President’s letter – February 8, 2011: “90% of Success is Just Showing Up”

I am just finishing up my work at the Nuremberg Toy Fair, having participated as a panelist in a toy safety seminar this morning to represent the U.S. point of view regarding the new Toy Safety Directive that will impose new requirements in Europe beginning in June of this year.  I hit the road at 5 a.m. tomorrow to return to New York, and will arrive just in time to finish preparations for our TIA Board meetings and Toy Fair. 

Every year I have to ask myself if the expense and the exhausting travel to Hong Kong and Nuremberg can be justified, since I do not buy toys (in any volume), and since there are options like teleconferences that can be used to accomplish the meetings that occur during the fairs.  And every year I return home from these fairs with the realization that had I not come, there are so many things that I could not have learned and accomplished in any other way.

The serendipitous meetings, the nurturing of relationships, the new understandings that I gain, and the visibility of TIA in the global toy industry all make these trips essential.  Each year I meet and get to know three or four new people who are important to TIA and the U.S. toy industry.  These trips enable me to fulfill my role as TIA President more effectively than I ever could if I stayed bottled up in my office.

As Woody Allen famously said, “90% of success is just showing up.”  I hope any of you who are finding it hard to justify the time and expense to come to New York for our Toy Fair will think back to what you have learned at the Fair in prior years.  And I hope we will see all of you next week.

Warm regards to all,


Carter Keithley