Entrepreneurs! Put WoW on your business plans!

Venturebeat links to a lecture given at Stanford University last week in which a former director of Xenox PARC explains how raid and guild leading in WoW could be really useful experience for entrepreneurs.

Why so?

  • learn to work with groups
  • learn to give and to handle criticism
  • learn to use crowdsourcing
  • an environment where performance can be measured

The argument about whether people should put WoW on their job applications is one that has been doing the rounds for awhile, but how about raid leading as experience for running your own business? It certainly COULD give people valuable skills in remote working and managing virtual communities, not to mention marketing their community to potential new recruits. And a lot of the man management skills could equally apply to handling employees, particularly when they’re volunteers or freelancers. This is partly why a lot of guild leadership blogs borrow heavily from management guides (the other reason is that people who have experience of management in real life often find they’re able to transfer the same skills to running a guild.)

Still, it is interesting to see the notion gain more and more traction. What do you think? Is running a guild likely to be good experience for an entrepreneur? And of course, many¬† of the more successful guild leaders or bloggers in the WoW fan sphere do pretty much run their own businesses by taking sponsorship or adverts ….

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9 thoughts on “Entrepreneurs! Put WoW on your business plans!

  1. Well, I could say I was a raid leader…but if my raids wiped like clockwork, I’m not necessarily a GOOD raid leader.

    It’s arbitrary metrics like this that I think putting your gaming experience on a resume is a very bad idea. People play games for fun (their own warped definitions of fun in many cases), and even though they may think they’re a manager of people as a guild or raid leader, their answer to soliving issues may be to boot people they don’t like, or shun those who have the skills but not the gear, etc.

    It would take an MMO savvy recruiter to interrogate someone who DID put this on his or her resume in order for it to be effective. While I would welcome a fellow gamer, if someone felt that STRONGLY about letting their lesiure time infect their productivity time, I’d have to think twice about them as a candidate.

    • This was actually also my reaction when people discussed putting WoW on their CV. Sure, it can definitely show useful skills. But if I saw that application, it’d be a red flag for me to stop and ask, “How many hours a week do you raid right now, and what would you do if your work didn’t allow that?”

  2. Just as Scopique explained, putting “WoW” or “MMOs” on your resume can at least in Germany result in the application getting moved to filing basket “P” (“Papierkorb”, waste paper basket) immediately.

    Our staff manager asked me when I was still an apprentice what I would think of someone putting “computer strategy games” on their resume. (He knew I am very fond of computer games and nevertheless working as intended. )

    My answer was quite conservative, I would not have done that.

  3. I would only condone such a suggestion if you could easily verify that those skills translated into real world ability.

    I’d say a top server guild would be cause for celebration but I wonder if the need to explain why it’s relevant wouldn’t just be far more work than the benefits you’d gain by listing that as management experience.

  4. This is BS. Running a raid in WoW, which is basically absolutely non-creative work done by a script and gated by having the correct gear, is nothing like coming up with your own business plan and convincing investors that they should invest money in your idea.

    Be a successful entrepreneur FIRST, put leisure time activities on your CV second, if ever. If you’re a normal human being, EVERYTHING you do is an opportunity for improvement. An activity that ties you to your desk at night for many hours per week for ephemera would seem to me to be the least of those.

    • No, it’s more than that. Running a regular raid or a guild is a lot about managing people and making sure enough of them turn up to regular events, each know their roles in every fight, and perform them to an accepted standard — because otherwise you cannot progress. One of the really difficult parts is motivating your raiders during the inevitable quiet periods, dealing with key members leaving, and recruitment and training. I could see how it might be a good way to practice transferable skills in that sense.

      My feel is that this question isn’t quite as clear cut as it used to be. You can feasibly learn a lot about man management from organising raids in WoW, but you could equally learn a lot from getting involved in organising any kind of group. And generally non-virtual groups are more impressive to non-gamers, even though it’s probably easier to organise a bunch of people who are all in the same room.

      I think ultimately it’s down to the individual to make what they learn in game useful and prove to outsiders that the skills are transferable. I absolutely agree that everything you do is an opportunity for improvement, but not every activity gives you the same chances to learn the same skills.

  5. It’s a gamble. The people who lend money to entrepreneurs are just as diverse as the people who sit in judgement at job interviews and there’s no one right answer.

    If you can demonstrate those skills in other venues it might be safer. They are basically social skills and if you’ve done any extracurricular activities at school it might be just as effective to mention that. (Eg instead of I can settle arguments because I led a group of loot whores raiding I can settle arguments because I used to assign board numbers in a chess team).

    The danger with mentioning MMOs is that they have a well-founded reputation for time consumption as Tipa so eloquently points out.

  6. I think guild leading can help you build certain skills if you do it right. However most guild leaders out there don’t do it right. Most get their members by chance or by a simple ad in one forum. And many don’t work with criticism, their usual receipe for handling mistakes is look away, hope that the person finds it out for himself and try to work around it until that happens. And then there are some guilds where criticism happens, but in an overly agressive style. “Dude u suck” totally tells you that you did something wrong even if it might leave you wondering what you did wrong exactly. Trying to migrate that criticism over to the real world would invite disaster.

  7. Pingback: Se7en Tidbits: “Raid Leader’s Resume” or “St. George is Overrated!” « Are We New At This?

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