THE Sports Techie is me. I have been in the sports technology industry more than 25 years. In my birthday month of 2020, it will be 10-years since I launched the Sports Techie community blog, trusted resource and original online sports tech community in America. Visit https://n5y.1cd.myftpupload.com/.
Since then, I have made others believe I am a sports tech expert, social media influencer and respected entrepreneur though my passion for the business and highlighting topics that are important to me such as sustainability, animals, and robotics, as well as gaming and sport betting. This vision opened up a career path I never dreamed of when I was a kid growing up down the street from Microsoft in Redmond when it was a one-year old, startup software company. Now that I am in my fifties and the Father of a six-year old son on the autism spectrum, I feel the need to share my life journey with others in hopes it inspires readers to dream big as I do.
Look for my self-published autobiography titled, THESportsTechie or maybe @THESportsTechie in honor of one of my Twitter handles, the other being @SportsTechieNET, sometime in the Spring of 2020.
Goals and Inspirations
One goal I have with this true story project is to sign with a publisher which would likely mean I would need an agent, but if that does not happen I am prepared to go the self-publish route to make it so. This is not a rag to riches story because most everything I have accomplished professionally has been bootstrapped; rather, it is a non-fiction, character development story. My Facebook connection, Jamele Hill, just announced her forthcoming book deal today, congratulations; I look forward to reading it. I am dedicating this memoir to Kellan Roble who inspires me and others the way he lives life with autism as his lifetime companion just like the many others on the spectrum. As a result, I am an advocate for autism.
Who is THE Sports Techie?
In 2016, I attempted to crowdsource an eBook you can read more about below at Kickstarter where I provided background information about me, click the Play button below.
I got to meet my favorite athlete in any sport, Ervin “Magic” Johnson in 1994 when I was the Assistant Director of Operations at the FILA LA Summer Pro League. I later saw Magic, NBA Commissioner David Stern and Starbucks Founder Howard Schultz in 2002 at a business forum and I asked the best question of day. I had my question prepared for Magic about investing in black communities when at the last second I decided to ask Stern how the Internet would affect the NBA. He stole the show and took 20 minutes to answer my question covering the impact of cable TV on the league domestically and compared it to the the internet and it’s impact for the brand and game internationally. Boy was he right looking back on his response.
The past three years since my failed Kickstarter funding, I’ve continue to place my digital thumb on the sports tech industry like it’s my child. This is not any different from when I began in the industry in 1997, through 2010 when I became the curator for the Sports Techie community, up until today and beyond into the future. It never feels like work because I love it but it is.
Twitter has been my go-to social media platform since the 2010 born on date of @SportsTechieNET because it was and still is free to use. I have produced more than 110,000 tweets and none have been automated. My 10,300 followers represent a majority of high-quality people and companies, minus the fake accounts, burner accounts and bots that are still a huge problem on Twitter.
I believe it is not the number of followers one has on social media platforms rather it is the quality of each follower that makes the biggest difference, especially as an influencer. Personally, I believe the ‘engagement’ part that Twitter keeps pushing to the front is overrated, it a strength of the platform but not the best thing about it. I do not partake in many conversations on Twitter as I do on Facebook. For me, the best thing about Twitter is hearing straight from the source. As traditional media died off, Twitter became and still is the place where you can hear directly from the New York Times, Atlanta Falcons or Hope Solo whom I met at the Global Sports Forum Barcelona in 2012 as an Official Blogger. At the GSFB I had breakfast with New York Giants Captain Justin Tuck and also with Oscar “BladeRunner” Pistorius, convicted murderer and the only athlete to cross over from the Paralympics to the Olympic Games and win a medal using a prosthetic. Without Twitter, there would be no Sports Techie so thank you to Jack for launching it and keeping it going even though President Trump uses it as his preferred tool to divide our nation, speak to his constituency and conduct foreign policy.
Perhaps the hardest accomplishment of the past ten-years was creating and growing a Linked Group. Put yourself in my shoes for a second. I started the Sports Techie LinkedIn Group with one member, me. Today there are more than 4,500 respected members. It was tough to grow but persistence pays off. When I browse at the people that accepted my invitation or asked to join, it boggles my mind. Without name dropping, it is full of accomplsihed founders, executives, directors and management as well as the self-employed and entry level folks alike. I add content to this group daily and use it as a distribution resource for my blogs. This is another free tool I use to grow my brand.
