LinkedIn's soaring share price after the company's recent IPO is only the most obvious example of the current boom in Silicon Valley. Leading the hype is "gamification", the use of game mechanics in non-game business applications.
One of the proponents of gamification is Tim Chang, a partner with Norwest Venture Partners in Palo Alto. His successful investments include mobile games developer ngmoco (acquired by DeNA, Japan's leading social games publisher) and Flash games developer Playdom (acquired by Disney), two of the leaders in social gaming. Chang now focuses on investments in mobile, gaming and digital media, and leads NVP's investment practice in China and Asia-Pacific.
Now, I'm a sceptic about gamification. Sure, it can add a layer of fun to a product or even to a boring business process. But some proponents describe it as getting customers "addicted" to the process, as if that's a good thing. I can't help but think that if you rely on attracting customers through gamification then you're relying on what could well be a short-term gimmick rather than a sound, businesslike long-term strategy.
Tim Chang is our guest on Patch Monday this week. We discuss gamification, as well as the internet venture capital scene more generally. He agrees that gamification can be problematic if it's just a shallow implementation done without any business goals in mind. On the question of whether the internet boom could turn into a second dot-com bubble, he thinks it's more of a "spotty bubble"; only a bubble in parts.
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Running time: 27 minutes, 23 seconds