7 Leadership Lessons And Quotes From Masters Of Doom

A Reel Leadership Article

Growing up, I was a major fan of video games. Whether it was the child-friendly Mario games or the bone-chilling game Doom. I loved video games.

When I heard there was a book about the makers of Doom, I quickly put it on my book reading list. With the help of Audible.com, the book rose to the top and I recently finished listening to the book.

Masters of Doom was the book written about the people who made Doom. They chronicled the rise of ID Software, what made them great, and what made them fall apart.

Wil Wheaton, of Star Trek fame, was the reader of the audio book. His presentation was perfect for a book such as this.

Wil brought the story to life and made me want to sit in my Ford truck listening to the story long after I arrived at my location.

Throughout the book you’ll discover amazing leadership lessons and quotes. I think you’ll enjoy the 7 leadership lessons and quotes I picked out from Masters Of Doom.

1. Create a great work space: John Carmack and John Romero, the makers of Doom, knew, at the beginning, that a great work space provided an excellent opportunity to create something special. The two John’s created an environment that fostered creativity and birthed many great video games.

Look at your organization. What can you do to create a working environment that can spur on creativity? Take the steps today to create a great work space.

2. John Carmack:

In the information age, the barriers just aren’t there, the barriers are self-imposed. If you want to set off and go develop some grand new thing, you don’t need millions of dollars of capitalization.

3. You can create vastly different experiences and still see success: I did a lot of geeking out while listening to Masters Of Doom. Every chapter brought new excitement to this listener. And then it happened.

Wil Wheaton mentioned the video game Commander Keen.

As Wil dispensed the story and mentioned Commander Keen, such a kid friendly game, it blew my mind. Carmack and Romero had also developed Commander Keen. No freaking way!

You see, Commander Keen and Doom couldn’t be more different. Yet both games were birthed from the same creative minds.

As you lead, never think you can’t change courses and do something different. You can. And you can succeed wildly in changing up what you do!

4. John Carmack:

Romero wants an empire, I just want to create good programs.

5. You will face opposition: The video game Doom was quite different than many home video games at the time. There were kid friendly titles such as Mario Brothers and Donkey Kong. Doom brought something new to the table.

An extremely violent video game.

Before long, there were outcries from politicians, churches, educators, and more. People vehemently opposed the makers of Doom and the games they had begun to create.

While you might not face opposition for the same reasons Id Software did, you will face opposition at one point or another. Take a lesson from the Doom guys and keep moving forward.

Success doesn’t lie with the critics. Success lies with doing what you were meant to do.

6. David Kushner:

All of science and technology and culture and learning and academics is built upon using the work that others have done before, Carmack thought. But to take a patenting approach and say it’s like, well, this idea is my idea, you cannot extend this idea in any way, because I own this idea—it just seems so fundamentally wrong.

7. Team with people who have similar vision: The two Johns began to disagree on how their company should be run. Carmack wanted to focus strictly on the games. Romero wanted to be flashy and interact with the fans.

Eventually, the two Johns parted ways.

The lesson here is to know who you’re partnering with, align your visions, and work together. If you’re unwilling to do so, split ways.

I thoroughly enjoyed Masters Of Doom. Having an inside look into the innovative company of Id Software was fun. It was also sad to see how things came crashing down.

If you enjoy video games and the history behind them, this is a book for you to read.

A word of warning though: This book contains very strong language. It was sometimes hard to stomach but it was a fascinating read none-the-less.

Question: What’s a leadership lesson you’ve learned from video games? Share this insight in the comment section below.

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