Meet Team Venuetize: Clayton Griffin

Clayton Griffin is our Customer Support Director. He is responsible for the Customer Support as well as setting up and maintaining our CMS system configuration.

Why do you do what you do?

I love technology, working with people and solving problems. I have always tried to help people and working in support I have found ways to help people in a variety of ways.  I got started in the career by working as a Medicaid field agent after college. After Medicaid, I went to work at an IBM helpdesk where I started to learn about support centers.  After IBM, I worked for PwC, Tata Consultancy Services and several startups where I continued to grow the skills for leading a support team.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I love that the position has been about more than just customer support. I enjoy the fact that I have been able to get involved in different areas of the company, such as configurations, and work with, and learn from, outstanding people.

What are you passionate about outside of work?

I love to cook. Specifically, I love to BBQ. I am constantly working on improving my technique and recipes. The biggest challenge is getting the brisket just right but I am also starting to smoke various vegetables.

What’s something very few people know about you?

I am a double ruby member of the National Forensic League. My senior year in high school, at State Student Congress, I presented a resolution to do away the monetary system. The idea was to get rid of physical currency in support of electronic transactions.

What’s your favorite escape?

My favorite escape is books. I have always loved to read. As a kid I would read several books a week. I really enjoyed books like Danny Dunn, Mike Mars, The Hardy Boys, and Alfred Hitchcock and the 3 Investigators. Today I have a stack of books that I need to finish from the Wheel of Time series and get caught up on the Song of Ice and Fire series.

Meet Team Venuetize: Eric Loehrmann

Eric Loehrmann is our Creative Services Director. He’s responsible for user interface and user experience design of our mobile applications. He also ensures our branding and marketing materials are consistent and of high quality.

What led you to this career?

As a child I always had an interest in art and drawing, which lead me to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, where I studied ad design. It was all pen and ink back then. I could not have forecasted, 30 years later, being in the position I am now.

After college, I started out in sign shops, which taught me typography and layout. That’s been a critical skill for anything I’ve done since then, whether that means websites, mobile apps, ads…

I didn’t realize it at the time, because that was just a job, but it’s paved the way for my career.

I love that designing UI/UX allows me to tap into both sides of my brain; satisfying like putting a complicated puzzle together that ends up being both functional and beautiful.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

There are two things I find most rewarding: One is the reaction we get from a client when we’re in a design sprint. When we conduct the client interviews on Friday and we see their reaction, and then their client’s reaction, that’s a unique experience most people don’t get to take part in. Another reason my job is so great is the team I work with. They are intelligent, respectful, collaborative people who make the whole environment where I work a “home run.”

What are you passionate about outside of work?

I love music. I love shopping for music, collecting music, listening to music, experiencing it live… I’ve met a number of lifelong friends through that passion. That’s been what’s created the strongest bonds with most of the friends I have.

At parties, when people ask, “What do you do for a living?” I ask, “What kind of music do you listen to?”

If you could do anything else for work, what would it be?

If money wasn’t an issue, I could literally work in a record store. Some of the best times I had were working in record stores in college.

What’s something very few people know about you?

Another a job I had in my past life was running cable and setting up cameras for sporting events (Miami Heat, Florida Marlins). The highlight of that time was working the Stanley Cup finals in 1996, and being on the ice seconds after the game ended, watching the Colorado Avalanche celebrate being awarded the Stanley Cup trophy.


Meet Team Venuetize: Archana Shrivastava

Archana Shrivastava is a senior software architect at Venuetize. She is responsible for designing features, like mobile wallets, in our platform.  We sat down with her to learn more about her career path, her passions, and what she likes about working at Venuetize.

Why do you do what you do? What led you to this career?

I have always been interested in learning about and working with new technology. I enjoy the challenge of trying to find solutions to complex problems. For example, I really like doing R&D work. As a software architect, I get many opportunities to do this kind of job.

I love trying out new things in life. Even though my high school did not offer any specific classes for computer science I found this subject fascinating and decided to try it out in college. I took some artificial intelligence (AI) and philosophy courses at the University of Pittsburgh, which furthered my interest in the subject and made it a possible career choice for me.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

There is a lot of satisfaction in building something new. It’s a proud moment for me when I’m able to see my ideas form into concrete features. Since we work closely with our clients, it’s also always an achievement when they are happy with my team’s hard work.

What are you passionate about outside of work?

Although I have many different hobbies and interests, I’m particularly passionate about cooking and traveling. I’ve always loved to try new recipes from around the world and I’m happy to take on the challenge of making food I’ve never cooked before. I also love to travel and have a strong desire to see and learn the history of the world. I often go on trips with my family to all sorts of countries and adventures.

What’s something very few people know about you?

I often have conversations with my dog, Simba. When we are just lounging around, I like to tell him about my day and work while he stares back with his round eyes and happy face. The simple but happy moments I experience on a daily basis with my dog are some of the best parts of my day.

