Dana Safa Bernardino
1Huddle Founder & CEO, Sam Caucci joined Bloomberg’s “Business of Sports” podcast to talk future of work, AI and 1Huddle! Listen to the full episode below.
Michael Barr: This is the Bloomberg Business of Sports Show where we explore the big money issues in the World of Sports. 1Huddle is a platform that supports workforce training through games and it’s already being used by the San Francisco 49ers, the Golden State Warriors, Denver International Airport, and more. We have the Founder and CEO Sam Caucci who is here to talk to us about 1Huddle. First of all Sam, thank you so much for joining us on the Bloomberg Business of Sports.
Sam Caucci: Thanks for having me.
Michael: So, Sam what is it? What is 1Huddle?
Sam: Sure, 1Huddle, we’re a tech company early-stage. We turn anything that an employee needs to know into a game on their phone. I’m sure all of us can remember a time, maybe it happened this week, maybe it happened, you know, over our career, where we got onboarded and we were forced to watch a bunch of videos or read a bunch of manuals and click through a bunch of stuff.
We take anything an employee needs to know to get them ready to work, get them prepared, get them coached up and again. We turn it into a mobile-based interactive skill game which makes it more fun, makes it more engaging, and makes it more competitive.
Michael: Very good, I like that.
Scarlet Fu: So, your clients include the San Francisco 49ers, the Golden State Warriors, among other teams, among other franchises, tell us how you tailor your offerings to sports teams and sports franchises?
Sam: Sure, as a startup, actually our first client ever was a sports team, client number one was Monumental Sports and Entertainment, Ted Leonsis and the team at on the Washington Capitals and the Washington Wizards. And when I was talking to those folks, one of their biggest challenges is, how do we get a new ticket sales rep up to speed, a new guest services rep, somebody who just moved to DC, and needs to know a lot about a venue that hosts 300 events a year and their revenue impacting, because these are entry-level roles that are selling ticket sponsorship partnership, everything around the venue. So what we did for Monumental, what we do for Madison Square Garden, some of the brands you mentioned is, we’ll take the playbooks and the seating charts and the feature and benefit sheets and we have a proprietary platform that will convert that material into a library of trivia games.
So think of it like some folks may know Duolingo to learn a language or Trivia Crack or QuizUp or other trivia games or Wordle, so now if you’re that ticket sales rep just got hired, you will learn everything you need to know about the venue, the team, the tickets you’re selling, by playing these these series of games and games drop every week so it keeps it really competitive and connects everybody on a leaderboard, and so we’re not only just scaling people up, but connecting them more, which I think is really important today when we think about the future of work.
Damian Sassower: Sam, I love it. What we’re talking about here is the broader trend of gamification, right, whatever that means but, you know, my question for you is do you find that your clients are more interested in potential productivity gains, or is it really more about reducing the cost of compliance?
Sam: So, before Covid, it was definitely compliance and sales, service-related,anything that impacted the revenue was priority number one. Coming out the other side of Covid, keeping people together, keeping people connected has become more important than ever. I think Gallup, who does, I don’t know, 2500 reports every 10 seconds, it feels like, they just came out with their most recent one, it said that employee engagement is a nine-year low, even lower than it was during the pandemic, employees are showing up to work, it’s not that they don’t know what to do, it’s also that they may not want to do it.
So today, some of the most popular games we build for some of the organizations we work with, like UEFA and Madison Square Garden, are games on each other. Games on knowing what the community is doing, knowing who the players are on the court, knowing about who your team member, your colleague is standing to your left or your right, because we find that if you feel better connected to the place you come to every day, just like players on the on the field, you’re more likely to perform your best.
Michael: Talking with Sam Caucci, CEO and Founder of 1Huddle, one thing I like about this, Sam well, a number of things, but at least 81 percent of the games are played outside of the office, for a simpleton
like me, I need a question like, “What do you tell your boss?
A. Ready to go to work
B. Ooh, did I party hard last night and I only want to tell you about the fines I racked up.”
What you need to do is have something like this, that has the entertainment value, and the excitement outside of the office and it’s important.
Sam: You mentioned gamification a second ago, and the average Millennial will have played over 10,000 hours on a game platform before 21 years old, Gen Z is beating that trend and Gen Alpha is coming up right behind them, so if you’re tired of complaining about Millennial and Gen Z, get ready. The point you just made about off the clock, you think is so important, workers today need to get up to speed faster than ever before given the rate of their job changing in a sports environment where information is changing rapidly, or AI is affecting the functions of work.
We need to use technology to meet workers wherever they are and it can’t just be between nine and five, so we think that how do you do that, you’ve got to make it fun, you gotta make it interactive that’s why we made it a game. It’s got to be something that’s mobile, so it can hit them wherever they are. That’s where we play on IOS and Android but we think that the concept of edutainment, educating people as you’re entertaining them, is a really powerful way to get our workforce ready to work.
Scarlet: Sam you are also an Adjunct professor in the Global Sports Business at Rutgers as part of the MS program. Can you tell us a little bit about how you see AI and software changing the future sports executives role?
