Monday, February 14

If I were GW CEO. part 1

A while back I did two posts on Games Workshop and their Business practices.  (First article) (Second article)  I ranted mostly about how their corporate culture and business models didn't make much sense to me... And although I do admit they have done a few things right, mostly I was left scratching my head.

Well, I am not one of those people who complains and then doesn't give up any suggestions on how to fix those things I complained about... So, here are my suggestions on how to run the whole thing.

1.  Stop being a retailer and keep being a manufacturer:  If you recall, in their latest annual statement (Not their half year that came out in Jan.) GW CEO Mark Wells said "...We are a manufacturer..." GREAT!  The first thing I would do is shut down all the GW stores in the states and only leave a few key hobby centers which would be termed "Battle Bunkers," These would mostly be the current Battle Bunkers plus a few more in key areas with large populations.  I would still have an online presence, because it is a large margin generator.
   I would focus on how 3D printing is going to affect my business and how I could capitalise on this new technology which is about 5-10 years from becoming mainstream.  In the short run I would continue to find ways to make a predictable update pipeline with a larger range of models available for splash releases, because generally the highest level of interest is during the initial release.

1a. Stop the insane-ness of one man stores in the States: Instead of focusing on running lots of one man stores which are bound to have high theft rates and low sales (Always a bad combination).  This one man store model might work in good ol Engalnd... But it doesn't work in the states.  I can't speak for others around the globe, but people here want to know that they can run by their store during operating hours and have it be open for business. They DO NOT want it to be closed because the one person had to go pee.  We also won't tolerate being kicked out into the weather if he has to go to the back to grab product... especially if were trying to buy something.  It is a stupid idea all around and this model will not work, scrap it!  Perhaps Ill be proven wrong, but I highly doubt it.  As an example of how high theft rates can be I know a store manager who told me that in one month he saw $6,000 worth of goods stolen from his store... that is $6,000 COST!And that store was fully staffed!  I mean seriously, I could tell the store operator that I am stealing something and have him watch me take it out the door and he can't do anything but watch, cause he would have to close the store to chase me... See what I mean? dumb idea.

2.  Get a Marketing department!  For goodness sake, a little marketing goes a long way.  Currently Games Workshop thinks that it doesn't need to advertise because it is such a niche market that nobody will listen.  What a load of crap!  Go and ask Romeo of Battlefoam why he advertises, probably cause it makes him money!  It doesn't take an MBA to know that advertising brings in revenue if your smart about it.

3. Get a press relations department: GW currently doesn't want anybody saying anything about their games.  In fact they will send you a cease and desist letter if you say too much about their stuff.  Somehow, every other company in the world has figured out that the press is a tool that can be manipulated for profit... But like any other tool you have to know how to use it and how to put it back in its place when your done with it. For example, what if they worked with sites like BoLS and Warseer to release certain rumors directly from them.  Things that wouldn't give away the whole codex... BUt nice little tidbits Perhaps something like "2 wound terminators are on the horizon!"  You don't know enough, but you are surely interested.

4. Start doing historicals: I know they have "Warhammer Ancients," But if Flames of War is any indication, there is a big market for WW2 and other historical games systems.  The great thing is that you will probably be getting new players, since most 40k/ WHFB players I know of don't swing with the Historical guys (Though there are a few individuals crazy enough).  Right now the biggest problem battlefront is having is growing too quickly.

5. Fire Tom Kirby, outright: He is like Kim Jong Il and as far as I am concerned should be sued for breach of fiduciary duty... But that is a whole different post!  Lets just say that when the design team made a model for Horus they used the face of Tom Kirby and leave it at that.

Well, I think Im going to leave it at that for now... Im going to do more later, but Kind of feel like this is enough for you all to chew on for a little bit.



  1. As a UK hobbyist, I reckon that the 1 man stores are a more viable strategy in the UK, with our greater density of stores.

    As for Historicals, it would require a serious expansion to be able to roll out a decent range in a manageable timescale without impacting too much on the current core games. That said, I'd love to see it done. It might open up a conflict of interests for the Perry brothers though...

    Tom Kirby brought some great ideas to GW, such as the boxed games, but yes, he has outstayed his welcome and should go sooner rather than later. Looking forward to your future post, "The Crimes of Tom Jong Kirby".

  2. I can't say I agree with every detail, but I do agree with every bullet point! I look forward to reading part 2.

  3. Hmm a Tom Jong Kirby post! Interesting... I wanted to flesh out my ideas a little better but got rushed towards the end of the post... Perhaps next time I'll have more time to really spill out my ideas