Living in the Future: A Life in the Toy Industry

To work in the future implies that, one, you believe there will be a future and, two, that the future is highly malleable.


I live in the future, and most of you do as well. That thought occurred to me when I realized that, like most of you in the toy industry, virtually everything I do in my business creates an outcome that will happen months and even years from now.

If you look at the toy industry from a macro perspective, we in the toy industry shape the adult lives of today’s children. Favorite toys in childhood shape academic choices, professional paths, and personal relationships. (When you consider that “Transformer” action figure boys grow up to marry “Barbie” doll girls you can see why “Men Are From Mars and Women are From Venus”).

On the micro-level, we are an industry that works years in the future. Inventors create products that can sometimes take a decade to reach the market. Our designers create final products and packaging that will not finalize for one or two years while our salespeople start selling as much as a twelve months in advance. It’s the same with retail buyers, manufacturers, publicists, our trade shows, our trade publications, and virtually everyone who works in the business of play.

I don’t know about you, but I find that people who live in the future tend to be optimistic. After all, to work in the future implies that you, one, believe in the future and, two, that the future is highly malleable. That kind of worldview encourages a sense of mastery over one’s destiny. I think that’s a good thing.

I have to go now, but I look forward to seeing all of you in the future.

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