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TOPIC: The Future of TD

The Future of TD 15 years 4 months ago #25

I'll admit I am not the most up to date on all of the happenings at Gencon since I spent most of my time in a dark dungeon, but I think it is safe to say that TD is now the biggest event at the con. Now I don't mean biggest as in the best event or the highlight of the con, although for many people it is. I mean biggest as far as the number of people who participate, the number of hours the event runs, and the amount of time and effort that goes into staging the event etc. With this being the case, I don't think there should be a big rush to drastically expand the event even more. It doesn't matter what business your in, if you grow to fast and expand to much you will fail. The product will suffer, customers will become bitter (already there are threads every con with people trying to crunch the numbers and figure out how much money the TD makes), the work force becomes overworked and productivity suffers. As always, we appreciate your support and concern and we will continue to try and make the event better each year, but that does not necessarily mean bigger.

Also, we say this over and over but there is no TD with out the hard work and dedication of the volunteers. That is all volunteers from the year around folks to the people who show up for a few hours to help us set up or tear down. Labor is always the biggest expense of a business, and if we had to pay 'employees' there is no way it would be feasible to stage this event.

I say lets keep TD a cozy and intimate gathering of 3000+ friends :lol:


Lee
bur BUR bur BUR<br /><br />PS I can't spell, don't be suprised when you read my posts...<br /><br />Head D.I.N.O.

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The Future of TD 15 years 4 months ago #26

I'll admit I am not the most up to date on all of the happenings at Gencon since I spent most of my time in a dark dungeon, but I think it is safe to say that TD is now the biggest event at the con. Now I don't mean biggest as in the best event or the highlight of the con, although for many people it is. I mean biggest as far as the number of people who participate, the number of hours the event runs, and the amount of time and effort that goes into staging the event etc. With this being the case, I don't think there should be a big rush to drastically expand the event even more. It doesn't matter what business your in, if you grow to fast and expand to much you will fail. The product will suffer, customers will become bitter (already there are threads every con with people trying to crunch the numbers and figure out how much money the TD makes), the work force becomes overworked and productivity suffers. As always, we appreciate your support and concern and we will continue to try and make the event better each year, but that does not necessarily mean bigger.

Also, we say this over and over but there is no TD with out the hard work and dedication of the volunteers. That is all volunteers from the year around folks to the people who show up for a few hours to help us set up or tear down. Labor is always the biggest expense of a business, and if we had to pay 'employees' there is no way it would be feasible to stage this event.

I say lets keep TD a cozy and intimate gathering of 3000+ friends :lol:

Lee


Lee,

Thank you for adding to this discussion. Your opinion is valued and you raise a good point of expanding too fast. Certainly this is the case and I hope TD doesn't fall into the trap that many businesses do with expanding quantity and losing quality. But a more important issue is this: Is TD even sustainable at current levels relying soley on volunteers? Is ANY expansion or improvement, even a small amount, possible with the current paradigm? Jeff mentioned that volunteers could "decide to do less work". Or as Gary mentioned:

What happens if THIS YEAR at INDY 50% of the volunteer force exhaust themselves to the point they don't want to come back...and what if only 25% of those numbers can be replaced???


If there are fewer volunteers in 2006 because they were over-worked in 2005 and quality suffers as a result, this will hurt TD in 2007 both in ticket sales and volunteers for the following year.

Truth be told, there is an alternative. There are thousands of people that want TD and are willing to pay for it. From a business perspective, TD shouldn't fold if the volunteers "dry-up". It might take an increase in price but 3000 slots at $20 each in 24 hours tells me that TD is not near the peak of the revenue curve. If you went about this the other way, given TD expenses; in material, space rental, labor, etc. What would TD need to charge to break even? Would people pay this? And could this price be offset by merchandising (cups, shirts, tokens, etc.)? Are there any unexplored options to reduce costs?

Somethings to think about anyway,
Douglas
"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." - Galileo Galilei

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The Future of TD 15 years 4 months ago #27

Hmmm, It appears I have opened Pandora's box. The lid doesn't want to seem to go back on...


I suppose one of my main concerns was early token buying. TD likes it for the early revenue stream. However, I'd hate to buy tokens early and then not get a spot in TD. If 3000 is the limit, its the limit, but it makes me dubious about early token purchases.

About how many volunteers do you have?
Except for Ending Slavery, Fascism, Nazism and Communism, War Has Never Solved Anything.

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The Future of TD 15 years 4 months ago #28

Overall, I think dougy's position holds more merit for the long term even without expansion. Quite frankly, I cringe a little when I think about the size of the volunteer staff that TD is going to need this year. It worries me because as everyone knows you always have to staff higher than what you need in case of flaking, sickness, and other things along those lines. If the staffing of volunteers were to falter somehow, the workload on those who do show would be raised exponentially and I worry about burnout and quality control problems.

It's also clear that TD is not exploiting its revenue stream to even a moderate level. The lack of merchandising other than t-shirts and the soundtrack show us that for certain. A price bump per run is also not out of the realm of possibility, though I would suggest that you can't boost it too much higher than perhaps 25 dollars a run before you run into other problems.

Both of these situations suggest an expanded core payed staff. There are many organizations, thousands of charities for instance, that depend on volunteers for the greater part of their workforce yet within the core of each is a staff that is payed because 1) they are necessary and 2) they deserve it. Volunteers often work for these non-profits and after showing years of dedication get made offers to come on staff. That should be the way that TD operates as well IMO.

Now, I don't know how much TD turns in a net profit each year, but even without the increase in merchandising or ticket fees, it's clear that TD will reap more of a profit with each passing year, ecspecially if there is no expansion of the event beyond its current size. The setups can all be reused for the tavern I'm sure (with those wearing out being replaced) and even parts of the dungeon here and there. That reduction in overhead from year to year alone should help bring in more of a net gain. Add this to what can be made through more merchandising and then even exploring the addition of increasing ticket sales, and I'd be shocked if TD can't be on pretty firm financial footing.

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The Future of TD 15 years 4 months ago #29

Without seeing TD's financial statements, I wouldn't even venture into the realm of giving them business advice or telling them what they ought to be doing. Having just completed my Bachelors in business management, I know there are a myriad of things to consider when running a corporation and reality is rarely a mirror of theory.

I think the best thing we can do is support TD, buy the products, tell our friends, and enjoy it! Trust the TD staff--based on the previous two years, they must be doing something right.
Except for Ending Slavery, Fascism, Nazism and Communism, War Has Never Solved Anything.

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The Future of TD 15 years 4 months ago #30

And don't forget - VOLUNTEER often and until it hurts! Well maybe not until it hurts...

Giving TD even 4 hours a day at a convention - helps I bet...
Gary aka: Grimwood, Cleric of the Western Woods CLERIC for life - I have the character card to prove it! Former owner of a Ring of Three Wishes and Jeff's finger!

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The Future of TD 15 years 4 months ago #31

And don't forget - VOLUNTEER often and until it hurts! Well maybe not until it hurts...

Giving TD even 4 hours a day at a convention - helps I bet...


Gary... what if instead of money, the volunteers got paid in... TOKENS! :D

Oh wait! We did! Myyy prrrreeecioussss... *strokes ring of regeneration token*

(Thanks again to Jeff, Lori, Lee, Jenn, Dave, Warren and all the other hard-working, dedicated TDers. I look forward to seeing everyone in August!)
Cheers, Stuart O.  + Thats the short haired, short statured, no beard, Indy Stu ...+ "Nemo saltat sobrius"

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The Future of TD 15 years 4 months ago #32

*turns 25 different shades of green* :smt088

GOLUM - gives it to meeeee!

But then again we all know how he ended up - talk about Token addict #1.
Gary aka: Grimwood, Cleric of the Western Woods CLERIC for life - I have the character card to prove it! Former owner of a Ring of Three Wishes and Jeff's finger!

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The Future of TD 15 years 4 months ago #33

Could True Dungeon offer pre-pre-registration for tickets at a higher price for those that would be willing to pay for the security of being sure to get tickets?

George
It is said your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true. It's called Life. - Terry Pratchett

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The Future of TD 15 years 4 months ago #34

Hmm, that's interesting. I'd be willing to pay more if it guaranteed me a run. I would think you would also want to limit the number of spots a person could buy early.
Except for Ending Slavery, Fascism, Nazism and Communism, War Has Never Solved Anything.

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The Future of TD 15 years 4 months ago #35

I don't think that's such a good idea. The price should be the same for everyone. Those who are truly interested and registered early were the ones who got tickets.
I think that Jeff could easily increase the price of the tickets by $5 without much change in the interest of gamers everywhere. That would lessen the need for corproate sponsorship and make it easier to be able to continue to have TD.

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The Future of TD 15 years 4 months ago #36

Agreed. A $5 hike is not substantial enough to cause people to lose interest, and it might help TD break even a little bit eh?
Murphy's Laws of Combat Operations...<br /><br />Always remember, your weapon was made by the lowest bidder...

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