Following the decision to shelve further development of its Esports Directory, Bayes Esports Solutions chief executive Martin Dachselt discusses the need to constantly adapt and evolve in the process of establishing a start-up.
Bayes Esports Solutions heralded the launch of its Esports Directory product as a way of rationalising a cluttered and often impenetrable fixture calendar. However, it has now been put into “low maintenance mode”, with the supplier deciding its resources are better focused elsewhere.
The decision to effectively shelve the product, which gave iGB readers an insight into the range of esports tournaments taking place during the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) enforced sports shutdown, was not taken lightly. Bayes chief executive Martin Daschselt explains why he decided to shift away from a project he described as “my baby”.
Looking back on the launch of the Esports Directory, it was described at the time as a way of rationalising a fixture calendar that is often “a big mess”. Do you feel it was able to help clarify the range of events on offer?
Yes, it definitely helped. And that is the reason why the Esports Directory is not dead, even if it comes to an end right now. We will use the existing technology within other products. We are keeping our focus on our original purpose—professionalising the esports data industry in every possible way. But, regarding the Esports Directory, we need to try again with a different approach.
Why, then, have you taken the decision to put it in 'low maintenance' mode?
Our goal is always to offer high quality. Right now, with the approach we chose and the resources we have, we did not see how we could fix certain problems any time soon. Additionally, it turned out that other parts of our business run better and faster. As a start-up with limited resources, we always have to reflect upon what brings the best value to our partners and customers.
The situation feels similar to the pivot from B2C to focus on B2B solutions – how important is it to make these quick decisions on shifts in direction, and what products work, and what do not?
I think that is basically the key success factor in making a start-up successful. Even for me it was extremely hard to make this decision because the Esports Directory was my baby and is part of the vision I have. But, when leading a company, sometimes you need to make decisions without letting emotional attachment get in the way. In our case, it simply turned out that in our marketplace, BEDEX, odds services and widgets products are more important for the success of the company at the moment.
Do you feel this need to keep the business efficient and focused on what generates revenue prevents you from innovating in any way?
It depends on the situation, the funding of the company and even the current market and economic situation. Of course, if you have a company with billions in funding you can run projects that generate long-term output. On the other hand, this comfortable situation might distract you. Having less resources pushes you to focus on short-term revenues. But limiting yourself also means honing your focus.
And how do you keep teams motivated when they see something they have worked hard on either discontinued or lose resource?
We did not take this decision lightly. In essence, our purpose was to offer high-quality data for virtually all esports tournaments. Unfortunately, after one year of work, we missed our goals, not only in quality but also in quantity. So we decided not to extend our offerings and pause the project instead. This is, of course, for the people who worked on this project not a nice situation. It’s important to make the motivation behind the decision very clear in this case.
On the other hand, we have more than enough interesting projects in the company and they have the opportunity to utilise their abilities there instead. It was also not completely surprising to the team. In our weekly hands-on meetings, which are mandatory for our employees, it became pretty clear that we had not met our goals as intended.
With the launch of the data widgets this week, will the focus now shift to extracting value from the data Bayes has access to?
We’ve always had a multi-tier approach. On the marketplace, BEDEX, we are distributing raw data for everybody who is interested, while continuing to offer our own products and services on top of this. If we see an interesting area, we might offer that on our own. So, I wouldn't describe this as a shift. Through our partnership with esports.com, we saw the demand for the distribution of better widgets that make esports look more like traditional sports.
Have there been any recent improvements or updates to BEDEX? How is that product performing?
We are incredibly happy with the improvements we’ve made to the marketplace. At the moment, we have over 40 customers accessing live and historic data from BEDEX and we are continuously working to offer more data and additional features. One example is our parser, Carp, which we have developed in close collaboration with ESL. It allows the extraction of data for games like CS:GO and Dota 2 in real time and with unprecedented quantity and quality of data points.
Finally, what are your thoughts on esports' growth under lockdown; there's been a lot of talk about it 'booming', from both operators and suppliers, but do you feel that its upward trajectory has simply been accelerated by the suspension of traditional sports, or is this a newer, bigger than expected audience emerging?
In June we had a record turnover. However, regarding the whole lockdown period, I believe that the people who have flocked to esports have done so because they are at home with more time on their hands, and they were looking for something new to consume.
So when traditional sports return, we should not lose a lot of those fans we have attracted. The amount of time people are able to dedicate to playing and watching esports will decline, but the interest in esports will go back to the normal growth rate once traditional sports resume.