In 2007, our son, five years old at the time, and a budding young ice hockey star, combined his skills in strategy games like checkers with the rules of ice hockey and invented a game.

This game, which he named puckz, was a lot like checkers, except only one team can be the aggressor trying to score a goal at any point in time, while the opposing team literally aims to “check” him off the board, thus forcing a turnover.

Puckz became a really cool family heirloom, until 2009. This is when Lora and I purchased our first iphones. The moment Joey laid his eyes on them he noticed how similar their design was to the rounded-corners of an ice-hockey rink.

This prompted him to ask, “Hey, can we make Puckz into a video game?”

Well our answer was typically 21st century, “Let’s Google it!”

I proceeded to search and learn about the most successful game apps on the app store. From there, I researched the companies building them.

I downloaded an app from one of these vendors the next day and gave Joey his first R&D assignment. I said, “You’ve got an hour before hockey practice. Go play this game and be prepared to answer these four questions:

  • Was it easy to learn?
  • Was it fun to play?
  • Do you like how it looked?
  • Do you think they can build your app?

After getting Joey’s emphatic assurance on all four counts, I scheduled a conference call the next day with the vendor, where Joey pitched his idea to them, and requested a proposal.

Within a week, he pitched the proposal to his mother and me, highlighting the benefits of having this business experience. How could we resist?!?

Puckz and its sister app, Goalz have since achieved thousands of downloads in over 50 countries! We’re now teaming together on apps that teach entrepreneurial skills to kids, and from time to time both Joey and his little sister Heidi even help the businesses we are in. We call this time together, Productive Play, where we learn, make great memories, create results and have fun!

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