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Feb. 24, 2023

Ep.220 w/ GemRate's Ryan Stuczynski "Deciphering the grading terrain"

Ep.220 w/ GemRate's Ryan Stuczynski

Gemrate's Ryan Stuczynski is a self admitted "chaos junkie" he joins us to describe the difficulty of breaking down graded card numbers, why he does what he does, the importance of it and chops up some other hobby topics with me as well.

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Gemrate's Ryan Stuczynski is a self admitted "chaos junkie" he joins us to describe the difficulty of breaking down graded card numbers, why he does what he does, the importance of it and chops up some other hobby topics with me as well.

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real happy to have this next Gentleman on the sports card shop guest line I've
spoke to him uh before on our our conglomerate show hobby hotline but uh
asked him to come on this program and he's graciously decided to to do so and
I'm glad for that I want to welcome Mr Ryan sarzinski from uh Jam rate welcome
thanks John appreciate you having me excited to chat well thank you yeah thank you for being here uh before we
get it we're gonna we're gonna definitely deep dive into gem rate which I think is a a great thing you're doing
and very informative you know kind of the standard podcast first time on the
show kind of question sort of your hobby background like whether collecting cards
did you do it as a kid uh and kind of the trajectory to to where we are now
today yeah so I have a pretty familiar story but my sort of Beginnings were around
the late 80s early 90s but some of the sort of distinct memories I have is my dad's buddy had a collection and he
asked me to sort of price it out for him and so it was you know none of the cards that I had been you know I just got into
cars at that stage you know I was eight nine years old but it was all this vintage and he asked me to just price it out so my dad bought me a Beckett I just
sort of went through and it was pricing everything out and it's funny now I look back and I'm like I'm still asking my dad I'm like hey we should revisit this
collection it had some great cards in there a ton of you know 60s cards that would be worth and they were in pretty
decent condition um yeah that was sort of one of my initial sort of like research projects
into it and then I really got into more of the you know the junk wax stuff and that was heavy into that but I was a
horrible collector as a kid I was selling everything I could to open the next pack of cards uh so my collection
when I took it back out you know 10 years ago was worth nothing you know I didn't even have the you know the the
junk wax sort of collection that everybody else had I had sort of just you know hundreds of cards instead of
the thousands because I had sold so much of it off as a kid um and then I got back into it not to
cut you up I think you know I think you were ahead of the curve Ryan because uh you know depending on what you had you
probably did better selling it then than me maybe today you might have been the smartest guy in the room uh well I had a
lot of fun I didn't make any money doing it but I enjoyed I loved ripping packs I mean it was just you know every every
year for the holidays I got one box of cards that I was allowed to pick out it was like my big gift and it was you know
in between that it was just sort of when I could sort of put together pennies to go to the card shop ride my bike and you
know pick up a nice three to five dollar pack of cards with some buddies um which I would immediately sell whatever came out of that pack so I
could do it again and so anyways it was you know it's and I carried that for a long time and you know as I got back into the hobby you know in 2020 it was
you know trying to drop that and put a little bit more discipline into my sort of behavior as it relates to just like
collecting cards and building out a much truer collection that I thought was more to my style um but I loved it and I was a big stats
junkie I was I've told us about a couple podcasts before but I was doing fantasy football at the same time in 1990 my dad
and I were doing fantasy football so I love stats I was super into that we were you know faxing in our lineup and
waiting you know checking newspaper stats to sort of see how our players were performing we would find out if we won or lost two days later but it was it
was a lot of sort of my uh intro was was paired with sort of fantasy and then also cards at the same time and that
sort of was something that I Revisited you know like a lot of people on the panda you know at the time of the at the start of the pandemic I just I had been
paying a lot of attention but I wasn't actively participating and I just I got caught up I was like this is I'm too
much of a numbers guy and two into sort of the the sort of um I have a I have a background in
finance and I have a background data and it was just like why am I not participating in this market when it
seems like it's thriving and there's just a lot of opportunity to participate in a way that would be fun for me it would just be like a perfect sort of
merging of my interest and so that's sort of my where I was and then kind of
how I got here yeah and and so even at an early age you were in the stats and numbers and I mean
it just sort of you you stayed along that path with like you said finance and
and data and and all that so you sort of knew earlier that maybe not necessarily
exactly what you were going to do but you knew you you liked that sort of thing it was right up your your alley oh
I love it yeah I just there's something about sort of the um I I really just love fantasy football
and so that was so interesting to me and then I just like the idea of sort of like you know trying to understand performance and how it can impact sort
of um you know at the time it was cards although it was not nearly as dramatic and just sort of the idea of research I
really like research research has always sort of been my angle into this which is just like if you do the work you can kind of find out interesting things that
other people aren't you know who aren't putting in the work or uh just having a different approach to people in the market whether that's again fantasy
sports or collected cards and so it was really the research element that got me excited about it and that's really sort
of what's just driven me from you know the early 90s until now is just doing a lot of work behind the scenes that maybe
taking an approach that other people aren't thinking about so when when did you first start for no
most people I think in the hobby are a good percentage let me put it that way know what gym rate is and what you do
and it's very detailed and I think it's it's obviously progressed from when you first launched to to where you are now
where you basically and you do it daily I mean it's you know you do your yearly you have your yearly report your monthly
report but you can go on your website each day and kind of see what what what happened in a sense the the day before
uh by Grading Company uh buy even you've got it now down to even you know
categorize with uh with uh you know trading card games and the different
sports you got it by even a player uh you got like boxing cards something I
