How to Have the Most Successful Culture

We all know the power that culture has in a workplace. Strong, healthy cultures create more than just happy employees. They foster a more successful and adaptable company that…

Wait a minute.

How do we know that?

I mean, it sounds true. It feels true. We’ve all worked in places with a toxic culture that have circled the drain. But how do we know that isn’t selection bias? Do we know that a good culture makes a successful organisation? Is there data to back up this claim? Continue reading

Dark Creative Arts

Ever get stuck in a rut? Ever feel like your creativity has stalled? You’ve made excellent progress but now, everything has run dry. A small, insignificant problem has derailed your efforts and you can’t think around it. You try, but you keep thinking the same thoughts. You can’t see the problem with fresh eyes. And it’s killing you.

Have you ever felt like that? I think every creative person has, at one point or another. There are ways around it. I can share with you how to think with a fresh perspective. But you don’t have to keep reading. Be warned: some of these tricks are dangerous. Because they are powerful and risky, you don’t have to continue. They push your mind into new places but this comes at a price. Use them at your own risk.

But before we get into it, have you ever noticed how many creative people are alcoholics?

Continue reading

What I’d Like From Dungeons & DraGOns

It is difficult to contact companies with product ideas.

Sure, I mean, I get it. I wouldn’t want to be spammed by clueless lunatics either (hey! what did I just say about me?!). And there could be legal issues? The person will have written documentation proving they came up with the idea. So. Yeah. I see how it makes sense.

… but do you ever wonder that maybe you’re missing out on gold? People go to a lot of effort to crowdsource ideas. Maybe letting people email you their clueless lunacy is the smart play.

Oh, and for the record: my ideas are fair game. If you can use them better than I can, I am thrilled. A little recognition would be nice but, hey, do what you want.

My products, possessions and kidneys, though – don’t steal those.

Anyway, today I came up with about ten ideas for products/services. About half were best done by existing companies, so I sent them off as best I could. But, like I say, it’s hard. This idea was last on the list and I guess I ran out of patience.

So, Wizards of the Coast: this is my incredibly roundabout way of contacting you.

I imagine WotC is looking into the runaway success that is Pokemon GO. I imagine most companies are. But WotC have a nerdy fanbase and a connection to the Pokemon franchise so surely it has to come up over coffee at least. Here is what I, as a random D&D- and PokeGO-addict, would like to see from Dungeons & DraGOns:

  • Keep the random encounters. Replace Pidgey with goblins. Replace Zubat with anything other than Zubat omg.
  • Keep the PokeStops. Maybe they don’t give supplies, maybe they do, but lots of places to visit would be great.
  • Keep the gyms. Make them dungeons instead. I have ideas on how this could work.
  • I like the eggs, so keep that somehow. Maybe magic arrows that need to be walked to be attuned. I dunno. It doesn’t have to make sense, right?

So far, so derivative. What would DraGOns have that GO doesn’t?

  • PokeGO is all about aimless wandering. Keep that; it’s great. But also include quests. What would quests look like? Maybe WoW-style grinding (“kill 12 kobolds because I am busy with my tax return” or something). Maybe “go to this random stop ~3km away”. That last one would be great. It would add to the exploration – a key part of D&D.
  • None of this hurl-a-Pokeball-at-a-perfectly-healthy-Rattata business. You have a sword, a bow and/or a magic wand. You better be able to use them.
  • Dungeons, in place of gyms. Dungeons would be like pocket dimensions embedded in the landscape (just like in D&D). They would be procedurally-generated and complex. Low-level noobs could explore the first few rooms. Powerful noobs could dive deep into the dungeons, finding cool monsters and epic loot.
  • Random catastrophes. An earthquake shuts down all dungeons – quick, everyone must (collectively) complete 10m quests. The kobold population BOOMS – quick, every get to whacking. There’s a magic storm – quick, everyone cast fireball because it does double damage now. The king is dying – quick, everyone donate money and gear for some reason.
  • Party play. GO lets you both beat up the same Exeggutor at the same time. Cool. DraGOns would sync the dungeon raids so you enter as a single party. Compare this to attacking the same gym from different sides somehow. Or however it works in PokeGO.
  • Non-random catastrophes. Tie them to national holidays or something. I dunno. I just really like this idea.

That’s ten features to get us started. Anyone have anything they want to add?

Fight Like an Animal

Have you ever watched animals hunting?

How you ever seen professional martial artists in action?

You probably say yes to these questions. There are tons of videos online, if nothing else.

Here’s a question for you: have you ever binge-watched these videos together?

Nature diverges and converges. Wildly different organisms solve the same problems using the same techniques. Each interpretation is unique but shares underlying principles. This is why the Shaolin martial art (aka, the cool one) names its basic forms after animals:

Snake: small, fast and deadly. Taking advantage of smaller physiques, it employs constant movement, circular sweeps and precision strikes.

Dragon: the ultimate lizard. Dragon-style practitioners tend to be larger. They employ zigzags and angular movements to mask their attacks.

Leopard: high-performance hunter. The leopard protects its speed by avoiding injury. It shields its lean physique using elusive moves that combine offense and defence.

Tiger: raw power. The tiger uses its large physique to fight head-on, moving strong and fast.

Crane: elegant fighting. This style favours lanky physiques. It uses low postures, balance and striking from a distance.

Your character might not fight like these animals. They might fight like a bear: a mass of muscle and claws that barrels over its enemies. Or like a hawk: moving fast and low before exploding with deadly force.

Now, your character might not be a monk. That doesn’t matter. These fighting styles work with daggers, longswords, wands…  Even if they don’t, so what? Make up your own style that does.

It’s moments like these where I wish I were a player. But I am running a campaign with five factions. Five factions, five shaolin animal styles… I don’t have to pick one. I can use them all.