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The Wizard of Gamification AKA Yu-Kai Chou

The Wizard of Gamification AKA Yu-Kai Chou

Imagine being THE World’s leading Expert on Gamification. And then Leveraging that skill into Building a Robust Process in the MetaVerse. The Ambassador of JOY, Barry Shore, welcomes Yu-Kai Chou to discuss his roles and studies on Gaming and Behavior. You’ll be amazed as Yu-Kai talks about his involvement since age 17 and his groundbreaking best selling book: Actionable Gamification.  Yu-kai is a regular speaker/lecturer on gamification and motivation worldwide, including at organizations like Stanford/Yale/Oxford, Google, Tesla, and LEGO. He is currently the co-founder of Metablox, an NFT platform. His design work has empowered over 1 Billion users’ experiences across the world. You’ll want to SHARE with everyone and Listen Again. Please feel free to share YOUR views with us, the show is all YOURS!

Listen to the podcast here:

Show Notes:

  • 00:45 – Barry’s rousing introduction
  • 14:17 – The Wizard of Gamification AKA Yu-Kai Chou
  • 24:40 – What is NFT?
  • 41:55 – What is the real difference is an electronic version
  • 52:21- Barry’s Interesting Wrap-up

Important Links:

Barry Shore: 

I can’t think of anybody at the moment that I can share with you that inspires noble deeds than the amazing, wonderful Yu-kai Chou. Yu-kai from Taipei, Taiwan, please say hello to 356,722 people around the world.

Yu-kai Chou:

Hey, everyone. It’s a pleasure to be here on The Joy of Living.

Barry Shore:  

Yu-kai is one of the more remarkable human beings I’ve ever had the pleasure of interacting with and learning from, and he continues to amaze me. And as you see, we come from different generations. You see that beautiful, thick black hair and beard because he still has a three in his chronology, and I have a seven and counting, and God willing together with over 100, we’re going to bring you, hopefully, some great wisdom about what’s going on. If I start reading, by the way, all of Yu-kai’s achievements and awards and such it’s going to take up the rest of the show, and that’s not what we’re about. Because really what I want to urge everybody to understand is that at a young age, relatively speaking, at 17 or so, Yu-kai made a decision, and this is really where it gets important. Again, remember decision, you choose what you want to do in life. He made a decision to look into the world called, he made the word even, gamification. What do you mean by gamification? Well, how do you make things like education as an example exciting, interesting, provocative, even, alluring and attractive? Well, if you make it into a game-type process then you have a chance of really attracting attention and bringing benefit to everybody. So, he started doing that at the age of 17. Fast forward over these past 16 years, he has built up not just the reputation, well-deserved, but he is a pioneer in this whole world. Now, as we say in business, pioneers die with arrows in their backs. Not this guy. He’s riding high. And we’re talking today, and I’m so honored that he’s taking the time to do this. We’re going to talk today about his latest remarkable venture, which is going to touch billions of people on the planet because it’s integrated with something that’s happening called the metaverse and the whole process is called Metablox. M-E-T-A-B-L-O-X. So, for those of you who like Jewish food, it’s not locks, it’s Metablox. And I’m going to stop talking because I’m going to have Yu-kai begin to make us aware, first of all, of why he’s doing it? What it is? And how it’s going to benefit the world? Because that’s Yu-kai’s life. He is a person who lives life with the purpose to bring benefit. So Yu-kai, please give us insights into what you and Jun are doing with Metablox.

Yu-kai Chou:

Sure. First, I’ll do a quick clarification even though I did use the word gamification very early on, I’m not the first to use it in this world. So, I can only say I’m one of the leading pioneers in the field of gamification. But I’ve just been on a very blessed journey, wherein in 2003 I discovered gamification, and in 2006 I did a virtual world startup. And then I published this thing called Octalysis Framework, which I actually shared a bit on my other show with you. And I had the blessing to publish a book and was one of the cofounders of Ethereum, which is a cryptocurrency, the second-largest cryptocurrency. I read the book and really liked it, wanted me to help so he gave me the generous title of Chief Experience Officer. Later on, I also was the head of Creative Labs and head of digital commerce for HTC and Vive. So doing things like AR VR. So, all of those things come together, gamification, AR VR, virtual world, blockchain crypto, that all conformed into something we now call the metaverse. And my unique angle about the metaverse is not that… I don’t want to create the Ready Player One role if you’ve seen that movie or read the book, where the real role is garbage, and you just go to a fake virtual world and you spend all your time there. I feel like technology should make this world better, our lives in the physical plane better, as opposed to creating escapism plays that just go there all the time. And this is the original intention of gamification in the first place. I didn’t want to go out and make better games, I wanted to apply game design to the real world. So, in comes BetaBlox. And actually, it’s interesting, because you talked about Metablox as the future but in fact, it’s created to honor the past. 

