How We Created a Blue Ocean Market
Everyone wants to be able to predict the future.
There is an inordinate amount of time, resources, and money is thrown towards drawing up projections for tomorrow. Even our pop culture is obsessed with it. Think about movies that are focused on travelling through time, or imagining what life will be like 50 years from now.
But…predicting the future is extremely difficult. Unless you happen to have a magical crystal ball, it’s going to be pretty hard to figure out what will actually happen.
Studies have shown that even expert predictions have a spectacular failure rate. Despite years of experience and access to classified information, when experts declared that future events were impossible or nearly impossible, 15% of them occurred nonetheless. Likewise on the other hand, when they declared events to be a sure thing, over 25% of them never happened.
Whether it’s knowing what will happen in the market or even just forecasting what tomorrow’s weather will look like, humans don’t have the best track record of identifying what’s going to happen.
This is why — the best way to predict the future is to create it…one *step* at a time.
STEPN: Building the Future in a Bear Market
Here at STEPN, we prefer not to make wild guesses about what’s going to happen in the future. Instead, we’ve gotten really, really good at creating reality — and that reality, in turn, shapes the future.
Looking back at the path we’ve taken to get here, we’ve done many things to shape the “future.”
- We created the Move-and-Earn market.
- We rewrote the playbook of growth in Web3
- We reimagined fitness tech from the bottom up
In the midst of a bear market, it’s even more important to be a strong force in shaping the future.
We’ve proven to be successful in doing this thus far. And, we will be putting out a three-part series detailing our philosophy in each of these segments.
Today, we’re going to be diving a little deeper into the first segment — creating a new market.
Creating a New Market: Move-and-Earn
With millions of monthly active users, hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers, and millions in daily net profits, it may seem like STEPN was always on the path to success. Yes, we experienced incredible, exponential growth — and organic, to boot — but it wasn’t always clear that we would succeed.
Just last year, we were still developing our idea as the Play-to-Earn (P2E) market was flourishing.
But instead of blindly following the recipe that others had set forth, we decided to create something of our own.
Before STEPN’s breakout success, the pay-for-fitness market was still incredibly nascent.
But zooming out and looking at the market critically, there wasn’t really anyone out there who was building an entire world of tokenomics and infrastructure surrounding walking and running. Noticing the gap in the market, we began thinking about what we could do.
At the same time, we also noticed that, while the P2E market was absolutely taking off, it was running into some speed bumps. Many were saying that P2E was the future of gaming, and Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian even declared that P2E would take over 90% of the gaming market in five years. Others believed that gaming would be a great on-ramp for users, onboarding an entire new cohort of non-crypto natives onto Web3.
And yet, there were rumblings coming from the gaming community. There are countless examples of game developers voicing their concerns about the games. One example is Lewis Ward, a research director for gaming at IDC, who noted that:
“I don’t think these play-to-earn games are great games [inherently]…my understanding is that a large chunk of the Axie Infinity user base is being paid to play the game.”
So…we noticed these rumblings. But we also noted Axie Infinity’s incredible and rapid success in the past two years. Before it began to struggle with inflation and a major hack, it was the darling of the Web3 gaming world, hitting a $3 billion equity valuation and a whopping $30 billion fully diluted valuation around its peak.
We knew that, even if the future of gaming wasn’t P2E, the industry had hit a nerve. There was still something there that was very powerful. So.. we thought…what about another concept?
A Big, Blue Ocean
Enter move-and-earn. By bringing together P2E concepts with fitness incentives, we married the best of both worlds. This marked the successful birth of an entirely new market.
This is known by business folks as the blue ocean strategy, defined as the following:
“Blue ocean strategy is the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low cost to open up a new market space and create new demand.
It is about creating and capturing uncontested market space, thereby making the competition irrelevant.
It is based on the view that market boundaries and industry structure are not a given and can be reconstructed by the actions and beliefs of industry players.”
This stands in sharp contrast to red oceans, which are industries that exist already. These industries are well-established, have many competitors, and often lead to cutthroat, “bloody” competition — price-cutting wars that go all the way to the bottom. For companies just starting out, it can be very difficult to get a foothold in a red ocean.
Rather, the advantages of starting a company in a big blue ocean strategy — if you can — are numerous. This is the route that STEPN took, and we’ve been ever-so-grateful that we have a hardworking, talented team constantly innovating with this strategy in mind.
Never Stop Innovating
Even though we’ve successfully created a new market, we’re continuing to innovate while keeping in mind the big blue ocean strategy — monitoring market trends, doubling down on our team, and gathering feedback from our users.
We’re not going to lie — it can be hard for anyone to stay optimistic in bear markets.
But, we remain extremely bullish on the future, and truly believe in our team, our product, and our long-term vision. And we believe in building it, not just trying to guess what will happen.
Upwards and onwards!