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The One About Games

And why they matter

We are obsessed with fancy words and terms. Terminology is supposed to make ideas easier to convey and understand, if created and used correctly, but that seldom happens. This is especially true in the confusing world of crypto: NFTs, ERCs, DeFi, DePIN, EIPs, the list goes on!  

I remember my first few meetings at Microsoft where a bunch of acronyms and terms were being thrown around and I was completely dumbfounded. As I write this, I can’t remember a single one of those “words”. Not wanting to look stupid, I used to look them up after meetings. Soon, as I made friends at work, I’d ask them, and very soon after that, if a term popped up that I hadn’t heard before, I had the confidence to say “haven’t heard this before. What does this one mean?”. 

As new team members, interns or full-time employees (FTEs 😉) would come onboard, I saw this from the other side. Now someone else didn’t want to look dumb. I would give folks a quick rundown and had many of them ping me occasionally when they heard a new acronym or term. Learn the terms so you sound like you know what you’re talking about. The real corporate alpha. 

Let’s talk about one word in particular. Games. It is very prevalent globally, and more specifically in Web3 these days. Games have traditionally been hated, vilified, frowned upon, grudgingly accepted. That is changing. There is staying power in games. It is a core part of being human. We all play games and even invent them! I bet the vast majority of people reading this can think back to their childhood, or more recently for those who know how to have more fun😀 and recall games they made up. 

The problem with the word “games” is that it implies something fun. How can something fun be valuable? How can it be serious or important? After all, it’s just a game. 

I am guessing there is a lot of mental gymnastics that goes on in the minds of people who think like that. 

Having worked on gamification and serious games in my career, I’d say the primary difference between applications that apply the veneer of gamification to a process vs. games is that instead of embracing making the process into a game, they are stuck in this weird no-man’s land and usually don’t feel like games and are not very good. 

Another very popular term that has game in it is “game theory”, which has been and continues to be used for many serious things. Game theory has its foundations in Economics but has been used across many disciplines.  

In essence, game theory is used to model and analyze how individuals make strategic decisions in situations where the outcome depends not only on their own actions but also on the actions of others. 

We are at a stage in the evolution of technology where consumers, also one of the largest contributors of data, need to adapt. In this post-LLM world, we have all seen the importance and impact of our data in creating incredible things. If we choose inaction, the status quo continues, and Big Tech will continue to benefit from harvesting our data freely. However, if we decide to take back control and build a community owned big data platform, we not only benefit from it, but also have more of a say in what products our data is used to build and what subset of our data is used to build those products! 

What’s the reason for writing all this, you might ask. If you have read “Let’s Talk About Data”, you know what it is we are trying to build, a decentralized intelligence platform owned by its contributor community. Everything I’ve written above is the how we will build it part. As a game. 

What type of game will this be? It will be one where Navigators all over the world will discover a world filled with creatures made of data. Collecting and curating data is not only a means to earn, but also discover, learn, and immerse yourself into areas that interest you. A social experience where we build something better. A more equitable way to share data with companies that need it.

- Ali 


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