Today we have the honor to interview Sean Flynn, President, Sports & Education at SurePeople, a leading behavioral and psychometric analytics platform.
Sean will be attending our NY Summit at Citi Field on November 15, 2023, so if you want to meet Sean you can reach out to him by clicking on the button below:
Founded in 2015, SurePeople is a technology innovator dedicated to unlocking human potential. They are committed to delivering positive, measurable outcomes for all stakeholders – their valued team members, customers, partners, and investors – by operating through our values and standing true to our mission: To make people sure of themselves and organizations sure of their people.
At the heart of their patented technology is the Prism® psychometric algorithm, revealing 54 traits and attributes across Personality (Primary & Under Pressure), Processing, Decision Making, Conflict Management, Motivation, and Fundamental Needs. Grounded in three decades of psychometric research and enhanced by advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), Prism® provides profound insights into human behavior and psychology.
One of SurePeople products is called SureAthlete, which provides athletic department staff & coaches with tools to improve talent evaluation, onboarding, conflict resolution, meeting preparation.
Here is a picture of their mobile app used for talent evaluation purposes:
As shown in the picture below, SurePeople also offers a product called Swiftly, which helps assess new student -athletes as soon as they step onto campus using tools such as Athlete Coaching Cards, Communication Advisor, and Team Advisor.
As shown in the picture below, teams also use it for conflict resolution purposes. They can equip themselves for handling challenging conversations with your student-athletes by leveraging insights from Prism, Communication Advisor, and Team Advisor.
SurePeople product also assists teams in preparing for meetings in both one-on-one and team contexts, enabling you to maintain focus on the needs of your student-athletes.
Their product is used and trusted by leading teams in the MLB (e.g. Oakland As, Texas Rangers), NCAA (FIU, SJU, University of Georgia, University of Miami..), USA Diving, just to name a few.
Here is a video that explains how the technology works, how it is different from other products out there and what the benefits for teams are:
📝Show Notes: Through this interview, we touched on his background, and his company and product. We also discussed the benefits for sports organizations and athletes to use his product. Lastly we talked about his competitive advantage, business model and plans for the next 12 months.
Best Quotes: Here’s some of the key discussion points and best quotes from our conversation with Sean:
On his background:
“I've been involved in sports for 28 years. I started my career in sports and the USL, the soccer league here in the United States. I started there in 1996 many years ago. I spent some time there overseeing the marketing and sales, and the external operations for the league office, which is still in Tampa, Florida. Then I left Tampa and worked in the national hockey league (NHL) where I spent 4 or 5 years, overseeing marketing branding, event booking for the Tampa Bay lightning”.
“We had an arena football league team at that time called the Tampa Bay storm and then the many events that come through the building as well. After I was recruited to come down to where I am currently in South Florida, where I worked for the Marlins (MLB), which at that time was called the Florida Marlins, which eventually became what is known today as the Miami Marlins”.
“I ended up spending 13 years in the Major League Baseball (MLB) in a lot of different capacities. Then I left and went back to soccer as the CEO of Miami FC, where I spent 4 years running that team overseeing both football operations, soccer operations, and the business operations. And ironically, or coincidentally, Miami FC plays in the USL today”.
On its behavioral and psychometric analytics platform:
“We use people science to really help people understand themselves and more importantly, understand those around them to put people in the best position to succeed. I always use this simple phrase. Some people need a kick in the behind and some people need a hug or a pat on the back. If you're doing the wrong thing to the wrong person, they may never become productive”.
“That connectivity, that relationship gets stopped, And no matter where that is, whether it's on the field of play, a football field, a basketball court, in an office, something happens and all of a sudden this person doesn't develop and then productivity stops and they may leave or something happens”.
On the various tools that they offer to pro teams such as the coaching cards:
‘We have a number of tools that help there. The first one is what we call a coaching card, communication card that's summarizing because there's a lot of data in your prism portrait. There are pages and pages and pages of these 7 different modules that provide this on understanding how a person is and what makes them tick”.
“In the world of athletics, that's pretty cumbersome. It's there, but if the end users coach or somebody in the performance department, whoever has or touches in the field. So for example Todd has a touch point with athletes and they're kind of going in circle, they need something on the fly. So we have what resemble as a baseball card. So these cards basically pull from all of our data, the 7 different modules into actionable coaching guidelines”.
“So it would give me two coaching tips for this individual. For example how do I communicate with this individual? What happens when they're under pressure? It can give me some blind spots that they may not be aware of. So we've got the backend of this in the platform. That's all of this data, but really actionable tips”.
On how its relationship advisor module works:
“Now we go into a relationship advisor. Again, it's a really easy tool. You click in relationship advisor, Julian and Sean. Julian, when dealing with Sean, do A, B and C, right? Avoid X, Y and Z. If he's under pressure or you're under pressure, that directive will switch. So it lines up two people through our algorithms and our AI pulls all that data and gives you this relationship advice that you can use a media. And then when you go to the group and the world of sport, whether that's the coaching staff or the full roster or a position group, it's your offensive lineman”.
“You drop in a team advisor and it gives you really actionable information and recommendations. Here are some strengths. Here are some potential liabilities, some to watch out for in the group, because you roll all the numbers up and then here's some advice and strategies on how to deal with that group”.
On the fact that its platform is highly scalable and is used by MLB teams that have lots of academies:
“We have major league baseball clients with five teams in the development system and academies in the Dominican Republic and some fall leagues. At the major league level, 180 players are in the system and 50 or 60 coaches and support staff and beyond that. So the scalability of this is really, really important to those organizations”.
