Great customer service pays dividends. When you’re creating something new, you want to foster an almost evangelical following around that idea. The true fans are the ones who will champion your idea and you should do what you can to make them feel special.
As a part of our series about what’s around the corner for the toy, game, and video game industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Josh Fabian, CEO and co-founder of Metafy.
Josh Fabian is the chief executive officer and co-founder of Metafy, an online platform connecting gamers with the top 1% of today’s players in the world for one-on-one coaching. Metafy is on a mission to provide opportunities for players to monetize their talents, with the freedom of setting their own hours and rates for their expertise. Metafy helps gamers of all levels, from casual players to aspiring professionals, start winning more. Metafy launched in December of 2020. A former high-school dropout, Josh’s dedication to creating jobs in the passion economy has led to Metafy coaches earning more than $100K in only eight months, with $50K made in the month of March alone. For more information, visit https://metafy.gg.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share the “backstory” behind what brought you to this particular career path?
The thing that led me to gaming was a game called Clash Royale. I quit my job at Groupon so I could play a mobile phone game full-time. For eight hours a day, I played. When I lost a game, I’d write down the name of the person I’d lost to and what I could have done differently. That hard work paid off, I suppose, in that I was ranked among the top 20 players in the world for nearly a year.
I didn’t make much money, but I had a hell of a time!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
If I had to pick one, I think it might be leaving Groupon. Groupon is a great company that treats their employees incredibly well. I couldn’t have asked for more career-wise, but I had that thing in my gut. The entrepreneurs reading this know what “that thing” is. It’s what eats at you, no matter how comfortable or successful you might be. It’s what tricks you into climbing back down the mountain, just to climb back up from a different side.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
The co-founders of oBaz: Brian Ficho, Greg Caplan and Sanjay Kapoor. It was a Pinterest-like marketplace for indie brands and my first job in startups. That job took me from ~$20k to ~$100k. They saw something in me I hadn’t seen in myself. They put a significant amount of effort into turning me into the product-focused person I am today. I don’t know why they did it, but I wouldn’t be where I am today if they hadn’t.
Looking back, it was all totally random. I was in Chicago because a friend had pointed me to a program for learning backend development called Starter League. I didn’t have enough money for the course, but I went to Chicago anyway and attempted to freelance to earn the money needed. In that process, I changed my location on the design community Dribbble to “Chicago.”
It was a coincidence that the guys from oBaz were looking for a lead designer at the same time. They happened upon my profile and sent me a message to see if I’d be interested in interviewing for the position. I’d never worked for a startup before but decided to hear them out. That series of events changed my life, and in turn, the lives of many others.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
At Metafy, the coach is the customer — which is a very important statement and the driving force behind every decision we make. We are providing an opportunity for talented people to monetize their talent and make a living doing the thing that makes them most feel alive. Some of the people making money on Metafy are able to meaningfully provide for their families. I’m really proud of that. When you can help people make a career for themselves in the “passion economy,” your contribution to their life compounds to those of so many others. I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of something so important, particularly when it’s disregarded as something trivial or for children.
Ok fantastic. Let’s now move to the main focus of our discussion. Can you tell us about the technological innovations in gaming that you are working on?
We’re working hard to innovate the 1:1 education piece on the platform. We are taking the idea of using technology to bridge the gap between great players and great teachers. That requires looking into the problems around information density, overcoming confusing jargon and breaking down advanced concepts.
How do you think this might disrupt the status quo?
A lot of responsibility on our plate is removing the stigma that has been set by others competing in this space. Other services in the gaming coaching space have been and still charge exorbitant fees to the coaches without providing them with the tools or resources they need to be effective in starting and running their own business. Pass or fail, the decisions we’re making today will set the standard across the industry of how working with your favorite players should be done. We’re setting the bar, and that began by listening to our coaches and learning from others who have come before us and gotten it wrong.
You, of course, know that games and toys are not simply entertainment, but they can be used for important purposes. What is the “purpose” or mission behind your company? How do you think you are helping people or society?
We’re focusing on what it means to build toward a future where a new breed of entrepreneurs is able to sell their knowledge and expertise over a tangible product. This happens for online courses, but not so much for coaching. Our mission is to create one million new jobs for expert performers.
People have more time now than at any other point in human history to dedicate to the things they’re passionate about. As gaming increasingly begins to permeate society, so too does the desire to compete and to win.
We’re helping people build empires on expertise.
I’m very interested in the interface between games and education. How do you think more people (parents, teachers etc.) or institutions (work, school etc.) can leverage toys or gamification to enhance education?
Games are inherently educational. That’s what makes them fun. You learn, apply the knowledge and overcome struggles until you see results, and you feel great when the knowledge applied pays off. This is really powerful, and game designers think deeply about these interactions and what they’re teaching the user. A lot can be learned from looking at the way game designers look for emotional triggers to encourage the user to dive deeper. Education that is engaging is education that works.
How would you define a “successful” game or toy? Can you share an example of a game or toy that you hold up as an aspiration?
Games that evoke emotion are successful to me. Like a good book, I look for games that draw me in, that make me feel brilliant or dumb, courageous or terrified. They should make me laugh or fight back tears. The best games have an understanding of the person behind the controller. Pokémon is a great example of that for me and left an impression so meaningful I passed it on to my children. We’ve shared experiences through the game I hope they’ll carry with them into adulthood.
What are the “5 Things You Need to Know to Create a Successful Game” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Authenticity is everything. Gamers are pretty good at spotting someone that is trying to take advantage of a trend. It’s a hard thing to fake.
- Do your homework. It’s easy to look to your competitors and assume they’ve got it all figured out. Do your own research and talk to your users — and theirs. You’ll be shocked to realize how often the basic work of talking to their audience hasn’t been done.
- Great customer service pays dividends. When you’re creating something new, you want to foster an almost evangelical following around that idea. The true fans are the ones who will champion your idea and you should do what you can to make them feel special.
- The team you build is the company you build. Surround yourself with individuals who fill your gaps and want this idea to exist as badly as you do. The team is the glue that keeps the dream from falling apart.
- Stay humble. Passionate communities are as quick to prop you up as they are to tear you down. If you get a big head, you’ll end up toppling.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I’d like to see a world in which talented individuals are deeply fulfilled by making a living doing what makes them feel alive, and not something that simply keeps them alive. I want to be a catalyst to that change.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their sufferings. Some suffer too much, others too little.”
I grew up poor, and I was poorer still when my eldest son was born. I didn’t meet wealthy individuals for the first time until my mid-twenties, only to find out that their lives weren’t nearly as pristine I’d once thought. I got that quote tattooed on me as a reminder to have empathy and compassion for others — everyone is going through something.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
For more information, to schedule a coaching session or to inquire how to become a coach, visit https://metafy.gg.
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.