Elementeo :: Developer Chat with 14 Year-Old Anshul Samar
Chemistry is a pain in the butt class full of boring lectures and charts, right? Not according to 14 year-old Anshul Samar! According to him, chemistry is full of explosive reactions, powerful chemicals and a whole world of fun. To share the excitement with the world, this entrepreneur created the game of Elementeo where players control element monsters, chemical wizards and even mighty black holes as they battle their opponent. Wow? Gary had a chat with Anshul about his game, chemistry and what it's like giving presentations to thousands of people. Here's what he had to say
Gary: What is Elementeo and your company about?
Anshul: My company Alchemist Empire, Inc. is the maker of Elementeo, a chemistry-based card game that is designed to inject fun into education. We have elements from the Sodium Dragon to the Chlorine Troll, compounds, supernovas, black holes, nuclear fusion, and even chemist wizards! As the commanding officer of this army, you move your elements depending on their physical properties, attack with oxidation states, and explore chemistry. Each element card is a concoction of fantasy, action, chemistry and fun!
Gary: What gave you the inspiration to sit down and start working on such a big project?
Anshul: As a kid, I also used to play fantasy games such as [KWLINK ]Pokemon[/KWLINK] or [KWLINK ]Yu-Gi-Oh![/KWLINK], but my parents just wouldn't find them fun or even interesting enough to bother understanding them. I then realized that while fantasy and battling is big for kids, it's not the same for parents. For them, education and learning is big. So, when I stumbled into Chemistry in my elementary school, I realized that I could put fantasy and reality together, and have both fun and education at the same time. I made fantasy from chemistry.
Also, most people think of chemistry as symbols, formulas, and foul odors, but Chemistry is really about experimenting, battling new concepts, and exploring new ideas. The whole idea of Elementeo is to show people that chemistry is really about fun!
Why did I start this? Well, I am in Silicon Valley and I have seen so many entrepreneurs create products, combat with obstacles, and conquer the world. And I just didn't want to wait another 10 years to start my own company :). I want to create, combat, and conquer now.
Gary: What's it like being the boss of a business at 14?
Anshul: I am not really a "boss boss". I have an extended team of freelancers and other professionals from around the world that help me with different aspects of the game. I am very thankful to the artists as they really helped make a fantasy figure for every element, compound, and alchemy card. Besides artists, my team includes manufacturers, lawyers, and advisers - I'm very grateful for their support, and for believing in me.
I am a boss in the sense that I feel responsible for my game and I feel terrible when I miss deadlines or when I cannot keep up to my commitments. I have tried being a boss by telling my 12 year-old sister (who is also in the company) what to do, but I don't succeed much.
Gary: How many people work for you?
Anshul: Like I said earlier, nobody really works for me. But I do have an extended group of artists from Chicago, Los Angeles, and Seattle in the US, to people in India, UK, and Argentina. I also have had the fortune of getting advice from entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.
Gary: In earlier interviews you mention having friends working for you.
Anshul: My friends were not "working for me", but more like helping finish up some early prototypes and get ready for the conferences that I went to a year ago. After these conferences, over the last year or more, I must have developed and thrown away dozens of prototypes trying to come up with just the right concoction of fun, excitement, and education. The game you see today is something totally different than what I had last summer.
Gary: What do your friends think about you being a CEO and inventor?
Anshul: I'm not really sure. I tried keeping Elementeo out of school for the longest time, and I shared this only to a few of my friends who I knew would be supportive. I was a bit nervous to tell them because I wasn't sure as to what they would think. I was so relieved to see them all enjoy the game when I played Elementeo in my school. Out of the 110 eighth-graders, 82% thought that Elementeo was better or much better than the board games that are in the market today.
Gary: What is it like standing up in front of a crowd and giving a presentation?
Anshul: I love being in front of crowds and talking to people. The crowd charges me up. It is great to see that people are willing to hear an idea even though I am an eighth-grader.