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5 startup lessons from counter strike

July 14, 2016

I have been a gamer for as long as I remember – I always wanted to be a game designer as a child, but because I lacked artistic skills I just settled for coding. Today I stand at the top of my startup career and also at a higher competitive rank in the counter strike global offensive game. Since I love to analyze and connect things in order to learn and adapt from them, I see this game as a great tutor.
Valve Corporation, the company that developed “Counter Strike”, has done a great job with this game and even after buying 20 titles from other developers last year I still seem to be only playing counter strike. As you play better your rank goes up and you get matched with players of the same rank group. The game experience changes as you transcend from a lower rank to a new rank, just like in business.
The general observation I made as I went from a silver (very rank) to global elite (Very high rank) was that at each level the kind of players you are grouped with become more serious and focused. The players at the top level have an objective of winning and they play as a team and don’t swear or lose control even when their team starts to lose. They re-enforce each other with weapons even if the person they re-enforce is not playing well.


Lesson 1 | 5 is the perfect number

I have tried to move away from playing multiplayer games of all sorts but counter strike just keeps me coming back. The game has been a hit since 1998 simply because it focuses on real experiences and keeps the matches in control unlike battlefield (64 to 128 players multiplayer) and COD(Just graphics and cinematic). A 5 people team is easier to control / train and work with than any larger team. To build a better team you don’t need quantity over quality . I have shortened my staff from 9 to 5 in the last year and we have achieved what I thought at one point was impossible. I guess it was the time I focused to develop and lead the 5 I had rather than the 10 or 15, I could have afforded. I invested the extra cash into better machines and stayed as the 6th member of the team.

Lesson 2 | Talk less do more

Every now and then I come into a match where we find people who talk too much and do nothing. Counter strike’s competitive matches are based on a 5 on 5 terrorist vs the Swat team scenario cut into a 30 rounds. Some people just keep talking to and swear at own team-mates for anything that they can’t deal with. These people are yet to realize that it is a team game and your team’s performance depends on you and not the other way round. I also noticed that this causes fights and creates a depressing attitude that normally leads to a defeat or some kind of sad outcome. The same is true in startup culture. Each player needs to work in developing themselves rather than criticizing others, you need to be on the same path from the moment you game or start up starts. No one here is to prove that he is better we are all here to prove that together we can achieve something bigger than each of us.

Lesson 3 | All it takes is one

This one builds onto by the previous lesson (Talk less do more) and it highlights that one bad player is all it takes. Small business owners need to be strong headed and can’t get emotional. Sometimes the gamer like an employee might be the best of the lot but if he can’t keep his cool and can’t respect the team he needs to be dealt with asap.

Lesson 4 | Everyone should know their role

In small teams it is important to be independent yes I do think I can lead well but I have always tried to help the people around me grow. My real success is in their growth as leaders and better people.

Lesson 5 | Play with the people of similar mind and skill set

This can be a good catalyst from the start – As you play more and more counter strike matches, you make friends who you think play to your level and when these 5 friends of a good level make a clan you get a good synergy. It works in a very similar way with a startup, It is important to take your time to choose and analyze the people you work with don’t be in a hurry to partner with people. Play the field a little, take them for a game of golf and be a real friend.