Entrepreneur at Work: Caine’s Arcade

Ordinarily with a story like this, I’d just tweet it or stick it into one of my Links You May Have Missed posts. But this is such a sweet and inspirational tale and the documentary is so well done, that I think it deserves its own post. Using tape and recycled cardboard to build his own arcade, a young kid in East L.A. follows his vision and his passion with enough determination and ingenuity that he teaches the world some important lessons. (The fantastic video documentary by Nirvan Mullick appears below).

What can we learn from Caine Monroy?

Follow your dreams. Your passion and enthusiasm  and authenticity will attract others to your plan and motivate them to help you and contribute resources.

Be yourself. Life is hard. It’s a competitive world. It takes everything you’ve got to succeed. Don’t be a lefty playing right-handed. Know who you are and be true to your nature. Go with what you know and choose to compete in areas where you are strong.

Don’t give up. Each time you fail, you gain a little more proprietary market knowledge. Things usually look worst before they pick up. Listen to your market and customers and tweak and adjust. Turbo charge your sales with your own version of Caine’s fun pass.

Learn to network. Caine’s big breakthrough was the result of social networking. Sitting on the street in front of his dad’s store limited him to walk-bys. His first customer used the power of the network to get his story out. If you want to learn to leverage the network, read Reid Hoffman’s new book, The Startup of You.

Be Inventive; Use what you have. The first three questions every entrepreneur should ask herself are (i) what do I know? (ii) what do I have? and (iii) who do I know? Caine had time, retail space, tape, cardboard, knowledge about arcades and a doting father. Now he’s got $120,000 in his college scholarship fund.

Let Your Kids Work on Random and Seemingly Trivial Stuff. Caine’s dad could have tried to pursue a more conventional or structured day care solution for Caine. Maybe make him do some summer reading, help in the business and learn the ropes, stay with another family member, go to a structured summer program, take swimming lessons at the Y. All good and responsible options. But if Ned Hallowell teaches us anything its that letting him play with what interested him was a GREAT option.

This kid rocks, and his story inspires us all. Caleb Melby of Forbes thinks he’s going to be a billionaire by age 30. I think Melby’s probably right. Now that Caine’s got the funding for a solid education, he should be off to a good start. In fact, if I where him I’d apply to college by saying “I’m Caine Monroy and here’s my story:”

Comments, questions or reactions to this post? Leave a note below and I will respond to your questions.

If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy: The Long Road to Instant Success,  Getting Off The Ground; Early Formation EconomicsAre Entrepreneurs Wild Risk-Takers?What I Look For In An EntrepreneurShould I Wait For A Technical Co-Founder?20 Bootstrapping Ideas.
Subscribe – To get an automatic feed of all future posts subscribe to the RSS feed here, or to receive them via email enter your address in the box in the upper right or go here and enter your email address in the box in the upper right. You can also follow me on Twitter @cmirabile and on Google+.

Speak Your Mind


Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.