Hardcore Raiders Are More Effective Than Harvard Grads

You heard me.

This guy would rather hire a World of Warcraft raider than a Harvard MBA.

Wait. What?

Stopping to consider the experiences I had in World of Warcraft,  a lot of them would be transferable to the business world.

Obviously, as a raid leader there were leadership tasks, scheduling, conflict settlement, hiring and firing, strategic decisions, stepping in, backup planning, preparation, and performance evaluation. I’ve done all those things. Admittedly, not all of them are easy, but compared to someone fresh out of Harvard?

Actually, Harvard MBAs probably do practice all those things. But what they don’t have is the incentive that I had, which is absolutely none, except the “business” itself. I was taking on all those tasks because I wanted those tasks to be done. I was not getting paid. I was not rewarded any more than anyone else in the guild, unless you consider power its own reward. (Maniacal cackling here.)

Raiders don’t get paid either. Loot can be regarded as an incentive, but when you step back and think about it, what is loot from a wider perspective? Raid rewards equate to self-improvement in order to make you better at raiding.

Can you imagine that in a business setting? Where the rewards you were setting out to achieve were only things that would make you better at business, rather than making you able to afford more beach vacations and mai tais.

That’s what raiders learn that Harvard grads don’t — how to work for the work’s sake, how to play for the game’s sake. Raiders learn to love self-measurement and competing with other raiders. They love to look at their standings against other players on the server and the world (i.e. their standings against all the other businessmen in their company, in their competition, in the world). And they love to dream of clawing their way to the top of those measurements.

There are probably some Harvard grads that know how to do that, but I’m going to guess they’re few and far between. Wealth is not the same thing as learning.

And then he mentions dashboards. I think of the UI, how raiders modify it to monitor and enhance their raid strategies and performance, to watch for errors and call them out, to provide advance warnings of certain requirements. And why do raiders go to the trouble of doing these things? To get better at raiding for the sake of raiding. There is no other reward.

Warcraft UI Example

An example of a modified interface with each custom add-on labeled. Now that is a “dashboard.”

It’s a nice dream to think of businessmen comparing their performance like DPS meters. Would they accomplish more? I think they would. If the top priority of businessmen was to become better businessmen rather than take home a bigger paycheck, well, this world might be a better place. More people might be paid what they’re worth, because raid leaders don’t get perks.

Depends on the business, I guess. The very best drug cartel boss who’s in it because he loves the job is probably a nightmare. But otherwise, such a pretty dream.


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