Women is...: Shelley Day, Kids' Software Wizard

Shelley Day, Kids' Software Wizard

profession: President and CEO of Humongous Entertainment, makers of the popular "Freddi Fish," "Putt-Putt" and "Pajama Sam" CD-ROM titles for kids.

the basic story: Day's brainchild, a purple cartoon car named Putt-Putt, was born of the bedtime stories she told her toddler back in 1992. That was the year that she founded the Woodinville, Wash.-based Humongous, which makes clever, animated CD-ROM titles.

Humongous -- which Newsweek has called "the Disney of children's software" -- now surpasses Broderbund, Living Books, Microsoft and Edmark in its share of the fiercely competitive children's software market. Acquired by GT Interactive Software in July of 1996, Humongous inked a deal in spring 1997 with Lancit Media Entertainment to create TV programs, movies and videos based on Putt-Putt and friends.

her reach: Three million of her CDs have been sold around the world.
on the acquisition by GT Interactive: Day insists that her small, independent multimedia company hasn't been swallowed by a big, greedy fish; rather, as a wholly owned subsidiary, Humongous has gained valuable distribution channels and deeper pockets without having to sacrifice integrity. "GT Interactive is actually younger than we are," she explains. "Running their own business keeps them busy, so they don't want to fiddle around running the companies they acquire."

her biz philosophy: When Day co-founded Humongous with creative director Ron Gilbert, they focused intently on the quality of their products, "rather than on the money we would make." Boatloads of awards are testament to the wisdom of that judgment.

her hiring philosophy: Day's a stickler for working with the right people. "You've got to find the best people you can for every position in the company, even if you have to wait to hire them," she says. "I'd rather hire someone I have to rein in than having to push them forward. And if something's not right, you have to walk away from it, even if it's at the last minute."

coming attractions: Look for an online multi-player game for kids in fall 1997, courtesy of the Humongous web site.