PPP 011: What Being a Call of Duty Addict Has Taught Me About Building An Online Business


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In this blogpost and podcast, I want to talk about a sickening realization I came to, and a huge lesson I learned last night while I was playing Call of Duty. If you don’t know, Call of Duty is the war video game franchise that breaks records every year when it releases its latest title.

It’s awesome to play, super addicting, and the more you play, the funner it is. That’s the reason I have such a problem with it. Since I do manage to work most of each day on my websites, I am what you would call a functioning addict… but, I really wish I could abstain during the week and get more work done but I find myself playing COD for at least 3-4 hours every night.

Last night in particular, a message popped up after a match that made me realize something big, and I’ll get to that in a minute. But first, there are some other “lessons” that can be applied to building on online business:

Camping vs. Run-and-gun: When playing COD, there are two basic styles of playing: camping and running-and-gunning. Camping means that you pick a spot and kind of hide and wait for people to run by so you can shoot them, and run-and-gun means you run around and try to find as many people to shoot as possible. What really matters in COD is the number of kills each round, so there are obvious pros and cons to both methods. When camping, you’ll have fewer deaths, but the winner of the round is almost always a run-and-gun guy simply because they have more chances to get kills.

How does this relate to building an online business?

The whole idea of run-and-gun is essentially the same as someone who just goes out and makes things happen. While camping is less stressful and the kills are easier, what you’re really doing is just sitting around waiting for an opportunity to come to you. This is a big problem that a lot of people have when trying to build an online business. The most “effort” they put in is in looking around for a “way to make money fast”. In other words, looking for something “easy”. There are “easy” methods out there that might get you some results, but the people that are really killing it are the ones that are simply just digging in and making it happen.

Spying on the best players: Each round in COD goes for 10 minutes unless someone hits 30 kills, whichever comes first. Usually in any given match, there’s some COD freak that will hit 30 kills in 5 or 6 minutes, and the next best player only has 15 or 16 kills. Well, I wanted to be the guy that was hitting 30 kills before the match ended. This is pretty geeky, but it’s a great lesson to learn. I figured out that after a match I could re-watch the entire match from any player’s perspective. So, I would watch matches through the eyes of the psycho who got to 30 kills in 5 minutes to see how he did it.

I think you can tell where this is going…

You’ve probably heard that you should find the top people in your market, or the best websites in your niche, and figure out why they are the best, and then emulate what they’re doing. Tony Robbins calls this ‘modeling’ and it’s a proven way to get the results that you want.

Utilizing Killstreaks: Killstreaks are when you have a certain number of kills in a row without dying, and a friendly chopper will come and drop you a box with some advanced weapon that will help you get even more kills, such as a sentry gun or an attack chopper. But… there are some killstreaks that just don’t work that well, while others will increase your kill count every time.

From an online business perspective, the first “killstreak” that comes to mind is building a list. Sure, you might have a site that’s getting traffic and generating sales, but  you could get more sales over time by building a list so that you can market to those customers over and over again. Another “killstreak” that you can utilize is upsells. If you are selling an ebook or your own product, and you don’t use an upsell, you’re simply missing out on more revenue.

Effective Aim: This sounds basic, and it is the most basic and fundamental skill in COD, but it’s crucial to your success. When you’re running and you come face-to-face with another player, you only have one chance to raise your weapon, aim, and shoot. This is the exact same thing as making sure that your core message and product matches what your customers are actually looking for. Any experienced marketer or business person will tell you to find a market first and then create a site or product for it, not the other way around.

Knowing the Maps: Memorizing the maps is another strategy of elite COD players. When one shot will kill you, the ability to anticipate where an enemy is most likely to be hiding will give you an advantage over someone who is simply reacting to what’s happening on their screen. As you’ll quickly find out, and it’s not really different than anything else that humans do, COD players are very predictable. Every map has certain “hotspots” where you can always find players to kill, as well as hiding spots where you’ll find a camper every time.

This concept has several parallels to online business. One is the idea of mastering your traffic methods instead of just dabbling in every method out there. Another example is the ability to identify hot markets and opportunities before everyone else does.

