The market is crowded. Every vertical has a professional trying to brand himself as the expert in the field, saturating the market and making it difficult to stand out above all the noise.  Becoming the best has nothing to do with being the best; rather, it’s all about perception and how the market perceives you. To get noticed, you need to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing.

My best friend Yu-kai Chou is positioning himself as a Gamification Expert.  In doing so, he has utilized unique techniques that are worth learning so that you too can become an expert in your field.

Conquer an emerging field

Yu-kai said something very interesting to me: Gamification is at a point where Social Media Marketing was 5 years ago.  When professionals first started doing social media marketing, it was all about creating a social profile and posting as much content as possible.  In reality, there is so much more to it and only after 5 years of social media marketing have brands realized that it’s an intricate and necessary part of consumer marketing.

Similarly, professionals believe that gamification is all about points, rewards, and levels. Want to gamify something, then just add a badge! In actuality, gamification is so much more than that and is just starting to catch on as an important aspect to consumer marketing. Yu-kai plans to be one of the pioneers and show brands what it’s all about.

Takeaway: your best bet is to conquer an emerging field.  If it’s an emerging field, then there is most likely no branded expert and you can label yourself as a pioneer, which will add extra to your credibility.

Video as opposed to text

Text is of course still super important, but the use of video will make you stand out above the crowd.  Very few people create content in video form, and even less do it in an engaging way.

Just check out Yu-kai’s video on this page.  He strategically uses cut-scenes and humor to keep the audience engaged, thinking about what he’s going to do next.

Takeaway: use different forms of communication to stand out and communicate with your audience.  For example, use Vokle to hold live video discussions with your audience.

Take on fun or controversial topics

The best way to drive traffic to your site is to write about fun and controversial topics.  This encourages people to spread it online and also generate traffic via search engines.

Take on national campaigns: check out Yu-kai’s post about Old Spice’s campaign with Dikembe Mutombo.  His blog post ranks #1 on Google for the search term “Old Spice Dikembe Mutombo Gamification“.  Not only does this add to his level of credibility, but it’s a springboard that will allow him to build relationships with the marketing and advertising agencies that big brands work with.

Take on controversial topics: check out Yu-kai’s post about the war in Israel.  Yu-kai doesn’t directly talk about the morality of war or what is right or wrong, but he does address the issues behind using gamification for the purposes of war.  This post has generated a good amount of comments.

Takeaway: write posts that will generate links back to your site and compel people to share or comment.

Coin your own terms

This is what I think is absolutely genius about Yu-kai’s strategy.  He knows that gamification is an emerging field, so he’s using the terms from old fields and applying them to new fields.

For example, White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO are two very popular terms used to describe the techniques used to optimize a website.  Yu-kai has taken these terms and applied it to gamification: White Hat Gamification and Black Hat Gamification.

Furthermore, he is taking psychology terms and applying them to his strategies as well.  He has coined the terms Left-brain Gamification and Right-brain Gamification to describe the two ways gamification affects the brain.

Lastly, he has created his own framework called Octalysis, and is teaching others to use Octalysis to analyze the way they use gamification in their company.  If he’s successful, then the Octalysis score will be the barometer for which all gamification campaigns are measured.


Be like Yu-kai and stand out above the rest.


Jun Loayza is the founder of Passport Peru, a tourism-connect site that connects travelers with the best agencies in Peru.  In his entrepreneurial experience, Jun has sold 2 internet companies and lead social media technology campaigns for Sephora, Whole Foods Market, Levi’s, LG, and Activision.