Started his first business when he was 16 years old
Wanting to be a fighter pilot
Learning about bias at a young age
Deciding not to go to university and doing door-to-door sales
His first business success in customer support focused on ICOs during first crypto boom
Moving into the F1 Delta community and learning about crypto asset lending
Building his own ‘guild’ to see what needed to be fixed
Automating asset lending to allow for smoother asset transfer and profit sharing among players
Intending to release Pegaxy to a small audience while building a 2 year roadmap
Struggling to control demand for Pegaxy after its beta release
Business fundamentals DO matter
Profitability and business sustainability are more important than short-term hype
I Was Trying to Harbor a Strong Mind
You Just Need a Thousand Horses and One Wallet
I Just Kept Telling Myself “Its the Next Door”
It’s Easy to Get Jaded When You Have Still Done Nothing
Hitting the Lottery Is Not Always Good
- Are We Also Passengers on a Train?
Read the best-effort transcript below (This technology is still not as good as they say it is…):
Michael Waitze 0:20
Hi, this is Michael Waitze and welcome back to the Asia Tech Podcast. Today we’re joined by Corey Wilton, a co founder at Mirai Labs and Pegaxy, Corey, thank you for coming on the show, particularly on short notice I saw something you posted on LinkedIn. And I just said, I gotta have a conversation about this. How are you doing?
Corey Wilton 0:40
I’m all good. This, I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to come on as well.
Michael Waitze 0:45
It is my pleasure. And just to get some context for people that don’t know you yet, can you get a little bit of background on you?
Corey Wilton 0:52
For sure, for sure. So I guess on a personal side, I’m based over here in Australia, born and raised in Australia, as well, I guess, on the professional background, straight out of school, basically right into building my own stuff. I guess my first little company was a failed company. Absolutely. I think I was 16 or 17. But what I did see was a bit of a gap in the market of Dollar Shave Club, if anyone’s familiar. So in my brain, at that time, I was like, I’m gonna go and build a female version. And obviously, that didn’t work. But yeah, I mean, it was It wasn’t bad as a great experience for me. And then one thing led to another over the years. And I guess my first proper, quote unquote, success for for a young person was back in 2018. I started something called Help Desk, which was a customer support 24/7 Customer Support Company, focused on supporting ICOs. So startup companies during the crypto first crypto craze, I guess. And that one went really, really well for us and went through till it was still running through 2020 2021, like around the bear. But in 2019, I also started Australia’s largest. I co founded it, I should say, toy gun shop, that was an E commerce. So that was another little thing, I guess was, was new to me, except that the only background I really had was for the female razor club. And yeah, one thing led to another that one did amazing. I left that one and came back into the crypto space full time. I think it was ended 2020, early 2021. And that’s where we started mirre.
Michael Waitze 2:35
What got you into being an entrepreneur. I mean, when I wrote it would have been college, I went into a more traditional route. I just went and worked at Morgan Stanley, but you basically graduated from school, I guess and just said or was a graduate from high school, and just said those Evans High School. Yeah, he’s graduating high school and you’re like, Okay, nevermind, I’m not going to even go to university, which, frankly, I have a daughter who’s probably a little bit younger than you are. I don’t care either way to be fair. And just to nevermind, I’m just gonna start my own stuff. Like, why?
Corey Wilton 3:05
Yeah, actually, through from about grade 10 To grade 12, which is our last year in Australia. I was deadly focused on being a fighter pilot in the Air Force. And so I did the chemistry, I did the physics, maths, all this stuff, aerospace. And I just basically gave myself one ultimatum, like only had a plan A, and that was get into this specific university. I had a bit of a bad experience in in high school in the sense that, I guess, pretenses why everything happened. But basically, I was in grade 11. And a girl in our grade was in grade 12 Geography but she was a year ahead so basically, what happened is that when I went into grade 12 and was doing geography, I asked for her tests or her your paper write you write up your piece, I forget what it’s called. Anyway, I took hers and I literally just put my name on it. And I took her exact thing. So I know that’s bad, but I did it anyway. And I had the exact same teachers she had the year before or a year later, she got an A plus I got a B minus on the exact same thing, which makes me think that in my brain I was like, how is that physically possible this teacher didn’t recognize it and still gave me a b minus where she got an A plus, that means there is no possibility of me actually excelling in the school because the teachers opinions of me, it’s not all my work. So what happened is basically I had tutors I had everything like I was going to this university and I was positive on it. mentality was all good. I didn’t get in based on my my marks. And after that, I just had that reflection moment of like, you know that geography cos like how I had set myself up being a bit of a class clown, not being you know, the best with the teachers. Even if I had the smarts, it didn’t matter. My personality didn’t suit an A student. And unfortunately, that’s just the route that went. And then that was it. I only applied for one university I didn’t get in. And I was like, Screw it. I’m going into sales. So at 17, I was walking about 15 kilometers a day knocking doors in a sales company. And the rest is history. I guess.
