The iGaming Show EP 13 - (Redefining The Online Betting Experience For A New Generation With Steven Salz)

The iGaming Show EP 13 - (Redefining The Online Betting Experience For A New Generation With Steven Salz) cover

The iGaming Show EP 13 - (Redefining The Online Betting Experience For A New Generation With Steven Salz)

July 27, 2023

In this episode, we will explore the evolving preferences, behaviours, and expectations of a new generation of iGaming and sports betting players, and discover how operators are adapting to meet their needs. Our guest for this episode is Steven Salz, the CEO & Co-Founder of Rivalry.

The iGaming Show, presented by Paramount Commerce, is a podcast that will analyze gaming industry trends with experts from various gaming organizations.

Please like, comment, and share this video. Also, stay up to date with our content by subscribing to our YouTube channel.

Full episode transcript:

Varad Mehta: Hello,everybody, and welcome to the 13th episode of The iGaming Show presented by Paramount Commerce. I’m your host, Varad Mehta, and in this podcast, we analyze gaming industry trends with experts from various gaming organizations. In today’s episode, we’ll be exploring how iGaming and sports betting operators in the province are working to adapt to the evolving preferences and behaviours of online gaming players with Steven Salz, the CEO and co-founder at Rivalry. Without further ado, let’s get the show rolling. Steven, how we begin this podcast is by asking you a few fun questions. So the first question I had is, do you think that by having a good or practical understanding of mathematics, someone can be a better problem solver?

Steven Salz: Yeah, definitely. I think it’s just a great way to understand how to, I guess, logically parse information that has absolute truth, because math is, I think, the only thing that has absolute truth. So you know when, suppose you know that you’ve done a good job problem solving at a hyper simplistic level because you’re able to get to the correct answer. And even if you’re not able to get the correct answer, I think just the framework of how to tackle a math problem is something that can add a lot of calm, emotional calm and rigor into how you just deal with even your day to day life. Yeah.

VM: My second fun question for you is, as someone who appreciates martial arts, could you name your three favourite MMA fighters and your all-time favourite martial arts movie?

SS: I guess let’s start with the movie “Bloodsport” because I think everyone in my generation with like Jean-Claude Van Damme. I grew up on that movie, I guess, a little bit. I watched it so many times. I didn’t really understand it at the time because I was young, I guess. But I love that movie. I still love that movie. I like Nick and Nate Diaz, the Diaz Brothers just because they’re just total yeah, it’s like gangster fighting. I don’t know how to explain it. They seem like they are the only people that go in the ring to really fight. And I just love the rawness of it. Yeah. Then maybe I love early generation, first generation Chuck Liddel, early UFC. Just, yeah, again, a style that now you would get absolutely annihilated. But back then it was UFC 1 and even pre-UFC 1 before they were numbered, it was like the BJJ guy would go against the boxer and they only had one skill set. Whereas now obviously they all mix and match everything and it’s maybe a bit more of an even dynamic. But I love that early where the brawler, the guy with heavy hands like Chuck Liddel could just dominate. But it was just a very different era. It was a lot of fun. And then maybe probably early B.J. Penn, also before B.J. Penn kind of fell off the wagon. But I love early B.J. Penn. I’m probably mentioning these guys just because I was really into UFC 2006, 2007, 2008 era. So that early, early UFC. And then before that, Pride. I love Pride as well. Most of the Pride stuff is amazing.

VM: Those are wonderful choices. I like those. And Bloodsport, what a throwback. I haven’t heard that in a while. My last question is, I could be absolutely wrong on this one, but if you could give a piece of advice to the young Steven who made it on the Dean’s Honour list back in 2008, 2009, what would you tell him? And is my information correct?

SS: Yeah, where did you even get that?

VM: I’m going to pull a Nardwaur and say, “You’re Steven, we have to know.”

SS: Yeah, I was actually thinking of Nardwaur. That’s funny. I think the big one is compartmentalisation. I think as I’ve gone on the Rivalry journey. I don’t know. Everyone always talks about discipline, which I think is really important, especially because you got all these (David) Goggins bros out there and all this stuff, and Jocko Willink bros. But yeah, I think that that stuff, discipline matters, and I think there’s maybe an excessive emphasis on it. When I really have personally studied history and studied people that I really revere, going back 100 years, 200 years, whatever it may be. I think the thing that I’ve picked up on thematically and what I’ve most benefited from, and I’d say I’ve only really learned in the last one to two years myself, even just admittedly, is compartmentalisation in a way, I think is probably the best skill for both things in general, being successful in life. However, you define it like being able to have something happen early in your day that may totally throw you off and be jarring. You get a message from somebody that pisses you off or whatever and being able to instantly turn the page and then turn your attention to the other task at hand as if that thing didn’t even happen. It’s actually very hard to do because someone will say something that pisses you off and it fucking bothers you and you’re all riled up and shit. But to be able to snap and that thing is gone as if it never exists in your full energy and intention to the next task, that is, I think, the way you can really get the most.