dabble a little bit then I mean you got it really like you know categorized to
categories that I I imagine that that's hard to do but what was it when did you first start thinking about this is kind
of a direction you wanted to go in and it's something I think the hobby needs and and wasn't you know PSA had their
own sort of published uh you know report but uh to do it across the board when
did you when did the light bulb go on for you and uh what your background said hey this is something I could tackle and
do it very well hopefully and and do it yeah I was I was working on a couple projects prior to this one was actually
related to fantasy sports where I was aggregating Data across different projections to use it to sort of help me with just sort of making decisions
um I used to I was doing a lot of like daily fantasy sports so like DraftKings and FanDuel and I just really again I
love the data of the idea of sort of having a an approach that might not be sort of uh very common and using that
data to my advantage and so I had gotten building up a little bit of momentum on that front and I just was looking at the
I spent a lot of money when I got back into cards I was just overwhelmed and so interested and so many different pockets
and you know again you learn so quickly it's so easy to buy and so hard to sell and so you know I was quickly just
thinking about okay now I've built up this collection what do I actually care about what do I sort of want to move out
of my collection and you know I was thinking I had a lot of raw cars and I was just thinking about how do I optimize sort of you know what this
collection is that I've built are there opportunities to grade some cars and potentially sell them and so I was
just doing a lot of research on it and it was hard you know candidly was just hard the pop reports you know at the time PSA was still on an old site you
know there's there there are the pop reports while they've made some improvements over the years at that time were pretty rough and you couldn't get
data out of them and they had a very strong opinion on one way that you could sort of navigate them and so I really
wanted to think about okay I was I was so tired of copying data into Excel or into Google Sheets and I was like is
there a way that I can use what I've been building for sort of the fantasy stuff that I was doing and actually use this for the card world and actually add
value over the long run and I started to think about okay the pop reports if I were to sort of take that data and
repackage it in a way that was you know just a different approach that allowed you to sort of cut and slice the data
differently and then also maybe even you know the dream was to build this idea where I could you know not just look at one grader's data but look at all
graders data in sort of one universal fashion and so I started to do the work on just what that would take
and as a part of that process I was learning a lot about PSA and sort of their momentum and I started to think
about okay I'm going to do the you know the Dirty Work of grabbing all this data but I also I learned a lot about what
was happening at PSA I said you know I was just thinking that maybe if I start publishing this people appreciate sort of some of the Insight that I'm pulling
out of this or some of the high-level macro trends that you could determine as it relates to like what psa's grading
what how that sort of relates to what was happening with the backlog at the time there were a lot of questions and so I just started to put together the
content side of it just as a way to sort of bring more transparency into what was happening you know it was partially just
to build the brand you know generate I wanted to stand for very trusted data in this Hobby and so if I could sort of
just paint the picture of what was happening from a grading standpoint I thought that would be a nice way to before I was really in the market with
sort of population tools and ways for you to sort of really drill into the data I just thought I could speak to sort of some of the macro Trends and so
we did that with PSA and then and that was really well received it was the first time that anybody was really sort of speaking towards the volume and the
different breakout of what was being graded and then really getting into the cards I mean you know the first report I published showed that there were about
50 000 Michael Jordan cards which was a ton at the time I think maybe there was I don't know it was like 500 000 cards
that PSA was sort of outputting at that time so about 10 one out of every 10 cards great it was a Jordan card and I
think you know it was just it was sort of highlighting what a lot of people knew but didn't necessarily have data to support which was like people are going
into their basements digging up all their old Collections and throwing it at PSA or any other Grading Company to see
if there's value there and that's sort of how the backlog really accumulated
um and beyond that I just I took a step back and said you know what I don't want to just do this for PSA and especially if I want to build out this concept of a
universal Pop Report and so I started to collect the data from the other graders and everything's pulled from the pop reports you know I only leverage what's
publicly available I don't have any direct feeds into any of the companies I want to make sure that I can speak to the same data that everybody else sees
and I also don't want to just be feeding data in from a company without any sort of context and so I started to bring on
Beckett and SGC and CSG once in cgc when they made their pop reports live
um and that was that was sort of the the where I built the momentum was just speaking towards sort of the broader
landscape and giving people some insight into what's going in and out of the grading companies how is sort of share breaking down between you know just the
high level and also sort of some of the category you know category stuff and even at the card level just where are people sending certain cards and it's
certainly like was very enlightening for me to understand as somebody who had been out of the hobby sort of like what the momentum looked like and it's really
funny that when you look back and sort of some of the grading data it's like wow it's very it's dramatically different than how it was five ten years
ago so I learned a lot really quickly and I just wanted to share some of what I was picking up and fortunately the hobby has received the data really well
yeah I mean you I mean you know this as well as I do Ryan people I'm I myself will retweet something you put out or
you know a stat that I find sort of interesting and want to share kind of with fellow Hobbies you know what how
received were you as far as from the grading companies themselves did you did you hear from them at all did they like
it did they did they offer any resistance did you did you not like what kind of relationship if any with these
grading card companies uh yeah I mean look I think there was some skepticism when I first started doing it you know it wasn't clear what my motivations were
you know nobody had really done that it's pretty it's a lot of work which is part of the reason I did this was I knew you couldn't just sort of like dabble
