Founder, The Escape
While traveling abroad, Andrew Gipson and his friends discovered and played an intriguing one room escape game. After his return to the states, Andrew could not stop thinking about his experience with the game. He developed a few business plans and one was for The Escape. The Escape OKC opened in June of 2014 and was the first of its kind in Oklahoma.
Clients are able to choose from six different rooms at The Escape. Each room has a puzzle which takes the participants approximately 1 hour to solve. The goal is for team members to work together to solve a puzzle in order to escape. The offering is much more than a board game. Participants gain a deeper understanding of themselves and fellow players as they work through the challenges. From friends & family to company team building to game enthusiasts, The Escape offers an unique, challenging and fun hour of adventure.
Andrew, a Mettise client and Tribe member, has expanded the Escape to multiple states since 2014.
- What is your business?
The Escape OKC. I’ve somehow convinced people to let me lock them in a room…and they give me money to do it. I seriously have no idea how that happened.
- Why did you decide to do the work you do?
It was totally by accident. I had played an escape game in Belfast, Northern Ireland with some friends, and was working on the GMAT test to prepare for getting an MBA. I made a few business plans to see if I would like business (no idea why I thought making business plans would help, but I was 23) and the escape-the-room plan seemed to hold water, so I ran with it. Got some investors, and opened the OKC store 3 months later.
- What is your ideal customer?
Anyone looking for a unique experience with a group of people. Families are my favorite customers though. They’re always surprised with how much each member contributes to the success of the group and how much teamwork they use.
- What is it that your customers or clients really want?
What they think they want is to escape and be the fastest group. What they really want is a memorable moment. I’ve beat escape games in 20 minutes, and it’s a cool sense of achievement. Those aren’t my favorite games. My favorite games are the ones where we struggle, and have to work together.
- Which two organizations outside your own do you know the most people at and why?
Amshot and Rough Tail Brewing. They combine two of my favorite hobbies, making and drinking.
- What is your MBTI?
- What are you known for?
Memes, ideas just crazy enough to work and always having a 3rd thing for my lists.
- What do you love about what you do?
Continually being able to make new challenges for me and my team. Every game we make needs to be the best game we’ve ever made. We’re always looking for new technologies to utilize and combine. We’ve always got an employee finding some cool video on Reddit or YouTube, bringing it to us, and saying, “wouldn’t it be cool if we could paint a circuit board on a wall and make people connect the circuit and have the wall color change?” Awesome stuff like that. We just have to find out how quickly we can get it into a room. How could anyone not enjoy a job where you’re doing that every day?
- When you aren’t working, what are you likely to be doing?
I’m an avid reader, novice cook, fanatic eSports and video gamer, huge football fan and a junkie for new experiences. So I’m usually combining 2 or more of those things.
- What are you reading now?
Radical Candor by Kim Scott. I love it so far, and want to make my organizations communicate more candidly.
- What is the coolest app you are using?
Phillips Hue and FireTV. I know that’s two, but it takes both of them for me to be able to sit on the couch, control my TV and the lights in my apartment. Those apps save me literally ones of steps each week.
- Do you have a favorite “life hack?”
Drink water right when you wake up. Easiest way to shake off the grogginess. Oh, and if you don’t like how your mouth feels in the morning after smoking a cigar, mash up a bunch of doritos, and rub them against your gums. Totally gets rid of the gross cigar morning breath that toothpaste misses.
- What was your latest “Aha!” moment about?
Minivans have sliding doors to keep kids from opening normal doors and hitting other cars. I’ve always just accepted that minivans had sliding doors, and never questioned why. Like duh, no one would have an intact piece of sheet metal on their car if minivan doors weren’t sliders.
- When was the hardest time in your life?
Probably my middle years of college. I was unhappy with what I was studying, didn’t like where it would take me, and really didn’t have the skills or experience to know how to handle it. Being an adult just means that you are totally equipped to handle the problems you had five years ago. I now have the ability to know how and when to ask for help, but developing that skill was a long and tough road.
- What do you get from your Posse or Tribe that you don’t get elsewhere?
An outlet to be honest to an empathetic group. Everyone has problems, and as a young entrepreneur most of my peers I went to school with have vastly different work problems. I can’t be totally candid with my staff, especially when the problems are about them. Having a group of guys who have gone through similar struggles, and get that the problems we face as business owners aren’t always business related, being able to be transparent and get real feedback has been vital for me and for working on my business.
- What were you doing the last time you laughed your head off?
I watched Young Frankenstein last week. That movie has a direct route to my funny bone.
- What was the worst job you ever had?
I somehow convinced a huge horse race course in Melbourne, Australia that I had the hospitality skills to do 5 star service in the owner’s suite. My only experience was being a bartender at a golf course, so that went over about how you’d expect. I was restricted to polishing silverware and running drinks within the first hour of being on the floor.
- If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for?
Not a damn thing. I like to try a lot of different stuff, but whenever I get to the point where I would have to dedicate a large amount of time to climb into the top echelons, I get bored of the repetition and find a new thing. Specialization is for insects.
- What do you consider your best find?
Leadership and Self-Deception by the Arbinger Institute. Totally changed how I interact with people. It’s easy to read, and is applicable to everyone.
- How do you relax after a hard day of work?
Sushi, Whiskey and online video games. 100% of the time, it works every time.
- If you were a crazy dictator on a small island nation, what dictator stuff would you do?
So many things. Trial by combat is now allowed, however I get to decide which weapon each person uses to level the playing field. We celebrate Krampus along with Santa, especially during Festivus (thank you Seinfeld for that amazing holiday). The queen of England is the only person who can eat a swan. I am the only person that can eat anteaters. It’s now a holiday. I get 24 hours to hunt through the island and find and shoot an anteater with a tranquilizer gun. If I am successful, the anteater is pardoned for a good hunt. If I am not, then I must take the walk of shame through the downtown part of the island and people are allowed to throw glitter at me. This will be a national holiday, work will be canceled, and I’ll have a team of drone pilots with HD cameras following me around.
- When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?
Some positivity and/or enthusiasm.
- What is worth spending more on to get the best?
All the things that separate you from the ground. Shoes, tires, bed.
- What’s something you’ve been meaning to try but just haven’t gotten around to it?
Stand up paddle boarding. Sounds fun, but haven’t take the time to just go out and give it a shot.
- What do you want your epitaph to be?
Enjoyed the ride.