Competitive gaming is the future and has now caught the attention of the viewers as eSports (electronic sports) tournament as organized multiplayer video game competitions between professional players with prize pools up-to 150 million broadcasted live to more than 500 million viewers. The most common eSports genres are real-time strategy (RTS), first-person shooter (FPS), fighting, and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA).
My favorite is Defense of the Ancients (DOTA), a MOBA because they are multi-player team games in a closed battle arena with both strategy and action, where each team player has to pick a role and execute it very flawlessly with teamwork to win the game in a very limited timeframe.
A startup needs diverse people with very different backgrounds and mindsets, who can all work together as a group taking different roles to propel the ship of the company to success and beyond. It is a multiplayer team effort, not a first-person game; a real-time live strategy based effort, where the strategy and execution are agile, evolving and adapting to the market needs and the competition. The startup is always in dire need of resources and capital, trying to collect it along the way in the limited timeframe of series fundings while also, executing its strategy along the way. In the end, the consumer can’t be cheated and its satisfaction determines which startup won the game and will survive to keep catering to the market demands.
The diverse people in the team even, though have different personalities, they fill in these three generic game theoretic roles, which can be applied to any organization, team and even family. This article will elaborate on these roles and then, give examples of these roles across soccer, eSports, entrepreneurs, and family.
A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. John C. Maxwell
Cores are the generalists in the team, the ones who get things done. They are the leaders, who put out the plan for the team and ensure the execution to victory. They have a fair idea of their game, trade or domain because they have worked or played as carry before and thus, have a bigger picture of the task at the hand. They can see things at a higher detail and understanding, mentoring the younger unexperienced carries along the way. They are identified as the ones, with their unique work style and quality, which inspires the other team members to follow. Since they inspire and lead the team, their main values should display the virtues of ethics and morality. Their main strengths are designing and optimizing tactics, strategies and contingency plans, constantly outmaneuvering the opponent in order to maintain control of the situation.
In Soccer, the cores are goalkeepers, centers and offensive midfielders in general. In FIFA world cup 2018 at Russia, some of the top cores were Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, and Lionel Messi.
In eSports, the cores are important to the team’s lineup and strategy and the drafts revolve around them as they ensure the team’s objectives get completed. In DOTA, the cores are skilled at killing enemy heroes, keeping map control and are highly dominant in the early and the mid-game, which decides whether they can survive till late game.
In a startup, the cores are first early employees, who later scale to leadership roles, evolving themselves and the vision of the company with them. In general, they are the founders, chief officers (CEO/CTO/CFO/COO) and the core advisors. Before leading these roles, they have proven domain expertise and knowledge in their core strengths.
In a family, the parents are the cores. They have been through the same life journey, the kids are going through and thus, provide the right guidance to kids, while constantly working and planning for the family.
A specialist is a man, who knows more and more about less and less. William J. Mayo
Carries are the specialists in the team, the ones who do the specialized things. They are those, who follow the plan flawlessly and ensure the execution to victory. The carries do one thing and one thing really well and that’s why they are admired as the champions in their team. Carries are generally young, impulsive, creative, quick in action and open to trying out new strategies to complete the task of the team. They have a very strong grasp of their skill set because they have years of practice following and thus, have a bigger picture of the task at the hand. They can see things at a higher detail and understanding, mentoring the younger unexperienced carries along the way. They are identified as the ones, with their unique work style and quality, which inspires the other team members to follow. Since they follow the team lead, their main values should display the virtues of team-spirit and discipline. Their main strengths are following their core leaders and implementing the team strategies, vision and plans, constantly working to get the job done at a fixed pace towards the goal.
In Soccer, the carries are the offensive forwards and attackers in general. In FIFA world cup 2018 at Russia, some of the top carries were Hector Bellerin, K Mbappe, G Jesus, O Dembele, and A Gomes.
In eSports, the carries are the heroes, that can obtain the greatest offensive power as the game progresses, the name so derived from the act being “carried” by a team into the late game; that is, to eventually bear the responsibility for ultimate victory. In DOTA, the carries are skilled at amassing substantial levels and items and are highly dominant in the late-game, which decides the team’s victory.
In a startup, the carries are the next set of highly skilled employees, who later take on more specialized roles, evolving themselves and the product of the company with them. In general, they are the technical and product team, who love building stuff and hacking the product together. They are gravitated towards using the best tools for the job and are naturally creative.
In a family, the kids are the carries. They are young naive and impulsive, requiring constant guidance to achieve the vision of the family.
Surround yourself with people who support you. Find Champions. Sarah Gavron
Supports are the backbones in the team, the ones who help the generalists and the specialists. They are the ones, who ensure that the plan is getting executed properly with right vision for the team. Since the cores inspire and lead the team, the carries carry out the plan flawlessly, the supports ensure that the values of the team display the right set of virtues. Their role is all about making sure things run smoothly for the team — ranging from product development, sales, marketing to finance.
In Soccer, the supports are defenders and sweepers. In FIFA world cup 2018 at Russia, some of the top supports were Diego Godin, Gerard Pique, and Thiago Silva.
In eSports, the supports are heroes, whose purpose is to keep their allies alive and give them opportunities to earn more gold and experience. In DOTA, supports usually come with helpful abilities for their team, such as healing spells or abilities that disable enemies; and generally are more centered around utility than damage (although they can often inflict huge amounts of damage in the right situation).
In startup, the supports are the common set of employees including HR and sales teams, who carry day to day tasks like designing in Photoshop, customer development, working with engineers, rapid prototyping, analyzing conversion metrics and project management. Being really good at using lots of different SaaS products to get stuff done is in itself a totally awesome skill to have. From building processes for sales to automating them, hiring as well as forecasting sales — the supports drive the product or service forward.
In family, the grandparents and the relatives are the supports. They help the cores, i.e. parents in raising the carries, i.e. kids with their wisdom and guidance.
Start as carry, scale as core and then, serve as support.
So, identify what role are you playing in your company and hone your skill based on that!
Entrepreneurial Roles was originally published in Technopreneurial Treatises on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.