The “I Want Your Job (IWYJ)” podcast debuts with the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Associate Commissioner for Digital Media, Eric SanInocencio.
Eric talks about his journey through the newly-formed digital ranks of college athletics, with brands like the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the NFL’s Houston Texans, before joining the ACC to lead their digital movement during the launch of the ACC Network this August.
Connect with Eric:
LinkedIn: Eric SanInocencio
Highlights from the interview:
5:19 – On building digital media at the ACC: “It’s very unique in this field that you get the opportunity to build something from scratch”
11:55 – Jim and Eric’s shared background
19:58 – Eric shares his experience working at the SEC with Mike Slive and Greg Sankey
22:40 – Eric shares a piece of advice from former SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, on writing down decisions that you disagree with, so you can remember them when you’re in a position of leadership
32:11 – Talking through the two sides of operations in the NFL, and how digital plays a part in each
34:43 – “I think one thing we have to work on as digital professionals, and I definitely am guilty of this sometimes, is that we don’t effectively communicate what our value is to the people that maybe don’t understand what we do on a day-to-day basis.”
40:04 – On the ACC: “This league has such passionate fans, and such people with connections to the schools, and we’ve got to give them an opportunity to celebrate that, across all sports, all times of the year.”
44:00 – “What made social media special is that you could cut out all of the middlemen and go one-to-one with a person you admired, followed, cared about, or even hated, and it gave you that opportunity to have a conversation.”
46:20 – “JJ Watt raised $40 million to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, and he did it by looking into his cell phone and doing a video from a hotel room asking people for help.”
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Full Podcast Transcript:
What’s up, everybody? Welcome to I Want Your Job. I’m Jim Cavale, the Founder and CEO of INFLCR. And we are so pumped for the first ever episode, in our first ever season of this brand-new podcast that so many people have worked so hard to pull together.
These episodes are going to be featuring some of the most influential leaders in all of college and pro sports. I’m talking about head coaches like John Calipari. I’m talking about athletic directors like Allen Greene; and of course, digital, social, creative professionals who work in college and pro sports and are leading from the forefront, this whole digital movement that’s taken over, really not just sports, but the whole world.
And so, each episode, you’re going to get a story from one of these leaders that’s going to show you how they got to exactly where they are today. The nonlinear path, which we all take day to day, because life is full of conflict, life is full of challenges. But it’s through getting past those challenges that you find out, a, who your mentors and people are that are for you and going to help you. And you also get a chance to find out new things about yourself that you didn’t know. And that’s what these folks are going to share in these interviews is they just give you their story.
And it’s called “I Want Your Job” because everyone you’re going to hear is doing pretty well. And they have worked very hard to get there and they’re going to give you a formula to apply to your career to do the same exact thing.
And so here in this first episode of the first season, it was fitting to begin with Eric SanInocencio.
So Eric is a longtime friend. We played college baseball together. You’re going to hear about that. He has worked at Division II and Division I conferences in college sports. I’m talking SEC. He’s currently at the Associate Commissioner of Digital for the ACC. He got his start working in digital and sports information for the Gulf South Conference Division II league. And then in the middle of all that he worked more than a half decade as the Senior Digital Director for the Houston Texans. So he has the very unique understanding of what it takes to not only lead digital and sports, which is hard enough to understand because it’s a new place, it’s a new realm, but to do it at the Division II, Division I and pro levels.
And so, he’s going to share a lot of things in his story that I think you’re really going to enjoy. And without further ado, let’s go to the first interview. So excited. Here’s Eric SanInocencio and myself in Durham, North Carolina, where we caught up for this interview.
All right, so we’re here with my main man, Eric SanInocencio. And first off, just, just the name, I mean, what have you had to do in the sports world that you just kind of just go with the abbreviation of, you know, San? I know in college we called San-San, like, just let’s start off by just going around your name.
Well, it’s like a gift and a curse, right? First off, you always are going to be embarrassed when somebody tries to say your name. Like, that’s just a given. They’ll say, Eric, and then you’ll have that pause, and you’re like, “Oh, God, they don’t know what to do with all those letters.” But I think the good thing for me is it’s always something that you remember too.
So, it’s so unique that way, and I’ve heard almost every iteration that you can think of. My college baseball jersey, it went from armpit to armpit, you know, that’s how long it was.
Great story at West Florida. The PA guy came down before a game, we’re taking BP and he goes, “Hey, do you have a few minutes? I’d love to, you know, just go over your name with you. I saw it in the media guide. And I want to make sure I get it right.” I was like, “Yeah, sure, sure.” So we go over to the side, and we practiced it, phonetically go through it.
I was like, “How do you feel?” “I feel great about it. It’s fantastic. All right. Let’s do it.” All right. So, the game starts, and I’m betting second at that game, and I go up to hit.
And as I’m digging, he goes, “Now batting , number 21, Eric,” and it there was dead silence. And so at this point, everyone in the crowd looks up at him in the PA booth. And he goes, I’m sorry, Eric. He just froze in the whole place broke out. I think I struck out on three pitches. I couldn’t see anything.
Well, here’s the thing is, is I actually joke about it because I know how much trouble you get. But the reality is being a guy, I’m married to Puerto Rican woman. I know Spanish decently. I, I studied it in high school and college. You’re the Saint of Innocence.
I know. It’s not that hard.
It’s San Inocencio.
I think it’s just all the letters. It’s all the letters that freaks everybody out.
All right. So, the Associate Commissioner for Digital at the Atlantic Coast Conference, what a time to be alive.
I know, what a time to be alive.
The ACC Digital Network, the ACC Network, all of it is launching this fall. It’s a huge undertaking. You get to be there around it and be the digital leader of what’s going on from one of, if not the best, all-around sports league in college sports.
So, I mean, we’re going to go through your story. But let’s start there, because it’s a big deal what you’re a part of right now.
Well, it’s very unique in this field that you get the opportunity to build something from scratch, like most times digital is already kind of in place, at least, from a strategy perspective. I mean, all different types of strategies, depending on the places that you are. But from here, I get to come in and build it from basically the studs. So previously, they’ve had some third parties that were involved and there still will be, then with the launch of the networks.
So I think what I’ve spent the first two months is just trying to wrap my arms around all the different distribution channels that we’re going to have the opportunity to use.
You mentioned ACC Network launches on 22nd of August. That’s going to be huge for our league, huge for our member institutions. And then huge from a content perspective. What can we do with that? How can we amplify the message? How can we make sure that people know as much as they can about the league? So we spent so much time talking about strategy, like the content was almost going to take care of itself down the road. So how do we build this? What processes are in place to make sure we’re maximizing the production levels in-house that we have, the staff that we can use externally?