Michael Waitze 5:29
That is an awesome story. I think it’s so interesting, though. Like you said it, you put this latest paper, you did something wrong. And yet, the outcome wasn’t what I expected. Right? I kind of expected you to get in trouble and get expelled or some such thing, right? This would be the normal thing that teachers should recognize at some level. I mean, I know they see a lot of papers, but it’s not that many. And like you were punished in this weird way. What’s the bias? Right, but this has to teach you karma? I guess, karma? I don’t know. But it’s gonna teach you a little bit about bias. Right? Right. I don’t know. The young lady is I don’t know who the teacher is. And frankly, I don’t care. But there’s a some kind of systemic bias whether it was because of the class clown thing or whatever. If it’s really meant to be a meritocracy, then what really should have happened was you should have had an F right. And you should have been thrown out. What if you’re going to take it? It’s one from one thing? Yeah. Anyway, I should have been in a plus whatever it should have been the same. It’s odd. That’s a really interesting story. But I like the fact that at some level you’d made you just say, look, here’s my goal. I wanted to be a fighter pilot, I wanted to go to this one university, I had Plan A, my plan B was whatever happened after that, whatever. I decided after that, and you just said, nevermind, and went into sales. In a way I kind of love this. Yeah, that’s just me. But so this first company, you started, I love this idea of, you know, I started this company based on the Dollar Shave Club for women. And that failed. And I want to get to the other stuff that you posted about a couple of days ago, right? Because that’s important to me. But this idea of you know, failure is good, is only good if you learn something from it. Right now. Clearly you did. But what was it like when you went out to start these other companies? What was going on in the brain that said, it’s okay, that things didn’t work, but this thing should that makes you just keep going? Do you know what I mean?
Corey Wilton 7:26
Yeah, I know what you mean. And I think I think a lot of it did come down to personal development, just, I was really trying to harbor a strong mind when I was, you know, 17 through to 20. And that first job that I got out of, of school, the attempt was actually to be in tele sales. I got confused somehow. And it was a door knocking job. And I was like, Screw it, I got the job. I was like, Screw it. We’ll just go with that anyway. And, yeah, and a mentality that you had there is that it’s always the next door, it’s like, you knock on the door, they say, No, you’re like next door next door next door next door. And you do that for 12 months, and you just get in that mental state to where it’s like, if you just keep going, like day after day, it just proved itself. If you just tell yourself, it’s the next door, it’s the next door, it’s the next door, it’s the next door, you will eventually get to a yes. And it kind of made me a little bit numb to rejection. Now I definitely wasn’t prepared for obviously, what was to come in the following years with how difficult running companies actually is. Yeah, and definitely not saying I’m an expert at any level right now even but it just kind of set the precedence for a 17 year old 18 year old to get that much rejection and still be able to push just gave me that little bit of confidence. And it was just through that failure that I recognized. At some point, the law of averages gives way. And you will get there if you’re good at what you do.
Michael Waitze 8:50
But of course, think about this. One of the things I always say is that all of life is a conversion problem. And this next door thing I love this this next door, it’s just the next door thing is it explains this perfectly. In the physical world, right in the digital world. It’s just about conversions. But frankly, I think in the physical world it is too. And that’s all you’re saying really, is that you just keep going and at some point, someone’s going to say yes. And as long as you don’t care about the nose, the yeses are the only thing that matters and you just keep going. So it’s
Corey Wilton 9:19
the only option, right? Like yeah, zero base. So that means like, if we don’t sell, we didn’t get paid. And I’m walking 15 kilometers a day for eight to 10 hours. I’m like, I’m not going to do this shit for free. I have to sell, you know, so it has to be the next door otherwise, I might as well just not rock up to work. So 2525
Michael Waitze 9:43
Oh my God. You’re practically dead. How did you how did you get involved in the crypto markets? Like what was the epiphany for you?
