You may ask yourself, what does a CEO do after a hard day's work?
I wash the dinner dishes.
Luckily, I bought my wife a Chumby a few years ago as a present, which she then thankfully put it in front of the kitchen sink, so I have food for thought while I wash the food off of the dinner plates.
Much to my surprise, this CNET news article from Iowa State pops up, on the aforementioned Chumby, that claims a positive correlation between video game addiction and attention deficit disorder. I nearly dropped the dinner plate.
OK, enough. There are gamers and non-gamers. There are people who were built for speed of thought and reflex, and those that were not. It's not an affliction, it's the next level of evolution. It's the higher clock-rate on your CPU.
I am the CEO of a successful security software company. An average day to me looks like a nightmare to anyone else. Yesterday for lunch I picked out office furniture for our new headquarters while eating sushi with my CFO and VC, while on the phone with a Norwegian friend who I was advising about Chinese negotiating tactics. I THRIVE on this level of parallel processing.
What some people call ADD I call deliberate training. Every video game I have played since my parents bought Pong for our television, to Atari, to Wizardry and Ultima on my Apple IIe, to my Macintoshes and Windows PCs, to my countless consoles........they all taught me valuable skills that I apply every day to create shareholder value for my investors and sustain my employees.
ADD? Yes, Little Big Planet (puzzle & reflex game) moves very quickly on my PS3, as does Rainbow Six Vegas 2 (collaborative team-driven first person shooter). Guess what.... as a CEO you are constantly, continually, and by design, context switching. I do this all day long. You have to be able to move from option valuation equations to VLAN design to hiring decisions to fundraising strategies within a five minute period or else the business stops. Video games have taught me all of these skills and more, and I apply those lessons every day, and much more often that the quadratic equations I learned as an undergraduate.
Pong. Console. Gradeschool years. Taught me excellence and speed through repetition. If you don't think that these mind numbing games like Pong and Tetris are useful, try constructing waterfall charts for shareholders or doing pivoted capitalization tables. Excel is much more mind-numbing than Pac Man or Pong could ever aspire to be.
Lemonade Stand or Taipan. Apple II. 8th Grade. Taught me supply and demand, and that demand is variable based on price of sale and episodic fluctuations in consumer spending. HEY SONY, GUESS WHAT? THAT $299 PS3 PRICE CUT PUT YOU AT THE TOP OF THE CHARTS FOR CONSOLE SALES IN SEPTEMBER, GO FIGURE!
Wizardry and Ultima, Apple II. You will try and fail a million times before you succeed. It's like picking a lock. And you will start with nothing and build up based on merit alone. Steven Johnson predicted in his book Everything Bad is Good For You that games were increasing in complexity and that this complexity would make us smarter, and Edward Castronova laid out a very rational thesis in his book Exodus to the Virtual World how a generation (like mine) that was raised on video games that started you with $0 would result in a meritocratic value system (and polis, which we are beginning to see the signs of in voting preferences).
Civilization, SimCity, etc. Macintosh. Strategy. Tactics. That Sun Tzu was completely on the money when he said "Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat". You need a balance of both to win the race.
Grand Theft Auto 3 and it's sequels. PS2 and PS3. That life goes fast then slow then fast then faster then slow then slow. Patience. Persistence. And life isn't even remotely fair. Sometimes you are the car, and sometimes you are the flattened pedestrian.
I play games. I love to play strategy games, shooter games, puzzle games on consoles, casual games in browsers. The fact that the marketeers in the gaming industry are constantly trying to micro-segment the gaming market and, to paraphrase Al Ries and Jack Trout "Create a market to be first in" is worth diddly to me. I thrive on games that challenge my mental capacity, like I thrive on doing battle in business for the same reason.
So video game addiction has a positive correlation with ADD? Sounds like a new educational curriculum to me! You want people who can adapt, evolve, solve puzzles, move and think faster than other people, synthesize strategy and tactics, be persistent and not whine about an unfair advantage a competitor has but instead be actualized that they are out-executing you in the meritocratic business battlefield. You get up, learn where you just failed, dust yourself off, and get back in the game that much smarter.
Video Games have made me to be what I am today, and I thank them wholeheartedly for making me into a fast-moving, context-switching, shareholder-value-creating machine.