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Subject: Good News - I lost my job (for a bit) rss

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Ed Carter
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Mark Twain wrote:
It's not what you don't know that kills you, it's what you know for sure that ain't true.


After a rocky period, I completed my "real job" project here in Amsterdam about a week ago and so I have some dedicated time to get things moving again while I seek out my next assignment.

An immediate first step has been to switch our weekly team meeting to a daily one; we're structuring it as an Agile "Scrum" to help get blocking issues surfaced and fixed more quickly.

I also finalized the shipping plan / quantities over the weekend, including identifying 28 separate shipment / distribution locations.

The next urgent task is getting games available for Origins pick up, as promised.

Note that since we're not going to be selling copies there ourselves this is going to be a very small shipment - if you are hoping to collect there and haven't told us yet, please confirm ASAP to reserve your copy.

Also on the list for this week is rescheduling the main air / sea shipments so we can get the the games out of the factory - the original dates we were working to slipped because we didn't get our quantities / paperwork finalized in time .

I'm as disappointed as everyone else that the games are still sitting in Shanghai right now - they won't be there much longer, promise!

Sincerely,

Ed Carter
Managing Director
Cambridge Games Factory


FOR THOSE WHO CARE

In 'real life' I'm an independent consultant / project lead, which means that I live (and / or die) on my ability to deliver as promised and on time. Not doing well here, I know...

When I got on the plane to Shanghai at the end of February I was winding up one project with a firm lead on an E-Commerce project that would have kept me in work through July. I knew we were behind with arranging shipments, etc. but I had a full week scheduled to work on Cambridge Games Factory to get caught up - what could possibly go wrong?

Well, all sorts of things, as it happens.

My project 'exploded' as soon as I left so that I ended up spending most of my time in Shanghai working a European day to get things back under control. Fortunately this was my second project with the team and after being burnt almost exactly the same way on the first project I'd anticipated the risks and written them into the project proposal / charter so I was stuck with a couple of frantic weeks getting caught up after which I should (I believed) be able to pick up the pieces of the Shanghai trip and finish planning and scheduling the shipments, order fulfillment, etc.

So far so good.

By late March my project was winding down again and I was ready to get back onto the games company. As a stroke of luck, a new Chinese friend was not only an Import / Export specialist but also finishing her contract in a few days and very happy to help out while she looked for a permanent position. Perfect!

And then... Words you do not want to hear the day you start User Acceptance Testing a new website - "Oh, that load function is broken. It's a known bug"

Not known by me, unfortunately.

I'd just spent three months of my life planning and crafting a data pipeline to hit an existing load template precisely to avoid time consuming changes to the main website. Now I was stuck working on a major bug anyway, discovered so late that it threw the project back into catch up mode, incurring repeated delays to starting User Testing as we struggled to identify and fix the root causes. The worst is that with a couple of hours testing the existing functionality back in January the issue would have been on my radar from the beginning. Lessons for next time...

A more pleasant set-back was that my Chinese Import / Export friend landed a new job less than a week after finishing her old one. Great for her, but rather got in the way of having her take on planning our shipments, etc.!
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Scott Nelson
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Ummm...well, good luck with everything; you're going to need some luck it appears.
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Chris Montgomery
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At this point, I don't think anyone's surprised. The continual lack of updates, pushed timelines, and weak excuses, has made me a touch bitter about this project.

I'm glad to know people attending Origins will likely get their copy before me, someone who shelled out ADDITIONAL MONEY, to have it first.

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Any news on the Rubble cards?
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Barry Goldstein
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Not to be cynical,but....


Not even an estimate on shipping? or a guess?




Let me translate this message...

No news. Still don't know.
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Lee Fisher
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Lacota wrote:


I'm glad to know people attending Origins will likely get their copy before me, someone who shelled out ADDITIONAL MONEY, to have it first.



Did you read it?
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Chris Montgomery
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lfisher wrote:
Lacota wrote:


I'm glad to know people attending Origins will likely get their copy before me, someone who shelled out ADDITIONAL MONEY, to have it first.



Did you read it?


Yes. The Origins shipment is not part of the main Air shipment.

Seeing as Origins opens in 9 days, and I'm in Canada. I don't see how it's going to make it here before Origins.
 
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Michael Fralish
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Ed, I mean this in the kindest possible way. Maybe you don't have the time to run a game company properly. Just a thought.
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Scott Nelson
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lfisher wrote:
Lacota wrote:


I'm glad to know people attending Origins will likely get their copy before me, someone who shelled out ADDITIONAL MONEY, to have it first.



Did you read it?


