How Starcraft Relates Heavily To Startups And Businesses
Starcraft is an intensive computer strategy game that has been named “The National Sports” in Korea. The game has been around for over 10 years and was one of the first games to ever host top paying tournaments in the gaming world. Today the game is being played by millions in the world with daily tournaments held daily. Some of the top players cash out paychecks of over 500,000$ per year no including their tournament winnings.
What Can A Game Teach You?
Starcraft can be compared to a game of chess except a lot faster. A game can last anywhere from 10 minutes to a hour long, but most players are reacting and planning a lot throughout that one hour. In a documentary that did studies on gamers showed that a regular Starcraft pro has 1.8x the reaction speed of a regular human. Similar to another research done on people that plays Tetris. Games have been proven to speed up your mind and work your brain.
In the game of Starcraft, planning and getting your builds together is extremely important. Throughout the game, depending on how your opponent plays, you have to react accordingly and adjust your strategy accordingly. In the beginning you set a basic goal or plan of how you want to play the game by using build orders and timing attacks etc. This relates to a startup because in a startup there is usually never a certain plan on how things will succeed, but you have a vision. You have some plans and you want to adjust accordingly. The goal of Starcraft is to outplay your opponent and in a startup environment you are always trying to outplay your competitors by adjusting.
In the game your goal is to win, and if it gets into late game you need a strong economy that will provide you with more resources. To do that, you must expand in the game. You have to take more bases and build your army there so that you have a strong economy and a strong macro to outpower your opponent. This doesn’t happen in the beginning of the game. Usually in the beginning of the game you might only have one expansion because your economy isn’t strong enough to handle 3 or 4. This can be related to a startup because in the early seed round a startup might not have enough money to expand all over United States, however they might have enough to find it’s initial office or expand to one other city. As you go through more rounds of funding, you will grow your forces and expand quicker to other countries. Your end goals at a startup is the same, dominate the game in your field.
If there’s one thing that made Starcraft and Poker players great business people as well is their ability to manage money well. In starcraft, you’re heading towards a lost when you are running out of resources. If you do not have enough resources you cannot produce army or workers to help you win the game. It is very important that in the game you do not waste resource doing stupid things such as mass expanding for no reason. You shouldn’t be building too many buildings without the proper economics. Good money management and using your money when necessary is important. Startups play by the same theory. You do not want to mass recruit after your Series A funding because that might lead you to a layoff if things don’t progress accordingly. You do not want to invest too much of your funding into building new products before they are tested or necessary. Use the money when necessary and use it wisely because the game is over when you are out of funds.
Correct Your Mistakes
Top Starcraft players in Korea all have one similar habit and that is correcting their mistakes in the game. Almost all of them rewatch their replay after the game is over. They analyze the entire game from start to finish to see how they could have played better. A top pro once said that it is mandatory to acknowledge your mistakes in the game, correct them, and not let them happen again. These pros study their play and study their opponents play so that they can correct every little mistake even if its a minor one. Startups work the same. A startup team will usually find it’s problems and mistakes and correct them. For example if a landing page for the product did not convert, a startup designer team might look into conducting more A/B testing to find out which one converts better. Next they will try to look into why the first one did not convert as much as the second one. It’s all about learning from your mistakes and moving forward.
Dedicated Starcraft players have a lot of energy. They love the game and love to know everything about it. They sleep, eat, live by the game. Most of us have probably heard the news about a kid that died because he stayed in an internet cafe for a few days playing Starcraft without sleep. To me that is pretty insane, but the kid had a goal and his goal was to succeed and become the very best or at least make it pro. Go into any internet cafe in Korea and ask the addicted players about their dreams. 8 out of 10 will tell you that they define success as when you make it into the proleagues. Isn’t that the same with startups? Of course everyone defines success differently, but recall the startups like Vimeo, whose CEO said that he did nothing but sleep and code during it’s development phrase. Startups work hard on their product because they want to make it. To a starcraft player the meaning of success is hitting the proleague, but to a startup that can mean an exit or another funding round to build that billionaire company. Nevertheless, startup entrepreneurs put a lot of effort and time into their company. The founders hustle harder than anyone else out there in hopes to reach success.
Starcraft players bootstrap like no tomorrow. They live off ramen, cup noddles, kimchi, basically anything cheap that does the job. Most of them start off with endless allnighters learning and perfecting their game. Once they reach a certain level, they usually join up with a gaming team as a training partner in pro team’s gaming house for shared space. Then they work their way up by practicing even more and actually have the chance to communicate and chat with gamers who are better than them. This allows the players to improve their game through feedback and discussions. This concept is very similar to the startup bootstrapping concept. A startup will usually bootstrap until their minimum viable product is out there. If they happen to build a strong enough product, the startup team might land a gig with an incubator. A lot of incubators allowed for a shared office space or they could hang out at a place like HackerDojo. Startups can accelerate growth by communicating with mentors and other startup enthusiast. Through that they can receive a ton of feedback for their work and change improve accordingly. Everyone in the gaming house treats each other like a family. Startup entrepreneurs hang out with their team more than their girlfriends and family. Below is a video of a typical gaming house.
Overall, both startups and pro gamers love what they do and will work harder than anyone else to achieve their goals. Some known gamers such as Jaedong have been noted on Forbes 30 Under 30.