Celebrating Heroes

Sailors Create Clever Mobile App Game, Puzzle Perks’ Prize a Discount Code

OpsLens Deck of 52 Most Wanted Post 9/11 Frontline Leaders

In 2018, as a spin-off and salute to the original 2003 deck of 52 Most Wanted playing cards, let’s honor post 9/11 frontline leaders here at home. Once a week, for 52 weeks this year, OpsLens will post a card highlighting one of the 52 Most Wanted Post 9/11 Frontline Leaders. You’ll learn the top facts about their business or organization, as well as why they made the list, which comes down to impact, scalability, health and unique value proposition.

I encourage you to look for these weekly updates, share the card with your network, and support or buy the products and services they offer. See the 52 Most Wanted Post 9/11 Frontline Leaders launch story here.

5 of Spades | Puzzle Perks

Connection between intelligence & games

More than one study has made the connection between higher intelligence and playing games (video, board, cards, etc.). This matches my personal observation from my time in the military, where I met some of the most intelligent people in the world and there was never a shortage of Spades or Call of Duty taking place in the barracks. Thus, leave it to two US Navy veterans to revolutionize the popular game of Sudoku, and turn their idea into a business that saves money for the average consumer and helps small business owners effectively advertise. Kirsten Wheeler and Paul Jacobs cofounded Puzzle Perks, a mobile application in which you play a game that looks a lot like Sudoku, but you’re using letters instead of numbers, which spell out a discount code upon completion. That code can then be used with a variety of online retailers to save you money! Again, both parties win—the gamer receives a percentage off their purchase (and the secondary benefit of keeping the brain active) while the business scores big by gaining awareness of their products.

In 2013, when Kirsten pitched her then nascent concept at Startup Weekend amongst dozens of contenders, Puzzle Perks landed Best Idea for the Bay. Upon her retirement this spring, Kirsten will become a full-time vetrepreneur, accelerating Puzzle Perks into what many assert is the fastest-growing industry ever (mobile application development). And according to the Global Games Market Report, the global games business will grow to $108.9 billion this year alone, with mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) generating a lion’s share of the revenue. Do I have your attention now? The originality for Puzzle Perks is positioned well to capitalize on this market. And, yes, regardless of their inevitable rapid-scale outcome when Starbucks or Chipotle learn about them, Puzzle Perks will always have a dedicated section for veteran business (play your first puzzle perk today to unearth a 20 percent discount code for Combat Flip Flops). Kristen and Paul’s ingenuity and commitment to those beside them reflects perfectly on the larger military community.

Puzzle Perks is a frontline leader that should be on your list of most wanted businesses to support in 2018.

Frontline Leader (Founder(s)): Kristen Wheeler and Paul Jacobs.

Name of Company/Organization: Puzzle Perks, founded 2013.

Location: North Carolina.

Post 9/11 Service Connection: Kristen is a Navy Surface Warfare Officer and dabbled in Army IO (bonus—prior enlisted). Paul is also a Surface Warfare Officer and Naval Academy graduate.

Tours of Duty: Both have served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places near water (seven ship deployments between the two of them). Kristen was on the USS Cole when it was bombed while in port in Yemen, October 2000.

One sentence tagline & mission statement: Solve the Puzzle, Earn a Perk. Offer Perks, Gain Exposure!

Company / organization website: http://puzzleperks.com/ 

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The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Marjorie K. Eastman

Marjorie K. Eastman is a US Army Veteran. Eastman served 10 years in the Army Reserve, including two combat deployments. She received a Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, and has her MBA from Vanderbilt University. She is on the 2018 list of Top 25 Influencers supporting the military community and also a 2017 National Independent Publisher Award winning author of The Frontline Generation: How We Served Post 9/11.

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