Half My Life

Was working a little late last night, preparing for a presentation I am giving today to our local Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) Vancouver Island Chapter. And I realized something that surprised me a little.

When I started Outset Media, I had one semester left in my undergraduate degree. I was 23 at the time; I’m now 46. That’s pretty simple math. I’ve been doing this for HALF MY LIFE!!!

Back then, I knew I wanted to start my own business. But I had no idea what business. I settled on publishing a Canadian Trivia board game, as a temporary business until I started a “real” business. It was never supposed to be more than a 2 or 3 year project.

In fact, the name Outset Media was purposely vague, in preparation for what was to come next. My real passion at the time was magazine publishing. I really wanted to publish a weekly newsmagazine. By the way, in case you missed the news, Rogers Media has put their magazine division up for sale. This includes Maclean’s magazine…

However, I’m glad I stuck with the board game industry! It’s been a fascinating 23 years, seeing first-hand the changes both within the game industry and in business in general. When we started, I did market research at the public library (pouring through the yellow pages for every city in Canada looking for stores that might carry my game). Most businesses didn’t have websites, board games were lucky if they had a printed black and white box bottom, and contact management software was something you could buy for $59.99 in a box.

Times have changed! And so has Outset Media. In the last 23 years we’ve grown to over 100 games, added Cobble Hill puzzles, opened a distribution business (distributing for companies like MindWare, PlayMonster, and Fat Brain Toys), opened our own warehouse in Brampton, established a showroom in Hong Kong, and will soon be opening an office in Europe. We’ve made many mistakes, but have been fortunate to have made more good decisions than bad! Let’s hope the next 23 years are just as interesting.

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