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Run your company like an online game

Samuel Axon

Do business culture and the principles of online gaming belong together?

Two entrepreneurs in Palo Alto think so. Inspired by Second Life and World of Warcraft, they theorized that principles used in the management of online game communities could be used to manage businesses. They formed a company called Seriosity and its maiden voyage is a product called Attent. It's their first gaming-inspired product, but they want to launch more in the future. Learn more about it after the jump.

Attent gives company employees a currency called "serios." The employees can spend their serios to make specific e-mails they feel are important stand out amidst the crowd. This is supposed to help lessen the "information overload" problem managers of large organizations face, and it's all inspired by the economies of MMOs.

The logic goes like this: managers receive too many e-mails because it costs nothing to send an e-mail. Since there's no exhaustible physical resource used in the sending of e-mails, nobody cares about sending too many and everything gets all cluttered. So, if you make a virtual exhaustible resource for e-mails -- something like a faux currency in an MMO -- then people will use it only for important things.

Of course, market economics real or virtual will always have that ever-nagging, slightly-unsound assumption that people will always make a rational choice and not waste their serios forwarding YouTube videos of fat guys singing Romanian electronica in front of their webcams. Still, we wish Seriosity the best.

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