Tech & Football: Wins and customers are all that matter

September 21, 2013 By Archives, Sports, Tech

No matter how fancy your facilities or UX/UI, people want to play for a winner.

It’s that time of the year, football time! With the college season in full swing, there are quite a few stories early on, including the ongoing conversation of football facilities, and uniform upgrades. Before I get too far into the topic, I am not unlike any other football fan out there, I love new uniforms and awesome new facilities. I am actually a frequent visitor of, an entire website devoted to uniform aesthetics,, and, both of which take care of all the wanted knowledge of stadiums around the world. Kinda nerdy? Yeah, but i’ve always had an eye out for a new uni and a new stadium.

Where does the tech side come in? I’ve been working for a tech startup here in Chicago called SpotHero for about a year now, and couldn’t help but see the similarities between a NCAA Football program itching for a uniform/stadium upgrade, and a startup itching for a site redesign. Both believe it will solve their problems and move their program/company to winning ways.

College Football Arms Race

You don’t have to be a football fan to see the ridiculous College Football arms race that is happening these days. Heck, it’s even happening in High School football. Check out this story about a Texas High School Football team getting a $60 million dollar, 18,000 seat facility last fall.

Along with the facility upgrades, it seems like New York City fashion week with every spring football season – so many new uniforms! The trend started with the University of Oregon a few years back, and the rest of the country has ran with it ever since.

> > Every new college uniform for the 2013 season < <

georgia state football uniforms

The fancy new uniforms seems great on the surface – what 18 year old kid wouldn’t want to play football with the best gear out there? We were all 18 once, we remember how much it means to have the freshest pare of Nikes, or the newest set of receiver gloves. This stuff sticks in these kinds minds.

Every year something bigger and better comes out. Whether it’s 36 different uniform combinations for the University of Oregon, or a 26 million dollar football facility for Illinois State University (home team shout out!), the College Football Arms Race is in full force!

Don’t Re-Design for Design Sake

Similar to that of a rebuilding football program, or the University of Oregon, who redesigns every season, a lot of tech companies out there lean on design for…well…designs sake. Now, I have not been in the tech scene too long, but I have already picked up on quite a few tendencies of early stage tech start-ups. They love to have beautiful design, even if it has nothing to do with the product.

So many companies out there stress about the design, the look, the feel of their site or product, and most of them do not even have a product worth there beautiful design! Does anyone ever ask themselves “maybe we should figure out if people actually want this product, and then we can spend two months whiteboarding a perfectly optimized landing page that will convert 5X what we do now”?

Don’t get me wrong, I love design, probably more than most (Apple fan boy), but at the end of the day, you have to actually have a product. At the end of the day, you actually have to have a winning team.

All I Do Is Win – Win – Win!

I would argue, as much as those 18 year old kids love the fresh new Nikes on their feet, and the beautiful new stadium, they would trade it all in to win a National Championship. Because that is all that matters in sports. Did you win? It doesn’t matter how many points you scored, or how few points you gave up – if you did not win, they will not remember you. When the hall of fame voting comes around, they care about one state. W & L.

The same goes for tech companies. You might have the most beautiful product out there, but if you don’t have customers, you don’t make money, and you fail. It’s as simple as that.

So, ask yourself, what is more important, looking good, or winning?