Listen in as Andy Rogers of the Rokker Network talks about his career and what Rokker is up to in the gaming space. He also gives us a sneak peak into his speaking panel at iGamingNEXT NYC.

 

RYAN KNUPPEL

Hey, what’s going on, everybody? Ryan Knuppel here, Knup Sports Show Episode 189. We’re creeping up to that 200 number, super excited for that. Thank you for all, uh, all the support and thank you for tuning into this show today, we’re super excited to bring on another guest. Actually, this show is sponsored. We haven’t had sponsored show in a while. This one’s by iGamingNEXT, iGamingNEXT.com, one of the big events coming up in March, and actually our guest that’s on today’s show is gonna be a speaker at this show as well, so super excited to hear what he has to say now, and then again listening to what he has to say on the panel come March. So, first off, if you haven’t gotten your ticket to iGamingNEXT yet, make sure you use promo code KNUP, that will get you a 10% discount, so if you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, make sure you do that. Alright, without further ado, I’m gonna bring on today’s guest, let’s get him on here, Andy Rogers of Rokker. Andy, how are you doing today, my friend?

ANDY ROGERS

Yeah, I’m very good, very excited to be here, and 189, that’s good, well done, man.

RYAN KNUPPEL

There you go, yeah, I’m getting up there, man. I feel like I’m about 189 years old after doing that many of them. [Laughs].

ANDY ROGERS

[Laughs].

RYAN KNUPPEL

Well, cool. I appreciate you taking some time here, Andy, and I’m excited to dive into you and, but first off, how is everything treating you these days out in the UK?

ANDY ROGERS

Yeah, really good thank you. We’re not immune to the sort of macro economic pressures, and you know, we work extensively in the gaming sector, which has seen its up and downs after the last 12 months, but actually, you know what? In the round, pretty good. I’m quite bullish about this year, so looking forward to getting stuck in, and seeing what damage we can do.

RYAN KNUPPEL

That’s amazing, awesome. Let’s dive right in, we love to start this show really learning about you, what makes you tick, so why don’t you give us a little background of yourself and maybe some of the previous jobs you had that kind of led you to what you’re doing today with Rokker.

ANDY ROGERS

Yeah, no problem. So, I actually did industrial design at university, and I always had an interest in design in general, and before I left university, actually with a buddy of mine, we set up an agency, sort of full-service marketing agency, design agency, and it was very early days of the internet, so just before the .com crash, and it went really well, and then there was the .com crash, and so it went really badly, and it took us a while to get back, and we did get back on track, and we ended up selling that for a bit, so you know, it was golf money, I learned to play golf with the money I got from that, and uh, and then I thought I’d better get a proper job. I was 26-27 years old, I thought I better go work for someone else; otherwise, I might never have a proper job, and so yeah, I went to join another agency. They were super successful. We did loads of, we were like the biggest Flash agency in the world when Flash was a thing back in the day and Adobe sort of recognized us for that, but we did JK Rowling and Man United and Sony and Nintendo, and you know, lots of stuff, so it was quite a big, exciting project, and I’d done, you know, being the managing director of that business, and that took me on a run of where I was, sort of, managing director for other people’s companies for about 12 years, so, you know, I got brought in when they wanted to scale a bit beyond the people that had founded the business and I came in, sort of put some processes in place. That exercise was really the foundation for what we built Rokker from. Once I’d been through that process a few times, you know, raised money, put businesses into administration, hired hundreds and hundreds of people, put stuff in new markets, launched things in, you know, we had offices in Orlando where you are, and we had them in San Francisco, and Vancouver, and other things, and, you know, that sort of international thing. And it gave me a really good grounding about what’s appropriate in business and what not to do, and during that time, we’d use, sort of, the big consulting businesses, the big sort of top ones, and I found them really, the value exchange in those businesses was quite tricky to square away as the MD. They’re very expensive, and we wanted to offer something different, so when I came out of that last business I was running, actually in Spain, that was in the gaming sector, you know, I wanted to offer something different to market. I didn’t want to just be a consultant to the gaming sector, I wanted to build some value. And so we set off on this mad plan to sort of launch a bunch of businesses and run them over a ten year period, um, and Rokker was the first one of those, and we launched these other ones, you know, another consulting business, a creative agency, and a software business, and we launched these, you know, when people ask me when I set out, “Rokker, what are you doing?”, I said, “Well, I’m going to launch four companies”, and they said “You’re mad.” And I said “I’m not doing them all at the same time, you know, I’m staggering them, but I’ve got a plan I’m executing”, and so today, you know, my day job is running Rokker and it’s a business design consultancy. We sort of bring that design thinking to corporate challenges, and we solve people’s problems from a human point of view, from a design point of view. We have no graphic design in our business, it’s all using that design process to solve corporate challenges, and that’s going really well. People understand that human element, and that’s been more of a mandate over the last few years, so Rokker forms that foundation, we have the other businesses, and now we serve all sorts of global businesses, you know, um, but predominantly in the sort of media and gaming sector, so at any given time, you know, 75% of our clients are in that sector, so we do know an awful lot about the gaming world.