Silencing Annoying Players: Since the internet makes people anonymous, a lot of players on COD say incredibly vulgar, disgusting, annoying, and otherwise ridiculous things while playing. Sometimes it’s hilarious, but after a while it gets very old.

In an online business, you’ll definitely deal with less-than-savory people from time to time. The first few times I got a “hate” email or people telling me I suck, or some other unfounded complaint, it really got to me. When it comes to dealing with customers you obviously have to stand behind your materials, but when you get someone who is just looking for someone or something to blame their problems on, don’t spend any time dealing with them. Just block them from your list, or refund them, or whatever the case is, but don’t waste an ounce of energy worrying about it.

The Biggest Lesson of All: Okay, this is what happened that gave me the idea for this entire post. So in COD, there are just random badges or rewards that you earn for different milestones you hit. Last night, I finished first place in a match, and a message popped up that I had earned a reward for “being the top player in 1,000 Hardcore free-for-all matches”.

Do you know what that means? I place first in maybe 1 out of every 4 matches, and I wasn’t consistently placing first for the first 6 months of playing… so 1,000 1st place finishes alone equals around 150 hours of video game playing. The disgusting part is I probably spent at least 6-7 times that much playing, and maybe even 10 times that much.

So what’s the lesson there? The lesson is that even just a few hours day in and day out add up to a huge amount quickly… I’ve always said that if all someone did was pick one topic and write 3 articles a day on it, everyday, they would have a big big site that gets a lot of traffic and makes a lot of money within a year, probably even just a few months.

But… no one does that because people sabotage themselves into trying different methods and techniques, thinking that it couldn’t possibly be that simple.

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About The Author


Nate is a blogger, fitness enthusiast, and designer.


  • bryan

    Reply Reply March 12, 2012


    You are so right, there are SO many parallels from COD to internet marketing. While I don’t play, I have friends that do and they spend a ton of time on it. I am not better with use of my time, but I totally agree with the 3 articles per day theory also. I feel like you could own a couple niches with that kind of activity.

    Here’s to building the empire!

    • Nate

      Reply Reply March 12, 2012

      Thanks Bryan- Yeah generating that amount of content is almost guaranteed to succeed.

  • Audrey Mycose

    Reply Reply March 12, 2012

    Interesting post Nate. I’ve seen my brother playing this and it was so graphic.

    You should totally take care not to let games take you over though, it can turn people introverted and lazy.

    • Nate

      Reply Reply March 12, 2012

      It is a different type of post for sure- Yeah after seeing that I’ve spent 200 hours+ it’s sickening to think what else I could have done in that time.

  • Nigel

    Reply Reply March 12, 2012

    I’m actually a Battlefield man, played for 10yrs so the hours I’ve ranked up is rediculous and I still still suck at it. There is always someone better that has played longer. But same deal you can run or camp. Good analogy when it comes to niche sites Nate.


    • Nate

      Reply Reply March 12, 2012

      Nigel- I’ve actually never played Battlefield but I probably won’t start for obvious reasons. I’m glad you liked that analogy, thanks for reading.

  • brian

    Reply Reply March 12, 2012

    Oh I remember the days (pre children) when I could do whatever I wanted for hours. 🙂

    Your new optima look sweet. I gotta get glenns plugin…but popup is a major pain on mobile phones(which im on right now) as clicking the x to close it didn’t work and had to close and reopen browser

    • Nate

      Reply Reply March 12, 2012

      Haha- yeah the window of no kids is closing in on me, but I realize how different my life is than people who have kids. That’s why I need to work more right now.
      Yeah I should probably install a mobile-converter plugin for this site now that you mention it. Sorry about the popup- it just works so well.

  • grant

    Reply Reply March 12, 2012

    Loved the post Nate, I really like the call of duty analogy and yeah just a few hours a day can make a big difference.

    • Nate

      Reply Reply March 12, 2012

      Thanks Grant- Glad you liked it, and yes- just a few hours a day every single day makes a huge difference.

  • Mary Chicoine

    Reply Reply March 13, 2012

    Hi Nate – Loved the post. Although not gaming, I have my own other area of sustained interest. I especially liked the
    last four paragraphs on the biggest lesson of all – you sure nailed it!

