Welcome to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. Our latest guest is Eric Stark, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Slate!
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
Hello I’m Eric Stark. I am currently co-founder and COO of Slate. Before co-founding Slate, I spent five years as the Director of International Marketing for the NFL. Prior to that I spent two years in social and digital media for the San Francisco 49ers. I am a native of Southern California and currently reside in Portland, Oregon with my lovely fiancé.
What do you do in your current role?
I currently oversee the business development and operations of Slate. This included sales, marketing, customer success, strategic partnerships, ops, and collaborating with the founding group on overall strategy and vision for the company.
What does a normal week look like for you?
No week is normal when you are at this early stage as a startup, especially in the Covid era. I generally have a calendar full of calls with customers and prospective customers, constantly pitching Slate to new people, working with our newly hired Sales team on outbound strategies, working with our CEO on product strategy, and blocking out time to both catch up on the day to day tasks that need doing and thinking more long term about the company and how we get to the future we envision.
How did you end up where you are right now?
I started with the NFL out of college after doing some serious networking my senior year. I caught a break by an incredible mentor of mine and was offered to interview for a temp gig at the league. From there my career in sports and digital/social media began to grow. Over nearly a decade I gained experience at the league-level, team-level, domestic and international, running digital and social media strategies and content development. This led me to seeing a need that didn’t exist in the content creation space, and a deep understanding of the professionals that needed it. At the same time, my Slate co-founders were working on a different product and hearing from similar enterprises of this need. We came together and the company was born.
When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
I’ve been a sports fan my entire life. Growing up in Southern California I was a fan of the Lakers, Angels, and Chargers. I think I always knew I wanted to be involved in sports in some way, and when I realized my dreams of being an MLB player were far fetched, business was the next best thing!
What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?
The rise of the Stories format across not just Instagram, but any app that wants to display video in an immersive, mobile-first, engaging way. It’s only going to increase and make viewing experiences better, and content more authentic, for audiences.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
Take advantage of people’s willingness to hop on a phone call and tell you about their journey and learn from them.
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