So it’s a lot of fun, because you’re taking these building blocks and all these concepts and ideas and things that me and you talk about like leadership. What does it look like? You know, how are you setting up the workflow, all these different types of scenarios, you’re building them out, and you’re hopefully going to launch it. And then you get to see how it works.
So it’s almost like an experimentation in real time with a conference that has a huge following, you know, national championships, and football, and men’s basketball, all these wonderful things that are happening as a league and I get to be right in the middle of it from a digital perspective. And I’ve got the ability to set the agenda. Because as you know, Jim, like, we’ll make strategies and we’ll have these grand plans and then Facebook will change the algorithm, and three months later we’re back to square one.
At least you get to go into the beginning with a plan in place and a process of how you get to lay it out. So that was really exciting for me.
So, I’m really excited about having you here for this first ever episode of the I Want Your Job podcast. And I felt like it was only fitting for you to be on the first ever episode because back when I first started INFLCR, you and I were talking about ideas, and you said, “You know, I think there’s a big opportunity with a podcast.” And I’ve been thinking about it for a while.
But there’s so many great stories in sports, commissioners, athletic directors, coaches, athletes. And if we could tell those stories, those are all people that have jobs that a lot of other people who want to work in sports or do work in sports want to have. And, you know, I tabled it. And you and I kept talking about it for the past year and a half. And now we’re doing it we’ve got some exciting episodes that we’re going to be rolling out in our first season, this fall 2019.
But I wanted you to be on the first one because you really had the idea, you had the idea for the name.
So, as a guy who’s worked in sports for his whole career, where did it start for you growing up playing baseball in Daleville, Alabama? Like when did you know, “Man, I just want to do this forever”?
So, it’s interesting. I think I was born wanting to know that baseball and sports was a part of who I am, right? So my whole goal in life has been very simple. Just find something I enjoy doing, and then find a way for people to pay me to do it. So if you think about it, that’s what baseball was for me. I didn’t have, you know, a huge scholarship waiting for me or, you know, my parents, we came from a pretty poor background. We grew up in the projects in New York. So I knew that I had to use something to better myself, my family and baseball became that.
So again, I used baseball as a means to get to college, you get an education, went to University Montevallo, wonderful education there, Division II. But I think while I was there, I learned because we didn’t have a ton of TV coverage, or we didn’t have a ton of media coverage around us that I wanted to be part of something and telling stories and making sure that people knew what was happening at all different levels of sport.
I think what you see in athletics today, in sports in general, like it’s really easy, you turn on ESPN, it’s the Cowboys, it’s the Yankees. I mean, those stories kind of tell themselves, but there’s so much more outside of that. And there’s wonderful different people that come from different backgrounds. I just wanted to be a part of that and being able to help publicize and tell the stories.
If you look at my career, your career, kind of it’s synonymous, we’ve gone back and forth. But back when we were at the GSC telling great stories about West Alabama. Oh, who knows who that is? And then, you know, one of the biggest plays in Super Bowl history is made by a guy who played at West Alabama. So you start to see how the sports was really small, really shrinks. And when you see where they come from, you know, what they get to, all the way up to national teams, pros, everything in between. So I just wanted to be a part of that.
Because I used to sit there at Montevallo. When we got our releases, the baseball releases come out from the GSC. And it was like Tuesday, and I would sit there and I would read it. It was like 10 pages and I would be immersed in learning how many home runs Brian Davis had from West Georgia. And well, what’s his story? Where did he come from? Like that always intrigued me. I was always excited about it.
And so, when my playing days were over, I knew I wanted to be a part of that because it was something I enjoyed and I was in tuned with. So I was like, why don’t I make this my profession and I got lucky. I met some great people along the way, which I’m sure we’ll talk about. But it was always a basic instinct for me. What do I enjoy doing? And how can I find a way to make that part of my job? That’s really how it happened.
I feel like so many people start on the other side, at least, from Gen X and up, right? Gen Y is known for purpose.
Working for purpose. And the beautiful thing about millennials that people don’t talk about enough is they start with what will I love to do and what will have a purpose for me and doing that. But people our age and up really start with what can I make enough money to provide a living for my family with.
And the thing about sports is, when you start, you are not going to make enough money to provide for your family.
Not at all.
You’re going to work upside-down amount of hours. You’re going to work on weekends, nights, and you’re going to have to earn it so to speak. But that ain’t much different than playing Division II baseball.
For sure. I think there’s a lot of tie-ins. And I think that’s why me and you are the way we are. We’ve had that chip on our shoulder because we probably thought in our heart of hearts that we were Division I players, and we just didn’t get recruited. And people didn’t see us. So for me, I always took that same attitude, I can be just as good or I can reach the highest levels if I commit to it and if I work hard.
My first job, you know, when I was at the SEC, as an intern, I was making $18,500 a year. And we got paid once a month. So I remember exactly it was $1,271 a month, and you have to budget that out, you know, cover rent, cover all these things. And so for me, I knew that if I worked hard enough, eventually the money would come. But I had to really enjoy it because you could make a lot of money and, you know, work could be a drag every day and you get up. And it’s not something that you’re excited about. So I just wanted to be different.
You know, I saw my dad, my dad was a truck driver. You know, they had some substance abuse issues when, you know, they were younger, when I was younger. And I saw how much they struggled. And they didn’t like what they did. They did what they had to do to make sure we had food on the table.
So for me, I want to find something that enjoy that maybe in time, you know, I could provide a better life and, you know, my son is sitting outside, I get to think of all the crazy things that he’s done. He’s been to Houston Texans games. He’s been to NCAA tournament games, Astros games, all these different things and he’s eight years old. For me, you know, I didn’t go…
And he’s got a pretty sweet lefty swing.
Not bad. He’s got some work to do.
All right, so let’s… few, few clarity things. So the GSC is the Gulf South Conference. It’s the premier league in Division II as Eric and I used to like to say. My first business, I started with a contract from the Gulf South. Eric had just came over from an SEC internship to really be an assistant SID for the league.
And that’s how we got reunited because we actually went to the same college, Montevallo, so we go way back. And those are just clarity points for your listeners out there to understand like, we have been woven together with our careers multiple times.
You get to the GSC. You have a stint with UAB briefly in sports information. You have an internship with the SEC. And now you’re in a Division II league. And it’s different, right? It’s a situation where people… the eyeballs and ears aren’t automatically going there like they are for the SEC, or even UAB. So you not only have to create good content, to tell the story, but you got to get people to look at the content or listen to the content. Just talk about that.
