Time is never what you expect
Time is a funny concept. Actual time, play time, place in time, time as an account, time out, the list goes on and on.
It's been quite a while since I wrote a blog, and I blame time. I'd like to think the last two years have been a battle between time's speed and time's lag. Nothing seemed normal. With the pandemic raging, my life seemed to slow down. Little if any travel, however enough Zoom, Skype, Google Chat, GoTo, Blue Jeans, meetings to fill a lifetime of time! As a creative sort, I like interacting with people live and not digitally. Observation is at the core of what drives my ideation. Getting out and getting face to face makes it easier to find those unique connection points. String those points together and you have potential for concept.
But, I survived. In fact, time hit me up in another way in the past two years. Amongst a few consulting opportunities, I joined forces with some very inspiring, talented and longtime friends to co-found and launch a new product company, HUGE Play Inc.. A little old to be starting a company, you say. Well, No, I say answering a little bit peeved! There is truth to be said about knowledge and experience being power. But I digress.
Finding our spot in the world of consumer play was a matter of observing what was happening, connecting those points, and applying solutions to several problems. Quite frankly, there were a lot of opportunities. Still are.
Our good friend time shows up again just as we started this process. It decided now was the time to accelerate and blow-by. At least that's what it seemed like. All that had to get done to get started as a company was immense, and that's before we actually developed anything. Before we knew it we filled our initial seed investment in what seems like record time. Not to brag, but there was that seasoned experience and knowledge thing going on.
We knew we wanted to be in market during the fourth quarter 2021. Here we were in November of 2020, all of us remote and deciding to design, develop and manufacture a new product! Time or no time, this was crazy talk! Time most definitely was not on our side for a 2021 launch, but we pushed on. It's worth mentioning that our product is a high complexity talking animatronic marvel that works alongside a mobile game, and involved development of grounds-up firmware and software, mountains of content to be written, recorded and programed, packaging and instruction sheets to be designed, finding and executing a production with a qualified manufacturer, compliance, testing, on and on. We knew today's consumer was entrenched in online sales, so we also needed to develop a dedicated website marketplace. Not to be just resting on all that, we needed to develop a consumer online pairing app to make it all work seamlessly. Yikes, what were we thinking? Where did the time go? Crazy huh?
One other small thing. We were doing all this when the prices and availability shortages of electronic components were escalating faster than a bull market on steroids! Supply line chains were suffering the biggest delays in history taking months longer to get form Asia to North America, not to mention shipping container costs increasing ten-fold plus. I think I heard time snickering in the background. Ignore him.
The good news is perseverance prevailed. Oh yeah, that experience and knowledge thing helped (sorry, I can't help myself). There were just four of us and two external helpers to get this thing done. Yes, time made it harder to ship exactly when we wanted to, however, developing a high complexity product and getting it to the consumer by the last seven weeks of the year was pretty amazing. It allowed us to have some robust sales for the holiday. Take that Mr. Time!
Our first product, GameBud Talking Tom was featured by the Wall Street Journal as one of the top tech products of 2021 and we achieved all sorts of influencer accolades as well as a Gold Award from Moms Choice Awards. Not bad for ten months huh? Where did the time go?
So now what is next? Time to relax for about ten seconds and we are off raising a much more robust funding raise to help scale the business. We proved that we could create and manufacture a innovative complex product that reached our intended audience. Box checked in impressive time.
By the way, time will not leave us alone, once we move into our next phase. But in a way, time is sort of a partner and holds our feet to the fire.
We have a huge opportunity to make a difference in a growing consumer category with innovative product not bound by walls of nay sayers. That's the fun part.
Oh, thank you for your time.