Launched just over two years ago, Fortnite has become a worldwide phenomenon with over 250 million active players. It’s a battle royale style game that is very simple to play: Stay alive, and if something moves, shoot it. Think Hunger Games on an island with up to 100 players except people willingly join the game versus getting your name plucked from a fishbowl.

 

Essentially, there are two camps on this earth. There’s the camp that links the word “Fortnite” (which is really spelled “fortnight”) to some Old English phrase when lords and ladies ruled the land. Then there’s the camp that not only lives and breathes Fortnite but can execute The Floss dance as easy as Baby Boomers can execute the two-step. Fun fact: The Floss dance is surmised to be the most popular dance in the western world.

 

My household is comprised from members of the latter group. I have kids ranging in age from five to eleven and suffice to say that Fortnite is a “thing” in our house that causes its fair share of cheering, internal arguing, and flossing. As a parent, you feel almost helpless as this digital bow wave overtakes your home. But as a general manager of a software start-up, it’s a gold mine of life lessons beneath it’s “video game” facade. So, what can our used aerospace marketplace learn from a video game exactly?

 

Fortnite is always evolving to keep its user base wanting more. Every 90 days or so, “Fortnite” releases a new “season” which is a block of time with a specific theme. Gamers can unlock specific characters, tools and cosmetic items, such as a new outfits or dances that match that season’s theme. I was mystified when I first noticed the “season” change during Christmastime when winter-themed characters, like Sergeant Winter, who is basically Santa Claus, arrived on the island (season 7). It’s important to note that the season changes aren’t just incremental feature improvements. Last week, my eleven-year-old son woke up at 5 o’clock in the morning so he could catch the first release of season 10 before he had to leave for school. These major UI overhauls are captivating its players and keeping things fresh. GoDirect Trade works in three-week sprint cycles and we constantly have the pedal to the metal with new features to enhance both the customer and seller experience. Like all software products, our marketplace will never be complete. Our passion to keep evolving so our customers keep coming back for more can never die.

 

Fortnite is social. Put simply, the more people you know that are on it, the better it is for the player. Players love putting on their headsets and talking with friends and family through a battle before bedtime. The network effect is also essential to our marketplace. As more customers visit our site to buy parts, more sellers will feel compelled to list their product. Like any true marketplace, GoDirect Trade’s success will depend on consistent, step-change growth with both buyers and sellers.

 

Fortnite is accessible. Unlike other popular games where you buy the disc with static content (I have firsthand experience with buying Madden 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 . . .), Fortnite is completely free to play and available on all major platforms, from consoles to phones to PCs and Macs. Like the Bubonic Plague that swept Europe, the ease of accessibility enabled adoption on a mass scale. Fortnite’s revenue model shifted from a product offering (Madden 2019, anyone?) to a service where players could purchase V-Bucks to buy cosmetic items, such as a new outfits, dances, or taunts. Average spend per player? $85.

 

GoDirect Trade is taking one from the Fortnite playbook and making our marketplace accessible to all. First off, all users can register for free. Second, unlike many corporate enterprise portals, we welcome individuals who aren’t tied to companies (yes, people with Gmail accounts might need aerospace parts, too). Third, we are welcoming storefronts of all size with open arms. This isn’t the 90’s where you had to submit a blood test to register for a corporate portal. This is 2019 where “openness” is expected and “free access” reigns true.

 

Concluding thoughts . . .

 

If your head is still wrapped around the axle of “isn’t this just a video game?”, believe me, this isn’t Mega Man battling Dr. Wiley from the 90’s. Last April, Tiger Woods brought home a $2M purse from his Masters win. Compare that with the $3M kitty that Fortnite’s first ever “World Cup Champion” brought home last week. Whether we want to believe it or not, Fortnite is taking the world by storm and the elements that has made it an incredible success can and should be applied to any software product development effort. I can’t Floss worth a damn but by God, I’m a believer. 

 

 

Let’s Talk Trade,

 

Lisa Butters