I am the honored person Panasonic chose to be their sports tech representative at CES 2018 in Las Vegas among hundreds if not thousands of possible candidates from around the globe. It was their 100-year anniversary as a company and they are the only business to have a presence at CES since it started in 1967, one-year before I was born. I learned a lot about their immersive entertainment and smart sports venues technologies. I also met amazing people and am humbled by the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you can review in the Panasonic YouTube below.
In 1966, I came into this world a Peace Corp baby. My Dad, also known as Coach in Bend, OR, was the youngest Peace Corp inductee at the time and met my Mom while stationed in Ecuador. She is considered the best female basketball player in Ecuador’s history to this day. My Dad implemented recreational programs and was the Head Coach of both the Men’s and Women’s Ecuadorian National Teams. This is how he met my sweet and beautiful Mom. They have been together in the United States as a married couple for 53-years. Without the Peace Corp, my two younger brothers and I would not be here.
The most impactful part of my life’s work so far other than being a Dad is perhaps when I was the Director of Sports for Sports 2000 in Kirkland, Washington back in 1997 and 1998. After working for Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen on the “Our Team Works” Referendum 48 stadium campaign team won by 1.5%, I cold called Colonel James Thomes out of the phone book white pages back before a Google search was the standard. I convinced him to hire me as his Director of Sales without an abundance of technology selling experience or football knowledge. Colonel Thomes had a contract with the Seattle Seahawks to co-develop the GridIron 2000 expert game planning system he developed from Gulf War I technology and transformed into civilian use though a government grant. Essentially, the Windows 95 software replaced the chalk board which is how coaches drew up plays without saving them. Now they could.
The pitch I gave to the likes of the legendary Bill Walsh, NY Giants present Head Coach Pat Shurmur, and countless other coaches in the NFL, NCAA college football and local high schools consisted of two talking points. One, the GI200 would keep your staff more uniform and consistent. Two, it would while save the organization time, around 20 hours per week. When I told this exact sales pitch to Coach Walsh over the hardline telephone in about 15 seconds, he paused then agreed to meet with my boss down in San Francisco in order for the 49ers to take a hard look at the revolutionary technologies. Not only did the GI2000 save drawn out plays, it was also able to print out playcards, allowed for the each staff member to work on their part of the gameplan in the office, at home or on the road since it was on a network, and it integrated video analysis with resulting smart analytics. This sport tech product was well before it’s time. I’ve seen the NFL come full circle with Next Gen Stats, mixed reality and player training.
The list of coaches I touched and I believe influenced if just a little bit, included Patriots HC Bill Belichick, Raiders HC John Gruden and Alabama HC Nick Saban, in addition to NFL owners like Jerry Jones of the Cowboys. When Thomes moved to Indianapolis right before the regular season started to implement the GI2000 for the Colts the year they draft Peyton Manning, he left me in charge of maintaining and supporting both the Hawks and our new major account I closed across Lake Washington, the University of Washington football program. They purchased an unlimited site license for $10,000 which in today’s economy might be valued around $100K. Jim called me a “miracle worker” after closing that deal. I could go on and on about this unique sports technology opportunity and will so in my book.
Right after that experience, I started my first startup, SportsTandT, or Sports Technology and Training, together with the co-founders of Wizbang Software. They developed the animation engine behind Microsoft Baseball 2001. The concept was to use their 3D animation as a training tool. My board of directors included Mickey Loomis, New Orleans Saints, General Manager. I tried to raise over $1 million but the dotcom bubble prevented me from raising the seed money to execute our plan. I learned a lot about formalizing a business plan, recruiting a team and soliciting venture capital.
BootStrap Social Marketing
Free is the name of the game for me. I look for free things to do with my son around the Atlanta area weekly and am never disappointed with options.
