Four lessons for new businesses

Video games often teach us more than we think.

Four lessons for new businesses

There's this game, Among Us, that is gaining a lot of popularity these days, and for good reason. The online game, which was originally released in 2018, works a lot like Mafia or Werewolf, where a bunch of innocent fellows try to uncover the assassin, the werewolf or, in this case, the impostor. Players of the game are either in the good team —the citizens, the crew—, or they are in the evil team —the werewolf, the killers, the impostors—. And I think there are lessons from both sides of it. Yes, entrepreneurial lessons, to be clear.

Ok, so… first of all, a quick 'How to play'. Among Us, as I just said, is a multiplayer game. Some players are crew members, and some others (two, max) are impostors. This means they appear to be just like the rest of the players, but are actually trying to kill everyone. Crew members win if they uncover who the impostors are, and impostors win if they kill enough crew members.

Now, to the lessons. Let's say you are a legit crew member. Well, in this game, in contrast to some others of this kind, innocent folks get a lot more to do. You guys are in a big map with lots of rooms where the crew has to fix issues and report dead bodies if they see them (bleak, yes). Fixing the issues in some cases can actually make life harder for impostors, but sometimes will also make you the perfect bait for the bad guys to kill you.

So what can we learn from this?

Actual team work, coordination and accountability, of course. Crew members can strategize to have, for instance, buddy-systems so that if one of them gets killed, the buddy can report and see immediately who the impostor is. If before the initial round —or after a death report— they coordinate where to go, it will be harder for impostors to get the time to kill without selling their true identity. And when someone reports a body, accountability may save a crew member's life. Maybe someone saw that person do a specific task, or you can proof you were at the security cameras room, and that counts as an alibi, so that people don't think you are a killer.

Team work

Projects work a lot like that. You need team work, coordination and accountability. Yes, there are lots of mvps made by one person, but often even this person teams up with other companies so that his or her idea can grow the way that he or she wants. And if you have an actual team, you know communication is key and you need to know that you should rely on your crew just as they can rely on you. As I said last week, no man is an island.

Coordination & Planning

But you also need to coordinate and plan beforehand. You don't want to be doing the same thing your colleague is doing; you don't want your marketing campaign to go live before your product is ready; you don't want your social media manager to post stuff that could close doors for potential partnerships. You get it. You have to coordinate. Sometimes it's good to go with the flow, but it is necessary to have a roadmap —that you must share with your team— so that you don't stumble that often.


And you must be ready for when accountability is needed. Are you about to get in a legal dispute with a copycat? Better have documents and evidence that supports the fact that you're the real deal. Are your clients getting charged more than once? Demonstrate your workflow works as it should and start nagging the payment processors for what's happening. Be ready to defend yourself and your project when the time comes, but do it with facts and evidence, not just rage and tantrums.

And what about the impostors?

Faking it

The lesson here is pretty simple and you have heard it before. Fake it (I refuse to say the rest of that line!). Impostors in Among Us have to be very careful, very precise but, when everything is said and done, they just have to fake being innocent. The best impostors players are good because they know the game, they can fake tasks because they know which ones are on which maps and, more importantly, they sell with confidence their innocence. People believe them. And a lot of times that's what you have to do. Maybe you are not fully proficient in a tool, but if someone hires you to work on it, you accept, you fake it, you study, and you practice until you actually know the platform well enough to give your client the product they need. You end up making it (damn it, I said it).

And they thought video games made you stupid. Can you believe?

See you next time!