What do you do in the industry?
I invent puzzles and games and have licensed products to Hasbro, Mattel and a whole host of other companies. I also create syndicated word puzzles and games that are played by more than 10 million people each day in newspapers, books, online and apps. I LOVE MAKING PUZZLES & GAMES!
What is your claim to fame in the industry?
I am the author of the Jumble puzzle seen in more than 600 newspapers. I create it with amazing cartoonist and game inventor Jeff Knurek. It’s the world’s # 1 daily syndicated word game.
What are you working on now?
My wife Claire and I founded the David L. Hoyt Education Foundation. The DLHEF was formed to provide, support and encourage play-based and collaborative learning. Educational games have become my prime focus. In fact, this all came about from GIANT Word Winder, which debuted at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair and was seen by a teacher there. The David L. Hoyt Education has strong connection with the Chicago Toy & Game Fair.
What does your typical day look like?
I get up early! I’m usually working by 4 AM. I love waking up early, but I almost never set an alarm. Excitement to start my day gets me up in the morning. That and my love of coffee! I like to start working on my syndicated daily puzzles early in the morning and then shift into other things like game invention in the afternoons. I’ve become so busy making daily puzzles lately, that I haven’t had as much time to invent new games. I need to free up some more time, because I love inventing!
What’s your workspace setup like?
I have a great work setup. I have an awesome desk with a three-screen computer setup. But the best part is that I’ve set it up in a way that makes it pet-friendly. My co-workers have four legs. Our dog Daisy and our cats Simon and Tootie are usually very close to me while I work. I also have a great outdoor desk setup on our patio. I feel very fortunate to have a workspace that Daisy, Simon, Tootie and I enjoy so much.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The work I’m doing with Claire and the David L. Hoyt Education Foundation has become the most rewarding part of my job and my life. I take a lot of pride in seeing games that I’ve invented being played by students, teachers, librarians, etc. What I see going on with our GIANT Word Winder and GIANT Math Winder games has me so excited. I feel very fortunate to be able to interact with so many students, teachers, librarians, etc.
What’s a problem you’re trying to solve?
I think the biggest way for me to help the world is to try to make learning enjoyable. I want to educate people in a way that they don't even notice they have learned something. My foundation teaches social-emotional learning while reinforcing literacy and math by playing giant games in teams. The Jumble teaches people about the nuances of the English language, as well as provides an opportunity for learners of any age to practice vocabulary skills. My new app World Search World Traveler teaches players new words, geography, historical facts, and current events. I am very passionate about giving people a chance to show themselves what they already know.
What and/or who inspires you?
Working with kids has really inspired me. When I see children collaborating while playing our games, I get very, very fired up. I find it very fun to be inspired by children. I feel like it gives me hope for the future.
How do you recharge or take a break?
I love taking our dog Daisy for a walk. I am so in love with her. She is such a great pal and doing anything with her is so enjoyable for me.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
At one point in my life, I focused too much on making money. I thought money would satisfy me. I confused money with success and happiness. I no longer feel that way.
What do you read every day, and why?
I love anything related to outer space. I get so excited about this like exoplanets and the James Webb Space Telescope. I go to Space.com almost every day.
When is the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I laughed out loud this morning while talking to my wife Claire. She has a wonderful sense of humor. We laugh a lot. Her wit and sense of humor is one of the many things I love about her.
With the success of my latest app, Word Search World Traveler, I want to focus on worldwide collaborative games. I’d love to try to “bring the world together” with my collaborative games, and the success of Word Search World Traveler is laying the groundwork for that. It’s a big dream of mine, and it may take years, but I’d like to see if the puzzles and games that I create can part of a much bigger collaborative experience around the globe.