Wednesday, May 8, 2013

From Whence They Came

Q: What does a person who has a PhD in psychology, a talent agent, and a rabbi have in common?
A: All three are toy and game inventors!

Richard C. Levy and I explored the "origin of inventors" in the 2nd edition of The Toy and Game Inventor's Handbook. We asked eighty professional inventors profiled in the Handbook the question, "What did you do before entering the industry?". The answers reveal highly diverse backgrounds including accountants, programmers, teachers, software engineers, trial lawyers, mechanical engineers, a biologist, a magician, a talent agent and yes, a PhD in psychology who was a co-development partner on the highly successful Tickle Me Elmo.

In addition, a few professional inventors were fortunate to swim in the right gene pool where inventive parents set the stage for them to grow up in the industry. After living with the early development of classics like Othello, Colorforms, Mr. Potato Head, Battling Tops, Yakity Yak Teeth, Trouble, and Lite Brite, this special group came of age to ultimately license their own toy and game ideas.

A trained priest has been a long standing member of the professional inventing community. But now add another church man to the list, Rabbi Jeff Glickman. In addition to his day job, Glickman is actively pursuing a newly cultivated passion for creating games. He claims to have licensed two game ideas within the past year. Rabbi Glickman sees connections between life as an inventor and the scriptures. Here are a few of his perspectives on how some scriptures relate to toy and game inventing:

Ecclesiastes 9:8-10: "Let your garments always be white...What your hand finds to do, do it with your might." JG: Don't do anything halfway. Make sure all your ducks are in a row. 

Ecclesiastes 11:4: "He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap." JG: "Get out there and knock on doors. Lots and lots of doors. Create the right moment, don't wait for it."

Ecclesiastes 1:9: "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again: there is nothing new under the sun." JG: "Learn from other games that work. Reinvent things in a fresh way."

Genesis 28:6: "And I did not know." JG: "Some very obvious things we don't see. Bounce your ideas
off other people. They will give you perspective on your ideas."

We found the origin of professional toy and game inventors to be incredibly diverse as evidenced from whence they came to annually offer limitless, unique ideas for new playthings. Hopefully, it shall continue forevermore!  

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