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Gary Ray
Works at Black Diamond Games, Ltd.
Attended Graduate Theological Union
Lived in Erie, Pennsylvania
987 followers|2,637,390 views
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Gary Ray

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Delegation (Tradecraft)
Riffing off a good ICV2 article by Marcus King, I wanted to write about delegation. Delegation is a shift of tasks or authority to another person while maintaining responsibility for their work. You might think there's not much to delegate in a game store, ...
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Gary Ray

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The Question (Tradecraft)
Prudent prospective small business owners inevitably come to this core question: How do I predict my revenue numbers? In other words,  how do I know if people will come, if I can successfully advertise, if my business plan makes any sense at all? How do I k...
Prudent prospective small business owners inevitably come to this core question: How do I predict my revenue numbers? In other words,  how do I know if people will come, if I can successfully advertise, if my business plan ma...
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Gary Ray

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Credit (Tradecraft)
This is a bit of a rambling post about credit. We are told early on to make sure our personal finances and our business finances are separate. Commingling is the term to describe the grave offense of mixing your personal monies with those of your business. ...
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Inventory Categories (Tradecraft)
Managing inventory is a difficult process. It's a mix of objective criteria with your subjective feel for your store. It's what happens after purchasing, and as you know, purchasing is about being able to predict the future. So it's no wonder subjectivity p...
Managing inventory is a difficult process. It's a mix of objective criteria with your subjective feel for your store. It's what happens after purchasing, and as you know, purchasing is about being able to predict the future. ...
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Mature Markets and Board Games
We've got a very diverse game store. Sure, we don't sell comics or frisbees, but we try to sell a wide variety of games in the key, four hobby game areas: CCGs, RPGs, Board and Card Games and Tactical Miniatures. We use strong inventory practices to make su...
We've got a very diverse game store. Sure, we don't sell comics or frisbees, but we try to sell a wide variety of games in the key, four hobby game areas: CCGs, RPGs, Board and Card Games and Tactical Miniatures. We use stron...
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Profit Margins (Tradecraft)
An  article has been making the rounds online about a poll stating Americans think the average company has a 36% net profit margin, a number so grandiose that that it's five times reality. Granted, this is from the American Enterprise Institute, so it was p...
An article has been making the rounds online about a poll stating Americans think the average company has a 36% net profit margin, a number so grandiose that that it's five times reality. Granted, this is from the American En...
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And why do I think that net profit figure for Wal-Mart carefully elides the gigantic salaries and bonuses their top execs are paid, along with the massive subsidies, incentives and kick backs they get not just from suppliers, but from localities eager to be part of the gross?

Oh wait, I think that's because it's totally the case.
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Have him in circles
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Gary Ray

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Defining Success (Tradecraft)
As small business owners, we've spent a lot of time just trying to survive. A good percentage, 20% according to my recent research on small business credit, are late on their bills, probably just hoping to float rent or payroll. The struggle leads to a kind...
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The Problem (Tradecraft)
You know what the problem is. As a business owner, you know. Yet we're inundated with customer feedback forms, requests to speak about our "incident." Tell us where the bad company touched you on their company doll. Initially this strategy felt like people ...
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Can You Take It? (Tradecraft)
Yesterday was the most expensive purchasing day since I opened my store. Modern Masters II shipped, with $15,000 of invoices. Many stores are scrambling to pay for this order. Some have been pre-selling it like mad, at prices lower than necessary, because t...
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That Cards Against Humanity Game
My general take on this game: It's in bad taste, it's simplistic, and kind of dull as a game, other than trying to gauge the depravity of your friends (which can be amusing). I've played it once. Why is it popular? It's an artifact of our times. We're deepl...
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Third Place Theory and Game Stores
I'm going on a road trip vacation this Summer and wouldn't you know it, I found a way to include some work. I'll be going through Portland and visiting Rainy Day Games and Guardian Games . In Seattle I plan to see AFK Tavern , Cafe Mox , and Mox Boarding Ho...
I'm going on a road trip vacation this Summer and wouldn't you know it, I found a way to include some work. I'll be going through Portland and visiting Rainy Day Games and Guardian Games. In Seattle I plan to see AFK Tavern, ...
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And Gordon is the nicest guy.
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Scrutiny Toolkit ® (Tradecraft)
Are you tired of your game store competitors not playing by the rules? Do you feel cheated that you follow all the laws while they pay their employees in peanut butter sandwiches while flaunting the law? Do you wish you could open up a box of legal whoop as...
Are you tired of your game store competitors not playing by the rules? Do you feel cheated that you follow all the laws while they pay their employees in peanut butter sandwiches while flaunting the law? Do you wish you could...
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Michael Westbay (Westbaystars)'s profile photoGary Ray's profile photo
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A lot of times industry discussions end up inspiring me to post. We're having a big discussion about this. Everybody suffers from it.
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Have him in circles
987 people
James MacGeorge's profile photo
Maston Ewing's profile photo
Black Diamond Games's profile photo
damian breen's profile photo
Jonathan Sue's profile photo
Craig Payne's profile photo
Bill Givens's profile photo
Natasha Erickson's profile photo
Brad Ncube's profile photo
Work
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Small Business Owner
Employment
  • Black Diamond Games, Ltd.
    Owner and CEO, 2004 - present
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Previously
Erie, Pennsylvania - Irvine, California - San Diego, California - Berkeley, California
Story
Tagline
Do what you love, the money will follow ... it might take the long way though.
Introduction
Gary Ray is owner of Black Diamond Games in Concord, California, the premiere game store in Contra Costa County celebrating its seventh year. He has an undergrad degree from San Diego State University in Asian Studies and a MA with honors from Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. Studying classical Tibetan and writing his honors thesis, Tendai Influences on Dōgen's Concepts of Enlightenment, qualified Gary to bus tables in a sushi restaurant. Luckily he had other interests.
 
