Clayton Valley High School Alum Cleverly Discovers the Meaning of “If at first you don’t succeed…”

January 3, 2014 10:54 am · 8 comments

Obeying the speed limit, the drive from Los Angeles to San Diego takes about two hours. In that amount of time you could listen to thirty-five or forty songs on the radio, count roughly the same number of freeway exits between these two cities, or even get through a nice chunk of your favorite audio-book. In early 2012, Clayton Valley High graduate Jason Santa Maria used his time on that drive to think up something clever; quite literally in fact. He thought up the educational card game “CLEVER”.

Why are there only 4 suits and 2 colors in a standard deck of cards? What if instead of having the ‘A’ in the upper left hand corner represent the ‘Ace’, it represented an- apple? What if instead of having to match said apple-card to another apple-card, you matched it to a banana? Then you’d be matching fruits!

This was the conversation Jason had with himself on an otherwise ordinary drive from Los Angeles to San Diego. This was also the beginning of a game that would go on to become “CLEVER” an educational card game that creatively implements Spelling, Math, Color Matching, Sequencing and Categorizing all within the same game!

“It just seemed to make sense, and I was simply having fun forming a game that I thought someone else had likely already come up with.” Jason told “Once I discovered there wasn’t really a game like CLEVER, I very excitedly began to flesh it out.”

Months later, Jason learned about a website called- Kickstarter, a crowd-funding site set up to help inventors and entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground, through receiving pledges from the general public. “I didn’t know what crowd-funding was, and certainly hadn’t heard of kickstarer.” Jason had to say. “…But as soon as I saw what kickstarter was about, I knew I had found the way to get CLEVER published!”

Only weeks after learning about kickstarter, Jason launched his game “CLEVER” on the site and excitedly watched his project begin to receive the funding it needed. 30 days later, the project was deemed “Unsuccessful” and any funds that had been raised for the game were voided. Along with Jason, the educational card game CLEVER, had failed.

“Yeah, I was certainly disappointed. I remember questioning whether or not the game was even any good.” Jason said of his failure on the kickstarter site. “Still, in the months that followed I would continually be asked by people that knew about the game- What’s going on with CLEVER, Is it in stores yet? …It was those questions coupled with what I had seen CLEVER accomplish with kids, that provided me with the encouragement I needed to push forward and continue working on the game.”

Fast forward a little over one year to November 23rd 2013. Jason re-launches his clever card game back on the crowdfunding site- kickstarter. By December 3rd, just 10 days after launching the project, it reached 100% of its funding goal.

“I was overwhelmed at the amount of positive feedback I received on the game, as well as how quickly it was able to hit the funding goal- it felt good!” Jason said. “I couldn’t be happier and simply can’t wait to begin manufacturing CLEVER in early 2014!”

“The funding goal I set for the project is just enough to have the game manufactured and then shipped to the people backing the project.” Jason said. “Every dollar raised on top of the goal will be poured directly into helping CLEVER become successful. Admission fees and travel expenses for toy & game conventions, upgrading the materials used in the manufacturing of the game, and even bringing in professional marketing and sales people to help promote the game are all things I hope to be able to do through additional funding.”

“…it’s the educational aspect of the game that most excites me. …watching kids use their brains, actually learn, and even teach other kids while playing CLEVER is something I’ll never tire of,” Jason said when asked what he most enjoys about his game. “Still, the coolest part (of CLEVER) is that the kids (and adults) don’t even realize they might be learning! They’re just having fun playing a game!”

Jason’s invention – CLEVER, will continue raising funds on kickstarter through Jan. 11, 2014. You can lend your support by checking out the project and picking up a copy of the game for yourself by clicking HERE.

Teacher January 3, 2014 at 11:34 AM

I plan to get a copy for my class. This is the type of game/learning we need in the classroom. Nice job Jason.

Shelly January 3, 2014 at 11:43 AM

WOW !! I never cease to be amazed by people with original and excellant ideas, and persistance paid off! I’d like this for my grandson.

Antler January 3, 2014 at 12:07 PM

I not only love the game concept, but also Jason’s personality and his style of presenting the game in the video. Best of luck to him. I’ll be referring many in my extended family to the link.

tired of taxes January 3, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Kickstarter is quite a boon to the budding enterpreneur.
There are a lot of fun and/or educational table top/board game projects on there. There’s also been a lot of custom playing cards for those who know how to draw. Getting a set of cards printed in bulk for $2-5 then selling them for $10-$50 is quite the profitable venture.

Amazing! January 3, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Congratulations Jason! I’m happy that you didn’t give up on this last year. I know it will be successful for you!

@ #4 January 3, 2014 at 2:57 PM

You sound so jaded.

I’d hate to be you (or related to you). I bet if you have children, they can’t live up to your ideals, am I right?

Bet I am.

Jason Santa Maria January 4, 2014 at 8:57 AM

Wow, thanks everyone for the kind words and well wishes. I was traveling yesterday and didn’t realize Claycord had posted this! So cool!

I’m eternally grateful for the continued support I’m receiving from such a great community of people!

Thanks everyone!

I’ll check back with this comments section if anyone has any questions they’d like answered, as I’d be happy to.

Jason Santa Maria January 4, 2014 at 10:22 AM

P.S.- THANK YOU Claycord!

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