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In Silicon Valley and the tech world, building a startup is almost seen as a rite of passage. Working at a startup is commonplace: not just acceptable but venerated. That culture has brought a lot of innovation and perhaps a few silly ideas to the world, but sometimes it’s worth it to step outside that bubble to see what can be learned from cultures in other entrepreneurial enclaves.

I had such an opportunity at the Toy Fair in New York last week during its Launchpad section. It featured roughly two dozen entrepreneurs who built a prototype toy and a website, and paid $1,900 for a 6-foot long table at the show. Several people showed off board games, figurines, including the above pictured Obos, and a variety of other items waited for a distributor or a buyer to discover them.

While talking to eight of the assembled entrepreneurs I realized…

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