HOW TO PLAY WITH PURPOSE
The start-up, which recently moved into trendy new London headquarters after years operating from the same office, has never taken on investment, but every single new employee is given equity. They also have access to an internal dashboard where everyone can see how much money they’re billing, how much money they’re spending, and how much money is sitting in the company bank account.
“[Our culture] is completely authentic to the products we put out,” says Marcus. “If we’re doing well, that has next to nothing to do with me [as a founder]. If we’re doing badly, I can’t do a lot about it. I have no capabilities compared to the people here. My role is to clear a path for them.”
So, how does he rate on Totem? “By no means am I top of the board,” he laughs. “My kudos is in the bottom half, so I’ll try harder. I have far more interest in getting kudos from an engineer at Play than a big-wig. In a management role you’re crying out to get feedback from the people you serve.” Want to gamify your tech product? Follow Marcus’ tips (and warnings). A little bit of me dies when I hear the word ‘gamification’. It can sound a bit pseudo, like bogus consultant-babble. The word gamification may be glibly used by people who don’t know what they’re talking about. We just [tend to say that we] make great experiences that are obsessively focused on the player. It’s proven that using a game approach can revolutionise engagement, motivation and behaviour around a product. But that doesn’t mean that a leaderboard and a couple of badges are going to make an iota of difference on their own. I view the mechanisms of games (points, levels, challenges and goals) a bit like lipstick: used with a beautiful product, they improve and enchant; used with a pig of a product… Well, you get the gist! Only once you understand how the product solves real problems for real people can you supercharge it with gamification. Games are products to be used with incredible frequency to deliver win moments. Yes, there are characters, whizzing and sometimes guns, candies or divine beasts, but at their core they’re engagement experiences that drive billions of people to dedicate time and feel joy. In gaming, user growth has been staggering, with the demographic shifting from adolescent teens to mums, dads and older players. The average player age is now 35. Take that in! The next wave – your employees, customers, partners and suppliers – get games. They thrive on the notion of ‘AMP’ (autonomy, mastery and progression). In short, they’re wired to respond to the games mindset. The future is one where a games mindset and personal data allow us to self-optimise. It’s hopefully also one where we have a better term than gamification to describe what we do.