Rosterbot with Bret Hedican

Uploaded by dottotech on 20.08.2012

[Start of video RosterBot with Bret Hedican] Steve: If you’ve ever tried to manage or
been on any sort of amateur sports team be it hockey, soccer, or baseball, you know what
a headache it is to organize all of your different members. Making sure you have all of the roster
spots filled for each and every game, that all of your practices and even the locations
of your games are properly shared to your entire team can be a real headache. The internet
steps in. A web 2.0 app developed here in Canada called RosterBot. It could be the answer.
Joining me online from San Francisco is hockey veteran from the NHL Bret Hedican. How are
you doing, Bret? Bret: I’m doing great, Steve. Thanks for
having me on. Steve: I appreciate it. Now along with Ian
Andrew Bell who has been on our show often in the past talking about Tingle and other
things, you folks have developed RosterBot. Now I can’t imagine that when you were in
the NHL, scheduling and again making sure that everybody was out on the games and practices
was an issue but it certainly is for beer league hockey.
Bret: Yeah, you’re absolutely right. We have managers that take care of all the scheduling.
We just have to, like you say, sometimes like they’re in casts but we just follow the
crew on the bus, off the bus, and to the games but yeah, beer leaguers they need this service
and I’ll be honest with you. Now that I’m retired, I use it often as well so it’s
something that has been a lot of fun to be a part of and I’ve really enjoyed it.
Steve: Now how did it start? Where was the genesis of the app?
Bret: You know it really started, you know Ian is obviously another hockey player and
that’s how I got to know him. I got to know him through other technology guys like Guy
Kawasaki out of the Bay area, a very, very famous technology guy and I got to know Ian
through him. And we played in some hockey games up there after I had retired and got
to know Ian really well and it was something that really he was scratching an itch that
he had, playing in three different beer leagues and you know the course of the week and getting
all inundated with all the emails that were coming through his email box and it just is
hard to keep track of all, who’s coming and who’s not and so he was actually thinking
of ways to make his life easier, and yeah, I love the technology and the idea.
Steve: Well, we should put it out. Ian is a goalie and goalies of course in beer league
hockey are usually quite useless but also really hard to come by so they’re very popular
as they switch from team to team because of the gear and stuff like that, right?
Bret: Yeah, app and all, he’s a goalie. That says it all, right? And he’s in technology.
That says another thing but yeah, if the goalie doesn’t show up, you’re not a very friendly
human being or your friends aren’t friendly to you, I should say. You know the goalie
has to show up. If they don’t show up, nobody’s happy. Nobody has any fun so it really helps
the game. Steve: So RosterBot is a pretty simple system
that you subscribe to. You can create. It’s all free. You create an account for your team.
As the team manager, add the email addresses of all of your different players. You have
the option of adding things like positions, being able to create positions, being able
to do alerts if you don’t have the proper positions, and then basically, you just populate
it with the different messages, times, and it then populates the, are they like meeting
requests that go out to all the players to make sure that they’re coming back so you
get affirmation that people are showing up? Bret: Absolutely, so yeah, it literally takes
you a couple of minutes to set up. You can basically copy and paste all your teammates
into an auto-populate, separated by a comma and it has your team all set up. Then you
go in and you basically have a minimum and maximum amount of players and then you can
add spare players, as well. That’s what’s unique about RosterBot is we have the ability
to say okay, three days out in the game, I need to send a note out to all my players
to see who’s coming. You receive an email and it’s a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ link.
You hit the ‘yes’ you’re coming and ‘no’ you’re not. Well, RosterBot takes
that information and waits for another day when it finally says hey, you don’t have
enough players yet for the game. I’ll send it out to your spares and then it sends it
to all your spare players and then now finally, you might have the amount of players needed
for the game. Steve: Oh, so you actually set a minimum threshold
for what your roster’s going to look like for that particular game and if you follow
a program or you send it out enough days in advance, it then makes sure that your entire
thing is populated. I guess you get an alert a couple of days before saying hey, you’re
short here. Bret: You’re short here, and it also sends
it out to your spare players that you’ve obviously put into the program to say hey,
these are my spare guys that hey, if these good players can’t show up, I’ll take
these scrubs. Steve: So it was built with hockey in mind
at the beginning but did you realize right away that it was going to work for a lot of
different areas or was that a voyage of discovery where you’re going holy cow, it really fits
in this area as well? Bret: I think it was. It was made for hockey
originally but we knew that this thing would be used for many purposes and now you look
at it, it’s over 300 activities, Steve, and that’s the interesting thing, from church
groups to— Steve: [Interposing] I saw poker.
Bret: —poker tournaments, the poker games, you name it, it’s used for everything. That’s
what makes it so fun. Steve: And it’s free.
