Happy Holidays All… Hope to see you December 11 for the Festivities! (November Blog)


I don’t want to jinx anything, but the Holiday membership mixer is really fun… don’t know how or why… must be the amazing mix of people among the membership. Hope you and yours can make it. RSVP to Nick.

There is always a lot to talk about at year end… how “this and that” came together... I usually try to avoid that kind of happy talk, but this year, please indulge me, because 2018 was a different year for SDSI.

The pulse of any Not for Profit is the renewal rate: the higher the rate, the more valuable the organization. We have a high renewal rate, but we know that we have to re-invent ourselves and stay contemporary to make sure we bring you the services you need, and to honor the investment you make in our business community.

So… 2019 marks a few high points in our quest to create commerce, new companies and jobs:

  • Gateway Development Series: for pre-revenue entrepreneurs or companies. The goal is to coach very new entities up to the Start line for the Accelerator. Our initial meeting at the awesome CBRE offices went well. We will proceed with these on a quarterly basis… details to follow.

  • SDSI Accelerator: new name same Springboard function. The metrics speak for themselves: 82 Graduates. $84M raised. 87% success rate over the 9 years. 46% women founded or lead. 1600 gratis mentoring hours rendered. Amazing!!

  • Masters: a new high level consultancy for companies looking to scale or pivot. This new effort makes our senior C level executives available to guide companies to their new objective. We have our first Company partnership underway now.

  • CEO Forum: modeled after several high level CEO forums nationally, the SDSI CEO forum provides an amazing peer group opportunity in a confidential setting. Our first cohort has launched. If you have an interest in participating in the second group, please contact us.

  • Breakfast Collabs: these are really fun and interactive breakfasts limited to 10 members. We meet locally and plunge into all kinds of topics. By now I hope we have reached every member at least once… if not, let me know!

  • Sport and Active Lifestyle Industry Economic Impact Report is nearing completion. It amazes me that our San Diego Lifestyle now constitutes $2 Billion in economic impact. We will share the full report in the next few board meetings.

That's it. Hope to see you December 11!

View the full November SDSI Newsletter HERE

What to do today (Oct Newsletter)

Friday morning…. What a Friday morning! Sunrise just hinting about the upcoming absolutely unbelievable San Diego day about to emerge. I jumped on my bike and routed myself down Cardiff’s PCH… the view was stunning. La Jolla looked like it was just a mile away… the Coronados were clear on the horizon, and ocean was glassy.


As I pulled into Pipe’s for my morning espresso, the eastern sky was slowly making its predawn change… the bluest of blue was in its way…

I tried to think about what I could do today in this town that the Associated Press called the “worst sports town in America.”

Let’s see, in no particular order and without much thought I could… mountain bike, street ride or cruise the sand. Or beach walk, walk the stairs, fly the Torrey cliffs, birdwatch, stand up paddle or surf or both… swim, snorkel, chase lobster, sail, row, or skydive. I could skate in a park or the new Olympic training ground, or down the street, or walk my neighborhood. I could play golf or executive golf or fly a kite or drone, or maybe go for a sail. I could go for a hike around the lagoon, or the desert or about anywhere in between. Or maybe a yoga session or a visit to the Swami’s park to meet and greet our street drummers, or how about heading to Borrego and try to spot some goats or sheep, or check out the foliage? We could ride our dirt bikes or cruise the amazing mountain roads. Or maybe get in a old guys’ hoops game at the Y… or maybe a little pick-up soccer at the park... or play a little tennis and our really good local courts?

Or maybe, just chill and think about what a great place San Diego is to live. Does an NFL franchise define a great city? Not for me, and a couple of million other San Diegans happily making a healthy and active life here in America’s Finest City!



Channel-less Distribution?? (Sept Newsletter)

Dateline: 20??: Channel-less Distribution?

Well, during my tenure here at SDSI, 3 years and counting, three events or occurrences spring to mind:

The first is the easiest one… we, you, all of us, have formed a community where there wasn’t one. It's an awesome thing for the home team to consider. Who would guess that a bunch of eclectic non joiners like each of us would reverse all previous experiences and join forces, rallying around our “healthy living” space and celebrating our role in setting the San Diego lifestyle business in motion. Wow, thanks to all of you.


The second experience was definitely Amazon. When we presented our first Amazon 1.0 clinic, I contemplated if Amazon was the devil or angel? I would say the question remains unanswered. But one thing is for sure. It has completely changed the face of buying, never mind retail.