At one point, I noticed all these, what they call Web3 projects. There’s Web2.1, social media, and then Web3.0, which is like a blockchain-powered web. It has all these NFT projects and non-fungible tokens. And so, I realized that a lot of people are reading my book when they’re doing Web3 projects, and people share that my book is a must-read. And of course, when I wrote the book I didn’t have this Web3 in mind, I had no idea. I started getting invited to consult advice for a variety of projects. And I started thinking about why our NFT is valuable. If you’re not familiar with it, you might have heard the news about this digital pixel, this piece of art, it’s sold for millions of dollars. And you don’t really exclusively own that image because other people can view that image, they can copy and paste it, you just have something called NFT, the non-fungible token of the image. And that sometimes is worth hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars. And it’s very strange. So I wanted to look into why that is and I applied the octalysis framework, which breaks down all human motivation eight core drives. So, it turns out that NFTs at its core is valuable because it’s three core drives. Scarcity, meaning, and community. So from a scarcity standpoint, basically an NFT is like a certificate that proves authenticity. There are only that many out there. So, an example I give to people who aren’t in the space is that I’m a book author. I think I’ve sold a little over 100,000 books. Those books are fungible, which means that if my book and your book, we swap, it’s the same thing. People care about the words. The eBooks are just as well, the audible is just as good. Those are fungible. But in my lifetime, I think I’ve signed about 2 to 300 books, and those are unique, those are non-fungible. 

So, even if two people with my signatures swapped it would not be the same because the words are a little different, and it was a different condition. So, non-fungible means that they’re unique. One bitcoin to one book [unintelligible 14:22] the same but one picture with a red hat and one picture with a brown hat if they swapped they’re not the same. So, that’s the scarcity. Just like Lego, sometimes they release the scarce promotion. Like, the 2021 summer season, it’s this exclusive set. You only have this many quantities of this Lego set and if you don’t buy it this season it’ll never be available again. That’s the scarcity that is created digitally through NFTs and it’s very important because most digital stuff is not scarce. It’s not unique. You can’t trace one unique identity. So, then there’s the meaning part that’s very important. So, I have a friend who lives in Denmark, and he owns a pretty rugged, broken couch but he cherishes it greatly. Even though it has no utility to it, it doesn’t have that many cosmetics to it. He cherishes it because it used to be Winston Churchill’s couch. And in his mind, Winston Churchill was a war hero. So, because it has meaning that people care about that in the past something important happened that’s connected to this physical item, suddenly there’s meaning to this product. So, if you look at people who are collecting NFTs of their favorite artists, they want to create a personal connection to artists, just like I said. It’s like a signed signature autograph copy of something they did. There’s meaning behind it, or it represents some kind of a cause that people care about. Then finally, there’s the community piece, which is basically, if my friend is the only person who cares about Winston Churchill then the couch to him is invaluable but he probably can’t sell to anyone else. But if there’s a community of 10 million people all believing it was true, he could be a war hero, then he can likely sell it to another person who could probably sell it to another person at even a higher price because we know things that have meaning actually increase in value over time. And again, this is not the majority of NFT projects, by the way, this is the core of when it’s valuable, why is it valuable?

Barry Shore:

So, let’s unpack a few of the pieces here because first of all, a big thank you. It’s coming directly from persons who are in this world and understands that it’s a bridge. As you said, so wonderfully, the idea of the Metaverse is not to escape, it’s to enrich. I’ll use that term. That’s the whole point of it, I believe. If I’m wrong you let me know. But when you’re talking about an NFT, and you use these three terms, scarcity, meaning, and community, I think immediately of something like coin collecting because it applies. But those are physical items that are fungible. So, I’m still trying to understand the difference. And obviously, the real difference is an electronic version. Could there be an electronic version of a rare coin?

