Mr. Tait studied pc science as an undergraduate at Heriot-Watt College in Edinburgh earlier than transferring to the US, 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 workers: the long run chief government and chairman Satya Nadella.
Within the Nineteen Nineties, through 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 Model. He finally grew to become 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 develop into a radio disc jockey on the power 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, recreation shops and different conventional retailers had already stocked their cabinets for the vacation shopping for season. However one afternoon, once 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 means of the espresso store chain?
“His thought was to promote the sport not the place video games had been offered however the place our clients had been,” Mr. Alexander mentioned. “Most people we had been going for would by no means set foot in a recreation retailer.”
By way of an acquaintance, Mr. Tait organized a gathering with Starbucks’s chief government, Howard Schultz, and shortly Starbucks was promoting Skull in outlets 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.