I grew SportsTechie on free social platforms like Instagram and activated a #sportstechie hashtag with over 794 images and counting. The Sports Techie YouTube channel has over 100,000 unique views and is of course, free. While my Sports Techie Facebook page is active, since they killed organic growth, I do not spend much time building the following up but it is not that expensive to do so on their platform if you know what you are doing, I still share content on MySpace!
My Sports Techie Google+ presence was solid but Google eliminated it earlier this year. It was free so you get what you pay for, eh.
LinkedIn is now my favorite social platform. It centers on business maybe that is why. Sharing content and blogs among the 43 groups I belong to is free of charge and an effective way to market. I have nearly 10,000 LinkedIn connections in which to distribute content as well. I work on growing that number daily.
Spending thousands of dollars on marketing would be nice but I did this the old fashion way, through hard work, organically and free.
Sports Techie, I began writing this blog this morning and am just getting started telling the story of THESportsTechie. There is so much more to add to this I am excited to take the next steps.
I’ve collaborated with Cisco Sports & Entertainment on a TweetChat and was a Cisco Champion. I went to Vegas another time on behalf of IBM to their Interconnect Conference in 2016 as a social influencer. I was a blogger for Citi Everystep, Kia Social Club and SportsBlog. I’ve worked alongside NASCAR in one of their social influencer programs. Being the Autism Speaks Walk Georgia Ambassador for Marcus Autism Center and Children’s Health Care of Atlanta still gives me goosebumps.
I took me 11 years to graduate but I did so from Whittier College in 1995. You know the movie, “Old School?” Well, after 6 different colleges I have some stories to tell that will have you rolling with laughter!
I am a lifetime athlete too. There is not a sport I do not like or feel I can play decently even now at my age. Playing collegiate lacrosse, coaching in high school and being a referee across many different sports teaches you a ton about the game.
The subject matter I understanding best is most likely the fan experience. Writing hundreds of blogs, interviewing countless founders, investors and decision makers has provided me with a perspective that covers all the way from Generation X, the Baby Boomers, millennials and now GenZ!
Without Lyft or the many supporters along the way like family, friends and colleagues, I would not have been able to continue this dream job. Thank you. Earlier today I gave ride number 4,500. Driving in Atlanta is crazy but I was trained in Seattle and LA, both equally as crazy to drive in. I’ve been the driver for many good folks. I especially like picking up people from the airport, CDC and Emory University. I’ve talked more about cricket than any other sport really! The entertainment and movie industries are certainly thriving in Georgia. Tip your drivers please, we are part of the gig economy and appreciate the niceness.
What is next?
My goal today was to manifest this into reality. By putting this book concept in writing, I am on the path to making it happen.
I could use your support in the forms of encouragement, ideas and introductions to make this book a reality. Your fan engagement is most welcome.
Like my favorite Star Trek character, Captain Jean-Luc Picard likes to say, “Make it so,” and I plan to do just that with THESportsTechie.
See you later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
Sports Techie Social Media Networks
Sports Techie Twitter: @SportsTechieNET: http://twitter.com/SportsTechieNET
THE #SportsTechie Twitter: @THESportsTechie: https://twitter.com/THESportsTechie
Sports Techie Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/SportsTechie
Sports Techie YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/sportstechie
Sports Techie Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/108376451503395073827/
Sports Techie Google+ Community: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/103708211458464405078
Sports Techie (Robert Roble) Google+: https://plus.google.com/+RobertRoble
Sports Techie LinkedIn Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Sports-Techie-2958439
Sports Techie LinkedIn (Robert Roble): https://www.linkedin.com/in/robertroble
Sports Techie Instagram: http://instagram.com/sportstechie
Sports Techie Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/SportsTechie/
Sports Techie Moby Picture: http://www.mobypicture.com/user/sportstechieNET
Sports Techie Myspace (Bob Roble): http://www.myspace.com/549000677
Sports Techie Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
Sports Techie Vine: https://vine.co/u/906354614369136640
Sports Techie Quora: https://www.quora.com/Bob-Roble
Sports Techie Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/user36773456
Sports Techie Skyword: http://robertroble.skyword.com/
Sports Techie Skype: sportstechie
Sports Techie Periscope: Sports Techie
Sports Techie Snapchat: sportstechie
Sports Techie Guy: https://twitter.com/sportstechieguy