Finding Positioning for New Draft Software

If I'm going to make new fantasy draft software, I need to figure out why people should use my product instead of one of the existing products.

Potential Software Benefits

Let's start off with three primary benefits that I think influence what someone will choose (or reject):

  1. Fast-to-use - gives useful information quickly without a lot of clicking
  2. Nice design - looks appealing
  3. Customizable - can handle diverse league settings

Now we can see how the existing draft software holds up for each of those three benefits.

Existing Software options

Not surprisingly, I've been spending lots of time studying the existing draft software. My initial summary is at The Three Kinds of Fantasy Draft Software. If you don't read that article, then, just as a reminder, the three big categories I found were Traditional Desktop GUIs, Spreadsheets, and Pick Advice + Room Sync.

For the three types of draft software, we can assess them on the three benefits that we started out with:

Fast-to-use Nice design Customizable
Traditional Desktop GUIs ✔️
Spreadsheets ✔️
Pick Advice + Room Sync ✔️

In my opinion, each category of software succeeds at providing one benefit and is poor at another. (For the remaining feature, they are simply okay.)

The first two types of software (desktop GUIs and spreadsheets) are what I view as the primary target. While they can handle lots of league settings (customizable), I don't think any of them stand out as easy-to-use or well-designed.

So that's the gap I target with DraftKick. Start with a product that looks great and is fast-to-use. Add customizations over time.

Let's go through it step by step:

Goal #1: Fast-to-use

Draft software has failed me by being too slow. When a draft is moving quickly, I've had to switch to pen-and-paper because I couldn't enter things quickly enough.

When I started developing my own ideas, my working title for the project was "Fast Draft," because speed seemed like the big missing feature in what was out there.

Speed shows up in DraftKick in a few key features:

Goal #2: Nice design

I'm not an artist or designer, but I think I can do better than what is out there.

My targets:

Goal #3: Customizable

This is a tertiary goal, simply because it can be added later. It would be really hard to go back and fix the ease and design of the interface, but it's less complicated to insert more powerful features.

The degree of customization influences the potential market for the product. Without much customization, DraftKick will initially only make sense for a subset of the fantasy market (e.g. standard league snake drafts). My strategy is to focus on the first two goals to build the best product for that small group.

Adding customization expands the potential market, so that it eventually can become the best option for the largest group of people.

Marketing it

I think these three phrases (fast-to-use, nice design, and customizable) are good descriptions of the benefits that people are after. Even so, for marketing DraftKick, I think they can be tweaked for better resonance:

Putting that all together:

DraftKick is powerful and easy-to-use fantasy draft software. [screenshot of beautiful interface]

Hi,

I'm Mays. I've been playing fantasy since I was in high school (over two decades ago).

My speciality has always been player valuation—converting player stats into rankings and salary values. VBD? Z-Scores? We go way back. In 2009, I started Last Player Picked, a site that generated fantasy values customized for your league.

These days, I'm building DraftKick and Projectile, a fantasy baseball site with in-season projection visualizations.

You can find me on Twitter at @MaysCopeland or email me at mayscopeland@gmail.com.