Corey Wilton 9:53
It was actually back then it was just during the ICO stage. So you know when Tron was going big or Those type of things, and it was just exposure through friends. And then again, I went into these communities and it was the same thing as the Dollar Shave Club. I looked on the Dollar Shave Club, Facebook ads, and the girls were like, Can girls use this too? And I was like, well, there’s a market. And then I go into these ICOs, these these companies trying to launch and they’ve got no effing customer support. If I ask a question, no one answers that. I’m like, Well, how about I go and fix that? So that was it. I just dove straight in.
Michael Waitze 10:28
That is so awesome. And are you a cryptocurrency owner right now?
Corey Wilton 10:31
For sure. Absolutely.
Michael Waitze 10:36
And like people can’t see this. But one of the things I first noticed when you popped onto the video is you’re sitting in the gamers chair comfort. Yeah, just for pure comfort, right. I always like to say like, I don’t think you could remove people’s life experiences from what they ended up doing for the rest of their life. I want to talk about what exactly is MRI labs? And what is pegasi?
Corey Wilton 10:56
Yeah, so how we got to this stage is an interesting one again, like I mentioned, I dove back into crypto. Because we had done that successful company that ecommerce, the gun store is still around now. But we decided to leave because it just wasn’t something that I wanted to do anymore. So I dove back in because I just had fond memories of crypto actually the first time I heard NF T’s I think Gary Vee just said the word on his story and back in like 2020, or something like that. Interesting. I was like, What is this? So I actually ended up on open sea. And I’m a avid f1 fan. And I saw f1 delta time from Animoca. And I was like, Oh, well, shit, here we go. This is the one. So I dove in, bought some of the assets and stuff like that. And I noticed that they were harboring a decent community like it, it was on the Aetherium chain. So things were excessively expensive, like one transaction for me to move one thing to another was like literally $300. So it was it really it was almost that expensive, it was obnoxious. And to even start playing, I would probably have spent about $1,000 in gas just to play the game. So that’s without the assets. So it’s pretty obnoxious. And anyway, I thought, you know, I’ll spend it just a play. And I got in, started speaking to the community. And there’s a few things like when I first got in, there was no tutorials and like, I had no clue what’s going on. I didn’t know what to do. So basically, what I decided to do is just for fun, just fill my process because I wanted to help this game succeed. Like if they’d be able to get the f1 rights to build a game around Formula One. Yeah, then they’re doing something right. But they’re just missing, I guess, a community member who’s willing to just help someone new come in. So that’s what I did. And I just basically made a video of like, this is my experience, like, don’t do this, do this. And that was it. There was no real intent behind it. And through that, actually, the co founder of Moorea labs, there’s two other co founders with me, but one of them just saw my video and messaged me and was like, Hey, we’re building a game. And I was, I can still remember it. I was like, I’m not replying to this. Like, how many people will message you out of the blue on Discord? Like, I don’t even see that proof. I don’t know who this is. Anyway, I just I entertained the messages. One thing led to another, we got talking and then we became friends. And I guess honestly, the rest is history. That was about 25. March, March, April, I think of 2021
Michael Waitze 13:34
was 2021. So about a year ago. So it’s interesting that you brought up this f1 Delta thing, because in March Animoca brands shut this game down. And it was part of this, at least it looks to me like it’s part of this licensing problem that you talked about, right? You’d license a game, you sell all these assets. What’s the view from the community or I haven’t been in the discord on f1? Delta? I’m sure there is one. What’s the view on the community? I mean, I think it’s, I think it goes both ways on this, right. Like, you kind of know you’re taking a risk if the game is licensed, right? Because at some point, you’re at the behest of f1. What’s the view in the community on this one?
Corey Wilton 14:09
Yeah, that’s a tough one. I’ll be honest with you. I didn’t think there was much attention ever on f1 delta time, I like literally loved that game at the time. Like, there hasn’t been many games in my, since I graduated high school, basically, that I was able to play daily and justify it because I enjoyed it, but also had the potential to earn something. So that really filled the gap for me, and I did enjoy that game. So when I joined, for example, maybe January, February 2021, or something like that. They said that they were bridging to Polygon. When they shut down over a year later. They were still on Aetherium chain. Yeah, which it takes a grand total of about 24 hours. It’s to go and sort that stuff out, which is scary and unfortunate and the community that people
Michael Waitze 14:58
that we need to move from a theory to Polygon Yeah, yeah,
Corey Wilton 15:01
basically, it’s not literally. But it’s like a copy and paste type situation, there’s a lot of DEV work that needs to be done, of course, but to actually execute it, you need a grand total of about 24 hours of decision making, and then you’re good to go. Any solidity Dev is probably more than experience with doing something like that. And, again, the community that I saw when I first joined, was still 80%. There, when it shut down, like the game had a lot of great features, but they never ever developed an eye. To this day, I don’t know what they were thinking. And when, when your community member you think it’s safe, you don’t expect them to just get the licensing deal with Formula One of all people and not give a shit.
