I’m into gaming and am a big believer that business people can learn better through games. I personally play business strategy games, city building games and biz/finance educational games. One of the latest games I play on my smartphone and tablet is Capital City, a Rich Dad‘s financial education game app developed by Torn Screen Entertainment, Inc.
Today, I have a privilege to have a Q and A session with Torn Screen Entertainment, Inc.’s and Rich Dad Interactive’s CEO, Shane Caniglia. Enjoy!
Shane, many thanks for the opportunity to have a little Q&A session with you! Here are some questions I’m sure our readers are dying to know the answer:
Question (Q): Please tell us a bit about you and your company, Torn Screen Entertainment, Inc.
Answer (A): About 5 years ago I was brought in as President of Rich Dad. My task was to reinvent and refresh the Rich Dad brand. To facilitate this, we needed to transition from physical to digital to show Rich Dad was relevant and keeping up with technology and the new direction people were taking for both learning and conducting business. My main focus was the mobile space and to create educational apps and games that brought the lessons of Rich Dad to the market in a fun unique way. It made sense to start Rich Dad, in this new area, with a game because the Rich Dad company’s first product, even before Rich Dad Poor Dad, was the CASHFLOW board game.
To introduce Rich Dad to the app market, we needed a publishing company that under stood the Rich Dad philosophy. Additionally, creating a publishing company would allow us the flexibility to be diverse in this space. Therefore, it became clear that we needed to create this publishing company ourselves. And we did it using the Rich Dad principles and philosophy. We focused on leadership, team and mission. From there, the whole team came together to write a business plan with the help of Rich Dad Coaching for the creation of Torn Screen Entertainment.
Q: I learned that you develop for the Rich Dad Company. Can you share with us how the partnership began so that our readers can learn how to kickstart and nurture a successful partnership?
A: The Torn Screen/Rich Dad partnership represents a true Rich Dad principle in that we created a corporation that would license IP from Rich Dad, but create products that exist in the digital space. We have now expanded the Torn Screen model to include non–Rich Dad apps. The lesson here is even if you do have a big brand behind you, there are always opportunities that exist to form partnerships where it is a win-win for all parties. Just be careful on who you associate yourself/your brand with.
Right now we are working on developing a new app for another large brand which I am not free to mention just yet. And to do this, we set out to find a company who shared common synergies and philosophy. I do not believe it is wise to partner with a group that does not share your key values or core pillars. Once a good partner is identified, you then need to establish trust. Trust is created through transparency. And transparency is created through communication. The foundation to this type of relationship, and really all relationships, is communication. This communication must be open and honest at all times. Remember, even if it does not benefit you PERSONALLY that does not mean its not better for the business and the long term vision. Do not be arrogant or short-sighted.
Q: I enjoy very much playing your latest game, Capital City. The combo-concept of Monopoly and Rich Dad’s Cashflow is quite revolutionary. What’s the idea behind Capital City?
A: There are two main thoughts that guided us.
First, it had to teach cash flow. Please understand that cash flow is one of the main pillars of the Rich Dad philosophy. While cash flow is the life blood of all business and investing, we’ve found that the best and simplest way to begin to understand cash flow is real estate and rent.
The second guiding thought was that the game had to be fun. This was the biggest challenge. We created four different versions of Capital City until we found the right blend of fun and learning. The way to teach concepts best is through simulation. We feel that the Capital City game is a fun simulation that really drives home the cash flow message. The more fun you have the more your mind opens up to the opportunities that are out there and that you can do this!
Q: I’m looking forward for your next app – can you please tip us with the next app(s) you are developing?
A: The next game we are creating is not a Rich Dad game, but Torn Screen’s first unlicensed game. And it is in testing right now. By the time this interviews is published it may be available. That’s how fast this industry moves. The game is called Airship Bakery. Airship Bakery is a match three game with a twist. In this game the player can move their piece all over the board to create the best match. They are not limited to a single move per turn. To make the game even more challenging the player needs to focus on what they are matching. Only some matches progress you in the game and those matches change constantly. Its high-paced and fun. What makes this game very different from all our other apps is that this game is solely focused on fun. There is no learning here, just fast-paced fun.
We are also creating a free-to-play Rich Dad game which is unnamed as yet. Its a very fast paced decision based game that champions cash-flow and recognizing a good deal. But you better recognize a good deal faster than your competitors or you’ll be living in the dumps in no time… and if you are the fastest, best deal maker, you’ll be living in a mansion on your own island!
Q: App business seems to be very lucrative. That’s why some developers I know are jumping into the app bandwagon – and many of them failed miserably. With that being said, any advice for us who want to start an app business – and be successful?
A: Make the highest quality app. Release the most viable product. Meaning that once the app is released, the user behavior will guide you to what they want and don’t want in terms of features and game play etc… No short cuts. Constantly ask yourself and your team, within the scope of this app, how can we make it better? Find the right team. Don’t settle on the easiest or cheapest team. We traveled all over the globe including Russia and Prince Edward Island searching for the right team. Find teammates who are smarter that you and who have experience in the space. This app world is ever changing so some ability to connect the dots of the past will help guide you in the future. And finally, do not just build games for yourself, know your market and build for them. Look for brands that you may be able to contact and license their IP.
Many thanks for your time, Shane!
There are plenty things we can learn from the Q&A, but if I have to pick one, I would like to emphasis on how to build a successful app that helps changing people’s life. As you have read the Q&A, building an app business is not just all about great concept, design, and gameplay. In making it into a successful venture, an app business relies on partnership, and Shane has shared his tips that partnership is the cornerstone of a successful business.
In other words, is your partnership gives more meaning to your business than just money, such as educational value? If so, let’s say that your business is deemed to be successful, as educational niche is a meaningful and lucrative: Kids’ education, families’ education, professionals’ education, entrepreneurs’ education, and so on.