We were ordered to close our doors. Now what?

A chained front door.
A chained front door.
Photo by Sheldon Kennedy on Unsplash

When the pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, my company and all those like us faced a crisis. The government ordered us to close. I remember locking the doors to one of our locations after having told our employees we had no work for them.

It was a scary time for me. I still had huge obligations for rent and other commitments that did not go away because of the pandemic. I was looking at losing everything we had spent six years building. It was a long, lonely drive back home.

This is a story of how we were…


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If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it might be a duck

COVID-19 has pushed a lot of companies to move their products online. Escape rooms are no exception. Prior to the world-wide pandemic, the terms online escape room and virtual escape room were almost unknown and unsearched for. I should know because I created an online escape room “Minutes to Midnight” as a team building event back in 2018. It saw little traffic and few requests over the two years leading up to the spring of 2020.

The pandemic changed everything.

Now there are hundreds of online escape room experiences. They range from print and play puzzles to full games with…


Secrets of a video game designer.

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Photo by James Pond on Unsplash

Why can my son/daughter be so good at video games and yet do so poorly in school? Does this question sound familiar? If you are an educator or parent, you are likely dealing with this every day. Bright intelligent students who will spend countless hours mastering video games but cannot turn in a simple school assignment.

Teachers are challenged like never before to compete with a media rich world of 24-hour entertainment. Billions of dollars are spent annually on the latest video games. Video game companies spare no expense to find and employ the best programmers, artists, and designers to…


How we got 1,800 five-star reviews on TripAdvisor

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Stars, Photo by Manouchehr Hejazi on Unsplash

In 2014 we opened the first escape room in Utah. Back then escape rooms were almost completely unknown. We had a huge uphill battle getting people to know what we were. I talked to some friends in the industry. They told me that the best way to build knowledge about our business was to rank high on TripAdvisor. With that in mind we tried everything we knew to get people to write reviews for us. We thought we were doing Okay, until about a year later one of our competitors passed us.

The Crisis

To me this was a crisis that we…


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Babe Ruth 1922

I remember seeing a sign on a business when I was a kid that said something of the following:

“An employee who never makes a mistake, isn’t doing anything. An employee that makes too many mistakes gets fired.”

While these two statements seem contradictory, they are based in reality. The first one is something all managers and executives know. Employees will make mistakes. The second one is what all employees fear. They don’t want to make a mistake that costs them their job. Mistakes are one of those tricky management issues that are tough on both the manager and those…


In the recent movie Ford v Ferrari, we see Ken Miles talking to his son about running a perfect lap. This is brought out again in the movie as his son watches his dad race and exclaims that he is running a perfect lap. While the two scenes in the movie may or may not be historically accurate the concept of running a perfect lap is a good one for understanding how to lead innovation.

In the movie Ken talks to his son about what it takes to run a perfect lap including the limitations of the car, the track…


In the recent movie Ford v Ferrari, we see Ken Miles talking to his son about running a perfect lap. This is brought out again in the movie as his son watches his dad race and exclaims that he is running a perfect lap. While the two scenes in the movie may or may not be historically accurate the concept of running a perfect lap is a good one for understanding how to lead innovation.

In the movie Ken talks to his son about what it takes to run a perfect lap including the limitations of the car, the track…


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What would it be worth, if your team solves the most pressing problem your company faces today?

What is the value of a great idea?

The new economy is innovation and the currency that drives it is ideas. Companies are seeing increased pressure to innovate. Overall spending on R&D from the world’s top 1,000 companies increased by 11.4% to a record $782 billion last year according to Strategy and Business. But even with this increase in spending, many companies are still finding it difficult to find the innovative ideas they need.

“For the entire 14 years we have conducted this…

Leslie Pardew

I am an artist, designer, author, and entrepreneur who has a few things to share about life, art and business.

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