Flipping tables and hiring kids

I have tons of stuff to share with you: the Transistor team and I just returned from our team retreat in Nashville (​here are some photos​).

And soon, I'll be heading to Belgium to speak at ​Full Stack Europe​ (you can still get tickets here​).

But it's Friday, and today I want to share with you two things:

  1. A game I built with my teenage boys

  2. How I hired all 4 of my kids (aged 13-20) this summer


Flipping tables

This past summer, I wanted to work on projects with my three teenage sons.

One idea we had was to build a simple game reminiscent of the old Flash-based games we used to play.

Introducing: Table Flipper, the table-flipping video game 👉 ​play the game online here​ (desktop only)

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

My oldest son (Marty) programmed it, my youngest son (Liam) helped with the concept and tons of game testing, ​and my second youngest (Jamis) created this amazing trailer

"Are you mad at work? Do you sometimes want to flip your table? We've got just the game for you: Table Flipper, the table-flipping video game."

We would love it if you tried it out and shared it with your friends.

Currently, MOM has the high score. 😄

To see your high score, you'll need to refresh the browser. I'll give a free copy of ​Marketing for Developers​ to the first person who gets a score over 150.


Hiring your kids

This game is just a small piece of an experiment I ran this summer.

I hired my four kids (aged 13-20) to work on two types of projects with me in June-August:

  1. Real work projects: they helped me edit my YouTube videos, update my blog, bookkeeping, edit my podcast show notes, create thumbnails, and more.

  2. Creative projects: we also worked on fun projects like this game. The idea was to help them experience the process of conceptualizing something, scoping it, building it, shipping it, and promoting it.

They often came to the office with me (I rent a coworking space downtown).

I also paid them! They got to see (first-hand) what it was like to do the work I do and do projects that actually got shipped (website projects, YouTube videos, this game).

Having them participate in the "family business" has been immensely positive. The kids are all on payroll now and still work part-time for me on different projects.

It’s been a win-win situation where they gain real-world experience, and I get to pass on my knowledge, and skills, and share life with them.

The idea of hiring my kids came from my dad, who was great at hiring us when we were young. He was a principal at a private school and would hire us to do jobs like cleaning, data entry, and work in the cafeteria. Eventually, we graduated to more advanced jobs. For example, because I was interested in computers, he had me work with the IT admin and network the computer lab.

If you own your own business, I highly recommend working with your kids, once they're old enough.

Justin Jackson

Connect with me on: 💼 ​LinkedIn​ 🐘 ​Mastodon​ 🧵 ​Threads​ 🐦 ​Twitter​

Published on September 22nd, 2023
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