When you first read about this new corporate email system (game, really), whereby workers spend virtual currency to send email and earn the same currency for received email, you might think it’s stupid. In fact, given five minutes to think about it, you already know how to game the system, don’t you?
Ya, me too.
First, if my company tried to float this idea, I’d say, “I’m not doing that.” Then, when they’d insist (as they ALWAYS do), I’d either approach it as A. Fine, I’m never sending email, fuck that, I’ll use voicemail, or B. I’m not changing my habits at all and if I end up short on email currency for the week, then bummer. Guy walks down to my office and asks why I didn’t email that we were critical on some production-whatever, “Man, I was tapped out for the week. Great game, isn’t it?”
UNLESS … unless … I could convert my email currency into real virtual currency, like Warcraft gold or EverQuest platinum, then I’m on board. And by the time that little experiment was over, I’d be the GOD of email currency.
And no, I don’t want to buy little pencils from the office store with my email currency — I want something GOOD.
My real life self-centeredness aside, I do like thinking that’s outside the box, whether it be work strats or game strats, and while much of what we learn in gaming translates well to real and work life, there’s plenty we learn that we shouldn’t bring into real life … like gaming the system, exploiting the mechanics, duping currency, perching the office supply room, or, forming uber guilds to farm the currency. These are the things that a gamer would excel at and a non-gamer would be noob fodder under our boots.
Every multiplayer game requires policing, not an immaterial cost either, I imagine — not just for out-and-out cheating, but also: is the game encouraging the behaviors we want it to encourage? I’m sure my Corporate Overlords don’t want me to drain Accounting’s currency allowance each week just cuz I can, but if the reward involves a better LCD monitor on my desk, then look out Accounting.
Corporate Overlords shouldn’t buy an email game and think that’s the end of the cost, be prepared to rake in savings! Policing is an ongoing, neverending, costly process because the strong will always exploit the weak and players will always choose the shortest, easiest route to the reward.
Interesting real world idea, anyways, even though I could game that system hardc0re.