Archive for the ‘Donald Trump’ Category
Catching Up With Kelly Perdew, The Apprentice Season II Winner and CEO of Rotohog.com
Peter Robert Casey
First media credentialed microblogger in college hoops history
Posted: February 2, 2010 03:16 PM
As the fantasy gaming space evolves more and more into the mainstream, no one is more positioned to be a leader and innovator in the space than RotoHog.com Chief Executive Officer, Kelly Perdew . Kelly’s entrepreneurial experience and vision, as well as his track record of success, puts him in a very unique position in a space that most media experts see as emerging as a viable, long term financial investment in the sports and entertainment world.
Rotohog.com, an industry leader in the creation of fantasy sports platforms for leagues, portals and major media companies like the NBA (official fantasy basketball game provider), Pro Football Weekly (commissioner and exchange football games) and Brazil’s ClicRBS (the largest online fantasy soccer game in the country) has quickly carved its spot in a crowded field under Perdew’s guidance.
The former Army Ranger is one of the veterans in the relatively new fantasy activation space, and his track record of delivering successful results with solid start-up planning is almost unparalleled in the business. Prior to taking the reins at RotoHog.com, Perdew turned two start-ups, one in the grassroots sports area and one in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, into the leaders of their genre. First, as president of the largest amateur sport portal on the web — eteamz.com - he oversaw the strategic build of a company which addressed the needs of recreational athletes and teams to connect, and is now serving more than three million amateur sports teams as part of Active Networks. Then as president of ProElite.com; he created an online social network that was among the most innovative in the highly popular sport of MMA. Under his leadership, ProElite, Inc. raised over $40M, including $5M from CBS, inked a three-year exclusive deal with Showtime for airing its fights and televised the first network primetime MMA fight on CBS.
Although known to the public mainly as the winner of the second season of the NBC hit TV show “The Apprentice,” and as the author of the critically-acclaimed book “Take Command, 10 Leadership Principles I Learned in the Military and Put to Work for Donald Trump,” Kelly’s real success has been behind the scenes, building and managing forward-thinking and innovative emerging brands. In addition to his three successful digital ventures, he has been a Manager at Deloitte Consulting in the Braxton Strategy Practice and served in the US Army as a Military Intelligence Officer and Airborne Ranger. He has also held numerous leadership positions in such companies as the Trump Organization, CoreObjects Software, K12 Productions, and eteamz.com.
Perdew has a BS from the US Military Academy, West Point, a JD from the UCLA School of Law, and an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA. He also hosted a show on the Military Channel called “GI Factory,” and is a celebrity spokesperson for Big Brothers/Sisters and The National Guard Youth Challenge Program. Kelly received a Presidential Appointment to the President’s Council on Civic Participation and Service in June 2006. He currently lives in Los Angeles.
Here’s a transcript of my conversation with Kelly:
PRC: West Point grad. Army Ranger. Winner of Donald Trump’s celebrated reality show, The Apprentice (Season II). JD/MBA from UCLA. Author. Successful entrepreneur. The list goes on and on. You’ve accomplished a lot in a little time. What inspires you?
Kelly Perdew : Fear of failure? (Smiles) Seriously, I love the hunt and the entrepreneurial spirit that these times present and games and sports really are still like the Wild West in the digital space. We have just started scratching the surface of what can be done, and fantasy gaming (not just for sports, but for entertainment, social and even regulated gaming) is really a very interesting place to be right now.
PRC: How did your military academy background and Ranger training prepare you to succeed under pressure on such a large stage (national television)? What is the single-most valuable piece of advice that Trump instilled in you?
Kelly Perdew : I wrote a book titled, Take Command: 10 Leadership Principles I Learned in the Military and Put to Work for Donald Trump, that specifically outlines why I think my military leadership background has helped me in business and helped me succeed on the show. I was very fortunate to be able to attend West Point, where they actually train leadership as a course of study. It is an amazing institution and they do a great job at training leaders, not just for the military, but for a lifetime of service to the country.
Donald taught me to think big. Too frequently people look at a problem and then frame the solution in a very small and specific way. Donald does a great job of solving problems in a very big way. He is also a master at using the media to his advantage - a very important tool in business.
PRC: Working for Donald Trump and the Trump Organization is a fantasy for many MBAs. You’ve moved on, but the fantasy concept didn’t go away. Talk to us about RotoHog.com, your fantasy gaming platform, where you serve as CEO. How did you position the company and your entrepreneurial experience to become a leader in the fantasy sports activation space?
Kelly Perdew : Upon my arrival at RotoHog 18 months ago, we looked at the assets we had and determined where the best position would be for the future. RotoHog has developed two amazing assets - a highly configurable gaming platform that is scalable and flexible and a team of game designers that can create very compelling games for our clients and their end users.
