How We Started a
New Way to Play Cards
Hi! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hi, I’m Matt, co-founder of Deck of Cards, a browser based deck of playing cards. Simply create a game and share the url or game ID with your family or friends to start playing.
What is your personal story and how did you come up with the idea?
A year ago, my wife and I had the idea for this project when we forgot to bring a deck of cards while on vacation.
We searched for a platform that would let us play any card game we wanted but didn’t find anything suitable that allowed us to customize the game. There are hundreds of options to play a specific game, but nothing available when you want to play Gin Rummy one minute and Crazy Eights the next. Also, a lot of people we know, including our family, have a variation of a card game that isn’t quite by the rule book and most of these existing apps don’t allow for “family rules”.
So, with 2020 being crazy and having a background in software, https://deckofcards.net was born.
What challenges did you face when creating your product/service?
The initial design of the application and all the iterations we went through was a bit of a challenge. We went from a native application to a web application, a horizontal view to a vertical view and everything in between. We wanted something that worked across all platforms, was easy to use and yet flexible enough to allow for all the different games to be played.
We are in the early days of our product so getting the word out is also a challenge. I think coming up with the idea and initial development is only half of the journey. The next half is the route to market and implementing the feedback you receive to grow your audience. Sales and marketing is not my wheelhouse.
Who is your target market?
Our target is anyone who loves to play cards. Unfortunately, with the pandemic raging, most families can’t get together to have game night or the weekly poker night with friends has been postponed or cancelled. Post pandemic, we see this as a great solution for people connecting in different cities, game nights or even while camping (playing cards at night is not an easy task!).
How do you market your business and which approaches have been the most successful?
We are slowly marketing the platform. When I was younger, I used to think that if you created a website, people just miraculously found it. With billions of options, new sites and products are often buried in the depths of the web.
When we initially launched, besides friends and family, we used google ads to test the idea and to get crucial feedback. This really helped to grow the platform. We also posted on Producthunt and had an amazing response from people who loved our product and have been growing our user base ever since.
Since you launched, what has worked in not only attracting but retaining customers?
I think listening and responding to everyone who provides feedback is helpful for building a community. Listening to your user base and implementing their ideas and requests will grow the platform and retain customers. We’re just thrilled people are enjoying our product.
What kind of culture exists in your company, and how did you establish it?
We are a husband and wife team, so we have a unique culture that most teams don’t have. We can be brutally honest when we need to but also know how to effectively communicate our ideas to each other. Plus, we love to play cards and it’s easier to create and work on something you love.
What software, services or tools do you use within your business?
What are the most important lessons have you learned on your business journey?
One of the most important lessons I have learned is to be patient. Growing a business is hard and it takes time. Most businesses aren’t successful overnight. Also, development of the idea is only half of the business journey. Customer service, marketing and having a product roadmap is the other, sometimes more difficult, half.
Not getting overwhelmed by every tiny detail and option is another important lesson I have learned. I think having a niche product and implementing a minimum viable product (MVP) first, then building on that product is an easier way of growing.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
I like to create. That has to be my favourite thing about being an entrepreneur. I have a lot of ideas and being able to implement those ideas (even the bad ones) is very rewarding.
What is your LEAST favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
The stress. I would say it is my least favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur. The stresses of a new feature release or the stresses of wondering if your business will be successful can be taxing.
I’m not a very outgoing person so putting yourself and your product out there is also a challenge for me.
What books, podcasts or other resources have inspired and influenced your business journey?
I don’t have much time to enjoy books or podcasts lately and when I do, it’s usually not about business! I do enjoy the YouTube videos or interviews with Michael Seibel (Y Combinator). He has a wealth of startup knowledge for anyone looking to be inspired.
Where do you see your business 2-3 years from now?
I would love to see deckofcards.net grow into a staple with family game nights or to a platform where people can play card tournaments throughout the world. As well as adding some unique monetization methods to help support and grow the business.