VM: Basically don’t let anyone define your day. Know how to switch it off.

SS: Yeah, especially because even for my job, as a CEO to filter for the most shit problems. So there’s stuff that I’ll wake up to stuff in my Slack from things that would happen overnight a different time zone that me of even five years ago when I was still just getting the company started, it would really throw me off a little bit and emotionally maybe annoy me. Whereas now I see that stuff and I can blink and just move on to the next thing. But it takes a very long time to be able to get to that point. But I think if you can compartmentalise really well, it benefits you in anything you’re trying to do. Even if you have other hobbies or passions, you have to be able to turn off whatever happened in your day and then move on to that other thing and not be carrying any weight of that into the next task. I think that’s something I would have told my earlier self to practice that a little bit more, probably.

VM: That’s a good one, actually. I don’t think people really take that into account because something can affect your day and then you somehow let that slip into everything you do during the day. Maybe you don’t have the same energy as you did at whatever 9 a.m. in the morning. I like that one. Now, going away from the fun questions as much as I know you love them, but just joking. But let’s talk about what we’re here to talk about, and it’s about understanding consumer behaviour trends and how operators such as Rivalry apply them to acquire customers. But just maybe understanding from your perspective, I’d love to know that what behaviours or patterns have you seen from consumers within the first year of Ontario’s regulated iGaming market? Are there stuff related to age or demographics? What have you seen?

SS: I think the start of the market was somewhat close to what we predicted. I remember we were talking in the press a little bit before the market launched that we felt it would be almost like launching a US state in terms of the dynamics as in where we operate in the rest of the world as well Southeast Asia, South America, etc. These are much more mature betting markets where even though some of them, yes, are grey markets and others are regulated markets, or even Australia, we have a license, but there’s a very deep betting culture that exists in them. Not to say Ontario wasn’t a large grey market before regulation happened, but in terms of how the operators then launched in this market like DraftKings, FanDuel, bet365, who switched to a regulated license, etc. It turned into a lot of what everyone saw in the US on a state by state basis, which was people got absolutely bombarded and overwhelmed with offers and bonuses. And for the initial competitive environment, it was going to be very driven by that dynamic. We were cheeky in the press before saying, Rivalry is going to have the worst and least competitive offer in the market. So if you want to get some juicy bonus, don’t come to us, which was true because we weren’t going to play that game because you can’t ever get off of it. It becomes an impossible hamster wheel. And it’s just against the thesis of the entire company. But even I remember I was in the Covers Discord, the Ontario discord before the market launch. It was the biggest discord fo Ontario bettors, when it was switching to a regulated market. And I remember one of the mods or one of the main people in that discord was saying, the day before the market launch, there was thousands of Ontario bettors in there basically you’re saying, hey everyone, this is where the money is going to be made, where companies are going to be overpaying for customer acquisition. That’s literally what they said. The customers were saying it to each other as in the bonus and offers we’re going to be bathing in free money from operators, which is exactly what happened. So I think the initial observe dynamic wasit was actually hard to tell what the dynamic was because it was opted by free money everywhere and people were just running around, having multiple apps, multiple accounts, just getting as many of the bonuses and offers as they possibly could. I think now actually it’s settled into a bit more of a classic dynamic, a little bit more where different competitive angles are coming out. We’ve got the ones that are very casino focused. You’ve got the ones that are very focused more on still like bonus and offer driven or whatever it may be. And slots has become a huge category in Ontario, which may be surprised us a little bit just how popular slots has become. But yeah, I’d say a bit of a non-answer because outside of that initial bonus dynamic, there wasn’t anything that was too surprising for us. And then we continue to focus, like Rivalry is very focused on esports and I’d say under-30 demo in terms of the brand and how we approach things. So for us, I’d say maybe we had a feeling that the market here was a bit immature relative to our more international markets in terms of an under-30 demo that watches content creators on Twitch and is a fan of esports and then betting on esports, being able to make all those connections. Whereas the cultural proclivity for sports betting in other markets among under-30s is a bit stronger, more historical, and they can easily make that connection between watching a competitive thing and then being interested in betting on the competitive thing. Because in Ontario, for us specifically, we have found that the market here is, I guess I’d say, as nascent as we anticipated around esports betting as in a 24 to 30 year old that has been a fan of Counter Strike for 10, 15 years, been playing it, watching it competitively as well, is not as doesn’t have the same propensity to make the connection to betting and isn’t even aware that it exists, that you can even bet on Counter Strike. So once we started surfacing that entertainment category within the thing that they already do being Counter Strike, we have seen increasing adoption. We’ve seen a lot of pretty continuous growth every month in esports betting for us. But yeah, I’d say the relative nascent cultural awareness of betting among the cohort we target being esports fans is certainly has some ways to go relative to other international markets. So yeah, some of the different things we’ve observed, I guess.

VM: That’s a good one. I think then how do you understand what the under-30 audience needs? How do you, as an operator, understand what they want? I think esports is a really good example that you brought on because that is definitely unique. But how do you understand that? And then how do you, as Rivalry, find different things and cater it to them? What does that look like in a new province? As you said, that esports is growing, right? It’s relatively new in that sense. Could you maybe explain that? It’s a good one.

SS: Yeah. The way that we talk about it for all of our markets is we have this whole thing we call crawl walk run. Even our investor material, we’ve been talking about it a lot, but it’s been our internal model for years, which is whenever we go into a new market, even if it’s a relatively mature one, it’s like actually launching a new business. You have a lot of assumptions when you start and then when you actually go in and rubber hits the road, things end up being a little bit different than you expect to get even in these much more mature markets. So the way that we always go into it is it’s like a bit of a test and learn approach. Just crawl just means we spend as little money as humanly possible to bring in some cohort of customers that we’re targeting and then to really dial it in and figure out what it is that they want, where they exist, where they spend their time, how can we bring cost of customer acquisition down, which doesn’t mean, again, offers or bonuses and tuning those. It means, are we finding the right pockets where they spend their time and where someone that has the propensity to potentially have been on esports is more likely to live. And then we just speak to them a lot. We do watch parties. So there’s a bar in downtown Toronto called Offworld. It’s a very gamer-centric bar. And we rent it out often. We have actually an event coming, say, I think August 6. It’s like the end of IEM Cologne, the big Counter Strike event coming up. But yeah, people should go. It’s free on Eventbrite, you can find it. But we had hundreds of people show up to the last one that we had a few months ago. All local 18-plus Toronto Counter Strike fans, there’s many of them. And we just talked to them when they were there as well to understand what they were doing, what their appetites were, behaviours, how they spend their time, what they’re interested in, all that stuff. So it’s low cost efforts to tune our own antenna in terms of where to point it to get the signal, if that makes sense. And then we’ll slowly increase the spendwhen that cost of customer acquisition is coming down because we understand the customer. And when the ARPU, the average revenue per customer is going up to the to match it. And then once those are at equilibrium, as in our revenue generated by customer is approximately equal to our cost of customer acquisition, we’re then in the walk face, which means we’ll start to spend a bit more money because we’re starting to, the antenna is turning in the right direction and the signal is becoming stronger and we’re learning more about the customer and then we’ll slowly increase spend. It’s like the actual inverse approach of our competitors, to be honest, where they will maximize spend at the beginning and then try to solve for customer LTV and value later. They’ll just bombard the market with promotion, advertising and bonus, which everyone in Ontario experienced. We were all completely overwhelmed in a somewhat annoying way with gambling ads for most of last year. So yeah, it’s been our approach. And that’s how we’ve done it in all of our markets because, again, even the markets that are much more lucrative because they’re more historical and there’s more predisposition to it, you still going to get a bunch of shit wrong. You make a bunch of assumptions and some are right and some are wrong. So we test to learn the exact same way. And it’s been a way also to preserve the capital of the company because this is also a very expensive industry. You can burn a lot of money really quick on marketing. We try not to do that. And we want to get to profitability. So it’s also been just a healthy business model to sometimes move a bit slower to make sure we really understand the audience and that our product is effectively tuned to that audience. We know how to get them in the right way in a way that they actually care and resonates with them. And then only then we start to stagger and increase spend. So that’s what we’ve been doingto understand what’s going on here.

