10 Questions

Each month in the Inventor Newsletter I ask 10 Questions of an established inventor or game company. The results are posted below and will be updated monthly.

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Brian Hersch (Apr '08)
Q - # of years in the industry, # of years as a toy & game inventor?
A - I've been a game inventor for 23 years

Q - About how many toys & games have you had published? Which is/are your favorite(s)?
A - 47 games.   My favorites include Taboo and Outburst and Oodles and a game called Carducci (that never licensed.)

Q - Favorite toy or game that is not yours?
A - Probably Trivial Pursuit because it was that success that fired my interest in the game business.

Q - What did you do before this? And how did you make the transition?
A - My background was in real estate development.   I'm not sure there was a transition in the usual sense.   Since my brother and I are partners, he continued overseeing our real estate endeavors while I focused on games.   Eventually games just became a bigger (and therefore, more important) focus for us.

Q - In a typical year... how many toy & game ideas do you prototype? how many presentations do you make? how many get licensed?
A - Over the years the number of games   we prototype hasn't changed much.   We tend to only do 4 or 5.   But where we once averaged licensing 3 or 4 of those, today we expect to get 1 or 2 to market.   And there are years when we don't get anything new to market, and that's just the nature of our business.

Q - What is your process for getting toys & games seen?
A - Like other established (read: older) inventors it's now just a phone call process.

Q - What is your favorite thing about the game/toy industry? Least favorite?
A - My favorite thing:   royalties.
My least favorite: they only come quarterly!
Seriously, my favorite thing is working in a business where I get to exercise my creative instincts at the same time I utilize my business skills.

Q - Do you see any current trends in the industry?
A - Sadly the trends I see are not the ones we would all like to see.   Continued downward pressure on costs; difficulty launching new products; challenges in marketing.

Q - What one thing that you know now, do you wish you had known when you were starting out?
A - Actually it turns out the things I "didn't know" were to my benefit. I didn't know you couldn't do certain things, so I went ahead and did them.   I think if I could go back and change things, I probably wouldn't.   I'd just make different mistakes.

Q - If you were to give beginning inventors one bit of advice, what would it be?
A - Test.   Test.   Test.  
Don't rely on enthusiastic relatives and friends.   God bless them - they lie!


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