Michael Waitze 15:58
Yeah, here’s the question for me, though, right. And I didn’t expect to talk about this a lot today. And I knew a guy who was trying to build a game off the avatar franchise, and this was years ago, right. And I always thought there was so much risk in this right, because the avatar people, right, if you will, to make the movie are just so much more powerful, and so much bigger than you are and don’t care about you. Animoca is huge, you can go out and listen, I did a whole episode with Robert Young, right. So I know this brand, I know this company pretty well. But f1 in the Ecclestone family, very different than what’s happening and Animoca and much more mainstream, for lack of a better term. But I worry about the future of these branded or licensed games, right. And it’s a racing game, and I get it. So you want to you want to be the characters that race and f1 you want to use the cars that they use and stuff like that. But at some level, I feel like these license games have a problem because you’re always at the behest of the people that own the license. Yeah.
Corey Wilton 16:55
Well, yeah, exactly. Right. How can you revoke the existence of an asset that you don’t own? Which is interesting to me, like they sell these assets as a Formula One asset, and then you lose a licensing agreement?
Michael Waitze 17:08
What does it say about fungibility and interoperability though? Right? You know what I mean?
Corey Wilton 17:11
I mean, I guess this is just part and parcel of being early, right. But if no one’s trying to solve the problem, then it’s just going to keep repeating. Yeah. And I’m not sure if there was enough users. I’m not sure if there was just enough anything for Animoca to really care, unfortunately. Yeah, again,
Michael Waitze 17:28
you’re right. It’s super early days, right. I mean, just the fact that we’re talking about it. And we think that it’s interesting to discuss means that it’s still pretty early days, I mean, an animal because a serious company, Robbie’s a serious guy, right? So yeah, yeah, that’s for sure. But it’ll just be interesting to see how this progresses going forward. I want to talk about your game, and specifically about this thing that you posted on LinkedIn a few days ago? Because you said, I feel like I’m in a unique position to talk about this. Can you run me through this whole experience of what happened? And then maybe I can follow up and ask some questions about it as you go along? Yeah.
Corey Wilton 18:00
For sure, for sure. So I guess, I’ll start from the dead start, when I suppose got together, the three of us, we just had a look at the market. And during that time, the the movers in the space towards the start of 2021 Was that run and xe from memory, I don’t think xe had really just started its massive movement, but it was on its way.
Michael Waitze 18:23
Yeah, it was early, but you could feel it like it was trending. Go ahead.
Corey Wilton 18:26
Yep. And I understood Zed one, Zed one was a very easy concept to understand from the outside. But xe, I really had to figure out like what it was that was working there. And it was pretty obvious that it was the guilds and the the rental system and the scholarships. So looking at that, our intent from the get go was to come to market with a very basic MVP, with infrastructure. So the game itself, when we release was a two D arcade auto racer, it was a very, very, very simple. And the thing that was different was our infrastructure, what we enabled players to do inside the game. So for example, in xe, if listeners are not familiar, there’s something called a scholarship to where basically, it’s account sharing. So if you have an email, a password, and a crypto wallet, the assets are held in the crypto wallet, and you log into the email and password. So if you share the email and password, but not the crypto wallet, then they can play the assets, but they can’t move them or control them. Which means it’s a little bit of a loophole that was actually discovered by the community and not intended by XE and that kind of took off. So if I have 1000 wallets with 1000 different accounts attached to it, I can share it with 1000 people and they would play for me, and I would just make an agreement with them that I will give you 50% of whatever you make, because you’re playing I own it. So I’ll take the other 50% I take the financial risk you do the time
Michael Waitze 19:56
Yeah, wait a second. So this is interesting. If you look at what I published today, just had the founders of YG. GC on my show. Yes. And we had spent a little bit of time talking about this idea, to me, this looks like a prime brokerage model. And maybe you are not familiar with this. If I own Apple stock, right, I can lend it out. And I can own a million shares of Apple stock. And I can lend that out in pieces if you want to, let’s say, in most cases to short the stock, but in some cases, it may be to cover some option exposure or some other exposure that you have. And I tried to make this analogy to what’s happening in the crypto space, particularly in the in the play to earn space where you own all these assets. Yeah. In your wall, you’ve paid for these NF T’s. But you say, Hey, you can play for me, you can play for me, you can play for me, because you then have a kind of an outside the gaming infrastructure agreement that says, If you earn you pay me 50%, now the guild gets a certain amount of this money if you’re playing xe, right with YG G. So you owe them some money as well. But basically, what you’re saying is, if I can buy enough assets, I can then lend out those assets to a bunch of people through the mechanism of giving them the email address and the password which connects to their wallet, not mine. I get to earn. And then I paid some of my earnings back to Axios. Alright, we’re back to why DJ? Yeah.
