Mshari Al Onaizy is a young social entrepreneur who wants you to play. It is his goal to get people to put down their technology and interact. How? Through playing board games.
Introduce us to IAmJester.com and tell us why you chose such a unique name?
IAmJester.com is an online board game store. The story behind the name revolves around a character named Jester: a character from a far away land (you can find his full story on the website). I chose the name because I wanted to make visiting the website an experience, you are not only visiting a website, you are visiting the Jester whose sole purpose is to entertain and bring joy to people.
Where did the idea come from?
The idea came when I saw how disconnected we had become as a people. Whether we are at a family gathering, the diwaniya or out with friends; we are more connected with our phones and iPads than we are with the people sitting right there with us. This is especially true of the younger generation who would rather sit right next to each other and play on their own phones or tablets than socialize. I thought this was a real shame, and I have many great memories as a child playing Monopoly or Uno with my family and friends, so I decided to promote those same things again but in a new and fresh way.
How does the process work?
It’s simple: you go onto the website where you can see Jester’s collection of board games, read the reviews and make a purchase and have it delivered within 2 hours. To help you choose, you can filter games by age, number of players, game duration or genre.
And what about you, the man behind IAmJester.Com? Tell us a little about yourself.
I moved back to Kuwait just over 3 years ago after getting my Masters in Entrepreneurship from the UK, to start working on my business ideas. I’ve worked in start-ups from the beginning of my career which has made me really passionate about promoting entrepreneurship in Kuwait.
How do you see board games in relation to newer forms of entertainment?
Newer forms of entertainment are more about immersion and convenience, but this tends to lead to isolation as well. Board games are more interactive, you have to gather people and play together.
What is your favorite board game, and why?
I would have to say ‘Settlers of Catan’ because it is simple yet requires strategy, and I’ve managed to get my friends addicted to it.
We heard IAmJester.Com is throwing game nights, what is that about?
We have thrown two already, one for our launch and the other for charity in collaboration with Kuwait Healthy Living and we’ve got great feedback so far. It’s a great way to meet new people and have some fun playing games too. Anyone interested in joining an event should check our website for updates!