New head of MIT Media Lab plays WoW

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The Chronicle of Higher Education recently interviewed the new director chosen for the MIT Media Lab, Joi Ito. Among other things, Mr. Ito revealed his love for playing World of Warcraft and how he believes running a guild can make people better leaders in real life:

Q. I’ve seen you quoted about your love of playing World of Warcraft, the multiplayer video game, and how it has taught you to be a better leader. How has online gaming prepared you for this job at the Media Lab?

A. What’s interesting about a World of Warcraft guild is that you’ve got a group of people who are showing up and actually paying money to play this game, and as a leader of a guild, you’re trying to encourage a bunch of people to do a bunch of administrative work, come up with guild bylaws, and cooperate. And this is similar with volunteers at Creative Commons and open-source projects. It’s trying to lead a bunch of people who are just there because they want to be. It’s a very different kind of management than say managing a bank or an investment bank, where you’ve got sticks and carrots and structure. The leadership method of online communities and World of Warcraft and open-source projects is actually really similar to doing something like leading a bunch of super-smart, creative academics and students.

Read more about Joi Ito's interview at the Chronicle's site!

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