Davyeon Ross is an innovative technology leader and widely recognized entrepreneur. He has almost 20 years of experience in the technology sector. He’s the founder and COO of DDSports, a team sports performance platform fueled by wearable and smart equipment data. ShotTracker, DDSports’ first product, is wearable technology that provides comprehensive real time stats to players, coaches and fans in practice and live basketball games.
Davyeon founded Digital Sports Ventures in 2010. As CEO, he negotiated the rights to Division 1 college sports video across seven major conferences and set the strategy for the portfolio of content and interactive technologies. His vision of uniting college sports and digital media into an affordable turnkey solution has opened new doors for publishers, advertisers and agencies seeking to engage sports fans in a targeted manner. In 2011, Digital Sports Ventures was acquired by Digital Broadcasting Group, a top five video ad network headquartered in New York, New York.
Integrating Sports and Technology
I’ve been fortunate to be able to get back in sports and be able to really integrate two of the things that I’m really passionate about, which is technology, I’m a geek at heart. Technology and sports. I like to tell people I really don’t have a job. I really don’t work because when you’re doing something you’re passionate and love, it makes it so much easier.
Daveyon doesn’t pursue his passions alone. In fact, he’s upfront about crediting the people who have influenced him, and the people who make up his team. “I’ve been very, very fortunate and blessed to have a lot of great people around me. To be able to learn from their experiences to kind of impact my life going forward. … I always like to say and I tell this to my team all the time. It takes a village. It’s impossible to do anything by yourself. … I’ve got an incredible team.”
Team Building Through Functionality, Diversity, and Mindset
To create a fully functional village team, Davyeon focuses on three areas:
- “First of all, you need to understand functionally from a domain expertise perspective; what are the components you need. For us, we need hardware people because we have a hardware device. We need software people, architects, et cetera. We also need sales people, so we try to understand functionally what we’re looking for.”
- “I’m a big advocate for diversity. As I think about teams … I want people who look different, talk different, think different. I just want different people because when you actually bring different people with different mentalities, different thought processes, you just get a better solution. For me that’s a big, big emphasis. When you look at my team, that is reflective.”
- “Additionally, I want people who have the right mindset. Mindset and mentality is a big deal.”
ShotTracker: The Future of Sports Analytics
ShotTracker puts sensors on the players, the ball, and above the court, to capture as much data as possible about the practice session or game. “…it turns the court into this three dimensional object … a big video game in the simplest terms.”
Now we can actually track where you are on the court within two to five centimeters, and when you get that X, Y, Z data, we’ve written all these algorithms where we can actually populate a box score. Right now in a box score even in the NBA, you got eight to 10 people sitting there keeping track of everything …. Assists, turnovers, rebounds, offenses, defenses et cetera. Now when you get that data, think about it from a team perspective. You could say, “Hey, when we do two ball reversals and a paint touch, out points per possession goes up from .6 to 1.14,” or, “Our shooting percentages when we go down the right side and we do X, Y, Z go from 25% to 55%.” It’s really an analytics game. … It’s pretty powerful. It’s exciting. We’ve accomplished a ton but, we’re just skimming the surface.
Powerful. Exciting. Fear-Inducing.
Davyeon and his team are where they’re at by overcoming the biggest obstacle that faces any entrepreneur: fear.
From a ShotTracker perspective, we’ve had … I don’t know if there’s a biggest challenge, but if I was to sum it all up, I’d say it’s fear. There’s a lot of little challenges that bubble up. We’ve filed like 17 patents right now. What that means is that we’re innovating. We’re actually doing stuff that’s never been done. … A lot of new ideas, and with that comes a lot of stress, a lot of pain, a lot of fear in scientifically, can it be done? For a startup, that’s not necessarily where you wanna be because that gets costly when you’re trying to solve these problems…. I trusted my team, I trusted myself and I feel like we have the tools and the people to be able to all these things. … You gotta make sure the timing is right. So that’s something that I’m always fearful about. … We definitely are capable, and it’s not if, it’s when.
The ShotTracker Vision
The vision that we have is that ShotTracker should be to gyms, as wifi is to coffee shops. If you think about that, I don’t know of a coffee shop without wifi and if there is one, they’re not gonna last very long. Our whole thought process is that we wanna get to the point where it’s like second nature. When people go to a gym, they expect to get that data in real time and that’s where we’ll be successful.
The Team’s The Thing: Everybody Contributes
To make the ShotTracker vision a reality, Davyeon relies on the confidence and input of his team. All ideas are always in play.
There’s a certain level of confidence, but there’s a certain level of humility when someone else throws out an idea … Everybody is trying to one up each others idea and it’s actually in a very healthy way that we’re trying to one up each others ideas. It ends up being like this cumulative idea.So for us, when we get into problem solving or in one of those situations, it just makes us stronger because nobody is trying to say, “Hey, I had one eighth of that idea.” Everybody is just looking at it as a total team effort.
You’re not threatened by if there’s a smarter person in the room with some aspect of the business … that’s the whole genius in it. Realizing that you are not the smartest person in the room. If I am ever the smartest person in the room, I wanna leave that room. I’m gonna be honest with you because at that point in time, you stop learning. I don’t mind being the smartest person in the room in some facets. I just don’t wanna be the overall smartest person in the room at every single thing.
I think that your team appreciates that. Your team appreciates it. I remember a situation where we were having our collaboration as a team and we were throwing out ideas. I threw out an idea and everybody was like, “Yeah, we need to do that.” Then an intern, the dude was just there for the summer, he threw out an idea and I’m like, “That’s better than mine. We’re going with that one.”
That sets your tone for the team because when the team sees one of these founders will take an idea from an intern who is not gonna be here at the end of August, then that says to the team that, “Wow, how can I think that my idea is always the best?” It sets a really cool environment that’s conducive to thought provoking, brainstorming, and that whole concept of the best idea should always win.
Davyeon Ross: Successful Entrepreneur
Lifelong learning, the humility to accept a superior idea, building teams that are confident and successful, and supporting his team members in achieving their dreams are all aspects of Davyeon’s success formula. You can learn more about Davyeon’s background on LinkedIn, and more about ShotTracker at the ShotTracker website.
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