Corey Wilton 21:17
Yeah. So actually doesn’t get anything because they don’t own anything. Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, that’s exactly right. So there is a fundamental flaw in that because it is actually a loophole in the system. Now, I see a fundamental flaw. It’s more so it’s just a paperwork issue.
Michael Waitze 21:35
Yeah. Just let’s say it’s an unanticipated event that’s taking place. Sorry. Go ahead.
Corey Wilton 21:40
Yeah, yeah. And even from a guild perspective, let’s say you’re YG G they have about, I think it’s 30,000 scholars, so that means they have 30,000 emails, 30,000 wallets. That is a ridiculous amount. Ridiculous, meaning a lot or a little that’s a lot. That is that is intense, because of the the amount of work that’s required to manage it. So yes, yes, because it’s actually a loophole. What that means is that the owner actually controls the assets, but also gets 100% of their earnings. So what they need to do is manually send the 50%, to those renters to the scholars, which you got 30,000 wallets, imagine doing 30,000 payouts every single month, that is truly obnoxious. That’s by hand, and you know what it’s like to transfer crypto, there’s, there’s a lot of cliques. There’s a lot of cliques. So we’re just not at that point. So what I did was basically go into XE and build a guild and was I got first hand experience about what is not working for them.
Michael Waitze 22:43
Go ahead, you built your but you did kind of build your own guild. Yeah.
Corey Wilton 22:47
Yeah. So I wanted to see from their perspective, what’s difficult, what’s annoying, what can I fix? So okay, when I did that, it was obvious. I get to 30 scholars, and I’m sick of doing the payouts myself, I’m like, This is ridiculous. So I have a dev, and he’s like, I can build an automated system for you, I just need all of your wallet keys. For me, I’m like, Well, shit, I have to give up my keys to make an automated system. Someone who has a million dollars in assets, there’s no way they’re going to give you access to their keys to a stranger. So it’s impossible. That’s just simply not scalable. So I took this and was like, Alright, this is just a rental system. In theory. Escrow is not a new thing they don’t that’s existed forever. So let’s build an on chain escrow system. So that’s what we built, we built an unchained fully automated escrow system inside of our game, which made scaling a guild. Basically, compared to what XE is like, a piece of cake, there is no paperwork, there is no management. So you would come to our game pack xe, you would own an asset, for example, one of the horses and a scholar comes along, he’s like, I want to rent your horse. So I’m like, sweet, send me your wallet address. What I do is I go to the horse in the game, I click rent, I set the percentage that I want to give to them might, let’s say, 5050. I put in their wallet address, I click rent, it goes up into an escrow Contract Act, that the pagans sits in there, but the contract can actually read what wallet it’s meant to show in. So it will show the
Michael Waitze 24:25
over question. So you sit it goes into a contract, is that an Aetherium? smart contract? Is that a polygon to like, how does that work? What’s the technology behind
Corey Wilton 24:32
it? It’s on. It’s on the polygon chain. So how games on the polygon chain, so x is on Ronan? That’s their own chain. We use polygon because it’s all open. Going. We just thought that would be easier. So yeah, so it goes up into a polygon contract. And up there in that contract is the pega, where the wallet that it’s meant to display and plus the percentage. So what it does is show the pega and it’s playable, only playable by racing. In the scholars wallet, so when the scholar goes to the game now, it’ll say that you can race this pega Perfect. Let’s say the scholar goes and races the peg and they when they get 100 tokens, that earnings now goes up into the escrow wallet, it reads the percentage that we split it, it automatically distributes it to either party instantly got it, so there is no payout. So going from x A you need 1000 wallets, you need 1000 emails going to pick x A you need 1000 horses, one wallet. That’s it.
