SBD/April 19, 2017/People and Pop Culture

Minding My Business With GameChanger App Founder & CEO Ted Sullivan

Sullivan's GameChanger was recently acquired by Dick's Sporting Goods
Name: Ted Sullivan

Position: GameChanger Founder & CEO

Age: 40

Where I’m from: DC

Where I call home: N.Y.

Focusing on right now: We’re baseball and softball-focused at the amateur level, so we’re in the prime of our season. So right now delivering a great experience to all of our teams -- about 175,000 of them around the world. Also, Dick’s Sporting Goods acquired us recently, so working closely with their team sports initiatives.

Best advice: If there was one simple piece of advice, it’s to be present. A coach and friend of mine named ROC MURRAY, who for a number of years was the baseball coach at Rocklin High School near Sacramento, I did a lot of coaching with him. He always told me to be present. I have young kids, so it’s being present with family, with my job, not being distracted by other things going on.

Exec I admire: My uncle MORGAN O’BRIEN was the founder of Nextel. Morgan is an incredible executive. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen someone who was more impactful, a bigger thinker and more loved by tens of thousands of people who worked for him.

A must for a new hire: Most of my interviews are more about emotional intelligence and ambition, and whether they’re going to be a good cultural fit. Ambition is the one that’s most important. The first or second question I ask in every interview is what the biggest accomplishment of their life is. Have they set big goals for themselves and accomplished them?

Book shelf: There are two in particular I’ve read in the past few months that I’ve enjoyed: “SHOE DOG” by PHIL KNIGHT was great, and then I read what’s become a popular book, “HILLBILLY ELEGY” by J.D. VANCE. I will read fiction that isn’t business-related at all in the evenings before bed. I want my brain slowing down and not churning on business-related things before I go to bed.

Must-have music: If you’ve been in my apartment recently, you’d hear the “MOANA” soundtrack because I’ve got a 4-year-old girl, WILLA, and 2-year-old boy, JAMES. Luckily, as Disney movies go, it has a very good soundtrack. I’d actually recommend it for parents with young children. I also like COLDPLAY and my brother-in-law is CITIZEN COPE, so I go to see him as much as I can.

First thing in the morning: I get to the gym before I check email and before my kids are awake. I get my workout in, come back, wake the kids and then will check up on email. I try to do my morning routine without my mind being cluttered by the day’s email.

Talking tech: From a work perspective, the two technologies I barely go 15 minutes without engaging with are Slack and Trello. Trello, you can use it a lot of different ways, project management and even with your family. Most of our company interaction has moved to Slack -- it’s a very powerful communication tool.

Food for thought: There’s a place nearby called the Blue Ribbon Federal Grill. They have one down in lower Manhattan, so I find myself going there a good bit. My wife MARGARET cooks, we’ll often have dinner at home, especially on weeknights when the kids are at home.

How I unwind: I’ve gotten to the point in the past couple years where I take vacation seriously. I truly disconnect. I was on vacation with my family last week in Florida for the kids’ spring break, and I do not carry my phone with me. I’ll leave it in a drawer back at wherever we’re staying. I feel like you get so much more value out of the vacation by completely disconnecting.

Day in the life: I try and be there for my kids when they’re waking up, sort of for the first hour, and for their last hour in the evening. I leave the office at a pretty reasonable hour so I can spend time with them. Within the day it’s a lot of meeting with my team here, trying to be as supportive as possible to my management team.
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