We have invested a lot of time and money in the platform and the team can solve any objectives for our clients (growing and engaging their user base, monetizing, exploiting social media and mobile environments, and we can do this in any language). We have created partnerships with major brands who need help accomplishing their objectives. It has worked very well for clients like Turner Digital, Fox Sports International, NBA, AVP, The Sporting News and now NASCAR and others. They can concentrate on what they do best and leave the below the line to us.
PRC: Fantasy gaming has evolved from its modest beginnings. RotoHog has worked with some very successful brands as you just mentioned. What unique value does your product offer to clients?
Kelly Perdew : The flexibility of our gaming platform allows us to configure very compelling games for our clients and we do it very quickly. The rotohog team can build and integrate a game for our client within 2-3 weeks. This gives our clients the ability to respond very fast to their sponsors for promotions, campaigns and we also provide very deep activation hooks in the games for the brands. These games are fully integrated into the clients’ sites, have open APIs for bi-directional sharing of information with social media sites, and can have features that monetize the user base.
The bottom line is we provide best in class game applications that are fun, scalable and adaptable to the audience. We can build games for any sport, reality show, movie release, social media site, mobile device…really anything with structure data. They run well, they look great and the technology is constantly evolving. For instance, you can see the broad range of capabilities we offer by comparing the NASCAR.com stock exchange game we just launched with “The Bachelor” game we launched for ABC.
PRC: Where is this trend going? What drives the growth of fantasy sports participation?
Kelly Perdew : It is all about fan engagement. For sports, it used to be with board games and baseball cards, now you get to really see what it’s like to build your own teams and really be the coach or the GM. It is going more global very rapidly. Yes football and baseball are still king, but anywhere there is statistical data to be mined and there is a passionate fan base, fantasy will be in play. Also, the styles of games we can provide allow for broader audience appeal - simple games that exist across all media platforms are allowing brands to grow their audience.
PRC: How does RotoHog.com leverage social media for your brand and for your partners/clients?
Kelly Perdew : The great thing about games is the way information spreads virally and some of our partners are the pioneers in the social media marketing space. They literally have millions of people online and engaged around the world every day. So by powering a part of that network with our games we are able to communicate in real time to a worldwide audience any new offerings or innovations that are a part of the gaming platform we continue to grow. All of the games we build can live in a social media environment in part or completely, depending on what our clients’ goals are. RotoHog is a B2B company and our brand to end users is not as important as our clients’ brands.
PRC: What is your vision for RotoHog.com? What does ultimate success look like for the brand?
Kelly Perdew : Success is simple: We succeed when our clients accomplish their objectives. As we focus on delivering compelling games that grow, engage and monetize for our clients, success fill follow.
PRC: How about for Kelly Perdew ? What will your legacy look like?
Kelly Perdew : My wife and i just had twins, so the definition of legacy changes a bit with something like that! (Smiles). On the business front, I love leading and building companies. The RotoHog team is the best at technology delivery, especially in sports and entertainment, and to some day see that we were part of the wave that created fun products for consumers to use as an escape from everyday life, and to further engage with their favorite brands, is pretty cool to me.
PRC: I would have to agree with that. Congratulations on all of your success, and double congratulations on your newborn twins. I really appreciate your time, considering how limited and valuable it is. Thank you!
Kelly Perdew : Thank you for the opportunity!
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Pre-game chat with “The Apprentice” champ Kelly Perdew : Are you ready for some football…and roses?
Colorado Springs Sports Relationships Examiner
January 19, 1:28 PM
MSN Health and Fitness reported yesterday that January 18th is considered by at least one study to be the most depressing day of the year. Is this lag in mood due to the weather, holiday let-down, or could it be something even more vital? It seems quite possible that after a weekend of NFL playoffs, you may be facing the reality that your teams, (both real and fantasy) will not be making it to another week. How can you find solace? The answer is utilizing “the best fantasy sports platform in the world”.
. For serious sports fans, there can never be enough connectivity to your favorite teams, a fact not lost on Kelly Perdew , CEO of an innovative venture Rotohog.com. Perdew, was generous with his time during our interview, to give insight into this exciting new enterprise.The former Apprentice season two champion, is taking his talents from the boardroom to the electronic playing field, giving everyone a chance to be a head coach or GM. By recognizing the importance of being connected, whether by mobile device, internet or social networking sites such as Facebook- Rotohog is capable of delivering your gaming needs in ways that sports junkies are craving.