I believe I read it that those who want to pick up their Kickstarted version can get it at Origins if they tell them beforehand, no?
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Mark Mitchell
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Oh dear Ed I think you need to sort out your PR skills. This reallly comes accross as a bit shambolic and maybe a little disingenuous. I've always been in the camp of don't care it comes when it comes but as a business owner in web/mobile dev I can tell you Scrum isn't gonna sort out your problems as its evidently your ability to commit time that is the major factor. I hate to say it but to some people its going to come accross as bull.

Your last paragraph also concerns me, does this mean you still have shipping to organise? If so you better baton down the hatches I think a Storm of geek rage is coming.
Anyhow good luck with the game ill look forward to recieving it whenever.
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Chris Montgomery
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ropearoni4 wrote:
lfisher wrote:
Lacota wrote:


I'm glad to know people attending Origins will likely get their copy before me, someone who shelled out ADDITIONAL MONEY, to have it first.



Did you read it?


I believe I read it that those who want to pick up their Kickstarted version can get it at Origins if they tell them beforehand, no?


That's how I read it. Ergo my feeling of getting screwed.
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Terry
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LOL! Project Update 22. 22! Haha.

This is just getting funnier and funnier.

It sounds like they think they're trying to construct the Great Pyramid of Cheops here. Should one of us tell them that it's a DECK OF CARDS?

Never would I have thought I'd live to see the day where the production of a "deck of cards" would require numerous flights out to China, agonizing production difficulties, the massive complicated task of issuing 35 completely pointless "pins" and other stupid completely undesired and unrequested items (and the complicated tracking thereof), the creation of a massively confusing, and incoherent distribution strategy, and now... the establishment of 28 distribution centers! They're going to build out Amazon.com to ship out this deck of cards it seems.

And now... daily meetings via an "AGILE SCRUM"!

This is like a Monty Python skit.

I could use Arts Cow to produce their deck of cards in, what, 3 days, and have it shipped to my house.

I don't get why people are angry. You should all be happy. This is the greatest, most entertaining show we've ever gotten to witness in the history of "deck of cards" production, and it only cost us a few bucks to have front row seats!

Looking forward to new fiascos which will undoubtedly appear soon! ( just wait until FLGS's start "RETURNING TO SENDER" or losing or selling all of these unrequested and unexpected games that will appear on their doorsteps. As if they're going to remember that 3 years ago some shmuck was going to have his card game shipped to their shop. )

Also: the shipping to game stores adds a massive repudiation issue. It will be incredibly easy for anyone to say "my game never arrived!". I suspect there will be a huge number of people who chose the "game store" thing to never receive their games, and create a huge headache both logistically and financially for this company.

Shipping a product to someone other than the recipient is suicide, particularly when there is no documented evidence or contract that the intermediary is either willing or obligated to pass on the product to another party.
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Scott Nelson
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Lacota wrote:
ropearoni4 wrote:
lfisher wrote:
Lacota wrote:


I'm glad to know people attending Origins will likely get their copy before me, someone who shelled out ADDITIONAL MONEY, to have it first.



Did you read it?


I believe I read it that those who want to pick up their Kickstarted version can get it at Origins if they tell them beforehand, no?


That's how I read it. Ergo my feeling of getting screwed.


Ah, so you are not just a regular kickstarter like those picking theirs up at Origins; you have an upward pledge level saying you get one first?

well, if that is the case, then the answer is:

From News Radio tv show
Who's the cat that won't cop out out when danger is about?

Ssshhhhaffffft.

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Ed Carter
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TheFlatline wrote:
Bingo. I had a suspicion that this was the backlog a couple months ago. The games aren't going to CGF and then getting shipped from there like most people do it. It's why you aren't seeing 30+ dollars for international shipping.

Staging 28 distribution locations is a logistical nightmare. We've more or less been waiting on all that infrastructure to be established. The idea was to have everything go out at once to all the distro locations and then fan out from there. Ambitious, very ambitious, but as we've seen, it was a big gamble that assumed a lot of things.


Yep, clearly. Note that when I came up with the plan my team did (I truly believe) have the capabilities to make it work effectively, but it got a lot more challenging when my Ops Director quit back at the start of September.

Since then I've both tried to get a few people to understand what needed to happen (it's tough to teach someone this stuff when you're 3000+ miles away) and taken on less consulting work to give me time to get more actively involved (that worked well - see above).

On the advanced shipments I just talked to Jeremiah and we're going to shift things around to put the North American copies on the same plane as the Origins pick up sets (instead of the one with the Promo Packs, etc.) which means they'll get mailed out from Michigan either just before or just after Origins.

fralim wrote:
Ed, I mean this in the kindest possible way. Maybe you don't have the time to run a game company properly. Just a thought.


LOL - I think that's been pretty clear over the years! It's maybe more accurate to say there are periods when I don't have time to be actively enough engaged with the company, and not all of our processes are strong enough yet to cope well during those periods - but the net effect is just about the same...

