If You Can’t Beat ’em, Join ’em…Right?

If You Can’t Beat ’em, Join ’em…Right?

Actually, that’s not the reason I’m playing Pokémon Go along with a few hundred million of my favorite friends. But, I assume most people would guess that I, a CEO, full-time mom, (slightly) over-40 year old woman is only playing for that reason – if at all.  In the spirit of true confessions, I will admit to playing, being slightly obsessed with it, and having been the one to introduce my 3 sons – ages 10 through 14 – to the game.

First, a look at why I shouldn’t be playing. From what I can see on social media, people my age and above, whether employed outside of the house, or working to raise children, are all enjoying posting derogatory digs at the time-wasting Poke-hunters. Per social media, I should be harnessing my snark and directing it with a sanctimonious air of smugness, reminding others to get a real job, that there are terror attacks happening daily while they uselessly capture Pokémon, and suggesting that I’m way too important for such silliness. Hell, just typing all of that made me feel much more intellectually superior than I do when arguing whether my Centicruel can handle a battle against an Arcanine.

So, how is it that I (a) play, and (b) not-so-secretly-enjoy Pokémon Go?

It’s simple, really. First, the world is too serious and stressful. A little healthy game play, with no “dying”, and in which my success is not dependent upon someone else’s failure? Yes please.

Second, and importantly, we’ve bonded as a work team, and as a family, playing this silly free game.  (Though “bonding time” would quickly flip to “berating time” if my kids start wasting money on poke coins). My employees are in their 20s and actually traded Pokémon cards and watched the show as kids. They know the characters and we laugh together as they try to explain it all.  And, don’t even get me started on how few opportunities there are to enjoy an activity with my teenaged and tween-aged sons. Even sports and games we enjoy together – other than Pokémon Go – require someone to “win” and others to “lose”. In all other sports and games, we are playing against each other.  In Pokémon Go – and yes, here’s where I’ll sound particularly unintelligent – we can all capture the same monster. It’s not a race to get Pikachu first. We can all “catch them all”.

In true form, though I introduced it to my husband and children, the four of them are all way better than I. They are quicker, and have all of the monsters’ skills memorized. They “battle” and win their gyms, while I go down (quickly!) in a blaze of glory. But, after they take over a gym, they invite me to come in it. Okay, so what if I don’t understand that gesture, and if I have to hand over my phone while an eye-rolling 14 year old deposits my Pokémon in our Mystic-controlled gym (go, Team Mystic!). Eye rolls aside, my kids call me at work, “mom, can you take lunch with us and go Poke-hunting?” and have wanted to hang out with me every night? Priceless.

So, judge on. Explain how, if I were not trying to get this elusive Alla Kazam, I could help bring the political parties together, or lend support in the fight against ISIS.  Until then, “Squirtle!”


Marilyn Weinstein is Vivo’s founder and Chief Executive Officer, responsible for overall strategy and business growth and development. Prior to starting iTalent Solutions in 2006—the successful effort which paved the way for Vivo’s launch in 2009—Marilyn was Vice President and General Counsel for AlphaSoft Services Corp., where she served on the company’s Executive Team for over seven years. She helped AlphaSoft grow from a start up to a $50 million per year, multi-office success story.