So the GSC, I believe when we went there, had six people in the conference office. So to give listeners a little bit of perspective, you know, now I work at the ACC obviously, there’s over 50 people there. So if you think there were six people in the GSC office, two of them actually ended up getting married to each other.
So, you know, we were there. But it was a good thing because it allowed you to wear multiple hats. Whereas at the SEC, I was strictly a sports information person. Whereas at the GSC, I got to learn about championships. I got to learn about being a tournament director for softball and all the different sports I had. So as I started to learn a little bit about what each one of those sports entailed, we started to try to find creative ways to get our message out.
Because you’re right, we don’t have the bullhorn at the Division II level that a lot of other schools have. So we’re trying to find these ways you were, you know, of course, played a huge role in that. We were doing webcasts when that wasn’t a thing. You know, you were out there telling the story of all the different schools. And we’re doing… Thursday night, we’re on television. I mean, Division II on television back in 2000, 2007, 2008. So at that point, I just, you know, I started to play around with these different things.
And social media, again, going back to that earlier point I made, it was some I enjoyed in my personal life. I got my first Twitter account, I think, in ’07, Facebook around that time as well. I was like, “Oh, man, this is fun.” I started connecting with all these friends that I had either in high school, or that I had met previously. And it was just… that’s all social media was at that time was connecting folks and, you know, reading about things that were happening. And so, as I saw that kind of unfold, I was like, man, what if, again, I can make this part of my job.
And so I went to Nate Salant, our Commissioner at the time who was commissioned the GSC. And I said, “Hey, I’d like to put on us on social media.” And he didn’t really know what that meant. But because there’s only six people in the office, he’s like, “Okay, run with it, do it yourself.” It wasn’t like, “Oh, it’s your idea. I’m going to hand it off to my external people and let them fit it out.
No huge bureaucratic process.
You go. And so that day, I started a GSC page, and the rest is history. And that kind of changed my trajectory for my career.
I remember when you mentioned it, and I remember how I felt and I was like that could be good. But I also didn’t know. It doesn’t really fit with sports. And I remember a conversation we had once where I asked you if you thought that teams would all create their own pages, and actually use it on a frequent basis. And you said, “Not only do I think that, but I actually think that there’ll be a full-time staff member on each team.”
And I thought you were crazy, bro. I really did. And it’s funny, because now I’m the Founder and CEO of INFLCR.
And there’s a herd of social media and digital folks at every school that use our software. So the irony of the whole thing is funny. But what made you think that it would not only take off to that extent, but what made you think that it would work at a Division II league?
Well, I think, first off, to your earlier point, we didn’t have a choice, right? We could have done the same thing that we were always doing. But we weren’t going to get the eyeballs. So what did we have to lose by trying it? But I think once we actually started to try and we started to see people, you know, from different pockets of the country respond to messaging about the University of Alabama at Huntsville, Valdosta State, programs that you don’t normally think are nationwide, you start to see, man, this could be something and you get, you know, there’s so many fans that have, you know, big followings.
And you start to see the message boards pop up and all that kind of stuff. To me, it was all about connection and an opportunity for people to express their fandom.
Because really, if you watch on television, it’s a one-way street unless you’re with your friends there. Like, you can yell at the TV screen all you want, but it’s not going to come back to you.
For me, social media was actually an opportunity to build a two-way relationship street. They could ask the GSC questions. They can ask the ACC questions. They can ask Zion Williamson questions or Carmelo Anthony, whoever else and they might get a response. And it became that way. So once I saw that, like that’s an addictive thing. Like if you can reach out to somebody that you’ve never met before, and they get back to you and it’s a personalized thing like, “Oh, my god, it’s almost better than an autograph.” So I saw that possibility.
I’m not saying I thought it would blow up to the level that it is today. But it was just, it was unique in that way in terms of what communication could provide for you. So I just saw a future in it that way. Yeah.
So I remember you come to me, and you say I got this opportunity with the SEC and XOS Digital has a relationship with them, and it’s going to allow me to be the SEC Digital Manager. And it was cool, because I think one thing you see in sports is sometimes people might go down to Division II, or even to, you know, non-Power Five and they get stuck there. You see it happen with coaches. You see it happen with a lot of different folks.
But you bridged the gap so to speak and were able to go back to the place where you did that internship. And it was right around the time when social really started to take off.
Well, I think it’s important too that we mention the advocates that worked hard to get us in those opportunities. Me and you both share one. You know, the reason I got my internship at the SEC, it’s very difficult to get in there. But the person who was the SID for basketball at that time was a guy named Dwayne Peavy, who’s now the Deputy Athletic Director of Kentucky. But he was my SID when I was playing baseball at Montevallo, so I made a wonderful connection there. He saw my passion for sports. And he said, “Hey, why don’t you come try this here.”
So that’s the reason that I got the opportunity at the SEC. But then when I go there, I’m 26, 27 years old. And I’m given carte blanche to do whatever I want. So that’s what’s unique…
Because it’s just social.
That’s the thing.
It’s not a big deal.
I was explaining that to somebody the other day…
Yeah, I remember Mike Slive talking to me about it.
It’s like, you know, “Oh, this is a thing? You do it.” You know, like, I just… I have no, I have no wanting or care to get involved with this. But digital is that way. Like digital is one of the few departments in the athletic department that was kind of built in and woven into something else. So you know you needed digital around 2009, 2010. They didn’t create their own departments for it. They just added it to sports information or added it to the marketing group. And they’re like, “Hey, you guys can try to figure it out.”
So I think that’s a struggle that we’re facing as folks in digital is that we’ve never been properly kind of set off to our side for our own department for us to grow and have a plan and have a strategy, because we’ve always been thrown in with something else.
So the SEC was really unique for me because there was no one else. I was writing articles. I was updating the website. I was making sure the stats showed up. You know, on the front end, I was putting out press releases. And then, oh yeah, I was running the social accounts and creating social accounts and, you know, getting followings that I remember, you know, when we’re at the GSC, we threw a big party, they took me to lunch, Nate did when we got 2,000 likes on our Facebook page, that was a huge deal. Then all of a sudden now in charge of a page that had 200,000.
And so, all these ideas and things that we got to tinker and play with GSC, some of the podcasting, things like that before that was even called a podcast, things that we were doing, I got to try it at a bigger audience.
And it was so much fun because, you know, in one way, they didn’t understand the power of it. So they just let me kind of run with it. And you’re never going to get that opportunity like that. So it was just a lot of fun to try to involve the schools to, you know, set up a tone of voice. What is the SEC trying to be?