It created very complicated selling strategies for major brands and similar actions by retailers. Specialty brands struggled with control issues and pricing. Retailers struggled with the same. Distinct market channels emerged to protect brands or prices or legacy distribution strategies. Pundits (me included) decided that the Omni channel was the answer… be everywhere, do a good job, keep high intentions… it will work out.

Uh, not so well.

The third wave hit me just this week when I saw this quote from the management team at Zumiez:

“With the increasingly blurred lines between retail channels, we’ve moved toward a channel-less world in which the empowered consumer isn’t focused on going into a store or buying online but rather transacting with a trusted retailer. With the barriers between the physical and digital worlds coming down and the increased speed at which individuals communicate, trend cycles are rotating faster than ever before. The same holds true for the pace at which demand for emerging brands can go from local to global in nature. In this type of environment where consumers can access so much information, a new level of transparency in retail is being created that is driving out inefficiencies within the market and forcing consolidation in the industry.”

Channel-less sales, empowered consumer, trusted retailers, rapidly emerging brands… brothers and sisters, the future is here right now. It’s an amazing time of opportunity. SDSI will do its part to create insights into the business tools for the future, continuing a special focus on digital marketing... it’s the new frontier!



Close Mindedness = Success Avoidance (August Newsletter)

Dateline: Summer of ‘62
“If everybody had an ocean
Across the USA
Then everybody’d be surfing
Like Californi-A

You’d see them wearing their baggies
Huarache sandals too
Bushy bushy blonde hairdo
Surfin USA"


Dateline: Summer of '62, Coronado

“Hey, who are these hodadds… so what about surfing and sandals…these Beach Boys should be the Valley Boys... They don’t even surf… Now we are gonna be invaded by a bunch of in land barneys who don’t know a board fin from a shark fin. I’ll still get my huaraches in TJ.“
BR, Yours truly,
Lesson 1: Close mindedness = Success avoidance.
Dateline: Summer of 2018, San Diego

Did you ever wonder, “how did they know?” In this case, the “they” of course is the Beachboys…be it accidental, serendipity, insightful…whatever. There it was for all to see: the global call to the amazing Southern California beach scene. Imbedded in those 8 short lines find the DNA for many of the cornerstone So Cal brands. In the interest of brevity, I will spare all the names and other events except Gidget, the 1959 Sandra Dee surf movie that “tipped” attitudes toward the So Cal Beach scene that exploded a few years later with the Beach Boys.

As a semi youngster grom at the time, I was opposed to all change as it related to “my territory” at the beach in Coronado. Rather than embrace change it made me all the more intractable:

“Hobie invented foam boards. Not for me. Balsa is beautiful.
Hobie grabbed our home-made skateboards and started an industry. Not for me.
Short Boards…you are kidding. No Way!
Hobie made amazing catamarans and teased us with epic surf crashes. I got interested.
Hobie made RC sailplanes. I was all in.
Oh, there’s school too…the beach was the antidote to that too."

Well, it turns out Hobie Alter was not the devil and the Beach Boys were not fakers, both were innovators extraordinaire. The amazing success of the many brands over the years serve now as a reminder that I had I been a bit more prescient or even a little insightful, I could have been part of the business end of the hobby. In fact, it took me 38 years in business to finally get back to San Diego and actually participate in the sport I have embraced for 60 years.

So the Summer of ‘62 is happening right now again. Innovation abounds. We see it through a slightly different perspective here at SDSI. It’s true our candidate Accelerator companies most likely do not produce surfboards or sandals, but they have the same innovation aperture that Hobie and Ekstrom and Rusty and the Aguerre brothers and all the other game changers had. They see opportunity all around them. They produce amazing new products and services in the Sport and Athletic Lifestyle space. Often they are techy. Often they are clever expansions of ideas as clear as “huaraches too.”

The cohort for our Fall 2018 accelerator program will be determined in the coming weeks, stay tuned to learn more about these amazing companies!



All God's Children (July Newsletter)

A few weeks back your SDSI team in total had the opportunity to attend the Brad Fowler Memorial Scholarship event on the field at Petco Park. Brad was Ron’s son, who struggled with addiction and was tragically lost at an early age. In his memory the Fowler’s started a scholarship fund for athletes who have overcome drug or alcohol obstacles and have gone on to be super achievers.

