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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

The Unexpected Business Lessons from Caine’s Arcade

Written By: Carol Roth | No Comments

If you are one of the 3.1 million and counting people who have seen the viral video du jour, Caine’s Arcade, you were probably both touched by the story and inspired at the ingenuity of the 9-year old boy who’s eponymous cardboard arcade showcased true talent, ingenuity and entrepreneurialism.

But embedded in this heart-warming tale are the real lessons that may have gotten missed amongst the emotion.  First up is that even if you are clever, hard-working and entrepreneurial, if nobody knows that you exist, you don’t have a business.

In the beginning of the short film, Caine showed off his prowess in creating and assembling games from cardboard boxes and even generating an insanely clever method for checking the validity of a “fun pass” to allow you to play the games 500 times.  But, despite his fabulous offerings and insane value with the fun pass, Caine had no customers.

It wasn’t until good fortune happened upon him in the name of Nirvan Mullick, a filmmaker who took an interest in what Caine was doing.  There were likely countless others who saw this story first-hand, but didn’t take the interest in it or time to relate it.

With clear marketing savvy, Nirvan Mullick shot a video, leveraged social media and created a cause to create awareness (and ultimately visitors) to the arcade.  That effort was a rousing success, and continued to gain steam afterwards through the well-executed video and marketing program, which included a Caine’s arcade song that could be downloaded through iTunes and a Caine’s Arcade “Staff” t-shirt.

Without Nirvan, Caine’s arcade may never have gotten much traction (or he the encouragement he needed), despite his clear creativity and savvy.  And without Caine’s special story, Nirvan may not have had the viral video success.

So, a few business takeaways here, through my eyes:

  • Ideas don’t stand alone without marketing;
  • Partners with core competencies can be extremely beneficial (think yin/yang); and
  • Help is virtuous to give and to receive

While the likely takeaway is an emotional reaction to the entrepreneurial spirit of a 9-year old boy, if you look a little deeper you can learn an awful lot about business from what is not said in this video.

Article written by
Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) produced technology competition series, America's Greatest Makers, airing on TBS and Host of Microsoft's Office Small Business Academy show. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a contributor to CNBC, as well as a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics. Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011-2015) and has her own action figure. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth