INSIGHT FIVE: WE NEED A MARKETPLACE

This is the fifth of a five part series from Powderhook.

Our Outdoor Future: Five Insights for the Future of Hunting, Fishing and Shooting Sports

“A simpler, more open and transparent way of doing business across our industry is the only way we can ensure the future of our way of life.”

Eric Dinger, co-founder and CEO, Powderhook

In a little under two years of work on the access problem, Powderhook has learned a lot. Based on what we’ve learned, we’ve created five concepts we believe to be imperative for the future of our way of life. These insights represent, in our view, a cultural shift in thinking for our industry. Examples from other industries are provided as a means to rationalize each argument. It is our hope this series can serve as a springboard for new ideas and better solutions.

INSIGHT FIVE: WE NEED A MARKETPLACE

When you’re looking for a ticket to a baseball game where do you go?

I go to Stubhub.com.

When you’re looking for a ride home from the airport where do you go?

I use Uber or Lyft.

When you want to list your vacation property for rent where do you go?

I go to VRBO.com.

How about when you want to sell your old golf clubs?

I’d use Craigslist.com or ebay.com.

How about if you wanted to buy a new rifle for your daughter?

I’d go to Gunbroker.com.

Market Places

What do each of these sites have in common? They’re marketplaces that exist to simplify the process of a buyer finding what they’re looking for, and they make it easy for a seller to handle the whole process without the help of an intermediary. They directly connect a person who has something to sell or borrow with a person who wishes to buy or access it. None of the websites listed above sell or buy anything themselves. They exist to make the process simple for you and me to do the buying and selling.

Have you ever thought about what makes GunBroker.com so special? The magic in GunBroker is that there aren’t many GunBrokers. If you’re looking to sell a gun online, you go to GunBroker. Because of that, if you’re looking to buy a gun online, you go to GunBroker. People sell on GunBroker because people buy on GunBroker, because people sell on GunBroker. This phenomenon is something referred to as the “network effect.” Simply defined, network effect refers to the notion that each additional buyer and seller added to a marketplace makes the marketplace better for each existing buyer and seller.

Our economy is in the early stages of a new type of revolution. Economists refer to this new way of doing business as the peer-to-peer or share economy movement. Using a marketplace business model, companies such as Lyft, StubHub, Uber, GunBroker, Airbnb, Homeaway, Etsy and many others are changing the way in which things are bought and sold. In one way, it can be said marketplaces are systematically deconstructing fixed, mature industries one efficient, peer-to-peer transaction at a time. Last night, Airbnb was the second largest hotelier in the world, yet almost none of their sellers are even businesses. Thought of in another way, marketplaces are creating vigor for otherwise inefficient, fragmented industries. Think back 5 years. Do you remember how difficult it was to find a cab in smaller cities? Do you remember how long it would take you to find a cabin on a lake for your family to stay at? A marketplace, like those mentioned here, is part of the future of nearly all industries. We believe the adoption of a single marketplace is a key component of the future of the hunting and shooting industry.

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What if you could find all the hunter ed courses, all the 3-gun competitions, all the fishing tournaments, all the places to hunt, fish and shoot, everything, in one place?

According the U.S. Fish and Wildlife data from 2012, Americans spent $10.1 billion on access. Yet in spite of this immense demand, there is no single point of entry or simple process for consuming this “access.” Just to get started, our industry requires hours of research, earning of a certificate and wading through vast regulations to procure a license. With license in hand the process of securing a place to hunt or fish may be just as daunting. If we are to be competitive with other outlets for our customer’s time, this simply isn’t good enough.

Why don’t we have a marketplace already, if it’s such a good idea? Dozens have tried. Powderhook is working on it. But, the outdoor industry is very different than others. The level of fragmentation, the desire for hunters and anglers to preserve their spots, the lack of a fundamental commodity, the extremely high cost of seller acquisition, and the deep role of government, licensing and regulation will require the builder of a marketplace in the outdoor space to have immense staying power. Things that may move quickly in other industries simply cannot in the hunting, fishing and shooting space. But, rest assured, if our industry is to make it into the next generation of hunters, anglers and shooters, a marketplace will be a key component of how it all works. Our children won’t stand for the inefficiencies. They’ll just play soccer or video games instead.

About the author:

Eric Dinger is the co-founder and CEO of Powderhook.com, a website built to help people find access to hunting and fishing spots, trips, groups and events.  He can be reached at eric@powderhook.com.

Important Links:

INSIGHT ONE

INSIGHT TWO

INSIGHT THREE

INSIGHT FOUR

Powderhook Releases Over 180 Local Outdoor Events

May 27, 2015

Contact: Eric Dinger eric@powderhook.com

Powderhook Releases Over 180 Local Outdoor Events

LINCOLN, Nebraska- Powderhook has a mission and it’s simple: Access For All. Powderhook’s original focus was on cultivating opportunities to access private land and gathering the largest accessible database of public hunting and fishing locations. This was a good start to making a dent in the access problem, but Powderhook realized there is more to “access” than just physical locations to hunt and fish.

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This is when Powderhook broadened its focus by partnering up with Non Governmental Organizations (NGO’s)  to provide better access to yearly banquets. They developed an easy to use ticket management platform where members can purchase tickets to any event online and the organizations get detailed reports of their sales.

Just recently Powderhook has added an additional 180 different hunting and fishing related events going on in Nebraska in the coming months. Access has taken on a new meaning to the Powderhook team. If you want information to something hunting or fishing related, Powderhook wants to be the one providing it to you.

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Access is a very large issue to tackle and it will take time to accomplish their goals but it is a vision in the right direction for the outdoor industry. With a combined effort from NGO’s, private companies, government agencies and everyday outdoorsmen the access problem will dwindle and hunting and fishing will remain as part of our culture and tradition.

About Powderhook

Powderhook’s mission is Access for All. That means access for new hunters, anglers and shooters; for parents and their children; for neighbors who haven’t been out in the field for years; and for you. Powderhook works with the nation’s leading conservation organizations, retailers and manufacturers. The Powderhook platform is bringing our industry together to solve some of its most important problems.

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Important links:

www.powderhook.com

www.powderhook.com/about

www.powderhook.com/cards

www.blog.powderhook.com 

INSIGHT FOUR: WE MUST MANAGE OUR IDENTITY AND REPUTATION

This is the fourth of a five part series from Powderhook.

Our Outdoor Future: Five Insights for the Future of Hunting, Fishing and Shooting Sports

“A simpler, more open and transparent way of doing business across our industry is the only way we can ensure the future of our way of life.”

Eric Dinger, co-founder and CEO, Powderhook

In a little under two years of work on the access problem, Powderhook has learned a lot. Based on what we’ve learned, we’ve created five concepts we believe to be imperative for the future of our way of life. These insights represent, in our view, a cultural shift in thinking for our industry. Examples from other industries are provided as a means to rationalize each argument. It is our hope this series can serve as a springboard for new ideas and better solutions.mountain_forest

INSIGHT FOUR: WE MUST MANAGE OUR IDENTITY AND REPUTATION

Sign in with Facebook.

This little feature is so simple it’s made creating a new account with an app or website almost an afterthought. It’s cool when technology makes our lives easier like that. Ever thought about why Facebook would do this? Why would Facebook allow you to use the credentials from their website to log into a website they don’t control or own? The answer is simple: data. The further into the internet Facebook can track your activities the more precisely they can target their ads to you. Every click of your mouse contributes to the profile of information you’ve created behind the walls of the Kingdom of Zuckerberg. It’s brilliant! Make someone’s life easier in exchange for the data you need to better market to them. Does that sound like something the hunting, fishing and shooting world could use? I think so.

We need to commit to a national hunter, shooter and angler registry – the “sign in with Facebook” for our industry. Each person in the registry should receive a unique identifier they can use to manage their identity as they move throughout the industry. This common identifier would allow for simplification of the licensing and tag application process. It would enable people to register, sign-up, purchase and participate more efficiently.

The idea of a national license or registration program is an old one. But the time has come and the technology is here. The recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) movement is upon us. The right conversations are happening in agency offices and for-profit companies all over the country. Measurement is the constant battle cry. “We need to measure!” Without a common identifier across the industry this measurement cannot happen.

There may never be a day when a person can purchase a license in one state and legally hunt another state; however, a common identifier will enable technology similar to Foursquare’s “check-in” to make licensing across multiple states a simpler and more open process.

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Your common identifier would know you are an active member of Ducks Unlimited, which may gain you access to DU programs or hunts not available to the general public. It would know your Hunter Safety Number, eliminating the frustration and pressure of materializing this form of identification for each new place a person hunts or fishes.

Landowners cite wanting to know who is on their land and what they’re doing as the number one reason they deny access. A common identifier could aid sportsmen and women in that communication process. Liability issues a concern? Your hunting liability insurance policy could tie back to your identity.

This month, HuntingLife.com had their Facebook page suspended because of pictures they posted of a legally harvested African animal. Twitter rejected an ad Powderhook submitted because the contest we were promoting included a chance to win a gun. Google’s stance on guns is even scarier. Yet, our community freely promotes sign-in with each of these services. Powderhook is just as guilty.

Google’s stance on guns: https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/6014299?hl=en

Facebook’s lists guns under “prohibited content”:

https://www.facebook.com/policies/ads/#prohibited_content

Twitter’s blanket policy against guns:

https://support.twitter.com/articles/20170422-weapons-and-weapon-accessories

These are the most powerful companies of the internet generation. Their reach and influence in the lives of every American cannot be overstated. Yet as an industry, despite all of the evidence, we still spend millions of dollars a year supporting them. And, by allowing people to sign into our websites with their services we freely give them the data we sorely need as an industry. It’s time we stop “signing in with Facebook” and start signing in as sportsmen.

About the author:

Eric Dinger is the co-founder and CEO of Powderhook.com, a website built to help people find access to hunting and fishing spots, trips, groups and events.  He can be reached at eric@powderhook.com.

INSIGHT THREE: THE INDUSTRY NEEDS A COMMON REPOSITORY OF MAP INFORMATION

This is the third of a five part series from Powderhook.

Our Outdoor Future: Five Insights for the Future of Hunting, Fishing and Shooting Sports

“A simpler, more open and transparent way of doing business across our industry is the only way we can ensure the future of our way of life.”

Eric Dinger, co-founder and CEO, Powderhook

In a little under two years of work on the access problem, Powderhook has learned a lot. Based on what we’ve learned, we’ve created five concepts we believe to be imperative for the future of our way of life. These insights represent, in our view, a cultural shift in thinking for our industry. Examples from other industries are provided as a means to rationalize each argument. It is our hope this series can serve as a springboard for new ideas and better solutions.

INSIGHT THREE: THE INDUSTRY NEEDS A COMMON REPOSITORY OF MAP INFORMATION

When Powderhook started, we adopted the mission statement “access for all.” To that end, we spent our first six months in business assembling all the public hunting and fishing resources we could find. With up to 17 different data sources in each state, we’ve assembled over 750,000 unique places to hunt and fish. We continue to invest in keeping this data as current as we can.

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Powderhook has spent several hundred thousand dollars in the creation of our map, available for free here: www.powderhook.com/map. No one should have to do it again. Our map, or one like ours with considerably more input from the industry, should exist as an open standard for hunting, fishing and shooting related geographic information. With an open standard, all public agencies, NGOs, private companies and individuals could access a common tool and update a related data asset.

Currently map information exists in hundreds of data silos. Several fish and wildlife agencies have invested heavily in their mapping infrastructure. Others have not. Each has done it in their own way, making for a significantly higher cost for an NGO, private company or individual who may be willing to invest in their own program related to getting people outdoors.

When a park closes on a fish and wildlife website, it should also reflect as closed on Powderhook, Google Maps and any other place people might seek that information. When a new hunting land is added from a private access program, it should be visible across the entire industry. WMA boundaries, public CRP maps, and all other places to hunt, fish and shoot that are paid for with tax and license dollars represent public information that should be organized and made available across the entire industry from an open source.

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An open environment, welcoming of user contributions, such as www.openstreetmaps.com, is how we make it happen. Think of the future of mapping in our industry in much the same way you think of Wikipedia. Thousands of people have something they can contribute. We simply need to provide them the opportunity to do so.