Who’s your hero?

My dad is definitely my hero. I’ve always admired how hard my dad has worked to get to where he is right now. Despite being very busy with his business, he always found time for us. We have numerous memories of travels around the world and continue to make more even now. He taught me how to live a simple but happy life. My dad gave me the confidence that I could do whatever I put my mind to and that independence has helped me pursue my fulfilling career. It is also inspiring how dedicated my dad still is to his work, despite the challenges he’s faced. I hope to be the kind of parent that my dad is to my own children.


No Slowing Down Mobile and Data in Sports. You Can Bet On It!

We recently sat down with VP of Sports and Entertainment at Venuetize, Craig Duncan, who over the past month attended the Sports Data and Fan Engagement Summit and the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics conference. Craig has responsibility for the Sports and Entertainment (S&E) vertical at Venuetize, and has over 12 years of experience working with leading S&E organizations on how to best leverage mobile, data and analytics to drive deeper levels of fan engagement, sponsorship activation, and business profitability.

What were your top takeaways from the sports data and fan engagement conferences you attended over the last month?

First, it’s a great time to be a sports fan. The diversification of how we can now consume sports, whether digital or live, and the increasing combination of both at the same time, gives fans so many more affordable and enjoyable options than ever before. Secondly, there are so many new and exciting technology companies out there focused on enhancing the fan experience. This also creates a challenge for S&E businesses, to build a strategy and partner ecosystem that can deliver for today, but also is open to integrate new technologies in this rapidly changing tech landscape. Finally, if you don’t think eSports and the legalization of sports gambling are here for the long run, I would respectfully say you are wrong!


What do you think is the most interesting metric that sports teams are currently garnering from mobile app data specifically?

The fact that some teams are seeing usage of their mobile app as the number one indicator of season ticket holder renewals (for highest users), and churn (for lowest users), is extremely noteworthy considering the impact that season ticket holders have on a sports team’s business overall.

How would you assess the S&E mobile landscape as a whole based on what you are seeing at these type of S&E industry events and from your experience overall?

We are at a very exciting time in the world of mobile engagement for the sports and entertainment industry. Just five years ago, the infrastructure and technologies that enable so many of the ways we engage fans in personalized and useful ways were not available. The technology advancements over the last five years have dramatically changed the way sports and entertainment organizations run their business. More and more S&E organizations are running their business with a mobile-first approach in terms of fan engagement and experience.

I think the PGA TOUR is a great example of this. Eight years ago, phones were not allowed at PGA TOUR events. In 2011, the TOUR started allowing phones in certain areas at tournaments. In 2017, they changed their device policy to allow fans to take photos and video of on-course action during tournament rounds, which of course opens up to sharing on social media and so much more. As a result, they’ve been able to draw in a much younger demographic to their sport overall, which in turn opens the door to significant business opportunities, including mobile content monetization and new opportunities with prospective and current corporate sponsorship partners. In addition, fans are using their mobile devices onsite at PGA TOUR events for everything from mobile ticketing and payments to digital autographs, and so much more.

This all said, I believe we are only now just beginning to see the impact mobile will ultimately have on the sports and entertainment industry. The best is yet to come!

What is your advice for a sports and entertainment business when it comes to defining their mobile strategy?

First and foremost – have one. It’s a common mistake I see that sports and entertainment organizations are so focused on the current season and the ‘here and now’, that they don’t take time to map out their mobile strategy and how it impacts their key stakeholders not only for the current season, but going out at least three years.

I also strongly recommend building a mobile strategy that is truly fan-centric first. It is easy to say, but much more difficult to actually adhere to, with pressure usually coming from above to show immediate ROI on a technology investment. If you deliver a mobile experience to the end user that makes their lives easier and more enjoyable, they will engage with your brand at much deeper levels. Once you’ve built this trust at the fan/consumer level, app downloads and usage will increase dramatically and the monetization opportunities will quickly follow, along with measureable ROI. Pulling this off requires involvement and executive sponsorship from the very top of the organization.

What was the most interesting topic from your viewpoint over the two events?

In my opinion, the single most interesting storyline across sports business for 2018 is the legalization of sports gambling. It is no longer a matter of if it will happen, but when. You could really get a feel for how much momentum this development has at both events. When the short term monetary impact is measured in billions, and it directly impacts fan engagement, venue experience and so much more, I just think it’s a fascinating storyline from so many angles. I’m excited to see the role technology will have when it comes to empowering fans to gamble on sports events regardless of where they are. The new regulations will be interesting to see as they roll out, with laws most likely varying by state, which will only complicate how the on-the-go consumer is able to wager outside of a brick and mortar sportsbook. Mobile will play a huge role, as will the analytics aspect – where brands will be able to derive an enormous amount of data from legal gambling activity. I expect to see this topic gain even more traction, and a more prominent place on the agenda of these events and others in the coming years.