Popongo : the outdoor lawn game changer

For Errol Anderson, during the COVID-19 lockdown, how lack of exciting outdoor lawn games led into invention of a super fun, engaging and a challenging game.
By Neilsberg November 4, 2022
Advertiser Disclosure: Neilsberg is supported by small businesses like you. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The Beginning

Q. Game Designing. Why did you decide to start a business in this industry?

EA: During COVID-19, we all found ourselves finding new ways to fill the day. When social distancing  became acceptable, some friends and I got together for a backyard barbecue. I brought the most  popular outdoor game on the market at the time, and we did not play it for very long. It was  relatively boring because we did not find it to be very challenging. The next day, I looked for other  fun lawn game options and quickly realized there were not many appealing options available in  general. I decided to challenge my creativity and figure out a new game that would appeal to the  masses. I was on a mission to develop a game that would be more exciting, challenging and  engaging – a game that was just as fun to watch as it was to play. Popongo was born. 

Wanting to celebrate my Jamaican culture (my beautiful, proud people), our Caribbean neighbors,  and our African roots, I made a meaningful decision to incorporate color representations into the  design of the game. The Jamaican flag is black for the people, yellow for our golden sunshine and  green represents our amazing, luscious vegetation. The red represents our African roots and the  blue for our beautiful blue waters and skies that we share with our Caribbean neighbors.  

Q. Early challenges?

EA: The development of Popongo was slow and methodical and took months. Figuring out how  the game would look and the logistics of how it would be played was a long and slow process, but it  was a lot of fun as it came together bit by bit. Then came the challenge of getting everyone in the world to  know about Popongo and then getting it to them. The first piece of the puzzle was to find the right  PR team. Next was figuring out fulfillment and distribution which was a tough one but I was  determined to get it right. There are so many options but finding the right team and distribution  options for Popongo was a major win.

Status Quo

Q. Where do you think you need help to scale Popongo?

EA: Funding!!! When you start a new business and have a product to sell, the first thing you do is  identify your audience. Who is your product perfect for? What if there is no specific audience  for your product? What if every person on this planet is a potential consumer for your  product? Great problem to have of course but that comes with the need for the resources to  reach everyone on the planet. The mission is to get them to know about your product and  eventually get it into their hands. Popongo, like chess, checkers, monopoly, etc, has the  potential to be in every household on the planet. With proper funding I would be able to allow Popongo to see its true potential.

Q. What's happening in the toys/games industry at the moment?

EA: The "premium" outdoor lawn game has been cornhole for over 100 years. Most people know  this game. This and the other few games available are not exciting, engaging or even  challenging. Popongo is the "new kid on the block" and has now bridged the massive gaps left  by those available before Popongo. Now, there is an exciting, challenging and engaging  game for date night, guys night, girls night, playing with the grandparents, playing with the  younger ones and tailgating. Popongo will soon be considered the hottest, most engaging indoor/outdoor game on the planet whether you are playing or spectating. If cornhole has a  nationally televised tournament on ESPN, I’m extremely excited about the future of Popongo. 

Work-Life

Q. What are your usual business owner responsibilities?

EA: I do it all ☺.   

Q. How do you personally set boundaries?

EA: I make the conscious effort to make time for my personal life. If not, I could easily find myself  working all the time because there is always so much to do. When I am with loved ones and friends, I stay in the moment and enjoy all interaction. It is necessary and important and it has taken me a long  time to recognize and appreciate that.

Inspiration

Q. Brands you look up to?

EA: I find the story behind Under Armour very interesting and inspirational. A guy in college did  something for himself trying to stay comfortable while playing sports. He shared his idea with his  teammates and when it was catching on, he put every cent he had on the line and today, look at  Under Armour! He put fear to the side and went all in and that is exactly what I have done with  Popongo.

Mentor

Q. A piece of advice to the budding entrepreneurs in your industry?

EA: I am not sure that I am qualified to give advice with regards to the game industry as yet. I am still  learning and I feel I have a long way to go. What I will give advice on is the business world in general.  My successes and the success of ventures, like Popongo, are a direct result of the hard work,  dedication and tirelessness I devote to pursuing and achieving my goals. When working to achieve  your goals, I recommend:

1. Set goals and vigorously work toward achieving them.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, "Heights by great men reached and kept, were not attained by sudden flight, but they,  while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night". This quote resonates with  me because I learned at a very young age that nothing in life – nothing amazing in life,  comes with ease. We, as individuals, are responsible for the effort we put into both our  successes and our failures.

2. Network and build relationships with fellow entrepreneurs and like-minded people who  positively impact your life and have the capability of supporting your dreams and goals.

They say that innovation is born out of necessity, and I couldn't agree more. As a  businessman in the corporate world, I'd never spent much time inventing something for the  sole purpose of entertainment. But what I learned quickly was that the principles that exist  in my world are the same principles that exist in the gaming world—personalization and  relationships are key for success.

3. Play an active and engaging role in your community.

Trust is the backbone of every  consumer decision, no matter the product or the sector. The way to make sure that your  community can trust you is by showing up. Not just when you need something or want to  make a sale, but all the time. Let customers see you as a person, not just a business owner  and they’re much more likely to buy or refer others to you.  

Living in Denver, there’s no shortage of community events to participate in. From the  Farmers Market to the Juneteenth Music Festival, I’ve made it a priority to show up as a  community member and as a Popongo advocate. When a community church hosted a free  haircutting and back to school supplies event, Popongo boards were there to delight and  entertain the kids. It's not about sales, it's about relationships. Being able to get to know our  community and let our community get to know us is the only way I can hope for success for  this new venture. 

4. Constantly challenge yourself, push yourself to see what you are capable of and exercise  creativity as you strive to fulfill needs and find solutions.

Exercise creativity and think  outside of the box. Don't settle for the way things are or how they have been done in the  past. Push yourself and your company to continuously adapt, pursue new challenges and  stay at the forefront of cutting-edge ideas and solutions.   

5. Always show respect to everyone, whoever they are – an associate businessperson or the  person that delivers your mail.

My mom always said…"it is not a visa that gets you through  this world son, it is good manners".



So if you looking for something new and exciting for a family/friends get together , do try out Popongo and share your experience with us.


This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal or tax advice. We recommend that you consult with a qualified professional such as a lawyer or accountant before making a decision. Many of the products and services featured here are from our affiliate partners. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. Read advertiser disclosure.

Share this post