and pull this off like I knew I was gonna have to put in a decent chunk of my own money to sort of stand this sort
of project up and build it into a company and you know it was not something you could just do as like a data science project or for a Blog
purpose um and so you know I'd done a lot of work on it and when I started publishing it I definitely had some you know people
that were saying hey we like you're doing would like to learn a little bit more about it you know PSA specifically at the time but saying hey you know we
appreciate what you're doing we'd like to learn a little bit more about your process I told him hey I'm just pulling stuff in a Pop Report uh and they were
generally okay with it and at the same time you know that sort of you know they they took it as a an opportunity for
them to say why are we letting somebody else do this why don't we just publish some of this data on our own which was great that's I didn't ever sort of go
into this thinking that I needed to be sort of the source of truth I just wanted to sort of shed some light on where the momentum was and you kind of
have seen that story of all PSA has sort of let me run with a lot of sort of the what's been graded story but they're
doing a lot more around like what's been submitted which is actually really interesting data as well and they may
end up taking you know um another shot at sort of some of the things I've been doing but PSA was sort of the first one
that I was focused on and the one that was sort of responding to how I was publishing data or sort of just like
weighing in and you know generally speaking again they were okay with it um and as I started to bring on other data sources you know there was always
sort of some question marks around just like why is Ryan and generates data different than what we're seeing
internally and I had to sort of walk people through the idea of look it's just your Pop Report data there's nothing more to it and so you know what
you ship and sort of what you look at internally may not necessarily jive with what hits the pop report there could be a day lag there could be many days lag
lag there um and with Beckett you know there was there was still a lot of issues with them syncing historical data
and so you know I had to sort of caveat a lot of stuff and just make sure people understood like hey this is directionally right for a lot of these
companies but on a day-to-day basis you need to sort of like you know um just know that there's some variants here and
it but the weekly and monthly Trends are really telling and I think over time people realize number one I'm not trying
to like you know um there's no deeper story here I'm not trying to sort of like show people sort
of what's going on behind the scenes or sort of you know unveil some data that people have never seen before in a way that they would never expect to see it
it's more just telling the story and I think people realize that there was a good intentions here and the grading
companies have received it really well so you know I now have an occasion a conversation with somebody at the company just around one they'll reach
out to me and just say you know hey uh this is something to be aware of on our end you know we were training people
today and so you're not you're going to see our numbers dip for a couple days it's just something for you to be aware of or I'll see something on my end and
I'll say hey it looks like you just you know uh unexpectedly added a bunch of cards to a certain category is this you
guys are categorizing stuff did you just bring the set on to the pop report that didn't exist and so you know there's a
lot of clarification but at the end of the day they've signed off on sort of the idea of look better data is better
for the Hobby and you know this is one of those themes that I've really sort of been trying to reinforce which is you know there's just been it's been there's
some part of the the hobby which is fun in the sense that the data is not perfect and there's elements of like you
can have your own sort of story and journey through the data and make sense of it in sort of your own way but
there's some of this that could be standardized and sort of better distributed and that's part of what generate story is just bring some you
know higher level macro data uh to help just people understand sort of what's happening in the hobby so it's been
there was caution to sort of the short answers there was caution but I think people once they saw that it was a small
operation here you know with good intentions and the idea of just bringing better data to hot participants and also
hopefully bringing more people into the hobby as a result of better data I think people sort of are like okay we kind of get it we're okay with it and hey free
promotion for them right you're talking about them you you're you're highlighting that uh that's what they're
doing and and that sort of thing do you get you know whether it was in the beginning or even now do you get much
like hey that's not accurate like from from them like you know what I mean like
you it's nice that you said they can give you sort of a heads up hey we're doing this this is why you may see this
do they ever say hey yeah that doesn't appear right or where'd that number cut do you ever get much of that or do they
pay much attention internally no I did and I mean the joke is like you know when their companies are doing well on
their best friend and when they're not you know they're on their first enemy and so you know I think I've had that conversation with every one of the
grading companies at this stage um but no they're I think they get that look I'm not doing anything special here
and I'm not sort of um you know I'm just pulling from the pop report and so when they think see that things are different it's usually something that just is
process oriented around sort of you know there's some discrepancy between when they do something internally and sort of
when something gets to the pop report you know there's sometimes for example the biggest outlier here is probably Beckett which you know Beckett does a
lot of grading that doesn't hit the pop report they do pccp which you know whatever you can have your own opinion on that but that's capacity that they
put towards grading cards and that doesn't show up on a Pop Report you know I think sometimes they're frustrated that that's that doesn't show up in the
numbers but there's not much I can do there it's not the way that sort of you know pop reports are appreciated and it's a different service and it serves
it you know a service in the Hobby in a different way um you know they have Bas you know they have the authentication Services which
really will hit the cert database but it's not going to hit the pop report and so again you know they're they're doing volume for example that's not
necessarily going to be represented in the data that I published and so you know there's some there's some caveats
there to what I'm doing but you know it's consistent and so you know I think what I hope is that you know sometimes
at some point you know these companies can also sort of take some of this into their own hands and publish complementary data or supplementary data
