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The Nature of the Game: Is Gamification A Commie Plot?
Had an interesting interaction this morning with +Carey G. Butler . Carey pointed out how a title to one of my content curations, Is Gamification A Commie Plot http://sco.lt/82E43N , could be politically incorrect. He is correct, but I am an Internet marketer and so don't make money from being politically correct. 

I'm not one of those indiscriminate flame throwers either creating controversy for its own sake. In this case I carefully evaluated the piece and decided how far I could push the title. Gamification has the beginnings of a backlash because it got too hot too fast.

The title played on the growing questioning of gamification created by a questionable piece of Forrester research claiming 90% of gamification will fail. I don't question the results since they seem correct. I question the shooting fish in a barrel nature of the research. 90% of ALL Internet marketing fails in its first iteration. 

I also agree with Forrester's underlying theme - that many who hop on to gamification as a fad will be disappointed at the WORK required and fade away. That too is always true. Every non-Internet marketer looks for silver bullets. I confess to a certain romance with the idea of a free lunch too no matter how many times evidence insists on the idea as an illusion. 

The nature of the game is we MUST disrupt to win (yet another one of my recent posts: http://scenttrail.blogspot.com/2012/12/why-your-internet-marketing-must.html 

Hope this explains my thinking. 
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David Amerland's profile photoSerge A.'s profile photoMartin W. Smith's profile photocarey g. butler's profile photo
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+Martin W. Smith just like in anything - there's got to be a balance between complete gamification (Soviet Style) and 100% capitalism.

This conversation resonates with your <edit> post </edit> in a sense. It's long, but I think you'll find value in the original article and the following conversation.

https://plus.google.com/115620878851836664537/posts/Ks3Q6vK1Xzy
+David Amerland +Thomas Kang I think you will find Marty's <edit> post </edit> as a good follow-up to that conversation
 
Thanks for the heads up, +Sergey Andrianov. I enjoyed reading this post, and will follow up on the links later tonight, when I have some free time. Thanks again. ^^
 
Disruption (Hegelian Dialectic) may be useful, but can be destructive and makes the person exposed to it go into a daze after awhile. This makes the 'disruptor' begin to lose their interest - they begin to expect the mode.
There is another way we could use in 'concert' with disruption that could balance it out: harmonize the situation at present with the desired situation. This is a constructive form using synchronization instead of dialectic. Please let me know what your thoughts are.
 
I don't remember much of Hegel from my Mitch Miller philosophy class at Vassar Carey, but I am speaking about a very specific kind of Internet marketing contrarian philosophy here. The idea that when the crowd moves left the best Internet marketing moves right. 

It is impossible to make money online moving with the crowd. To "harmonize" is to lose. The web, and you should read the book Linked: How Everything Is Connected To Everything Else by Barabasi, is not a democracy. Far from it. The web is an authoritarian dictatorship where those lucky few selected for HUB (or authority) status rule the high ground and become self reinforcing thanks to the advantage of proprietary linking.

Barabasi calls this the rich get richer and I call it you continue to fall behind UNLESS you disrupt, meaning your turn RIGHT while the crowd goes LEFT. The practical form this takes right now is EVERYONE is doing content marketing and so the value of content marketing as a strategy, something that was very valuable to my team in 2003 when no one believed in it, is lessened. 

This does not mean the tactic of content marketing is worthless, far from it, but content marketing must be contemplated and created in a way consistent with Kim's amazing book Blue Ocean Strategies. Kim notes that to simply swim in an infinite red ocean means someone else gets fed as you slowly starve. 

I don't like to starve, I like to WIN. Where I once put so much energy in to content marketing, back in the early 2000s, now I'm working on extending ideas such as collaborative competition, Save The World Marketing, Stengel's brand ideals, curation and platforms vs. websites.

Those ideas have some blue left in their oceans and so that is where my team and I will live until they too become over populated and harmonized to the point where the music will seem shrill and discordant. 
 
Thanks for taking time for me. I really appreciate it. I sure do agree with your assessment of the market.

We must not forget that the market is a 'theater' as well. I use that term because it fits your characterization and it also happens to be the same one that game theory uses in hostile environments and war zones. Now, add this factor to another one (please be patient, I will be very brief): the marketplace is rigged, has been rigged since its beginning, and will continue to be so unless we become aware of the manipulation.

Before someone casts me off as some nut job, please listen for one more minute. The market has been 'crafted' to be as it is because the major players in that market are ruthless moneychangers. We are lemmings to them. They dictate terms and we follow.

Are we now to follow them over the cliff because things are as they are or are we going to come to the realization that this state of affairs is only this way because we allow it. There are more of us than there are of them. We could change this if we wanted to.

Each of us can only "Save The World" when we save ourselves and in so doing, save each other. It is a natural constant that:

The ends do NOT JUSTIFY their means.

The ends are DETERMINED by them.

Things are so because humanity made them so. Let's never forget that.

Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be. (Gibran)
 
GREAT comment about market as theater. Read Experience Economy by Gilmore for more on that very important idea. I agree and disagree with the "save ourselves" idea. I would say it a little different. 

I think of Save The World Marketing as doing the right thing because it is increasingly the right thing to do (ROI and social return). Doing the right thing a priori, without return expectation, is grace and art and HARD (lol). 

Read the list I've already shared on the genetic predisposition to sharing (Benkler, Wright, Shermer and I would add Dawkins if you read Selfish Gene very carefully). I wold also include +David Amerland's must read on a new value system in that mix and Seth Godin's Icarus Deception. 

Now let's have a quick and friendly discussion about means and ends. Internet marketing is so RELATIVE, its millions of signals pinging so fast and furious, that INTENTION can be kidnapped never to be returned. In such a tornado any sense of original MEANS and ENDS is lost to what is happening now AND to a set of CORE VALUES. 

