A Tale of a Boy and His Baseball Cards

A Tale of a Boy and His Baseball Cards

Mark Pougnet March 14, 2017

There once was a boy named Hadley Wrights (Had for short), the owner of a vast collection of baseball cards that he had meticulously collected, bought, and traded for over the years. This collection was his pride and joy, easily the best collection in town. Unfortunately, no one other than Had, or the inside of his closet, could see his collections. For years Had’s friends had begged him to show him his cards, to share the joy of seeing some of those iconic cards and even try to make some money by displaying them on special occasions. He liked that idea but thought it was too much trouble.

One day, a large company named Get-a-Stock convinced him to take pictures of his cards and upload them onto its website. The company would even pay him as people bought copies of those rare and timeless cards. By making copies available to the public, Had Wrights would also enhance his reputation in town and become the first-person people would call upon to buy and sell cards. Had was delighted, as he could keep his cards safe, make some money and enhance his reputation.

What could go wrong?

The first day he started uploading his cards, Had found certain cards were rejected by Get-a-Stock. The company only wanted certain cards that it alone determined were likely to be purchased. Then he found out that he had to provide all the information about each card before submission — a process, called tagging, that he thought Get-a-Stock would do automatically for him. Later, after hours of searching for his uploaded cards on Get-a-Stock’s website, he found that his cards were buried among millions of other less-valuable cards and that his cards were sold in discounted packages and coupons with these other cards because Get-a-Stock and a competitor were in a price war for the mass market. He saw his cards listed next to inferior-quality pictures of the same players, sometimes at a much lower price.

Had called Get-a-Stock to complain and was told that he had no control over positioning or pricing. He then mused that maybe he should try and upload the cards to another company. Had was told to read the fine print in the agreement he had signed; only Get-a-Stock could sell his cards for the next three years, and he could not even try to market the cards that Get-a-Stock rejected.

Had Wrights did not understand why he could not also use Why-Me, a cool, innovative company recommended by a friend. It made sense to Had that Why-Me would expose his cards to a different audience, one focused on high-end card marketing and on offering a more personal touch for its customers — book publishers, filmmakers, sports shows, historians, and others. Rather than point buyers to an impersonal website or asking customers to sift through millions of images, only to find a few that might be relevant, Why-Me worked with customers to determine their specific needs.

Additionally, Had saw that Why-Me was able to drive additional revenue for other card holders by distributing content to digital endpoints such as YouTube and Facebook and that some of his fellow collectors were using Why-Me’s cloud-native platform to archive their entire card collection in an easily accessible digital format. This meant that his friends did not have to worry about their cards being stolen from their closets, deteriorating over time due to age or being destroyed by the family pet.

And then … Had tried to figure out why he had not talked to Why-Me before signing up with Get-a-Stock.

Had Wrights knew what he would be doing in three years.


Freemantle