It’s fascinating and inspiring to watch how an entrepreneur’s vision comes to fruition. Although vision is only one part of the equation, it’s a big one and getting it right can lead to stars-aligning momentum. No one can predict the future but us crazy entrepreneurs seem to think we can influence it more than others or guess it better than most. One of Atlanta’s best entrepreneurs at predicting the future is Adam Wexler.
“Wex” has always been ahead of the curve in his thinking. Sometimes right, sometimes wrong, but he puts himself out there predicting and doing his best to make that future happen. For the past 5 years, he’s been selling me and anyone else who would listen that fantasy sports is the future. In those past 5 years, he started a company (SidePrize) and recently rebranded it to PrizePicks. He’s been vocal that laws and leagues will adapt to the demands of fantasy sports for years now. Well, now the laws have changed…just this year. His vision hit me even harder this morning.
One weekly email I receive from a rising star journalist is the The Profile from Fortune’s Polina Marinova. Polina is incredibly talented and she’s smart to build her brand outside of traditional journalism. Anyways, I was reading one of the profiles from her weekly email this morning titled: The grandfather of the NBA. It’s a great read on David Stern in Sports Illustrated on what he’s up to now, his major accomplishments, style, and work ethic.
One snippet from the interview that immediately made me think of PrizePicks and Wex was the following:
As commissioner, Stern was vehemently opposed to sports gambling. Two years ago he gave the keynote at the American Gaming Association’s Global Gaming Expo in Vegas, and he’s now a senior adviser to PJT Partners, which is focused on the industry. “To have David become an advocate rather than adversary to the casinos was a turning point,” says Don Cornwell, a partner at PJT, who considers Stern “an absolute godsend.”
Stern says he was “the last holdout.” (Silver came out in favor of legalized gambling in 2014, writing an op-ed in The New York Times.) “I always said the reason we don’t want to have gambling is because we don’t want Junior going to the game and coming away disappointed because the home team won but they didn’t cover,” says Stern. “But as soon as they allowed daily fantasy, I said that’s it, there’s no sense in having daily fantasy and not being in favor of betting—especially when you add in the fact that so much of it is already done offshore illegally and lining the coffers of some people you don’t know.”
This is a real life example of crossing the chasm. Market dynamics and industry innovations are pushing the powers that be into a new mindset where fantasy sports can now be a sub-sector of the “legalized” sports betting ecosystem.
Wex has been neck deep in the online fantasy sports world for 5 years, I predict in another 5 years, when PrizePicks has millions of users and hundreds of employees, that’s when everyone will say it was an overnight success story.
Keep predicting, Wex!