Everything I know about Finance I learnt from Starcraft

Adopted from Zaccohn. Interesting read.

Keep your money low (There’s no point in having money if you’re not doing anything with it).

One of the biggest problems newbies in Starcraft have is when they are “floating money.” This is also referred to as having “Facebook money.” You only get to 3000 minerals and 2500 gas if you’re not spending it, and when you’re not investing your money in SOMETHING (production buildings, units, supply, upgrades, whatever!), it means you’re falling behind. Having 3000 minerals doesn’t win you matches, but if you turn that into 60 marines…

How Much Money You Have:

How Much Money You Could Be Spending


Real life is like this too! Piling up money in the bank is money you’re not investing! Having some cash is good, but by converting that money into tangible assets you can make it useful.

Expand, but not when you’re spread too thin (Know when to start new projects or activities, and know when to cut back).

In any macro Starcraft game (and Real Life is all about Macro), you need to expand your base in order to increase your income and survive. But if you expand at the wrong time, it’s easy to get crushed. The timing of your expansion is based on a combination of how far into the game you are, your position relative to your opponents, and a few other factors.

Real life is just like this! If you don’t expand into new projects and into new income streams, you risk getting contained and slowing your growth. But if you expand when you have too much going on, you won’t be able to keep up and you will end up in a weaker position than when you started.

Have a plan, don’t just do whatever (have goals, know when you want to accomplish them).

A good Starcraft player starts the game thinking Overlord at 10, scout, 14 pool, 15 hatch, drone to 16, get queen as soon as pool pops, then start reacting to the information you scouted. A bad Starcraft player starts the game thinking “Make some drones. I guess I should make a spawning pool. Oh crap, I’m supply blocked, better make 3 overlords. Oh damnit, it’s 6 minutes in and I forgot my queen. Oh damnit, I attacked with 10 zerglings and 6 roaches at 15:00 and he countered with 6 Thors, 30 marines and 4 medivacs. gg I guess.”


Real life is no different. If you wander through life without a plan, you’ll get surprised when 20 carriers and a mothership show up at your front door. But if you know that at 22, you want to be working for A Company doing B, and then in two years you want to have gotten C promotion so you can get recruited by Company D to do E for twice your old salary, and to do this you should join groups F and G and probably get published in H and I publications… then you’ve got a pretty solid plan, and you’ve got a good idea of how to get there. There will always be a hellion harass, but if you’ve got your goals and your plan you can react and adapt.

Scouting is critical (know what’s going on in the world).

A player who doesn’t scout might go mass zealot/immortal when their opponent is going mass Muta. All it would take is an observer or two to see the early lair + double spire and the Protoss player could have adapted and switched to something that can at least HIT mutalisks. In Starcraft, you’re playing with other people. If you’re going to interact with them, you need to know what they’re doing.

Scout and Gain Intelligence – any way you can!
The real world has more than just a population of you. You need to be aware of what’s going on in your city, in your industry, and in the rest of the world. Events develop, technology is released, and laws are passed that can shut you down like a dark templar rush.

Fungal is OP (all your eggs in one basket).

The Terran Marine Marauder push is a powerful force. Extremely high DPS, their units get slowed down, you can lose a few units without losing a lot of firepower. And then all the sudden, there’s green everywhere and all your units are trapped. Seconds later, more green and they’re all dead. You just got hit by Fungal Growth. Thousands of minerals down the drain in seconds.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
This can happen in the real world, too. You’ve invested all your money in the housing industry: your tactic is flip a house and buy two more. And then it’s 2008, the housing bubble pops, and your net worth is down 90%. And it doesn’t look like the housing industry is recovering. You’ve lost tens of millions of dollars. If you had invested in the housing industry, but also a few technology startups, a local restaurant franchise, and rare metals like gold, you’d still have taken a hit, but it wouldn’t have ruined you.

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