What is Gamification?

In 2012, I wrote an article on Gamasutra, one of the leading game industry news sites, about gamification – “Gamification: the Misunderstood Dirty Word

Surprisingly, it still holds up. Half a decade later, here’s the overview along with a few recent revisions.

Gamification – what is it?

Gamification is still pretty misunderstood.

“Gamification” is, in essence, the process of using game mechanics and game design to enhance things that aren’t games.

In the marketing and startup world, this concept is being heavily embraced and making a lot of people a lot of money right now, whether they have experience in game design and deserve that money or not. Similar to the buzzword of social media, the true experts at social media are the people who were experts at communication and social mechanics that took their knowledge and applied it to online networks. Continue reading “What is Gamification?”

News Update – April 14th 2017

Exothermic is the leader in self-reliance brand marketing, but we like to share our wisdom with the world. Here are the top stories we’ve identified this week in our markets:


  • Survivalist expos are drawing thousands, Companies that make bulk emergency supplies, like ready-made meals and water purifiers, have seen an uptick in sales. Prepper conventions are drawing thousands of people, and the American Preppers Network says membership increased to 40,000 this year, the highest it has ever been.
  • American Farmers Are Still Fighting Tractor Software Locks, Manufacturers lock consumers into restrictive “user agreements,” and inside “there’s things like you won’t open the case, you won’t repair,” complains a U.S. advocacy group called The Repair Association. But now the issue is getting some more attention in the American press.
  • Texas plans to designate official state gun along with other weapons, The cannon could become the next Texas symbol in state known for lax gun control laws, as lawmakers also consider selecting a state handgun and state knife.
  • Kovea’s electric induction camping stove lightens the camping load by ditching propane, The best part of cooking in the woods with a camp stove is arguably whipping up some delicious bacon and Dutch pancakes. The worst part? Dragging along throngs of cumbersome propane canisters. the outdoor gear company Kovea has come up with a solution to the problem: a portable electric induction cooker.
  • Liberals joining survivalist ranks in age of Trump,Survivalism — the stockpiling of food and otherwise preparing for a possible end of civilization — is often associated with isolated, rural and conservative Americans. But liberals are now joining the movement in growing numbers, especially wealthy residents of Silicon Valley, thanks to fears fueled by Donald Trump’s election in November.

Continue reading “News Update – April 14th 2017”

5 Simple Ways to Become More Self-Reliant

At Exothermic, we define self reliance as a lifestyle where you can identify what you’re relying on and make changes where you see fit. Want to be a more self-reliant individual? Here’s five ideas to taking those steps forward.

Acknowledge what you rely on in life

Not everything you rely on is a negative thing, nor can any person become entirely self-reliant in every aspect of their life. We live in a global economy and we’re just human beings – we have vices and needs. Continue reading “5 Simple Ways to Become More Self-Reliant”

The importance of focusing and starting small

There’s a ton of articles out there already on how to motivate yourself to achieve your goals and do all of the things. They can totally help you more than I can. But one of the biggest things I support, personally and professionally, is the importance of focusing on one thing and starting small with anything you’re working on.

Small goals

Mind mapping is an exercise I wholeheartedly recommend. It allows you to zoom out and think about your life, what you want to accomplish, your big picture goals.

That same exercise can work for your business. Just the act of drawing out circles with lots of smaller circles – hey, it helps.

But it can also be terrifically overwhelming. Trying to figure out what you want to accomplish can make you start questioning your priorities and where you are now. Same thing for new year’s resolutions, if you’ve ever been stumped there. What do you want to accomplish?

What I recommend is starting small. Very small. Continue reading “The importance of focusing and starting small”

What is Survivalism?

Surviving is what we do every day of our lives. We eat, drink, sleep, work to keep a roof over our heads, and repeat.

If you check out Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs, you can see that as humans, we typically want to do more things than just survive:

We’ve built up societies and civilizations to collectively support those lower needs at economies of scale and focus more on supporting the higher ones, the psychological and self-fulfillment ones, more readily.

Survivalism, at its core, asks “What if those sociological structures fall away and we are left on our own? What if a catastrophe happens and we enter a period of uncivilization?” Or, in their terms, “what if shit hits the fan (SHTF)?” Continue reading “What is Survivalism?”

News Update – April 7th 2017

Exothermic is the leader in self-reliance brand marketing, but we like to share our wisdom with the world. Here are the top stories we’ve identified this week in our markets:


Continue reading “News Update – April 7th 2017”

Jobs Update – April 6th 2017

Survivalism Jobs

If helping people prepare for the wilderness and the unknowable future is exciting for you, check out the Survivalism Jobs on the Exothermic job board.

This week, we’ve highlighted jobs from REI in Kent, Washington. REI is a a co-op born in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest in 1938 – their goal is to help people have amazing experiences outside. They’re looking for a Manager of e-Commerce Programs, a Director of Talent Management, an Editor of Product Content, a General Accountant and more. Continue reading “Jobs Update – April 6th 2017”

We’re fans of: Litographs

Every month, we highlight a brand that we’re fans of and we think you should know about ‘em, too. For April 2017, our focus is on Litographs.

What is Litographs?

Litographs is an e-commerce company that produces t-shirts, posters, and tote bags created entirely from the text of books. Danny Fein started the business in 2012 on Kickstarter and 2,714 backers provided over $100k for the premise of “entire books on posters and t-shirts.” Continue reading “We’re fans of: Litographs”

Why we don’t support retargeting

If you’ve ever visited a site before and seen that same product you checked out on other websites all over the web – you have been exposed to retargeting. It’s becoming more of a common marketing tactic thanks to Facebook, Twitter, LiveRamp, LiveIntent, AdRoll and many other companies offering stock photos on their home pages of smiling people who have very happily had their privacy invaded.

It’s not really our jam here at Exothermic.

How does retargeting work?

Retargeting works through the magic of pixel-tracking and cookies. Verbatim, from AdRoll’s site:

Technically all that is necessary is to place a JavaScript tag in the footer of your website. This code creates a list of people that visit your site by placing anonymous retargeting “cookies” in their browser. This list allows AdRoll (or other retargeting vendors) to display retargeting ads to your potential customers as they visit other sites. Since AdRoll works with the largest ad exchanges, we can retarget your customers just about anywhere they might go online.

Basically, what it does is latches on to an Internet user after registering a certain website and then when you go to another site that’s within that ad network, it will then show you ads again for that product or site you already visited. Continue reading “Why we don’t support retargeting”

What is self-reliance?

For months, we have been casually polling people – what do they think the term “self-reliance” means?

The formal vs informal definition

The dictionary defines it as “reliance on one’s own powers and resources rather than those of others,” which, you know…isn’t vague at all.

Personally, we define it more in terms of enabling independence. Self-reliance is a difficult thing to pin down because of the fluid nature of our own abilities and how others impact us, directly or indirectly through the resources and commodities we consume.

So at Exothermic, we view it as a lifestyle. A lifestyle fueled by several different forms of motivation, but still a lifestyle. It’s being able to step back, identify what you’re relying on, understanding the good and the bad, and then making steps – large or small ones – to becoming a more independent, self-reliant individual. Continue reading “What is self-reliance?”