About the author:

Eric Dinger is the co-founder and CEO of Powderhook.com, a website built to help people find access to hunting and fishing spots, trips, groups and events.  He can be reached at eric@powderhook.com.

Important Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenStreetMap

www.powderhook.com/map

INSIGHT ONE

INSIGHT TWO

INSIGHT FOUR

INSIGHT FIVE

INSIGHT TWO: AGENCIES AND NGOs MUST ENABLE ECONOMIC INCENTIVE FOR THE PRIVATE SECTOR

This is the second of a five part series from Powderhook.

Our Outdoor Future: Five Insights for the Future of Hunting, Fishing and Shooting Sports

“A simpler, more open and transparent way of doing business across our industry is the only way we can ensure the future of our way of life.”

Eric Dinger, co-founder and CEO, Powderhook

In a little under two years of work on the access problem, Powderhook has learned a lot. Based on what we’ve learned, we’ve created five concepts we believe to be imperative for the future of our way of life. These insights represent, in our view, a cultural shift in thinking for our industry. Examples from other industries are provided as a means to rationalize each argument. It is our hope this series can serve as a springboard for new ideas and better solutions.sign_no_hunting_go_home

INSIGHT TWO: AGENCIES AND NGOs MUST ENABLE ECONOMIC INCENTIVE FOR THE PRIVATE SECTOR

An immense inventory of untapped access exists. Hundreds of hunter-ed courses have empty seats, shooting competitions can add more shooters, fundraising banquets have empty tables, fishing tournaments can add teams, private lands in public access programs go underutilized, and countless leases sit idle waiting for deer season. The challenge for the hunter, angler and shooter is a fragmentation of information. There is no single place to find out where to go and what’s going on. Worse, options for things to do outdoors are not available on the websites people customarily use to find things to do. We aren’t helping people find us on their terms, we’re making them work to find us on our terms.

The key information keepers of the outdoor community are the leading NGOs and our state and federal agencies. Each has done a noble job of trying to be a source for aggregated information. But, that each is doing so independent of the other speaks to the problem, not the solution. Our leading NGOs along with our federal and state agencies must push us forward by creating an economic incentive for new entrants to the market to help with access and R3 problems. Private industry needs to be able to make money by directly aiding the process of getting people outdoors. Cabela’s should be selling access at retail. I should be able to sign-up for fishing tournaments on the Bass Pro Shops website. GunBroker.com should be selling Ducks Unlimited banquet tickets. Expedia should be booking campgrounds. Airbnb should be adding fishing licenses onto their lakefront home rental transactions. MidwayUSA should be taking registrations for 3-gun competitions.

The travel industry serves as a great model for us to observe, in a tool called a Global Distribution System or “GDS.” Hoteliers, rental car companies and airlines all allow direct consumption via their individual websites. For example, you can buy a United flight on United.com. In much the same way we’re advocating the outdoor industry evolve, those same companies allow hundreds of other websites to make money from booking their inventory. For example, you also can buy a United flight on Travelocity.com. Travelocity makes money, United makes money and more people travel more often. That economic incentive has lead to billions of additional dollars spent in marketing, advertising and product development. In a time when our industry desperately needs to recruit new people, adding additional private sales channels is a must.Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 1.45.23 PM

While we’ve only been in the industry for a couple years, it has become our belief that our agency and NGO friends face nearly impossible odds in changing the tide in our industry. The agencies and NGOs we’ve gotten to know are running dozens of different lines of business, from marketing agency and publisher to range operator and event planner. Because of this construct and the built-in inefficiency, resources become strapped, and effectiveness and innovation are swapped for status quo in the interest of just plain getting the work done each day.

We believe a simplification of the agency and NGO business model through the adoption of this “information wholesaler” mindset can have a drastic impact on the output of these organizations and the effectiveness of their role in the broader industry. Plus, if private companies can participate, who knows who will jump in and help us get people out hunting, fishing and shooting?

About the author:

Eric Dinger is the co-founder and CEO of Powderhook.com, a website built to help people find access to hunting and fishing spots, trips, groups and events.  He can be reached at eric@powderhook.com.