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Pokemon Go as a Career? Get Paid to Play the Game

I’m always interested in unique ways that people can apokemon-godd to their income. You’ve heard me talk before about how you need both large and small streams of income, because they all add up over time to allow you to have the financial freedom you want.

Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with David Roddenberry, co-founder of HealthyWage, about the latest crazy – Pokemon Go. I’m sure you’ve heard of the game, and likely you’ve even played it or are interested in it. David has an app you can install that will actually allow you to make money while playing Pokemon (and with other activities as well.

Exclusive Interview with David Roddenberry

RRM: Where did you get the idea to start HealthyWage?

David Roddenberry (DR): I studied health care policy and was working in finance. I saw a study in JAMA showing that financial incentives can more than triple the effectiveness of weight loss programs. The idea really resonated with me that we could make people more successful at losing weight by rewarding them when they are successful. So, we formed HealthyWage to commercialize this idea and identify the most effective way to use incentives to drive behavior change.

RRM: Tell us a little about Summertime Stepping…

DR: The Summertime Stepping Challenge is a 30-day step challenge that starts on August 1, 2016. It costs $30 to sign up. Throughout those 30 days, participants will compete to increase daily step average by 20%. For example, if  a participant has a daily average of 10,000 steps per day based on their step history (as determined by syncing a Fitbit or Jawbone device or phone app), their new personal step goal is 12,000 steps per day. If their total steps by the end of the challenge is 360,000 or more, they win! All winners receive an equal share of the challenge’s jackpot. 

Additionally, the Summertime Stepping Challenge has an added element in the form of teams coached by alumni from The Biggest Loser. These teams add a fun and motivational component while the coaching adds tips and encouragement from people that truly know the impact walking and increased physical activity has on your overall health and well-being.

RRM: Since people are getting out and walking around while playing Pokemon Go, how can these two apps integrate with one another to help you have fun and make money at the same time?

DR: The setup of Pokemon Go makes it easy for the two apps to work together.  Participants download a step counting app on their phone and the steps automatically sync to HealthyWage. As you get active playing Pokemon Go, your steps show up in HealthyWage and you accumulate prizes. Participants play the game and win money for beating their personal step goal!

RRM: This program seems like it would work fabulously for any age. Mall walkers could use it, etc. What are some other ways people can integrate this program with everyday living?

DR: HealthyWage’s Step Challenges are absolutely a great fit for people of all ages. Anyone that has a fitness tracker, smartphone, or even an old-school pedometer and internet access can participate. Some creative ways people are getting more active during a challenge include walking their kids to school, conducting walking meetings at work,  and walking their pets.

RRM: I noticed that there are tips offered from some of the Biggest Loser contestants. How does this help motivate people?

DR: The Biggest Loser alumni spent a great deal of time throughout their weight loss journeys being more physically active than ever before. They know first hand just how big of an impact something as simple as walking more can have on a person’s overall health. As Danny Cahill, winner of The Biggest Loser Season 8 says, “More than 50% of my exercise while losing 239 pounds to become the Biggest Loser Ever was walking.” The alumni will use this knowledge to encourage and inspire their team members while also providing actionable tips to help them get moving more.

RRM: Tell readers about the 20% challenge… 

DR: The 20% aspect of our step challenges is designed to push people outside of their comfort zones to increase their physical activity. The goal is meant to be attainable enough to help people succeed while still forcing them to push a little harder to get those steps in every day. Each participant in the Summertime Stepping challenge is given a personal step goal based on their recent step history. Before signing up for the challenge, people can sync their fitness tracking device (Fitbit or Jawbone) or smartphone tracking app with our goal maker. The goal maker automatically computes the mean average of steps an individual has taken over the past 45 days. Then, it calculates their new daily step goal that is 20% higher than that average. For anyone that does not have a device or a long enough step history, their personal step goal is 10,000 steps per day.

RRM: I know there has been some research done in the past about how cash incentives can motivate people to lose weight. Are there any studies about how cash incentives can help motivate people to exercise more?

DR: Absolutely. Research shows that the “stick”, the threat of losing money is the most effective incentive to motivate participants to get active. See http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2491916

Due to the effectiveness of the “stick” we require participants to pay to play in a challenge.

RRM: Do you play Pokemon Go? What are your thoughts on the phenomenon? 

DR: Absolutely. It’s exciting! Anything that  gets people moving more is a winner. In the case of Pokemon Go, people are having fun, building connections with their family and community, and getting healthier all under the guise of a game. It’s genius!

RRM: Does your company have plans for any new programs in the near future?

 DR: Yes! The use of financial incentives to change behavior is a complex question. We see a lot of potential to alter the size, duration and timing of incentives to drive behavior change.

A very special thank you to David Roddenberry for taking the time out of his busy schedule to share his thoughts on Pokemon Go and ideas on how to make money through HealthyWage. What do you think? Have you tried out this app? Do you love Pokemon Go?


Lori Soard has worked online designing websites, writing, editing and promoting clients since 1997. Through Promo Warriors, she's consulted with over 100 clients to help them figure out what online presence works best for them. In addition to helping people learn how to start their own businesses, she writes feel-good books about the way love and the world should be.