Well all us most likely think we have achieved a little something by this stage in life. I was cruising along feeling pretty ok about personal achievement …’til I heard the stories from this year’s winners. I will not be able to do them justice: imagine approaching high school as a 17 year old mother, or coming from a truly abusive alcohol infused home life or being accidentally fed meth amphetamines as an infant… and from this, pulling yourself up through the portal of sports to really excel in athletics and education… imagine. It's a good thing to remind ourselves that almost all of us started with a head start, specially compared to these amazing people. I can hardly wait to see them zoom by me on the road to life… super achievers is not sufficiently descriptive. You can help sustain these awards. Go to the Hall of Champions website and click on Brad Fowler Memorial Scholarship

We departed the field at Petco aswim in emotional thoughts. I have not suffered from addiction and somehow have avoided many of the associated challenges. By the time I hit the exit and started for my trusty Jeep, I have to say I was embarrassed at the riches I have in life…wife, family, friends, SDSI…that’s my community and I was counting my blessings.

Not for long. As we hit the exit I ran right into an immense human tragedy, the scope of which simply overwhelmed me. The depth and complexity of our San Diego homelessness is unavoidably there to see at a catastrophic scale. The Tailgate Park looked like an encampment: the block surrounding Father Joe’s are covered in tents and awnings and shopping carts, and of course the full and sad spectrum of the homeless community is unavoidably there.


You know, the reality is unavoidable, but solutions are not impossible. It's a very complex issue, fraught with both accurate and incorrect assessments by those of who are separated from the homeless community perhaps only by luck. The good news is there are many high-minded people in the public and private sector working hard to mitigate this tragedy. Fortunately for us, one of our leaders in the sports community is in fact doing something about it: Pat Kilkenny and his wife Stephanie are directing their efforts at Lucky Duck Foundation to create real world, tangible solutions. Check “One Act of Kindness San Diego" (1AOKSD) at the Lucky Duck website.

We can help them. As an example, they have created a backpack program. The contents are the must haves: socks, underwear, poncho, tooth brush, shoes or sandals, water, and hand sanitizers. Products many of us make: DONATE THEM! And for our bigger corporate members, why not create a matching gift program where your employees can make a donation to 1AOKSD and the corporation can match it. By the way Dan Shea, Peter Seidler and Pat & Stephanie are the force behind the erection of the three tents that were recently installed to help move the homeless off the streets. So, something can indeed be done. Let’s do our part here and help… donations, money, personal time. Remember, we are all God’s children!
Lucky Duck
Brad Fowler Memorial Scholarship

Full SDSI Newsletter here

WORLD Cup (June Newsletter)


Now there’s a word or phrase thrown around a bit… ”World” championship… let’s see, we have baseball World Series open only to the MLB teams located in the US or Canada. Or the NHL World championships… ditto for North America. The NFL is a little better… trying new locations in Mexico City and London. It seems a little cheeky to claim a World title if you don’t let the World participate. There are some much better examples: Little league Baseball for instance truly is global. Their World Championships actually is what the name implies.

And the NBA is doing a really good job. While many of us were transfixed watching the Warriors or LeBron, the CBA was busy, very busy with the China Basketball Association. Bet you did not know there was a CBA, right? Well there is and it is very big and robust, in some cases exceeding the amazing stats the NBA has here.

Of course, what prompts me to think Globally is the World Cup Soccer/Football event going on in Russia... This is truly a WORLD event with 32 countries participating in 2018. This number will swell to 48 for the US based 2026 Games. Viewership is historically astounding: 3.2 Billion people tuned in for the 2014 games. 42% of the total population of the WORLD tuned into Soccer. Wow!

The business marketplace is globalized. Entertainment is globalized via movie and music. In some new forward leaning ways, currency is being globalized with cyber currency.

Sport is next and it’s my premise that Soccer and Basketball will lead the way. A simple ball suffices for Soccer and a ball and hoop for Basketball. Throw into the mix instantaneous GLOBAL internet coverage and an African continent where 41% of the population is under 15 or South America, which is 50% under 21, and in China, well it's a lot!

Our membership focus is Sport and Active Lifestyle; local markets are maturing…. maybe it’s time to look around and see if we can join in on this “global thing!”


It's a “TRIBE.” Or is it a “Community?” (May Newsletter)

Let’s face it: all of us old time locals have a habit of referring to our place in the San Diego lifestyle spectrum as our “tribe.” The longer you have lived here, the more you become that; you were and are a pivotal and crucial Tribe member, put there to defend one and all from the “others!”

