Posted on Oct 12, 2014

For how long will journalists be fooled by the 15-year-old next Mark Zuckerberg stunt?

The ultimate growth hack for your app or start-up: get a 15-year-old figurehead

We all have known for years there’s a real age discrimination problem in Silicon Valley and tech start-ups in general. In an effort to be more “transparent” and to appear to be taking action, top companies have recently been publicly publishing the data on the racial, ethnic and gender makeup of their workforce. But there’s a figure they never disclose: age.

Reports have been made, companies have been sued, but the ageist culture is alive and kicking. And it’s not only companies while hiring, it’s also the media when covering new start-ups; and a crowd of obsessive people is a nursery for con artists.

There’s no better example than the app business. How many of you never heard a story of a very young brilliant boy creating an app and becoming a millionaire? Well, marketers have noticed this too and have start taking profit from it. I think I might have uncovered the perfect example on this.

Last week, I read on Business Insider about an app called “Impossible Rush”. It’s a very simple brain teasing game that climbed all way to the top on the U.S. charts overtaking Vine,Tinder and other popular apps. I immediately recognized the app as an exact copy of other app by David Zobrist called “Four Points”. So, who plagiarized who?

Four Points

Four Points

Impossible Rush

Impossible Rush

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As David Zobrist is a very popular Gamesalad developer (goes by the name of BigDave), my initial suspicion was that he was the app’s original creator. All I knew was that Four Points had been released on the 11th of August and Impossible Rush fifteen days later, on the 26th. But the real fishy part of the story, which really raised my eyebrow, was reading the kids went out and hired a marketer!!! I mean, really?!

Testing the waters, I made a cautious comment on the Business Insider page and immediately got in touch with David. Well, I just lifted a rock, and something come out. David has since made a post today explaining it all but to cut a long story short, seems like the marketer who pulled the stunt, Carlos Fajardo, noticed “Four Points” was climbing the charts real fast and decided to make a native coded version.

He contacted David and bought the rights to do so, making the journalists the only characters on this story who got conned. I think Carlos Fajardo was trying to recreate 2048’s path to success. 2048 is now a very popular game on mobile phones but it was first released on the web as open source Javascript. Many immediately had the idea to port it to the iPhone, but only one climbed to the top: the first native coded version. It was Ketchapp’s first success and opened the door for their posterior huge successes, constantly cross-promoting very simple games they develop overnight.

Having a native coded version on his hands, Fajardo needed the final pump and that’s when he *allegedly* created the “next Mark Zuckerberg” character. He realized the potential of the ageist exploit and used it. In the end, he did nothing wrong… that’s what’s being a growth hacker is all about, right?

Problem is the creator might already be losing control of it’s own creation since from Australia to India, many are already labeling the boy as the next Mark Zuckerberg!

It was nice to hear what Fajardo has to say on this story but I was not able to reach him for comment.

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