Yu-kai Chou:

Yeah. And that’s why it’s called token. I think nowadays ownership in the real world and digital world are blended together. For instance, when you deposit $1 at the bank, and a year later you withdraw your dollar, they’re not storing that $1 bill you gave them and then safekeeping it and giving it back to you. They just take it, they enter a number on a computer, that computer is remembered in a database and then one day when you need the dollar just say hey, according to the computer it says you have $1 so I’ll give you another physical bill and here it is. So, the majority of people’s ownership is actually just a digital item on a computer that has a lot of security, it’s checked, it can’t be corrupted so easily but it’s still digital. There are a lot of relationships that are digital these days, people meet online. If you look at even fortnight, and League of Legends, some of the most popular games in the world, they make money from skins. So people pay money, and they have a digital copy of what they call skins, like a cooler horse or a cooler hat or sunglasses in the game so their characters can look more interesting. And so, that is again, a digital asset that people care about. So, I think as more and more lives are moving to the digital world we care more and more about digital ownership. But the problem, again, is that most digital owners don’t have that scarcity. Either it can just be copied and pasted instantly or it’s controlled by one single company so they can shut down the service anytime they want, which you feel like you don’t have true ownership, you’re just lending it. You pay them and they show it to you when you log into their website. So, that’s a thing about digital ownership.

Barry Shore:

You mentioned the book so let’s take your book and let’s use a real-world example also of Gary Vee, Gary Vaynerchuk, who I believe issued a book and had an NFT in each book for a certain amount of money, which he made a lot of money but people who bought them bought them for several reasons, I presumed. One is because he said this is it. There’s scarcity, there’s meaning, I like the author and the community as you said, well now there’s, a call it a number I don’t remember, it was 10,000 or 20,000. Whatever the number but that’s it. This is the maximum there’s going to be of this particular item. But if I’m not mistaken it was a physical book. So, [unintelligible 20:05] is a physical book or a physical item, is that bridging the two worlds? In other words, if he had issued it as an eBook would it have had the same value, same scarcity, could people copy it? Is there a way to limit things in the digital world as opposed to the physical? It’s harder to print more books with Gary’s signature and such in it.

Yu-kai Chou:

Yes, so this is exactly what NFTs are about, which is creating a unique certified version of it on the internet. And it’s verified by a lot of what they call decentralized computers to say, yes, this copy of this book is item 033. This is the 33rd copy of his book on the internet certified, no one else has number 33. And so, that becomes more valuable, especially if that version has a story, has a history, you can even track who has owned it in the past. And so, that just follows that unique NFT.

Barry Shore:

So, if I were to ask a wonderful Yu-kai Chou may I buy from you an autographed copy directly to my name and such I could own that, it’s scarce, it has meaning to me, there’s a community of people who love Yu-kai Chou and like his book. Can I now issue that or does that become an NFT?

Yu-kai Chou:

Not yet. So, there’s a variety of technology hoops you have to jump through to create the NFT. It has to be on one of what they call the layer one. I know you asked about Metablox. I’m not explaining that yet because I probably should explain the foundation of what these things are. 

Barry Shore:

This is important. 

Yu-kai Chou:

So layer one, if you heard of Ethereum and also there’s Solana, those are blockchain platforms that you build the NFT on. And then the NFT, you can define it to be a variety of different things and characteristics of it. And so, technically if I got engineering staff to do it, I could create a copy of my book that has, again, your name on it, and issue that one version to you. And that’ll be unique, and no one else has that version. And if you give it to someone else it will still say this is for Barry and there’s all this track record and they’ll say how long have you held it for? How many hands has it passed through? If someone bought it from you how much did they pay? So that’s what we call a public ledger on the blockchain.

Barry Shore:

So, we do that in the world now, again, with physical objects and at Auctions, it’s called provenance. So, you buy an 18th century, 1777 Chippendale cabinet, well, you can actually trace back who it was built for, when it was built, and how many people have gone through it. Again, still in the physical world. But could that now become an NFT? 