And for us, it was a little bit more cocky and arrogant, because at the time, we’re winning national championships every year. So I just had a blast with that, understanding, you know what this could be, getting fans involved. We used to do all kinds of fan-submitted stuff. And it was a lot of fun. We had a Pinterest page for people to share their tailgate recipes. So these are things that, you know, like, you just play in a laboratory and I had the opportunity to do it.
Okay, so you get a chance while you’re there to work with both Mike Slive, who is a legend, a guy who also has been a mentor to both of us. We were actually just with him, you know, earlier last year 2018 when he was eating breakfast, just several months before…
I introduced him to that place for the record. I get no credit for that.
I took him to Salem’s Diner, so.
Homewood, Alabama. At Homewood, Alabama, so we saw him right before he passed. And you were just visiting in Birmingham, but this is a guy who revolutionized TV rights, the BCS, a lot of things that really turned the SEC into the player it’s become.
And then, also, at the same time you were there with Commissioner Slive, Greg Sankey is an understudy. So you’re around really two guys who are huge, huge, powerful leaders that have had huge impacts on college sports at the same time, during this this era of social media and your role being the digital manager for the SEC.
What was that like?
I think in the moment, you don’t realize how fortunate you are to be around people like that and kind of absorb what they do from a day to day. And they were diametrically opposite at that time because Commissioner Slive was hands-off in terms of social. He was just, “No, it was something that we need to be doing. So you would do it.”
But I worked with Greg a lot because he was on the compliance side. So I come up with these wild and crazy ideas, and I’d have to go to his office and he’d always used to joke he would shotgun my ideas down because they weren’t compliant. But for me, I was learning two different sides of what college athletics is like, two different demeanors, and kind of by osmosis, just picking up little tips about what they would do.
And it’s funny because I would never call Commissioner Slive Mike in my life, you know, like he’s just kind of like a saint when he walks around. Oh, it’s Commissioner Slive. But I’ve known Greg since we were, you know, younger in our career. So I was just like, “Oh, that’s Greg.” But now I have to remember that’s Commissioner Sankey now. So like, it’s great to see how much he’s grown in his role. And we talked quite a bit when I was in Houston working for the Texans, because we had some bowl tie-ins and he would come down, but just to see the challenges that he faces as opposed to what Commissioner Slive faces now and how they’re navigating all that and also with my job at the ACC with Commissioner Swofford, you know, you think of Commissioners as like these figurehead people, but they’re so involved in so many different facets of things that you wouldn’t realize in sports, compliance, you know, student welfare.
The ACC had a mental health summit this year for the first time ever talk about, you know, making sure student athletes feel comfortable when they’re playing from a mental health issue. So there’s like so many things that are happening. And I think all we focus on rightly as fans is the sports and what’s happening on the field, but college athletics is turning into so much more than that. And I’ve been very fortunate to see Dwayne, to see Commissioner Slive, to see you, Jim, to be quite honest. And then also Greg Sankey, and all the people that I’m meeting at the ACC, you take little bits and pieces of these people…
…from a leadership perspective, and you hope one day if you ever make it to that chair, that I can be like,
“Oh, Commissioner Slive gave me a great piece of advice.” He told me that, “If you ever disagree with a decision that I make, that’s fine, write it down.” He said, “I want you to write it down because by the time you get to my point in my career, you won’t remember what it’s like to be you. Because you’ll be so far removed.” So I actually have a notebook at home where I’ve written down all the different decisions of bosses that I’ve had, from UAB, to the SEC, the Texans, things I’ve disagreed with. And the hope is when I get to that situation, I can refer to that, because now I have the perspective of being the head of the department and also the perspective when I was first starting out because you lose that over time. So it’s a great piece of advice. I have tons of notebooks at home where I’ve written down stuff, and I refer to it and hopes that one day that it can provide me some guidance.
That’s awesome, man. So you leave college athletics. You leave Birmingham, Alabama, which Alabama as a whole is most…
Yeah, it’s home. Right. So you go to Houston, and pro sports is a lot different than college sports. I’m sure there’s similarities too. But moving your family, taking a job in the front office with an NFL team. What was that like after all the background and foundation you had built in college?
I did it for a reason. I think, you know, I was born in New York. I was born in the Bronx. So I grew up with allegiances to pro teams. Like I’m a huge Yankees fan, Knicks, you know, Giants at that time before the Texans hired me. So that’s what I grew up following. Whereas most people in the southeast or North Carolina, you know, they grew up following one of the college teams, and that’s where their allegiances are. So I always had that kind of pro spirit in my background. I was like, “Hey, I’ve got to try this,” because my kids were really young, this would be an opportunity for me to learn.
And NFL is such a business juggernaut. You know, it made me so much better at my job, because everything revolves around how much revenue can you generate, and, you know, the things that you’re dealing with from a business perspective there that I was never even privy to or understood or was aware of at the collegiate level, was just astounding.
So I think the six years I spent there going from, you know, two or three people in the digital department to then ingesting television, you know, radio, all these different things that we were responsible for, and just under a content banner and umbrella, it was such an eye opening experience, because the NFL is big business, and they don’t hide about it, you know, this is what they’re focused on, creating revenue. I mean, if you look at Roger Goodell, a lot of what his compensation is tied to is how much revenue he creates, for the league and for the teams, so sponsorships, you know, all those different pieces, and how social ties into that gave me such a better understanding of the number side of it and how we can create value from a revenue perspective, which is something I never was tasked to do at the SEC.
So it’s been a huge asset to me, because now I come back to the collegiate level, and I have a better understanding of where this thing might go in the future as all these rights pop up, you know, as all these different ways to monetize digital content, you see some of the things that are out there from a business perspective, it was fantastic for me. It was almost like getting an MBA, right? Like you go to the college level and you get your bachelor’s, you’re messing around all these different content ideas, then you get to the NFL, and it’s like, okay, now it’s time.
So just great stuff so far from my man, Eric. And before we continue this amazing interview, I just want to thank our company INFLCR.
I have so many amazing team members on our marketing team, on our ops team who work their butts off to be able to put together the I Want Your Job podcast. And this whole season, I’m going to be shouting them out a lot. So get used to it. But another group, I want to shout out a lot is our clients, and especially our end-users, our athletes. And so, I want to check in with one of our new pro athletes recently named an NBA Rookie. He played for one of our client’s schools, North Carolina, part of their basketball team, had a chance to catch up with Kenny Williams, who’s a rookie now in the NBA, talking about social media branding, and of course, INFLCR and how its impacted the work he’s doing with his brand on social. Check this out.