Bret: And it’s free. The great thing is so it’s easy to set up. You’re moving
forward in a couple of minutes and you’re ready to go.
Steve: Now okay, it’s free. It’s a great app. There is some competition out there.
There are few other services, some are free and some are not. What’s the business case?
Talk to me about why—You didn’t build it for nothing. It cost you folks energy to
build and you’re going to have to kind of run it as a business. What’s the business
model behind RosterBot? How is it ultimately going to pay for itself?
Bret: Well, I think that’s where we are right now. We finally re-launched RosterBot
2.0 just a few weeks ago and now we’re going to start doing a little bit more of the marketing,
talking to other companies that really want to partner with us, that want to reach the
active people out there that are in groups, in communities, and in teams that they can
directly relate with their customer and what I mean by that is when we send out that invitation
to see if you’re coming to the game or coming to the activity or not, it’s a great opportunity
to send something marketing-wise with that email at the bottom to say hey. Let’s say
we have Under Armour, for instance. They were our sponsor and you’re playing hockey and
the local area that sells Under Armour is having a sale on the exact thing that you
might need for that particular sport or that activity. It’s a great way to connect with
your exact consumer and so right now, we’re in the middle of finding the right partnership
with the company to be a marketing partner with us and we’re going to be selective.
We want the right people. We want the right team to be with us and we’re looking for
that group now. That’s the first revenue model.
Steve: So right now, you’re very much into building the outcome mode where you’re providing
an excellent service for free. Do you sense that there will be any push back from your
members at all as you start to embed advertising or as you start to look for revenue in the
backside? Bret: We’re going to anticipate that and
we hope that they understand that this is a free service at this time and again, like
you just start the conversation the question often is that we are a company that needs
money to survive and it gives as an ability to do so. Another revenue model that we really
like to get after as well is in the pipeline is the ability to, if you’re running a sports
league and I call a team and you have to pay all the money upfront, it’s very difficult
to collect that money from your players and to have guys that come to locker rooms and
say “I forgot my wallet” or whatever, we’re going to have the ability to pay right
online with your credit card and what money should go to the manager who has already paid
that money outright. We would take a small fee off that in order to collect that money
and give it to the team manager and I guess this is an ability to keep the money out of
the locker room and to be able to just enjoy the game for what it is.
Steve: That actually sounds like a really creative application. So when you take a look
at the landscape, the kind of gorilla that you always have to be concerned about is how
is Facebook going to integrate with this because it has to at some point. You know Facebook
seems to be reaching out and touching or whenever there’s groups gathering, Facebook is reaching
out and touching. Have you guys had any conversations about your strategy surrounding how you might
want to deal with Facebook? Do you want to become a Facebook app and include it within
Facebook or are you concerned about the shadow of Facebook?
Bret: Well, obviously anybody that builds a business just has to be thinking about Facebook.
It’s the third largest company in the world so I think that it’s something you have
to be thinking about. We are. We have been having some conversations about Facebook but
right now, we are in this mode of building all the applications within our RosterBot
that are going to make it something that is very user friendly which it is already. We
want to make sure that we can collect money for our managers of the team. We want to make
sure we have the right marketing partner and then obviously that is something that we do
have in the pipeline, start thinking about other Facebook and other companies that we’ll
obviously be thinking about. Steve: A quick search online finds a couple
of dozen or so different competitive products that manage different types of rosters, a
lot of them focused on baseball, a lot of them coming from the States. What would you
say your competitive advantages are over these? What are you really trying to leverage to
move you ahead of these other services? Bret: Well, I think ease of use, the user
interface for me. I’ve looked at a lot of the other ones as well and when I come to
RosterBot, it’s so simple and it’s so easy to look at and it happens so seamlessly
that I just can’t see myself ever using another service and I think that’s what’s
really drawn me to it. I think that Chad Lindstrom and Ian Bell have done a great job of really
bringing it out to life and making sure that it’s easy to use and I think that’s where
our strength is, no doubt about it. And the ability to have the spare players, to have
things like that is a great tool for all sport because you want to make sure that you have
your regulars that are in the game but you want to make sure you have a couple on backup
and I think that's just such a great tool for RosterBot.
Steve: Bred Hedican, NHL legend, now online veteran working with Ian Bell and you also
mentioned Chad. Actually, I didn’t mention him off the top. The third person of the triumvirate
that created RosterBot is Chad Lindstrom who does all of the software engineering. Thanks
so much for you time. I look forward to seeing how RosterBot works out. I’m going to try
it for my own dodge ball team and see how that works.
Bret: [Laughs] Definitely use it for your dodge ball team. It’s great to talk to you,
Steve, and thanks for having me on. [End of video RosterBot with Bret Hedican]
Steve Dotto0Project 5: RosterBot with Bret Hedican0Aug. 19, 2012
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