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Just Go Grind

Oct 27, 2020

Tyler Bushnell is the Founder & CEO of Polycade ( ) the only arcade machine that's been designed for classic and modern games, giving you the ability to play everything from the best new indies, retro classics, or the most graphics-intensive modern fighters.

About Polycade (From Tyler)

I grew up surrounded by gaming in a way that most kids could never dream of experiencing. My dad invented Atari and started Chuck E Cheese. I know. I still can't believe how crazy that is.

From a young age, I was lucky enough to witness the power of gaming as a means of social bonding. My seven brothers and I were enveloped by games; we lived and breathed them. We built community around playing games together in person.

It was this unique upbringing that allowed me to notice the massive market opportunity for gaming in today's world.

Internet connectivity is changing the way we interact with one another. We're spending more time communicating virtually, we're losing face-to-face social connectedness, and we're becoming socially isolated.

At the same time, modern video games are pushing players toward solitary gaming. The low-commitment experience that once made video gaming accessible and so popular in out of home environments has largely disappeared.

We know that being around others builds trust and friendship, that face-to-face connection brings happiness, that replacing your real-world relationships with social media use is detrimental to your health. We know we need to spend more time out of our homes, off our phones, and be more in the moment.

So why isn't technology working harder to connect people in real life and build communities that affect our well-being for the better?

As children of Nolan Bushnell, my siblings and I were often reminded of the power of gaming to bring people together. We heard it in the stories of 100s of people who told my dad that they had met their significant other over a game of Pong and thanked him for his part in making that happen. We saw it with our own eyes. We recognize that we have an opportunity to provide the perfect catalyst for interaction.

So we set out on a mission to make gaming social: getting people out of their houses, making new friends, and building community. Oh, and having some fun along the way too.

We created Polycade.

About Our Partner

This episode is also brought to you by Hawke Media. Hawke Media is a full-service Outsourced CMO based in Santa Monica, CA, providing guidance, planning, and execution to grow brands of all sizes, industries, and business models.

Hawke Media was recognized by Inc. as the country’s fastest-growing marketing consultancy and is proudly one of Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work”​, 2019 #893 on the Forbes 5000 list, UpCity Top Los Angeles Digital Marketing Agency. Hawke’s collaborative process, à la carte offering, and month-to-month fee structure give clients the flexibility they need to boost digital revenues and marketing ROI.

Hawke Media The company has serviced over 1500 brands of all sizes, ranging from startups like Tamara Mellon, SiO Beauty and Bottlekeeper to household names like Red Bull, Verizon Wireless and Alibaba.

Listen to our interview with Erik Huberman, Founder and CEO of Hawke Media, in episode 23 of the Just Go Grind Podcast.

Some of the Topics Covered by Tyler Bushnell in this Episode

  • How Tyler decided to use Kickstarter to raise funds for Polycade initially
  • How Polycade got started
  • The benefits of using Kickstarter to test products
  • The amount of preparation that went into Tyler's Kickstarter campaign for Polycade and how it went
  • How Tyler built the initial prototype for Polycade
  • Some of the early problems Tyler faced when created Polycade
  • How Tyler approached pricing for this product
  • Why Tyler decided to go through the Techstars accelerator and how Tyler's experience went
  • The importance of understanding what a contract manufacturer is
  • Getting introductions to about 140 investors through Techstars to raise a seed round
  • The team behind Polycade today
  • The customer acquisition strategy for Polycade
  • Licensing for Polycade
  • How Tyler has leveraged influencer collaborations to grow Polycade
  • Working with Juelz Santana, Steve Aoki, and Lil John
  • How growing up with a family of entrepreneurs (His dad, Nolan Bushnell, started Atari and Chuck E. Cheese) influenced Tyler

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