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How would you teach a 9 year old how to position their product?

In this episode I walk my son through the same questions I would ask anyone who's setting up a landing page for a new product to help teach him about product marketing as part of his summer project... Lab Inventors Math Kit.

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Key Takeaways

Learn how to take a beginners mindset!

Know who has the buying power

You may be selling to kids, but parents are the ones making choices.

Practice your pitch

Even if you understand your product inside and out you need to be able to explain it in simple terms.

Test and improve

Build the most basic version of your product possible and test it out. Improve it before production.

It's OK if some people don't like your invention

Sometimes that means other people may like it more. :)

Interview Bio

Gabe Ledgard - Founder Lab Inventors Game

Gabe is the creator of the Lab Inventors Game Math Kit. He's 9 years old and learning what it takes to launch and build his own products as a part time summer job.

Learn more at Lab Inventors Game - Math Kit.

Full Transcript

Josh Ledgard: Welcome to KickoffLabs On Growth. I'm Josh Ledgard and my goal with this podcast is to share advice on growing sustainable businesses through the stories of our customers and our team.

Josh Ledgard: This episode is a little different. My guest today is my son, Gabe. He and his sister came to me at the end of the school year and asked for a Nintendo Switch. I gave them a couple options. They could do a lot of chores or they could try and make something themselves and sell it. They're an inventive pair and they hate chores, so I had a feeling what they'd choose.

Josh Ledgard: They've done a great job coming up with a product that you'll learn about during this interview, but I could tell they needed some help with selling and positioning, so I decided to record a conversation we had where we walked through the basic pitch, who it's aimed at, what the selling points are, etc.

Josh Ledgard: That ended up being this podcast. I think a lot of people will find it instructional. I know I did. It's refreshing to look at things from the eyes of someone who's never gone through it before. And it's useful to think about things in those terms. Remember, if you enjoy this episode, subscribe to us in the podcast app of your choice and leave us a review. Feel free to send any feedback to josh@kickofflabs.com. Enjoy the show.

Josh Ledgard: Hey, so we're recording now.

Gabe: Okay.

Josh Ledgard: Hi everyone. I'm here with my son Gabe. And so my first question is how old are you?

Gabe: My age is nine. My birthday's in February. And that's pretty much all I have to say.

Josh Ledgard: And so what grade is that?

Gabe: This year I'm going into fourth grade.

Josh Ledgard: And what are you making for your summer project?

Gabe: I am making a game for elementary students to help learn math.

Josh Ledgard: And what's the name of the game?

Gabe: It's called Lab Inventor's Math Kit.

Josh Ledgard: And can you say a little bit more about what the game's like or what it's designed for?

Gabe: It's designed for fun and math, and basically what other board games and card games are designed for.

Josh Ledgard: So it's a card game?

Gabe: Yeah, it's a card game.

Josh Ledgard: And how'd you come up with this idea?

Gabe: I came up with it when I needed some money to buy something I wanted. And my dad suggested how about you make a game?

Josh Ledgard: So it's my fault.

Gabe: It's not your fault.

Josh Ledgard: So you've actually made this before and you've had a couple of different versions. Have you been testing the game?

Gabe: No, I just think it would be fun. And sometimes things get boring around here.

Josh Ledgard: So have you been testing the game?

Gabe: Yes, I've tested it. Of course I have.

Josh Ledgard: So tell me about that. Like how did you make a test version of the game?

Gabe: Well, I just cut out pieces of paper and just wrote what I think you'd be on cards on them, like one says, "Boom, your lab blew up." The other one says "Money swap," which my dad really liked.

Josh Ledgard: So I love the card you made in there. They're so creative. When I get the money swap card, what do I have to do?

Gabe: So you have to swap money with any other person no matter what. And this can really help if you're running low on money and then you suddenly get that card and you're like, "Oh, I'm going to swap money with someone." And then that person might get out of the game, but you can never predict the future.

Josh Ledgard: So it's about, as you get the cards, do you earn money with each of the cards?

