Interview with CEO Richard Yanofsky

WowWee is an innovative and energetic place to work, with new ideas and products zipping by our product developers almost daily!

There is a noticeable air of enthusiasm in the office, that comes directly from one of its founders – Richard Yanofsky.

We snagged him for a quick interview for his views on toys and the history that brought WowWee to where it is today.

Q: What is your favorite WowWee product?

RY: I would have to say Robosapien. [It was our first big hit and I remain loyal to it today.]

Q: Which item or items from recent product lines do you feel are the coolest?

RY: [I think all our toys this year are amazing, but I especially] love Lite Sprites. I think there is a lot of play, empowerment and it’s very immersive for a little girl.

Q: When WowWee was started in 1988, did you envision/imagine the company veering in this direction?

RY: Yes I always felt that we were out-of-the-box thinkers and although we always gravitated to the gadget/cool/toy space we were consistently focused on being original.

Q: Where do you feel the future of WowWee is heading?

RY: [I feel like we're going] towards establishing more of a direct relationship with the consumer, which inevitably will have an impact on the type of product we develop. I additionally see us delving into areas that take advantage of technology in practical applications.

Q: Do you consider WowWee to be ‘just a toy company’?

RY: I think that WowWee has historically developed product with a “toyetic” approach, however, the toy industry as we once knew is completely different. The extreme pressure that technology, more specifically the electronic gaming experience supplied by both the platforms of console and mobile have forever changed the way consumers interact with product. This compression finds most toy manufacturers looking to develop product for a younger age group at cheaper prices. Consequently, I don’t feel that the resources that this company has are best served catering exclusively to the toy industry.

Q: Where does WowWee get its innovative toy ideas?

RY: Over the years we have created a vast network of resellers, inventors, buyers, engineers, joint ventures, vendors, licensors/licensees, etc…in several countries throughout the world. To me this is one of the company’s biggest assets, something that we are always looking to take advantage of. I also think that the pulse of the company is centered around innovation and we are always looking to take different approaches from disparate industries in an effort to cobble together product. We are more than ever, sensitive to making products that deliver a clear, concise payoff to a user.

Recent Comment

  1. I would like to see the Light Strike setup be a bit more in depth, something along the lines of the modular aspects of your game with the score keeping and game setup of the discontinued (but still “the best”) LTTO or the discontinued but still awesome Ubisoft Battle Tag system (which I would love to see with you guys). I would love to see a direct connection between the vest and the gun, that way when you are dead via the vest the gun won’t function. I would love to have a game setup with a timer system either in the guns themselves or better yet through a RFID computer tracking system like Battle Tag. For future generations of the system. But keeping the modular aspect of the guns themselves to allow for customization. I really think you guys should talk to Ubisoft about their Battle tag system, and see if you can get the tech for cheap, as it is arguably the best thing to happen to laser tag. You guys are awesome and i love your guns, though the designs are a bit “meh” and the button placement on the rifles are not exactly great. I would love a lockout so that when the game actually starts players are locked to certain things. With a centralized computer scoring system, this would be solved. Work out the tech I know that the current gen wouldn’t work with it…but for a future gen (especially if you create a new standard with the tech) you guys can possibly have the most successful home laser tag setups in the nation. I really suggest you go to the laser tag arenas that are out there and look at what they are doing. Target your sales through the people who play those games. This would be the best thing you could ever do.

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