PROCEED & BE BOLD
Our opportunity to help kids is now [ by: Tom Arrix ]
“Proceed and Be Bold” was my favorite poster that hung on the walls of the Facebook offices. No matter what office I was in, I was reminded to think big, make decisions, push ideas & not to worry about failing.
When I started at Facebook in 2006, there were about 105 employees. Those who joined the company over the years did so because of the community Mark was building. Facebook was amazing because of its powerful, purposed-based culture. At the root of the community were the building blocks of everyday life. Everything we did mattered. Why we decided to join the company mattered.
How we treated each other mattered. Humility & trust played a foundational role inside and outside the company. Our respect for one another mattered.
Many employees learned these life pillars for the first time in their lives, including a healthy percentage of the company, who were in their 20’s. At Facebook we were part of a purpose based environment, which was much more important than the individuals who worked there.
When I first met Seneca Blue, the founder & CEO of BLUEPRINT, I was amazed by his passion & understanding of student-athletes. Seneca talked about the opportunities ahead of them as leaders, people of impact, their value in the community & their ability as positive role models for their peers & the younger generation. What really hit home was his drive & commitment to build the first ever global community for student-athletes. Seneca has been focused on this mission for a long time. He has made sacrifices along his journey as a mentor & coach, yet never lost his focus & desire to impact the lives of student-athletes.
Our approach to building BLUEPRINT is similar to Facebook; Create an experience for people that brings utility to their lives, every day. Seneca & BLUEPRINT are building the framework for the future of student-athletes, which is why I invested in his mission. That vision is why our company & Adjacency Partners are excited to help them.
To clarify how we define student-athletes, we’re talking about all students who participate in any sports activity, club sport or inter-murals. NOT just the kids who are playing at a high level or those who play collegiately or professionally. The community potential is 65 million student-athletes, globally!
As a father of four kids (middle school to college), I’ve been fortunate to have coached my kids & stood on the sidelines watching the joy on their faces. I’ve sat around the dinner table & listened to them talk about how busy they are. They’ve shared their frustrations & fun moments & on occasion, I provide advice. Lives of junior high & high school kids are hard.
I was lucky enough to have played sports in college & beyond. The people I met, the opportunities that evolved & the lessons I learned along the way were invaluable. Times are very different today. Kids today have such potential but the world around them is much more difficult. Today, the digital connection for our children are experiences like Snapchat, Instagram, Fortnite, & probably too many seasons of Keeping up with the Kardashians.
What’s missing seems pretty obvious, there’s no digital experience or destination for kids to go to grow as people. They need a place to surface ideas, receive guidance, peer support, encouragement, develop skills or just plain listen to someone who might help them through a situation. Student-athletes play some degree of sports, work hard in school & have enormous potential. They are also surrounded with peer & parental stresses, wondering about friend group acceptance, athletic performance stress, classroom stress & jockeying for social status, etc. BLUEPRINT plans to change lives. We believe we can help shape lives by creating an experience that brings balance, inspiration, encouragement, mentoring, engagement, connection & education to student-athletes.
So why BLUEPRINT, will it really matter? The quick answer is YES IT WILL & here’s why:
Impacting the lives of 65 million student-athletes is an enormous opportunity. No mobile app, website, or company cares as deeply about their development & wellness as BLUEPRINT does.
It matters because kids today are dealing with more complexities than we ever did. Too many incidents of anxiety, too many hurdles getting in their way.
If we focus on the positives & provide tools to accentuate them across their peers, it will be good for kids & their communities.
It matters because kids with great potential have never been taught what being a leader is.
It matters because I’ve seen student-athletes with so much talent but not enough mentoring to help them realize their potential.
Too often drug & alcohol abuse has sidetracked their potential & futures.
It matters because too many times I’ve read or learned about a tragedy where a young person harms themselves due to mental illness, anxiety or eating disorders. Anxiety disorders affect 25% of all teens and 30% of girls!
It matters because kids want to imagine a better future & we plan to empower them.
Our future is hinged on today & tomorrow’s leaders. These leaders are 11-25 years old.
It matters because too many kids grow up in a culture of comparison & it’s time to teach them about the power of your having your own identity.
OUR PLAN TO PROVIDE ENGAGEMENT & SOLUTIONS:
We have a team of 300+ GameChangers who will create most of the content & tell stories. Most will be in video formats. The GameChanger ecosystem will grow into the 1–2k range within the next few years.
Content development will also be driven by BLUEPRINT.
Educational video series & mini docs alongside partnerships with filmmakers who can help connect kids & their passions.
BLUEPRINT originals that will be produced include: Day in the Life, Watch Me Work, Leaders of the New School, The Mental & Letters to the Game will all drill deep into real topics, opportunities & issues that face our kids.
We are creating partnerships to better deliver content around health & wellness, nutrition, training & much more. Bringing our users “Utility” is our product team’s #1 goal — the core of our game plan. We are building out a great team led by CEO Seneca Blue.
So Seneca’s dream has become my dream & the dream of hundreds of GameChangers.
The content creators, the storytellers, the people who inspire, will be the connective tissue between kids & empowerment.
We will share ways to improve on the field, classroom or within their community. We’ll provide insight on how to live a healthier life or ways to work through a struggle. I have 4 of the 65 million student-athletes living under my roof. I couldn’t be more proud of the people they have become. Their paths certainly have had ups & downs. They have exciting opportunities to be a force within their community & their schools. They have the same potential for success & the same desire to live the happiest life imaginable.
At BLUEPRINT, we believe our greatest opportunity is to make the lives of student-athletes better, through development & wellness, around the world. Where others tackle one aspect of student-athletes’ lives, we understand there are multiple factors that influence long-term success. BLUEPRINT & its core leaders are taking a page out of Facebook’s “Culture Book.” They too believe in the expression, “Proceed & Be Bold.”