Goblin Mindset: The criteria of maximal interestingness

I have recently been reading a series of posts on the subject of software by Venkatesh Rao, and he had a very interesting idea that I think can be very useful for gold making. Maximal interestingness.

The basic gist

The basic gist of the idea is that in the world of software you should let whatever seems most interesting dictate the general direction you are going. This is based on a belief in what they call the hacker ethos, which is a form of problem solving or work where the focus is on trial and error and iteration.

It should not be a secret that I am a huge fan of trial and error and I think all meaningful gold making learning happens in the wild. I don’t make elaborate models for trying to understand player behaviour or price changes.

Interestingness will keep you at it

If you focus on what seems interesting to you, you will keep at it and most likely enjoy it much more than you would otherwise. Fun methods are always better as you will stick with them over time, so always focus on what you find interesting or fun.

Trial and error to improve

Trial and error is the main key to improve, and you will need to have some idea of which direction you want to go to test stuff out. Stick with what interests you and keep trying new stuff that sounds cool. Then you can gradually optimize as you figure out which methods you really like and which methods you are good at. There’s little point in optimizing too much if you don’t even know how good you are at a particular method.

Keep moving, don’t spend too much time planning

The entire blog series is based on a look at business and software of course, but I think the hacker ethos he describes in the first post is very apt for goldmaking. Focus on tinkering with stuff and testing out ideas. Don’t sit around planning the perfect setup, analyze prices to death or any other passive approach. Go out there, spend some gold, try to make it back. Then learn from your mistakes!

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