Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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When I Grow Up…

Peter Hossli has an incredibly strange article about a place called Wannado City. It’s a strange pseudo-amusement park for kids located in the Sawgrass Mills mall in Florida. Parents pay for their kids to spend time there and the kids are given the opportunity to try their hand at any number of real-world jobs, which they eventually get paid for in the city’s special currency. As Luis Laresgoiti is quoted as explaining in the article, “This city for kids should be as close to reality as possible … Money is the most important fuel in every city and every country – also in Wannado City.”

Shudder … It all leaves me feeling a bit disgusted. Sure I think it must be a thrill for these kids, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but the focus on the park is clearly to help kids understand the realities of the world as early as possible, especially when it comes to money. I don’t even really know what to say.

On the marketing tip, “12 sponsors and their logos give the children’s work the stamp of reality. The newspaper that the little reporters research for is called the Miami Herald, Florida’s largest newspaper. Working as a cashier you are employed at Publix, a supermarket chain with over 850 stores in America’s south. On its shelves you can find ketchup from Heinz and pasta from Barilla. The money that the kidizens (junior citizens) accrue is managed at the State Farm Bank, an American financial firm that offers insurance and bank services. ‘Watch how your Wongas grow,’ exclaims the bank slogan.”

August 18, 2008