I have been thinking about this for some time so I went to our unofficial SDSI member, Merriam Webster, for some insights. Turns out a “tribe” is a group of persons having a common, character or interest. Yeah that's us… whether a cyclist, surfer, golfer, swimmer, walker, runner... or snowboarder, kiter, long boarder or now… a “foiler.” We throw up the collective wall (sound familiar), circle up the wagons and define ourselves by our activity. Good or bad are comments related ability, nothing more or less: i.e. “I am a (good; bad) short board folier.” Wow, really? Tribe for sure, summarized by activity.


Well, what if we were a group of persons with common interests living together within a larger society… hmmm. Mr. Webster tells us that is the definition of COMMUNITY. And I think it is a more accurate definition of our sport, active and healthy living “tribe” here in San Diego. While it is easy to describe ourselves by our activity, in the tribal sense, it’s also possible to tell us a little about what we stand for: i.e “I am a dedicated surfer. I surf everyday there is surf. But last year I joined the 100 Waves in a Day movement and raised $1,000 for the Boys and Girls Club.” Community member all the way, categorized by activity within the tribe and the greater social structure, namely our Sport and Active Lifestyle community here in San Diego.

It’s no stretch to say that SDSI has plotted a similar path: we evolved from Action Sport Innovators (tribal for sure) to San Diego Sport Innovators (Community for sure). It took us a while to realize that we are involved with businesses that help make the San Diego Lifestyle so amazingly appealing. Every tribe is here. But collectively we have magnetized ourselves into a core dedicated in part to helping our individual business, while, at the same time, serving as a gateway for all the other companies who want to join the Community. No walls here!

As a reminder, our Mentor Community has donated 1600 hours per year toward graduating 82 companies, with a 87% successful track record… who have raised over $80 million in Capital and, BEST of ALL, 46% are led or founded by Women.

Our SDSI companies do WELL as tribalists and do GOOD as community members. “Awwww-sssooome”, as we say in the tribe. Thanks for helping make it happen!



“Hey Sonny boy remember when we used to...” (April Newsletter)

...go to the store! Huh, what, go, as in actually go to a store?


It sounds cruel and disrespectful to our retail partners but everyone now has a pretty firm grip on the reality of the Digital Revolution. I remember that “dot com thing” in the beginning, way back in 90’s, “way back” meaning 20 or 30 years ago. We laughed at it and many ensuing generations of tech evolution, and the nerd population that came along with it.

Never in my dreams did I think I would be a part of the 91 million “Prime” US Amazon users and I never would have forecast my shamefully selfish shopping habits. Last week I bought a car gas cap for my Jeep online… $7.00. I may have hit the very bottom of the lazy shopper pit. My buddy Nick here, bought an awesome E-bike, same story. And we like retail.

But technology is moving forward, no matter what my thoughts are about it. And because we are immersed in the convenience and benefits of the Amazon generation, most of us have not looked forward. But we should, because we are barely 1 mm into the Digital Revolution.

As an example, Amazon is a retailer…their mantra is best prices and fastest, often free, shipping. But they mostly buy, hold and sell merchandise. There are over 100 million users here in the USA. They are driving new buying habits, empowering the consumer and forcing change on brick and mortar retailers. They are also forcing change on Brands. In those good old days Brands competed for customers with product. Today it seems like Brands are competing with Brands to get their share of the ecomm pie. Maybe that's why so many previously unique Brand offerings now look homogenized and the same?

But my point is that Amazon is a mega retailer, but in India and China ecomm is a PLATFORM, a universe of all things internet, and a flat out way of life. In China alone there are 600 Million (600,000,000) daily users on Alibaba alone. This world in some manifestation will come here sooner or later…might be the one thing that keeps Jeff Bezos awake at night.

For our industry I can now see the globalization of the marketplace… imagine a product designed here in California (make that San Diego), with a prototype built here on a 3D printer, with a manufacturer who makes it just-in-time somewhere else in the world, far away, and sending that same product direct to the consumer via FedEx, let’s say in Finland….all within a week. And just to round it out, with all transactions paid in crypto currency.

Welcome to 2020…2 years hence. Can’t wait!


