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Mar 30th, 2016
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  1. The Sandi Transcripts
  2. From ‘Sunny’s Diner’ (The Star Citizen podcast for the rest of us)
  3. Episode 3k13: Sandi Gardiner
  6. Sunny:
  7. Welcome to Sunny’s Diner, the Star Citizen podcast for the rest of us. I am joined by two very special people, ahm… one of them, ah… SLIGHTLY better looking than the other, ah… first I will introduce you to GRUAR, ‘G’ how ya doin’ today?
  9. G:
  10. Don’t waste your time introducing me they know who I am, NEXT
  12. Sunny:
  13. I am also joined by the… VP… although admittedly she says that nobody is higher in the department of marketing… the VP of marketing for Cloud Imperium Games, I’m joined by Sandi Gardiner, Sandi how are you doing tonight?
  15. Sandi:
  16. I am doing great and I guess, um, gee… you’re pretty good looking then
  17. Sunny:
  18. Um, I… I… I tend to think so and my WIFE does too, but not quite at your level
  20. Sunny:
  21. Sandi it’s so nice of you to… to, ah JOIN US on the DINER, ahm… so you are, ah, the VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING for Cloud Imperium Games… aah… I… obviously the appetiser, we’re gonna get into all sorts of stuff but just, ah, as a… as an introduction BRIEFLY to yourself before we, ah… put you on the couch and dig into your… your PAST, psychologically, ah… what is it that the VP of Marketing does for CIG?
  23. Sandi:
  24. I actually do QUITE a lot, umm… and I’m not sure that all comes under marketing, ummm… because we’re a crowdfunded game… slightly different in as much that we do… customer service… it’s quite personalised, we have CONCIERGE, ah… around merchandising… uhm… we’re quite BIG obviously in COMMUNITY which Ben and I actually work closely together… uhm… don’t know if… my… it’s more SOCIAL MARKETING I guess it comes under marketing
  26. Sunny:
  27. And you are also the HOST of The Next Great Starship
  29. Sandi:
  30. I am! Yes!
  32. Sunny:
  33. Are you having fun with that?
  35. Sandi:
  36. It actually, it’s actually really good fun, yah, I… I mean… it’s an interesting thing because… uhm… I have my OPINIONS but I can’t really…
  38. Sunny:
  39. Yeah you really don’t give your opinions very much on this
  41. Sandi:
  42. No I don’t because, ah… it’s really the judges who should be doing that
  44. Sunny:
  45. It’s funny sometimes I can tell that you want to interject a little bit and you… you say things like, “oh, so a complete workaround on that one then”, right?
  47. Sandi:
  48. Yeah, yeah… ahm, actualy David’s a great judge on the last three, I had a really good time with him… and… in Austin
  49. Sunny:
  50. Tell me about your gaming origins, go back to the beginning, what is your first gaming memory?
  52. Sandi:
  53. My first gaming rem… memory... uhm… but then… I might be telling my age now… not really… I’m joking… ah… a THREE EIGHTY SIX, we actually had ah… my father’s… uhm… professor… and we had visitors who came across from, uhm, SWEDEN to stay with us and they were COMPLETE COMPUTER NERDS and I think I was about… FIVE or SIX or so… and uhm… I found it actually quite fascinating… MATHEMATICS I was always really good at and PHYSICS, which is… kinda interesting considering I never took that up, uhm… and then ah, my mother and I travelled a lot so we went to TOKYO and HONG KONG… in… TOKYO I went off, uhm… you’re familiar with an area called AHK-HEE-HABBA-DAH… which is basically ALL electronics, and it just used to be MIND. BLOWING. I mean… as a KID
  55. Sunny:
  56. Is it an area in Tokyo?
  58. Sandi:
  59. It’s an area in TOKYO where it’s all electronics, so… I used to play these LITTLE CARDS about the size of a credit card… uhm… and it kinda looks like a GAME BOY and you would insert the credit card into the BACK, and I would play all sorts of games like… like kinda like STREET FIGHTER GAMES, uhm… I can’t remember the names of them now but uhm… kind like LEAGUE OF LEGENDS
  60. … …
  61. Sandi:
  62. I kind of had a bit of a hiatus as a teenager from computers, uhm… and uh… in COLLEGE I obsessively played DOOM, with another girlfriend of mine who uhm… she was doing a PHYSICS MAJOR, and we just used to go crazy over that, I mean it just, it just takes up so much of your life
  64. Sunny:
  65. Now you’ve brought this up a number of different times, in a number of different places, it seems like that’s your go to answer when somebody asks about videogames, you talk about DOOM, so, what kind of obsession are we talking about here?
