Gabe Lozano played baseball as a student and is now a serious baseball fan. A very serious baseball fan. A very, very serious baseball fan so dedicated to sports that he is the Co-Founder/CEO of the LockerDome, an online website “Where athletes are found.”
“The same as Facebook has become our social identity and LinkedIn has become our professional identity, LockerDome is quickly becoming an athlete’s sports identity,” according to Gabe. LockerDome promotes that “In less than 60 seconds you can launch a sleek, customizable website for your club or high school sports program. Your website is also your own sports social network where athletes can create profiles, upload media, and gain national exposure.”
On March 10, 2011, I posted a story on Women’s Month 2011: Shake the World and I included Justine Siegal, the first woman to pitch batting practice to a major league baseball team. On April 29, Gabe left a comment on my blog stating that LockerDome was working with Justine to launch a girls’ baseball network through Baseball For All which aspires to connect with 100,000+ participants in girls’ baseball. Gabe and I had a conversation and he agreed to be interviewed. It was only recently that he had the time to answer my interview questions. Fortunately, Gabe has been busy managing the growth of LockerDome.
LH: What was the spark of inspiration that led you to create the LockerDome website?
GL: I found myself sitting around all the time recalling sports stories from the 17 years of my life that I played baseball – they are some of the best memories that I have. I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if I had a more tangible way to reflect back on my sports life. Carrying this thought to a more general level, I’m convinced that we have three big personas in our lives – our social persona (Facebook covers this well), our professional persona (LinkedIn covers this well), and our sports persona, which no one covers very well. With that in mind, we came up with the idea of creating an identity system that can encapsulate our entire sports persona and scrapbook our entire sports life—from playing little league baseball to 30 years later coaching our kids soccer games.
LH: How do high schools use LockerDome?
GL: The bulk of our current customers are club sports programs, leagues, governing bodies, and showcase organizations, as opposed to high schools. The programs we work with have a reach over more than 700,000 athletes and include a lot of the top amateur sports talent in the country. For example, East Coast Pro Showcase, is a baseball showcase that annually has more than 40% of the 1st round MLB draft picks participate. We see a variety of use cases. Club programs use it to manage their teams and as a repository for their parents and athletes to upload media content and interact around their brand. We just launched an iPhone app where parents can upload video footage and post status messages directly from the field. We additionally see larger organizations, such as Baseball For All, that use it as a way to strengthen their brand by centralizing content and communication online, within their own sports community.
LH: Is there any pushback from parents seeing their children up on the web?
GL: Not so far. This has been one area that has been a pleasant surprise. Here’s why – imagine if you had two videos: one video was of you rolling around on the floor with your kids playing and laughing and the other video was of your kid hitting her/his first little league homerun. The first video—the one of you rolling around on the floor with your kids laughing—is something that you would consider rather private and would either not post it online anywhere or perhaps post it on Facebook behind a wall where only your friends can see it. The second video, however—the one of your kid hitting her/his first little league homerun—is something that you are so proud of that you want everyone in the world to see, regardless of whether or not you even know them.
LH: There are many parents who are proactive and want to help their child have a career in baseball. How will being part of LockerDome help that child be seen by the right scouts?
GL: We shy away from calling ourselves a recruiting service. Most of the services out their calling themselves recruiting services are selling snake oil. With that said, when an athlete creates a profile within the LockerDome community, his/her information becomes part of a rapidly growing database of athletes from around the country. As we continue to gain scale, LockerDome will be the first place that scouts and others go to find information.