Yu-kai Chou:

You could take that physical object and issue a digital NFT that represents it. So, there’s some crazy news about some expensive handbag companies, the NFT of that handbag is more expensive than the handbag itself.

Barry Shore:

I was just going to ask you because that goes to everything scarcity, meaning, community. There are people, mostly women, who collect certain bags, and there are only a few issued and they pay tens of thousands for the physical bag. And yet right now the NFT is worth more.

Yu-kai Chou:

And to understand that, imagine the future is the Ready Player One future where people spend all of their time in the virtual world and almost no time in the physical world, at least out there. Now, if you had the physical expensive bag it’s not going to be that useful, none of your friends will see it because most people get it for the status. And if you’re always in the digital world, and you hold this digital bag that proves somehow you shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars for this. People say like, wow, how do you have that bag? That’s amazing. And of course, it’s certified, they know it’s not fake, and they can immediately check the address of that NFT. That’s when it gets more expensive. Another analogy I give a lot is if you look at a $40,000 car and a $140,000 car they do about the same thing. They get you from point A to point B. However, some people pay an extra $100,000 because they care about the community they’re with. And two, they want that community to think highly of them. 

Barry Shore:

In other words, you’re talking about the human being. Ego, whatever it is. In other words, all the forces that exist throughout humanity, throughout the millennia work in any world, we call it virtual or real. And there’ll be a blending someday so who knows what’s going to be what. But I’m just going to [unintelligible 25:32] something because this is the world I come from for decades. I was in the diamond business, high-end, what people call expensive diamonds, large ones. Just for the moment, just to go wild could one do that with diamonds? Because diamonds are unique. There is a signature on them, certification. A particular diamond, let’s call it a blue diamond, 3.6 carats, that is a VS one, I can go through all the stats, it is unique. Could there be an NFT of a diamond?

Yu-kai Chou:

Yeah, you can issue NFTs based on the physical diamond. So again, it’s the digital certificate of the diamond. Diamonds are a perfect example of what I talked about, scarcity, meaning, and community. And the scarcity from [unintelligible 26:20] knowledge compared to yours in the industry is that companies like De Beer limit the supply of it to increase that scarcity. And then the meaning part, they talk about a diamond is forever. From my own little googling 200 years ago, people didn’t use diamond rings for proposals. But then De Beer was formed 200 years ago, and then suddenly, so most likely a causal effect. People felt like to propose to someone they love they have to buy a diamond ring because a diamond is forever. And if you don’t want to buy a diamond ring for your loved one that means you don’t have true love. And so, they installed that meaning into the diamond, the diamond rock. I think this could be done a bit better but I know there are many societies, a community of people who understand and talk about it. But potentially it could be even more mainstream as a community thing. People are excited about diamonds.

Barry Shore:

I think it actually is a wonderful segue I wasn’t planning on doing. But I think it’s a perfect segue into beginning the discussion of Metablox because as you pointed out so wonderfully, again, given my simple understanding at the moment, does what you just said. It’s based on memories, which is a link with what we’ll call for want of a better term, the past. You’re in the present but it’s also about keeping those memories forever in blockchain, which means the future. So, you are doing what humanity has wanted to do since the crazy people used slaves to build the pyramids, they wanted eternity. Here, Metablox, going wild a little bit, is bringing eternity, you can own a certain place. What we’ll do with your permission, we have sponsors that love us, and I want everybody to sit at the edge of the chair and say what are they talking about Metablox, pyramids, forever and eternity. We’ll go to a brief break from one of our sponsors. We’ll come right back and you’ll have more of you Yu-kai Chou just get ready to be amazed and expand your world. Be right back after this brief message. 

