Breaking the rules: why this toy start-up is saying no to sales reps

By | January 29, 2015

This morning as I sat in our start-up headquarters (a.k.a my converted rec room), I received a call from the top toy sales rep in the US. He had seen our new line of magnetic building toys on The Grommet, and believed they had the right ingredients to be a major hit. He wanted to [...]


The Port Congestion that Almost Stole Christmas

By | November 26, 2014

I paced back and forth furiously. My desk is along one wall of a co-working space, and I was sure that I was bothering someone with my pacing, but I couldn’t stop. I was angry. I had been frustrated and depressed and worried – and would be again – but right then, I was angry, [...]


Where to turn when VC funding isn’t right for your startup

By | September 13, 2014

Six months into founding my dream toy company, Build & Imagine, I landed a meeting with the Venture Capital firm I had most admired. These weren’t the biggest players in Silicon Valley, but they had a fresh entrepreneur-friendly approach and had invested in early stage companies in my product category. I like them so much [...]

Tabeo in Car

6 things parents will look for in an electronic device this holiday season

By | October 21, 2013

Working in and out of the toy industry for over a decade, and conducting interviews with hundreds of parents as part of the product marketing process, I’ve had the opportunity to witness a shift in parental consumer mindset that the popularity of mobile phones and tablets has brought on. The shift is especially noticeable in [...]


Your Customer is Only Human: Emotional Pricing Tactics

By | August 28, 2013

Laurie’s note: this article was selected as a guest post for In business school they teach us to set prices by plotting the demand curve and then choosing an output level and price where your marginal costs are equal to your marginal revenue in order to achieve profit maximization. HUH? I should have lost [...]

Sifteo Cubes: Business Section Front Page Feature in the New York Times.

What’s more influential than a David Pogue feature in New York Times?

By | August 6, 2013

David Pogue is the top technology writer for the New York Times. When he published a feature on Sifteo Cubes he called them “tiny screens bearing tiny delights” on the front page of the Business Section and opened the article with the following compliment: “Put Sifteo cubes in front of someone who’s never seen them [...]


Shocking image of LEGO’s Executives

By | July 9, 2013

I’ve been a vocal supporter of LEGO Friends in the blogosphere, adding comments on the need for a girls line wherever I found critics. I even posed with one at the unveiling at Toyfair. I think its about time LEGO stops ignoring 50% of the kid population. In addition to this line I’d like to [...]

Sifteo at the Game On Gala

The Sifteo Demo Event that Made Me Cry

By | June 13, 2013

Inspired. It’s the best word to describe our evening last night. When Sifteo was given the opportunity to sponsor the very swanky Game-On gala to raise awareness and funds for the Year-Up non-profit dedicated to reducing the opportunity gap for urban youth, I thought, “Sounds fun! We can demo Sifteo Cubes to some movers and [...]


Blast From the Past: My 90′s Portfolio Site

By | May 30, 2013

I graduated from UCSD with a major in Computing in the Arts in 2000. As an undergrad I worked on various multimedia art projects. I especially enjoyed interactive design using the now phased out Director (similar to flash actionscript), and video. If you are curious to explore something retro, check out my undergrad portfolio site! [...]


Don’t think of it as “Crossing the Chasm”. That’s too egocentric.

By | May 16, 2013

Think of it as “Building a Bridge” to meet your customer. As the VP of Marketing for the gaming device start-up Sifteo, I’m helping to transition the company from a product centric point of view (that is most typical of high tech start-ups) to a customer centric one. By thinking from our target customer’s point [...]


MTV Movie Awards: guess what’s inside the goodie bag!

By | April 11, 2013

Best kiss, best fight scene, best villain, best shirtless performance–what’s YOUR favorite MTV Movie Award? I love this annual event for its quirky categories, humorous approach, and democratic process. As a marketer, I love that it brings a bunch of elite influencers together. This year, I have something else to be excited about: Sifteo Cubes [...]


Creating a Lifestyle Video for Sifteo

By | February 4, 2013

I art directed and produced a lifestyle video for Sifteo. The goal was to show how Sifteo Cubes bring families together and to hit on key product features such as tactile play, portability, and expandability. We used variations of this video in online advertising, in store displays, and on a big screen at events.


Sifteo’s CES press roundup!

