A Q&A session with Noman Ahmad, Founder/CEO of SportsLab Inc. Read more about Noman on his buy viagra/10/founder-profile-noman-ahmad-founderceo-of-sportslab-2/”>Founder Profile.
Football season only just kicked off a few weeks ago so it seems like a perfect time to talk to Noman Ahmad, avid football fan, founder, and CEO of SportsLab. He tells me that SportsLab is a mobile and web application to help athletes in competitive team sports. How? “It changes the way coaches and teams approach playbooks and stats. Usually plays and stats are hand drawn or hand written by coaches. I want coaches and athletes to be able engage with their plays and inform them with the stats while having the ability to create, and share them quickly” he says. Players and coaches will be able to spend more time on the field practicing the sport if they use SportsLab.
I am a little worried that coaches who aren’t technologically savy might have problems. Noman agrees with my thought. “We have focused heavily on making things as simple as possible for coaches. We want creating a playbook to be as easy drawing by hand while having the capability to share it with the entire team”. In the ten months Noman has been working on SportsLab full-time the product has been the main focus, no little detail will escape him.
I can still imagine some people holding on to old methods of pen and paper. I question if people are receptive to the concept and he responds positively. “We’ve been fortunate with coaches and athletes who believe in what we are doing with their continued support and great feedback. We are currently engaged with the teams in the NFL and NCAA as well as high schools. A lot of teams have helped us so far and more are on the way.” he says.
Noman tells me that they have recruited some big names in football, but they can’t announce them just yet. Recruiting users isn’t one of his main goals right now. “Our goal for the next couple of months is to advance the product so that it better meets the needs of the NFL,NCAA and other teams. We want our product to be top-notch and available for any professional, collegiate and high school football team as well as youth” he says.
This catches me off guard and I mention that high schools might be a hard market to penetrate considering budgets and administration bureaucracies. This thought doesn’t bother him because he thinks that the high school level is where there is the most need for SportsLab. “Students and coaches have constraints on their time and need tools so they can work efficiently” he says.
I have been really impressed with Noman’s composure during our conversation. He is very soft-spoken and seems like a person who never gets upset. Of course there is no way any one can be a startup founder without the ability to handle up’s and downs in stride. I ask him what challenges him. He says finding top-notch developers is difficult. “We have been very fortunate with the developers that we have now, but finding talent in the Bay Area is very hard right now. We know that we will need more to grow to meet the needs of our customers” he says. He shares what he has learned from the experience:
My advice for founders is to convey your passion and conviction. It’s hard to find people who easily get in tune with that, but I think that is what is going to carry you forward through hard times. People that see your vision and see how passionate you are will become assets that help when you have difficulties. Simply said there are going to be tough times when working on a startup. There are going to be times when you need to get a bunch of stuff done and you don’t have enough time or budget. It’s during times like that your vision will keep everybody on task and moving forward.
I think Noman’s advice is really great and could potentially help other startup founders. It’s obvious that football is a passion for Noman. Although I would love to, I can’t talk to him all day and I ask him who he is rooting for this year to end the interview. All the seriousness disappears from his voice. This is his arena.
I am very much a college football fan. I very much enjoyed watching Stanford beat USC. I am rooting for Cal as well. I grew up in Oklahoma so I love the watching Big 12 football and bleed orange and black for my Oklahoma State Cowboys. As far as professional football goes I like the 49ers, but I really really like the Raiders. Hopefully they can be customer of ours and we can help them make significant improvements to their game.
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