“So now we've got this really powerful tool that an end user can capture and use immediately and it's scalable. So that's what we're. That's really the importance of the way this thing is built and how it's used. And there's a lot of other tools and bells and whistles that we can get into, but that's kind of the top line”.
On the fact that teams (e.g. Texas Rangers/MLB) use SureAthlete for talent evaluation purposes:
“Teams used our product for talent evaluation purposes. So the Texas Rangers (MLB), for example, use it for that purpose. We've done work with them and some other major league teams in preparation for the last 3 drafts. So we've got a really deep pool of data on prospects where they got drafted. Now we're starting to track their performance”.
“So we now know in talent evaluation that a first rounder looks a little bit different than a second through fifth rounder, and they look a little bit different than 5 through 10. Everybody on our system needs to start with taking the survey. So we get the data. So that's where the journey starts. So over the last 2 or 3 years, we have had 1000 prospects taken of those 1708 or more drafted. So we've got significant amount of individuals that are in our system now”.
On how its platform is being used by teams to onboard new athletes, players or employees:
“Teams also use our platform for onboarding purposes or when somebody steps into a sports organization. So somebody steps into your organization, and you've done as much vetting or they're on our platform already, so this gives you a really great head start to who you have on your hands. So you have a really strong foundation to know that this person needs a kick in the behind, or this person needs a hug, right? Or this person goes on, they process information from the kind of a feel or a gut feel or any hard facts”.
“Having that information immediately is extremely valuable because now you can get on to getting on of what you need to do: Coaching the team, right? Or doing the competency skills or whatever you need them to do and however you need to connect with them. So this is a solution based on the culture within the sports organization, because the culture is different from one team to another”.
On how a football team used their platform to solve a conflict between a player and the coach:
“So there was a football team, a college football team in the power five, and they had a running back who was a junior, a senior upperclassmen, who had been a starter for two or three years. We are in the third game of the season, and he was struggling in the first half because there was a new running back coach”.
“So they were still figuring themselves out. And he struggled in the first half where he had five carries for eight yards, something not very productive at all. The last series, they were three and out. I think he had two carries in that series or something that came off the field at the end of that half and that last series and the running back coach got in his face and he told him “We told you to get vertical. We told you to get vertical, and this was told to me by the director of football ops”.
“So the football player shrugged his shoulders, and sat down, and he played very sparingly in the second half, and he didn't do much. Even that night he tweeted something like I am not getting the respect and deleted it. So when we had our meeting, our follow up meeting with our internal contact, the director of football and the player personnel folks, and he said, I saw this exchange on the sideline on Saturday, and I remembered the card that with this athlete the coach needs to let him speak first”.
“He had these earmuffs on when he speaks, they come off, but I went to the running back post the game later on, and I said, listen, I'm going to remind you, take a look at this information next time, let him speak first coming off the field. And ask him. What are you seeing out there? What's happening? How do you feel? Give me some insight of what's going on out there instead of telling him: I told you, I told you they made that shift”.
“And the next week, he was back to being productive as a starter. He ran for 100 plus yards and it really solve the situation that could have spun out of control, even that sweet of a getting reset, the whole thing was ready to go on off the clip. So, again, anecdotal, but that shows how important our platform can be for teams”.
On some of the elite teams (Texas Rangers, Oakland As/MLB, University of Georgia, University of Miami, USA Diving, NBA Office..) using their platform today:
“We announced that the Texas Rangers and the Oakland As in the Major League baseball (MLB) endorsed us. We've done some work at many schools, such as the University of Georgia, the University of Miami, St. Joseph University, Siena, and Clemson University. We've also done some work with USA Diving. We're doing some work with the office of the NBA and that’s going to spread down with some teams, just to name a few. So we're starting to really get integrated and start to have some productive case studies, and you can find those on our SurePeople website”.
On their business model and pricing model:
“There's a one price flat fee for any sports organizations. But it depends on the scope and the size of the major league baseball organizations and NBA teams, for instance, but the pricing starts at $5000 per year where you can do the onboarding of athletes and get access to the tool. Our focus has been on division 1 athletics but we really created a pricing structure that fits division 2 division 3 teams. So with us starting at $5000 per year for athletic departments you can see the value in this”.
On their plans for the next 12 months:
“So expansion is always in the plan. Now 2023 was really our go to market year. All of these engagements that I referred to and which will be announced in 2024. That will be a focus on expanding that right at all of those levels such as supporting Olympic sports and individual sports. Our platform can be used in tennis and golf and wherever there's people that need to communicate and have relationships, whether that's your coach. There's value in having this. So the goal certainly is expansion”.
“Now there are a couple of things that are happening on the development front and this is really exciting. We've got a new app. The first step will be a new dashboard, a team leader coach interface dashboard, which we've really taken a lot of the feedback from both of our business clients and our sport clients. That will be even more user friendly. So that should be announced in 30 to 45 days, before the end of the year”.
“When we get into the 1st quarter of 2024, we have a new app that will be launched that will really change the way folks interact with our product. And again, the focus is on the end user interface. Our app will integrate with outlook and the calendar. For example, what's more important if you know that you have a meeting with somebody coming up and our tool will give you a relationship advisor 5 minutes before the meeting so you are ready for this meeting”.
“And then ultimately, which may be in the next 12-20 months, we will launch a next version of this called the heiress, which is short for Aristotle, which really is your life coach for an individual. So that's really where it's individualized and somebody can go on this journey and everything that's happening in their world will be through this module. So there's a lot on the horizon and a lot of cool technologies and our development team is really phenomenal”.
On the best way to contact Sean and his team:
“People can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. They can just drop me a note. I'm also on LinkedIn at Sean Flynn. You can find me there but you can also go to surepeople.com. I would love to hear from anyone, even if it's just to have a conversation”.
You may also like: