Goal failed - here is a long winded introduction of my past 26 months ☠️
Hi 👋👋 - My name is Matt, and I am the CEO and Founder of Mainstage Gaming Network. Mainstage is a turnkey solution for municipalities to create and manage esports competitions for gamers in their community. If you have any questions about Mainstage, esports, gaming, or the introduction to follow, feel free to AMA. I graduated from Winthrop University with a degree in exercise physiology and a minor in biopsychology with a concentration in human performance. After Winthrop, I worked for my Fraternity's headquarters as a management consultant. During that year, I traveled to 45 chapters at their respective universities. I would spend 3-4 days at each chapter assessing business operations to recommend and implement solutions. I was recruited by the University of Alabama's MBA program and during that first semester. I went back to Winthrop for homecoming. I ran into a guy I used to work with, and we did that awkward 'what are you doing now' thing. He is the general manager of a professional esports team, and that was the first time I heard of esports. Being a lifelong gamer, I asked a bunch of questions about how he finds good players. He showed me Twitch, Discord, and the retweet accounts on Twitter. I left that conversation with a knot in my stomach. I went to the Dean's office that next week and asked for feedback on a business plan I put together. He said I should withdraw from school, and that he would save my scholarships if I needed to come back. I called my dad to let him know I withdrew from school, and I was moving to Rock Hill to start a company. He told me to work hard then hung up the phone. That knot was gone (11/2017). I had enough money to sustain a minimal viable living situation for ~13 months, but I had no money to start a company with. After being told I was a bad culture fit after 74 job interviews, I asked my dad to invest for the first time in my life. He said he'd think about it. A week later, I got a card in the mail from him. It contained a check and a note that said, "work hard and remember where you came from." (01/2018) From Jan 2018 - Dec 2018 I completed the following: studied the history and business models of every sport played professionally, read everything with the word esports published after 2015 on Google, messaged everyone on LinkedIn who had the word 'esports' in their title for an informational interview to discuss what they think the biggest problems in the industry are and what they think the solutions are, joined 400 online gaming communities across 67 platforms, learned enough Python to scrape things, became proficient with Sketch, learned enough CSS and HTML to create interactive prototypes, conducted over 50 market surveys, learned how to read and understand API documentation, used so many free trials of so many products to learn about features and differences, learned how to set up domain names and run A/B tests, did that with 27 different domains to better understand SEO, figured out how to use the dark arts of Google, recruited an advisory board, found a technology coach, recruited cofounders, and raised an angel round. Jan 2019 - October 2019 I learned a lot of lessons about hiring and working with software engineers as a nontechnical founder. I decided to let go of the engineers, which I should've done in April. November 2019 I ended up getting sick, and my dr. prescribed medication that I had an allergic reaction to that caused my skin's pH to become toxic, burning off from the inside. I packed a book bag with work stuff and went to the hospital, stayed a few days to make sure that I didn't need to be flown to the burn center. Sitting in a hospital bed, I decided to google hospitals with video games, and I discovered a nonprofit organization, Starlight Children's Foundation. They provide entertainment to terminally ill children, and Nintendo has been the largest doner every year, for 27 years. All hospitals have Nintendo Switch consoles. Hard pivot - inclusive and accessible gaming opportunities for everyone, everywhere. The hospital I was in was a Starlight partner, and I decided to start talking to the medical staff there about hosting an esports for the kids so that they have an opportunity to compete and be on a team. I recruited a few doctors and nurses who are willing to help. I reached out to Starlight, and finally, traction. December 2019 - present The hospital event is a logistical nightmare, and I love figuring out the complexity of it as we near our beta event. In the back and forth email time for the children's event, I wanted to create as many local, in-person, events as possible. I made a discovery. Looking up esports jobs is one of the best ways to understand what companies are willing to pay for, and how important 💸 it is to them. Noticed that every game developer was seeking an almost identical position. I also saw a sports bar chain was looking for someone to create an esports solution - awesome discovery - one of my fraternity brothers is the bar manager. Started hosting Mario Kart night at sports bars, similar to trivia night, on slow nights to drive traffic. Two events per week increased revenue by an average of $8,000 a month ✅. I went to the apartment clubhouse gym and rediscovered the movie room. Emailed the leasing office. Biweekly Super Smash Bros. events for half off rent ✅. Drove to my old high school, the new athletic director - fraternity brother. Finalizing the logistics with the school district to host the first location-based high school esports league in the world ✅. My cofounder leveraged his elected political position to get us meetings with the right people. Partnered to create a scalable esports plan for the recreation department ✅. More to come. Stay tuned!