Launching The Art of Science in the UK

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Cambridge Science Show radio reviewing The Art of Science!

We were very pleasantly surprised when we got this podcast sent to us the other day from “The Science Show” on Cambridge 105, “community radio in your city”. They are trying quite a few question cards out towards each other, and what’s even better – they really like our game! Design as well as the game and questions.. And recommend it as a gift to people in science.

Thanks “Science Show” people for finding our game!

http://cambridge105.fm/podcasts/the-science-show-190212/

Oxford – home of academia, and great pubs

“You have really come to the right place for your game”

…this was the first we heard from a local that we showed The Art of Science for on the streets in Oxford. And that was the feeling throughout our stay. Challenging knowledge games is a mass market in this sterotype of academic cities. Basically all major bookstores want to sell our game including Blackwells, Hoyles and Waterstones.

The Art of Science and its two promoters, one speaking with a Swedish and the other with a German accent, decided after a loong day to head for the Pub “The White Horse” first. After some excellent Fish & Chips a game was sponsored as the prize for this evening’s quiz. Another game was donated to the Pub and is now available for anyone interested in trying the game. Next up is “Cape of good Hope”, were you can now win The Art of Science at their next pub quiz!

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1. Demo game for the Pub The White Horse and one for the winner of the evenings quiz night

2 The start of the pub crawl: “The white horse”
3. The Art of Science in “Le Turf”

4. The Art of Science in “The Cape of Good Hope”
5. Oxford smarties playing the game

6. The Art of Science in “The Kings Arms”

London to Brighton

I think I’ve learnt how to drive in the UK. After one week I feel quite comfortable on the “wrong” side of the road, not worrying to damage the car anymore. I actually managed to find my way both in and out of London city, so I’m very proud. Although getting into town on my own on Saturday was a bit messy, I must admit, with directions that I failed to follow already on the motorway. With some help from friend Susanne I finally managed to find the right street, after being lost in East London for an hour or so…

Driving in the UK is something special. The distances are not far at all, but the hundreds of roundabouts and traffic light you need to pass all the time, as well as the lack of signing that makes you take the wrong routes (well, especially if unexperienced..) make driving in England quite a project. And the best thing is really to avoid city centers as much as possible. Another advice, make sure you’re not running out of gas on the M11 with 22 miles to the next service stop, so that you have to free glide and go for 60 miles an hour worrying that you’ll need to make an emergency call any second. Last advice – have GPS, or a skilled map reader!

Now picking up colleague Markus Larsson at Gatwick Airport, and continuing towards Brighton!

By the way, the title of this post is also the title of a good film. A film that moves you (and upsets you).

Birmingham to Manchester to Sheffield

This morning we left early the (to us) not so impressing Birmingham, to reach the much nicer Manchester before lunch. This was a great target. There are two massive universities next to each other (around 35 000 students each), which makes it all so much easier… As usual talking to the student unions, sponsoring plenty of games to societies, targeted some pubs, and found at least one new retail shop, the TravellingMan. Very nice guy there. People in the academic bookchain Blackwell were also really positive, as they were in Oxford, so we are crossing our fingers, that would have been the perfect place!

Some other great news just reached me from Sweden. Akademibokhandeln, the large academic book chain in Sweden, has decided to take in our games. This is super important to us, so we are definately celebrating today!

As we felt quite done with Manchester (not with the Manchester night life, but I guess that’s not the aim of our trip really..), we decided to go to Sheffield one day earlier to spend the night. After a stunning countryside drive (by mistake we picked the smaller, but more intriguing road again, haha), seeing mostly sheep, hills, fields, and pine trees, we reached this cute town, beautifully situated in the mountains. Just been a hassle finding anywhere to stay in this town! Don’t they get tourists up here?

Björn and I at Manchester university

The Art of Science feels at home at pubs...

University of Manchester

haha I know, we’re bringing The Art of Science everywhere… Below in Sheffield. 

First day in London – TechHub and Jimmy Wales

Co-founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales speaking @TechHub

First day in London! It feels great, and it’s all sunny! Started the day with looking at a room to rent with an agent (currently staying at my sweet friend Susanne’s house on the couch..) Then went and signed in at TechHub – my new office. It’s an office hub with hot desks and permanent ones, for entrepreneurs from all around the world, mostly in some sort of technology/digital business. Even though I represent a board game company, I fit in here just fine – as we are making digital applications! =). It’s a really friendly, cool place, with a cool location in Shoreditch, just next to Old Street tube station (I’m obsessed with tube stations to orientate around town). So preferably I’d like to stay in this area as well! Really like the neighborhood, so it’s not only too be close to office.

Already the first day exciting things are happening here. Jimmy Wales – Internet entrepreneur and co-founder of Wikipedia came here. Really interesting to listen to what he has to say about the challenges on the Internet today, about access to knowledge etc..

Meeting Connect

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.

So the plan is…

To launch our products in the UK. We have just started to establish a trade mark on the Swedish market and sold a few games but it’s already time. Everyone in the company agrees – it’s now or never! Sweden is too small and the English speaking markets way to big to resist. Our products are a bit nisched so a larger population, especially with a high percentage of our target groups “students and academics”, are attractive. I have heard that the UK market is far from an easy market to enter, but it is conveniently close to Sweden, so why not?

You English speaking have to excuse my far from perfect language. The plan is to go to London in April for a first visit, and then launch our freshly translated “baby” (our first product), the board game “The Art of Science” (challenging science and technology quiz game) in the beginning of May. There is a lot of planning to do, a lot…

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