• Neil Ide

Work as a Game

Go to any national park and you'll see signs that say "Don't feed the wild animals".

Why not give that oh so adorable animal food?


The animal begins developing neurons that associate you with food and before too long animals are shaking people down like bandits in San Francisco.

Most animals are fairly small brained, simple behavior changes occur, but for larger brained animals like chimpanzees complex changes occur. Chimps are very similar to humans. When researchers started feeding chimps in the wild to observe their behavior fairly nomadic groups of chimps began violently competing with each other over the food resource.

Apes at the monolith in 2001 space odyssey scene about aliens developing humans
The Fuck-wither a-cometh!

Before the manipulation of their behavior occurred, apes naturally foraged for food in a very broad area, and there was very little mean-spirited competition. Chimps all had a jungle full of useful resources and would cross-pollinate each others tribes in a "mass sharing of the Gaia".

Some people are starting to Grok the idea that the practice of the regular paycheck is effectively the same as feeding the animals. It's not without consequence.


Everyday millions of human hours are racked-up performing tasks that the person often has payed to perform.

People are paying money to perform tasks. Sounds strange?

Its called video games.

There is an emerging category in video games where players get rewarded in crypto currency. People perform tasks and are then rewarded at the end with coin.

This is one of the best trends happening in the creator economy because its far closer to the original evolutionary baseline behavior of human beings. The last 10,000-20,000 years of behavioral evolution has certainly increased the chances that our species will survive a mass-extinction event. However, it has come with some baggage.

Show me a company that pays people by the hour or a fixed salary and I'll show you a company loaded with make-work activity that produces no value whatsoever.

In video games the player is rewarded for performing tasks. Solve a puzzle, perform a mission, defeat an enemy, etc. The reward comes at the end of the task not in the beginning. There are normally small rewards throughout the task that a player accrues, like score points, achievements, or minor loot. But the big reward is at the end. Players are incentivized to up their game as well, in a RPG/MMO RPG players often craft new items and build up their characters to be able to get better and better loot. Really good player equipment and stats in a game is similar to an asset category in finance. Excellent gear produces regular returns ultimately causing a wealth cascade where a player is dragging bags of gold around and ignoring lower value loot.

MMO and Freemium has even shown players will spend "real" money on video game loot.

Excellent financial planners play their finances the way one plays an RPG. They continuously accrue assets until a wealth cascade happens.

Work should be no different. 100% of make-work would go away if companies start paying their employees at the end. Most work is structured as a great regular check with a meager periodic bonus. Often bonus structures are a make-work process in and of themselves.

The future of work will look like the ancient history of work. Paid a little throughout(finding berries/useful objects), and a lot at the end(take down the mammoth).

Pay at the end is an incentive to start building up the asset(stat) column of the player. Because you want better loot and more ability to get better and better loot. Entrepreneurs get paid at the end.

Entrepreneurs(players) build up their companies(characters) assets/value(stats/abilities) for a big exit(slay the dragon) to achieve substantial liquidity(epic loot).

It's only a game.

The future of work will be:

Players build up their characters stats/abilities to slay the dragon to achieve epic loot to reinvest into stats/abilities to get more epic loot.

This song sums it up pretty well.

Together we can uninstall make-work from our corporate programs and stop wasting billions.

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