If you’ve been on the internet recently or live on planet earth, you’ve most likely heard of or engaged in the Pokémon GO frenzy. Pokémon GO is a mobile augmented reality (AR) game where users can catch Pokémon and engage in battles to capture gyms located in the real world, and the only way to play this game is to physically go outside and walk around. As with everything I observe or engage with, I’ve found some learning lessons from the game to share with you.

1. The Power of Nostalgic Intellectual Property

Since it’s creation in the 90’s, Pokémon sparked the dream in millions of children to become the best Pokémon trainer there ever was. I was one of those 90’s kids that watched the TV show and played the games, and I always wished that Pokémon were real. Fast forward 20+ years and that dream is now becoming a (augmented) reality for so many people. Since the release of Pokémon GO, there have been over 30 million downloads and has generated over $35 million, and it hasn’t even been released all over the world yet!

The play on nostalgia was a huge move that brought massive success to the game. Check out the image from Forbes that shows Pokémon GO isn’t a game for the kids of today, but the people of the 80’s and 90’s.

(Graphic: Nick DeSantic/Forbes)

2. Adapters vs. Complainers

As with anything new that takes the internet by storm, there are two groups of people that appear: the adapters and the complainers. Those who complain about anything will never reach the next level. As Peter Voogd always says, “You’ll never meet a successful hater.”

The adapters are the ones that take advantage of the trend. They’re the ones that dive deep to try to understand how they can utilize the game to learn from it or how they can use it to advance their own business. Some small businesses have been using features in the game to lure people to their stores and restaurants. Others are paying attention to the innovation of technology and how the tech space is moving towards a virtual reality world. Regardless of whether you have any personal interest in Pokémon GO, you should seek to learn something from the phenomenon in order to further advance you towards your own goals.

3It’s Never Perfect

After the long awaited release of the game, it broke records in number of downloads within the first week. However, there were a lot of issues with the actual game itself. Players complained of the numerous bugs with GPS, crashing servers and broken features. But if they never released the game, they might have never discovered these issues. There are also a ton of features being demanded by the players like battling or discovering other players in the game. Often times we get so caught up in trying to make our product or service perfect that we end up never releasing it. We’re stuck testing, making changes, and tweaking it so often which might not even matter to the end consumer.

Sometimes it’s actually better to launch a product before you think it’s ready. Instead of trying to predict what a group of hypothetical customers want, you’re dealing with real people and their actual feedback on a large scale. Getting early feedback and priceless realizations can help you develop your product further to what the consumer actually wants instead of what you think they want. At the end of the day, your product will never be perfect and should never stop being improved upon. Even with all the issues that Pokémon GO has, it’s still a massive success. The real work comes after the product is launched, so I’m excited to see how Pokémon GO will respond to the large amount of feedback from its players.

4. A Bridge to Social Engagement

Pokémon GO has been pulling people from their couches to the world outside their walls. Not only are they getting outside and walking, but they’re engaging with each other! Maybe you’ve noticed that most people in public are constantly looking down at their phones. If you haven’t noticed, then you might be one of those people! And when they finally take a second to look up from their phones and eye contact is made with another human being, you can watch them panic and quickly look back at their phone.

However, I’ve noticed Pokémon GO players that recognize others playing the game are more likely to engage in conversation. People are drawn together when they have something in common, especially if it’s a common goal. To sum it up, I’ll leave you with some words of wisdom from a Pokémon from the first Pokémon movie. (check out the video snippet below).

We do have a lot in common.
The same air, the same Earth, the same sky.
Maybe if we started looking at
what’s the same instead of
always looking at what’s different,

…well, who knows?

~Meowth

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30OgSoeIHsI