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Barry Shore:

Good day beautiful, bountiful, beloved immortal beings and good-looking people. And remember you’re good-looking, always looking for and finding the good. We have good in abundance. Our cup runneth over with good. His name as you Yu-kai Chou. He is one of the founders of this process called gamification. He has been involved in everything that is on the leading edge of bringing the world closer to you, bridging that world between the Metaverse, that world, and what we call now, the virtual world, “the real world”, “the physical world.” And he’s doing it with so many different places that he’s been involved in. everything from Ethereum to HTC.  And now with Metablox. We’re going to be talking about it. I just want to make mention before you begin, Yu-kai. One of the reasons I love listening to, watching, and observing Yu-kai Chou is because he’s a man who also has an expansive world. He went from one process of thinking to another. He really made the leap forward, and a man of faith. And that’s really what I think drives his ability to understand what people call the virtual world because that’s really hard and possibly is. He married a woman named Angel. How do you like that? He has twin daughters named Symphony and Harmony. It’s almost too good to be true but it’s true. It’s really one of the reasons I feel so close and dear to him. And what he’s doing with Metablox, again, I want to understand more about it because I’m fascinated and I want to own some of it in San Francisco, which I believe is the first city. And you’re going to explain to people, even me, what it is? Why it is? How do we do something? And can I please have the intersection of Haight-Ashbury? So we’ll talk about all those things.

Yu-kai Chou:

Okay. So we go back to that framework we laid out, a nice framework sets the [unintelligible 31:51], we always refer back to it, scarcity, meaning, and community. So, when we think about scarcity, the issue with some NFT projects you do have to trust the development team not to arbitrarily just create more and more and more of these NFTs because they’ll say, oh, this batch is so amazing. Let’s just create another 100,000. It’s like the US government where they can print out more cash if they wanted to. So, we were thinking about, well, in the real world what is truly scarce? And we’re thinking about, well, gold and real estate. But gold is still fungible. My goal, your goal, we trade the same thing. But the real estate of my home and your home are very different. Even if it’s the exact same dimension, exact same size. And it might not be in the same neighborhood, even if it is, mine has my memory with my children, you have your memory with the first time you did something that was meaningful to you. By trading our homes it wouldn’t be the same thing.  So we thought, well, can we turn every location in the real world into an NFT? And that’s number one. But the second part is the meaning part because how do we add meaning to places and that’s actually the beginning of why the project started. So, my co-founder, Jun Loayza, who’s from Google. One day he got an email from Google that says, they’ll start charging for his Google Photos. And he says, oh, right, all my photos, all my memories, hundred thousands of these photos are all on the Google server, which is one company. Forty years later, Google could shut down the service, they could possibly run out of business, or his grandchildren might not want to pay for Google Photos. And in which case, all his memories are just gone. And he just thought, well, what can we actually do that helps preserve these important memories for his grandchildren? And also we think about, well, why should we actually use the blockchain because there are lots of projects out there being on the blockchain is just a gimmick, they can actually do everything they want to do on a private server. But they just say, hey, look, we’re a blockchain company. But the unique thing about blockchain is that, again, it’s decentralized. It’s not hosted on any one single server by one company. It’s distributed among a network of servers and computers. So, in theory, it could last forever regardless if a company dies. No one can shut it down, no one can take these NFTs away from you because it’s the network that powers it’s not a single point of decision making. And so, what we have is real-world places as NFTs and to level it up we have to upload real-life memories that are meaningful to that place. So in essence, we’re turning every single block, as we call it Metablox, every blox in the world to be a small historical landmark [unintelligible 34:44] because every location has something meaningful that happened there to some people. Now, some memories are grand, the whole world cares about it or like, oh, Steve Jobs met Steve Wozniak so it changed the whole world. People care about that memory a lot. There’s also oh, this is the basketball court that Michael Jordan practiced when he was growing up to hey, this is the local singer that has his memory. This is where he started learning his lessons. Everyone has a memory. And as you said, instead of building a whole pyramid or a city government having to dedicate a whole place for a museum historical site, we turn that into a digital world, where now we can do it. And so, once we have that scarcity, we have the meaning then we can build a community around it. And two memories actually are very interesting to get people to understand why this is important. So, my co-founder, Jun, has a physical photo of his parents celebrating his birthday when he was very, very young. Now, his parents divorced a long time ago, and he said in his memory, he can’t even imagine his parents smiling in the same room. So, that physical photo, again, after the year 2000, there are no more physical photos. That physical photo is one of the only pieces of evidence he has that his parents once liked each other. And he thinks that should be preserved, that is meaningful to him. And if that was on a single server by a company and the company shuts down, that would be a loss to him, his [unintelligible 36:18]. That’s number one. Number two is that, hey, he’s half Japanese, half Peruvian, and he knows that his great grandparents emigrated from Japan to Peru many, many years ago. That’s it. That one-liner is the only thing he knows about his great grandparents. He doesn’t know why they went. What were the conditions? How did they travel there? Were they discriminated against? Where did they live? He knew none of that. And he really wouldn’t want to know more about that. And people care about that. That’s why people pay for ancestry.com. That’s what people pay for 23andMe and look at the DNA tests. They want to know where they’re from. As we know, those records are gone. But with Metablox it is possible, and very likely that we can store all of these important useful memories. And memory at this point is photos attached with a story write-up, like why this is meaningful. So, we can start preserving these important memories in the blockchain so that generations to come, they actually know what happened. And it’s not just controlled by one single company that’s trying to sell advertisements based on that information.