RYAN KNUPPEL

That’s amazing. What a background. That’s really cool, and yeah, I can imagine some eyes were large when you said, “Yeah, I’m launching four businesses today, no big deal”.

ANDY ROGERS

[Laughs].

RYAN KNUPPEL

[Laghs]. No big deal.

ANDY ROGERS

Mostly my wife, “You’re mad”.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Yeah. I love the quote, we’ll use that later: “I’ve got a plan, and I’m gonna execute it”. Right? I mean, execute the plan, so that’s awesome. So, congrats on the previous success on Rokker, thanks for giving that. I was gonna lead you into “What is Rokker?”, but you already gave us kind of the high level pitch there. So tell us about how it applies to gaming, and what types of companies you’re working with in the gaming sector, because a lot of the audience in this show is really gaming focused, so I’m curious what types of companies would come to Rokker for help.

ANDY ROGERS

Oh, that’s a good question. So we have, I mean, the gaming world is broadly split into two halves, right? You have operators, people that engage with fans and players and patrons, and then you have your suppliers, and that’s almost everybody else from a technical point of view. You have a whole bunch of suppliers that service the industry. We actually work on both sides of that coin, you know? We work with operators and suppliers and they have different challenges. Still, they all have the same sort of growth challenges, they all have the same sort of people challenges, you know, they all have the same sort of planning and clarity type challenges, and so, you know, as we have been over the last 7 years engaged with those markets and those types of company, we’ve worked with some of the leading businesses in that sector, whether it’s the likes of Kambi or [inaudible] or Play’n GO, or you know, just lots and lots of them, and IGT in the US, and a whole bunch of others, but some really tier 1 businesses need the operational the supplier side, and the type of work that we do with them, it can vary, I mean, obviously now we have the Rokker network, which is this whole bunch of companies, so. Still, we broadly break it down into three areas, right? We have the consulting area, which is what Rokker itself concentrates on, and in that area we’re focused on three states of business. Either their a start-up and they want their concepts validated, so before someone goes and spends a whole ton of money and time and effort, we come in and do some market mapping, some business planning, some feasibility studies, making sure this is the right thing to do in deploying your capital and your resources. And that could be, also, in existing businesses, looking into launching new initiatives. We’ve just been working with quite a big US business and they’re looking at completely different vertical to launch nationwide, and it’s a completely new business, so they needed that feasibility and concept validation, um, in there. Once it’s validated, it goes into sort of a go-to-market and strategy and planning phase, so those companies have already gotten their concept validated, they just need to execute as I was saying earlier. So how do they go about about that in the most optimal way, and that design thinking process that we have, that application of the design thinking methodology is a really good way to analytically look at a challenge and get a company from idea through to actual inspection and launch. And all the bits that need to go around that, whether that’s branding, communications, finances, operations, people, processes, you know, it can be quite involved. And the, once a company is in flight, so these bigger businesses, whether its suppliers or operators, usually what we’re doing is focusing on two areas. We focus on the sort of operational efficiencies, so making sure that these companies have the right culture, the right people in the right places, they have the right processes to do what they need to do, the right tools, all of those things, always focusing on growth, like where’s the strategy, where’s the North Star here, what’s the business aim. You know, we do lots of things there, like bringing senior teams on, aligning senior teams on purpose, and the word we use a lot in that sect, in that part of the business is clarity, you know, we provide clarity for senior teams so that they can get behind something. They can educate their teams and they can all pull behind something. So clarity’s really important for us. So that’s what Rokker does. And then we have the design aspect with Random Colour Animal, we have the studios there, we’re doing lots of brand work, lots of assets, lots of UX/UI, and then we have Pretty Technical, which is producing software for the gaming industry and provides teams for the gaming industry, so if people need to augment their teams, or they’re looking for something to be filled, or they’re looking to deploy certain products that we have, we can supply all those. So, it kind of nicely works, we have consulting, design, and software in a little triangle.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Yeah, that’s really cool, and that’s something every business needs is clarity, and that’s one of the things as a business owner myself, when I find things aren’t operating efficiently, it’s usually because I’m not clear on the direction or I’m not clear on something, right? The clarity isn’t there, so I can see that being a huge piece of the puzzle that you guys help there, so that’s really cool.

