Pokemon Go – an overnight success 20 years in the making

We’re waiting with baited breath in darkest Africa for the release of what’s become a global phenomenon in gaming.  Not only has Pokemon Go overtaken twitter & Facebook, it’s forced sluggish gamers to get out there and inadvertently exercise!

As a nifty by-product its also added $7 Billion to Nintendo’s market capitalization in just 7 days.


Here’s the lowdown.  It’s a game that takes place in a virtual world.  Overlaid on the real world.  You hold up your phone and you see pokemon, special places and tools overlaid on your real surroundings.  Yep, every dystopian nightmare ever, come to life – but more fun 😉

If you want to find out how it works, go google it.  Here’s a nifty piece on the brilliance behind the game, with thanks to Roger Hamilton


How long does it take to create an overnight success? For John Hanke it’s taken him 20 years to create Pokémon Go.

This week, the Pokémon Go app has broken all records, with 10 million+ downloads in the first week, exceeding Twitter in daily active users, and with higher average user time than Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram & WhatsApp.

How did John Hanke create such a massive overnight craze? Here’s the 10 times he levelled up in his lifetime to reach Pokémon Go:

1st Level up: In 1996, while still a student, John co-created the very first MMO (massively multiplayer online game) called ‘Meridian 59’. He sold the game to 3DO to move on to a bigger passion: mapping the world.

2nd Level up: In 2000, John launched ‘Keyhole’ to come up with a way to link maps with aerial photography, and create the first online, GPS-linked 3D aerial map of the world.

3rd Level up: In 2004, Google bought Keyhole and with John’s help, turned Keyhole into what is now ‘Google Earth’. That’s when John decided to focus at creating GPS-based games.

4th Level up: John ran the Google Geo team from 2004 to 2010, creating Google Maps and Google Street View. During this time, he collected the team that would later create Pokémon Go.

5th Level up: In 2010, John launched Niantic Labs as a start-up funded by Google to create a game layer on maps. John explains why he called it Niantic:

“The Niantic is the name of a whaling ship that came up during the gold rush and through a variety of circumstances got dragged on shore. This happened with other ships, too. Over the years, San Francisco was basically just built over these ships. You could stand on top of them now, and you wouldn’t know it. So it’s this idea that there’s stuff about the world that’s really cool but even though it’s on the Internet, it’s hard to know when you’re actually there.”

6th Level up: In 2012, John then created Niantic’s first geo-based MMO, “ingress”:

John explains: “In the case of Ingress the activity is layered on top of the real world and on your phone. The inspiration was that it was something that I always used to daydream about while I was commuting back and forth from home to Google.”

“I always thought you could make an awesome game using all the Geo data that we have. I watched phones become more and more powerful and I thought the time would come that you could do a really awesome real-world adventure-based game.”

7th Level up: In 2014, Google and the Pokémon Company teamed up for an April Fools’ Day joke, which allowed viewers to find Pokémon creatures on Google maps. It was a viral hit, and got John thinking the idea could be turned into a real game.

8th Level up: John decided to build Pokémon Go on the user-generated meeting points created by players of Ingress, and the most popular became the Pokéstops and gyms in Pokémon Go:

As John says, ”The Pokéstops are submitted by users, so obviously they’re based on places people go. We had essentially two and a half years of people going to all the places where they thought they should be able to play Ingress, so it’s some pretty remote places. There are portals in Antartica and the North Pole, and most points in between.”

9th Level up: John raised $25 million from Google, Nintendo, the Pokémon Company and other investors from Dec 2015 to Feb 2016 to grow a team of 40+ to launch Pokémon Go this year.

10th Level: John and his team launched Pokémon Go on July 6th in USA, Australia and New Zealand. Since its launch, Nintendo’s share price has risen $12 billion, and the app is already generating over $2 million daily in in-app purchases, making it an overnight phenomenon.

The overnight success of Pokémon Go has taken John Hanke 20 years to create. Throughout these 20 years, while he had a big vision of a game layer over the world, he didn’t know what form it would take. At every step, he just focused at his next level up.

At each new level, he had new powers, new team members, and new items in his inventory…

Are you, like John, treating your own entrepreneurial journey like one big MMO?

Keep the end in mind, but focus today on simply levelling up.

At every level, grow your powers, your team, and your luck.

And know it takes many levels to win the game.

“It takes 20 years to make an overnight success.” ~ Eddie Cantor


10 Daily Habits of the most successful entrepreneurs…or anyone actually.

Aargh!  It took me years to figure out how to be the perfect entrepreneur.  Now, at the ripe old age of 44, I found this infographic that sums up all my proprietary secrets.   I don’t know whether to sue, cry or just pretend I made it myself.  Anyway….if you feel inadequate and need an infographic to tell you how to live, here you go.

You’re welcome.  ?

The problem isn’t that life is unfair – it’s your broken idea of fairness

Unless you’re winning, most of life will seem hideously unfair to you, says Oliver Emberton, in his insightful blogpost.
We like to like to think that society rewards those who do the best work, But in reality, social reward is just a network effect. Reward comes down mostly to the number of people you impact.

Oliver 3 life rules are simple.
Rule #1: Life is a competition

Rule #2. You’re judged by what you do, not what you think

Rule #3. Our idea of fairness is self interest.

Read the original post here 

In 100 years from now it won’t matter

My FB buddy Scott Ames‘s posted this insightful thought.  It’s too good not to keep for posterity.  Follow Scott for more sage advice:

“When I get flustered, down, or stressed I sometimes come back to the phrase ‘100 years from now it won’t matter’ . In 100 years everyone I know, including my 1 1/2 old will be gone.

6029652068_66e205f833_bSometimes I look at old black and white pictures from the 1800’s or early 1900’s and realize the children in those shots are gone now. I read old accounts of people’s lives and they had stress, they had worries, they had pain and sorrow and problems. All of those are gone. All their concerns are over.

Did you ever leave a job and look back and wonder why you feared the boss so much? Did you wonder why you stressed out and worried about deadlines, perfection, or being on time? Once you leave it seems all a fantasy. All the pressure is off. You look at that boss with new eyes and wonder why you acted like a military cadet.

Life is short. You had better do what you want or it’s going to be over before you get those things done. When you are on your death bed are you going to wish you had spent more time at work making someone else money or are you going to wish you had spent more time with family and doing the things you enjoy? Do them now. Find a way. Maybe it’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

As one of my friends once said “It doesn’t matter anyway, and what if it did?” I like that. ( Rand Laird )

I do need to take my own advice as I have spent way too much time trying to please others and have ignored my own passions. My passion now is helping my wife achieve her goals, and my passion is also my children. I have not done everything in life I’ve wanted to do. Some things are too far gone to realize. ( fighter pilot, commercial pilot ) , but I can certainly find joy in supporting my wife in her dreams. That makes me happy.”