Otis Perrick

Founder and president, Disruptive Media Publishers, Age 38

In Grade 3, Otis Perrick was diagnosed with dyslexia, and to this day he confesses he is also “horrible at math.”

He went to Kenneth Gordon School for kids with learning disabilities, and every morning before school he spent an hour with a tutor.

That taught him how to hyperfocus, and he believes it’s that focus that allowed him to take an idea he had while at Electronic Arts (EA) and turn it into a successful business that capitalized on the massive growth in online console gaming: Disruptive Media Publishers.

“What that allowed me to do is really focus and hone in on the important things and get done the things of priority that make a difference,” he said.

Anyone who has played a console game like Call of Duty has created an avatar and perhaps personalized it. Perrick makes most of the avatars and add-ons used by console gamers, controlling 65% of the market.

While working at Electronic Arts, Perrick realized there was an evolving, untapped niche for personalizing gaming avatars. The idea was to partner with major sports franchises and big name brands, which would pay to have their brands sold to gamers in the form of personalized items and clothing.

Perrick said EA was focused on its core business and wasn’t interested in developing a market for avatar add-ons, so in 2007, at the age of 31, Perrick left EA to form his own company.

“Because we became experts in a niche area that capitalized on part of their console that nobody was doing, it was a profitable business from day one and was profitable very quickly,” Perrick said.

The company now has sales of $35 million and working partnerships with major game makers and sports franchises, including Activision’s Call of Duty, Microsoft, the NHL, NFL, MBA and MLB. Perrick won EA’s first annual international Marketing X award for Best Marketing Campaign.