    All the best,
    Mary C

    • Nate

      Reply Reply March 13, 2012

      Thanks Mary- glad you enjoyed it.

  • Mate… you need to get out more : )

    Cool post Nate and when it comes to knowing the maps I think it’s about going where the traffic is and pitching up there. And killstreaks to me = momentum hitting that tipping point where one idea/kill fuels the next.


    • Nate

      Reply Reply March 14, 2012

      Alan- you’re right about momentum- it comes after a lot of effort but then it can really take off

  • moemoneymoe

    Reply Reply March 13, 2012

    Thanks for the great Insight Nate! It’s like the old saying don’t try to invent the wheel follow what’s already working! And just get in their and do the work that needs to be done! Point blank!

    • Nate

      Reply Reply March 14, 2012

      You’re welcome Moe- there’s a lot to be said for just keeping things simple.

  • SEAN

    Reply Reply March 14, 2012

    Awesome Nate, I really like your conclusion because staying focused and oriented on one goal or business model at a time, while being simple, is not easy.

    When you aren’t focused on one major definite purpose time can be dissipated very easily just spinning your wheels trying to accomplish too much with too many things.

    Like you said, with just one authority site and a few articles a day could put you in the lead within just a few months!

    -cheers Sean

    • Nate

      Reply Reply March 15, 2012

      Thanks Sean- major definite purpose- that’s the “secret” to Napolean Hill’s ‘Think and Grow Rich’, and it’s true. Thanks for reading.

  • Jason

    Reply Reply March 16, 2012

    Great analogy with Call of Duty. The one thing that gets me is seeing that I’ve spent about 50 hours playing online and I wonder,”How many additional sites/content could I have created working instead of playing?”

    • Nate

      Reply Reply March 16, 2012

      That’s exactly what I thought. Okay… I’ve spent X number of hours accomplishing nothing(maybe even hurting my brain), when I could have set up 10 new sites.

      • Jason

        Reply Reply March 20, 2012

        Just finished the podcast. Great stuff. Hardcore Free for All? You must be a baller. I spend most of time playing Domination. Though now I think you’ve inspired to me to get my ass kicked by stepping up to some hardcore.

        • Nate

          Reply Reply March 20, 2012

          Glad you liked it.

          To tell you the truth- I really think Hardcore is easier than regular; one shot one kill.

          And my other big secret… I place first almost every time now because I think the best players are playing MW3 and not Black Ops anymore- when I play MW3 I can only get first every once in awhile.

  • James Hussey

    Reply Reply March 22, 2012

    WOW. First time on your site, and loved every word.

    I’ve been playing COD since MW2, hooked on it something awful, and miss my zombies…reminds me of a post I did paralleling zombies to IM (thanks to Trey Arch and BLOPS)…

    Anyway: a match doesn’t end in 30 kills. Just sayin’. Best in the lobby the past few days has had 40 to 60 kills. Unless you’re used to playing FFA?

    In which case I stand corrected…

    Back to the main point: I tweeted this with a hashtag of #HELLYEAH because you were incredibly freaking epic. Loved the analogy.

    Now back to my 12 step program:

    Hi. I’m James, COD head.

    • Nate

      Reply Reply March 22, 2012


      Glad you liked it… I really enjoyed zombies as well.

      And yes, I pretty much only play Free-for-all.

      I’ll see you in COD Anonymous…

  • mike

    Reply Reply May 2, 2012

    looked you up on itunes but how do I leave feedback for you ?


    • Nate

      Reply Reply May 3, 2012

      Mike- You have to be in the iTunes application, and then there’s a link that says “leave a review”.

  • Archie Q. Bradley

    Reply Reply January 10, 2013

    OK GUYS I JUST GOT IT! heres my class no weapons, 2 perks in each slot, no lethal and no scorestreaks. i had a sensor grenade though but i did NOT use it. i knifed someone during the game picked up the gun and yeah… 5 kills. i hope it helps you guys EDIT: ive unlocked all weapons with the tokens!

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