Richard Tait, Co-Inventor of the Board Game Cranium, Dies at 58

Mr. Tait studied pc science as an undergraduate at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh earlier than shifting to the United States, the place he earned a grasp’s diploma at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. When he completed his MBA, he took a job with Microsoft, in the suburbs of Seattle, simply as that software program maker was rising into one of the world’s strongest firms. Not lengthy after, he employed one of the firm’s most notable workers: the future chief govt and chairman Satya Nadella.

In the Nineteen Nineties, throughout the heyday of multimedia CD-ROMs, Mr. Tait oversaw Microsoft’s catalog of reference titles, together with the Encarta encyclopedia and Bookshelf, a catchall assortment spanning Roget’s Thesaurus, (*58*) American Heritage Dictionary, Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations and (*58*) Chicago Manual of Style. He ultimately grew to become a sort of entrepreneur-in-residence at the firm, launching 5 new web companies inside Microsoft inside 4 years, together with Carpoint, a car-buying service, and Sidewalk, a web based metropolis information.

He left the firm in 1997, hoping to turn into a radio disc jockey on the energy of his Scottish brogue. But after a failed audition, he determined to develop Cranium, constructing a brand new firm, Cranium Inc., with Mr. Alexander, a former Microsoft colleague.

When they completed creating the recreation in late 1998, recreation shops and different conventional retailers had already stocked their cabinets for the vacation shopping for season. But one afternoon, after they met for espresso at a Starbucks in Seattle, Mr. Tait had one other thought: What in the event that they offered the recreation via the espresso store chain?

“His thought was to promote the recreation not the place video games had been offered however the place our clients had been,” Mr. Alexander mentioned. “Most of the folks we had been going for would by no means set foot in a recreation retailer.”

Through an acquaintance, Mr. Tait organized a gathering with Starbucks’ chief govt, Howard Schultz, and shortly Starbucks was promoting Cranium in outlets throughout the nation. Later, Mr. Tait and Mr. Alexander organized related offers with and Barnes & Noble, each of which had been then identified for promoting primarily books, not video games.

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