Gary's interest in computers, especially connecting American Buddhists electronically in the pre-web era, resulted in meaningful IT employment around the time of the dot-com boom. He became very good at spending other peoples money, mastering terms like "burn rate" and observing esoteric business practices, like selling products at a loss in hopes of making it up in volume. Anyone who could combine a noun and a verb into a company name was a genius during these times. These practices are not generally recommended when spending your own money.

While working in IT, Gary enjoyed running elaborate Dungeons & Dragons games, usually requiring obscure gaming supplies that Bay Area game stores neither stocked nor could successfully special order due to their general lack of competence. This got him thinking, and combined with a general hatred of the IT field, one which most of his IT peers shared, he took up a vow of poverty in hopes of running a better game store. Astonishingly, it worked.

Since starting the store, Gary has dabbled in Euro board games, enjoys playing Warhammer 40K (Imperial Guard Tallarns FTW), and of course, engages in his true gaming love, Dungeons & Dragons -- currently Pathfinder. He played Magic: The Gathering, back in the day and has dabbled in other RPGs, but it's that love of D&D and those esoteric accessories that excite him.

Gary is also married with a six your old son named Rocco who's obsessed with Hot Wheels and time travel.  When not working, painting miniatures, planning a D&D game, or writing in the third person, his priority is family time.
Bragging rights
Volkswagen GTI
Education
  • Graduate Theological Union
    Buddhist Studies, 1992 - 1994
  • San Diego State University
    Asian Studies, 1986 - 1991
Basic Information
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Male
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Gary Ray's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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May Your Evening Be Asshole-Free
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Farewell Wizards and Thank You
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It’s with mixed emotions that I announce the end of my 18-year run at Wizards (and TSR before that). I gave my notice last week and will be

The Architect DM: On Sandbox Campaigns : Critical Hits
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Take a look around, kick the tires, ask questions and get to know our community.

Best of the season's board games
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This year, my theory is that board games are to modern American society what tea leaves and animal entrails have been to others: an omen by

Crash and burn
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Fwoosh! Some of the new flyer rules must be for flamers, because that's the sound of the new Death from the Skies supplement (which is avail

How to Change Dropbox Account Settings and Preferences
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Dropbox is an online file storage service that allows users to upload, share, and access files and folders via mobile and desktop applicatio

'Casually Pepper Spraying Cop' Meme Takes Off : NPR
www.npr.org

A University of California Davis police officer is now the featured image in a growing number of ironic Web posts. Critics are commenting ab

Kickstarter talks to us about product 'pre-orders,' won't force refunds ...
www.engadget.com

Kickstarter has proven an incredibly effective venue for connecting project creators with monetary support -- inventors pitch directly to c

Handwavium
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10 Brands That Will Disappear In 2012: 24/7 Wall St.
www.huffingtonpost.com

24/7 Wall St. has created a new list of brands that will disappear, which includes Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD), Sony Pictures (NYSE:SNE), American A

Police: Teen who stole celebrity chef's car had arsenal, police uniform ...
www.mercurynews.com

MARIN COUNTY -- A San Rafael teenager accused of shooting at a couple in Mill Valley and stealing a celebrity chefs Lamborghini was charged

Love and Presidents: The Difference Between Michelle and Ann
www.newyorker.com

Talk of debt and love ran through Michelle Obama’s speech: the connection between the two was its great theme, and pointed to the deepest co

HSUS: Lawyers In Cages
www.youtube.com

The Humane Society of the United States is not affiliated with your local pet shelter, but ads imply that they are. You can find more inform

Pathfinder Adventure Paths
blackdiamondgames.blogspot.com

While hanging out and playing Pathfinder, we started talking about how many of each adventure path book we sell and the likelihood that a gr

Government extortion at its worst.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
1 review
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