Perdew says the decision to start Rotohog was an easy one, “it’s a natural extension of communication. Fans get sports when they want it, where they want it.” In a world where relationships are largely based on technology, this marriage of sports and tech savy is a match made in heaven. But the social dynamic to this sports portal is just as important as getting your adrenaline pumping over your beloved team .
But the fun doesn’t stop at athletics, Rotohog is bringing together the excitement of fantasy sports with the popularity of roses-no, not the Rose Bowl, but ABC’s the Bachelor…Here are some ways to get involved as a couple, so when you are distracted by your favorite pastime, you can avoid hearing Donald’s famous words, “You’re fired!”.
Do some recruiting: If you are in a coupling that revolves around kick-off times, getting involved with fantasy sports can be a great way to get your sweetie interested. There are a lot of girls who enjoy rooting for a team you like, or maybe just think the Colts have better uniforms than the Ravens. No matter what the motivation, ask you girlfriend or wife to cheer on your picks and she’ll probably end up just as hooked on the game as you. But keep in mind there is a trade-off looming…
The Bachelor draft: Ladies who are passionate about The Bachelor on ABC, can now take part in some serious gaming. Hunnies already have a girl version of a tailgate- getting together to watch Jake Pavelka narrow down his dating pool, while being with friends sipping wine and eating tapas. But don’t let this scenario fool you; there is some hardcore yelling at the TV if Jake doesn’t pick your girl’s favorite contestant. Well now you can be involved in this process via ABC.com. Rotohog has a Rose Ceremony prediction game featured on the website. You become the matchmaker and what’s even better, is as you accumulate points by playing often, you have a greater chance at winning the Grand Prize: a trip for two to St. Lucia.
In the huddle: Perdew, not only a success in business but a family man as well, has some good advice for men who get involved with the fantasy sports boom. In his personal fantasy league, that he has been a part of for years, there is an annual tradition- “the champion of the season gets a trophy, it’s a large mouth bass mounted on a plaque and it must be displayed prominently. For the last two years, it has been in our living room, so some advice is to really be nice to your wife. Take out the trash more often at least!”
By supporting each other’s passions, whether it’s cheering for Perdew’s favorite team ,the Broncos or picking who the Bachelor should send home, you will have a happy coupling and maybe even win some sweet prizes. Kelly hopes next year the Broncos will get some more points on the board, develop a more effective offense and keep the Orange Crush together- but as he modestly states, “ I’m only a fantasy coach”. In any case Rotohog is onto a great way to game with the one you love, while meshing the worlds of tailgating and fantasy dates. This exciting new activity is sure to boost your happiness levels, and before you know it, you may be wearing that Orton jersey while watching Monday night Bachelor.
Interview by Darren Heitner.
I am a big fan of Kelly Perdew. A mutual friend of ours, Joe Favorito, suggested that I invite the einner of Season 2 “The Apprentice” and CEO of Rotohog to the 2009 UF Sports Law Symposium. I took Joe up on his suggestion and Kelly provided some great insight for everybody in attendance. I then bumped into Kelly at a Super Bowl event in Tampa while he was celebrating his birthday. I am not sure which number birthday it was, but by looking at Kelly, you would not know he was any older than twenty-five. That being said, looks do not matter much. He has accomplished a lot in his young life and is a innovator in the business of sports. Joe Favorito again reached out to me with the idea that I interview Kelly for SportsAgentBlog.com. The result is below.
Darren Heitner: You went from winning the Apprentice to founding a successful fantasy sports platform. Fill in the space between. What are some interesting things that happened at that point in your life?
Kelly Perdew: I HAD A GREAT YEAR IN NEW YORK WORKING FOR DONALD. I LEARNED A LOT ABOUT REAL ESTATE AND EVEN MORE ABOUT BRANDING. I’VE ALWAYS LOVED SPORTS AND HAVE BEEN IN A 12-MAN KEEPER FANTASY FOOTBALL LEAGUE WITH MY TWO BROTHERS AND NINE BUDDIES FOR EIGHT YEARS (OF WHICH I’M THE 2 YEAR RUNNING SUPER BOWL CHAMP - CAN YOU SAY ‘THREEPEAT?!!!” - SORRY COULDN’T RESIST). WHEN THE RECRUITER CALLED AND ASKED IF I’D BE INTERESTED IN RUNNING A FANTASY SPORTS GAMING COMPANY WITH INSTITUTIONAL INVESTORS LIKE MISSION VENTURES, DFJ DRAGON, AND ALLEN & CO, I JUMPED AT THE OPPORTUNITY!
Darren Heitner: How has having a law degree been beneficial in your life? Do you think it is necessary degree or even something that should be sought after by sports agents?