Barry Shore:

So, you bring up three questions, again, unpacking a bit of what you’re saying because you live this and for you, this is easy but people are leaning in and saying I want to know, I want to understand, I want to feel it in my tummy. Much like you said, the example from Jun and his parents is deeply touching. That’s an amazing idea. Now, I’m presuming of course, that a photograph is no different than a video. In other words, whatever the memory is, it can be a photograph, a still, it can be a video, assuming. 

Yu-kai Chou:

That’s the plan down the road.

Barry Shore:

Baby shoes, that people used to do bronze baby shoes. If he found his baby shoes in his closet, even if they weren’t bronze, you can put them out as an NFT in his block. You can do almost anything. So when you say videos, obviously, it’s not there yet but it’s coming. So, anything that has to do with memories. So now, how does one buy a block? Are we talking about something that is seen on a city map? Are we talking about somebody that is one inch by one inch? What are we talking about in terms of areas? Because in the Meta world it doesn’t matter if it’s a quarter-inch or a millimeter it goes up and down. It can be as deep as you want.

Yu-kai Chou:

Yep. So right now a blox is on the map. So we use the Google Maps API. We’re launching in a few weeks and a couple of cities San Francisco and Miami. And so basically, you go to the map view, you see the blox and they’ll tell you oh, it’s like Google Maps, it says there’s a church here, there’s this famous building here or this apartment here. And so, you purchase that NFT that you can keep for as long as you want. Again, as the company, we even talked about this. What if people upload weird memories we don’t like? Well, there’s nothing we can do about it. We can’t take it away. We can have it not show on our website, Metablox. co but we cannot take their blox away. They have true ownership. The only thing we can do is say hey, we don’t want to show it on our platform but they can still sell it to someone else on other platforms like OpenSea, etc., etc. So, the key is that now they have this physical location and they can store memories in it. One of the goals is to keep precious memories. So, what we don’t want is we don’t want to be like an Instagram where every day you feel like you have to upload dozens of photos to gain popularity. We want to make sure, again, it’s like a historical site where people go in, and hey, these are the 15 most important memories that represent this person’s life. And so, there are limitations on how many memories you can put up, you call them memory slots. But as you level up the blox you can get more and more memory slots. And it also generates what we call metarent, which is a whole different gamification design [unintelligible 40:37] that eventually helps you own things like landmarks at the Golden Gate Bridge or whatnot. Because of our mission statement, our purpose is to get people to upload memories and preserve them on the blockchain but of course, we study motivation design. If you just say, hey, go do it, very few people will do it. They will want to but they might not get to that. So, we created a game designed to say, hey, by playing this game you increase the value of your property. And the way to increase the value of the property is to upload more and more meaningful memories that people feel are heartwarming or inspiring or solemn, etc.