ANDY ROGERS

Yeah. It’s, you would be, you know, the minority of people that require our help, they don’t have that clarity. There’s lots of people doing stuff, but often they don’t know why they’re doing it. And so part of our job is to clarify the why.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Got it, got it. Cool. Well let’s shift gears a bit. So, you’re heading to iGamingNEXT in March. Have you ever been to New York City?

ANDY ROGERS

I have. Yeah, was on 52nd, that was the last time I was there, and I enjoyed that.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Yeah, there you go, awesome. Yeah, so I’m looking forward to meeting you there in person. But let’s talk a little bit about the panel that you’re speaking on, because I’m a little curious, one as to why you’re on that panel, if there was a reason in why you’re there, but then secondly, uh, you know a little bit more about it, so it’s actually streaming and sports betting. Streaming meets sports betting, so first of all, I’m gonna give a little plug for you because I have to make sure everyone goes and listens, so 3:25 pm, March 8th, the first day, Andy will be on this panel, and it looks like a really cool group of people on this with you, so tell us a little bit about the panel and kind of the things you guys are gonna be talking about.

ANDY ROGERS

Yeah, I mean, firstly, you’re right. There’s some really, really cool people on that panel. Very, very experienced. Very excited to be part of that. They’re absolute pros and that’ll be interesting to hear what they say. I think most of those guys come from a content background and they will have forgotten more about streaming content than I will ever know, I’m sure, they really do know they’re stuff, and they’ve been participants in some big businesses including Twitch and others. Um, there’s a lot of content knowledge there. I mean, I think the reason I’m on the panel is to bring a bit of gaming knowledge and sports betting, um, you know, we do a lot of work with those type of businesses, with those sports betting companies, again, operators and suppliers. We understand that world, you know, implicitly, and the US is presented a really interesting opportunity, obviously, as the markets have opened up and the states have opened up, it’s been a, you know, everyone has piled in. It’s been a gold rush, and there’s been some interesting metrics that have gone on there. You know, cost of acquisitions have been driven up hugely. Um, there’s been some big technology purchases as people try to wade into their own technology space, there’s been a lot of suppliers moving in and, actually, what it’s become today, as of today, a very tricky market to operate in if you’re outside the top 5, 6, or 7 operators, it’s a very tricky market to operate in. So, what does that mean going forward? There’s not a lack of opportunity in terms of the audience, and one of the things we’re talking about is the younger audience. You know, how’s that streaming and how’s that content converging with the sports betting side? Um, that audience is growing, you know, the streaming audience is growing, right? And the propensity, their propensity to engage with content is growing. I think 40% of Gen Z spends over 3 hours a day on TikTok, you know, and Twitch is obviously massive, it’s pushed the X Games out relatively recently among other things, so there’s loads and loads of content going out there. Um, it’s predominantly a male audience, it’s 80% male on the sports betting side, as opposed to 20% female, so that’s quite interesting from a sports betting versus the general, you know, streaming audience, and so I don’t think it’s an audience issue, I think there’s a technology and macroeconomic issue in a world that there’s sort of, the finance markets sort themselves out. But towards the latter half of this year, I think we’ll see another acceleration of the US market, probably some different models, probably some different players and some actors in the market. It’s gonna be good.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Yeah, it’s gonna be awesome. I’m looking forward to tuning into that one. And I think, like you said, they’ve got some good people there. It’s gonna be interesting. I’m gonna have to cut you off though, because I don’t want you to give all the super sauce from the event. I mean, we’ve got to go and listen to it as well. But yeah, that’s gonna be really cool. Streaming, obviously, is taking over this world, I mean from my kids even to myself and to all of us, we just consume streaming content at such a high rate, and then putting that with sports betting and all that intertwined, I’m super excited about that one.