Amazon, Quo Vadis? (March Newsletter)

As all members of SDSI know, Amazon is a frequent topic in our business forum. You can imagine the comments…from unprintable to laudatory. The question remains unanswered: “is Amazon a Devil or Angel?”


SDSI was among the first to poise the question 2 years ago in our very first Amazon workshop, presented then, as today, by Quiverr. Our local expert Ryan Mulvany pointed out to the crowd that “No Amazon strategy in indeed a strategy… for a train wreck. “ Three years later most all of us, retailer to brand managers, do in fact have a strategy. The choices are becoming more clear… sell direct, sell through 3rd parties or try the new Hybrid model by trying to do both. Many very successful brand managers have also taken the “no thank you” route and have actively, make that pro-actively, taken steps to make sure their brand does not appear in any Amazon portal.

All pretty good. As an industry, I think we have overcome the denial aspect and are slowly understanding that the consumer now is the ultimate brand manager. The advent and complete penetration of hand held devices has impacted the way we behave. Once upon a time Amazon was a gateway to lower prices. Now days it is often a gateway to convenience. Think about it… 20 minutes on the 5 to go 10 miles and 20 minutes back… or one click!

Yeah, I have to say Amazon is the little devil. I have made my choice. Its disruptive, annoying, unavoidable. But the big Devil is… technology. There is lots of good news about technology and one alarming thing: it does not care what you think about it, technology marches on with or without your endorsement.

The Industrial revolution is over.. completely. The digital revolution is about 1 minute old and it has completely changed our lives already. Want a glimpse of what could happen? Take this test:

What is the biggest economy in the world?
What is the 6th biggest economy in the world?
What is the 21st largest economy in the world?

Answer: USA, California, Alibaba! Make that, Nation, State and Platform!

We haven’t seen anything yet!


It takes a... Rolodex? (Feb Newsletter)


On an annual basis your dedicated team here at SDSI strategizes about SDSI… even though we do not produce a product or deliver a specific service, its harder than I ever thought possible. The reason is we are thinking about the value of an organization to... you! Our high level mission is simple: SDSI is a business development community that creates companies, jobs and commerce in the Sport and Active Lifestyle space.

At the practical level our mission is to connect. SDSI averages 110 active members per year. All in all, we represent many vertical business segments, all united by our love for San Diego and of course, the need to nurture our businesses.

That’s where it gets complicated as each member company most likely has a different expectation of the value they want from SDSI. We spend a large collective amount of energy assessing individual companies’ needs, and then try to activate our resources to help make it happen. When it clicks and we match purpose with result, everyone is happy.

Part of the strategy review is to see how we can become more efficient in terms of connecting the community. And the first step is to actually find out what SDSI activities really count! As a consequence we decided to add to our innate ability to guess by actually polling you! Do us a big favor and respond. The survey will arrive next week in your email.

So, what’s this Rolodex “thing.” Even in this digital age I think the word “Rolodex” is symbolic of connecting. One of the real differentiating factors that help make SDSI unique from other business organizations in town is the value of the SDSI collective Rolodex of contacts. We are not about exchanging business cards; we are ALL about the utilization of a data base that is completely relevant to our business space. There are 110 members. If each company executive shared 10 key business service contacts, you would have 1,100 core resources germane for our business space. That is a very powerful tool. And that's why we would like to hear from you!



It Takes a Community (January Newsletter)


The most common question we get at SDSI is, “what does SDSI do?” It has always been a tough question. Originally we were focused on Action Sports; that proved to be too narrow. The result was the development of the now familiar acronym: SAL… "Sport and Active Lifestyle" companies. That was far more effective and included far more businesses. But…what do we do?

The answer was we are a business development group focused on the SAL space and we promote, well, our business interests. And our Springboard program helps accelerate young companies. It's a pretty good answer: in fact we spend a majority of our time providing educational and networking experiences to the membership in different ways. In our recent past we have enjoyed a wide range of activities, Guy Kawasaki to valuation and Amazon workshops. Our revenue came from memberships. We try hard to render value to each member. Our renewal rate is our pulse, and we are healthy by all measures.

But the circle was completed when our Industry Chairman John Sarkisian noted in his Holiday message that SDSI has created a business oriented healthy living community, where previously there wasn’t one. The very word “community” implies a greater collective interest and a recruitment of resources to achieve a greater good. But what do we do?