to what I'm doing and sort of you know tell their own story in some ways for example Beckett you know if you look at our data
people really think that Becca's doing poorly but you know if you actually sort of zoom out and look at some of their Trends you know they have a very sort of
loyal base that's still grading a lot of really valuable cards with them and their data was actually up year over
year you just want to know that I mean I don't publish that in the way that sort of I collect the data but I know that from some of the other ways that we
collect data and you know you you could see that there's like a pretty strong story for some elements of their
business they certainly aren't growing at the way that people would have wanted them to given sort of how well they were
doing and just how much value is in Beckett's Labs on the market today and how much people sort of have a rooting
interest in them doing well in the long run but you know there's an opportunity for them to sort of advance that story you know I'm just telling one one angle
one part of it and so hopefully this sort of just you know again brings more data to Market and it doesn't
necessarily you know in some ways it may end up contradicting some of what we're doing I think it'll more likely be complementary to what we're doing
um but it's a it's a good dialogue I mean I appreciate that the companies are willing to reach out to me I think that
at this stage too as I think about like more of the universal Pop Report and things like that like to your point this is better visibility and more visibility
for what they're doing so you know it's it's one less thing that they have to think about in some ways it's just we got to get our ducks in a row and make
sure we're doing our best behind the scenes but you know the data is going to tell the story of a lot of what's happening at these companies and it's
more just on them to sort of execute at this stage but it's not it's a little less of that sort of Falls in them from a promotion standpoint unless they want
to sort of go forward with their own sort of marketing story yeah no doubt and I think it's a great
tool and I I like like I said I think it's great for uh those grading card
companies that uh you know that you you're putting them out there in the Forefront with that being said have you
you don't necessarily have to mention by name if if it is the case have you had another grading card company that you
don't necessarily report on say hey we want we want publish our numbers or like
offer this you know what they might have a a Pop Report or a registry but they'll
say that we'll tell you and can you can you put us on the board has that happened uh you know again you don't
necess have to like you know say their name unless you want to but uh has that occurred with maybe a Grading Company
that doesn't appear on gym rate it has and you know we appreciate that like we would love to include you know there's
certainly bandwidth requirements on our end and it's also you know it's a little bit more noise on you know we have very
limited sort of space and opportunity in the way that we commute okay today you know we only send out one monthly email you know we try to limit what we're
doing on social to not sort of jam up people's feeds um and that's worked well for us and so you know we just have somewhat limited
real estate by Design right now and you know if the hobby sort of asks for it it's not the company's asking for it we'll do it but the companies themselves
are interested because it is it's good promotion it's good for them to sort of be seen you know in the light of the you
know the larger companies and see how well they're tracking and they probably do have pretty good momentum too so I'm sure it would tell a decent story around
what they're doing but until sort of we have um some sort of brown swell of you know people asking for it it's work on our
end to maintain um and it you know it needs to be something that people want to see and care about you know being in their feeds
and so uh but that's all all to say that we're certainly open to it but it just
has to sort of be demanded by the market as opposed to you know some sort of push by a company
yeah no no doubt uh you know we we on a user run right we get to read
it and it's easy to to decipher and I think sometimes pride myself included right we take for granted the work and
effort that it goes in to to get that information I mean talk a little bit you
know I don't want you to give you know the you know Colonel Sanders recipe but you know talk about you know the effort
and work and and has it changed whether you know have the grading coverage maybe not even intentionally but some of the
things they're doing does that throw you off where you have to sort of readjust uh your methods uh kind of talk speak to
the to you know how this how the sausage gets made so to speak yeah I mean look from a reporting standpoint it's
actually it's a lot of work I've gotten it down to a decent sort of routine or sort of a process where it's you know
instead of it being a week of prep and sort of two days of scrambling to get a report out um you know I've got a little bit more
time now where you know and there's a ton of data modeling so my background was head of Analytics startups for about
eight years prior to doing this and so part of this was just keeping fresh on a lot of what I was doing and then it's
now it's actually been much more around like innovating around some of the techniques I used to use at startups now I get to use it on my own company but
there's a lot of work that goes into it and you know there's a lot of tooling you know we have a data warehouse we pull data from one source to another do
a lot of modeling on top of that and it you know works and runs really well but
to your question you know I mean stuff gets re-categorized and so you know sometimes I have to look at the data and
just say hey is this a real Trend or is this just some sort of you know behind the scenes switching of a category or
set or you know cards that have been sort of just you know again it could be as simple as moving the word Hollow from
a card and all of a sudden all the data looks like there's certain strength in one category versus another and it's not exactly that but I mean it's it's small
changes can make a big difference and so you know there's a lot of actually the reporting is now sanity checking and just understanding is this a true Trend
or is it something that um is is just you know um a function of data changes on the on the
source side of things and you know we've we've got a lot of pieces in place now to help and I have a couple people supporting me now that are on a contract
basis which has been amazing for me just to help with a lot of like the execution of putting together some of the
materials helping me double check A lot of the things we're doing and you know we also one of the best that we made
early on was sort of like I collect this data every day so I can go back and look at the state of sort of grading on any
given day since I started collecting this a little over two years ago now and so I can go if I have a question around
hey what did this did something change I can go verify it very quickly and look at the data and say okay this was what
