“The advice I give to CEO’s is to always recognize and acknowledge that their #1 resource is their staff. When employees are appreciated and prioritized, it lends itself to a positive work environment and leads to much bigger success.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jim Silver who is the CEO and Founder of TTPM and if you want to know anything about toys, he’s your guy.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
Thank you for taking the time to let me share a little bit of insight into my world. I am the CEO/Editor-in-Chief of TTPM (Toys, Tots, Pets & more), and we are the leading video reviewer of Toys, Baby Gear and Pet Products. We are a digital media company and create video reviews for over 5,000 products yearly and TTPM videos have had over 500,000,000 views. In 2018, we expect to receive over 200 million views of our videos.
Prior to TTPM, I was the Co-Founder/Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Toy Wishes Magazine. Toy Wishes was the first of its kind when it launched and the publication changed the toy shopping experience giving consumers more information than ever before to make an educated buying decision.
I’ve been working in the toy industry for more than 30 years and have many strong relationships with many industry leaders asking me for my point of view. I am not shy and will tell you if I like your toy and I will tell you why. And If I don’t like it, you will hear my constructive critique.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Every Halloween we showcase the best costumes for kids and adults. One year I had a Cinderella costume I needed to video review and decided to wear it during the review. I didn’t know how to put it on so I had to call another team member to help zip me up. For the first time I got a small glimpse into what it’s like for a woman to get dressed up. It’s not easy!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Our company stands out for many reasons but one of the things that has contributed to our success is the amount of quality content we are able to produce quickly. We can execute this because of our in-house studio and our knowledgeable staff of experts in the fields of toy, baby gear and pet products. When we get the samples to review we know exactly what to focus upon, look for, and how to feature them to make it both entertaining and helpful to our viewers. I doubt there’s anyone in the world who can put out 100 quality review videos in the same amount of time and with the small staff we have. We are a nimble team and we love what we do. I always like to say I have the best job in the world and I constantly feel like I’m Tom Hanks in the movie Big.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?
Sneak Peek Toy Review is a new partnership and we’re really excited about it. Driver Digital Studios and TTPM have teamed up to create a professional YouTube channel combining toys and entertainment for kids. All of the toy reviews are all done by kids and they are a sneak peek at all the highly anticipated toys. Driver Digital Entertainment is known for developing content for children on every relevant platform around the world. You can check out the videos on Sneak Peek Toy Review on YouTube. In only a few months we have far exceeded expectations on viewership.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
The advice I give to CEO’s is to always recognize and acknowledge that their #1 resource is their staff. When employees are appreciated and prioritized, it lends itself to a positive work environment and leads to much bigger success.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
Neil B. Friedman has been the CEO and President of Alex Brands since October 2014. Mr. Friedman served as the President of Toys “R” Us from April 4, 2011 to February 24, 2012. Prior, he was President of both Mattel and Fisher Price. He has been my mentor since I came into the business and he really took me under his wing. I am forever grateful for his mentorship and friendship.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
We are fortunate because many companies send us products to review and we get thousands of samples of many toys. We are able to provide toys, baby gear and pet products to families in need when we are done reviewing the products and with any duplicate copies. We work with several different organizations to distribute them and provide families with toys for the holidays and year-round.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. SEO — I wish I knew more about SEO. How websites are written is as important as how it looks and functions. We did a redesign of our website and made it look beautiful but the search engines only cared about the content and key words.
2. Sleeping is an option — It’s hard to get sleep when you live in a digital world because you’re open 24/7 worldwide. We learned this the hard way when we first launched and received a call from an angry studio at midnight on a Saturday that something immediately needed correcting.
3. When you’re a self-funded company the stress level is 1000 % because every day you’re looking at the bank account and watching every penny to make sure you get the ROI and it’s even more important when it comes directly from your own bank account.
4. Don’t be too far ahead of the world. This sounds funny but it’s true and fortunately the world caught up to what we were doing. When we first started out consumers made less than 2% of their purchases online. Now about 35% of the categories we cover (toys, baby gear and pet products) are made online and 85% of all purchases are researched online first, whether they buy it in the store or online.
5. The digital world is the wild west. Everything keeps changing but you need to be ready to evolve. You need to utilize platforms that are new and make sense for your business. At TTPM we have the largest game show on twitter and that’s something we created to engage with our audience and create something fun to give away toy packages. We are constantly trying out new things and to see if they work. One example is that we are currently testing out dog treats and reviewing different brands to see if there’s interest from consumers.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
I have 3 things I live by.
1. Do the right thing. Unfortunately the right thing can be painful to you or others
2. The best way to predict the future is to create the future
3. For my staff: Be Nice, Be Nice and Be Nice…no matter what. When it’s time not to be nice, I’ll handle. Let people we work with only be upset with one person.
10. Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂
Coming from the digital world I am in awe of everything Jeff Bezos has built. I have heard him speak and think he’s brilliant. I love that he takes risks and is a disrupter. I would love to have an hour with him.
Originally published at medium.com