narrative
5. Build a vision of a scene that involves the senses: sight, sound, taste, vision, and touch
6. Weave a climax that produces an “aha” moment for the audience
7. End when the story is resolved
8. Record your story. To improve your storytelling abilities, record yourself reciting an original fable

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if you decide to be in the dog food business…

Be delighted to eat dog food.

It makes no sense to disdain the choices your customers make. If you can’t figure out how to empathize and eagerly embrace the things they embrace, you are letting everyone down with your choice. Sure, someone needs to make this, but it doesn’t have to be you.

If you treat the work as nothing but an obligation, you will soon be overwhelmed by competition that sees it as a privilege and a calling

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politicians use the focusing effect

The Focusing Effect – People place too much importance on one aspect of an event and fail to recognize other factors

Could be useful when thinking about presenting choices to the player in negotiations, where the information we provide doesn’t have to be ‘fair’. In most circumstances you want the UI information provided to the player to fairly represent the data and encourage a reasonable skilled choice from the player. In negotiations, or in situations of political will, the ‘character’ wants to manipulate the player and can lie, cheat and skew the information that they present to the player. It is then up to the player to use their knowledge, skill, perception etc to understand the situation in front of them.

“Nothing In Life Is As Important As You Think It Is, While You Are Thinking About It” – Daniel Kahneman

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