Truth be told I’ve been waiting for the exact right moment where I could sneak in a story about an awe inspiring 9 year old from Memphis Tennessee. If you’re not familiar with Kid President, Robbie Novak, you have to be living under the proverbial rock.
Novak’s this awesome little 9 year old boy who has a brittle bone disease. He’s had over 70 breaks in his short nine years. He’s also adopted (like me) and loves to dance. Aside from the casts he’s often stuck in, you would never know that he had the disease. You wouldn’t know anything sad about him, he makes people laugh and have fun.
Just for fun Novak and his adult brother in law Bradley Montague stared making videos. They cam up with a character, Kid President, and built a set out of cardboard, and used furniture you could find at any good yard sale to create an Oval Office. Novak sits behind a desk (and sometimes on it), and offers his words of wisdom, great interviews, hilarity and sometimes just dancing.
When Novak has a guest in his videos he talks to them through a can and a string and typically gets them to dance as well. Josh Groban, MC Hammer and most recently President Barack Obama have appeared alongside Novak.
But way before the celebrities started catching wind of the 9 year old President, Rainn Wilson from NBC’s “The Office” and the creator of the YouTube channel Soul Pancake found Novak and recruited the boy wonder to release his videos on the Soul Pancake channel.
While no one knows the terms of any revenue split or profit sharing, Novak had one requirement before joining the Soul Pancake channel, and that was of course to eat pancakes. Which he did.
Kid President’s videos have been seen tens of millions of times and he’s been featured on just about every decent sized media outlet known to man. In fact the Obama administration had Kid President be their April Fool’s Day prank this year. With that every major tv network picked up Novak from behind the podium in the White House briefing room.
Montague and Novak never set out for fame or money, they just wanted people to be happy, to get along better and to dance (so far the only celebrity that Novak hasn’t asked to dance has been Obama).
Being in the content business we are sure there is some money being made, and it’s most likely all being saved up for Novak and his sister’s college funds. They offer some Kid President merchandise and since Kid President’s White House appearance for April Fool’s Day and as a grand marshall of sorts for this year’s easter egg roll, his popularity has again increased ten fold.
And it all started with a cardboard set that he and his brother in law made for fun.
Caine Monroy was also nine years old (last year) when some cardboard made him famous. For him he wasn’t looking for fame either, he was just having fun putting his entrepreneurial mind to work in his father’s used auto part store.
Over the previous summer Monroy had created an “arcade” out of used cardboard boxes from his dad’s shop. At one point a filmmaker named Nirvan Mullick walked into the shop looking for a door handle for his 96 Toyota Corolla. Curious about the boxes shaped like games, Mullick asked Monroy what he was doing and he said he made an arcade.
Some of the boxes turned into games required more imagination than skill, but some games actually had mechanical function.
It’s amazing what a lot of heart, a big imagination and a smart smiling 9 year old can do.
Monroy told the filmmaker he could pay $1 for two turns or $2 for an all day fun pass and 500 turns. Intrigued by what the 9 year old had built Mullick paid for the all day fun pass.
A short while later Nirvan had returned to the auto parts store because he wanted to make a short film about the innovative cardboard arcade. He found out that day that Nirvan was Monroy’s first and only paying customer. To Monroy’s surprise Nirvan recruited a flash mob of paying customers which made Caine’s day.
The short film went viral and with that a campaign to create a college fund for Caine was born. That college fund raised $228,000 and then it was matched dollar for dollar to support the Imagination Foundation.
Find out more about Kid President here
Find out more about Caine’s Arcade here