In rowing, “open water” is when you pull away from your competition and create space between your boat and the boat you’re racing. I rowed for three years in college.
Promoting Fun Opportunities
My first job out of college was promoting athletic events for the university. This was 2004 and the main way to promote was to hand out flyers. The internet was still fairly new and a lightbulb went on when I realized we could use a website and email to communicate effectively with more people.
Now this seems obvious, but at the time, it wasn’t easy. We had to build our own email server and we regularly sent emails to 30,000+ students and community members. (It would sometimes take 24 hours or more for a single email to get sent to everyone!)
Websites, Promotion and Automation
My first site was built after I took HTML classes and built a site for the UC Davis Aggie Pack so we could share upcoming schedules with students. With 26 sports, we hosted over 150 events each year.
This started working! Attendance was going up. So was enthusiasm.
The problem was, every Monday morning, I would show up at work and the site would be outdated. I would then spend half a day manually updating the site with the schedule of games of the upcoming week.
That’s when I encountered a mentor who showed me how to connect a website to a database. I used FileMaker Pro on a Mac, taught myself PHP and built a site that would update itself as soon as each game was over!
(The was amazing in 2004, it’s easy now with WordPress.)
I was hooked. And this is where I fell in love with the process of promoting amazing ideas online.