Whit's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Atlanta Team

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Seattle, WA

  • AIRED ON:

    Public Television: Season 4

  • ON DVD:

WHIT ALEXANDER

Co-Founder
Cranium Games

“It's really about finding a passion and working for something...You want to find an avocation, not a vocation.”

INTERESTS:

Design Entrepreneurship

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Chance Hard Work Passion Transitions Individualism

FOUNDATION:

Accomplishing Goals

TAGS:

Africa, board games, coffee house culture, computer, computer mapping, different interests, entrepreneurship, fitting in, fun, impact, making a difference, mapping, microsoft, odd jobs, Starbucks, study abroad, teaching, trying different things, United Nations, urban planning

BIOGRAPHY:

  • Jokes that he's the founder of the "career-of-the-month" club-he's taught school, he'd done urban planning, he's sold seeds door to door, etc.
  • Went to Georgetown University and studied foreign service; he thought he'd work at the U.N. someday.
  • While studying abroad, he got interested in computer mapping and information systems; came back and did his master's degree in that.
  • One day, he saw a tiny listing on the University of Washington's job board-Microsoft was looking for a digital cartographer, which was right up his alley.
  • While at Microsoft, he met his co-founder Richard Tait; they knew they wanted to collaborate on a project, but they were at a loss for ideas.
  • Out of the blue, Richard called him and said, "Let's make a board game"; Whit replied, "You can tell my father I'm leaving Microsoft for a board game."
  • They knew nothing about the game industry, but they were passionate about this specific game, which gave every player a chance to shine.
  • They struggled to sell the game until an epiphany in a Starbucks pointed them towards their demographic; after Starbucks got on board, Cranium took off.

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