  67. Sandi:
  68. Ahm… *tch*… you know, like… I would say like 6PM til probably 5AM, five days a week
  70. Sunny:
  71. Wow
  72. Sunny:
  73. Now did you do your college in Australia, before moving over to the United States?
  75. Sandi:
  76. I did, yeah, I got a, uhm, what’s called a FIRST CLASS HONOURS, it’s kinda like a MASTERS, were you write a THESIS and uhm, it’s classed just like a 1A, a 1B… so basically I got a 1A which is the highest one you can get, and, uhm, I got offered… uhm… SCHOLARSHIPS around the world for a PHD
  78. Sunny:
  79. Wow. And what was it in?
  81. Sandi:
  82. It was in MARINE BIOLOGY
  84. Sunny:
  85. In marine biology?
  87. Sandi:
  88. Correct.
  89. Sunny:
  90. You got a masters in marine biology, and at some point you ended up at UCLA, how did that happen?
  92. Sandi:
  93. Well, I, uhm… *tch*… where I wanted to go was the Galapagos Islands, to do my PHD… off Ecuador… and I got accepted, they actually sent me an invitation, uhm… but then I got booked on a television show, uhm, a SCUBA DIVING show, going around the country, and uhm, somebody just said to me “well why don’t you do a business degree instead”, cos I had all these other businesses going on, and they’re like “you’re just not really cut out to do a PHD, what are you gonna do, I just can’t see you stuck in a LAB”, this was my… this was my PROFESSOR and the HEAD of the department, uhm, at my COLLEGE. I said ‘yeah, maybe… maybe you’re right’, and at that time I had gone in there with DARK SUNGLASSES, crazy fluffy jacket, I mean I used to dress pretty LOUD, uhm, cos I’d a fashion company at the time as well, and uhm… I said ‘yeah maybe… maybe you’re right’, so I… I applied for SCHOLARSHIP… ahm… for a MASTERS IN BUSINESS at Sydney, Australia, and uhm, I was accepted like as one of the youngest MBAs, uhm and also because they take people from, uhm… *tch*… like I was the only one from a FASHION and ENTERTAINMENT background, everybody else was kinda FINANCE and BANKING and… uhm…
  95. Sunny:
  96. Which makes sense
  98. Sandi:
  99. Yeah totally makes sense. And the first subject was MARKETING and I just distinctly remember that… because I had no idea what they expected, and I basically put everybody’s desks together and I had all these like, you know, AUSTRALIAN SUPERMODELS walk all over the desks in my FASHION CLOTHES that I designed, everybody was like WHAT IS GOING ON
  100. Everybody was like speechless, I was like, oh my god is this not what you do, I was like, so… I had NO IDEA, so then when I sat down and everybody was like “OK that was interesting” , everybody else had done like this POWERPOINT PRESENTATION and like PIE CHAT… PIE CHARTS and… GRAPHS… I was like oh, man…
  101. And then I applied at UCLA, uhm… *tch*… for uh… to do the last part of it cos I was interested in… ENTERTAINMENT , so…
  102. Sunny:
  103. What was your thesis on in business school?
  105. Sandi:
  106. Uhm, ah, it was… it… it… it was in INTERNATIONAL MARKETING… uhm… ah, moving in to… uhm… Australia moving in to the Asian markets. Uhm. At the time… uhh… and vice versa we had a lot of infux of China into Australia at that point… and I think we actually, uhm… *tch*… implemented like… NEW VISAS AND STUFF… I… I… think… ah, uh… I don’t know… I’ve been GONE so long I don’t know what it is now, but uhm… yeah it was basically in INTERNATIONAL MARKETING