VM: That’s an interesting one. Then when you look at maybe then esports or sports betting or iGaming, maybe we can use esports as maybe the main reason. But are there specific technologies that you use to maybe acquire customers or make their player experience more better, more immersive? Has the Rivalry team been doing that and if so, what would that be?

SS: Yeah, we built our whole product from scratch. One of the things that we’re somewhat proud of, just because a lot of the products in the industry are some combination of white labels. There’s as many publicly traded B2B companies in gambling as there are B2C because the B2B business is so big here. We use nothing other than odds feeds like such as everybody else and payment providers. Otherwise, we built and own 100% of everything else we do. So yeah, this is part of our broader thesis that we talk about for building successful consumer products for under-30s generally, betting or not, where the thesis we had years ago when we started the company, because myself and my co-founders don’t come from the betting industry. Most of the company is not from the betting industry. They’re all creative types and engineers and consumer product people. And we all happened to then, and we all have a passion, a shared passion for gaming, for sure. Everyone’s a gamer, even past esports pros. That’s the shared thing between everyone. But we all just want to build a great consumer brand and consumer product for our generation that happens to be in betting, which I think that angle has then allowed us to build Rivalry in a bit of a different way where we’ve definitely found success in a lot of the things that we do because we think the benchmark for success now for this category for under-30s, which is 40% of the global population now. But again, anyone building any consumer product is the product itself now, like a web-based product or mobile app, whatever has to be intrinsically entertaining in and of itself. So if you go back to like 5, 10, even 15 years ago consumer products online, the one that transactionally worked best was the one that would succeed. If you could move money really quick, PayPal was great. Now, cash remittance in that way is not the same problem to be solved. And now it is more like a UX thing. If you look at the reason why Cash App has been so successful in the US and taking a lot of market share from Venmo, Venmo pre-existed Cash App significantly. They actually both do the exact same thing because there’s a commoditization of just the remittance of money. It’s like e-transfer for us. This is not a technical problem to solve anymore like it was maybe 10, 15 years ago, like the movement of money. Cash App has won because they’ve created like a winning brand and an incredible user experience wrapped around a thing that is somewhat commoditized. Same with Robinhood in the US or Wealthsimple here. Wealthsimple is dominant for under-30s here versus an iTrade. Because if you’re going to, you could buy Tesla stock on either app, but from an onboarding UX brand support, everything top to bottom experience, if you’re 25 in Toronto and you save a bit of money in your TFSA and you’re going to invest it, your propensity to successfully find onboard and have a successful user experience in a Wealthsimple from a purely like brand identity and again, like a simplistic user experience perspective that felt like it was built for you will be much higher than trying to go to iTrade and buy stock there. It’s just not as intuitive. So betting is similar. We found where you can place the same bet on many sportsbooks, which is why many of them compete with bonuses and offers because there’s so much commoditization or even slots like you or many casino games. Everyone uses the same provider. So when you go load the game on one app versus another, the loading screen then that comes after is the exact same provider. If you go play Cleopatra on any sports app in the entire province, you will see the net ad loading screen for all of them because they own that product and you are literally playing the exact same product from the same provider. So then that’s why casinos in the bonus category typically, because the only way to possibly differentiate on that is who has got the best offer? We didn’t want to be in that game at all. And it felt that you could actually succeed in this category by not doing that. So for us, we felt you had to make the product, the new benchmark for success for consumer products for under-30s for any category is the brand definitely needs to be tied to the user experience. They both need to feel like one consistent composed thread, which is actually very hard to do for any consumer product. And then also the product itself has to be entertained. There has to be a reason to be entertained by the experience beyond just the transactional thing that you’re there to do, which is place a bet, which you can do anywhere. So for Rivalry, we have a lot of these different quarks and Easter eggs throughout the product, and we’re constantly adding them. So two that come to mind is our cash out feature, which we call “chicken out.” If you know cash out, then it makes sense why it’s called chicken out. And yeah, it’s very fun and entertaining where when you slide, there’s a slider of how much of your bet you want to cash out of. And it starts as an unhatched egg. And then as you slide more of it, it turns into a little chick, and then a chicken, and then a roast chicken. And then we’ve paired all of our marketing with it. So we send jacked guys in chicken suits to esports events that they run around and they show up on the stream. Then we built this whole chicken character where we have a chicken as a piece of our IP that it’s like a mafia boss that shows up in our marketing. And it’s beloved in certain regions. Or we have our casino product, we have this thing called casino.exe rather than going to play again that same third party game, which we do have some of these third party games ourselves, obviously, rather than just going to the tab and clicking it, there’s nothing there. Nothing intuitive or intrinsically entertaining there. When you go to casino.exe on

