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Gary Ray
Works at Black Diamond Games, Ltd.
Attended Graduate Theological Union
Lived in Erie, Pennsylvania
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Gary Ray

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West Coast Game Store Tour 2015, Part Five
We're back from our trip! 4,700 miles, ten states and provinces, and 21 game stores in 19 days. I've learned quite a bit on this trip, both ways to improve Black Diamond Games, along with reinforcing what we're doing right. So much of what you see in a stor...
We're back from our trip! 4,700 miles, ten states and provinces, and 21 game stores in 19 days. I've learned quite a bit on this trip, both ways to improve Black Diamond Games, along with reinforcing what we're doing right. S...
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West Coast Game Store Tour 2015, Part Three
The Sentry Box This post is entirely about The Sentry Box, in Calgary. Calgary is the third largest city in Canada with about one and quarter million people. To be honest, this trip was founded on an excuse to go there. If we took a trip to The Sentry Box, ...
The Sentry Box This post is entirely about The Sentry Box, in Calgary. Calgary is the third largest city in Canada with about one and quarter million people. To be honest, this trip was founded on an excuse to go there. If we...
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The Tension
Tomorrow I'll be visiting Sentry Box in Calgary, the biggest game store in the world, but today I wanted to re-visit something I found on my store tour, which I'm referring to as The Tension. The Tension is the desire to run a profitable, professional busin...
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Yes, it would be like having your employees work for a few bucks an hour. Suddenly the usual metrics don't apply. 
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West Coast Game Store Tour 2015
I'm on an epic journey along the West Coast attempting to discover the best game stores in the region. Alright, I'm on vacation. My son and I started in the Bay Area, the baseline for what I consider excellent game stores. Bay Area stores are big, well mana...
I'm on an epic journey along the West Coast attempting to discover the best game stores in the region. Alright, I'm on vacation. My son and I started in the Bay Area, the baseline for what I consider excellent game stores. Ba...
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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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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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Have him in circles
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Gary Ray

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West Coast Game Store Tour 2015, Part Four (Utah)
Before I opened my store, I commissioned a feasibility study. This was done by someone in the industry with expertise and fancy software. They plugged in my three choices of locations in the expensive suburb of Pleasanton, California. The feasibility study ...
Before I opened my store, I commissioned a feasibility study. This was done by someone in the industry with expertise and fancy software. They plugged in my three choices of locations in the expensive suburb of Pleasanton, Ca...
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One more day in Canada. This overwhelming friendliness, beauty and good food is starting to ... who am I kidding. I love Canada.
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We love you too.  Except for the bears.  They do not love you, and their offers of hugs are lies.
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West Coast Game Store Tour 2015, Part Deux
Two key elements play a big role in the character of game stores in this section of our tour. The first is the liberal nature of Washington state liquor laws and the second is the role of the Internet in Canada. Washington state will gladly issue a liquor l...
Two key elements play a big role in the character of game stores in this section of our tour. The first is the liberal nature of Washington state liquor laws and the second is the role of the Internet in Canada. Washington st...
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It might be more a comparison to the difficulty in other states. 
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Setting Up Agreements (Tradecraft)
I've just spent the last couple of weeks working on our company shareholder agreement. Game stores don't have a lot of money, so most are likely one man, sole proprietorships. It's easy, simple to form and operate, and doesn't require complicated structures...
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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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Have him in circles
1,000 people
Alejandro Rodriguez L's profile photo
Tony Miller's profile photo
Michael Cole's profile photo
Sanji Pham's profile photo
Jeremy Murphy's profile photo
Brad Ncube's profile photo
Kelly Roma's profile photo
palaniyandikrishna kumar's profile photo
Steve Bottomley's profile photo
Work
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Small Business Owner
Employment
  • Black Diamond Games, Ltd.
    Owner and CEO, 2004 - present
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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
Gender
Male
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Married
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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The LA and I are currently in the local hospital. Well, one of at least four I can think of off the top of my head; this one is shiny and ne

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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Volkswagen USA
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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
www.wikihow.com

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
fateoftara.blogspot.com

The party spends the next day in Freyjaborg resting, assembling a cart, and loading up the valuable statues to return to Tara. On day eight

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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