Today we drove a lot. Markus did very well for the first time on the wrong side of the road, haha…
As we went from Brighton to Southampton to Exeter, with hardly no motorway between the towns, it really took ages. We were thinking about stopping at yet another university on the way, but realized that was a bit too ambitious.. We still can’t believe all these roundabouts everywhere! This country really is crowded. We did see a plenty of beautiful countryside though, as you can get a glimpse of from my pictures.
Southampton campus pub, students drinking at noon =)
We finally arrived in Exeter in the evening, and discovered that people are at least as friendly and helpful here as in Brighton (and Southampton). Really like the south of England! We went on our usual pub crawl, and had such a nice walk meanwhile. The town has plenty of historic buildings and is full of pretty areas. Favourite pub here was definately “The Rusty Bike”, where we introduced The Art of Science to some students, and had a very nice meal (I had to try the mussels, I mean, we’re practically by the sea).
The pub "The Rusty Bike"
James Hunter, Exeter student and board game talent
The Art of Science always with us...
- Markus in front of the main Pier in Brighton
Markus and student at Brighton University
Markus and I arrived in a windy windy Brighton today. The first thing we did was taking the usual AcaboGames road trip tour around the city before finding the correct (science) university campus. We do get to see a lot on this trip, we’re good at unplanned sightseeing I must say.
First I have to pay a tribute to Brighton, think this is the place in the UK with the most helpful people so far. Just one example was the Student Union, and other people at the uni, so friendly and helpful! We got to have a stand in the cafeteria for free – which hadn’t been heard of at the previous places we’ve been to, where it’s all been about paying..
The only negative thing about this trip is that almost all uni’s have their examination period right at this time. It’s really a shame, students are very focused to pass all their massive papers and exams – not always up for hearing about a new, cool, science trivia game.. The campus’ are just not as they can be..
We also ran into a dissertation party at Sussex university (very close to town, so we thought we should pay it a visit aswell..) Tons of students were handing in some kind of dissertation, and just at the apparent deadline minute, two guys ran NAKED through student campus and the big crowd sitting on the lawn, to the bewilderment of us innocent Swedes. In the campus pub a huge party was going on, people had been drinking quite a while already. I can’t believe this university alcohol culture that you have here in the UK, but I don’t mind really.. (on campus!, I don’t mean that we don’t drink at student towns in Sweden…)
Me and Markus at one of the pubs we sponsored with a game, having a magnificent British meal of pie, mash and gravy for late dinner. Here giving a go at the game “Trump”, but quite soon got bored.. =)
Another cozy pub we sponsored, "The Florist"
Brighton or Brunei?
I can’t believe the games will be arriving in England in around two weeks time, and that I’m moving to London in less than that!
Have not found a place to stay yet, but I’m not too worried. I have sweet friends who will let me stay at theirs for the first couple of weeks. Besides, already the second week I think I’m off on a road trip to Universities throughout the UK. My partner in crime Björn has made a very optimistic plan on how we should visit 10 universities, meeting as many people as possible during 2 weeks. Show our games, meet potential student ambassadors and just start word of mouth. As student societies are quite big in the UK, we will try to meet and sponsor quite a few of these.
During the trip we’ll also show the game to bookshops, gift shops, as well as board game shops. Today a specialist board game distributor offered to sell The Art of Science on consignment terms, which might be an ok idea depending on the conditions. I’ve noticed that many retailers out there are very hesitant to buy from a single, small actor like us. They want to restock regularly from one distributor if possible. I can see their point, but it’s destroying our margins… haha.
Time is passing by too quickly!
Tristan at Total Fulfilment Logistics, Swindon
Total Fulfilment, the excellent storage for the games
18/4. The week-end really went too quickly. Had a nice one hanging out with friends in Oval, visiting bars and the Colombia Flower Market in Shoreditch, eating really good Vietnamese in the same area, and working a little. Today I went an hour outside London to visit a potential logistics/storage partner in Swindon. Quite quickly after I met Tristan, I realized that this was our partner. He was just so agreeable, helpful and service-minded. We went through all the costs, logistics and alternatives for delivery, which was great to do face to face. He went out of his way to try and decrease the costs for us, which I was very thankful for. And they seem to be extremely flexible with everything from putting in whatever we desire in the parcels, to fix particular gift-wrappings. A reason for this might be that they are entrepreneurs, starting Total Fulfilment Logistics only last year, as well as I think they like the thought of working with a young, entrepreneurial team like us, or at least Tristan said so…
Now back at the office in Uppsala, but looking forward to moving to London in 3 weeks! Started the collaboration with Quipper to make apps for The Art of Science, which means that we need to complement quite a few questions with multiple-choice. Of course my partner (in the company) Björn Lindh immediately took charge of this, he is a real creative “doer”, and of great support to me, which I’m very happy for.
Next I’m going to my parents house in the countryside, How nice won’t it be just to chill and see the whole family properly. Happy Easter!
Next to Colombia Flower Market
How cool isn't he?
My friend Natasha bought beautiful flowers
15/4. Today I first went out in the suburbs; to Surbiton to meet Connect, an organization which helps new business to growth, and connects different companies, investors with entrepreneurs etc. I got in touch with these people thanks to Connect Uppsala, who has been very helpful to us. They set up “investor boards”, so we had a “mock” presentation of our company for potential investors with different backgrounds, earlier this year. It was a fantastic opportunity to see how they look upon our possibilities and limitations, and if they would invest in us today or not. Luckily, we got very positive feedback =).
Anyhow, a certain James from Connect London was very helpful; just to get a British, experienced business-helper’s view on our strategy was great. Got confirmed that our price-point probably IS to high (I’ve been discussing this back and forth for a while, and thought we could get away with it thanks to our “uniqueness”, haha) – 49 pounds is a lot for a board game on the UK market. Not to speak of from a student’s perspective, even though they have 20 % discount, from their point of view it’s still very expensive. As a student I know said: “49 pounds is like a week’s food for me”. Our problem is also how to make the student discount accessible for all students. In Sweden we’ve worked with codes, but if you don’t know the code you can’t really tell that we offer the discount. (the code is mainly spread by word-of-mouth, flyers, posters, our FAQ, and emails, clearly not enough…) This is not good at all, and a system needs to be worked out. QUICKLY. At these times I hate that we have a standardized webshop.