Running my own business was never something I wanted to do. When I put my first game on Kickstarter, it was largely just to challenge myself. I wanted to design a game and release it into the world.
In hindsight, it might have been better just to find a publisher for it. But also in hindsight, it eventually led me to where I am today, which is not a bad place to be. Except that I am running my own business, and I don’t really have the skills required to do that effectively.
Compounded with that, I am plagued with over-confidence. Even though I may not be good at solving that particular problem, I’m going to barrel forward and assume that I’ll figure it out eventually.
It took a while for me to learn that other people could help me, and finding the right person for the job ended up being way easier than trying to deal with everything for yourself. When the second Gloomhaven Kickstarter raised $4 million, I realized I should probably get a financial adviser (and someone to make sure my taxes were being done correctly). When customer support requests got too overwhelming for me to handle on my own, I hired Price Johnson to take over as a community manager.
I also began to realize that I really didn’t like running a business. It wasn’t playing to my strengths, and I was sort of succeeding despite myself. Finding someone to take over your business operations, however, is a little more tricky than finding an accountant.
Cephalofair Games is everything to me, so any person I find would need to have two very important qualities. First, I would just need to trust them. Like, trust them completely. With everything. Well, not quite everything, but, like, lots of important stuff.
Second, I would have to trust them to do a great job. I’m sure I could find a lot of people who could do a better job than me, but if I’m going through all this trouble, then they need to do quite a bit better than that.
For a while, I was convinced that the person I was looking for would be another board game publisher. Surely they could do a great job, and there were a few that I trusted as people, as well. It never quite worked out, though, for a number of reasons. Chief among them being that I didn’t want to disrupt the great work they were already doing, making great games, by asking them to take on the additional labor of running my company as well.
I mean, mergers happen a lot in the board game industry (or any industry), but that wasn’t really what I was looking for either. I’m not interested in growing and expanding in that way. I just wanted someone to handle business operations without me necessarily losing any autonomy to continue doing what I wanted to do (namely, design cool stuff).
So, a year after I hired Price to run community management, after he had already run a couple very successful conventions for me as well, we had a talk about expanding his role further. While he has never run operations for a board game company, he had spent the last year integrating himself into the industry, and, with some further guidance from me, he has the potential to grow perfectly into the role. He has strengths where I have weaknesses, and I think he will be a great fit for the company.
So I keep talking about “operations,” but what exactly will Price be doing? Well, first and foremost, he’s going to improve and streamline the replacement parts process. It’s something he’s already in charge of currently, but working full time at his old job has held him back from getting ahead of the requests and fixing the problems that have cropped up in the process. There is currently just a huge delay between when we get a request and when our fulfillment partners send out a part, and fixing this issue is the number one priority.
He’ll also be transitioning over to handling all other operational aspects of the company, dealing with licensing and localisation partners (as well as finding new partners to continue to expand the brand), working with our factory and distribution broker to coordinate new printings (and make sure replacement parts are stocked). Also working on merchandising and making official products like Gloomhaven T-shirts, coasters, and stuff like that available, as well as setting up an official Cephalofair.com web store to sell them as well as our actual board game products, and coordinating the manufacturing and warehousing of all that stuff.
Basically, there is a lot of stuff to do, and I could probably go on forever listing all the various aspects of his job, but that should give you a good idea. Instead of doing that, I’ll just let Price speak for himself and leave it at that:
Thanks Isaac. Hey Everyone!
As Isaac mentioned, I’m Price! For the last year and a half I’ve had the pleasure of moonlighting as Cephalofair’s Community Manager. By day I’ve played a full-time role as an operational manager for a credit union here in Sacramento, CA where I live with my wife, Marcie, and our two amazing kids Clarke (3) and Liam (1).
<Here’s where I’d like to pause to thank them profusely for their patience and support as my board gaming habits…escalated…over these last 2 years. Love you guys!>
FUN FACTS: Aside from dadhood, my hobbies include board games, escape rooms, and karaoke. Twilight Imperium III was my first taste of what modern day board gaming could offer. Descent 1E introduced me to my love for dungeon crawlers. I will buy anything designed by Vital Lacerda &/or Ian O’Toole. Anything.
WORK STUFF: My professional background includes experience overseeing operational processes as well as marketing, event planning, project management, customer service, warehouse fulfillment, vendor management, and sales. It has been incredibly rewarding being able to apply so many of my skills to a singular role and I’m excited to continue assisting Isaac and his talented partners make really cool stuff . First and foremost by catching up on some of the areas Isaac has already mentioned above.
If we haven’t already met by email, social media, or at a convention – I hope that changes soon! So many of you have already reached out over the last two years to share your enthusiasm, creativity, and feedback and it really has been the major motivator for us to keep pursuing new heights. I’m absolutely thrilled, and humbled, by the opportunity to serve in a larger role for Cephalofair. Look forward to meeting you soon!