Launched in Fall 2013, Free Play™ is a studio that creates interactive learning environments for children through sensory-focused play structures that can be customized to fit any landscape. A father of two, Free Play™ founder and president Dan Schreibman noticed the limitations of standardized playgrounds, and observed that his daughters were much more engaged when playing in nature or in unstructured settings where they were free to explore. Identifying the need for a different kind of play experience, Schreibman conducted an in-depth due diligence with an advisory board of educators, architects, child development experts, and safety consultants. Their research culminated in a revolutionary play environment, brought to life by New York-based firm LTL Architects, that provides an abundance of sensory experiences and gives children the freedom to play as they choose.
My Highlights |
- Every time I trek in the wilderness with my wife and daughters.
- In 2002, on the anniversary of September 11th, I produced a benefit performance at the Public Theater in New York City. Nine children, all related to victims of the tragedy, participated in a two-week workshop in which they wrote short plays, culminating in a staged reading by renowned actors
- Designing and engineering Free Play products.
The Difference Between Good And Great | Passion and commitment.
A Key Talent | Creativity.
As a management consultant, I was at my best when working on important business challenges that required novel, creative solutions. But more often than not, my role was to leverage experience – mine and others – to identify “best-in-class” solutions (a.k.a. the tried-and-true).
For Free Play, I was faced with a new challenge: to create a unique, sculptural play structure – that fosters child-directed, as opposed to structure-directed, play. I didn’t have experience in design – or play for that matter. I jumped in head first with no preconceived ideas. Tapping into my since dormant creativity has raised my performance to its highest level.
That being said, from a general business perspective, you need to get comfortable with taking risks – and learning from your mistakes. This has not always been easy. In my world, perfection is the goal – and falling short is unacceptable. If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not doing what it takes to get to great.
- Embrace every moment
- Don’t take things personally
Lessons I Have Learnt | I lost one of my closest friends to cancer. (Something that was very hard to make sense of). Better than anyone I’ve known, Craig embraced (practically) every moment. The only way I’ve been able to make sense of this is to try and lead a better life. This event ultimately led to leaving consulting, reconnecting more deeply with family and friends, and starting Free Play.
Dealing With Doubt | Self-doubt is part of human nature. When I’m in that mindset, I try to pay attention to what is really true about my circumstances – and take my focus off potentials.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired |
- I love to read. I’ve been in a men’s non-fiction book and wine tasting group for over 10 years. The highlight of every month.
- Hiking in the wilderness and connecting with nature
- Exercise is key. Yoga is my favorite
Advice On Building Wealth | First of all, you need to decide what “rich” means to you. Don’t sacrifice your values.
Probably the surest path is to choose the “right” industry and career – where successful people are wealthy, e.g., private equity, .com’s, working your way to the C-suite
That being said, if you have a passion outside the traditional routes to wealth – you will be inspired to give your best – which often results in wealth, but always fulfillment.