Hi everybody, I’m Brian Clapp Director of Content for WorkinSports.com and this is the Work in Sports podcast.
Over the last decade or so there has been a greater emphasis on culture and environment in the workplace, especially in business but more recently in sports.
Not to get all “when I was a young whippersnapper” on you…but when I started my sports career back in 1996, everything was task-oriented. Get the job done. Period. My boss didn’t really care about my feelings or how I fit in or whether I felt comfortable taking chances in my role. And I didn’t expect her to.
If you messed up that was bad… if you messed up multiple times you’d be labeled as unreliable and never given the fun games to cover, or the next opportunity. That was sports and that was the media… we couldn’t really afford to be wrong.
Failure wasn’t seen as a pathway to creativity, it was seen as a pathway to a different career.
Around the early 2000s, my wife, then-girlfriend, was in the dot com industry where they played ping pong in the office and totally changed the concept of failure…this new wave believed failure was a necessary part of true growth and creativity.
This idea of failing to be acceptable always confused me. She played Half-Life around her office and I sprinted around the newsroom trying to get a story on the air and not miss a deadline.
We lived in very different work worlds.
But…despite 90% of them going out of business, the dot coms may have been on to something.
The sports world has come in this direction as well – there is more concern than ever for happiness, inclusion, cultural fits and more.
In fact, the same concept the dot com industry embraced in the early 2000s of failure being a necessary indicator of pushing yourself, finds its way into the sports world modus operandi too as we constantly try to push new boundaries in social media, content creation, branding, advertising, and marketing.
We can’t just recycle – we need to push new boundaries, we need to try new things, we need to be free to fail in the spirit of refining and developing.
It’s not the same as “do crappy work and it’ll all be ok” – it’s the concept that to be unique means you have to try things and you won’t always hit.
I heard someone say the other day – “if you want to see something new, better go to a different planet” implying it’s all been done before. I don’t buy this. I see new often. I see teams and brands and leagues pushing past normalcy daily.
And I see failure.
I think back and wonder if these things are inextricably linked – was I afraid to fail back in my early career and therefore less impactful? So I now feel more emboldened to fail and am more creative?
Hell if I know.
But one thing I know about myself is I do like an environment where I’m not self-censoring every move fearful it will result in my downfall. I do like running a group of people and trying to get them to work fearlessly.
Not carelessly, we still have to be accurate, we still have to do things the right way and be careful what we say and who we say it about… but the idea of trying without fear makes sense to me.
That is the philosophy of today’s guest.
I believe wholeheartedly that for a creative person, you could have no better leader and role model than Bryan Srabian San Francisco Giants VP of Digital Media and Brand Development. For 18 years he’s been a fixture with the Giants, and get this he started his career well before the internet, well before social media… and now in my view, he is the kingpin, the OG of the sports social media.
He adapted to a changing world, became an expert in a growing field, pushed the Giants to new levels and formulated a highly functioning team that wasn’t afraid to fail…and because of that, they’ve succeeded an awful lot.
But I’ll let him tell it – here’s Bryan Srabian, San Francisco Giants VP of Digital Media and Brand Development…