Change the Game

Get The Monthly Moment. Big ideas, great reads.

Last week, I made sure to watch the Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time tournament every night. Mostly, I was interested in seeing how James Holzhauer did against the other all-time great champions.

The thing that always fascinated me about James was that while he was champion, he was playing a completely different game from his opponents - he changed the entire game. 

Most players - even champions - play a predictable, linear, vanilla strategy in which they select clues in lower dollar amounts first, sticking with one category for at least a few clues.

Not James, though. He used a completely different, hyper-aggressive strategy, including:

  • Playing all the high-dollar value clues first
  • Choosing from random categories to keep his opponents off-balance
  • Ringing in first, even when he wasn't certain he would come up with the answer
  • Betting high on Daily Double clues

Before they had any clue what happened, his opponents would be a mile behind, needing to completely dominate the rest of the game in order to possibly catch up. 

Purists HATED him. And who could blame them? He took their time-honored strategy, turned it on its ear, and completely changed the game forever.

Want proof? Ken Jennings, owner of the longest winning streak in the game's history and probably its most famous player, acknowledged several times he had to make wagers to counteract Holzhauer's playing style. Brad Rutter, the highest-earning game show contestant in history, could barely get on the board in the 8 games they played.

Most people, even those who perform at a high level, look within the confines of "what's normally done" to improve.

People, that's just the price of entry for being a truly great performer.

Whether you want to outpace the competition, develop a completely new technology, create a work of art that's moving and unique, or grow a movement, you have to look where the rest of the world isn't, and play the game from there. The stakes are high - if you do, you just might alter the course of history. If not, it will just be more of the same old.

Change the game, change the world.

Love, Mike

Get The Monthly Moment. Big ideas, great reads.