Back in the day at Hasbro there was the IBR or Internal Business Review. This was a practice run where you got a lot of “super helpful feedback” from the division leadership in preparation for the big show, otherwise known as the MBR or Management Business Review. At the MBR everyone banded together and hoped the guy from corporate wouldn’t say something like “Nobody will buy toys and games about Pirates”. I did see the toy Bop It ! for the first time at an IBR and knew I was seeing something big.
At Lucas there was a Business Review style meeting whose acronym I have forever blotted from my memory. All I can tell you is that the production values of these power point slides was very high and sometimes, more important than the content. The entertainment value of the demos was amazing. The room was always standing room only because nearly anyone from a QA lead to the guy who played the official Chewbacca at events would attend and be called upon to comment on everything from “what’s the right Macguffin for the Next Indy Game” to the overuse of the phrase “for the first time ever”.
At LeapFrog Business Reviews were a full-contact sport requiring literally hundreds of slides. The brilliant MBAs we hired were nicknamed Deck-Monkeys because they did so much powerpoint. The Business Reviews did generate some fun future catch-phrases such as : “Discuss the Undiscussable” and “Rip the Bandaid Off”, but every once in a while one of the teams would give a fantastic musical performance of a new learning song, that would remind everyone why working for a kids company is so special ….. “The A says ahh, the A says ahh, every letter makes a sound the A says ahh” ….
Today was the first Business Review for Fingerprint. There were slides and there were demos, but mostly, there was great conversation about the product and the business. There were some moments – like when the investor asked whether we had considered making a boy version of our Fairy Princess game that reminded me of Hasbro, Lucas, and LeapFrog for the sheer hilarity of the comment, but it passed with some laughs. Fun to think about the past, but even more fun to think about the future – a Business “Preview” so to speak. Eventually we’ll have business results to share, but right now it is fun and energizing just to think about the future!