As previously published on LinkedIn
The school year is rapidly approaching and with it the need to start weaning my children off Fortnight. What is Fortnite? It’s a pop culture phenomenon AND an immensely popular game that pits players against each other (player-versus-player or “pvp”) in Fortnite Battle Royale or players versus environment in Fortnite Save the World.
The game has been described as online multiplayer survival shooter meets The Hunger Games and has spawned everything from dances to memes that rack up millions of views on YouTube around the world.
More than 3 million simultaneous players battle head to head against 100 other players around the world to be the last man standing at any given time. While it’s basically free, players (or their parents) can pay for additional features, such as costumes known as “skins” (like the recently leaked “Beef Boss” with a burger head or “Aerobic Assassin” who’s right out of an 80s fitness video), not to mention themed cosmetic features, weaponry, and bling that contribute to the game’s mass appeal.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that a game like Fortnite depends on a robust cloud infrastructure, and Intel’s on the frontlines making sure rocket launchers fire and hit targets without delays that could cost players the game, and with player volumes changing for each 30-minute battle, scalability is key.
My six-, 10- and 12-year old children are obsessed with Fortnite (and tell me they “need” to upgrade to a gaming PC with the Intel® CoreTM i9 processor to take their game to the next level). I have had to take several unpopular stances on Wi-Fi and devices at our house, and with school rapidly approaching, I must get them to reduce the time spent playing Fortnite.
During a recent “discussion” to get my kids to put down the controllers, I found myself the target of a stealth attack from my children who decided to appeal to my business sense to lobby for more Wi-Fi and gameplay time.
Leadership lessons can come from unexpected places so get ready to climb aboard the battle bus and skydive into “N00b Business Lessons” (N00b is slang for “newbie”), courtesy of my budding entrepreneurs:
1. 12-year old: “Mommy, you start off with nothing and have to learn how to be adaptable through the game. This is a key skill in middle school. By playing Fortnite, I learn to be more resourceful at school and adapt to things that happen every day.”
Mommy: (thinking, no response)
Leadership Skill: Be resourceful, adaptable, and never stop learning
2. 6-year old: “Mommy, I am 6. I don’t have a job and it is summer. No homework. I play the game all the time – it’s what gets me up in the morning. What gets you up?”
Mommy: (still thinking, rather impressed)
Leadership Skill: Know what motivates you – and how to stay motivated
3. 10-year old: “Mommy, seriously Wi-Fi equals life. You yell at us (editorial note: I call it motivational speaking) when we are all streaming Fortnite and you don’t have bandwidth to work. We need higher speed internet and a separate network for you. That will make you happier and makes money for somebody in Silicon Valley, right?”
Mommy: (considers sleepaway STEM camp for this future tech visionary)
Leadership Skill: Identify problems, deliver solutions for a win-win
4. 6-year old: “Mommy, this is my version of a playdate. Kids don’t come over to play “Hide and Go Seek” anymore. They play Fortnite with each other. You only get better if you play with your friends because you learn from each other. It's a team sport.
Leadership Skill: Winning is a team sport…choose your teammates purposefully
5. 12-year old: “Mommy, when you play Fortnite, there are different tools in every chest, but you have to know which ones to pick up to help you win. Everyone has to find the right resources to be successful.”
Leadership Skill: Use all your resources wisely
6. 6-year old: “When you win, you celebrate with an amazing dance! [starts Flossing with the 12-year old] And if you lose, you learn so you can do better the next game.”
Mommy: (watches in bemused silence as boys “Floss”)
Leadership Skill: Celebrate the wins, do a little dance, start again and keep raising the bar
7. 10-year old: “You might not be good when you start out but the longer you play, the better you get. Great life lesson. Each battle teaches you different ways to use resources and you get further and further each time.”
Leadership Skill: Invest time to develop skills and be comfortable with failure
8. 12-year old: “Mommy, come play in the area that looks like Arizona. You will be terrible but just come try. You always tell us it’s important to keep an open mind.”
Mommy: “Go to bed…enough for the night. You can’t sell me on Fortnite. GO TO BED NOW.” (Fast forward 5 hours and 3 You Tube tutorials later, I’m hooked.)
Leadership Skill: Never say never & always play to win
In a business environment that might feel like a Battle Royale last man standing fight to the finish, the skills we learn from our game-playing kids can help us win in the real world. Businesses around the world are learning to adapt, leverage available resources, develop winning strategies, seize opportunities around each corner, and in the end, they’re battling for the win.
Cue the battle horn and run towards the action because you can’t win if you don’t get in the game.