Kenny, thanks again for taking the time to talk with me today. And, you know, really, I want to start with North Carolina. They made an investment in you with the INFLCR app. That’s been something you feel has really helped you with your brand.
Kenny Williams: Yeah, I mean, it was one of the better apps that I’ve used ever on my iPhone. I mean, it’s so convenient, because we come off the court and we already have the notification that we’re tagged in X amount of photos and, you know, being student athlete, being young, being on Instagram, we always want the next great picture that we can post.
So, to be able to get off the court and have 40, 50 pages to choose from, it was really convenient for us. And you know, I know our team especially, by using INFLCR.
So that’s great stuff, Kenny obviously INFLCR, the University of North Carolina played a big part in helping you grow your brand at the college level. Now, how does that translate to where you are now as an NBA Rookie?
You know, it’s really important. I’m going into with my pro career with 60,000 followers, so that was really big. You know, I got a lot of people that follow me, a lot of people that like my post, so you know, building that was big, you know, it took some time, but, you know, I got it to a pretty decent number, and a lot of this is Carolina and that holds a lot of weight. So, you know, and it was pretty big. And now I can kind of use that to my advantage going into my whole career.
All right, lastly, to the coaches, staff and athletes out there, when you think about growing a brand at the college level maybe you’re thinking about the guys you know are coming in to North Carolina like Cole Anthony, how would you talk to them about how seriously they should take all this stuff we talked about today?
I think INFLCR is big because they don’t just have photos, you know, on the court. We do a… we started a photoshoot last year where, you know, it’s just a photoshoot. You have your own style. You have your own fashion. You do as you want and that’s another way for people to see you off the court. And, you know, that’s one of the bigger things on social media is letting the fans, letting your followers see you outside of basketball and who you are off the court. And I think that can be the biggest thing for your brand.
So thanks a ton to Kenny. We’re going to be featuring different pro athletes that came out of our college network of student athlete users each episode just to give you a picture of how they think and look at branding, social media, and use our software INFLCR to impact their personal brand.
And so, now let’s go back to my interview with ACC Associate Commissioner for Digital Eric SanInocencio.
All right. I want you to do this for me. I want you to give me a scenario of an innovation project you did at the SEC, how it fared, and then compare it to a scenario or a project initiative that you did at the Texans. And give me how it fared and kind of help me with those two examples, understand how ROI influenced the idea at the Texans, whereas it didn’t at the SEC.
That’s such a great point because there wasn’t an ROI at the SEC. Like it was strictly brand awareness, brand play, audience engagement, things like that. So I’ll give you an example. We did… we redesigned our website in my second year there and we built out this page called Game Day Central, where you could come and see every single game that was there. And then we had a highlight package built in.
So essentially, you could click around, if you wanted to see the Ole Miss score, or what happened in the Florida game, they would have a, you know, simple bar set up with the score. It would tell you, here’s the highlights, you know, here’s the touchdowns, etc., was never sold, you know, it was just something that we pushed out on Saturday, sent a couple of tweets about, “You know, hey, wanting to come here to get people to have time on site on our website,” that’s what we were focused on.
So a couple years down the road, I’m with the Texans. And I’m actually given a revenue goal, you know, a number that’s tied to how much revenue I need to generate from a digital perspective. So I can reach my goals and my stretch goals. So when I meet with the sponsorship group, they tell me HEB, which is a grocer in Houston, San Antonio area, they want to be in digital, they don’t know what that means. So I’m forced to come up with an entire pitch deck of what I’m going to do. And so, we decided on the time. There were these tasty videos that were floating around on Facebook where you can take all these different ingredients, and you make something in 30 seconds. And so, I was like, “Oh, what if we did that for tailgating?” So I pitched this idea, you know, ended up being a six-figure deal that we were able to secure with HEB that I then delivered on.
So for example, that Game Day Central page will be viewed by maybe 2,000 to 6000 people on a Saturday, that was a big one for us at the SEC, got to the point where we’re delivering 200,000 to 300,000 views per episode of this HEB, and it was tied to a certain amount that we were getting paid, you know, based on, you know, what we had projected.
So that’s how next level that was. We have built a Game Day Central page, “Please come we don’t really know what we’re doing with it, we just want you here.” Where at the NFL I was, you know, creating the entire pitch. What are we going to do to use HEB products? When is it going to run? You know, here’s a monetary figure tied into what we think the value of this video program could be. And then actually watching it execute and then going back and reporting to HEB the year after, “Here’s how you did. We actually gave you more value than you paid for.”
So that’s how in depth and how much more in sync you had to be what the revenue side of it was and how you were generating and projecting value. So that’s how far I went like two years.
Yeah. And also, you know, the staff looks different at the NFL level, right. I mean, as far as resources, whether it’s technologies or hardware or people, the investment, the whole outlook is different.
It is and, you know, so people… just to give some clarity to the listeners, there’s two different sides to an operation when it comes to the NFL. So there’s football operations, which is what most people think of when they think of the Texans or the Cowboys. Those are the coaches, the players, the scouts, the GM, that’s football operations. And they have something called business operations, which is your marketing, ticketing, sales, sponsorships, digital, what I did.
So we were kind of in the middle, and that we were covering the team, we were providing content around the team, we’re actually part of business operations. So we were tied into what they were doing. So not only was I tasked with covering the team and making sure that we had content goals and everything that was set aside for that. But then you also had marketing initiatives that you had to help promote on social.
That was the beauty of anybody that works in social and digital is that everybody needs you for something. So it gives you great visibility within the organization, because you may work with the ticketing people one day about a ticketing plan, and how do we use social to help promote that. The next day you might be working with a marketing initiative, something that you’re doing in your community, and you want to make sure people are aware.
So using social to kind of help push that out. You know, the next day, you know, you’re going to be with somebody else working on a specific plan, you know, for a fan group or something like that. So it gives you great visibility, and you learn all the different sides of the business. And so, the Texans was very unique, because they were very siloed. And I was one of the few people in the organization that got to work across all different departments. And so, I learned a lot of different pieces of what we’re doing and things that were taken into effect now and my current job at the ACC.
What I love about your story is just knowing it and hearing you talk about it is there’s so many things in each place you’ve been from the Gulf South Conference, to the SEC, to the Texans, that you’ve taken and kind of piece together to create this original person, this original leader that could never have gathered the things you’ve learned if you didn’t take initiative about social media before people really knew what it could be and do it yourself and apply it to sports and the brands you’ve been with.
