by The Bloom Report | 15 Sep 2022
Biographies and Interviews
Hi Noah! Please share with our readers your roles and responsibilities in the toy industry.
I’m a co-founder of Squaregles, where we create construction toys that kids can build AND play on! My goal is to create toys that lend themselves to cathartic play moments, where every child (and parent) can happily get lost in play.
Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry?
My eldest son is the reason I got into the Toy Industry. When he was younger, he'd come up with these super creative scenarios, combining building toys with animals, figures, vehicles, basically everything, but they never quite worked together. His creativity always seemed to stretch far beyond playing with the actual toys that were available to him. He couldn't do elaborate enough builds to match his imagination just with the available building toys to keep him engaged.
Then, on play dates, I would see just how unique each children’s play was. And I was struck by how limited toys were – boy this…girl that…age X this…age Y that… Each child has specific interests, right? This inspired me to develop a building toy that could do more and work for every child, regardless of age, gender or their specific interests.
Well, there it was. A mission. Create a toy system that enables a child – each child - to achieve that magical moment – whatever the child’s particular demographic, interests and needs.
How has your experience in other industries benefited you in the toy industry?
My experience in restructuring companies as a lawyer, working in finance and running startups has really come in handy actually. Early on, we knew to focus on providing a long runway to enable a lot of failing-fast, being super-analytical and still learning quickly and moving forward. We built an extensive global utility and design patent portfolio, well-capitalized the business and set the foundation for like a gazillion contingency plans. And, wow, thank goodness we did, because Covid hit right as we entered the homestretch and playbooks went out of the window. Supply, distribution, product line-up, we’ve had to iterate quite a few times. I’m really happy for my past experiences, as they helped me navigate this industry!
What advice do you have for people starting in the industry?
Do it because you LOVE creation and because others’ joy brings you joy. Do it because you HAVE TO play. But also … deeply understand - as much as you can - design, manufacturing and logistics. To do this work, you need a healthy balance of dreamer and practical get-it-doneness in you.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Easy question. When a child or parent glows with positive feedback - ‘my child played for hours’, ‘it’s her favorite toy’, ‘he never used to play like this’... there is literally NOTHING better. I’m a little obsessed with reviews…(healthy? unhealthy?)
Where do you come up with your best ideas?
It’s more like how do I sift through the avalanche of ideas cluttering my brain, LOL! Everything around me gives me an idea - something one of my children says, a new experience, heck, a light breeze. For me, it’s the work of really validating what idea really merits further thought that’s the challenge.
How do you recharge or take a break?
I fully lose myself in movies. Though my body doesn’t quite work the way it used to, I love physical activity. And, mostly, basically ANY new experience with my family. It really doesn’t matter what my wife and kids are into - I’m all in.
How do you jumpstart your creativity when you find yourself stalled on a project?
I talk it out. Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate. There are diverse perspectives and droplets of genius all around all the time. I only need to ask someone what they think and be willing to listen.
What advice would you give a young adult graduating from high school or college today?
If I can help anyone with advice I would say, “Work hard. Laser focus on doing your absolute best at what you like and better the lives of others while you do it. The rewards, on many levels, will follow.”
What was your favorite toy or game as a child?
Only one toy really stands out… Perfection. You know, fit all the cool shapes into the slots before the timer goes off and they pop. I always loved the challenge, and the surprise when the time ran out. We had a space under the stairs, and I’d take a lantern (for camping) under there for light, and play Perfection. It was an escape. Loved it. (Saying it out loud now, it sounds a bit odd, LOL. But that’s the thing - every kid likes what they like. We’ve got to lean into that in this industry!)
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
Only one!? I make mistakes all the time. So, the thing I’ve learned is to embrace them. Mistakes are key to validating actions and winning.
Who are your favorite musicians, singers or musical groups?
The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, U2, Lorde, Sia, Braveheart Soundtrack, Moby … I can go on and on.
What music are you listening to now?
Ha, see above. Literally everything.
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