  108. Sunny:
  109. So you have not one but TWO masters then?
  111. Sandi:
  112. Correct. Yeah.
  114. Sunny:
  115. At that point were you pretty much done with gaming until you got the call from Chris?
  117. Sandi:
  118. Yeah, pretty much, I… I never really got into like… Console… Gaming… uhm… I can’t say I really… no… not really
  120. Sunny:
  121. So how did you get the call from Chris? How did you end up working for Chris Roberts?
  123. Sandi:
  124. Well I’ve known Chris for a long time, I’ve known him since I first, uh… even when I was studying at UCLA, I knew Chris, uhm... and I remember the first time meeting him, on a FILM aspect, I just was like, wow… you are… I mean… his… gaming… I mean he… I’m seeing somebody, I mean I’d a lot… frien… like I said my girlfriend was a major in PHYSICS, they did all sorts of… crazy… FORMULA… and all this sorts of stuff and… CHRIS CODING is like… I mean the guy’s pretty brilliant, it’s quite IMPRESSIVE …
  125. I mean that just kind of stuck in my mind, and he’s actually had the… the… the… IDEA for STAR CITIZEN for a long time, uhm… it’s just he, I guess wasn’t ready to… uhhh…. CREATE IT so to speak, uh, but he mentioned it to me a couple of times, so… uhm… he was throwing around other IDEAS and I just said to him I think you should really try this one, ah, it just… just… the way he pitched Star Citizen to me it wasn’t called Star Citizen at the time, it didn’t actually have any name, I said you should really give it a shot to… to… DO IT YOURSELF. Why not? I said I think it’s a REALLY BRILLIANT… uhm… IDEA
  126. And I think maybe DOUBLE FINE had maybe just done their CROWDFUND, and I can’t remember if PROJECT ETERNITY came right before we launched… maybe… in the timing… uhm… so CHRIS said ‘well, do you think we could maybe go to KICKSTARTER or something’, he kinda felt it was a LITTLE RISKY, uhm and I said well, you know, you’re… what he does is PRETTY NEAT, nobody else can kinda DO WHAT HE DOES so, if no one, if no one appreciates you for Star Citizen then I’m sure you’ll get a JOB
  127. Sunny:
  128. Given the unorthodox financial structure of your company, how does that kind of structure affect a marketing strategy?
  130. Sandi:
  131. Uhm… well… it’s INTERESTING in terms of… I’m always very mindful of the community… uhm… *tch*… I… for exa… for example I flew to Manchester, I got this cheap, SUPER CHEAP TICKET to Manchester, and Chris was like ‘why didn’t you fly BUSINESS’ and I was like, well, I don’t know, I saw this $900 ticket and I thought well, I’ll just fly economy, um, because I don’t want the FANS thinking… and he’s like ‘well FANS don’t even KNOW, you guys you gotta like be COMFORTABLE’, I said yeah but, you know, I think um, *tch*… I think it just SHOWS in what you DO, obviously there’s people who say ‘well’, for example with the NEXT GREAT STARSHIP people were like ‘well, is this what they’re spending their money on’, uhm, but… but I put together a whole bunch of SPONSORS for that, so… we’re not really spending much at all, uhm, *tch*… so it changes MARKETING in as much that I’d like, we don’t really spend a lot of DOLLARS in the way that other companies… SPEND on marketing, I get a lot of CALLS from… aahh… ssss… ess… you know there’s always BUZZWORDS, ‘S’ ‘E’ ‘O’, strategic… something… something, and like… BROADENING YOUR REACH through GOOGLE SITES and THINGS, and I’m a big believer that the community… ahm… speaks LOUDER than all of those kinds of things and there’s nothing more powerful than… WORD OF MOUTH, if my friend’s gonna say to me ‘you have to check out this game it’s AWESOME’… then that’s… I’m pretty much… SOLD… uhm… so… we have a really good CONVERSION RATE of people who show up to the site and REGISTER and then PLEDGE, much higher than, uhm… any FREE TO PLAY or, uhm… OBVIOUSLY… any free to play, that, that wasn’t a very good argument but uhm… HAHA…
  133. Uhm, but we really do have a good conversion rate of people… of people pledging when they… they… SHOW UP and see the STUFF so I’m GUESSING that is because people share their YouTube videos, uhm… *tch*… they, there’s the WORD OF MOUTH, and the FACEBOOK, the TWITTER, I mean there, there’s… we have some of the old school fans who are like ‘Eh, I don’t like those SOCIAL’, *tch*… ways of… uh, doing things, but it’s kind of… it’s FREE! Ha!
  134. Facebook’s free!
  135. Twitter’s free!
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