When I launched this site last October, I mentioned knowing what I wanted to do and being ready to go. Having not posted since then, I thought I’d give an update regarding what’s been keeping me so busy over the winter and spring. First, a little background.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved the game of baseball. Some of my happiest and proudest moments have taken place on a baseball field. I worked hard, and developed myself into a pretty good player. I played travel ball every summer, spent all four years of high school starting on the varsity squad, trained year-round and gave private lessons for a couple years in college. Once I became interested in entrepreneurship, my only business ideas were naturally baseball related; I even developed a highly detailed business plan for a baseball and softball facility which earned me 2nd place in a business plan competition through Grand Valley State University in 2009.
At the same time, I was developing a passion for online business. I officially started my first company, Studio 812, Inc. following that 2009 business plan competition, building websites for Michigan small businesses. In the past couple years, I’ve become deeply entrenched in the idea of building something big—the first of many large projects.
I can’t recall how many ideas I went through. From cause websites, to ebooks, humor sites, tech blogs and many more, I spent about a year beginning to build websites, only to abandon them after a few weeks, realizing I just wasn’t passionate about them. From that I developed my own personal “Rule of 3 Weeks,” which states: Give it 3 weeks. If you are even more excited about the idea than you were at the onset—you’re on to something. If not, let it go.
I was listening to an online business podcast on a drive from Traverse City, Michigan to Kalamazoo to visit family when it finally hit me. It was so simple:
Gee, what should I build? Well, I had that revelation in February of 2011. For the next nine months, I took it slow; kicking around ideas, putting together a game plan and gathering and fine tuning ideas. In November 2011, I started coding. The site has been live for a few months now, but I’m finally ready to announce Strike – The Baseball Social Network.
Strike is an online baseball community for players, coaches, instructors and parents. The basic goal of Strike is to take the entire experience of getting lessons in a facility like the one I used to work at for over $1/minute and bring it online for free. As a social network, you can send messages to your friends and coaches, post pictures, participate in groups and discussions, post status updates, and even earn points and awards to add value to your profile.
For players who simply cannot afford the high prices of a local baseball facility, users can post videos of their swing or position in the analysis section. There, your peers and qualified instructors can give you tips and advice to better your game. Comments from instructors are highlighted, and non-certified instructors can prove their value from their Strike Score.
Coaches can create a group for their team in which they can post schedules, stats and team announcements. Here, parents can get involved with the team away from the bleachers, coordinate rides and so on. Lastly, instructors can build their personal or professional brands by providing value to Strike players and promoting their own facility or personal training services.
In addition to the social elements, there’s loads of free content. I am currently writing around 160 pages of baseball instruction tips and resources, and will be making regular contributions to the The Baseball Blog.
Strike still has a long ways to go. It is in public beta and works, but has some bugs to work out and plenty more writing to do. In the next year, I will be adding high resolution images to the resource pages as well as a high definition instructional video series. All of this will be compiled into demo videos and free and premium ebooks.
Even if the site goes nowhere, I already consider it a success. I’ve pushed myself in every facet of the site and am really proud of some of the cool features and technical hurdles I’ve overcome. Most of all, I’m proud that it exists. It’s something with a ton of work left to do and unlimited potential—something that excites me greatly.
I’ll be sure to include more updates on the progress of the site and document it’s growth, struggles and successes. Go check it out, sign up, play with some of the features and let me know what you think!