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OPINION Knowledge is power


Steve Reece challenges the ‘know-it-all’ mentality and believes the real beacons of knowledge could be closer than you think


THERE IS a faulty presumption clearly present with some toy industry folk who have achieved a certain level of success. That presumption is likely to lead towards failure and potentially ruin. The presumption in question is the ‘know it all mind-set’ i.e. some people truly believe they know everything about this business, and their work because they have achieved a degree of success. I’ve been privileged to


work with many very successful lifelong toy business veterans in functions from owner/management, R&D, marketing, sales, engineering, etc. Even these highly experienced


people never claimed to know everything. In fact, one of the key criteria of those who have achieved significant success in this industry is a thirst for relevant (and financially rewarding) knowledge.


nuggets of knowledge will have a quantifiable impact on your on-going business. Being a consultant, you’d expect me to be


enthusiastic about the value of external knowledge to a toy company, but the first


The first place to look for valuable knowledge is from within your own company and networks.


It may be a cliché to say that ‘knowledge is power’, but it’s a very accurate cliché in the world of toys. Knowing the right deal terms, the right buyer, the right factory, having objective consumer insight – all of these golden


place to look for valuable knowledge is from within your own company and networks.


The sales person who tells the same old school anecdotes over and over again, the finance director who has been there and


done it, the engineer who has had projects go wrong and fixed them countless times. All these people have


huge knowledge capital which you should be soliciting, because that’s free and usually readily available to someone willing to ask the right questions, and to listen to the answers. Also, the data files within


your company should provide all manner of insights. Repeating past mistakes, or failing to apply learnings your company should already have fully absorbed is pure folly. If you don’t capture key learnings in a documented and readily available format, and if you take a slapdash approach to


delivering efficiency based on existing knowledge, then good luck – you’ll need it! Looking externally, the


myriad of knowledge available to you in this information age is vast. However, you will find that


highly specialised information is often available only directly via those in the know. This can be your customers, friends in other companies, service providers or other external people. The best single piece of advice I can offer to those looking for long-term success in our business is to keep seeking knowledge, and to be genuinely interested in everyone you meet, because their knowledge can become your power.


Steve Reece is a leading Consultant in the Toy & Games industry. Contact him via steve.reece@vicientertainment.co.uk, or see his blog at www.stevenreece.com Blast from the past


ToyNews’ own Billy Langsworthy discovers a range of his old toys during a house move, but can’t remember being ‘that’ child


IN A RECENT house move, I stumbled across two boxes of toys, one contained a range of products that, now, after four or five years of horror movie consumption, I can only see as creepy. This featured a Barney the Dinosaur plush whose years of wear and tear had left his hand-squeezed induced singing sounding more like groans of the walking dead. Super Dee Duper, I think not. But the other box, much


to my delight, was full to the brim with Top Trumps. Since joining ToyNews, I’ve come to realise that toys have the ability to initiate a powerful sting of nostalgia (as the Barney discovery suddenly reminded me, I


was freaked out by the purple dinosaur even when it could belt out a tune). When going through my


old packs, I suddenly became all too aware of the power of the collectable toy. While Horror, Lord of The Rings, The Simpsons and


Warships, Ultimate Military Jets or Battleships but looking at my collection you’d think I’d be chomping at the bit to invade Poland. I’ve still never seen an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayerbut I can apparently tell you who out


When going through my old packs, I became all too aware of the power of the collectable toy.


European Football All Stars packs all made sense to me, my complete collection paints the picture of an owner I no longer recognise. I can’t quite remember having a passion for


of Rupert Giles and Willow Rosenberg has a higher Killer Rating. And, no offence to the


architect community, but I can’t remember rushing out to buy Skyscrapers Top


Trumps and answers on a postcard please as to where The Da Vinci Code pack came from. But, there they are, sitting in my collection. So, as I prepare for my first taste of the Toy Fair season, I’m looking forward to seeing the next possible toy range powerful


Billy Langsworthy is the deputy editor at ToyNews. He can be contacted on Billy.Langsworthy@intentmedia.co.uk 24 January/February www.toynews-online.biz


enough to induce a time- travelling sense of nostalgia for consumers in 15 years time. And if anyone has a


spare moment at the London Toy Fair and fancies a game of Top Trumps Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, I’ll be at stand E2.


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