Kelly Perdew: CRITICAL THINKING HELPS YOU IN EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR LIFE. BEING ABLE TO BREAK DOWN A PROBLEM TO ITS ROOT DRIVERS AND LOGICALLY DETERMINE POTENTIAL OUTCOMES IS CRITICAL TO SUCCESS. OF COURSE, IT ALSO HELPS YOU KNOCK DOWN THE LEGAL BILLS WHEN THEY COME IN!
Darren Heitner: What are some of the big sports law issues that fantasy sports platforms are currently battling? What do you believe has the potential to create potential legal problems in the future in your space?
Kelly Perdew: THERE IS ALWAYS GOING TO BE SOME TENSION BETWEEN THE RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH AND OWNERSHIP OF INFORMATION TO INCLUDE STATISTICS, LIKENESSES, LOGOS, AND THOSE TYPES OF THINGS. FORTUNATELY FOR OUR BUSINESS AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC/FANS, THE COURTS HAVE CONCLUSIVELY COME DOWN ON THE SIDE OF FREE SPEECH IN MOST INSTANCES. ADDITIONALLY, WHEN AN INDUSTRY REALLY STARTS GROWING LARGER, LIKE FANTASY IS NOW, YOU CAN SOMETIMES SEE MONOPOLY-LIKE BEHAVIOR IN CERTAIN AREAS - I THINK YOU ARE GOING TO START SEEING MUCH CLOSER SCRUTINY OF THE MARKET POWER AND MONOPOLISTIC BEHAVIOR OF SOME OF THE ENTITIES IN THE SPORTS SPACE.
Darren Heitner: You seem to be willing to travel often to speak to those interested in breaking into the sports business. What are some of the reasons why you devote your time to informing others?
Kelly Perdew: I BELIEVE STRONGLY IN GIVING BACK. IT IS ONE OF THE CRITICAL LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES THAT I WROTE ABOUT IN MY BOOK, “TAKE COMMAND: 10 LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES I LEARNED IN THE MILITARY AND PUT TO WORK FOR DONALD TRUMP.” ADDITIONALLY, MOST OF THE EVENTS ARE EXCELLENT FOR NETWORKING FOR PARTNERS, CLIENTS, INVESTORS AND POTENTIAL EMPLOYEES.
Darren Heitner: Should sports agents play fantasy sports? Why/why not? If they play, should they feel bad if they pass over selecting their client for another agent’s client?
Kelly Perdew: EVERYONE SHOULD PLAY FANTASY SPORTS. IT IS FUN AND IT MAKES YOU BECOME A BETTER, MORE PASSIONATE, MORE EDUCATED FAN OF THE ATHLETES, TEAMS AND SPORTS. PICK THE PLAYER YOU THINK WILL GET YOU THE MOST POINTS!
Darren Heitner: Your company just secured an additional $2 million in funding. How were you able to secure this funding in an economic climate that is mighty bleak?
Kelly Perdew: IT IS A VERY DIFFICULT CLIMATE IN WHICH TO RAISE CAPITAL. FORTUNATELY, WE HAVE STRONG AND EXPERIENCED INVESTORS IN ROTOHOG WHO BELIEVE IN THE TEAM, THE VISION AND THE SPACE. ADDITIONALLY THE TIMING OF THE FINANICNG POSITIVELY IMPACTS US AS NOW OUR CLIENTS (TURNER DIGITAL, FOX ESPANOL, AVP, ETC…) FEEL MUCH MORE COMFORTABLE THAT WE’LL “BE AROUND” FOR A LONG TIME WHEREAS SOME OF OUR COMPETITORS MAY NOT.
Darren Heitner: People are obsessed with athletes, which is a major reason why fantasy sports games have thrived. Will we ever see a game that includes sports agents?
Kelly Perdew: I DOUBT IT. THE GENERAL PUBLIC PROBABLY ISN’T THAT INTERESTED IN WHETHER AN AGENT WAS ABLE TO NEGOTIATE A BIGGER SIGNING BONUS FOR THEIR CLIENT ATHLETE. JERRY MCGUIRE MAY BE THE PINNACLE OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC’S AWARENESS OF WHAT A SPORTS AGENT DOES. COMPARED TO THE TELEVISED WEEK IN, WEEK OUT PERFORMANCES ON THE FIELD BY THE ATHLETES…A SPORT AGENT JUST DOESN’T REGISTER FOR A FAN. THEREFORE, IT IS HARD TO BUILD A COMPELLING GAME.
Darren Heitner: What would you tell an 18-24 year old who wants to break into the business of sports?