Barry Shore:

So, to understand. I’m making this up again, I want Haight-Ashbury, the intersection. Now, you started with San Francisco. I’m presuming not because you come from there because you don’t and not because Jun comes from there but he sort of lives there now, maybe because he was with Google. So, I’m presuming that’s one of the reasons you started with San Francisco and it’s close to Silicon Valley. And Miami because it’s Miami. I’m surprised that we didn’t do Venice Beach, California where I was living for 45 years. I vote for that. So, let’s say I own the intersection of Haight-Ashbury, and I pay, I’ll just make a number of $100, I didn’t give you any money I gave you digits from the bank, there’s no money. I gave you digits from the bank it says $100, or I gave you some Ethereum or whatever. And I now own that, and I start uploading. And you say, from the moment 15 memories is where you can begin. And I have them there. Do I now invite my friends to come and say, hey, come and take a look at what I have here? Is it means spreading the word? That’s number one. And number two, is it Metablox trying to build a large community? And at the same time create more, obviously, desire to buy these Metablox and make money to keep the company going. But by the same token, excuse the pun, by the same token, you say I can earn memory. I won’t go there at the moment because I may be confusing. But everything is now built on this idea called tokens. Is that correct?

Yu-kai Chou:

Yes. So, the blox is an NFT, which is a token. And there’s a metarent, which is not a token, it’s an in-database currency to run the game economy. And then when you level up the blox you will generate what we call Metablox coin, which is a token.

Barry Shore:

So, you want people to get involved in this, as you said, use fortnight as an example. People are involved in fortnight, they love playing. They’ll dedicate hours of their time, their most valuable possession that they have, they’re going to put hours of their time into it. Metablox wants to be not just a storage place of memories because that’s the past, you also want it to be something that people want to be participating in.

Yu-kai Chou:

And what’s unique about Metablox is we actually don’t want people to spend a lot of time on the metablox.co platform. We want people to go out in the real world and create new memories so they can upload new memories. So, if you own a blox it doesn’t just take your own memories, everyone else who has memories at your location can submit their memories and you’re the curator. You are the one who decides, which are the ones are the best, again, inspiring, heartwarming, solemn, or enjoyable memories that should represent this location. And so, for people to enjoy Metablox, what they should do is they should go to a variety of cities. Go to different places, take photos, create memories with people and then upload those. So, the way to play this game is not to spend hours and hours in this virtual world but it’s to actually go out meet new people, travel with people, create new memories, and if they’re inspiring, heartwarming, and more interesting enough, then it will be represented on the map on metablox.co and then people can see that. So, that’s what we try to do here.

Barry Shore:

Well, this is wonderful. That’s why I mentioned video because video is so now, oh current, as opposed to, let’s say, Jun’s great grandparents going to Peru. There was no video then. Maybe you have a picture, possibly. But let’s go back in time to something. I wrote it down, questioning myself. On some level, do you remember something called Farmville?

Yu-kai Chou:

I do indeed.

Barry Shore:

So, I’m trying to understand this. People were buying a plot and they were improving it and doing things and earning and such. Does this have a reminiscence of Farmville in any way?

Yu-kai Chou:

As I mentioned, there are some concepts out there that also say, hey, we’re going to have virtual land. Most [unintelligible 45:46] central land. We’re going to have virtual land but the issue with that is, it’s fabricated land so when they want to build meaning they have to do storytelling. It didn’t exist beforehand. Now, there are some companies who also say, hey, we want to do real-world locations and turn those NFTs just like us. But that’s as real as it gets. Once you have the real-world NFTs and then you play a game on top of them. You build virtual houses, you do virtual trading, whatnot. But for us, we’re doubling down on the real. So, you have real-world places but then to play you need real-life memories. And every location already has decades or centuries of real-life memories but we just want to make sure it’s preserved there. And eventually, what we want is we want to also be the beacon to the digital Metaverse. So, we believe that the digital Metaverse will happen. So, people have their avatars and they’ll go through a lot of different virtual worlds. There’s a concept of interoperability, which is the same assets you have from one world can go to another. So, let’s say you go play a game, and then this game you use achieve very strong accomplishments and then you get these angel wings. Now, you can take these angel wings to a lot of different other games, and other places but through Metablox you can go to a physical location, San Francisco, you go and check in. And through AR glasses, augmented reality glasses, or smartwatches they can see oh, wow you have these angel wings from this game that means you’re a VIP you come in for free. So, you can create that bridge. Or let’s say they have the digital character in the Metaverse that goes around collecting what we call cosmetics, like jackets, sunglasses, whatnot. But you know that the only way to get these very cool, exclusive pair of sunglasses for your digital avatar is to physically travel to Miami, go to a blox, create a memory and upload that memory. And so now, in the digital Metaverse, everyone who sees you is like, wow, you have that sunglass you’ve been to Miami. You’ve done this bungee jumping or whatever in Miami. I don’t know if they bungee jump there or not. The watersports are there. So now, we’re trading that bridge between the digital virtual world, and the real world, which is our constant passion since 2005.

