• #SXSWi — How to get users addicted to your content


    I love addiction; perhaps because I have a very addictive personality.  As such, I was drawn to the talk here at South by Southwest by @taraattrulia about engineering addiction.  She’s going pretty fast, so I will.

    • Starting out with the definition of addiction.  Addiction does not have to be negative.  You want people to have a positive association with the addictive experience; not something they are ashamed of.
    • Recommends the book Lovemarks by Kevin Roberts.
    • Need to get into the ‘core mix’ of sites for a customer.  The path: reach–> trial–> stick.  The big goal: get the STICK!

    Three strategies to get to stick:

    • Don’t just publish information; fuel people’s aspirations.  People crave change; they want to be better than they are today.
      • Real-time helps people get more drawn into an experience
    • Market your manifesto.  Focus on lifestyles and values; you’ll find people who are already in your orbit.
      • You can engage people who are not directly aligned with your business.  They may just believe in the same stuff.
      • Lululemon example: their manifesto is about life; not black yoga pants (their core market?)
      • Secret (brand of deodorant): manifesto about bullying.
    • Double-down on content experiences.  Create unique content experiences that draw people in.
      • Lululemon yoga mobs (not sure what the better name is for this.. but they have thousands of people getting together to do yoga in public places.)
      • UGC call to action.  Trunk Club and Kiwi Crate –> users are posting their own content to facebook.

    My reflections on the talk are as follows:  I think it was heartfelt and interesting, but I failed to see any real connections to addiction.  The talk description mentioned stuff like neuroscience; but I the content was not specific or in-depth enough to make me feel like I really learned something deep.  Cool pillars, though.

  • #SXSWi — Hardcore vs. Casual games and gamers


    I’m in an interesting talk at South by Southwest Interactive (2012) put on by Jack Buser and Scott Rohde (from PlayStation).

    I figure it makes sense to write a few live thoughts as I’m listening since it’s turning into a pretty lively discussion. This may be the only way that I’ll be able to keep up with the rapid-fire conversation.

    Some interesting threads of conversation that I’m hearing so far:

    • (Hard)core games — these games seem to be well characterized by having a high-degree of ‘gaming literacy’ in order to enjoy the experience.  They are also often characterized by some significant learning-curve, complex interactions, and a high degree of engagement.
    • Casual games — these games typically don’t require high gaming literacy to play.  Players can simply ‘walk up’ and get started playing, figuring out the game mechanics quickly.  Also, these games are often characterized by short play sessions.
    • The need for play is a fundamental part of humanity.  In ancient societies, games were a big part of life.  Even before the complex systems that enable ‘virtual worlds’ that exist today, people had this fundamental need for play.  Why?
    • There are some people that gravitate toward social games over solo games.  Does the classic introvert vs. extrovert personality archetype apply?

    Another interesting thread of conversation is about ‘social games’ (mostly built on facebook).  The core question: are they really social?  Hrm.  My answer: not really.  The games have a viral acquisition model.  But these people are not really playing together.  Their worlds don’t intertwine any more than the game requires them to ask eachother for help to get more resources and points.

    (A mild critique: the way these slides are written is such that we keep debating the semantics of what these game types are.  But that’s less important to me, and less interesting in general.  What’s really interesting is the ‘WHY.’  Why are people different kind of gamers?  What makes them tick?  Which one segment is growing faster?)

    It seem that a proposed answer to bridging the gap between core and casual: free-to-play.  Casual gamers can jump in for free.  Hardcore gamers can get ‘more out of the experience’ by paying for extras.  Interesting.

    What hasn’t been addressed yet that really has me thinking: what makes a gamer more of a ‘core gamer’ vs. a ‘casual gamer?’  What is it inside of us that makes some people get DEEP into a gaming experience as compared to others who get bored after a couple minutes of a gaming experience?  Is it socialized behavior (Nature)?  Or is it just born-in personality traits (Nurture)?

    The big question I’m left with; which segment is winning?  There has been remarkable growth in the casual gaming world (particularly in mobile).  The big thing I’m wrestling with is: what does that mean?  Are casual games going to take over, or will they be the gateway drug that eventually creates more hardcore gamers worldwide?