In January of 2018, we were on the brink of death. Usually, a sentence like that is a bit hyperbolic, but for PucaTrade it's true. As Mitch put it in an article at the time: "PucaTrade no longer reliably generates enough revenue to support itself." Not only were these issues in the back end, but PucaTrade had also entered its worst economic state since the site's inception.
It's 2019. We're still here and it's getting hard to keep PucaPoints in your account. What happened?
The short answer to that is that you rose up as a community and decided that you wanted PucaTrade to exist. We're deeply grateful for that, and we thank you! It's because of you that I even get to write an article looking back over the last year. Let's start at the same place Mitch did in 2018:
PucaTrade now generates enough revenue to reliably support itself. This has more to do with the fact that we've cut expenses than an increase in revenue. In this area, we're optimistic but still tentative and careful. We won't be in a comfortable spot until we see an increase in subscriptions and we don't expect to see that until we do more work on our tiered features—we understand that this is important and it's on our radar. Last year we focused on goals like democratization, community, and sustainability; this year we'll continue to focus on these, but also start asking questions about what it looks like to grow. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let's see how we did on last year's goals (these also were outlined in Mitch's article).
"We want the PucaTrade community to have more say in the direction of the site."
This is something that we tried really hard to accomplish and I think we did a good job of this last year. We started the year by rolling back a wildly unpopular change (member dues) and terminated point sales. These are two policy things that you as our community wanted to remove. Beyond that, most of the development work that we did last year directly came from ideas that you helped shape in our early campfire chats (in Discord). We also considered feedback that we received in emails, through the blue question mark, and even stuff that was relayed through cases.
Even though we made great steps towards this goal, there are two areas that I'd like to see improve in 2019. Number one: My communication to you about what we're doing. I realize communication got sparse as I started to get more hands-on with the behind-the-scenes stuff. Number two: Our speed of execution. 2018 was a year of learning. We had to learn how to function as a platform and as a team, as well as execute our goals. Things are improving in this area, but there's still plenty of room to go and improve.
"We want PucaTrade to be something that you're proud to share with your friends."
We still have a long way to go on this one. One of the points that we'll be focusing on this year is to make our site friendlier to new or returning members. We want to eliminate the special information needed to be most successful on the site, so that when one of your friends comes to use PucaTrade they can do so with ease and have success. More on this in the weeks to come.
"We want PucaTrade to sustain itself."
I talked a bit about this at the beginning of the article. From a financial point of view, PucaTrade is making some progress here. We hope that the ease of use improvements will help increase traffic and when combined with some new tiered features, we can see some growth in 2019. Financials aside, this year we learned that PucaTrade can sustain itself on an entirely different axis: The community's sheer force of will. We are a resilient bunch. Watching your tenacity as a community to overcome and not accept defeat was a joy in 2018. It's my hope that this year the PucaTeam can further empower you to build a community around this game that we all love.
I think this is a good note to end our looking back article on. Stay tuned for a 2019 looking forward article, where I'll talk about the direction of PucaTrade moving into 2019. Thank you for reading.
|Jonathan Medina (@Medina_MTG) is a casual Magic player and lover of people. He has a long history of writing for various Magic sites. He's currently the Director of PucaTrade, and a semi-regular writer at GatheringMagic.com. You can find him on Twitter at @Medina_MTG|