By | January 18, 2013

Last week Sifteo attended the Consumer Electronics Show, where we rubbed elbows with the techiest companies, visionaries, writers, researchers, and thought leaders in the industry. We had a great time playing Sifteo games with visitors while taking in the general, amazing, barely contained chaos of one of the biggest technology events of the year in [...]

american girl

Success isn’t in the concept, it’s in the execution

By | January 11, 2013

“Success isn’t in the concept. It’s in the execution.”- Pleasant Rowland, founder of American Girl dolls Several years ago I was asked to speak at my high school’s 75-year anniversary as an “amazing alumni” for my achievements in the toy industry including winning the coveted industry awards “Best Educational Toy of the Year”, “Most Innovative [...]


Top 5 Business Opportunity Screens

By | January 9, 2013

Are you considering developing a new product, or perhaps even starting a company? Wanna explore if your business idea has a shot at success before you get too far into development? Try using the 5 opportunity screens listed below to analyze the viability of the opportunity. If your idea doesn’t get a green light in [...]


Sifteo Cubes: A holiday gift guide favorite!

By | December 17, 2012

Gifts for Gadget Lovers The five best tech toys of 2012 “The most innovative playthings of the year…Best of all, they require no tech expertise to set up and use, and they even come packaged with batteries. Within five minutes of cracking open the box, I was deeply immersed in a game.” Hitched 2012 Holiday [...]


I am Smart. You are Smart. Whose Opinion Counts?

By | September 5, 2012

I’ve lived it many times…two intelligent executives arguing over who’s right and who’s wrong. Both with smart compelling arguments that are diametrically opposed, and neither one budging on their position. Or perhaps its the bright eyed product manager trying to sell through their idea to a stakeholder who questions every assumption they have made. When [...]


Debuting 2nd Generation Sifteo Cubes at the Penny Arcade Expo

By | September 1, 2012

When we introduced our new Sifteo Cubes on August 30th, we were also attending PAX in Seattle. As a convention for games, gamers, and all related awesomeness, it was the perfect place to show off our new game system. Here’s a quick look at the mobbed Sifteo booth, and our experience at the show… Creator [...]

Hand Holding Cash

Estimating Willingness to Pay

By | July 7, 2012

In the “the social network”, Mark Zuckerberg’s friend is interested in a girl and wants to know if he has a shot. Mark’s reply is something like, “I don’t know. It’s not like girls walk around with a sign on their forehead that says if they are single.” Then a light bulb goes off (ding!) [...]


Marketing Research Mistake Made by Most Entreprenuers

By | March 2, 2012

I teach a quarterly Marketing Research course to entrepreneurs through Centro Community Partners, and I find this lesson is especially important to teach, and VERY hard to follow. Are you making this common mistake? You have a great product idea. You tested it with your target audience. Heck, they even said they would probably buy [...]


Why I (heart) Justin Bieber

By | July 13, 2011

It’s true. I’ve got Bieber fever! I even saw his movie in the theater (you’re lucky as it’s now airing on TV), and paid the extra few dollars to wear 3D glasses even though the majority of the documentary style film is composed of low res YouTube clips. But I love the kid. And here’s [...]

Elf JPEG 7

EVB (the agency I worked for) was Inducted into FWA Hall of Fame!

By | May 30, 2011

Congrats to EVB for being the 10th agency inducted into the prestigious FWA (Favorite Website Awards) Hall of Fame. Previous Hall of Famers include Goodby Silverstein & Partners, AKQA, North Kingdom, Firstborn, and Big Spaceship. Since being founded in 2000, EVB has won Site of the Day 30 times, Site of the Month twice, and [...]

Hector Javier Preciado Graduation Speaker

Leave a Lasting Footprint

By | May 17, 2011

Student commencement speaker Hector Javier Preciado at Haas School of Business 2011 commencement concluded, “Though we’ve grown by leaps as leaders, our greatest leadership challenges are ahead of us. It would be much easier for my nephew Andres and the next generation of leaders to follow in our footsteps, if we leave a lasting footprint.”


Top 5 quotes from My Haas Graduation Speaker, Barbara Desoer

By | May 17, 2011

Bank of America’s Barbara Desoer, MBA 77, inspired me at MY Haas graduation on Sunday with talk of vision, valor and value. Below are my favorite quotes. 1) And, while commencement marks the end of your formal studies, it marks the beginning of a different kind of learning – where the only syllabus is the [...]


EVB Workspace Featured in SF Egotist

By | May 17, 2011

The interactive advertising agency I called home for several years (I am pretty sure I slept there) was featured in the San Francisco Egotist: The article highlights the very creative workspace that contributes to the culture that churns out innovative interactive ad campaigns. It looks a little different than when I worked there. Instead [...]