Michael Waitze 25:32
And all the what kind of security is there around that? Sorry, around that escrow.
Corey Wilton 25:41
It’s just an online, so basically everyone can see it. And it’s just the it’s an on chain contract. It’s it’s actually very, very simple. It, I don’t know really know how to help us to put it beyond like, it’s like it’s like interacting with anything on chain. It just needs to be built correctly and get audited. But like it is very, very simple.
Michael Waitze 26:03
And what was the response from the community for the peg xe game? And this was early days in this game, too. Yeah. And like you said you was just a beta. No, yeah, go ahead.
Corey Wilton 26:14
It was it was like basically an MVP, like, we barely had a game even now, like our game is really not developed. But people didn’t care about the game, which is insane. But that’s kind of relates back to, I guess, my posts, which we’ll get into later. So I had preempted what people wanted to see because I took the perspective of a user, right. So I removed all the bottlenecks, I removed all the rough edges. And we we intended to come to market with a couple users like maybe 10 to 20,000 at maximum. So we did zero marketing, zero promo, literally nothing and just hung out with a couple of guilds, basically, and back then even going to a guild or having a guild play your game early wasn’t really normal, like it is today. So anyway, we did that we didn’t really expect much from it, we launched it. The small community, I think there was 2000 3000, people were really hyped to play, we dive in, they start managing it. And then I guess one thing leads to another word gets out that pig xe has amazing rental infrastructure and scalability for what they were doing. And xe, people didn’t look at the game. They just looked at how easily they could scale their guilds. And that’s kind of what created the snowball effect.
Michael Waitze 27:40
But this is interesting, though, because what this was one of the questions that I actually had for the founders of why GGC yesterday, right, is that what prevents me from starting my own guild? In other words, automation has always been a thing that I’ve been working on, right? Whether it was at Morgan Stanley, or Goldman Sachs or wherever I worked, we always automated processes, right? So before people talked about rpa, we were automating stuff to make to get scale, like very similar to what you did. And you’re right, you know, we went from trading, you know, $100 million a day to trading billions of dollars a day because we just were figured out how to use algorithmic trading to scale our business, right. And this is a concept that’s very familiar to me. But what you’re suggesting here is that you can go out and build your own guild, because you’ve built the technology to be able to scale like you said, if you have 1000 wallets, if you have to do that manually making those payouts, it’s just impossible. It’s physically impossible to do. But if you automate that process, it means you can then go on to any game. And it also means to me and tell me where I’m wrong here that there’s a massive amount of people out there that want to create their own scholarship, Bing, if that makes sense, where it’s like, I can afford to go out and buy all these assets. But I’m not really interested in playing the game, but I know you are. And I can lend you all those assets and let you play and I can earn as long as they have the facility to then go out and use this one click rental. Does that make sense?
Corey Wilton 29:00
That’s that’s, like basically, guilds game agnostic. So should be guilds. Above all guilds are independent of the game. Yep. So it’s on us at the game level to create that infrastructure for them to come into the game and entice them to come in. You don’t want to build a game where it’s difficult to run a guild if you want guild inside your game. Sure. So that was basically the foundation of what I guess our reasoning behind it for people to look at it in the correct way, or the way that we look at it. guilds are in a very early stage as well. What is the guild you don’t need to have a VC raise to be a guild basically you’ve got mum and type guilds which have 20 to 50 people in it. That’s considered a guild. But now you’ve got these mega giants. Like why GG who, you know, enormous type yields are definitely different. And I think guilds are also in the process of self discovery.
Michael Waitze 29:57
Yeah, it’s early. Yeah,
Corey Wilton 29:59
very very early, and I just don’t expect them to be the ones who will go out there and do the automation. If a game wants to attract users, I think it’s going to be on them to facilitate the infrastructure. I think the guilds are, their main struggle here is going to be able to keep talent when they go into competitive games. Again, it’s probably just going to replicate an esports team type situation. But yeah, I guess we’re going on a bit of a tangent.
Michael Waitze 30:25
No, not really, this is all this is all really interesting stuff. So tell me about what happened when you did this game thing, right? So you got all these people that you didn’t expect? What was the result?
