Photo credit: Derek Heisler
Cam Adair is the founder of Game Quitters – the world’s largest support community for video game addiction, serving 20,000 members/month in 77 countries. A motivational speaker, he travels the globe sharing his message on how we can harness the adversity we face as fuel for growth, connection, and purpose. Dedicated to his community, he shares weekly videos on YouTube. His story has been featured in two TEDx Talks, Forbes, VICE, and the Toronto Star, amongst others. Connect with Cam on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat.
City where you’re from: Calgary, AB
Hobbies: Surfing, DJing, Traveling
Favorite quote: “Be open to all outcomes, but attached to none.”
Hey Cam, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Let’s start from the basics: Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
Never considered anything else. I hated school, and was never very good at being an “employee”. Don’t get me wrong, I kicked ass at any job I had, but having to ask for permission from a boss to take a weekend off, or something silly like that was never part of my life plan.
Who were your biggest influences?
My dad has always been a big influence. From an early age he taught me that entrepreneurship was possible, and I believe that had a big impact on my ability to even envision what was possible for my life. Elon Musk has always been an inspiration. In an interview a few years ago he was asked why he was taking on solar energy, electric cars, and space exploration at the same time… because even one of them would be a major contribution, and he simply stated, and I’m paraphrasing, “they were too important to our planet for someone not to solve them, and it didn’t seem like anybody else was going to do it, so fine, fuck it, I’ll do it.” That was why I launched Game Quitters – I knew there were millions of people in the world struggling with a video game addiction, yet nobody seemed to be doing anything about it, so fine, fuck it, I’ll do it. 😉
What’s the goal of Game Quitters?
I’m on a mission to help 10 million people overcome a video game addiction in the next three years through Game Quitters.
We usually talk about engagement rates when it comes to video games which are good for the publisher, but we never mention any negative effects that a game addiction can have, why did you decide to do something about it?
I struggled with a video game addiction myself, which caused me to drop out of high school. While my friends were heading off to college, I was at home playing video games up to 16 hours a day, depressed, living in my parents basement. Eventually I came to a point where I wrote a suicide note and knew I needed to make a change. Long story short, when I searched online for help I didn’t find any, so after I overcame my own addiction I decided to do something about it. That began with an article, then a TEDx talk. Both had a big response so I launched a YouTube channel, and eventually gamequitters.com.
How do you help people combat their addiction in a novel way? What’s the long-term vision?
Too often addiction and mental health organizations are bland, boring, and sterile. It’s like going to a doctor’s office… you’re only going to seek help if it’s urgent. Instead what I’ve tried to do with Game Quitters is make the brand fun, cool, and accessible. Something to be proud of. We also leverage technology to reach people where they are, instead of forcing them to go visit a therapist who they may not resonate with. Using the power of community and peer support, we have been able to show tremendous results for those who want help. The vision is to ensure that any person, regardless of location, background, or economic status, is able to get the best support possible to overcome compulsive gaming and video game addiction.
Who are your customers? How do you find them?
Give the readers the best entrepreneurship advice you have.
“Most people fail because they either don’t do the work (in the business or internally within themselves), or they give up too early.”
Being successful at business takes a lot of tenacity over the long-term. There are ups and downs and that will always be the case. More important than any of that, is who you become in the process. By focusing on your own personal development within the context of entrepreneurship, regardless of whether your business “succeeds” or not, you will be stronger because of it. With any goal or problem I have in business, I always step back and consider who I need to become in order to handle it with ease.
How did you get so much publicity for your idea?
Be WILLING to ask for help. The other day I posted a simple status on my Facebook asking if any of my friends in my hometown had contacts in the media. A few introductions later and I had 20+ media interviews in the past 7 days. It all happened because I was willing to ask for help. Through this process I also learned that the media cares about stories that are:
For timeliness, I was speaking at a charity on March 1st. Although I no longer live in my hometown, I positioned myself as a “Calgary-born entrepreneur” and “solving video game addiction” takes care of interesting. I’m not sure about a book, but Selena Soo is a great resource for PR.
What should an entrepreneur focus on?
Your own self-care. It’s easy to get caught up in your business, but there will always be a new problem to solve, a new fire to put out. Take care of yourself first, that is the only way you’ll be able to succeed over the long-term anyways. Most of our “problems” feel urgent but aren’t that important. That doesn’t apply to your health though.
What are some of your favorite books?
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson.
Where do you see yourself and your product in a couple years?
Our mission is to positively impact 10 million people in the next three years so that’s where I see myself. By that point I see our product being world class at helping people overcome addiction, and I hope to be consulting with other organizations to help them reach the people who need their support as well.