In this episode of MEP, I talk to Allan Staker, CEO of Brain Chase Productions, about the application called Brain Chase, a 5-week long treasure hunt that enhances math, reading and writing skills for kids during the summer.
Allan Staker began his career in the entertainment industry, directing and producing dozens of short films and claiming the 2000 Audience Choice Award at AFI Fest, Los Angeles’ most prestigious film festival. In 2001 Allan founded Liquid Media, a boutique advertising agency where he designed print campaigns and directed broadcast Superbowl commercials for regional clients in the consumer electronics and packaged goods industries. He later managed Studio Relations for Hollywood’s premier box office research and tracking firm.
In 2003 Allan founded a consumer electronics company where he created the Yoostar Entertainment System, a gaming console which the NBC Today Show listed among “Hollywood’s Hottest Gifts,” UberReview dubbed one of the “Coolest Toys on the Planet,” and Rolling Stone included in its “Great Rock & Roll Gift Guide.” Yoostar later evolved into multiple games for XBox and PlayStation platforms.
Allan later managed product marketing for the Safari web browser at Apple, also placing as a finalist in the Apple iContest, a competition to foster internal innovation. As Director of Business Transformation at Hawaiian Airlines in Honolulu, Allan led initiatives such as the rollout of a new in-flight entertainment system. He then directed pricing strategy for Dell Computers’ $3.9 billion North America consumer hardware business.
(01:43) Allan’s background
(02:33) Tell us a little about your career prior to getting involved in Brain Chase and starting that up.
(04:13) Why don’t you talk about Brain Chase, what it is and the story behind it.
(05:50) Who would you say is the ideal customer for Brain Chase, this 5-week treasure hunt?
(07:46) Is there a diagnostic anybody has to take before jumping in?
(08:37) Why don’t you tell us about the technology, the beautiful animation behind all this and the learning design behind it as well for education purposes.
(13:36) What do you think the potential is for Brain Chase? Are you selling this to parents and schools? How many customers do you have so far?
(16:00) When does the treasure hunt start this year?
(16:21) You’ve obviously worked with the Sandefers at Acton Academy. Do you think there’s a model here for either a new school design or something that you can do at existing schools for the way that you’re approaching learning design here and making it really fun for kids, and wrapping the learning around a fun activity in this competition?.
(19:27) I’m wondering about the community here. Have you developed or are there plans to develop a student community around this hunt? What about the parents, is there a community of parents as you go through this challenge?
(21:11) Is there a book that’s most influenced you, and why?
(22:15) What about documentaries, do you watch them? And if you do, do you have a favorite?
(22:50) If you could have dinner with one person you admire, past or present, who would it be and why?