And if you also didn’t take the initiative to learn from the leaders and organizations you were around and not fight against it. See, “I don’t like how it’s ran here. I think I’m going to go back to college” or “I don’t like how it’s ran here, I got to be back in Division I,” but you embraced wherever you were at and learn from it. And I think for listeners, if you want to be successful, the more tools you can have on your tool belt, the more multidimensional you can be, the more of a generalist you can be, no matter how big the organization, the more of a valuable asset and an impactful asset you can be to that organization.
I think you’re right. And I think one thing we have to work on as digital professionals and I definitely am guilty of this sometimes is that we don’t effectively communicate what our value is to the people that maybe don’t understand what we do on a day-to-day basis.
So let me give you an example. Jamie Rootes, the President of the Texans has… doesn’t have a social media account. He’s brilliant. He’s a two-time national champion. Played soccer at Clemson, you know, Forbes list, you know, top CEO, all that good stuff. He doesn’t use social media. He doesn’t have a personal account in his name.
So I had to find… try to find ways that connected with him to show why what we were doing was important. So one of the things I always used to do is if I felt something was strong from a social perspective, and that we needed to be aware of it, I would go in there and not saying, “Oh, we need to do this,” because I’m telling you we need to do this. I’d be like, “Hey, this is really important. But if you don’t believe me go ask your kids,” because he had a 14-year-old and a 17-year-old at that time. So Snapchat was one, like we had to convince him to kind of get on Snapchat. And I was like, “This is really important. Ask your kids.” In a couple days later, he came back he was like, “Oh, my daughter thinks this is really cool. So we should do it.”
So I think we can get frustrated as digital people because especially me, like I’ve been doing this for a while, I don’t understand… when I’m talking to you, you get it right away, you understand what’s important. I may be talking to somebody in the back of my mind I’m like, “Why doesn’t he understand that this is as valuable as I know it is? You know, why am I consistently having to tell him that?”
And I think it could be frustrating but you’ve got to find terms that resonate with the people that you’re talking to. So if you’re talking to a salesperson, they’re going to want to know why this is important for them to create revenue or to make a sale. If you’re talking to a marketing person, you got to understand why this helps connect people in the campaign that they’re trying to run, and you’ve got to do a good job communicating that. I think in digital, we don’t, because we often don’t have a voice a lot of times at the table or our voice isn’t as big as we think it should be.
So we just get frustrated and we kind of silo off and like, “Oh, this is my thing. I’ll do it. And I’ll control it.” And I’m guilty of that sometimes. I’ve got to get better at it.
Well, I think you’re not only right, but it was a theme in our Storyteller Summit that we ran for our user community of clients here at INFLCR, digital, social, creative professionals in college sports tend to be looked at as people doing abstract work.
Work that’s not concrete, work that’s maybe part of a phase that will expire.
Heard that before.
And so the leadership needs to be educated. It’s not a… it’s not a bias they have. It’s a lack of education. And so just as much as they need advocates for themselves, digital, social, creative professionals, they need to learn to be advocates for themselves.
And that’s putting yourself in the shoes of your ad who has to manage a budget and helping him or her see an ROI of some sort.
And I thought that, you know, in our conference, we had several folks at the Storyteller Summit get on stage and show anecdotal, yet concrete examples that turn and circle back to the value of social. One was a huge recruit signing at their school and literally in a tweet saying, “I’m going to Duke because of what it’s going to do for my brand.”
And showing the world like I chose Duke over these four schools because Duke can help me make money now that I can cash in on later when I go to the NBA, right. And that’s just an anecdotal example. There’s a lot of other examples. There could be examples of, you know, small teams at small schools helping sell tickets on social, whatever it is.
But anyways, I want to go into the advocacy thing. It’s a perfect transition to what you’re doing now, because you guys just had your Media Days. I’m sure you’ve had meetings with digital professionals from all the schools that are members of the ACC.
Now you’re the Associate Commissioner for Digital, you get to be an advocate for them at the conference level. And so, now you can teach them how to be advocates on their campuses. You can let them coach you on what you need to be an advocate for them for the conference level. And I think there’s a big opportunity there.
I think so. And I think we’ve always got to remember to as digital professionals, that despite all the advances that we’ve made in this field, it’s about 10 years old. So when they’re frustrated that they don’t have, you know, somebody in the C-level that understands marketing, sales, these have all been disciplines that have been around for 50, 60 years, it’s a natural progression for us, we’ve really been in the social space for 10 years in the manner that we know today.
So it takes time. Patience is something that we all have a ton of. I know I don’t have it. I know something that you probably struggle with as well. So for me, what I’m trying to do in this role now is to just show with awareness and numbers and concrete evidence to prove that we have value across this league.
That’s the thing, the ACC social accounts are never going to be as big as the schools and I’m okay with that. I don’t want them to be.
I want us to do this collectively as a group. You know, so a good example at Media Days, we did a kind of funny thing called “What’s in the box?” where we had some of the student athletes, you know, the football student athletes, we did the Coastal, we’ll do the Atlantic this week, we had them, you know, goof around the Jimmy Fallon’s Gateway “What’s in the box?” And so that was a great opportunity for us to showcase all the different players at all the schools, get all the schools involved. And it’s the most watched video we’ve ever had in the history of the ACC.
Now, the sheer numbers of it aren’t, you know, half of what we used to do with the Texans regularly, but it was cool for me because it was something that we built across and we did together as a group, you know. Duke shared it. Miami shared it. You know, Nassir Little who’s a basketball player has nothing to do with football, he shared because he thought it was cool content. Like we’ve got to tap into that greater thing because, you know, this league has such passionate fans and such people with connections to the schools that we’ve got to give them an opportunity to celebrate that, you know, across all sports, you know, all times of the year. So I think that’s what I’m thinking of.
You know, my boss always tells me, he’s like, “Get out of the weeds. I don’t need you in the weeds. I don’t need you pushing ‘send’.” And this is something that I would encourage every single person that works in digital right now, I think the goal for many of us is like, “Oh, I want to be the person that tweets out from X, Y, Z account. That’s my goal to be the person, the witty person behind the Atlanta Hawks account, or the person who gets to push the button for the New York Giants.” But really, you should be looking further. We’ve got to think more 60,000 feet. So how do we make this something that last and can show value over a time period? That’s really what I’m focusing on now.
