By now, many of you have probably seen the video clip of a 9-year-old boy who built his own elaborate boardwalk-style arcade out of cardboard and other scavenged material at his father’s auto parts business in Los Angeles. The story of Caine Monroy and his wonderful creation has gone viral, as donations have been pouring in from around the world to pay for the young boy’s college education. To me, this inspiring story says a lot about the spirit of entrepreneurship and creativity that fuels much of what we write about at GigaOM, and how the power of imagination is something that still resonates with so many people, regardless of how old they are.
Just to recap for those who may not have seen the video, Caine’s cardboard arcade was discovered by filmmaker Nirvan Mullick when he went into Smart Parts Auto in East L.A. looking for a handle for his ’96 Toyota Corolla. While he was waiting, he saw the amazing series of Midway-style cardboard games and challenges that young Caine had created—each with its own series of prizes tacked on a board. The boy even had a business model built into his imaginary arcade: Visitors could buy either a four-game pass or the 500-game “fun pass” for a slightly higher price.