What World of Warcraft can teach you about blue ocean strategy

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I recently switched up professions that I use to generate gold in World of Warcraft. Prior to about a month ago, I sold glyphs via inscription – an intensely competitive, high volume commodity business that required a lot of attention and focus, not to mention vicious price undercutting. It was a good business, but it was a tiring one. Of the time that I spend playing World of Warcraft, about half of that was consumed by the glyph business – in other words, 50% of the time was spent not actually playing.

I started to ask myself, what if there were a blue ocean strategy available here? For those unfamiliar with blue ocean strategy, it can be summed up succinctly as:

Don’t compete if you don’t have to. Find an unexplored market niche to dominate, free of competitors, and you win.

So I started looking around. I have high level characters with blacksmithing, tailoring, enchanting, inscription, herbalism, mining, and engineering professions. I took a look at each of them and then said, what about tailoring?

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Unlike professions that use mining or herbalism, tailoring’s raw materials are considerably more constrained, and it’s an uninteresting profession to slog through. Turns out, there are few tailors cranking out very few of the tailoring profession’s goods, and some of these are highly desired in order to make your character look a certain way. Jackpot!

So how’s it been going? In the past month I’ve been able to reduce the amount of time I spend gold making by 75%, giving me that much more time to actually play the game. It’s a huge increase in efficiency for about the same amount of income generated, which has made things a lot more fun in-game.

The lesson here? I found the boring profession that still had output people wanted. There was demand and almost no supply. Blue ocean strategy doesn’t have to be about trying to invent something new and fancy – look at the old stuff, the stuff that no one wants to do, the stuff that’s boring, the stuff that’s hard – and do that. There may be less demand (because people are accustomed to those goods and services simply not being available) but there’s much less competition for supply, so profit is still possible.

Ask yourself this: what are you overlooking in your own business or industry that’s boring, unexciting, hard, or unappealing, and how can you profit from it?

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One response to “What World of Warcraft can teach you about blue ocean strategy”

  1. Find the sweet spot, and run for the open ocean. I love it, and I love Blue Ocean strategy the book!

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