Gabe: No. There are some cards that have you lose money, like the one I stated earlier that's says boom, your lab blew up. In the kindergarten to first grade version, it's like you lose $6. But like in the fourth to fifth grade version it's more like lose $487.

Josh Ledgard: So you've got different versions for different grade levels.

Gabe: Yeah. I guess I didn't mention that earlier. I do.

Josh Ledgard: And the different grade levels, I assume the math is going to be harder when you get the fifth grade version of the game.

Gabe: Yeah. Well fourth and fifth grade. There's A kindergarten and first, second and third, and fourth and fifth.

Josh Ledgard: Yeah. It sounds like you've got a lot of cards to make anyway. So making just a couple versions, three versions to cover the grades is a good idea. How do you learn math? So you pick up a card and the card tells you there's a number on it?

Gabe: It either says lose or earn. Earn's basically plus. So say I have, I'm playing the kindergarten to first grade version and let's say I have $15 and then I, say, I get the card that my dad thought was funny, invent printable pancakes, earn $15. And then I'll get $30. Like say I got a boom card then and it said lose $8, then I'd be back to 22.

Josh Ledgard: Perfect. So who do you think would actually buy the game? So I've played the game. I think it's really fun and I think it's educational and kids can learn a lot, but who's the person that's going to be buying the game? Do you think a third grader is going to go online and buy this card game for themselves and their friends?

Gabe: Honestly, I'm guessing it would be the parents because I'm moving into fourth grade and I still don't really know how to work some things on the computer.

Josh Ledgard: Okay. And maybe the parents are the ones with more money?

Gabe: Yeah.

Josh Ledgard: So if you have to convince someone to get the game, who do you think you have to convince, the kids or the parents?

Gabe: I think I have to convince the parents.

Josh Ledgard: And how do you think you should convince the parents to buy the game? Like what do you think the best way to convince a parent is?

Gabe: I think to say that this math game is educational for the kids and will help them learn.

Josh Ledgard: Do you think it's fun, too?

Gabe: Yes, it's fun.

Josh Ledgard: Do you think it's something that they would enjoy playing with their kids?

Gabe: If you mean the parents, yes.

Josh Ledgard: Yeah. That's what I meant.

Gabe: And yeah, still the kids would enjoy playing with each other. It also helps kids, like say you lose, it helps kids, instead of crying ...

Josh Ledgard: I think it was a really good point that if you have a card game or you're playing games with the kids, it helps kids learn that it's okay to lose. So how do you get out of the game or how do you lose the game?

Gabe: Well, when the deck of cards is like all drawed out, you can either play another round or just stop there. If you stop, the person with the most money wins. And the other people don't really lose, but ... The other way you can get out of the game or lose is if you run out of money, say I had $22 and then I got like a fine of $10 which would make it $12, and then I got a fine of five dollars which would make it seven dollars, and this seems really boring so I'm just going to say, got down to like negative five somehow.

Josh Ledgard: How did you come up with the theme of the game where it's about a lab and you're making these inventions, and as you sell your invention or you're making an invention, you earn money. How'd you come up with that?

Gabe: Well, I had my dad, like I keep talking about.

Josh Ledgard: That would be me.

Gabe: Yes, that would be you. Tells me like stories, like with my stuffed animal's and the cat is an inventor, and I just thought like it would be like really fun for the life of an inventor, which, spoiler, it is not always.

Josh Ledgard: What's not always?

Gabe: Well, some people may not like your inventions. You may have to get a refund. Your house or your lab might blow up.

Josh Ledgard: People have to figure that out when they get the game. So did you change anything after you tested the game and you were playing it with your friends and with your family?

Gabe: Yes. The first thing didn't have any bad cards except for the boom cards, which back then really didn't do any ... It was basically whoever had the most money at the end wins, but now you can get out if you go broke or bankrupt.

Josh Ledgard: Why should somebody get your game instead of some other math game?

