Inventor Perspectives: Why T&GCon Rocks!
I published this article back in 2011 and many of the inventors below have gone on to create more amazing new things, but I think that their conference feedback is still valid. If you have the time, the money and the drive to be in the toy or game industry I hope to see you in Chicago in November!
Okay so you’ve got an idea for an awesome game or toy — now what?! Yeah, I get that question ALL THE TIME and I have one answer….go to T&GCon. But spending money on a conference isn’t what most people want to hear when they’re already considering self-manufacturing a new concept. Which makes sense — BUT I can’t stress enough that starting off on the right foot is essential to success and the best way to make sure you’re doing that is by getting advice from people who have ” been there and done that.” You see, one of the great things about T&GCon is that there are LOADS of experienced toy and game people all willing to help with design questions, legal questions, packaging and shipping questions — pretty much any question you have and many you don’t realize you have — and trust me, there are usually TONS new inventors don’t know to ask! Now, I’ve been promoting this event (which I’m NOT paid to do) for years because I think it’s an amazing experience for both newbie inventors and more experienced ones, but you don’t have to just take my word on it this time because I asked some others who have been there what they took away from their T&GCon experience. Here’s what they had to say:
“I really valued hearing people in the business talk honestly about their experiences. Because there are speakers from every aspect of the business, you get a 360 view of the industry. I especially love hearing about other inventor’s successes and sadly, but not uncommon in this business—failures. Mary Jo Reuters honest and funny account of how she kept track of her rejection submission demonstrated the persistence it takes to succeed while also demonstrating a good inventor’s necessary optimism for trying lots of new ideas.I also thought it was interesting to hear a large mass market brand say that often times game play isn’t looked at all that closely. The ability to communicate the game or toy in a 30 second commercial spot was far more important as high volume sales right off the bat was their driving factor.”
Gina Manola, Inventor of Notable Novelists
“I went through my notes from the conference and realized there is something I learned that I always keep in the back of my mind when I’m preparing a presentation. ‘When you present a concept, make sure you clearly and effectively get your idea across. You should be prepared to supply all important and relevant information so that when your concept is pitched internally it can speak for it self without you being there.’”
Andrew Mercer, Inventions in progress…stay tuned!
“I attended my first T&GCon after I’d already self-produced the game I invented. What I learned is that I should have attended the conference much earlier in the game – before I hired anyone to work on my product – It would have saved me tens of thousands of dollars. The panel speakers are both knowledgeable and approachable. The organizers have set up the conference and all the networking events in such a way that make it super informative, yet casual and fun – a career catalyst for anyone looking to get into the toy industry, and a great way to make important face-to-face connections you won’t find anywhere else.”
Mary Kay Russell, Inventor of Ultimate Party Block by Fundex, (will be out this Christmas!)
“Because our industry is spread all over the world, we inventors can feel a bit isolated from our friends and colleagues in the biz . Email, trade shows and the occasional phone conference or road trip help, but they don’t compare to the information-sharing/connecting opportunities the T&GCon provides. Last year during the conference, I got to preview and discuss the box design for my new game Story Speller with Matt Nuccio, when it magically appeared on his iPad during a lunch break, fresh out of the mind and computer of one of his talented graphic artists at Design Edge in New York City! It was a classic T&G Con moment.”
Colleen McCarthy-Evans, Inventor of Story Speller by Think-a-lot Toys and In A Pickle by Gamewright
“Having been a professional inventor for years, I’d learned much of the informational content shared at T&GCon the old-fashioned way – through trial and error, blood, sweat, and tears. I’ve often said if this conference had existed 20 years ago, it would have saved me 10 years’ worth of shoe leather. Still, each year I learn something, but the most valuable jewels I’ve taken with me are the connections I’ve made with other industry professionals who have quickly become my colleagues and business partners.”
Peggy Brown, Inventor of Q-bitz by Mindware and It’s a Dog’s LIFE by Winning Moves
“T&GCon teaches me the value of networking and allows me to connect with and learn from both fellow inventors and industry experts. The Navy Pier venue and the dedicated, hard work of Mary Couzin and her team, creates a fun and exciting experience for me that I look forward to year after year!”
Joyce Johnson, Inventor of Cartoon-It by ThinkFun
“TAGIE is a MUST for anyone in, or wanting in, the game and toy business! The 2011 TAGIE EXPO will be my fourth and hardly my last. I can’t stop going. Each and every year, TAGIE has gotten bigger, better and more informative. The game and toy industry icons as well as big box companies are all there and there for YOU. I have been in the board game design business for 8 years now and nowhere have I found a more up close and personal experience. When I say personal I mean, at lunch, passing the salt to the makers of Apples to Apples. The expo gives invaluable, how-to’s, new ideas, friends, and industry contacts. And for anyone wanting the absolute truth about their idea or product look no further than the one-on-one presentations with the pros. And to top it all off is the TAGIE awards dinner, which is a fun night that is hard to put a price tag on. I really don’t know how Mary Couzin pulls it altogether but I know the inventors and the toy and game industry is really glad she does.”
Keith Gardner, Lots of new games coming next year…but right now they’re a secret!
If you’re interested in attending T&GCon, click HERE for more info and to get $100 off attendance and sign up NOW!