After some discussion with my friend M and some more thinking, I’ve decided that what I’ve learned in playing starcraft beats many eduction I’ve received.
Here are my reflections on the wisdom obtained by playing starcraft:
1. Getting Rich. One of the most useful concepts in the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad is the way to financial freedom can be achieved by building a portfolio of passive income streams. Being a starcraft player, I’ve known this concept for years. How do you get a lot of resources (being rich) in starcraft? You build a Probe/SCV/Drone, and it goes to mine resources. Then you use what he mined to build another Probe/SCV/Drone. Soon, you realize you are rich. The Probe/SCV/Done in Rich Dad’s term is “income generating assets”. You use the income generated by these assets to acquire more such assets, and soon you will be filthy rich.
2. Quality Management. As much as my management professor stresses on Deming’s PDSA cycle, nothing teaches the continuous improvement concept better than starcraft. PDSA is Deming’s model for constantly improving quality through Plan (Define the problem and create an improvement plan), Do (Execute the plan), Study (Study the results), Act (Standardize or Improve the process). In starcraft, we improve our skills using the PDSA cycle unconsciously. We think about why we lose, hypothesize a way to improve out game, try it out in battlenet, study the impact, and use it in future games if it works great.
3. Finance & Investment. Each starcraft game involves a series of financial and investment decisions. When you spend money to build a unit or building, you are putting down money in expectation of future benefits. In essence, in playing starcraft, we learn to deal with uncertainties and risks. For example, when we decide to build a science facility rather than defensive units, we are taking risks that if we get rushed, this investment would render useless. On the other hand, when we decide to rush the opponent, we are risking the development in exchange for a high chance of winning the game. After all, managing risk/reward is the core of finance and investment.
4. Team Work & Leadership. When playing in battlenet, starcraft players form different teams in games. Therefore to win online battles, team work is extremely important. We have all learned what is good team behavior, what is bad ones, and how to deal with bad team players. The coordination, cooperation and execution involved in a good starcraft battle is exactly what leadership classes teach us to do.
5. Economics. In a starcraft game, there are supply and demand of resources, science, military power, strategic positions, etc. Whatever action you make, you learn to ask yourself, “is it worth it?” We learn to constantly make cost/benefit analysis and optimize the allocation of limited resources.
6. Business Management. Starcraft shows us that a good strategy is not enough to win. To carry out the good strategy, we need good execution. A high-speed execution involves the efficient use of various keyboard shortcuts. Many companies fail not because they have the wrong strategy, but because of their failure to execute the strategy due to the lack of coordination or skillsets.
7. Grand Perspective. When playing starcraft, we learn to think like the CEO or upper management. The military units represent the people work under us (middle management, project teams, professionals). They are just replaceable parts of the system. At the time of crisis, we are all dispensible at the benefit of the company we work for.
8. Psychology of Aggression & Competition. Starcraft brings us the following psychological experiences: rushing pleasure of winning, team bonding in the face of a common enemy, the positive relationship between caring about something and the time/energy/emotion invested in it, etc.