Rivalry, you can go right now in Ontario, you boot up a fake emulated Windows 95 computer that looks like it’s Alice in Wonderland, very colourful, very Rivalry brand. We have our own version of a Microsoft Clippy we built. It’s this little character. It’s an axolotl, which is like a pink sea creature. Ours has, yeah, it’s like naked, has two nipples, and we call Mr. Nipples Mr. Nipple shit talks to you. When you’re like, it’s like, Clippy is talking to you. It’s like Mr. Nipples. But it gives you shit when you’re using the casino product and fucks around with you. There’s fake wallpapers. We made a fake old-school MP3 player and you can play this crappy musicthat we’ve jokingly pulled together. So we build. And then the Mr. Nipples character, naturally, as you can imagine, appears in lots of our marketing. And it’s this whole little character IP we’ve developed. So everything connects from a brand and product and marketing perspective. And then the product itself has a lot of quirk and entertainment built into it that has a reason for you to be there and use it rather than like,oh, here’s some free money. Do you want free money? Yeah.

VM: That was obviously my next question that, apart from having different technologies or building something from scratch with your team, was there a marketing or content angle you used to acquire customers? Just have some eyeballs on Rivalry. Because I swear, I don’t know where it was, but maybe it’s on Twitter or something. I saw a gentleman who had a six pack and then they had a…

SS: Yeah, it’s our chicken guy.

VM: Chicken mask. And I was like, I need to ask Steven. Maybe I’ll ask, what is the idea? Because you may be…

SS: It’s not Twitter anymore, it’s X.

VM: Oh, yes. I’m sorry. Yes, corrected me.

SS: Elon’s going to find you now.

VM: Yeah, he’s going to find me now. But yeah, maybe you explained that you rolled out these different campaigns, but maybe what was the idea behind them? Why those things?

SS: So I think a good example is I’m just pulling up now. One of our partners in Latin America was on a podcast talking about this show that we’ve put together with them where it’s called Next Move, and it’s like large League of Legends personalities sitting down in a podcast style format, but very intimate, very produced, and again, includes a lot of this character IP we’ve created. So in League of Legends in South America, we have Rivalry. We created this whole thing two years ago that’s really taken off where instead of Rivalry being a bunch of human beings behind a company, Rivalry is a cult of goats, like the animal. So the initial video went completely viral because we went with a very large League of Legends partner there, and he’s in a Gothic-style house and then goes in to sign a deal. And it’s literally goats like the animal. But again, death, zombie, cultic goats. And he signs a blood pact with the company. And that’s what the contract is. And then everything we’ve done since then, if anything we do in League of Legends, you sign a blood pact with Rivalry rather than a contract with the company. Because I think it goes back to the demo we targeted and the way that we just perceive marketing and advertising now for this generation. It’s not like Mad Men-style marketing anymore. It’s not slap a logo, Marlboro man. It’s like a different affinity people have where I think an under-30 demo, even my generation, I’m 32. There’s a lot of, I guess, snark and people don’t, a lot of ad block. People don’t fall for classic traditional advertising the way that maybe our parents’ generation did because it was more of a novel thing, the advertising industry then, where people don’t have affinity to brands in such a literal way anymore. It’s weird when you see two older brands on Twitter that currently got to run the Twitter account, and then the brands are talking to each other and it feels like it’s very dystopian and weird. It’s like, what are they doing? So we don’t think that slapping our logo on a stream is enough or just partnering with someone and like, “I’m with Rivalry now,” because there’s not the same thinking that people have around a brand from a brand name perspective anymore in the way that they used to. But people have affinity for characters and narratives and storyline and IP. So these animals we’ve used and the goat, the goat is representative of the irreverent nature of Rivalry. And it appears as a piece of IP that people have really connected to us and that we’re behind. So then when we launched this podcast with this guy, it takes place in the same aesthetic environment of a Gothic-style house. And then there’s a goat bartender that comes in and serves some wine and stuff. And it’s integrated into the content experience. It’s been successful from a customer acquisition perspective for us because we could see what happens. But he was on a podcast, basically, and he was talking about how we’ve been supportive from the beginning of the project. And one of the things that’s nice is how his experience with Rivalry, we were with him for a while, and what we’ve done this project is he’s like, the marketing isn’t like, bet, bet, bet, bonus, bonus, bonus, bonus. And all the podcasters are engaging in it. And it’s because we’re one of the few brands that will actually just go in to support a piece of great content and a piece of great entertainment. And from a commercial perspective, it still work for us. We can’t just do that for fun. So we’ve built a pretty sophisticated creative engine that has solved for injecting brand IP in an organic way that fits with the community and we can support just raw entertainment that still can translate back to creating a certain brand image in someone’s mind. So when they think about betting on League of Legends, Rivalry comes to mind. And the podcaster basically says that where he’s like, I’m getting bombarded with such literal gambling ads constantly. But anytime I ever think about League of Legends, all I think about is Rivalry because we have such a big presence in that community there because of the way we’ve ingrained and injected the IP in an organic way into the community without shoving it down people’s throats. So I think that’s always been the approach. So all the characters and all the ways that we create the chicken man that ties the chicken out feature, which is our cash out feature. There’s still connectivity of the product because it has to be marketing. But it’s not so literal that it also becomes ignored because it just feels like advertising, I guess you could say. So we always compare to the Red Bull model like that as well, where I don’t know, other than that one “Red Bull gives you wings” ad that everyone has seen, and that’s still the one they use today, most people probably haven’t seen Red Bull advertising. Like what was the last time you saw a new ad for Red Bull? You don’t, but you see Red Bull fucking everywhere, like the F1 team, they do plane races, they build crazy shit in some snowboarder’s hometown does some crazy half pipe thing. The guy flies down from space. Red Bull is an adrenaline product, being an energy drink, and all they’ve done is they’ve just paired it with adrenaline-based entertainment and content. And then anytime you go to buy an energy drink, there’s such a fixed brand image of Red Bull in your mind, but they never sold it to you. They never said, “Go buy Red Bull. It’s the greatest energy drink. Low calorie, blah, blah, blah.” They never do that. So it’s conceptually the same thing we are always trying to do, I’d say.

VM: My last question would be, is there anything that you are working on specifically, maybe you or maybe the Rivalry team in general that you’re excited about that we should look out for in the next month, next year?

SS: Yeah. In the next month, people will see a betting product from us that is basically a first for esports, but I think it’s quite popular in traditional sports. We’ve been able to get it working for esports from a sports betting perspective. So people can start to probably figure out what it is. But I won’t say it yet, but yeah, it will be a first within the esports category for the major titles. And pretty excited about that. The first version of it will be functional. And then the second version, which should come out probably 30 to 45 days later, will have a casino.exe overlay in terms of a very, again, Rivalry, a rather entertaining visual identity, I’d say. And I’d say the initial marketing also will be bizarre in our usual stuff. So that’s coming in the next month. That’s a near-term thing. And then another one that’s probably coming in 45 to 60 days is so, won’t say what it is, but we build original casino games at Rivalry. So we got one game called Rushlane. We have a small, like, indie-style game development team internally at the company. It’s an important part of R&D for us because the same thing we found, our demo is, they’re not as excited by the same rapid-style casino games that have existed forever, on casino floors forever. Some just want a more casual piece of entertainment, the kind of stuff they do on Twitch. So if you ever watch Twitch, Twitch people do marble races and stuff where there’s no money and no stake in it. But like, you’re passively a participant, it’s a marble, you show up in the game when they’re playing it on stream and there can be hundreds of you. But it’s just like a shared entertainment experience. And Rushlane is like that. It’s like a very shared entertainment experience right now where people play with their favourite streamers on a Rivalry and put up a very small stake. But it takes three to four minutes to complete. So it’s not like a slot machine, which is more rapid where it’s like every few seconds. This is literally three to four minutes you got to wait for something to happen, but it’s like a very visually entertaining experience. We have another game we’ve been building for a little bit that is getting close to being released. So a next original game from us that, again, is stylistically, I’d say, very Rivalry and very much for our audience. And the first of more games that we’re going to start to push out more rapidly that is like original in-house game titles from us that I think will be fun, where again, low stakes, casual, but entertaining and very strong visual identity that will, again, it connects out with a lot of the other IP and stuff that I talked about in this interview. So everything will feel connected from a narrative perspective.

