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Volume 21 No. 1
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Plugged In: Zach Maurides, Teamworks

Zach Maurides was a sophomore football player at Duke in 2004 when he came up with the idea for a mobile app that would make communication easier for large groups. He launched Teamworks in 2005, and last year raised $6 million in new capital. The firm services more than 1,000 pro and college clients globally. And with the NCAA as a client, Teamworks is the hub of communications for the 132 teams in the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

As a society, the reason we’ve moved more toward text and chat messaging is that it’s just the most efficient way to communicate. It sounds strange to say, but email is going the way of dinosaurs. It already has. The next generation that’s entering the workforce just doesn’t respond to email. It’s a less efficient form of communication.

On the root of Teamworks’ success: What we’ve done is digitize the whole flow and exchange of information, and it’s all happening on your phone. It’s built for a mobile workforce.

On the company’s role with the NCAA tournaments: You’ve got 132 teams competing in multiple locations with very quick turnarounds. That means we have to process a lot of information in a short period of time. We’re providing them with information on airlines and where they’re staying, bus companies, practices, shoot-arounds, media events … it’s all handled on the Teamworks platform. They have access to a dynamic schedule that reflects all updates, like a delay in the start time for TV.

On gravitating to faster, more efficient means of communication: I have family members just five or six years my junior who get annoyed when I leave a voicemail, because who uses voicemail anymore? And they’re right. A text message is far more efficient and less disruptive. That’s why there’s technology that converts voicemails to text.

On making the Teamworks platform a way to drive revenue: Universities are putting their donors and corporate sponsors on the system and it takes them to a fully branded experience in the team colors with a schedule of events specific to the donor. That could be exclusive access to information or videos or coaches’ messages. …You can snap a picture or video of the scene in the locker room and share that with your top 50 donors or your top sponsors. It makes them feel special with exclusive and instantaneous content.

On the power of communication: The really great leaders don’t just care about communication, they innovate their communication. … The great leaders are the ones trying to find new, more efficient ways to do things. … You can add more parts to the machine, but communication is really the grease within the machine.

                                                                                                                             — Michael Smith