this looked like a week ago or a month ago and so that's one of the advantages of our process of having daily cataloging of all the pop reports is
that we can just understand what's happening and we don't have to sort of you know reach out to the companies we can just look into the data and sort of
it'll tell its own story a lot of times um but it's a lot of work I mean honestly it's a lot it's a ton of work but it's
it's worth it we get a lot of great you know just feedback on it you know the email we send out monthly is really well
received and so you know to the degree that people appreciate I mean you know we'd even like to sort of extend on what we're
doing but I don't want to sort of force the issue it's more of if the Market's calling for other sort of deeper Dives
or other ways for us to look at the data we'll do it but we're sort of just right now um content with sort of doing what we've
been doing but there's certainly opportunities I mean we're only scratching the surface of sort of like what this data will yield as it relates
to just Trends in the Hobby and so there's more opportunity there but I'd have to hire more people on the content
side and it's not really been my focus with the current you know moment Yeah you mentioned a few people you know
added to the team that sort of help help the effort and and what you're doing going back to sort of when you first
started it um do you ever like do you ever like you know scratch your head and said what did
I get myself into or was it really pretty smooth sailing oh no I had a lot
of moments where I was just you know am I on am I am I you know like you can have a good jockey and a good horse but
you could be in the wrong race and I was just wondering if I was in the wrong race for you know a couple months because it's just it's a lot of work
honestly and it's you know it's part of what's unsexy about it which is what made it attractive to me is I just knew that this wouldn't be something that you
could just dabble with and sort of you know make sense of you'd have to really commit to it and it did play in a lot of my strengths with finance and data as
sort of the you know the 15 years of my career prior to this and so I sort of knew if I could persevere that there
would be a lot of opportunity on the other end of it but it definitely it's just hard it's just a lot of work it does change and I don't have
you know as good of as I think my relationships are with the companies you know it's not like I'm talking to them every day and so I have to do a lot of
sort of validation of Trends and sort of data um checks that you know it just can
sometimes be a nuisance and at the end it's the same time because I'm using you know um pulling in data from pop reports you
know I just am subject to changes that companies make too you know which they should do you know they're continuing to evolve but when they change I have to
change and so you know and I've built a ton of systems to prepare for that and
to sort of anticipate that but you know at the end of the day there's still a little bit of defense that I play of just like hey what's happening on sort
of the greater side of things and I have to wake up every morning and sort of see if it's going to be a normal day and one where I'm playing offense or if it's one
where I'm sort of catching up on you know uh changes that companies have made and you know it's kind of what makes it fun too there's sort of
um a lot of variability in the days but it's also sometimes I'm like oh man I would just love to sort of push out an
extra piece of content this month or something like that but it's just there's a lot of um there's a lot of unknown still in what I
do which I'm sort of a chaos junkie and I'm okay with that but again if you're not okay with that this is not sort of the data set to be working with
I like that term chaos junkie I might steal that somewhere down the line uh
that's all you're at some point but um you know from when you launch to where you are now too is it still is
time consuming have you streamlined it where maybe it's a little bit less uh taxing again I know you said you added a
few people but generally like the time you put into it is it stayed kind of
steady or have you have you sort of you know crafted it where you know it may be
it's taken less time to get you know crunch the numbers so to speak yeah I
mean a lot of the first year year and a half what I was doing was more sort of the defense side of things which is building the data infrastructure to sort
of you know capture the data and also sort of anticipate changes and react to data changes and you know make sure that
all this all the data Downstream is sort of working as expected or sort of looks as expected the harder part now and so
you know it's just it's a it's a lot of work now is sort of this merging of the different conventions every company has with the grading day you know we want to
build this Universal top report which is what does a you know 68 tops look like each Grading Company when they don't
sort of have the sort of same hierarchy of the way that they sort of look at cars they also don't have the same
breakout of you know the way they think about varieties and parallels and so most of the work and sort of the headache now comes from just looking at
the data and thinking about how do we sort of understand the you know historical data looks like and then how
do we sort of prepare for you know this sort of world room which is sort of the you know the junk parallel era that a
lot of people refer to which is just like there's a lot of variations of cards out there and you know the Great companies are sort of in the same way
that I'm at the mercy of their changes they're at the mercy of the manufacturers who aren't you know are
still sort of building out their own data infrastructure and being more transparent about what they're doing you know it's not like they're handing the
grading companies checklists with images that are ready to go the moment that they sort of start shipping cards you
know they have to sort of you know uh wing it a bit too and so you know that results in you know Downstream impacts
to me um but most the work now most of the headache is around the merging of the
data sets which we've done we've made so much progress that's been my Big Goal over the last 12 months is sort of building out this Universal power port
and it's not necessarily a universal power port and how you're going to go to generate.com and you're going to see you know I'm going to select 1968 tops and
I'm going to see that across all the grading companies right now we're really focused on how do we actually bring that to where people are collecting today and
so you know we've got some new Partnerships in place with like card ladder card hedge we've got some other
companies that we're working with where the that data will be available where you're collecting so that it's again it
sort of helps enhance the experience we don't need to be a destination site you know we're not necessarily trying to siphon traffic away from the pop reports
of the individual grading companies but we do think this data could be better distributed and better uh you know
accessed by other tools in the space so that's been our primary focus and most of what we were working on the last 12 months uh and that's that's been a shift
