Poker is Dying, it’s not like it used to be
Poker is dying. It’s not like it used to be.
For the last couple of years, I have heard our competitors say this hundreds of times. When they are saying this, it’s not some kind of demoralisation tactic – It’s how they genuinely feel and I would be lying if I said these constant comments didn’t sometimes make me think: “Are we barking up the wrong tree here?” – Nobody wants to put all their effort into a rigged game, where it is impossible to prosper. Picture running inside a hamster wheel, no matter how hard you pedal you will never get anywhere, or worse – you might pedal like hell, but go backwards.
Failing is okay, but if our poker brands struggle I will not delude myself or the business, that it’s due to the market declining (Is it even declining? That’s for another post). We are in control of our own destiny.
So, in the case of online poker it’s an industry worth multiple billions per year. We do not even make up a fraction of a % of this industry – There is of course Pokerstars who are roughly 60% or so of online poker, and they might have a fair point here – If online poker is not growing, it’s no good for them. However, one could argue, that as they profit so greatly from it, and have such a big piece of the pie, the responsibility for growing the market also largely falls on their shoulders – Which, they are not doing a bad job of.
However, how can any smaller business look at poker and say: “There is no room for growth here” – It’s insanity. There is plenty of room, you just need to be sharp and create value.
SkyScanner was founded in 2003 and only really began to take off in 2006 – Just as the recession began and global tourism decreased, especially the spend of UK tourists, who were SkyScanner’s core market. Nobody heard them complaining about their market decreasing – they realised the market was so much bigger than they were, and it would be a long time before size of the market actually affected their growth prospects.
In fact, there are some great arguments to be made for a mature industry being a great opportunity for a business. Asian smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi only started a couple of years ago, but now has over 5% of the worldwide market, the same goes for Lenovo who are new. How about Snapchat, just a couple of years ago, when it seemed messaging players were already established or Airbnb with a different take on the travel market.
Your product / service has a far greater bearing on your success than the industry you are in. Really great products help grow industries, not the other way around.