Sunday, July 15, 2007

If You Build It....

Black Diamond Games started almost as a protest. My favorite game store began to suck after the manager left. Worse, nobody ever seemed to stock stuff I wanted. I thought I could do better. My IT career was making me tons of money, but I was pretty miserable. IT was something I did to make money while my first business venture (poorly conceived but well intentioned) got off the ground. That venture didn't get off the ground and I was left with a very good career that I generally despised. I drowned my misery in expensive game accessories and German automobiles. It was better than crack, but about as expensive.

Getting the store up and running happened so fast that it seemed almost fate driven. My wife and I went on a road-trip vacation in August, and around Montana I decided to do it. I drove back at great speed, skipping a few days of the vacation so I could get started (she'll never forgive me for that one, but that's another story). I began writing a business plan and talking with my business partner, a money guy, on how to get capital.

My new job at Kaiser as a network architect started at the same time. They seemed to ignore me, trying to find me a place as a cog in a massive project, so I ignored them too while I wrote my business plan (I still feel bad about this). The business plan began coming together. In September we found a site, after a lot of work on a feasability study. In October we started building the site. I managed construction on my lunch hour. I quit my job and the next day flew to Madison, Wisconsin for a game trade show. The notary visited the hotel so I could sign papers to refinance the house to fund the store. The store opened November 3rd.

The trials of the store and learning the trade would take many postings and would be filled with fear, uncertainty and doubt. So lets skip those. Like my IT career, I stepped into the game industry (retail) with hardly a clue and eventually figured it out. I think it came from knowing I didn't know what I was doing and that I needed to learn. I'm still in that same situation.

What I really started this blog to go over is version 2.0. A few years into running my own store I realized its limitations. The big limitation was income, which was being limited by the small size of the store and the high rent. The other was where I wanted to be in my new career. I never envisioned a one-man shop. I never thought people would call it "Gary's Store." I really enjoy those people and I don't intend to hide in my office in the next store, but I wanted something, well, bigger and better. Black Diamond Games 2.0 is all about that.

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