Corey Wilton 30:35
Yeah, so I would say after 30 days, that that’s when we were kind of like, whoa, alright, I guess our assumptions were correct. I went into it, like I mentioned expecting to be, but I knew that we solved a massive issue with that infrastructure. However, I didn’t recognize that people would latch onto it, that intensely we launched in November 15. I guess that’s important. For context, with timing, I believe xe had just started to see a bit of a pivot where there was a little bit of fear in the community and money wanted to move. When we launched, word got around, money moved. We happen to be the next one on the block. That facilitated rentals. So, yeah, added that I would say one to two months, possibly, we had already crossed 100 million through the native marketplace just on horse sales. 100 million
Michael Waitze 31:30
US dollars of sales of assets.
Corey Wilton 31:35
Yeah, just peer to peer people trading horses, which are on a two D game $100 million. And we’re sitting there like, we haven’t even been able to release products. This is insane. Lots of complaints from the community. Because the game is in like an MVP, there’s bugs. So we’re sitting there and it’s a very tough situation to be able to keep focused on like, you need it in your brain, you’re like, figure out what what the eff has actually just happened here. We built amazing infrastructure. It’s like people are talking about like your go to market strategy. Imagine going to market having the perfect infrastructure for bringing in customers. Or use the the example of a pizza shop, you have amazing marketing. Everybody in the city wants to go to a pizza shop, they rock up, and effing no one is in the damn shop to
Michael Waitze 32:24
make pizza. So this I’m so glad to use pizza, because this is my go to example for everything because everyone does. So it makes perfect sense to it. It’s like, okay, if you’re a pizza shop, you’re not making hamburgers, like everything that means a pizza shop Anyway, go ahead. But this again, this is also really interesting. You’ve basically built a highway and a payment system and all these other things for people to get to the pizza shop. The only thing that it’s not done, at least at the time you’re talking about is the pizza shop itself as the way to make pizzas which you knew. Right? So you weren’t saying that it was ready, you were just like, here’s all this infrastructure that we built first. Because, frankly, if you build the game first, but there’s no rental ability into all that, who cares, right? Because it doesn’t facilitate the stuff you want to facilitate. Do I have that? Right?
Corey Wilton 33:03
Correct. In reality, we wanted to build alive, that was our intent. So we wanted to build with the community and get live data, real data. That’s why we launched the economy, the account, the game, basically, everything just went out. We were like, Alright, we’ve got the MVP, let’s go with the tokens. Let’s go with everything. Let’s let’s build a solid 10 to 20k community and build over the next two years. And again, it’s tough to predict like, it’s a weird situation when you $200 million for any game AAA or not, is a serious amount of money to go through a platform. And to hit that in under six months of launch, when most of the time your game was in 2d is, especially for a startup, big lesson. Lots and lots of things to learn, I guess is the easiest way to put it.
Michael Waitze 33:54
What are those things? Right? In other words, are you still going to develop this game? Is it still in progress? Because the idea was to kind of build the airplane wall was flying, frankly, right?
Corey Wilton 34:05
That’s correct. And it’s because when you go to market and you’re that early, you don’t have anyone to copy. So building behind the scenes, I mean, means we have to wait
Michael Waitze 34:15
for the right thing the whole time. Right. So what’s the
Corey Wilton 34:19
reality of innovation? Yeah, it’s just, you know, there’s no one here to copy Axios out there live now. We’ve learned amazing things from them. They, you know, basically set the foundation for everything that we have today. Let’s get live and also be a contributor for the space so that games that are building in silence are able to use us as a data point as well of what to do and what not to do. And that was the thesis, I guess. So again, yeah, we just launched live and those lessons are more so on a personal point for different people inside the company, but that’s why I made that post because I just wanted to give my person No perspective to, to my feelings towards how we have, I guess shifted company intent because when you release with something like that it’s very easy to get jaded on, you did something right? When people are telling you that, oh my god, this is amazing, you’ve moved to blah, blah, blah, when in reality, you’ve basically done nothing, you’re still a baby, you know, companies that don’t have a product, don’t go to an IPO, and do 100x, right, like, that’s just not normal. So you get jaded, and you get distracted. And what we did was basically become reactive, meaning that the community would complain about a bug, we would need to fix that bug that would want this type of development, we would shift resources and go and do that development. And it would turn us a little bit off the course of our planned roadmap. And the reason for that is that our roadmap consisted of developments, you know, over the next two years, there’s obviously going to be up and down periods during that, but it had already felt like we should have been mature. And it distracts you. Yeah, that was that was the main lesson there. And while while we were up in that upward trend, we really needed to take a step back and be like, what’s happening here? Are we still on the right course? Are we? Are we making decisions? Through ego? Are we going to end up in the same place that we always wanted to? And these aren’t real real users? Or are we also passengers on a train? And I guess that was the foundation of that post that I that I made? It was like, we were also passengers. We’re not in control here. We don’t have $200 million dollars. Where did this money come from? We didn’t finish the game yet. So why people speculating. It was something that we never actually created that we were getting credit for. We didn’t want that.