You’re right. I’ve been to six of the schools in person. And I’ve had discussions. Built out a Slack channel, you know, for us to communicate as a group. I’m trying to give them reports. I think another thing is important is that it just can’t be, “Oh, we need to do this because I say so.” You need to be able to go in there with some data that backs it up because if not, it’s just your opinion. So I think we’re working hard on that. It’s going to take time. You know, it’s going to take a lot of effort from schools, people getting out of their silos and out of their ways of thinking and how we can do this together. But I think the end goal could be phenomenal, because we can amplify what they’re doing. They can amplify what we’re doing. And in the end, all we’re doing is telling the story of the league. And that includes all the member institutions. That includes the history that we have this week. That includes all the wonderful student athletes who are playing today. All of that is part of it. So we got all these different options. How do we, you know, share this kind of content for global a reshare everybody can understand.
You mentioned the Nassir Little example. Obviously, that hits home for me because at INFLCR we exist to serve those storytellers, athletes who want content that involves them or their league or their school, and they want to share it, build their brand. Talk about athlete content and just the whole concept of teams and leagues partnering with athletes to tell a story, knowing that the athletes have the followings more and more each day. I know J.J. Watt had a case study with the Hurricane and Houston that you got to see firsthand. So you’ve seen a lot of examples, but just talk about athlete-powered content.
Well, at the professional level, it’s going to become more prevalent than what the teams and leagues are doing because of the point that you made. LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers to go to the Lakers. You know, people didn’t stop being LeBron fans. They just followed him. And I think that’s something that the younger generation, you know, my son’s a great example. Wherever Steph Curry plays or wherever James Harden, if they leave, he’ll just go be fans of their team. Same thing with Bryce Harper. He was a big Bryce Harper fan. You know, my son, obviously, baseball, the connection with me. So he liked the Nationals, but now he likes the Phillies. So I think that affiliation is only going to grow more as these people become content… Just look at what Kevin Duran is doing, obviously, with the Boardroom and Thirty Five Ventures. You know, LeBron is producing content left and right. Steph Curry is doing his Hole In One. You know, Tim Tebow is hosting Million Dollar Mile, watching it with our kids last night.
So I think the ability for athletes to tell their own story is only going to continue to grow and they’re going to realize it more, because you’ve got… so there’s two types of people when it comes to social media, in my opinion. First off, there’s immigrants to social media. That’s people our age. It happened during our lifetime, so we picked up on it. And then the other group is natives. They don’t know anything else but social media. So you look at my, you know, my son, you know, your family’s age, they’ve grown up with only knowing to be able to be connected to people.
And I think that next level of athlete…it’s kind of funny, because we have Vince Wilfork and J.J. Watt, who were kind of slow to adopt social media, to Shawn Watson when the Texans drafted him, the moment he came on, he’s like, “What are you guys doing from a social perspective? What pictures can I get?” That’s the norm. And I think that’s only going to become more of the norm as schools are working with companies like INFLCR and helping to build their brand and tell their stories, that’s going to be what they want to do.
So I think we’re going to get to the point here in the future where athlete-driven content or athlete-exposed content is going to be more valuable than anything the teams can do, because it’s that one on one, that personal thing. I go back to what I mentioned earlier, back in 2008, what made social media special is that you could cut out all of the middleman and go one to one with a person that you admired, followed, cared about or even hated. And it gave you an opportunity to have that conversation. And that’s become normal now.
So that’s why I think athlete, especially at the professional level, college is going to be unique to see because there’s so many different aspects of it, how many different sports, you know, what the sports are providing, you know, where they’re playing, the leagues, all that stuff is still a little bit more in the pathways of being understood. But I think at the pro level, you’ve already got it, you know, The Players’ Tribune, you know, Uninterrupted, all these different things are happening now. And before you know it, it’s going to become the norm.
What I think is interesting is for us, we work with about half your league right now and as we continue to grow, we’ve noticed that the athletes who are ascending from our college teams to the pro level have not only stayed engaged with us and still in their INFLCR app daily, grabbing national media content now from our partners like USA Today. But as we communicate with them, we have uncovered that they’re not hiring somebody to take over their social.
That they’re going to keep it themselves. And yet, when we first started INFLCR just 18 months ago, we were in a situation where we were hearing from teams, “Yeah, it’s hard to work with athletes because most of our athletes have a middleman, that’s their agent, or somebody they’ve hired to do their social.” So there’s this native philosophy, the athletes who have grown up with social, right, that they don’t want to let it go. But there’s this immigrant philosophy, which might just be athletes over 25, 30…
…who don’t want to even do it. They just, it’s a necessary evil that they hire somebody to do for them. And that dichotomy, I think, is only going to end up leaning more and more toward the native side…
Of course, yeah.
…because there’s more natives coming up, right. And you saw with the generation, you know, just this past year with Zion and RJ Barrett and, and Duke, the massive audience that that school had for basketball because of the three big recruits they had go to one school is powerful. It’s more powerful than any team account, more powerful, maybe the whole college basketball altogether.
J.J. Watt raised $40 million to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, and he did it by looking into his cell phone and doing a video from a hotel room asking people for help.
That’s how it started. It wasn’t a big television production. It wasn’t a special. It wasn’t something that he rolled out in eight episodes on Netflix. It was just him with his phone asking, “Hey, I want to help. Do you want to help? Let’s do this together.” And it was funny because he was afraid. You know, I had very little to do with this. I helped amplify. I don’t want to take any credit for this at all. J.J. did 100% of the work. But he was afraid that he would go out there and people wouldn’t want to help. So he almost didn’t do it.
So the one thing that we suggested as a group is, hey, if you’re going to put money in just say, “Listen, I’m going to donate X amount of money, and we hope to…” so he donated $100,000. His goal was $200,000. He had $200,000 in about 15 minutes. Before you know it, he was up over $40 million––Ellen, Walmart, Jimmy Fallon, all dedicated to him. And he did it from his phone. So I know social media gets a bad rap. And deservedly so like it can be very tough. It could be toxic. But there’s sometimes wonderful things can happen and J.J. Watt is a great example of all the people that he was able to help. And he did it from his cell phone in a hotel room, unprompted, and just wanted to see if he can lend his following and celebrity for a good cause. So it’s pretty amazing what can happen in the right aspects.
I always say that social can either be a weapon of mass destruction or a weapon of mass production.
That’s a great quote. I’m going to steal that.
Yeah, you should. I mean, it’s the truth. And I love that story. I’ve loved this interview, man, so many pearls coming from you, so many pieces of wisdom that that I’m going to unpack in our show notes. But I want to wrap it up with the ACC Digital Network, the ACC Network in general, but the digital side of it. This is a big deal. It launches literally this week. And you have come on board at a time when it’s happening. But yet you are there to compliment what’s happening from a digital standpoint.
And the reality for me is, is I’m looking at it thinking that’s the biggest opportunity at all, because that’s where the eyeballs are migrating to more every day. So just like, what are some of the things you can tell listeners about your strategy and your outlook from a digital standpoint with the network.