so the content side of things the collection side of things I want to say it runs Itself by no means is that is that the case but it's definitely like
we've got systems in place and sort of processes in place that help support a lot of that and it's a lot less of um
that's not where the chaos is it's more around the merging of the you know building out of this you know Universal
Pop Report you know the hobby collectors have always kind of wanted the Grading
Company sort of to come together at least for like you said a universal uh
population report I'm going to tell you like I don't ever see that you know
gonna be the case right they're not you know they may not necessarily be enemies or that sort of thing but I don't think
they're going to share information uh between each other so I think what what
you and Jim Reed are doing is is so invaluable because it's really going to be the closest thing the hobby will get
to what we would call a universal uh Pop Report Ryan I mean you agree do you
agree with that do you ever see a day where maybe these grading companies maybe you know I'm not saying part you
know partner up but you know maybe a line to to for information sharing and
Publishing or do you you know do you feel like you're going to be that you know outside force that kind of produces
what that what the hobby wants yeah I mean it's a good question I try to break
things down in a sort of first principle first principles around like why they would be interested in doing that you know there's candidly the incentives
haven't been there and it's been pretty people have been pretty close guarded with their data historically and so I think they're now building up more of a
tolerance around hey we should actually be more open and you know their better data will sort of bring more participants into the hobby you know you
want you're much less likely to feel like you got Hoodwinked when you buy your first card if you have better data available and it's kind of like you know
it'd be like going into buy a stock without knowing sort of a market cap or shares outstanding and stuff like that and that's kind of like what cards
historically has been and so the degree that we can bring more data to the Hobby and sort of help present an information paint a better picture or sort of the
full picture or at least as close as we can get to that I think there's an idea that that you know a lot of companies are incentivized at the stage to grow
the hobby you know you had Fanatics coming in who's going to be incredibly you know motivated to grow this hobby
you have PSA who raised a lot of money at you know a valuation that supports a growing hobby you know same thing with a
lot of the the sort of other private companies in space you know they've definitely staffed up in a way that they expect this hobby to grow so I think as
long as collectively there's an understanding of you know or this belief that better data will sort of make the hobby a little bit more approachable
without it sort of uh coming at the expense of what people love which is a little bit of the treasure hunt and sort of the idea of you know finding an angle
or finding an edge in the data um that I do think that there's an opportunity for the companies to work
together will they do that or who's going to initiate that it's not totally clear and it's not the battle that I necessarily want to fight yet
um I definitely think there's an idea around maybe some sort of Consortium of you know data sharing and some entity
that sort of is you know in independent but sort of uh that they all participate in and or at
least have some sort of I don't know say in sort of the the objectives um but I don't know how I don't know how
likely that is in sort of the near term but you do have some forces that could help push that with you know Fanatics
eBay you know they might say hey we'll be willing to share more on the manufacturing side if you'd be willing to work together on the greeting side or
if you're willing to work together on sort of the pricing side of things eBay maybe we'll do a little bit you know a
little bit more on our end to sort of share data with you as well so I think if people can kind of get their ducks in a row and I think there's some idea that
that could happen you know it's possible I just uh you know it's not been the sort of way that things have been but
they're also there's been a lot of turnover and there's been a lot of changes in the approach to sort of a lot of these companies and sort of what their objectives are so I think it's
possible but it definitely you know this was not data was not their number one goal initially for any of
these companies to sort of get their operational ducks in a row which you know the some of the companies are ahead of others in that in that
um that spectrum and I do think though the data is going to fuel a lot of sort of the momentum here in the long run and I do think Fanatics is going to ask for
that and so we'll see is the short answer that and I'd like to sort of window as much of that as I can and I do
think like the universal Pop Report that we're going to roll out is going to be pretty slick and I think it will
um suffice in a lot of ways but you know at the end of the day we'd still be better served if there's cooperation I
think and so you know there's only so much that we can do as sort of a uh independent player in this market so
we'll see but I definitely think corporations on the table at least whether that happens is you know very
much TBD yeah I'm not saying they would do it uh
even if they could is is there a way uh you know one of these grading companies
you know Grading Company a uh that's that you track they could do something
internally to you know in whether inflate the numbers or give a false reading so to speak is
that something they could I don't I'm not saying they would do it but there's their way if they wanted to you know do
something maybe not morally or or ethically uh right could they internally
do that to kind of inaccurate uh the numbers you put out not not your fault
but if they do something to throw what you're doing off and and not be accurate
yeah I mean the short answer is yes I think that's a possibility and I'm hyper
hyper hyper aware of it you know I go through I sort of never publish anything without at least sort of questioning
sort of the data and thinking about you know is this a real you know even today we published you know weekly Trends and I just I was something sort of caught my
eye you know I did to spend an hour that I wasn't expecting to do sort of just researching if it was a real Trend or something that was just uh something
that was sort of new to the data that was making you look stronger different than Maybe you know or just a different
way of reporting data than it was the prior week you know I mean there's definitely
timing considerations here for example um when companies will grade cards before they add them to the pop report
and all of a sudden you know you'll see 25 000 cards show up that weren't there before and you know that's something I try to account for I'll throw a lot of
like anecdotes into our reports just to say hey this set was brought on and if you actually look at when they started
