Boardroom caught up with Card Ladder co-founder Chris McGill to talk about the hobby and The MINT Collective.
The MINT Collective is set to take off in Las Vegas, March 25-27 at the MGM Grand and UFC Apex Center. This one-of-a-kind event will showcase the best in the trading card hobby, with sessions from Dana White, Josh Luber, Chris McGill and many more.
McGill is a co-founder of Card Ladder– the desktop or mobile application that allows users to find and track current and completed sales of trading cards. The company maintains a database of all sales from numerous channels, including eBay, PWCC, Goldin Auctions, and more.
Boardroom is an official media partner of The MINT Collective and caught up with McGil l to discuss his thoughts on working with Collector’s Universe & PSA, the hobby, and what to expect at the MINT Collective.
Brett Pickert: Let’s talk about getting acquired by Collector’s Universe. Take us through that process and how it has impacted Card Ladder.
Chris McGill: Getting acquired by Collector’s Universe has allowed us to preserve the autonomy of a data-tracking platform while opening additional opportunities to grow Card Ladder. The vibe at Collector’s Universe reminded me of a chemistry lab. People were incredibly precise and particular, which is in line with our core values, which include striving to get as close as possible to 100% accuracy standard with our data.
BP: PSA is also under the Collector’s Universe umbrella. Have you had a chance to collaborate with PSA?
CM: Yes we have and collaborating with PSA has been incredible. PSA took us on a visit to their headquarters in Santa Ana, California. It was breathtaking to see their organization and operation as a leading grading company in the industry. PSA is lending researchers to scale the database, which is the biggest and most noticeable impact of the acquisition.
BP: Has the acquisition affected the way Card Ladder operates?
CM: The acquisition has been a dream come true. We’re continuing to run the operation with the same core values. We don’t take shortcuts, we don’t automate things that don’t need to be automated. We strive to make sure data is true and accurate, and continue to run the business the proper way.
BP: What have been notable updates to the Card Ladder application recently?
CM: Sales history tool. Pretty much the biggest and [most] important feature. Compiling a history of 28 million sales since 2004. Sales history pulls sales data from 15 marketplaces including PWCC, Goldin, MySlabs, and eBay. Within that 28 million[-card] sale database, it’s almost every sports card sale. It’s not perfect but it’s really good coverage and a one-of-a-kind tool in our industry.
BP: What are some advancements/updates you have on the roadmap in regards to Card Ladder?
CM: Front of mind right now is growing the database. That’s something we’re really excited to take the next step in. Our database is currently filled with 20,700 cards that have a full constructed sales history for background information and links. Building out this database takes time and precision. Thanks to Collector’s Universe and PSA, we’re able to hire new researchers and grow that database much faster.
BP: Describe your and Card Ladder’s role at The MINT Collective.
CM: Card Ladder is heavily involved in presenting content and sports-related topics at the MINT Collective. Both Kristina Thorson and Josh Johnson are involved in a few panels and discussions, and made up the content presentation. Kristina has been the engine to fueling the development of content with The MINT Collective. She’s had a hand in helping promote this event and organizing the event. Kristina helped develop organic and word-of-mouth marketing. Card Ladder’s biggest and boldest contribution is lending Kristina’s talent to the MINT Collective to develop and build the perception at the grass roots to help this event take on a buzz that few in this industry have had. [We’re] very excited at the level of involvement in the role we were able to play.
BP: What are your predictions for the hobby in 2022 and beyond?
CM: 2022 is going to be a year of trial and error. A year of experimentation. A year of unpredictable successes and soul crushing failures. Testing boundaries, a year of maturity, evolution, and growth. A new year of settling in the new way of things.
The hobby went under such drastic changes in 2020 and 2021. New participants in the hobby and interests. The industry is in a unique place. The only industry where there’s too much demand, and the service providers can’t scale fast enough to meet the demand. Too many people want to be part of it too quickly. We’re still, as a collective, figuring out how to solve sustainability. Putting the solutions that are able to handle the peaks of values that are to come.
Fanatics recently purchased Topps and NFL/NBA licenses looking to scale the industry as a whole. Fanatics will bring new branding, new approaches, to help grow it. The stakes aren’t quite as high and they’re able to experiment and learn the ropes of the industry with a hands-on basis. This is the laboratory period and it’s not just limited to Fanatics, it’s all the big players. How to best serve the collectors after the number has multiplied by massive magnitudes.
Chris McGill, Kristin Thorson and Josh Johnson of Card Ladder will speak at numerous sessions at the MINT Collective. Tickets are available for purchase here.