Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rumors and Innuendo

Established game stores eventually get elaborate stories and rumors surrounding them. These stories are usually about the origins of the store. Most are laughable. They're usually excuses to explain away their success. One Bay Area store was allegedly run by dot com millionaires. I emailed one of the millionaires in question and he informed me he was sitting at his desk eating a tuna fish sandwich he had brought from home, definitely not his first choice of cuisine if he was a millionaire.I'm a PB&J guy, by the way.

The most recent rumor about our store was that we are part of a larger chain of stores. The "chain of stores" rumor is not surprising, since I do try to make the place look professional. I once came down hard on a pair of con artists after they thought they could pull a check scam on who they thought was a typical corporate store manager. I told them where they could go, pointed out the cameras and they scurried off like the vermin they were.

Being called a chain store in the Bay Area is a kind of slur. There's a Bay Area crunchy granola tendency to spurn chain stores. Unlike my friends and relatives in Southern California, who regularly mention chain stores in their status updates, there's a tendency in the Bay Area to see them as, at best, a necessary evil.

Positioning your opponent as big is also a good business strategy, ala Guy Kawasaki. Americans love the underdog and love to hate the big guy. Being labeled a chain store kills your indie buzz and sets you up to be knocked down. That's not to say I don't want more stores. In fact, I decided this week that a second store is desirable, if not close to totally impossible to pull off.

In any case, you can read my background here. We've got several investors in the business, but I'm the majority owner, or shareholder I guess it's called, since we just converted to a corporation. Nobody was or is rich. I was a dot-com guy at one point, but never got any value from those stock options. There is but one Black Diamond Games.

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