The co-founder of family game company Thinkfun on the power of staying true to your core mission.
It was 1985. My wife, Andrea Barthello, and I were newly married and newly unemployed (by choice). We were disenchanted with the corporate world and had a vision of making a difference for children, so we created ThinkFun from a small basement in Alexandria, Virginia.
We launched ThinkFun with the ambition to become the world’s leading maker of logic puzzles. Our “competitive advantage” was our creative genius family friend, Bill Keister, a retired Bell Labs scientist who invented puzzles as a hobby. Mr. Keister, as well as my father and my brother, who also were Bell Labs scientists, introduced us to a world of highly creative engineers and scientists who called themselves “recreational mathematicians.” This special group of people dedicated themselves to playing and sharing mathematical ideas that often took form as puzzles or games.