Eric Huang is passionate about storytelling. His first ‘real job’ was as an assistant at Disney Publishing in LA, where he worked for six years in various editorial roles. Eric moved to Melbourne in 2001 as managing editor for Penguin Australia. Then he was publisher at Aussie toy company Funtastic’s new book division. Eric now lives in London. He’s publishing director for Penguin’s Media and Entertainment division and is always on the look-out for creative partnerships to tell stories on traditional and new media platforms.
1. What is your most memorable achievement in publishing and why?
Penguin’s partnership with Mind Candy on Moshi Monsters publishing (books, apps, ebooks) is something I’m very proud of. Our books paved the way for gaming tie-in programmes and changed licensed publishing and licensing! A more recent achievement is a work-in-progress. It’s about helping to redefine what it means to be a publisher: thinking about brand and story rather than format and being a driver to create brands through publishing as well as film, TV, gaming, toys.
2. Why do you think people invest the extraordinary levels of passion into publishing that they do?
It’s about storytelling: spotting the kernel of an innovative idea and helping it become something great. Even the worst day seems worth it when you see kids loving the books and apps we create – or having tantrums in a book store because Mum won’t allow them to buy all five titles.
3. If you could travel five years back in time what advice would you give yourself?
Being in licensed publishing will be a huge advantage in the future. Now that formerly distinct media industries have merged and are colliding over storytelling on tablets and mobile, the networks that licensed publishers have in film, TV and gaming has proved very useful.
4. What do you look for when hiring individuals into a digital company?
Someone who is naturally interested in devices like tablets and mobile phones, people who are naturally curious and not afraid to muck in with new technology, new business models, new ways of doing things. And it’s not necessarily someone who comes from a book publishing background.
5. And lastly if you were the living embodiment of a publishing business model what animal would you be and why?
I’d be a clown fish and anemone – like in Finding Nemo – because it’s all about partnerships with people and companies we would’ve seemingly had nothing in common with five years ago…
Thanks again to Eric for taking the time out of his hectic schedule to talk to us. Just so you know he’s a big fan of dinosaurs. You can find Eric on Twitter @dinoboy89.