SDSI is a business development community that creates companies, jobs and commerce in the Sport and Active Lifestyle space. Our membership represents the 1200 SAL business in San Diego, all of whom play a role in the San Diego Lifestyle. Our collective economic activity ranks in the Billions of dollars in Commerce. Our Springboard program is an engine of creativity having now graduated 71 Companies, helped raise $76M in capital, and enjoy an 87% successful track record. Importantly, in this amazing Year of the Woman, 41% of our graduate companies are female founded or led.

And the Springboard Mentor community in this year will donate 1,600 hours of selfless dedication to helping young entrepreneurs achieve their dreams.

So that's what our community is and does. We are executives, individual companies, ideas, investors, San Diegans rallying around creativity, business energy, and giving. Not Bad!
Springboard Class 11 recruiting is underway. Direct your favorite young company to apply and watch the magic happen!

Read the rest of the newsletter HERE

Congrats Class 10 SDSI Springboard Graduates

SB Grads Class 10.jpg

Portable, versatile, effective.  BodyFly Fitness brings new levels of portability to resistance workout machines, with consistent resistance for all ability levels, in a package small enough to fit in the overhead compartment of a airplane.  Started by a former NFL player and a military veteran, BodyFly is bringing hundreds of resistance exercises to small spaces from gyms, to aircraft carriers, to hotels.  Visit: bodyflyfitness.com

FuelSmart is upgrading sports nutrition by combining workout data and body type to create on-demand sports nutrition that supports any fitness goal.  By using readily available workout tracker data and leading edge technology, FuelSmart will serve athletes custom built beverages through vending machines and home delivery to make one-size-fits-all sports nutrition a thing of the past.  Follow the progress at fuelsmart.fit

4LBU stands for For Life Be You.  Founded by former NFL running back Prince Daniels Jr., 4LBU aims to bring mindfulness and meditation to athletes of all ages and levels, with an emphasis on at risk youth. Through books, coaching and camps, 4LBU spreads the message of how mindfulness improves all areas of life, sports performance included. The best athlete, is a mindful athlete. Visit princedanielsjr.com

Bold Brew
Bold Brew is the natural alternative to sugary energy drinks.  When founders Jack and Jake realized that their friends were turning to natural cold brew coffee to amp up before skating, snowboarding and other action sports, they realized they were on to something and Bold Brew was born.  A great tasting, affordable, all-natural energy drink, packaged in their signature tie-die print.  Bold Brew is currently on-sale throughout San Diego.  Find out more at Boldbrew.com

RevTek relief is foam rolling 2.0.  With a proprietary stationary roller and easy to follow curriculum, RevTek is unlocking the power of self-massage for all ages and abilities.  Manage pain and perform better by releasing tight muscles with a roller that lets you better control body weight and pressure, and get to hard to reach spots.  Find out more at revtekroller.com

Happy New Year (December Newsletter)


What a great time of year; tons of Holiday cheer and positive energy, and capping it all, we live in San Diego, a place like no other place! Our town is symbolic of the healthy, balanced, and active lifestyle. We have universities and patent density. We have more millennials on a % than anywhere else. We revel in our diversity and openness. We have amazing geographic advantages with the weather, the Pacific to the west, eastern Desert and mountains, Mexico to our south, and the US Marine Corp guarding our northern border with Orange County. And we have sunny weather and a sunny populace, wow!
It’s no wonder that such an amazing lifestyle has produced so many brands that truly reflect San Diego’s Sport and healthy lifestyle industry. For your small SDSI staff, it's a privilege to represent our industry, to help young companies accelerate to their future, to play a role in developmental plans for our larger brands and to serve as a link to the high minded service providers who make things happen.
Immediately after this year’s Holiday party, John Sarkisian, our Industry Chairman, sent out a brief note that really sums up our mission. I’d like to share this with you and thank each of you for your support.

“Reflecting upon the holiday party last night it occurred to me that while we continue to strive to improve as an organization to provide value and resources to our members we should not forget the core value our organization brings to the SAL industry.
Conceived by Marco ten years ago, accelerated by the Bill Walton and lead by Bob Rief, Nick Roth, Renne Catalano-Gussman and Dana Rowley, SDSI has created a community where one did not exist before. To see so many young entrepreneurs in one place benefiting from this community of leaders and mentors should remind us all that simply having a place to turn to when you have put yourself out there with an idea and the hope of creating a business might be SDSI's greatest value of all.”

Happy New Year!