Cheers,

Ed
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Chris Montgomery
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ropearoni4 wrote:
Lacota wrote:
ropearoni4 wrote:
lfisher wrote:
Lacota wrote:


I'm glad to know people attending Origins will likely get their copy before me, someone who shelled out ADDITIONAL MONEY, to have it first.



Did you read it?


I believe I read it that those who want to pick up their Kickstarted version can get it at Origins if they tell them beforehand, no?


That's how I read it. Ergo my feeling of getting screwed.


Ah, so you are not just a regular kickstarter like those picking theirs up at Origins; you have an upward pledge level saying you get one first?

well, if that is the case, then the answer is:

From News Radio tv show
Who's the cat that won't cop out out when danger is about?

Ssshhhhaffffft.



Yeah I'm not an Origins pickup, I paid extra $40. That's the same as an extra international copy of the bloody game.

Edit: I Noticed the update from Ed saying he's going to Airlift some North American copies. That'll be mailed before or after Origins. Wonderful I'm so happy that people who paid HALF the price I did get it before I will.

I thought a certain Eminent kickstarter project was bad.
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Chef D
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carlsbad wrote:
LOL! Project Update 22. 22! Haha.

This is just getting funnier and funnier.

It sounds like they think they're trying to construct the Great Pyramid of Cheops here. Should one of us tell them that it's a DECK OF CARDS?

Never would I have thought I'd live to see the day where the production of a "deck of cards" would require numerous flights out to China, agonizing production difficulties, the massive complicated task of issuing 35 completely pointless "pins" and other stupid completely undesired and unrequested items (and the complicated tracking thereof), the creation of a massively confusing, and incoherent distribution strategy, and now... the establishment of 28 distribution centers! They're going to build out Amazon.com to ship out this deck of cards it seems.

And now... daily meetings via an "AGILE SCRUM"!

This is like a Monty Python skit.

I could use Arts Cow to produce their deck of cards in, what, 3 days, and have it shipped to my house.

I don't get why people are angry. You should all be happy. This is the greatest, most entertaining show we've ever gotten to witness in the history of "deck of cards" production, and it only cost us a few bucks to have front row seats!

Looking forward to new fiascos which will undoubtedly appear soon! ( just wait until FLGS's start "RETURNING TO SENDER" or losing or selling all of these unrequested and unexpected games that will appear on their doorsteps. As if they're going to remember that 3 years ago some shmuck was going to have his card game shipped to their shop. )


I agree that at this point it is quite entertaining. The lies upon lies upon lies is somewhat entertaining. The sad point is that I hope this doesn't sour others to Kickstarter. I fear that this major debacle will only make others think twice about supporting genuinely competent and trustworthy game ventures. I feel bad for folks like Jeremiah that have spun the tales about the games leaving China only to find out that they have been lied too as well. At least the saga continues...... What next, the containers with the games have fallen overboard?
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David desJardins
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What is surprising to me is that Ed is willing to post this under his real name on a public website where clients considering hiring him for his "real work" are not unlikely to see it.
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Funguy wrote:
The sad point is that I hope this doesn't sour others to Kickstarter.

It couldn't sour me. I've assumed from day 1 that the Kickstarter model would lead to situations like this (or worse).
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Tom
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Wait! We were told on the 19th April that the boat would leave the next week and the games are STILL sitting in the factory!! I really don't know why I'm surprised any more. shake
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AlbionBT wrote:
Wait! We were told on the 19th April that the boat would leave the next week and the games are STILL sitting in the factory!! I really don't know why I'm surprised any more. :shake:


I guess next week in China means about 2 months.
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AlbionBT wrote:
Wait! We were told on the 19th April that the boat would leave the next week and the games are STILL sitting in the factory!! I really don't know why I'm surprised any more. shake


They've got to build the boat first. And decide whether to make it white or beige.

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Funguy wrote:
AlbionBT wrote:
Wait! We were told on the 19th April that the boat would leave the next week and the games are STILL sitting in the factory!! I really don't know why I'm surprised any more. shake


I guess next week in China means about 2 months.
Well there was Chinese New Years...
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carlsbad wrote:
AlbionBT wrote:
Wait! We were told on the 19th April that the boat would leave the next week and the games are STILL sitting in the factory!! I really don't know why I'm surprised any more. shake


They've got to build the boat first. And decide whether to make it white or beige.

Heiko's designing that too!
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carlsbad wrote:
And now... daily meetings via an "AGILE SCRUM"!

This is like a Monty Python skit.


Agreed. It is WAY too late in the game to be trying to apply project management principles to this release. Divert those energies into customer service, Ed - you're gonna need it.

Funguy wrote:
The sad point is that I hope this doesn't sour others to Kickstarter.


Hopefully, the backers will place accountability not on Kickstarter, but on Cambridge, where it belongs.
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