I’ve been online for a long, long time.
I was first introduced to the Internet in 1991 -it was cool enough just to be online and there was already a healthy USENET community, but once Mosaic showed that graphics + text = magic it didn’t take me long to realize that there was a decided lack of information regarding the toy industry. Having started toy collecting in college around the same time, I wanted to share the information about past toy lines and companies that took me so long to find out on my own. So I built my first few fan sites, and eventually co-founded Raving Toy Maniac, which immediately became the leader of all online toy coverage; we were the first website to cover Toy Fair, we were the first to run toy panels at San Diego Comic Con …we were even profiled on CNN! Although it led to a lot of contacts in the industry and real experience in running a multi-media site (to say nothing of being at the forefront of protoblogging), after a few years of keeping current a daily news site 24/7, I took my skills and knowledge and made the leap to the other side: actually designing toys.
Since then I have designed toys & merchandise for many companies, from Lucasfilm and Wendy’s, to Pepsi and Disneyland. I really, really like creating actual physical things, but after a decade of non-stop work I was getting a bit burned out. So I switched gears and now create promotions and marketing for big corporations like Walmart, Hershey’s, 7-Eleven, and Bank of America. In 2005 I co-founded Action Figure Insider, which quickly became the leader in toy news online. But through it all I’ve kept up my presence here at ToyOtter.com. I stopped actively collecting some time ago but being here keeps me involved in the industry and aware of what is going on, something that has proved invaluable when dealing with fan properties in my marketing job.
ToyOtter has given me a career, a reputation, and the opportunity to experience things most people never will, like living in a factory in China and attending Hollywood premieres with the stars. I’ve written articles for books and magazines, appeared on DVD extras, and been featured on NPR, CNN, Wired.com, Gizmodo, Fark, Geekologie, Digg, Boing-Boing, National Review Online, Cnet, G4, and the official Star Wars blog, among others. And now I’m finally creating my own toy lines. We’ll see where it all goes.