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

Mr. Tait studied laptop science as an undergraduate at Heriot-Watt College in Edinburgh earlier than transferring to america, the place he earned a grasp’s diploma at Dartmouth’s Tuck Faculty of Enterprise. When he completed his M.B.A., he took a job with Microsoft, within the suburbs of Seattle, simply as that software program maker was rising into one of many world’s strongest firms. Not lengthy after, he employed one of many firm’s most notable staff: the long run chief govt and chairman Satya Nadella.

Within the Nineties, in the course of 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, The American Heritage Dictionary, Bartlett’s Acquainted Quotations and The Chicago Handbook of Fashion. He ultimately grew to become a form of entrepreneur-in-residence on the firm, launching 5 new web companies inside Microsoft inside 4 years, together with Carpoint, a car-buying service, and Sidewalk, an internet metropolis information.

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

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

“His thought was to promote the sport not the place video games have been bought however the place our prospects have been,” Mr. Alexander stated. “Most people we have been going for would by no means set foot in a sport retailer.”

By means of an acquaintance, Mr. Tait organized a gathering with Starbucks’s chief govt, Howard Schultz, and shortly Starbucks was promoting Skull in retailers throughout the nation. Later, Mr. Tait and Mr. Alexander organized comparable offers with Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble, each of which have been then recognized for promoting primarily books, not video games.