Saturday, August 20, 2011

...playing Angry Birds

Angry Birds is property of
Rovio Entertainment Ltd.
Gaming has evolved from bouncing a ball back and forth in monochromatic TV screens to now catapulting wing-less birds across the skies in your hand held mobile phone. Similiarly, business lessons evolved too.

Angry Birds, a video game developed by Finish company Rovio Mobile is the newest sensation in gaming. As one of the top selling apps in the world, it's got to be more than just a game. It's a puzzle on developing business skills.

It consists in shooting colorful, yet angry, birds into well protected green pigs in pursuit of their baby eggs. Check out the cinematic trailer

The Ten Things I Learned...playing Angry Birds

1. Don’t get distracted with small things
Here is a quick recap of the start if you didn’t watch the trailer. A group of birds protect their egg nest until a mosquito gently lands on an egg. As they get distracted attacking the intruder, three hungry pigs steal the eggs. Let the games begin! Be careful not to get distracted with mosquito-sized problems and lose sight of what's truly valuable (or threatening) to your organization.

2. Use the right people for the right task

The game starts off pretty easy with red birds, but as you move onto other levels you'll upgrade to new colorful characters, each with distinct skills. The yellow bird flies faster to break through walls, the blue one breaks up into three smaller birds for wider reach, and so on. As you form your team at work, make sure you're matching your employee's skills to the tasks at hand.

3. Analyze the situation before getting started

Each level is different, and as with any game it only gets harder as you move forward. So before you slingshot your first bird you can scan the scene back-and-forth and get an understanding of the challenge. In your business, analyze any situation before getting to work too quickly. Moving without thinking might misuse your resources - and in real life there is no re-play button. 

4. Don’t let your limitations stop you

When Jakko Lisalo invented the birds at Rovio, according to Wikipedia, the first image had birds without visible wings or legs, but that hasn't stopped them from flying. Don’t let your business shortfalls get in your way, like missing wings you might not have all the skills, but that shouldn’t stop you from catapulting your career. Believe you can fly and you will.

5. Expand your brand through merchandising

What began like an Apple game is now probably in your local Walmart endcap. Through the power of merchandising, the Finland-based company has been able to expand the characters from plush toys to sandals, school kits, and more. Revenues went from .99 cents for every game sold to $59.99 and up. Check out all the fun stuff at If your brand permits, consider expanding its equity beyond your traditional channel.

6. Build strong partnerships
Angry Birds claims to be the number 1 IPhone App sold in over 60 countries on its site at but for while there it lost it's first place in the US to another game. Until they came out with Angry Birds Rio again. The company partnered with 20th Century Fox when they released the cartoon film called Rio that takes place in Brazil. In your field of work, look for business partners with similar interests that can help you become number one, but more importantly stay there.

7. Build trial through sampling
The game has been successful at bringing in new users through free game trials on different devices. All of their versions, starting with the Original, the Seasons, and Rio have had a smaller free formats that I could play before getting hooked. If your products or service permits, consider free sampling to give your consumers a trial, and if you're good they'll come back.

8. Keep up with technology

The company has gone from launching in Apple IOs expanding onto all other phone and gaming devices. More recently, the game has made it onto Facebook and can be downloaded on your PC. What probably started as a couple of friends designing a game, has now become an industry that continuously hires and outsources to keep up with technology and all new formats being launched. Don’t let your company become obsolete by not following your consumer technological trends. 

9. Do more than just getting the job done

The game dynamics are pretty simple; destroy all green pigs and move on to the next level. However, you can always go back and do the same level again for more points or more stars. At work, you'll probably get promoted by getting the job done, but you won’t get far without your company stars and extra points.

10. Consider a different point of view

The team at Rovio is working on a sequel to the game, according to the Huffington Post, where the story will be told from the pigs' perspective. At work, listen to different perspectives and point of views, it’s only fair to get the whole story before making any important decision. 

Career planning and work isn't a game, but ironically if you play it right (and have fun) you'll win. Collecting the right skills, people, and tactics will slingshot you to success. 

Try a free version of the game and find your lessons too.

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