A Creative Entrepreneur At Age Nine: Caine’s Arcade
“There is a myth, common in American culture, that work and play are entirely separate activities. I believe they are more entwined than ever before.”
Laura Seargeant Richardson, a principal designer at global innovation firm frog design, continues: “A playful mind thrives on ambiguity, complexity, and improvisation—the very things needed to innovate and come up with creative solutions to the massive global challenges in economics, the environment, education, and more.”
From my post Creative Development: Actively Caress Wonder. Play.
Creative endeavors often start small.
One of a number of articles about him notes that “Nine-year-old Caine Monroy spent last summer creating an elaborate cardboard arcade in his dad’s used auto parts store in east Los Angeles, armed with little more than packaging tape and whatever materials he could find.
“He developed a ticketing and pricing system ($1 for two turns; $2 for a Fun Pass with 500 turns), built prize displays, and ordered up a Caine’s Arcade shirt identifying himself as ‘staff.’
“There was one problem: The arcade lacked players. The store is on an industrial stretch with little foot traffic, and the few customers who did stop in weren’t interested.
“What happened next is a stroke of luck that has the aura of a turning point in a postmodern magical fairy tale.
“Nirvan Mullick, a filmmaker and digital strategist for social good campaigns, dropped by Smart Parts Aftermarket in September, looking for a door handle for his ‘96 Corolla. Mullick met Caine and bought a Fun Pass. He later learned that he was Caine’s Arcade first—and only—paying customer. The idea for a film was born.
“Determined to create a memorable day for Caine, Mullick used Facebook to invite ‘everyone’ to visit the arcade on a Sunday afternoon. News spread, and on Oct. 2, an enthusiastic crowd lined the street outside the auto parts store…Caine, finally, was running his game world.”
Video and text above from “We Came to Play”: Lessons on Connected Learning and Creativity from Caine’s Arcade – from Spotlight, the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative.
The photo of Caine Monroy is from cainesarcade.com.
A Forbes magazine article acclaims his early start: “Almost as a rule, billionaire entrepreneurs have origin stories that involve peddling and salesmanship from an early age.”
The writer also notes, “The best entrepreneurs are devoted to and love what they do. Caine loves arcades. So he made his own. In his commencement speech at Stanford University, Steve Jobs talked about loving the work you do: ‘I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents’ garage when I was 20.’ Again, Caine is nine years old. His love for his business borders on obsession. That’s not a bad thing. He’ll need that obsession to grow his future enterprises.”
From 9 Reasons Why The 9-Year-Old Founder Of Caine’s Arcade Will Be A Billionaire In 30 Years, Caleb Melby, Forbes 4/12/2012.
Eby, D. (2012). A Creative Entrepreneur At Age Nine: Caine’s Arcade. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 28, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/creative-mind/2012/04/a-creative-entrepreneur-at-age-nine-caines-arcade/