Kelly Perdew: REALLY IT IS NO DIFFERENT THAN OTHER INDUSTRIES - YOU HAVE TO BE PASSIONATE ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE DOING. RESEARCH, NETWORK, PLAN, AND WORK AS HARD AS YOU CAN. YES, LUCK PLAYS A BIG PART OF THE EQUATION, BUT, LIKE THOMAS JEFFERSON SAID, LUCK IS WHERE OPPORTUNITY MEETS PREPARATION. THE BETTER PREPARED YOU ARE, THE MORE LIKELY YOU’LL BE ABLE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE OPPORTUNITIES.
What really turns you on? Think about it … what would cause you to jump out of bed every morning with a fire in your belly instead of dreading that train ride into “work?”
What would you do if you could do anything in the world? Now, get ready for this question…Why aren’t you doing it?
You can always come up with hundreds of reasons for not doing something. I challenge you to focus on the reasons you can do it. A lot people know that I’m a big planner. You need to have a plan. Planning may sound like the opposite of passion, but the reality is the most successful and happy people are actually able to combine the two! Lay out a plan that will enable you to get to a place where you can have passion for living. That should be your ultimate goal!
I’ve spoken in front of thousands of people from all walks of life. And I’ve asked them how they would know what they were really passionate about. There are always some common answers:
· It is something I would do if I had $10 million!
· It is something that I would not think of as work!
· It is that thing I’m doing when I lose track of time!
How do you know you’re really passionate about something? One clear indicator is your attitude. Your attitude is contagious. It infects those people around you in both your personal and business life. If you’re upbeat, excited and energized about a project, then that message will come through loud and clear. Whether it is your co-workers, boss, friends or family, they will pick up on your passion. Conversely, if you’re unsure, slow and not really into it, then that will be the message people get. That passion, will infect the people around you. The people that support you at home and people on your team at work. If they are as excited as you are, then they’ll work that much harder. So, if you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you’re much more likely to succeed at whatever you’re doing.
What makes you passionate? How do you define success? I think the most important part of those questions is YOU. Too many people spend their time trying to do what makes someone else happy. I urge you to figure it out for yourself and don’t let others define it for you. A lot of people allow others to set their goals for them. Do not let someone else define success for you. If you want to be a high school basketball coach and know that is something you’ll be passionate about, then go for it. If you really do want to be a real estate mogul and think that will make you happy, that should be your objective. However, your ideal job should drive you and keep you excited. Not because your mom or dad or neighbors think it is “success.” Remember, you’re the one that has to live your life — nobody else does.
I am an entrepreneur at heart and love starting and growing companies. Throughout my career, I’ve usually been able to help grow and develop one or two companies at a time as an operator. It has been incredibly rewarding. With RotoHog, I’m marrying up two of my passions – Fantasy Sports and Growing Companies! Talk about exciting! That is something that gets me out of bed every morning.
During my last year working with Donald Trump, a class of middle school students visited Trump Tower on a field trip and Donald agreed to come down and meet with them and asked me to come down as well. They asked us all sorts of questions, but one that I remember very well was, “Donald, what would you do for work if you didn’t do real estate?” And Donald answered, “I don’t consider what I do to be work. I love putting together deals and building buildings!” What a great answer! Can you say that about what you do? Donald only sleeps a few hours every night and doesn’t drink, smoke, or gamble. He loves his work. It is his passion.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m also a realist and understand that there are going to be times in our careers and life when we don’t get to do everything we want. It may feel like a “dead-end” job or you may see the writing on the wall and understand that you just don’t want to be a part of your current company anymore. What do you do about it? How do you handle that? What’s your attitude?
I recommend you take advantage of that situation to create better opportunities for your future. Do not sit around and mope. Do not have a bad attitude. Take that opportunity to teach yourself some new skills. Even if it is something simple like learning Excel and Power Point or attending trade association meetings in your desired industry, do something that will further your ultimate objective. Once you’ve figured out your long-term plan, it will be easy to determine what activities will help you the most in the future. Don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself. Develop your plan with the objective of living that passionate life and start executing on that plan. Before you know it, you’ll be living that passionate life.
Wow, hard to believe that was December of 2004 when I won Season 2. My year working with Donald in New York was great and I learned a lot. Now I’m running RotoHog, a fantasy sports gaming company and we build fantasy sports games for companies like NBA, Turner Digital, Pro Football Weekly, AVP, and Fox Espanol.
The Celebrity version is definitely a different type of show. It is fun to watch, but any sense of the results of the task and/or the Boardroom really impacting the individual contestants is missing. I think it is great that they are supporting charities and it is fun to watch the various stars try to lead their teams through the tasks. I wonder if they are ever going to be bring back the “old” version of the show?
Do you think they should?