grading it versus when it hit the pop report taking the you know consideration this was a six-month timeline that these
cards that just showed up today and look like they hit the you know January or February numbers they were actually graded over a six month period so just
know that they're maybe a little bit inflated I do think you know a company could in theory
put a marketing budget towards saying hey we're going to just buy a bunch of cards and run them through our system and you know make our numbers look
stronger according to generate data and so you know there's some element of how natural the numbers look in my eyes
and so at some point you know I do it now but you know there's some some sort of systematic way I'd like to sort of you know at least sort of try to
corroborate with what we're seeing from a grading standpoint from a sales standpoint as well and just see if that's sort of
um you know sort of plays through in the market as well you know grading a card is only part of the equation and so you
know does it actually a lot of times most the times these cards will make their way out of the market and so I do a lot of Sanity checks with the sales
data as well but uh the short answer is yeah I mean you can get a little funky with the data if you wanted to I don't think that would be in the best interest
for anybody obviously but if you were sort of getting desperate you could probably pull that lever but on the
other side of it I'm sort of always looking for that because I don't want that to be you know a possibility and so
it's for sure out it's for sure out there is a thing but I'd like to make sure that we're not responsible for
things showing up that you know can't again be explained or look unnatural so we're definitely thinking about that
so in a sense they have a a red button they could push but you also have a
satellite tracking system that will sort of detect uh the tech launch if you will
yeah at the very least I can sort of you know frame questions for people to ask of the data and say yeah here's like
what we're seeing but let's sort of be you know a little bit cautious about sort of like how real this data looks
and again nobody's doing that today but you know again I just aware of you know this is a this is a hobby that has a
history of not being sort of like the most by the book and sort of you know doing things above board and so not
saying that that is something that will happen or should happen or you know is going to happen but I've learned enough
in my three years of research to sort of question the data and make sure that I'm sort of not you know uh having one
pulled over me because I'm not paying attention or just taking things sort of uh at the surface and not sort of
digging a little bit deeper yeah no doubt it's good to hear that something like you're aware of and
and you know monitoring if that be the case uh you know uh for me one of the
biggest surprises is how strong you know the the trading card game uh with
grading is I mean you're you're in the trenches on the front lines what what's what sort of surprise you what stands
out to you over the last even a couple years if you if you want to like you
know use that time frame yeah I think I mean I do think the trading card game stuff has been the
stuff that surprised me the most and I still you know I mentioned this on hobby hotline and I think it's important to sort of reinforce which is just like I
don't know how sustainable it is but it's definitely where the momentum is and you know um you just saw SGC launch a Pokemon
Special which you know the early returns and that are really productive for them um you know it's it's a really lucrative
Market my understanding is sort of the economics of TCG on the grading side is really lucrative and so for the grading
companies there's a lot of incentive for them to bring on as much of that you know capacity or sort of volume as they can
um I'm not sort of sure to sort of uh on the point that I just mentioned is
really sort of the data as it flows through the pop report I don't have a good understanding of sort of the sales side of that market yet but I'm like you
know cautiously optimistic that there's a lot of people buying up those slabs but there's a ton of slabs and you know me seeing what we just saw in the last
two years with sports cards you know I'm I'm sort of at the same time a little bit skeptical that there's just another
bubble that's being built up there on the greeting side and there's not going to be you know uh collectors on the
other end of it and so you're seeing an opportunity for some Arbitrage seeing an opportunity to sort of make a run on TCG
based cards effectively and so I'd like to think that there are people buying and sort of excited to sort of put those
in their collections that they're in but the volume is staggering I mean just staggering it's 40 percent of you know
the million plus cards that are coming through every month and to cross all the grading companies at this stage you know
SGC is obviously trying to ramp up their presence there but you know it's a it's a um
it's a it's a massive Trend and I'm curious to see sort of how long it can last I think the Grady companies would
love to see it last for a long time but I just don't know that market well enough um the other thing sort of on just the
like the last couple years is just I think actually the Market's been really smart or sort of you know recalibrating I think the sports card space did see
sort of you know the data doesn't sort of showcase this because it was lagged because of the PSA backlog and there was
you know we were you know we were reporting on grading numbers from cards that were submitted you know a year to a
year and a half prior to that and you've seen quickly that people just realized number one it's not you know all the things sort of worked against creating
base cards you know what the price of wax went up cost of grading went up and the price of cards you know the resale
value of cards went down and so you know people pretty quickly realize there's not a lot of them not not a lot of money
in there even if there was liquidity at one point in the market and so I I've been impressed to see sort of just like I don't know compressed is the right
word but just like pleasantly surprised by how fast people and sort of how Savvy people were to sort of understanding that Trend you know it's still there's
opportunities and that will be exploited to some degree still um and it'll probably get ahead of itself at some point if prices get
really low on the grading side but that's been one that I've been like surprised to see how quickly it's sort of correct itself
which will be interesting to see if you know pricing right now is roughly like 12 to 20 for most degrading companies if
pricing gets back to sort of the eight to twelve dollar level did we start to see a run up on some of this I'd like to think again that people are sort of you
know wiser based off of the historical Trends we just saw but you know we'll see I mean it's still you know it
certainly would uh juice that part of the market in the sense that certain cards would be available to grade again
but I don't you know I don't think it'll be anywhere near it'll be a fraction of what we saw hopefully you know at the peak in 2020 and 2021.
