Meet the Puzzle Hunter!

Do you love mechanical puzzles?  Do you love games?  I do and I’m lucky enough to be making a living at the things I love.  For me, I feel like I have the best job in the world.  My name is Tanya Thompson and I work for a wonderful mind challenging game company called ThinkFun.  My title at ThinkFun is Inventor Relations.  This means I get to travel the world meeting inventors to source the new ideas to bring back into the company.  What could be better than that?

I haven’t always worked in the toy industry.  For twelve years, I was a mathematics teacher.  I used games and puzzles in my classroom to inspire my students to learn.  I began to speak at mathematics conferences where I met Bill Ritchie.  He is the co-founder and C.E.O. of ThinkFun.   Four years later, he asked me to join ThinkFun to build a new education division.  This education division was under the umbrella of Product Development at ThinkFun.  Product Development is the process where a product begins as an idea from an inventor and then is developed to what you’d see on the store shelf.  As the Director of Education, one of the things I loved the most is meeting the inventors and helping to develop a product from an idea.  So about eight months ago, I was asked to take on the role of Inventor Relations.  Since the company was founded, Bill Ritchie was responsible for this for ThinkFun.  But after 25 years, he was now looking to pass the reins onto someone he trusted.  And I was honored to be that person!

In my life, my career has already taken on many twists and turns and I’ve had many crucible moments.  I love mathematics, I love puzzles and I love games.  I’m not the smartest at any of these; in fact, I can’t hold a candle next to most of the people I’ve met so far.  However, what I lack in talent, I make up for in passion.  I am very passionate about this business and what I love most is the people I meet.  I’ve been lucky enough to have many supporters and mentors along the way.  I’ve met people that I’ve admired since I was young girl.  My friends have said, “Tanya, I can’t believe all the incredible people you’ve already met in your life and all the amazing places you’ve been!  You should be writing this down!”   And so, with this blog, that is what I plan on doing.  I want to share with you the incredible adventures I have as I search the world for ThinkFun’s next best games and puzzles.  And I want to connect with you as I love connecting with people.  So welcome to my Puzzle Hunter blog!  I hope you enjoy the ride!  I know I will!

10 comments to Meet the Puzzle Hunter!

  • So glad to see your blog up and running! I’m looking forward to reading all the great puzzle hunting adventures you’ve got to share :)

  • Katie

    This is great news Tanya! I can’t wait to read about your adventures.

  • Anxious to hear more, keep up the good work! ;)

  • Chris Thompson

    Looks pretty cool. Now I can learn even more about what you do.

  • Marion Locke

    I am excited to see what you are doing now. Your excitement shows in the smile on your face.
    Maybe you’ll have to look into puzzles to stimulate seniors.


  • Lisa

    This is great!! I look forward to reading about your travels and the ideas you turn into reality!!

  • Great to see you got the blog up and running! It looks great. You certainly do have the best job in the world! I’m looking forward to reading about your experience at G4G9!

  • Krista

    So happy for you that you love your work and can’t wait to see you at a future TED conference – - as THE speaker!

  • Thanks everyone for leaving your comments! I appreciate you reading my first post. Your support of me is truly heart-felt!

    @Marion: Definitely puzzles for seniors is a big thing. Keeping your brain exercised is a big thing for ThinkFun right now. Stay tuned!

    @Brain: We’ll have to link our blogs together! I was wondering if you were going to the Gathering, I’ll definitely blog about it.

    @Krista: Speaking at TED would be incredible but I’d be happy just to attend!

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