About gametheory101.com

Who are you?
My name is William Spaniel. I graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 2009 with a B.A. (high honors) in political science, with an emphasis in international relations and formal modeling. I am currently a PhD student in the University of Rochester's Department of Political Science. You can find some of my research on my other website or follow me on Twitter. Finally, you can contact me directly at williamspaniel@gmail.com.

Why did you start this website?
I started making game theory YouTube videos in September 2009 for three reasons. First, I was getting tired of people asking me what I do without being able to provide a quick answer; a simple link to a YouTube video of the prisoner's dilemma solved that. Second, if you searched "game theory" on YouTube at the time, what came up was by and large not game theory. And third, the one exception to that was Ben Polak's class at Yale. His class is good, but each lecture runs longer than an hour, which makes it inaccessible to people with passing interest and nearly impossible to use as a study aid. In contrast, virtually all of my videos are less than 10 minutes long.

Fast forward eight months. Freakonomics posted a blurb about me on the New York Times' website. This drew a lot of viewers to my videos. Many commented that they really enjoyed the lectures but found them difficult to navigate. I created this website to solve that problem.

I am thinking about taking a game theory class. How much math should I take before it?
At minimum, I recommend your math department's year-long calculus sequence and a logic class from your philosophy department. The calculus is so you know how to solve equations and take derivatives properly. The logic is so you have some idea how to properly prove things.

Beyond that, you might want to look into linear algebra, real analysis, and topology. However, these may prove to be far more trouble than they are worth.

I am lost on a homework problem. Will you help me?
Perhaps. Problem sets are usually time consuming even if you know what you are doing. If I have already answered your question in a video, I will simply link you to that. Otherwise, I offer private tutoring through video chat. You can reach me at williamspaniel@gmail.com.

Alternatively, you could pick up a copy of my textbook, which shows you how to solve games step-by-step.

I am thinking about getting a PhD. Will you help me?
Although I have absolutely no sway in academic circles, I am happy to give my candid thoughts on process. Email me.