Michael Waitze 36:59
Yeah, of course, do you feel like this is the future of the way that some of these games are going to be developed? And again, go back to the way triple A games were developed in the past, you kind of knew was coming out, right? Because the big triple A development companies would tell you, you know, in 2024, or whatever it was, we’re gonna launch a game based on x. And you’d kind of wait as scenes from the game got leaked out in there was all this anticipation was built in then it was boom was just launched, right. And this is before crypto stuff, right? But now because it’s so early, and because everything’s connected. Yeah. And because there are discords. And there are communities that can build around these games, where the people that are actually playing the games, and people that are developing them are actually in mid conversation constantly, right? Do you feel like from now on, people are going to build games like this, where they’re building it out in the open in real time? Like we said earlier, as the plane is flying? They’re putting the wheels on, they’re making the wings better? Or do you feel like what you’ve learned here is, maybe we shouldn’t go out with the game before it’s ready to be played.
Corey Wilton 38:08
My opinion on that still stands that it isn’t that it’s more so your interpretation of what happened. Our interpretation was that people cared about us about the game. But the reality was, they’re just trying to make money off each other. So something that we needed to do is take a step back and say to ourselves, just because you launched just because you have all this hype. And just because you’re in web three does not mean that you can ignore business fundamentals. You need a product, you need sustainability, you need profitability, you need to go to market strategy, web three, gets you in a weird mindset to think that user acquisition is actually easy, because all you need is a bit of hype. Yeah. It’s incorrect and unsustainable. These real companies out there doing groundwork that cost millions of dollars, to be able to maintain these user acquisition strategies, they have strategies for user retention, plus profitability on top of all of those costs. Those are business fundamentals. The reason for that post was basically me trying to warn these games that your interpretation or goal to do what pig actually did, even though we were very, very blessed to experience that. And, you know, it puts a lot in our treasury to give us much more runway with the studio. But the reality is, that is it’s like hitting the lottery. And the lottery is not always good. You hit the lottery one time and you get jaded if we remainder that jaded situation. We’re never going back to our core fundamental in two years time. This isn’t even meant to be a game that the crypto community is interested in because we’ve hidden crypto with hidden blockchain all inside the game. We’re going out there and targeting web to users, right? And just using the benefits of blockchain, these guys are here during what I call the first four stages, there’s five stages, it’s kind of like the niche community, then you move into the Word of Mouth users, then you move into the bit of a hype stage. And then you move into a realization stage. Those first four parts are the same users. The fifth part is maturity. Maturity, is actually the start of a new cycle, which is completely new users. The first four parts go through all of the bullshit, the ups and downs, the struggles, the failures, the tough times, but in maturity, that’s real user acquisition and real business. And then new users. For one, they don’t know the history for two that didn’t give a shit about the history. A new cycle has begun. But a lot of the people in the industry are very, very fearful of maturity because they believe where defy product and in defy maturity means basically, what do you call it, where there’s a whole bunch of them like the crypto market is their only audience in defy, there is no outside audience games are not defy. We are building here now because we have that it’s a topic of discussion. But when it becomes normal, when it’s mature, they’re not going to give a shit about Gamefly or the games that are coming out. And it’s going to come back to business fundamentals. Always. I guess that’s the position that I just wanted to express to these new games coming out. You probably do not want to go and get the crypto hype. It’s not what you’re aiming for. It’s very, very short term
Michael Waitze 41:37
Corey, that is the perfect word and then you gotta promise me you’re gonna come back and show like ongoing conversations with me, but this was awesome. Can I thank you, Corey Wilton, for coming on and doing this today…
Corey Wilton 41:49
Of course, I appreciate it man. Thank you so much.
Follow Michael Waitze and the Asia Tech Podcast here:
Facebook – Michael Waitze
Facebook – Asia Tech Podcast
LinkedIn – Michael Waitze
Twitter – Michael Waitze