PART 1 of 2
This is the first of two blogs I’ll be sharing in July. This first blog looks back on our progress to date, while the second will look ahead at what the rest of 2017 looks like for BALLPRK.
THE PAST 150 DAYS
Reviewing our Launch and Progress to Date #ballprkrising
Dear BALLPRK fam,
It’s been five months now since we launched the first version of our platform on ballprk.com, so I thought I’d check back in and let you know where we stand. We’ve had our heads down just plugging away bit by bit, getting closer and closer to being able to offer you something incredible. It’s crazy to think that we’ve only been live for five months! It seems like we’ve known each other and have been working together to grow this thing for much longer than that.
Since the first day we started BALLPRK out of my living room, the support we’ve gotten from athletes at every level – from Olympians and Paralympians to pro, university, and high school level athletes (as well as parents and coaches) – has been incredible. We can’t thank you enough for your constant encouragement and interest in our venture. BALLPRK wouldn’t be here without you, and knowing that you want to see this platform and concept exist in the world for future generations of athletes just as much as we do is motivation enough to keep our team working on adrenaline for 20 hours a day, 7 days a week. The phone calls, e-mails, and messages we’ve gotten from you mean everything to us and don’t go unnoticed.
I’m really proud of what our team has accomplished in such a short period of time. The number of athletes using ballprk.com has grown exponentially into the thousands, with 26 countries and nationalities represented on our platform. Although our focus for now will continue to be on supporting our local Canadian athletes and giving back to youth across the country to help grow the next generation of athletes here at home, the diversity of the community we are building is our greatest strength in the long-run; the inclusion and promotion of all athletes on our platform, regardless of their nationality or where they are living, is Canadian in nature. We want to make mentorship easily accessible to all and allow anybody to be inspired by the values and principles that are upheld by athletes and developed by competing in sport. These values and principles can help all people – not just strictly athletes – in their pursuit to become “better than” and improve as a person every single day.
The feedback we’ve gotten from both younger athletes and mentors that have connected for conversations through our platform has almost always been positive – minus technical hiccups here and there that we have been working hard to resolve as we work through some growing pains with people beginning to adopt our technology. Younger athletes rave to us about how cool and helpful it is to easily choose and speak with pros or students that are playing at schools they’re interested in and have their questions answered. Just this morning I received a message from a high school athlete saying:
“Thank you so much, you have been beyond helpful! So, how do I get more mentors?”
Most come away excited, relieved, full of confidence, and eager to try speaking with another mentor to build a new relationship. Most say that they have learned something new in conversation about their sport, themselves, or the mentor that will be helpful to them going forward.
Mentors always feel a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment when they share their experiences and perspectives with a younger athlete, and usually reach out to us asking for ways BALLPRK can help support a continued relationship with that particular athlete. Building deeper and more engaging student-mentor relationships is definitely something we will be focusing on moving forward as we look to keep improving and adding to our technology.
We have only scratched the surface of what we are capable of as a mentorship platform powered by technology. I just got back to Toronto from a 90-day stay in India, Asia’s tech frontier, where our technical team is based. For those of you that don’t know, I spent quite a bit of time in India when I was growing up pursuing studies, sport, and most recently my professional career before BALLPRK. The country has a fascinating start-up culture and extremely talented software developers who are passionate about building technology that can have a positive impact on the world we live in. With our Chief Technology Officer originally from New Delhi before moving to Canada and my prior experience doing business in the country, it made most sense for us to build our technical team in India and take advantage of our network there. It was also an excuse for me to spend time with my right-hand man, Vaani!
Vaani and I. She will be the President of BALLPRK one day and tell us all what to do!
Next month we’ll be launching a redesigned platform with a host of new features that will allow you to interact with younger and more experienced athletes, as well as your peers, in innovative ways. Not only will this allow you to access and provide mentorship continuously, regardless of video chat, but it should lead to an increased number of sessions on our platform so that more athletes and mentors can connect with each other and build relationships that have a positive impact on both people involved. We’ll also be launching our first public marketing campaign in tandem with our new product launch, which should help our community grow only quicker and bring about more engagement.
Stay tuned for my next blog so I can share full details on our new platform and our launch campaign! I’ll be doing a live walkthrough of our new platform. I think you’ll find it pretty cool. Definitely wouldn’t be wasting your time with anything dull.
As always, reach out to me directly or to firstname.lastname@example.org with any suggestions or feedback. I’m all ears and am always thinking of ways we can be better. I know you are all as eager to see this thing grow as we are! Thanks for sticking with us through both the ups and the downs.
Until next time,