Read the rest of the newsletter here

Early Bird Pricing Ends Friday! Future of Sport Conference Jan 18

Future of Sport Conference

Thursday, January 18, 2018
UC San Diego

Athlete Remix v2.jpg

Keep up or get left behind.  The future of sports is coming, are you going to be there?

What will the new generation of athletes, wear, buy, eat, watch, think?

Forces critical to the sports industry are emerging rapidly, leading to new opportunities — and creating blind spots. Facing an accelerating pace of change, it’s difficult to predict relevant business scenarios and to confidently deploy resources toward long-term plans.

SDSI presents: The Future of Sport Conference in partnership with Attention Span Media’s Sport Fwd Group.  The conference, taking place on January 18th, will feature talks and panels from expert futurists on topics such as Augmented/Virtual/Mixed Reality, Neurohacking, Sports fans in Gen Z, and Generation Remix: reaching the unreachables, and a keynote presentation by Guy Kawasaki!  This will be held at the amazing Qualcomm Innovation Lab at UCSD’s Atkinson Hall featuring a VR cave, 8k resolution video projector, and a 32 screen TV wall – the venue alone is worth the price of admission! Buy your tickets now at http://attentionfwd.com/sport-fwd-conference/ 

Who: SDSI and Attention Span Media
What: The Future of Sport Conference – addressing changes, opportunities and the rapidly evolving relationship between sports and technology.
When: Thursday, January 18th 2018
Where: Qualcomm Innovation Lab at UCSD’s Atkinson Hall
Why: Be ready for what’s to come and stay ahead of the trends.  Join us for the discussion on what the future of sport looks like from all angles, including participation, spectating, communication, nutrition, safety and more. 


Topics include:

 ➔ Generation Remix / Reaching the Unreachables  
 ➔ Rise of the Creator-Athlete
 ➔ Sports: The Global Superpower
 ➔ Mixed Reality: Augmented and Virtual Reality in Sports
 ➔ Training the Athlete of the Future
 ➔ The Remixed Athlete: CRISPR and Beyond
 ➔ Big Data: Quantum Leaps in Team Performance    

Email us if you have any questions. We hope to see you there!

Neuro Hacking? CRISPR? Enhanced Reality? [November Newsletter]


As a child of the 60’s, believe me when I say “enhanced reality” was an entirely different thing than it is in the 21st Century! Think about sports 10 years from now and your viewing habits… taking your joy stick to view any angle you like… into the huddle, fly over the linebacker… feel the crunch of those 350 pound super men down in the trenches. By the way, these athletes may have had their DNA fine-tuned for the NFL through CRISPR therapies. And they will surely be neuro hacked to optimize the brain-body relationship.

Home Computer… what’s that? Any child under 2 years old today will never see one. Television… nope. Maybe you, but surely your kids, will take in all sports, and most education through VR enhanced mobile devices… live stream it, pinch it off or send it to your 90 inch screen. Having vision challenges in all of this… glasses will disappear, replaced by an AR system that tracks your eye movement and focal point.

The Future is here, ready or not. So carve out a day and join us January 18th for the Future of Sports event at the Qualcomm Innovation Lab at UCSD. The tickets are available here. We can promise you that when you emerge from a visit to The Innovation Lab VR cave, your vision about the Future will be different, really different. The technology of the Future is here right now and we are happy to present it to you on Jan 18. Time for Change!

Read the rest of the SDSI Newsletter here

Future of Sport Conference - Jan 18th

Future of Sports Banner.jpg


Future of Sport Conference
Thursday, Jan 18 2018
UC San Diego - Qualcomm Innovation Lab

SDSI is thrilled to announce our biggest undertaking yet: our Future of Sport Conference in partnership with Attention Span Media’s Sport Fwd Group.  This full day conference, taking place on January 18th,  will feature talks and panels from expert futurists on topics such as Augmented/Virtual/Mixed Reality, Neurohacking, Sports fans in Gen Z, and Generation Remix: reaching the unreachables, kicked off by a keynote presentation by Guy Kawasaki!  

This will be held at the amazing Qualcomm Innovation Lab at UCSD’s Atkinson Hall featuring a VR cave, 8k resolution video projector, and a 32 screen TV wall – the venue alone is worth the price of admission! 

Early bird tickets start at just $119 (VIP tickets also available) so make sure you request your inviite today before prices increase December 2nd!

