After a year of being stuck inside, I would guess that most of us have started to go a little crazy. So many individuals and families have had a significant loss during this crisis - financial, emotional, the loss of a loved one – at the very least, the loss of real social interaction. These times certainly create anxiety, sadness, even desperation.
The weirdest thing about this pandemic is the social, mental, and spiritual effect of being separated. Some have made quantum progress, some are starving - the gap is just that huge. Closing the gap, thriving instead of surviving, is vital and must be an inside job.
If you know me at all, you know I need to be busy. It’s not that like it, I don’t prefer it; I need it like a fish needs water. I find it hard to breathe sitting and doing nothing. My wife tells me I need to have patience, but if I can’t have patience right now, I don’t want it!
So, what have I been doing? Has this pandemic changed me for the better? How?
The benefit of this crisis is that it has given me time to think, to plan, to see what’s important. One of the first things I’ve discovered (actually re-discovered) is that I need to always look ahead. Look past the situation at hand, and not to waste the crisis! While we’re paused, we need to think about how to make some new dreams or start living the dreams we never got to!
So here I am. Steiner Sports was an incredibly good run, but for me it’s done. There are still a lot of people who don’t know that the only part of Brandon Steiner that’s still there is my last name – I’m gone. And I’ve gone on to something potentially bigger and better, thanks to the thinking I’ve done over the past year.
One big realization is that collectibles is probably the only industry where the people who have assets don’t know what they have. People call me, tell me that have a lot of stuff, and ask me what to do with it. I tell them to send me a list, and nine out of ten don’t have a list. I spent six months this year organizing my collection and I didn’t even realize what I have, or what I’m doing with it all.
My generation, the ‘boomers’, have been the biggest collectors ever. Now we’re sizing up our lives, downsizing, organizing, figuring out our values. Older collectors like me are now seeing that all this stuff is less important than it used to be. The only value of a collectible is in the enjoyment. When it no longer matters, what will you do with it? Not sell your whole collection at once because you’ll get a fraction of its value. And not sell it on eBay, where you don’t know who and what is out there, where it’s so easy to cheat yourself.
Now there’s an increase in supply because we want to sell our stuff, and an increase in demand from younger buyers who want the unique stuff that we have in our collections. But again, where’s the marketplace where sellers and buyers can find each other?
The other idea involved professionals and their collections. What about players who want to market their own stuff? The things I used to do with them and for them – can we set them up to do it for themselves?
Give collectors and athletes the platforms to market their stuff. People have worthwhile stuff but don’t have the marketing skills. I do, and I can help.
From those ideas came two plans. First, I created CollectibleXchange. We built the platform to create a safe place for people to sell their collections, because the previous auction sites (eBay and others) are not the environment that our folks need. They’re not specifically for collectors, they’re not trying to provide honest value and pricing. My plan was to create a marketplace for us. And by the time you read this, we will have over 100K items on CollectibleXchange. My number one job is keeping it safe and clean.
I’ve always marketed to myself. I believe that whatever I go through is not unique – a lot of people experience what I experience. So, on April 12th I’ll be selling my own collection on CX.
The second plan is this: in addition to giving collectors a platform to market their stuff, on April 15th we’re launching Athlete Direct – the platform for athletes, coaches, and former Division One players to market their stuff. A gathering of microsites managed by the athletes themselves, creating a direct connection with their audience and fan base, starting with the concept of creating their legacy.
When I ask the stars of Athlete Direct how they view their legacy, I ask myself the same question. I have always wanted to make a difference, to do things better, to shake it up. It’s why I do everything I do. I know some of you feel the same way.
How do you view your legacy?