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 the USA, the place he earned a grasp’s diploma at Dartmouth’s Tuck College 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 workers: the longer term chief govt and chairman Satya Nadella.

Within the 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, The American Heritage Dictionary, Bartlett’s Acquainted Quotations and The Chicago Guide of Fashion. He ultimately turned a sort 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 turn into a radio disc jockey on the energy of his Scottish brogue. However after a failed audition, he determined to develop Cranium, constructing a brand new firm, Cranium Inc., with Mr. Alexander, a former Microsoft colleague.

After they completed creating the sport in late 1998, recreation 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 offered the sport by the espresso store chain?

“His idea was to sell the game not where games were sold but where our customers were,” Mr. Alexander stated. “Most of the people we were going for would never set foot in a game store.”

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