Learn more about the event and request an invite at http://attentionfwd.com/sport-fwd-conference/ 

Topics include:


October? Oh No! (and Oct Newsletter)

October brings Halloween, but that's not the only frightening event that happens this month: 2018 budgets everywhere are being finalized. All those “trends” we clairvoyant few perceived last spring are being converted into forecasts, also known as “promises,” monetized and added to 2018 budgets.

I can’t help the process much, but you can help us. “How,” I hope you said?  The answer is simple: Don’t forget to include your SDSI membership to your 2018 budget!

Just in case your Board, CEO or more likely CFO wonder what we do and why SDSI is worthy of your time and money, let me list a few reminders:
1.      SDSI is a 501C3, Not for Profit and dues are fully deductible for corporations and individuals
2.      SDSI is really a job generator: we help birth and accelerate companies (70 in the Springboard program alone.)
3.      SDSI graduate companies in Springboard have an 87% success record!
4.      41% of our graduate companies are led by women.
5.      SDSI mentors will donate, gratis, 1,600 hours this year - all to help others succeed.

My point of view is that SDSI is worthy of your time and money. Of course, we hope you share that vision; your support really makes a difference.

From a more tactical point of view, we also collaborate in accelerating businesses within our 110 member roster. Executive education is a reality when Guy Kawasaski speaks to our group… or Jeff Kearl… or our friend Beaver Theodosakis. Our General membership comes with amazing networking and a working series of events called the Founder’s Tool Box, things every young CEO/Founder should know. Our collective Rolodex is focused on our industry and nothing else. We are not a business card exchange club. We are about sharing resources, discussing issues and challenges that mean something in our space.

Remember that we as an economic engine rank right behind Ship Building in town. There are 37,000 people employed in our industry here. We rack up collective sales estimated to be in excess of $4 Billion dollars annually. Best of all, our businesses are focused on Sports, Active and healthy lifestyles. Our products are the San Diego Lifestyle.

So please remember to add us to the 2018 Budget and help us make it a great year!

Read the full Newsletter HERE




Learning through Listening (September Newsletter)

In these modern times, could it be that we are far too focused on ourselves…be it personal or professional…and have lost all ability or inclination to actually listen accurately?

It never really occurred to me until I got involved with the on boarding program for Sophomores entering the CSU San Marcos business school. Their challenge is simple: start training up very young college students for the task of actually finding work. The facts are stark: the average HR person spends 7 seconds reading a resume. 84% of all jobs are found through networking!  If that’s the case, step 1 is developing a network!

I am reminded of the Beatles point of view about the business day…”woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head…” That's the musical version of how many of us start our day; we get to work and focus on the immediate and in many cases, 8 hours later, head for home. It's a closed world.

Gen Member Mtg.jpg

Last week at our General Membership meeting we decided to test our own net working skills. We organized into 5 person teams and interviewed each other. What we discovered is that there is a lot to learn in a focused conversation…like “how to listen. Lesson 1 is ‘It’s not about you” when you are actively listening! Lesson 2 is there is a lot to learn from other execs in our space.”

Lesson 3 was really telling: the collective “rolodex” of 110 members, all in the Sport and Athletic Lifestyle industry is really powerful. Let’s suppose we each have 40 active contacts (way low) and we multiply that times the 110 companies: 4,400 relevant contacts, all associated in one way or the other to our collective business space. And it’s easy to access them… come to a meeting and listen and learn!

Hope to see you soon…keep on learning!

View full newsletter here

Small is the New Big

From NPD.com

In a recent blog post, The Future Looks PUNY, I outlined that many of the success stories amidst today’s retail malaise have centered on the ideas of Premium, Unique, New and Young (PUNY). These niche concepts fall under a broader, overarching theme: in the words of Seth Godin, “Small is the New Big.”

Across the retail landscape, from food to fashion, we see examples of PUNY. Small craft brewers, in their aggregate, are taking considerable share from the mass mega-brands. NPD published news recently on the growth of micro-restaurant chains and their impact to the future of the restaurant business.

In outerwear, we see that smaller brands are taking chunks of share from the larger established brands. Consumers are still buying fleece and puffer jackets; they just want a “unique” logo on the front.

We could even argue that some of Adidas’ recent U.S. success was due to the fact that Adidas was in many ways a “new” and “small” brand in the U.S. In 2015, at the low point of their history, Adidas had only 4 percent share of the footwear market; since then, Adidas has nearly tripled its share.

Read the rest of the post here