Sam: I think it’s going to change everything. I think that there’s so much talk about AI, you kind of there’s two sides of the fence, it’s gonna take every job, or it’s gonna just create more jobs. I think it’s going to land someplace in the middle. What excites me about AI is it’s going to force our executives in the sports management and sports world to be great at being human, because the one thing AI can’t do, the one thing that machines can’t do, is be better than us at being human and as we use ChatGPT to prompt responses that’s all well and good, but the innovations around AI are really going to force human resource teams,
Sam: Leadership executives, to find ways to be the best form of what we are every day.
Scarlet: What’s an example of being human?
Sam: Being human in my mind means making mistakes and also admitting to them when you make mistakes, and also stumbling upon something that you didn’t intend. I think that it means that we have to, being able to relate and connect to each other, being able to be fine novelty, I think that being able to connect with our learned experiences with each other, you think about workers at work every day who are doing repetitive job functions. We weren’t built to do a lot of what work has become and I think that what AI is going to do is it’s going to take a lot of repetitive functions away because the one thing that a machine can do is repetitive functions better than humans. But that’s going to free us up to be able to use the power of connectivity and the power of strategy. And then free us up to do the things that I think that as humans we were intended to do, and I think we see that in the world of sport, I teach a sales track and revenue generation class in sports, 10 years ago, sales people used to write a lot of emails and set them on automated send and cold calls, they were largely being robotic. These innovations in AI are freeing up sales forces to be able to do things to connect with their consumers better, and in many ways has them stepping out from behind the computer and getting more face to face with our guests and our customers.
Damian: Sam I think Scarlett asked it a little bit earlier, I’m going to ask it a different way: why sport franchises? I mean, why the front and back offices of these major sport franchises, I mean it seems like a little bit of a niche market, no? I mean, talk to us, why are they such a big consumer of your product?
Sam: So, when I started a company like any tech startup, you try to find your first market to enter, and when we looked around, we said what is something in every market that brings everybody together? You look at LA, you look at San Francisco, you look at New York, if you look at DC, where does everybody come regardless of industry, regardless of wage class and it’s the sports venue.
It’s Capital One Arena, it’s Madison Square Garden, it’s Levi’s Stadium, it’s SoFi Stadium, and we said that as an early stage company we have to either succeed fast or fail fast and we said there’s only 120-plus worse franchises in the US. Let’s target those as our starting point, and it’s been a great, it’s been an opportunity for us to not just land and learn, but we’ve also simultaneously learned that at a sports venue, the types of people that come into a sports venue to work every day range our community when it comes to like socio-economic backgrounds. You literally have hourly workers who are walking in to work the gate, who, more than likely, don’t have a college degree, and more than likely struggle with credentials.
And then you also have someone who walks into the corner office who has a four-year or advanced degree, who’s making six figures and they’re working side by side, so one part of me as an early stage company, which we said we wanted to do this would be an opportunity for us to learn. Our products can affect people in a community and in the process we learned that, what 1Huddle is really doing is not just training people for work, but it’s creating an environment where every worker, regardless of where you sit in your community, can compete to win the job that you may want to pursue but right now. You may just be in concessions, but if you want to be the Ticket Sales Rep next, win the game.
Michael: Sam Caucci, CEO and founder of 1Huddle. I’m expecting the box home game version of this because this is gonna take over. I like this.
Damian: I’m expecting sport books to start making lines on whether or not somebody passes their compliance tests.
Sam: That would be wild.
Michael: This is why we can’t have nice things. Thank you Sam, we appreciate it. Thank you for joining us on the Bloomberg Business of Sports.
1Huddle is a coaching and development platform that uses quick-burst mobile games to more quickly and effectively educate, elevate, and energize your workforce — from frontline to full-time.
With a mobile-first approach to preparing the modern worker, a mobile library of 3,000+ quick-burst employee skill games, an on-demand game marketplace that covers 16 unique workforce skill areas, and the option for personalized content, 1Huddle is changing the way organizations think about their training – from a one-time boring onboarding experience to a continuous motivational tool.
Key clients include Loews Hotels, Novartis, Madison Square Garden, PIMCO, TAO Group, and the United States Air Force. To learn more about 1Huddle and its platform, please visit 1huddle.co.
Dana Safa Bernardino, Manager of Digital Marketing at 1Huddle
"1Huddle is a great tool to drive knowledge retention and make it sticky, make it fun, and also serves as a huge analytics tool for us to understand the quality of the stuff we’re rolling out.”
—James Webb, Global People Development & Engagement
Annual savings per location (312+)
“All of a sudden, people are playing the game multiple times a day to rack up points to get to the top of the leaderboard.”
—Lauren Constable, VP of Operations
Annual savings opening
5 new locations
“This thing is amazing. I’m awestruck with the power of this tool. 1Huddle makes running and operating restaurants fun and greatly increases our employees’ knowledge.”
—Tony Daddabbo, Director of Training
in training time
Annual savings across 60 locations