Barry Shore:

Whoa, so this has been percolating for 16 years, 17 years.

Yu-kai Chou:

Yeah, just variety of gamification. Remember I said, I had a virtual world startup? That was about using virtual to help your real-life career and all that stuff. Another thing is, you talked about people seeing these memories. So obviously, all these memories will be on the platform. And so, in the future when AR because I did a lot of AR work, VR AR stuff in HTC Vive is that people can visit a new city with AR glasses, and they can say, I want to see the most inspiring memories in the city, or I want to see the most heartwarming memories in this neighborhood. So, then you’re able to see, you explore a city with more meaning. And I have this experience myself when I just go to a museum, and I don’t read anything, I just look and say oh, plate, plate, picture of a person, picture of a plate, fork. I can just walk through that whole museum in 25 minutes. Because none of them have meaning to me. But when I actually read the historical background, or even better there’s an old guy that says, oh, at this time period they were going through famine so they couldn’t do these things and they had to resort to this. Suddenly that became meaningful and interesting to me. So, we’re able to use this Metablox experience to make exploring a new city more interesting and meaningful, basically.

Barry Shore:

I am swirling with ideas and questions and so much. It’s energizing. It’s so good because I can see myself preserving memories for my grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, 100 plus years or more from now. This is absolutely wonderful. I’m almost sorry to say these words. By the way, thank you to Angel for giving her blessing. [Unintelligible 49:58] angel wings which going to help people from your wife. I have three quick questions for you. Are you ready? 

Yu-kai Chou:

Yep. 

Barry Shore:

Number one, will you come back again?

Yu-kai Chou:

Of course. It’s always good to be in the joy of living.

Barry Shore:

Thank you. Number two. You have 80 seconds only to answer this. What is your most fervent desire?

Yu-kai Chou:

My most fervent desire is to utilize the gift that I’m given to make a positive impact in this world.

Barry Shore:

And the third, I’m going to give you a hug. I’m asking your permission to give you a hug in front of now 362,802 people around the world. Are you ready? Let me tell you what hugs stands for. Heartfelt, unlimited giving. 1-2-3 roar.

Yu-kai Chou:

You’re redefining the whole English language.

Barry Shore:

You have tuned into The Joy of Living with our amazing wonderful Yu-kai Chou, thank you so much. Everybody www what a wonderful world, smile seeing miracles in life every day. Use the three fundamentals life has purpose like Yu-kai, make a difference like Yu-kai and uncover and unlock the power and the secrets of everyday words and terms like smile, seeing miracles in life every day. Or like my niece says, seeing miracles in everyday life. And use the two most powerful words in the English language three times a day. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Make it a great one. Thank you wonderful Yu-kai. Best wishes to the family. Bye. 

Yu-kai Chou:

Bye-bye.

Outro  

Thank you for listening to this episode of The Joy of Living Podcast. Now, that’s another step towards your healthier, happier, and wealthier life. Never hesitate to do good in the world no matter what the situation. Join us for another upbeat discussion next time at barryshore.com and be sure to leave a rating and subscribe to the show to get more conversations like this. And remember to share it with your family and friends, too. See you on the next episode.

About You-Kai Chou

Hi, I’m Yu-kai Chou, Gamification pioneer, creator of the Octalysis
Framework
, and author of Actionable Gamification. Thanks for visiting my site!

As a kid, I absolutely loved playing video games: I completely immersed myself into RPGs (role playing games) such as Diablo II, staying up until 4am (avoiding homework) to grind my way to level 60.

I invested hundreds of hours into video games with little to show for it in real life. Disillusioned by what I felt were hundreds of hours of wasted life, I contemplated:

There must be a game where the more I play, the stronger and better I get in real life.