VM: I love this. Steven, thank you so much for joining us. I hope whoever listens to this podcast can understand the importanc of tech, the importance of marketing that we spoke about in detail. Steven provided some wonderful,amazing examples, whether it’s Red Bull or even Rivalry in general and all of their amazing tactics and plans that they’re applying to the market. Thank you so much. It’s always amazing to have an expert on the the podcast and I learned so well, I’m going to go out and apply it to my job as well. So thank you, Steven. And yeah, you’re awesome. Thank you.

SS: Yeah, I appreciate it. I’d say if I was going to end with anything because it may be connects to even the math at the beginning all the way to kind of book end it would be, I remember I saw this, this was years ago, maybe 10 years ago, but there was a somewhat obscure Steve Jobs speech that is not one of that many people have seen. You can find it on YouTube. It’s called Steve Jobs, if you search Academy of Achievement, he won this, I don’t know what the fuck the Academy of Achievement is, but anyways, it is just audio. It’s not that well-known. But that was one that really resonated with me in my early-20s and kind of changed my approach to learning and how I went about my own life a little bit. And he basically was saying he was giving advice where he was explaining that if you go about things the same way or have a narrow focus on just the thing that you’re doing, which I think when you’re younger, you have the hustle, grind mindset, and you focus 100% on just the company you’re building or just the thing that you’re doing. And then all the material you read is things that are only tied in some way to the thing you’re doing. And again, it’s also early to late 20s trap that people fall into, like in the hustle culture trap, which is like you feel if you’re not reading a thing that you can in a very direct and linear way tie it to your work, that it’s not a good use of your time, which actually ends up making you, it’s going to work against what I think most people in the hustle culture are trying to do, I’d say. And the way he described it is essentially, if you do that, then your bag of knowledge, kind of feels like a bag of knowledge, you’re only able to make very linear connections and the same ones that any of your peers are able to make because you’ve all read the same shit and done the exact same thing. For me at the time, I was studying for the CFA because I was working in finance and I ended up dropping the CFA. But I was looking around and everyone else is studying the CFA. So if I do it and they’re all doing it, then we’re just all going to be going up at the same level. I’m not going to have any leap frog here. And then he gives the advice, he gives the audience, rather than do that thing that I just described, he’s like, take a year off. And he says, go to Paris and become a poet and fall in love with two people. Talks about shit like that because he is Steve Jobs and he says shit like that. But basically, he explains that you’ll come back, though, with a bag of experience that is somewhat discontinuous, it appears. But you’ll be able to make novel connections because you’ll have such random things in your brain that you can then make innovative connections between things because you’re not just studying linear things. So I found that my own experience in Rivalry, looking at things or understanding things like math in my free time or reading stuff again that has absolutely fucking nothing to do with my job or my industry or anything like that, even fiction I find, I find fiction has been way more beneficial than non-fiction in my life in general than a business book. And I think very few people do this. And often I find it’s a pretty common thread behind more dynamic and interesting and successful people is they’ve been able to make connections from very disparate things that seem totally unconnected. And then that’s how you do something more novel. So yeah, not saying to study math. I’m just saying don’t get stuck in the business book loop and being so literal with only understanding and spending time looking at things that pertain in an exact and direct way to your job. Because if that is the case, it will be impossible to do something novel because you literally will not have knowledge that will allow you to make novel connections because you only know one thing. So yeah, that’d be my book end advice for this conversation.

VM: I love to meet someone who loves learning and who advises others to learn and experience other things. That is really cool. That’s something interesting about it. You should do a podcast called Learn Things with Steven. I’m not even joking. I think people would enjoy it. I’m not even joking because it’s so interesting whether it’s math or whatever your interests are, your examples are non-industry related as well. So I appreciate that knowledge that you shared with us and others and even myself can benefit from that. Again, awesome stuff. Thank you, Steven. Thank you so much.

SS: Thanks. Appreciate it.

VM: Whether it is new technologies or interesting marketing tactics, operators in the province are working hard to reach out to a new generation of online gaming players. I want to thank our guest today, Steven Salz, the CEO and co-founder at Rivalry for joining us today and providing his expertise. If you have any questions for us or Steven, please do comment them down below. Don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to our YouTube channel. For the episode transcript and more content, please visit Thank you so much for tuning into The iGaming Show presented by Paramount Commerce. I’m your host, Varad Mehta. And until next time, keep gaming.

A Football player dashes down the field with the ball weaving through opposing team members

Ready to integrate payments?

Chat with our team of payment specialists.

Contact us