10 Questions

Each month in the Inventor Newsletter I ask 10 Questions of an established inventor or game company. The results are posted below and will be updated monthly.

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Haim Shafir (Feb '08)
Q - # of years in the industry, # of years as a toy & game inventor?
A - I am one of the "Old Timers." I started in 1978 so this year I celebrate 30 years in the industry.

Q - About how many toys & games have you had published? Which is/are your favorite(s)?
A - When I passed 50 I stopped counting. My favorite games are, of course, Halli Galli, Taki, Eight and a Half and Cocotaki.

Q - Favorite toy or game that is not yours?
A - Construction toys where my favorite toys as a child and still are. As for games, Mario Brothers is one of my favorites.     

Q - What did you do before this? And how did you make the transition?
A - I am a mechanical engineer and 2 years after I graduated for the university I started to manufacture and invent games. After 10 years of doing both, I quit the manufacturing part and devoted myself to inventing and developing. And all my games are now licensed to customers in various business models.

Q - In a typical year... how many toy & game ideas do you prototype? how many presentations do you make? how many get licensed?
A - It is difficult to say because there is no "typical" in our type of work but I can say that I never developed more that 3-4 games a year. Sometimes I redo an old game or upgrade a game which is running so if you add that, my output can be slightly more. I make presentations usually during shows about 3 times a year.

Q - What is your process for getting toys & games seen?
A - I usually show my games myself, making sure that the proper attention is given. Very rarely do I simply send a prototype to a customer. I do it only with customers I know for many years and already have working relationships.

Q - What is your favorite thing about the game/toy industry? Least favorite?
A - My favorite thing in this business is the people, and the love for playing that some still have. My least favorite part is the long process it takes to get from Idea to Actual Product.

Q - Do you see any current trends in the industry?
A - Yes. Line extensions. All companies who have leading brands try to expand the brand by adding more games under their brand and fortify their grip of the market.

Q - What one thing that you know now, do you wish you had known when you were starting out?
A - There is no "One Thing" that I wish I knew but certainly I wish I could earn my connections and my expertise in less effort and expenses since it was a "Long Way to Tiparery".

Q - If you were to give beginning inventors one bit of advice, what would it be?
A - Do not look for what sells. Nobody really knows what will sell tomorrow. just do what you love and then look and find those who love what you do.


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