6 ways that playing FIFA prepared us for our first start-up

Dor and Or Eligula, the founders of the exciting diamond tech start-up Carats.io, explain how their previous career as Pro FIFA players set the stage for their start-up success.

Dor and Or Eligula don’t look like your ordinary start-up founders. First, they’re a couple of only a handful of twins running a hi-tech company. Second, the two brothers, aged only 23, are easily the youngest members of their teams – teams they manage and lead. Finally, a simple glance at the framed photo on Dor’s desk, reveals their previous occupations: living nearly every adolescent to middle-aged male’s dream – working as professional FIFA players for one of the country’s soccer powerhouses.

While at a first glance the worlds of e-sports and start-ups seem completely unconnected (I myself could barely hide my skepticism when I heard it), Dor and Or are quick to point out that playing FIFA at the world’s top levels actually taught them many of the skills, characteristics and values needed to found their start-up.

So, with their help, I have compiled here a list of the six ways that playing FIFA is like founding, and running, a start-up.

  • Imagination is key – To win, you must be able to plan the unpredictable, to play with vision, and to think ahead. Merely moving along, step-by-step without any long term vision and in a straightforward way will not be enough to keep ahead of the competition. Do you play with the default formation – the one each and every player around the world knows and understands – or do you innovate, grown and change to face new competition?
  • Free your creativity – On the (virtual) field, and in the market, most people play the same way, attempting the same moves and actions. To set yourself apart from the majority and above the mediocre, you must allow yourself to think creatively and escape preconceived notions and paradigms, because these are where the truly innovative ideas are. Be Ronaldinho, not Milner. 😉
  • Be brave and willing to take bold actions – Whether it be trying the long shot on an out-of-place keeper, or standing up in front of a boardroom full of investors to present a new, transformative idea, you can only succeed if you are willing to be bold.
  • Gather a strong team around you – Both FIFA and entrepreneurship are team sports. In both, leadership is not measured simply by how strong you are alone, rather by how powerful your team is. It’s not about how sharp, smart or quick you are, but how well you can imbue your teammates with a passion and intensity that will take you all together over the finish line. Where would Messi be without an Iniesta or Xavi by his side? (Ask Argentina 😉 )
  • You have to love winning – You have to breathe, taste and smell victory. You have to chase it down with all your energy and strength, while hating even the thought of losing. There are many worthy competitors, but only one winner. If you aren’t willing to give your all, someone more driven will beat you to it.
  • Love the game –  This final one is perhaps the most important. To be at the top, whether it be in PlayStation or in your office, you will have to work hard, persevere, toil and face many challenges and fears. If you don’t love what you are doing, you will never be able to push through the hardships to reach victory.

    Interested in more important lessons in entrepreneurship? Stay posted to the Carats.io Telegram group for more tips from our talented young founders.
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