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EPISODE 48 — Eric Siu — Leveling Up: How to Master the Game of Life

Eric Siu is an investor, podcaster, and author with a talent for leveling up businesses. But Eric’s business know-how doesn’t just come from book study. In fact, Eric credits most of his business acumen to his other passion: gaming.

By relating his world to aspects of his favorite games (power-ups, character classes, etc.) Eric discovered the key elements to succeeding in business.

In this episode, Eric shares all he has learned over the years to help others game the system, answering questions such as:

  • Why has gaming influenced Eric’s life and business practices so heavily?
  • How can real-life “power-ups” help you to get the most out of your day?
  • Why does Eric think poker should be taught at school?
  • How does Eric use negative energy to boost his motivation?
EPISODE 48 — Eric Siu — Leveling Up: How to Master the Game of Life
Show Notes:

2:02 – From gamer to business mogul. “I think for me, from ages 8 to 22, the only thing I really excelled at was games. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was learning a lot of stuff that you’d learn from sports: teamwork, resilience, and communication. I even learned to type really fast because at the time you couldn’t speak into a microphone. I can work a lot faster now. My point is, there are a lot of skills I gained from that. I went into the world of gaming — I call it the ‘Shadow World’ — to train, and I came back out of it. And now, I am utilizing a lot of those skills. To me, the ultimate game is business.”

6:42 – Community over audience. “We talk about having an audience or building an audience, but I think even better than that is building a community — because people in the community are all interacting with each other vs. having an audience where everyone’s kind of looking up to you. When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I played this game called Everquest, and for the first time in my life, I felt like I was doing something bigger than myself, where I was called upon. I was needed. We all arrived on time at 6 PM to do a job because we were going on these dragon raids. Sometimes it wouldn’t go well, and we’d all die, but I felt like I was needed and wanted. I was part of a top team. I learned how important it is to be part of the top team, to do the best stuff right — and the same thing goes in real life.”

12:38 – Reframing pain as fuel. “I can be mad about something, or I can just be like, ‘Dude, give me more.’ So now, whenever there’s psychological pain, I’m just like, ‘More!’ There’s actually a character in World of Warcraft, that the more you hit it, the stronger it gets. For me, that’s a power up. I think a lot of life is reframing the negative and thinking about how you can actually make it positive, because if I react poorly to it, it just shows that you know I haven’t truly trained my emotions enough yet.”

18:25 – Business is alchemy. “In games, there’s always a magic class. There might be a wizard, a magician, or a sorcerer, and some of these characters can create stuff out of nowhere. That’s why I use the word ‘alchemy’ — like, creating gold out of nowhere. To me, real life alchemy is understanding sales and understanding marketing. Whether you like sales and marketing or not, at the end of the day, we’re selling and marketing because marketing is bringing people to the point of sale and sales is just closing them. You’re negotiating every day, whether you’re trying to date someone or whether you’re trying to close this big deal. Those two kind of go hand in hand, so it’s understanding that at the end of the day — at least what works for me in terms of marketing — is learning in public. I’m very much a learner-teacher. That’s my essence, so that’s how we’ve been able to compound our audiences over time. Then eventually, because you’ve built so much goodwill, your sales cycle is a lot shorter. The lifetime value is a lot higher, and then there’s also a lot of other opportunities because they actually want to become your friend vs. just a customer-vendor relationship.”

25:25 – You can go faster alone, but farther as a team. “When I moved on to these other games like Everquest, I learned that to get what I wanted long term, to become the strongest version of myself — the best version of myself — I needed to be part of something bigger than myself. My mind started to slowly shift into thinking, ‘What can I do that is best for my team? What can I do to make sure that they’re taken care of, and to make sure that I perform at a high level?’ I don’t have any children, but I think this is why everyone says that you have children, everything else changes. People’s life purpose changes. That’s how I think about it, and that’s how I slowly got my mind to adjust into more of a team-first mentality. I’m going to just keep on giving, and then whatever’s left over from me is just residue from the hard work.”

31:28 – Powering up for optimal performance. “One of the big things for me is a prep-power up for the next day. I spent a good chunk of money on sleep optimization. Before, I was sleeping in a room with no AC on. Now, I sleep in a room that’s about 60 degrees. I put tape on my mouth, actually. That increases my REM sleep by about 30 minutes. I measure my sleep with an Aura Ring, and then I use something called an Eight Sleep, which will measure my movement and also cool my bed. I also have a nice air filter in the room. All this is to say that I didn’t think sleep was too important in the past, but then you realize that sleep is actually a massive power up for you. So when my day starts, I’m already off. That’s already one power up. I’m rested, ready to go, and then boom — I add the journal and the meditation and the Peloton and a body workout. That’s five power ups right there. Then, I add the intermittent fasting and that’s six power ups. So I’m buffed six times already, and I’m ready to go.”

Super Bowl
League of Legends
New York Times
Wall Street Journal
World of Warcraft
Leveling Up with Eric Siu (podcast)
Leveling Up by Eric Siu
Single Grain
Elon Musk
Warren Buffet
Farnam Street
Naval Ravikant
University of Southern California
Pepperdine University
Restaurant Marketing School
Neil Patel
Toby Lutke
Steve Jobs
Pablo Picasso
Atomic Habits by James Clear
Oura Ring
Eight Sleep
Intermittent fasting

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