How long have you worked at Educational Insights?
I’ve worked here for 2 years.
How do you like it?
I hate it. [Laughs]. No, I’m just joking. It’s wonderful. Incredible. It’s a dream job in many ways. I get to make toys, make games, and play games with the kids. It’s awesome. I love it.
What drew you to working here?
I was attracted to being able to develop something that would enrich kids. Its fun, but there’s also enrichment and educational value. There’s something about just building toys and games that are educational and all that that’s exciting to me.
I have a little background in this but I am not, by trade, a product manager. I’ve done marketing and whole slew of different types of things. So, this is a very new thing for me. I don’t come from a huge background of developing toys and games, but I had a lot of experience as a kid.
When I was a teenager I had my own skateboard company. I’ve always had a creative flair. My dad was an incredible craftsman and woodworker. He could make anything out of anything! He would make suits of armor out of cardboard, he would do spaceships and swords, and I just watched him!
So what was amazing was that when I got this job, it all just came out and I was able to do just all this… All these great things.
I’m an artist too, I can paint, I can do so many things, and it all just came together in this job.
So you invented the EI Puppets. Tell me about that.
I love puppets, I grew up watching the Muppets and with my boys… I’ll put a sock on my hand, and boom, instant puppet! Anything can be a puppet! A dinner roll can be a puppet. A pillow. Anything. That’s what I would do with my kids… have fun little puppet shows. All kids love puppets.
Somehow I realized, hey, puppets are great. How about come up with a new kind of puppet? Something that kids could use…something that’s easy. Something that’s fun, that’s imaginative.
What was your favorite toy growing up?
It was called Fisher Techniques. It was this building set from Germany. We played with Fisher Techniques for hours and hours. All the different combinations of pieces. They’re very durable. Once you put something together, you were able to play with it.
What’s your favorite toy here?
Well I am partial to the puppets, but I love play foam! It never gets old.
What was your most unconventional inspiration?
Well, I came up with the talking bug net. So, I love bugs. I am always looking at bugs. If I see a bug, I’ll stop and I’ll look at it. I’ll try to pick it up as long as it doesn’t have a stinger.
My sixth grade teacher had a praying mantis in the room, and it was just the coolest looking thing. We went away on a weekend and the mantis layed an eggsack and it had hatched, and there were baby praying mantises all over the room! So that was really cool to me!
So a couple years ago, I bought my own praying mantis at a gardening supply store. I got one, hatched it myself, and I just watched them! So that was where I thought it would be cool to have an electronic praying mantis!
There are more bugs on the planet than humans by far. They’ve been here forever, and they probably will be until the Earth blows up! You know, roaches have been here since dinosaurs and they’ll stay here.
Bugs are fascinating to me, so I took that inspiration from my excitement from bugs and made the talking bug net.
What’s your favorite animal?
I think most animals are really fascinating. But I think I’m fascinated by… well here’s another inspiration. You know the fish puppets? The deep sea angler?
Deep sea creatures are really fascinating to me. For one, they’re weird, and for 2 they’re just unbelievable that they can survive at the depths of the ocean. So, I’d say deep sea angler if I had to pick one.
What’s a day in the life of Brent outside of work?
Well I’m a father on two very active young boys who are constantly moving and wanting to interact with me whether it’s playing a video game, basketball, or wrestling.
How old are your boys?
6 and 8. So, I do a lot of that. [laughs] I also love surfing, and I brew beer!
List of Favorites:
I’m a world war history enthusiast…
Saving Private Ryan (Drama) and Forest Gump (feel good)
Carne Asada Burritos!