When I was at M&M/Mars we created the 5 Principles of Mars. Some corporate doublespeak, but a guiding bible for action or inaction. At one point a trucking company wanted us to buy them. Deal was a good deal, but one of the principles said we must be or have the chance to become the best in the world at businesses we pursue. We weren't going to be world class truckers so we let the deal go. 

Internet marketing is my single lens, the glasses I see EVERYTHING through. I explained this recently by sharing that I am not obsessed just in love (lol). Have I violated my core values at times to pay the rent, honestly yes (not in any criminal way but an extra email here or there way). Am I sorry I was so backsliding?

Of course, but I learned how to forgive and go EASY on myself from Pema Chodran (Buddhist Monk and author) because how I treat myself is how I greet the world and what comes back to me. My intent is to love and share love how that fits in with your casual determination I have no idea (lol), but I appreciate your passion and intelligence. 

Rock on Carey, Rock on and have a great weekend. 

Marty 
 
What a great thread to start the day with! +Martin W. Smith's analysis of the share is pretty spot on as usual. Having read the post I will add that I spent a year, almost, living in Russia a few years back. My friends there were Russian and they remembered the USSR days. Despite all the many ills the system produced it had two underlying strengths: A. It offered hope for the future (we know that was the carrot, dangled before the horse, but it was still hope). B. It created a strong sense of community. 

I was interested at the effects of both of these. The first allowed a large percentage of the population to shrug off any current inconveniences and plod on, the second allowed them to do the first, cheerfully.

It should be noted that hope and smiles are in short supply in current Russia. In both cases (then and now) a great people have been let down by their leaders. Gamification (of a sort) allowed happiness to exist for a brief while. 
 
Thanks David that was my take from afar too. The old USSR system, for all of its flaws, created a sense of common enemy (us I guess :) and common goals. I wrote a piece about these Tough Mudder races late last night that create this esprit de corps (common enemy, community) quickly among strangers battling obstacles. 

The thing the CEO of Tough Mudder said that really got my attention was, "Experiences are the new luxury goods because experiences APPRECIATE in value," wow could hardly sleep last night that statement had me so excited (lol). 

In a way the old USSR was a "Tough Mudder" race writ large. You confirm what I sensed, that some of the air has gone out of the tire in Russia and the few are making HUGE rewards as the many grope. 

Such a lopsided distribution would seem to be returning us back to the beginning again, back to the bad old Czarist days when the few ruled the many. That such regression is happening economically and in full sight to the new EVEREST we are talking about with your new Value System and my Save The World Marketing idea is perplexing and confusing. 

The muscle memory of a people may be stronger than the brightest of bright lights. Let's hope not since to do the same thing and expect a different result seems the very definition of cultural an political insanity (I write thinking how USA seems trapped in much the same endless wobble these days). 

Perhaps this dislocation, the dissonance we discussed between GET IT and CLUELESS is to be expected with so much change so fast. We also know there is a "dark side", a very authoritarian side to the web where the big get BIGGER so fast the become God-like. 

If we didn't have a rebel horde's ability to topple just as quickly I would be more concerned (can you say MySpace?).. It feels as if giant forces are playing chess with our SOUL. WHITE is lined up and playing your NEW VALUE SYSTEM and our SAVE WORLD game as BLACK moves aggressively to consolidate, centralize and control leaving a thin film of a freedom glimpsed and teased but never fully realized. 

I hope the forces playing WHITE move astutely and avoid the aggressive moves to consolidate and topple from our MASTER competitor. We play for the future, we play for hearts and minds, we play for all there is. 

Thanks for the great share and insight. I am sorry to know my far away read wasn't wrong.  As we think on the COMMONS and THE SHARE more we must give up ideas of nation-state proprietary thinking (seems old already with our mobile connectivity across space and time).

Information sharing shouldn't know or be bounded by such artificial and time constrained ideas. The distance between ME and my Russian counterpart is nothing at all, nothing at all. We are closer and more peaceful when we competitively collaborate. Once we are all muddy there is simply the need to HELP, SHARE and GIVE :).  

There was nothing more fun after a tough game of rugby than drinking away the pain and retelling the story of our collaborative competition. My school colors were PINK and GREY so we had, as you might expect, a chip on our shoulder from jump only resolved by the first hard hit and the last cold beer (lol). 

Thanks David. Marty
 
Marty, truth indeed in every word. The systems we set up resist our efforts to change them. I am, this weekend (with a little luck) coming up for air. There is hope yet, I just need to grab some time and put it down in writing.

Semper Fi. :)
 
We Russians, just like trying new things but we are not very consistent in our endeavours :-) We tried communism, it didn't work. Hold your breath - Putin's Russia is readying something else yet again (and I am a believer) :-)

+Martin W. Smith USSR didn't find an enemy in 'you'. Apparently if you look at the soviet propaganda plackards you will notice - USSR was hating the same people we hate here in North America. Namely the rich get richer ones. And if you take a closer look at anti USSR propaganda in US, you will notice that the objects of attack aren't the people, they are the leaders of regime.

In my opinion, the truth is neither Russian leaders nor Western rich were (or are) evil. They just didn't understand each other. The west always wanted to be friends with Russia and vice versa. But the problem is, you can only understand Russia with your soul.

And Russians have their perfect weapon (no, not the nuclear bombs). Notice how David Amerland has been converted. (Shhhh
, its Vodka)

Here is my favourite description of Russia by a poet.

_You will not grasp her with your mind
Or cover with a common label,
For Russia is one of a kind —
Believe in her, if you are able_
 
Fingers are crossed Sergey and nothing but good thoughts headed your and Russia's way. Together we are stronger and smarter than we are apart :). Marty
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