Barry O’Reilly welcomes David Chen to the Unlearn Podcast this week. Barry tells listeners that David’s story is nothing short of exceptional. His rapid rise at Deloitte saw him becoming one of the company’s youngest partners at the age of 34. He started the group GTIF Capital, and partners with several major businesses in the eSports, technology and healthcare sectors. David has worked with several partners and celebrities on the recent Super Bowl commercial. He sits on several boards including Mediabundance as the head of eSports, Faze Clan and the North American Collegiate League. He has brokered a deal to bring Wolves eSports gaming, a professional gaming wing of the Wolverhampton Wanderers, into the NACL via their strategic partnership with the Fosun Group. “In short,” Barry says, “he’s making waves in an amazing domain, and he’s here to tell us how to get started.” Listen to Gaming in the Metaverse for the Future with David Chen.
A Happy Balance
David was at the pinnacle of his career at Deloitte but his life was out of balance. He tells Barry that he had all the trappings of success, and yet he was miserable. Barry comments that successful people often feel guilty when they feel emptiness or dissatisfaction with their lives because they believe they don’t have a right to those feelings when they’ve had so much opportunity. “Nobody teaches you how to be happy,” David responds. He describes his internal struggle as the darkest journey he ever went through. “But it was the best journey that I have to go through multiple times.” The secret is to change your thought process and do things that actually matter, he posits. Find a happy medium whatever your circumstances may be. Ask yourself, would your 20-year-old self be proud of you now? “Finding that balance is so important for everybody,” he says. Barry agrees that fulfillment comes from making a meaningful contribution. [Listen from 4:00]
A Booming Industry
Gaming is the fastest growing industry. Before the pandemic, gaming was projected to be a $3 billion industry by 2023; it’s now estimated to be worth $200 billion by 2023. This “influential shift” is because of the large population of gamers around the world. Brands trying to reach this demographic – 35 years and younger, 60% male and 40% female – have to demonstrate that they care about societal issues in a tangible way. David admonishes parents to have an open mind about gaming because it is changing the world in the same way that Amazon did with ecommerce. Barry comments that gamers learn collaboration, communication, and leadership in the immersive experience of a game. [Listen from 11:10]
Starting with eSports
Barry asks David, “What are some tips you could give [people who are curious about eSports] to start experimenting and learning their way into this world, because the future is going to be so connected to it?” David responds with practical steps, including:
- If you’re a parent, ask your kids about their favorite games. It will help you bond with them.
- Keep up with the trends as a business leader. Gaming is now mainstream, so ignoring it means ignoring the next 40 years of your client base.
- Over 180 universities are giving out scholarships in gaming. If your child has the opportunity to learn, allow them to.
“What you’re highlighting here for listeners to really understand,” Barry remarks, “is that what we’re doing in many ways is just creating these digital sort of manifestations of a lot of things that were very tactical.” [Listen from 16:00]
“Community is important in anything,” David tells listeners. Community is the people who believe in the game. The danger lies, he continues, in the business leaders who only see the dollar signs, and don’t care about young gamers’ mental health. Being sensitive to kids’ needs at such a difficult time in their lives will help you build a better brand. Also, make sure your game is great, David tells Barry. “Here’s the thing: the game can’t suck; and [that’s] what a lot of guys are doing wrong… Gaming is about having fun, and if you take the cool part of the culture and everybody who’s trying to do this does not understand that piece… you’re gonna not get anything because you’ve alienated [your community]… Let me just put it very very simply: if it’s not cool, no one’s gonna do it.” He shares some common mistakes brands make in trying to influence the gaming community. [Listen from 22:00]
Advice for Brands
Revisit the games you enjoyed as a child, David advises listeners. It will give you the comfort level you need to start learning more about gaming. “Then start communicating with your child and understanding the trends that exist,” David says. The next step is learning the play to earn model, but understand that it has to make sense, he adds. You’re never too old to learn. [Listen from 32:40]