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Flick of Fate

Entrepreneur scores with low-tech game in high-tech world.

This story appears in the September 2010 issue of Start Up.

It didn't happen the way you might think. Not when children and sharp-pointed origami paper footballs are involved. No eyes were put out or even poked--despite countless dire warnings from mothers. Spud Alford simply saw some kids playing a game he remembered playing during his own childhood--finger football--and thought there had to be a better and safer way. He invented the board version of the game in 1989, but he didn't "take it to the next level." After a brief run, it died.

In 2004, Alford, 55, was wide awake at 3 a.m. and had an epiphany: He was supposed to follow through on his 15-year-old dream. "I found the material, I found investors, and I stayed the course," he says.

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