Reflecting on 11+ Years at PoolDawg

On September 7, 2004 I officially joined the team at What was then a fairly unknown brand is now one of the most trusted retail ecommerce brands in the billiards industry.  On February 12, 2016 I will be leaving the company.  As I enter my final week in the billiards industry, I can say without hesitation that I am extremely proud of what I helped build.

For most, leaving a company that you helped build and grow can be stressful. You worry about what will happen when you leave and how the company will do once you’re gone. Given the people I’ve worked with at PoolDawg over the years, I have no such worries and can leave knowing that the company will continue to thrive long after I’m gone.

For the past 11+ years, I had the opportunity and pleasure of working with some of the smartest and most talented people in the pool business. They are passionate about pool, but more importantly, they are beyond passionate about taking care of PoolDawg’s customers. It is a rare thing to be able to leave a company and know that the hundreds of thousands of customers the company serves will continue to receive the award winning level of customer service that they’ve come to expect when doing business with PoolDawg.

I can rattle off all sorts of accomplishments from the past decade, but ultimately this is the only accomplishment that really matters:


This level of customer love doesn’t happen by accident and certainly doesn’t happen as the result of one employee.  These are not the BS reviews I wrote about a while back.  These are legit reviews from people who have purchased from PoolDawg. These are the types of real reviews you get when you build a company culture that is completely focused on blowing customers away with exceptional service.  No company can exist without customers, so if you’re not amazing your customers with exceptional customer service, you’re doing it wrong.

PoolDawg is not just an online store. It is a billiards destination. It is a place where people can learn to become better pool players. It is a place where you can shop and know that you’ll be taken care of. It is a place where a customer can ask for and receive honest opinions about products without ever getting a “hard sell”. It is a place that stands behind the products they sell on a level that is comparable with the most trusted brands in the world.

I wish nothing but the best for my soon to be former team, including the best mascot in the entire billiards biz – Mr. Frank T. Dawg (posing here with our 2013 Bizrate Platinum Circle of Excellence Award).


State of the Billiards Industry – 2013 Edition

The latest numbers from the SFIA (formally SGMA) are out and once again it isn’t good:

Full Participation Numbers (1+ times per year)
2007: 51,089,000
2009: 43,005,000
2011: 36,831,000
2012: 34,712,000

Core Participation (13+ times per year)
2007: 20,294,000
2009: 15,702,000
2011: 12,132,000
2012: 11,073,000

Unfortunately, the SFIA no longer seems to be tracking regular (13-24) and frequent (25+) participation, however given the the continual slide in overall participation it is safe to assume that these two numbers would follow the same pattern.

As for the rest of the stats, they aren’t terribly attractive:

  • Core participants are 69% male (68% in 2011)
  • 66% of all participants have a HHI of under $75k (57% in 2011)
  • 41% of all participants have a college degree or higher (42% in 2011)

This is one of the big issues that faces the industry.  The reason pro events can’t get sponsorship outside of the industry is that the core participants don’t fall in that young (18 to 34), affluent ($100k+ HHI) category that is so coveted by most advertisers.

The fact that the boomers are getting older certainly helps, but given the overall shrinking pool and billiards audience, it isn’t enough.  Plus, when the boomers start dying off, there won’t be anyone to replace them (as the younger demos just aren’t playing pool on a regular basis.  The fact that the core participants have been almost cut in half since 2007 speaks volumes to this issue.