yeah one one last question too for me we all you know I use it to sort of you
know and maybe a decision on a Direction I want to go hobby wise or cards or cards I sort of want to purchase doing
it like internally and and being in those trenches as I I refer to it has it
how is it something that helps you or you know what I mean uh it helps us out here right is it internally I imagine
the same thing right is would you agree oh yeah no I was as I sort of started
the conversation I didn't have a lot of discipline in the card world when I sort of was doing it as a kid and you know I I sort of uh you know I've realized now
that you know just to you have to sort of be patient in this Hobby in a lot of ways and you know a lot of the decisions
I've made over the last I mean I fortunately when I got back in you know I was sort of you know skeptical of the idea of base
and was buying low number Stuff fairly early things that I thought were low pop if they weren't numbered um and you know
I sort of stayed the course there but it's definitely just helped me think about timing and sort of again this is
one of the reasons I want the gemery website to sort of continue to get built out is you know it's a very narrative driven Hobby and there's a lot of
questions that you couldn't necessarily answer previously that you can now do with our data which is hey you know this
is these case hits you know there's never been any sort of easy way to aggregate it across all the grading companies but now you can see even
though Panini wasn't putting serial numbers on there you can kind of see how things trended as sort of print runs changed over time and you can kind of
really go to bat for some of the things you might have historically believed to be true but never really had the data to do that and so you know I live and
breathe that data so a lot of the decisions I make in the hobby are based off of this data and you know that was
really the reason that I mean I would like I said this was not sexy data to sort of pull together and I never really would have been able to fulfill this and
I'm still very early in the vision of what I want to build but the idea that I use this data every day is part of what
me excited about it honestly is I still make active decisions every day on this data I'm going into gem rate for
different reasons for things that I sort of see a card I've never heard of uh comes up on my radar and I just sort of
want to understand the landscape and so it's super helpful from that standpoint and then the macro stuff is just very interesting because it really it's like
where do I want to send my cards I'm pretty I would say I'm fairly unbiased given
what I do and sort of how I want to sort of be perceived in a hobby but so I try almost every Grading Company I don't
really have strong loyalty to any one company because it's just I don't not that I don't want to but I just like to
sort of explore sort of the strengths and weaknesses of each of these companies and so it definitely has helped me sort of understand sort of where the strengths are and sort of you
know some of the places that companies still have room for growth but this data definitely impacts a lot of my
day-to-day all right I lied I got one more question but it's a funny one I know I know you
love this stuff Ryan your passion is evident like you said you you love doing this you ever wake up though one day
like like a lot of people at work and say I really don't want to do this you know I mean
honestly I love it I love it it's like so I don't want to sound like too corny
or cliche about it but I mean it's it's my passion so I get to wake up and sort of look at sports car data and sort of
you know I'm not just um you know I'm doing it as a hobby but I'm also doing it as a profession now
but it like yeah so uh just real quick sort of tangent you know I had opportunity to work in like the DFS
world and like the daily fantasy Sports World and yeah um but I love I love sort of doing the fantasy stuff and I didn't
want it to ever be though my profession uh it just there was something that aligned that it didn't want to cross and actually I don't really do it that much
anymore and so maybe it wasn't that strong of a passion for me this card stuff being my profession I still I love
it just as much as I did when I got back into it a few years ago because there's just so there's just
so much to learn and you can really never really be fully up to speed in it and so you know it's exciting I mean
it's exhausting I mean there are days I go to bed and I'm like holy cow like that was a lot of just like a lot of
unexpected things that happened and you know things the triage um but it's fun I really I enjoy it like it's a I have to
your questions earlier I've got a bit of a routine around it now and I have a lot of sort of um aspirations around what we
build here so it's exciting it's exhausting so it's more it's less uh something that I don't look forward to it's definitely something I do look
forward to and it's more just it can be exhausting like I'm sometimes I'm just ready to hit the hay and get to bed yeah
well you're a busy guy I appreciate you making some time and and I will say this
you know and and going on the site how you've got it like by player by by
different niches of the hobby it's just super detailed and a great tool you know
for whether you're a serious hobbyist or even sort of a a novice or or someone
that's just kind of ramping up what you're doing it's it's great tool a
great reference point to kind of see you know Trends what's going on uh even on a
player level forget you know uh forget even the company the Grading Company level but even you know what players are
being submitted at at what levels and uh just uh you know there's something for
whatever your your angle is or whatever info you're kind of searching for it's really all there so with that being said
you know better you to kind of direct people where they can you know your
website any social you want to share take your time give give that information out today yeah I would just
say visit gymrate.com a lot of people come to generate as a starting point to your you know uh they have an idea of a
player they're interested in picking up as a new pc and they just want to understand the landscape upgraded cards it's a great place to start uh and I
would say that generates really great sort of as you're close to making a decision just as a sanity check to make sure there's not you know the a bunch of
cards that have been graded with a different company that you weren't expecting to see it you can figure that stuff out pretty quickly but I would say uh the site is early and sort of what we
want it to be but is a great uh tool today to check out I I would recommend if you're interested in sort of the
broader Trend signing up for our email we send it only once a month and it's you know it's a long email but has a lot
of interesting data in there yeah and then we publish a ton of daily Trends uh weekly Trends and monthly Trends on our
social and so Instagram Twitter uh I'd like to like I said earlier we'd like to do more content there we're just not
quite there yet there's a lot of sort of unanswered questions uh and then the last thing I'll just add is email me at ryan.com if you have any feedback things
you'd like to see it's in particular I'm really interested in this you know feedback of how people might utilize
Universal prop report you know it's one of these things everybody's talked about as sort of this mythical thing that will probably never exist but we're really
close to delivering on it but we want to make sure that it's going to sort of exist in a way that people would like to see it exist or make use of it and so
really interested in hearing people's feedback on just you know ways that they might make use of of a universal Pop Report that's not necessarily available
to them today in sort of the current landscape of of grading data yeah the unicorn of the hobby I'll I'll
call it at that point so I don't know if we can live up to the or have that lofty of a label to us but we definitely we
definitely Aspire for it to be useful let's put it that way well you're doing a tremendous job
continued success I know it's it's something I pay a lot of attention to us
even not even to buy necessarily but just just to even it's just interesting
even to look and see the dynamic and how things change or don't change and and
where they change and it's just it's fun even if you're a little bit I might not
be into the numbers as you are but even if you're a little bit like er it's
interesting even for that level of analytics so uh again continued success
Ryan thanks for uh thanks for some time today no thank you so much for having me on I appreciate the conversation
thank you