New Director of MIT Media Lab Talks of Encouraging Openness (and WoW-learned leadership skills!)

Q. I’ve seen you quoted about your love of playing World of Warcraft, the multiplayer video game, and how it has taught you to be a better leader. How has online gaming prepared you for this job at the Media Lab?
What’s interesting about a World of Warcraft guild is that you’ve got a group of people who are showing up and actually paying money to play this game, and as a leader of a guild, you’re trying to encourage a bunch of people to do a bunch of administrative work, come up with guild bylaws, and cooperate. And this is similar with volunteers at Creative Commons and open-source projects. It’s trying to lead a bunch of people who are just there because they want to be. It’s a very different kind of management than say managing a bank or an investment bank, where you’ve got sticks and carrots and structure. The leadership method of online communities and World of Warcraft and open-source projects is actually really similar to doing something like leading a bunch of super-smart, creative academics and students.

Quake II and Half-Life clan management is my secret.