Gabe: So my reasoning for that is it it's created by student, meaning as a student, knows just what is fun for your kids, other students.

Josh Ledgard: Perfect. I think that's a great reason why somebody should get your game versus somebody else's game. If somebody was interested in the game, where could they go to either preorder or reserve a copy of the game early?

Gabe: H-T-T-P-S, thingamabob ...

Josh Ledgard: Hold on, you don't have to say that. You can actually just start ... You can actually just start there. W-W-W, dot.

Gabe: labinventorsgame.com

Josh Ledgard: All right, so that's www.labinventorsgame.com is where you can go to put your name down and say you're interested in the game. And so if somebody puts their email in, what do they get for putting their email address in now before the game is out?

Gabe: They get a 10% discount.

Josh Ledgard: So after they enter their email address, could they get a bigger discount?

Gabe: Yes. It is possible. They could tell a friend to make that 10% discount 25. The more friends they tell, the bigger discount they get.

Josh Ledgard: All right, so anybody that's interested in the game should go to www.labinventorsgame.com, and there you can enter your email address for 10% off and tell some other people for some other discounts. All right, Gabe, couple of other questions that aren't entirely related to the game. What do you want to do when you grow up?

Gabe: And you're asking me this why?

Josh Ledgard: I'm curious.

Gabe: Well, I really want to be an inventor, like in the game. Of course it might not be perfect. A teacher, or an author.

Josh Ledgard: That's a great list. So what do you think? What do you think I do for a business?

Gabe: Either you sit down in a chair and stare at a computer screen and have lots of boring conferences.

Josh Ledgard: Or?

Gabe: Or you're the boss of a software company where all they do is sit at a screen and make boring conferences.

Josh Ledgard: I want you to describe what you did today using KickoffLabs.

Gabe: I started a small card game.

Josh Ledgard: Well, no, you had the card game. You're doing the card game. But what did you do with KickoffLabs for your card game?

Gabe: I made a website for my card game.

Josh Ledgard: And what can people do on the website?

Gabe: They can get small businesses to grow. Or ....

Josh Ledgard: You're just reading the copy on my website. On labinventorsgame.com, What can people do? Because they can't do much, but they can do one thing really well.

Gabe: They can enter their email address.

Josh Ledgard: And could they tell friends about it?

Gabe: They could tell friends about it.

Josh Ledgard: So what do you think KickoffLabs does, then?

Gabe: I think it built the website and makes people [inaudible 00:14:21] type in their email and tell friends about something.

Josh Ledgard: Yeah, that's a good guess. All right. So I'd be remiss if I didn't say there was another budding entrepreneur in the family and her name is [Cora 00:14:40]. And she wanted to come over and tell you what she's working on for this.

Cora: So I'm working on a comic book.

Josh Ledgard: Have a seat. A comic book. Can you tell us about your comic book?

Cora: About three dogs and I want to make out my comic book.

Josh Ledgard: And how old are you?

Cora: Seven.

Josh Ledgard: You're seven.

Cora: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Josh Ledgard: And so your summer project is this comic book?

Cora: Yeah.

Josh Ledgard: And what's the name of the comic book?

Cora: Sausage and the Meaning of Life.

Josh Ledgard: What's it about?

Cora: It's about three dogs who are trying to find the meaning of life and go through a lot of crazy things to find it.

Josh Ledgard: Cool. So I've read a couple pages of your comic book and it's really funny. Are you going to print out the comic books so that people can buy it?

Cora: Yeah.

Josh Ledgard: Yeah. And so you'll go through the same thing that Gabe did and have a place where people can say they're interested?

Cora: Uh-huh (affirmative).

Josh Ledgard: Cool. So when that's ready, we'll bring you back on the podcast, okay?

Cora: Okay.

Josh Ledgard: All right. Thanks for jumping into the interview, Cora. Thanks, Gabe, for coming on the podcast and letting us know about your game.

Gabe: Thank you. And you're welcome, or whatever I'm supposed to say.

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