A Carmel kid helps mint a board game about the stock market.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Carmel’s Katie Ryan is a full-blown entrepreneur seeking to boost free-market capitalist thinking. She’s also a middle schooler.
Two years ago, at the ripe old age of 11, Ryan co-designed and illustrated her own board game, called Look Out Wall Street!, with her mother Katherine. While most of her peers were busy with cartoons and Little League, Katie was trying to help other kids learn the benefits of index funds.
Today, through her family’s own brand of guerilla marketing—they send games to industry experts to try out with their kids—their game is gaining traction: it has garnered national attention in the investment world, and its Web site, lookoutwallst.com, received 48,668 hits during the month of October.
Just as Monopoly introduced kids to the realities of real estate, Look Out Wall Street! familiarizes kids with the basic principles of investment. The mother-daughter team was inspired to create the game after finding other games uninspiring.
“There wasn’t much out there to help kids learn about the stock market,” says Katherine, who based the strategy segment of the game on the investment philosophies of John Bogle, the legendary founder and former CEO of the Vanguard Group. She then laid out potential game spaces—teenaged traders and adolescent analysts move around the board, acquiring stock in imaginary companies like Fizzie’s Cola and Pizazz Pizza—which Katie tested while inventing the drawings on the board.
The object of the game is simple—get as much money as you can—but it isn’t the objective. “We wanted a game that was non-intimidating and inviting, for kids to learn about investing,” says Katherine.
Bogle’s support, as well as a recent article by syndicated business columnist Humberto Cruz, has caused a recent surge in sales. Katherine says she gets orders from all over the country, all wanting a part of the family’s homemade board game.
For more on Look Out Wall Street, visit lookoutwallst.com or Thinker Toys in Carmel and Monterey.