ANDY ROGERS

Yeah. It’s gonna be good.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Cool. Awesome. So, that’s gone be 3:25, March 8th, Wednesday. So cool, we will check that out. Andy, give me a little bit of insight into what’s coming. What’s coming? Are you gonna be launching like 5 more businesses or something next week? Or what’s in the future for the Rokker network?

ANDY ROGERS

I mean, look. Always watch the space, right? There’s definitely some plans afoot in 2023. I think we’ve been keeping up how to drive the last 3 or 4 months in terms of just looking at the market, and same with the, in all honesty, whether 2023 was gonna be a car crash for everyone involved. You know, there’s a lot of weirdness going out in the world. But as they say, actually, weirdly, we will remain absolutely bullish about this year. And it’s proven that we’re getting opportunities left, right, and center, so there’s some really interesting things being presented to us. We’ve got some good global partners, we’re looking to sort of maximize our sort of channel partner opportunity as well, and looking to extend our reach a little bit, and that would include North America, you know, we already development teams in South America with our software business and we’re already doing work out in the states, but we’d like to do a little bit more this year and start to focus a little bit more on that because, as I say, I think the market will take another step forward towards the end of this year, probably not before then, but by that time things will start happening, and we want to be well set for 2024.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Yeah. Very cool, very cool. Well, Andy, I’m gonna let you go. I know you’re a busy man, got a lot going on. One last question, for people listening, everyone listening, who knows who’s out there listening to this, is there anything that people listening could potentially help you with, maybe that you’re looking for, any requests you have for the audience that, I don’t know, potentially you could use some help with, or just that you want to say to the audience.

ANDY ROGERS

Yeah, I think, firstly, thanks for listening. You’ve made it past Episode 189, congratulations. Look, I think we’re always interested in opportunities, especially in the US where we don’t have the same level of reaches we do in Europe. If there are people that are knowledgeable, we’re always interested in interesting people. My partner here says “It’s the number one thing that someone has to be interesting”, and so I think it’s, if there are interesting things, products, services, strategy, thinking, obviously clients looking to sort their clarity out, then we can help, right?

RYAN KNUPPEL

Cool. That’s awesome, Andy. Well, I appreciate your time. Good luck at the show. Safe travels over here, and let’s make sure we sit down and say hello at the actual even, so lets make that a priority.

ANDY ROGERS

Yeah, really, thank you so much, really appreciate your time.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Absolutely. Take care, Andy.

Alright, everybody. That was Andy Rogers of the Rokker Network. Super excited for that panel, it’s going to be awesome. I wanna make sure you go out there and check it out, I pulled it up here as well, but iGamingNEXT.com, 3:25 pm on Wednesday, the 8th. That’s gonna be awesome, a superstar lineup there, it’s gonna be really, really a cool panel. So, thank you all for tuning in. As you can see scrolling across the bottom, if you haven’t gotten your ticket to iGamingNEXT, go check it out at iGamingNEXT.com. Promo code KNUP will get you 10% off, so why not? I will see you there. If you are going, please make sure you send me a message, I’d love to connect with you, say hello to you, have a coffee, have a beer, have lunch, whatever we want to do, but I’d love to sit down and chat and learn about what you have going on. So, without further ado, that was Episode 189, I am Ryan Knuppel, @Knup out there everywhere. So, till next time, stay safe, we’ll talk to you soon. Bye-bye.

Relevant Links:

  1. Learn more about Rokker here.
  2. Get your tickets to iGamingNEXT NYC 2023 here. Use promo code ‘KNUP’ at checkout for 10% off your ticket.

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Contact Ryan Knuppel

  • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryanknuppel
  • Email: ryan@knupsolutions.com

 

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