I love video games, but most of my friends find games boring. I'm investigating alternate reward frameworks for reaching new audiences, especially the reward framework implied by the theory of tend-and-befriend. I'm building up a new theory of game design based on these frameworks. And I love to talk about it. 

I'm available for speaking at universities and at games, tech, culture, art, business and media events. My style is motivational/personal with a grounding in research. 

I especially like to speak with students and developers in emerging non-Western game development communities. My fee can be waived for events in these communities. 

Please contact me with any requests. Media assets are available here






Video Games Are Boring


Video Games Are Boring:
Lydia Dies

Video games are bigger than movies. Everyone's a gamer. But... most of my friends don't like video games. Why? Maybe everything we know is wrong. Maybe the multitudes of white masculine gamers who dominate the games industry have made games that are relevant to them, but not to most people. In a world where we are all overwhelmed with constant shock and change, what are my friends looking for in their entertainment? What video games would be more culturally relevant to more people?

Video Games Are Boring: 
Love Drugs

My friends aren't interested in adrenaline. In a world where we are all overwhelmed with constant shock and change, my friends are looking for relief. They are looking for video games about care and characters. But it's not only for cultural reasons that my friends prefer care to shock. There's also an underlying physiological reason why this is so. It has something to do with stress reactions. And this holds the key to the future of the industry.

Video Games Are Boring:
The Late Game

Globalization and the internet have changed our lives radically compared to our parents' lives. We have new challenges: global warming, the growing wealth divide, the rising cost of education, and automation and artificial intelligence. Meanwhile, we are already living in mixed reality through our phones and laptops and soon will be living in a mix of physical reality/AR/VR. What does this all mean for the role and the responsibility of video games in our coming future? Are we headed for a dystopian future or can we use video games to imagine or perhaps even to bring a better world? 



The Best Candidate Is a Lie

What do you look for when you are building a team? Do you choose people who demonstrates they fit the job description the best? For example, the best programmers from the best schools with the best track records you can find? Do you choose people who have the same successful traits you value in yourself? 

You've recruited a team of superstars and you have a solid process that has already proven itself. And then you fail. There are many, many factors that can contribute to this. One factor can be the failure to take in account that group intelligence is more than the sum of individual intelligence.

In this talk I go over theory and techniques about building intelligent teams for innovation and problem solving.

The How to Write a Talk Talk

I'm shy, technical, and terrified of public speaking. Yet I've spent the last year and a half of my life traveling the world by speaking at conferences. I've begged some excellent public speakers for mentorshop. I've made a lot of mistakes. I've had some successes. And after each talk I've refined my process.

This is my seven-step process for writing and delivering talks.