So when it comes to social strategy, I think you have to understand that it’s always going to change. You have to be comfortable being uncomfortable. And the reason I bring that up as it comes and pertains to the ACC Network is we don’t know what it’s going to look like three or four months from now. So I think what we’re trying to do is focus on process. What are the processes that we can put in place to create content, to amplify things that are happening, and to build our brand uniquely and collectively as a whole? So that’s all I can focus on now.
Because in six months, if you ask me that question, my answer will be completely different than what it is now, because we’ll have some expectation of what’s going to happen. I haven’t been through a football Saturday or a basketball season here at the ACC so I’m not sure how that all will unwind. But for me, that’s why I’m focusing so much on how do we lay this out. How do we make sure that from a production value, we’re getting what we need on Saturday to cut highlights, get them out? Where are they going? What time do they go on each platform? How are we shooting them? What’s the production value? Those are really the things that I’m focused on.
Because, like I said, once we launch this thing, and we see, you know, what happens, what kind of content, where that content lives afterwards, we’ll have a, you know, kind of a phase two. But for me, it’s all about that process.
How do we build that? How do we structure that knowing that it can change two days after I finish the organizational chart? But you want to go in as a leader, at least in my opinion for something like this, with the ability to show your higher ups and your senior staff that I didn’t just make this up off the fly. Here’s why I suggested that we go this way. Here’s the numbers that backup what we’re doing. Here the success that we can have. We had a few dry runs with the ACC, and we had Media Days.
Obviously, I mentioned some stuff that we did there. We had the NBA Draft, which was a historic night for our league, some of the stuff we did from a content perspective working with teams like North Carolina and Duke. And then we also had the NFL draft and the baseball tournament. We were able… baseball tournament, we’re here at Teamworks and Durham, it’s right across the street from here at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, we’re able to partner with all the different schools that were there and do some unique content. We shot some low angle stuff. It was really fun. We had some great success.
So we’ve got these kind of dry runs. And I can use that now to put together a plan that I can show that has some background and has some analytics, and how do we build that process out so that we’re ready when this thing launches as ready as we can be to make it happen.
Man, I can’t wait to watch it all come together. I definitely can’t thank you enough for coming over from Greensboro where your ACC headquarters’ office is here to Durham, the Teamworks, we’re doing today’s interview. Eric, what’s your big goal for yourself?
Be as good of a father as I can be. You know, I think what I’ve learned transitioning from the Texans here is that, you know, jobs are important. They’re who we are a lot of times. A lot of times they provide validation for us as we talk to different people in the world. But what your purpose is in life is so much bigger than that. You know, I’ve got an 8-year-old son. I got a 6-year-old daughter, got a wonderful wife who’s been with me since those Montevallo days that we talked about earlier.
So in the end, you know, when it’s all said and done, it’s not what you’ve taken from this life, it’s what you can give to it. And to me is how can I be a great father. How can I be a great friend? How can I be a great mentor? And those are the things that I think I focus on the most. And the job, hopefully, falls underneath that. To me it’s like, what can I provide? And how can I help people? And how can you know I be somebody that folks want to look up to, talk to, you know, ask for advice. And like I said, I don’t want to miss a moment of that when it comes to my family. So I think that’s what I’m focused on the most.
It’s awesome, man. Well, Godspeed to you. I know we’ll run into each other again this fall at some point.
Hopefully, soon. Yeah.
I mean, if you want to come up to the Syracuse-Clemson game. It should be a good one.
Oh, should be.
I know some…
You got connections over there, huh?
I do. I do. All right, brother, thanks for everything.
Thank you, Jim.
So many nuggets from Eric. I mean, that’s why we are doing this podcast. If you’re a rising professional in college or pro sports, if you’re a solidified professional and on top, it doesn’t really matter. There’s tons you can take from that interview. And really, it really starts with Eric’s philosophy from when he was playing college baseball, he said, I asked myself, “What do I enjoy to do and how can I get paid for it?” And I think all of us should ask ourselves that question every day. Because none of us are going to be happy if we’re just working to make a paycheck. We’re just working to pay our bills. We got to find something we love and go after. And he did that from the beginning, loved how he got a chance to work at the Gulf South Conference.
He talked about the power and agility working for a small league, a small league of small colleges, and he got the chance to be at the forefront of social media because of that. I think that’s a great example of being a self-starter. And really taking initiative and finding opportunity in your role.
A lot of people who work in sports say they will have to wear a lot of hats. They have to do multiple types of jobs. That’s an opportunity. Eric saw that, and he made the most of it to become an innovator. You can do the same. Love the ACC Network stuff. It launches this week, Georgia Tech, Clemson first ever college football game on the ACC Network. And Eric is going to be leading the digital side of that for the ACC. So many cool things he’s already done there. Taking in the… putting into practice taking what he’s learned from being at the SEC being with the Houston Texans.
Like how he talked about using sports as a tool. You know, his passion for sports has really been a tool for him to come up with his ideas that he’s had, and to be able to really be a leader in this industry. The beginning of social and his vision, the fact that that he took a chance, that he had mentors like Slive, Greg Sankey, at the same time at the SEC with him, you have to see that torch be passed from Slive to Sankey. Of course, going from the college to the NFL, the difference between the two and getting things done at each level. And then just the ability for him to create concrete evidence as a digital and social professional, to be able to show his bosses. It’s so important.
If you work in digital and social, you need to have tangible anecdotal stuff that you’re able to put in reports and in front of the leadership that you work with all the time. They have to understand the value of social through that data, that tangible version of reporting of what’s going on under your leadership.
So listen, we are going to be back with some amazing episodes. Okay. We are talking about head coaches like Geoff Collins from Georgia Tech football, Manny Diaz from Miami football. We’re talking about head basketball coaches like Eric Musselman from Arkansas, John Calipari from Kentucky, talking about athletic directors, guys like Allen Greene from Auburn, athletes like Bryce Brown from Auburn who took them to the Final Four, all telling their stories of taking nonlinear paths to success, getting through challenges, getting through conflicts, growing as a person, growing as a leader and getting themselves to the place they are today.
So stay tuned and follow INFLCR on social media. We’re going to keep you up to date with which podcasts are coming so that you can know when to tune in next on iTunes or through our blog to be able to listen to the upcoming episodes of I Want Your Job. Also follow me at Jim Cavale. In the meantime, keep crushing it, keep working your way up persevering and impacting athletes because that’s why you do what you do. That’s why you work in sports. And we’re going to do the same thing at INFLCR. And we’ll see you very soon.