Venturing into venues
In the summer 2016, while traveling in Europe, I received a LinkedIn message from a recruiter working on a new job search. I clicked on the note and read about a position responsible for “defining the product and service offerings for the Smart Cities portfolio for sports and entertainment facilities (stadiums, concert halls, etc.), as well as for big events.”
Little did Alicia (the recruiter) know, but she had me at “hello”.
Several months of countless emails, dozens of phone & Skype calls, and a couple of whirlwind trips to the Garden State later, I am happy to share that I have joined Verizon’s Smart Communities and Venues team as the Head of Product for Venues, based out of the Bay Area.
Over the past several years — working on sports and entertainment solutions at @SAP and @Google for major events like Super Bowl 50, supporting @gostanford as the co-founder of a technology advisory group with Kevin Blue, Ph.D. and testing via @stanforddschool new fan experiences — I had encountered a common problem that made delivering magic difficult for fans: venue connectivity. From passionate music buffs to casual sports fans, a live event — whether a concert or game — represented the ultimate physical world experience. However, time and time again, these moments wouldn’t realize their full potential, due to an inability for the digital world to support the attendee’s desire to find a friend, send a snap, or watch a replay.
And while connectivity is fundamental to Verizon’s relationship with its customers — both consumers and businesses — this is just the beginning of serving the needs of venues and their guests. With a proper infrastructure, venues can begin to unlock their true potential in delivering superior fan experiences, driving operational efficiencies, and generating new revenues. I’m beyond excited to collaborate with some of the most innovative individuals in the world of sports and entertainment, and execute against the amazing opportunity in front of us. If you are a venue operator or student passionate about the space who is open to collaborating on a design-led, user-centered approach to building new products, we want to hear from you. The goal is to use this forum as a hub for future musings around Fan Engagement, Venue Operations and University Projects, and as a tool to communicate and collaborate with people equally as passionate about the space.
Before I wrap, I do want to thank my terrific colleagues at @sapsports and @SAP_designs for the opportunity to tackle some really interesting challenges together — starting with re-imagining group ticketing and concluding with scaling design thinking to Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) such as @DelStateUniv and @TuskegeeUniv. These projects would never have been possible were it not for the support of @SAP and three individuals in particular — @UXSamYen, @BrianKReaves & @RishiDiwan. Thank you to all my friends for making the ride both professionally fulfilling and personally enriching.
And to my new colleagues at @Verizon and partners around the world, I leave you with this message from Bernie.