2020 – The Year of Perfect Vision
The best time to write anything – whether it is a blog, an article or a song, is when you feel you have something to say. Something that, for one reason or another, needs to come out. I have found it difficult, or more precisely I have not felt like I had anything I really wanted or needed to say in the last two years, at least not here in this space. I guess I did not want to say anything to the internet in general, because of the terrible divisiveness and mean spiritedness I have seen and experienced second hand. It has not been a safe place to share views, opinions or ideas especially social or political ones. I am not a social person – although my job forces me into social situations, and I am not a political person, although politics are impossible to ignore. I am what I would call a middle of the road thinking person, someone who likes to learn about things without judgement. I try to be an open minded and easy going person when it comes to listening to the opinions of others even though in many ways I may be “not so easy going” when called on to be a leader or as a family member, especially when it comes to protecting people I work with and people I love.
The reason I am blogging now is because of the corona virus. I’m not blogging because I fear it will kill us all, I’m blogging because I am hoping that people are becoming more receptive because of the world’s situation. This might be wishful thinking, but I believe that people cannot help but see that we are all human, all prone to dying unexpectedly and we should, because of the fleeting nature of life, try to be more accepting of those we encounter, less quick to anger, less prone to snap judgement, more patient, and most of all we should be kinder and more helpful to those who need our kindness and help the most.
I am blogging because of what my friends and associates are going through, mostly because I have been again reminded of our humanity and I felt the need to reach out. I want to offer positive support in an uncertain time, and to encourage people to get along better. Anyone should be able to clearly see at this point, that there are far worse things out in the world than a difference of opinion.
In fact, my friend and associate Kurt Bieg, ran a kickstarter called “To Live” and it was another thing that got me thinking about reaching out. His kickstarter is exceptionally thought provoking. It is about loss and how the realization of loss and its ongoing relationship to us through change, is part of what defines how we live our life and how we derive meaning from it as time goes on. The “To Live” card deck he developed is really a brilliant way to recognize the importance of living each day to the fullest. Being grateful is to live each day as if it is your last.
I was never a generous child, so I had no way to gauge whether or not I would be a generous adult. As a child we did not have “abundance”. We had good meals to eat and a home that was just big enough, and maybe it was a little smaller and a little less than most of my friends had.
Even so, I had my own room and was very appreciative to have that space. My parents were always a little behind the eight ball financially and so having less money worries as I grew up was really a primary goal in life besides a driving desire to see the world and eventually to be the boss of my own company.
Having reached the unexpected and surprising situation of being the CEO of a mid tier company, my goals shifted a few years ago to intentionally helping others in their daily lives, and to make a bigger effort to treat people with appreciation and respect. I began to try not to panic as a rule, and to calm down in the face of concerns, as quickly as possible. I am human and not perfect, but I have achieved a lot in the way of being calmer, thinking through situations and trying not to jump on people or a “bandwagon” before I know the whole story. It’s hard and like with losing weight, in the area of self improvement, the work is never really done.
I dislike “ism” of all kinds. Ageism, Sexism, Narcissism, Also – while I am not 20 anymore – (frankly my 20’s were not my best decade anyway) – if I have to be categorized by my generation I guess I am a boomer who works like a millennial and relates best to that group. I think technology and games are the drivers for me there. Frankly I would be proud to be part of the millennial generation if I could. I am most inspired by people who are in that age group and I love the way they think and the way they work. In general they want meaning in their work – and this is something I have always wanted and was lucky enough to eventually find. I can relate to people who want MORE THAN JUST A PAYCHECK – they want to accomplish something and at the end of the day they want to be proud of where they work, who they are working for and the work they are doing.
I don’t know how I got so lucky when I started hiring people and continued to be lucky as I kept hiring people – but when I say I am so lucky to be able to work with the people on my team and my extended teams, I mean it and it is not just lip service. And sometimes I can even get upset or jump the gun and they forgive me for it. I think being able to be human and worried and honest with the people I have on my team is what makes it possible for me to move forward and take on bigger goals. This team draws power from accomplishing hard things, and yet we are able to make mistakes – fix them and get better at it all.
What’s new for 2020? Well for one thing on April 1 we move into a building that has a warehouse which is 103,000 square feet – it is enormous by almost anyone’s standards (except maybe Amazon or other Fortune 500 companies) and it is a daunting and exciting and huge step. We will be working far more closely with Blackbox, helping to make the process of kickstarting and fulfillment and life after kickstarter a more seamless . process for indie designers. It has been the goal all along – but with the support of Cards Against Humanity we are able to accomplish even more. Most of my NJ team and I took a field trip to the new warehouse – and everyone seems excited and positive. Over all I think it is going to be amazing for our company and the companies we work with. Remember the little green turtles you got as a kid? The bigger the bowl you put them in – the bigger they got? We are a company moving into a bigger space and I have no doubt we will grow to accommodate that space. (BLATANT AD FOR WAREHOUSE SPACE and FULFILLMENT SERVICES TO FOLLOW) So it you need warehousing or distribution services, Kickstarter fulfillment, labeling services or need to assemble kits or run a subscription box service let us know!! firstname.lastname@example.org
Blatant Advertising for the new warehouse aside, I am happy to be writing again because it helps me to cement my thoughts and if anything I say is actually helpful to others, then that is an added benefit.
Recently I went to Germany for the 2020 Nuremberg Toy Fair – to meet with some suppliers and see what’s new. At the time I already had a pretty fair idea that it would be my last overseas trip for some time to come. I walked around Nuremberg one entire day. Since it was sunny and relatively warm I was able to walk for hours. I thought about the path that led me there and was able to really appreciate the city, instead of just seeing the inside of a hotel and convention center – which is what I usually do. I went to visit the Toy Museum which I have always wanted to do, (pics below) and I got to have dinner with some designers and others in the industry who I have met over the years since I entered the tabletop gaming world. There is no better feeling than seeing someone you know in that context – in another country in a small restaurant or bar and being able to catch up. It feels like extended family and these are people who are in the same field and have been going to the same shows and it just feels like things come full circle at those times. I cannot express enough admiration and thanks to those in the industry who have helped me, referred me to a professional I needed or referred others to my company. Your support over the years has reinforced my love for tabletop – the people, the purpose and the games themselves. If you are reading this – I want to thank you just for being interested enough to read something I have written. It means a lot to me. Hopefully I will have said something interesting. I know that cons will be cancelled for some time and I look forward to the day when we can all get together again and share our new games with the consumers of the world.
We are fortunate that we can talk online to share our circumstances and gain strength from each other. Keep conversations going and stay positive and strong. Stay home, play games and take care of yourselves.
Giant Train Room
Painted people in the toy city