Russ visits with repeat guest Mark Floreani, founder of online sports media company Flocasts. This is a follow-up to our interview with Mark in August 2011 during which he introduced the concept for his company. (As a former track star and absolute sports freak, Mark is the perfect person to establish a media company to broadcast and cover underserved sports.) This interview was recorded on site at Team USA’s Olympic trials for marathon runners in the 2012 London Games.
Russ: This is the BusinessMakers Show heard on the radio and seen online at thebusinessmakers.com. It's guest time on the show. Actually, I guess I should say repeated guest, because with me now I have Mark Floreani, founder and CMO of Flocast. Mark, welcome back to the Bussinessmakers Show.
Mark: It's good to be back, in your hometown this time.
Russ: That's right. That's the last time we were in headquarters, world headquarters in Austin, Texas.
Mark: World famous HQ, yes.
Russ: That's right. And now we're in an event. But before we get to the event, let's assume somebody didn't see the last show with you being the guest, tell -
Mark: I don't know how that's possible.
Russ: There might be a couple, a couple. But why don't you share with our audience what is Flocast?
Mark: So Flocast is an online sports media company, and we build video communities around underserved sports.
Russ: Underserved sports? Like what?
Mark: Well, we are at an underserved sport right now. This is running, track and field. It's not one of those big four sports like NFL. It's not basketball. So we have four sports. We have running/track and field. We have wrestling. We have gymnastics. And we have mountain bike and cycle cross.
Russ: Cool. And you cover those as often as there are events, and present 'em off Web, correct?
Mark: Yeah. So we cover it. It's all based on video, original video content we produce, and then we also have the community produce.
Russ: Okay. Now I didn't even ask you this last time, but I assume that track and field might be your most popular of the four. Would that be right?
Mark: Track, running, and wrestling is actually, those two are our biggest - wrestling's not big here in Texas, but in the northeast, it's a pretty big sport.
Russ: Okay. Just to set the record straight, you're not just a media guy. You're an athlete, a former steeplechase runner on the college level, right?
Mark: Yes. I ran track at the University of Texas, and that's why we got into this. I ran track. My brother wrestled, and when we were competing, there just was no outlet for us. There was nothing to fill our need for content in our sports. We kept craving more content, craving to watch our sport, but we couldn't do it, so we started our own.
Russ: Okay. And how long has Flocast been in business now?
Mark: So we've been in business now since the day after I stopped competing, which was 2006, in June of 2006.
Russ: Okay, wow, so over five years now. That's cool.
Mark: Yeah. I've been at it for that, yeah.
Russ: That's cool, okay. But we're here out in the street, not for a golf cart rally. What are we here for?
Mark: We are here for the 2012 US Olympic Trials in the marathon.
Russ: Wow. That's pretty significant, isn't it?
Mark: Yeah, so there are three spots for the men, and three spots for the women to make the London team on Team USA in the marathon.
Russ: Okay. And how many actually compete in the race for those two categories?
Mark: Total athletes, I think there's 300, but obviously, there's tons of athletes trying to make it and then don't make it. You had to run on the men's side under 2:20 for the marathon, and the women's side I think it's about 2:45.
Russ: To me, that seems physically impossible 'cause I can do the calculation for a mile and go, "Holy smoke." Now you were a steeplechase runner, but I know for a fact from seeing you online that you have run a marathon. Have you run many marathons?
Mark: No, actually, I got challenged when I was at the 2008 Olympics covering it. I was gaining weight, so they said I couldn't run a marathon. So I just ran on marathon in 2008, the New York City marathon, just to say I did it.
Russ: Okay. All right. That's good. That's more than I can say, too. But my God, so tell us a little bit out, number one, the layout. What's the climate like? Do you think it's okay for a marathon?
Mark: Yeah, it's gonna be perfect. I mean, it's a perfect time in the season because it's about six months away from the London Olympics, and people can run the marathon, but then also run a track season. Here in Houston, it's a loop course, so it's about four, six-mile loops, and a two-mile little loop, so it's fan-friendly. And it's gonna be great. Yeah, the weather's perfect for this type of race. And it's a flat course.
Russ: Okay. So tell us about how Flocast covers an event like this.
Mark: An event like this - so the Olympic trials are very - you can't film the race. But, actually, we saw these sports are underserved. If you can believe, it this race is not streamed live anywhere. It's not on TV live, right?
Russ: That's a shame.
Mark: That's shame. It's a real shame. So people are just craving for content from this, and to try to get the experience. So what we do is we interview all the athletes beforehand. We've been having for weeks, blogs from the athletes talking about this race, January 14th, the Olympic trials. We've flown all over the country filming their workouts, just building up this day, and then were here in Houston finally interviewing the athletes. Tomorrow we'll be on Twitter, writing blogs, writing articles, giving updates about the race, 'cause you can't see it anywhere. You can't even hear it anywhere. And then after it, just telling the story of the athletes, interviewing them, and posting that stuff online.
Russ: Okay. So you'll have a lot of people actually following you on Twitter to know who's in the lead, how they look. Do they look strong? Are they doing well? That type of thing?
Mark: Yeah. For sure. Because there's men's and women's going on at the same time. What we do is we cover almost the whole field. So we're gonna say, hey, not just who's winning, but who's in fourth, who's in fifth, 'cause top three make it, right?
Mark: So you need to know where these athletes are and how close they are.
Russ: Right. Now for full disclosure, we still a day ahead of the race. And, in fact, this will be broadcast after the race. But today, have you been actually interviewing people already?
Mark: So our team, yeah, has been interviewing. Yesterday, there was a press conferences. We had the athletes predict who they thought were gonna win. So we just have a bunch of fun around this event.
Russ: Oh, wow. Do you do any of the interviews yourself?
Mark: I haven't done any today, but I was in Phoenix interviewing, and making videos for Katie McGregor, who runs for Reebok, and Hanson Brooks for some athletes doing videos there. So I still do that stuff. Less and less, but still get to fly around the country and film some stuff.
Russ: Okay, cool. So I've already given out the full disclosure statement that this will be broadcast after the race is over. But you're so good at this, we want to hear who you think the winners are gonna be, and no wagering, please.
Mark: There should be wagering. It may make the sport a little less underserved.
Russ: There you go.
Mark: So asking for my predictions?
Mark: On the men's side, the winner's gonna be Ryan Hall. He's based out of California. And on the women's side, I believe it's gonna be Desiree Davila, who runs out of Michigan, for the Hanson Brooks team.
Russ: Okay. Wow. So that begs another question. Do we stand a chance in London of getting in the top three for either of those two?
Mark: In the race tomorrow, there will be a silver medalist from the 2004 Olympics, and a bronze medalist from the 2004 Olympics on the women's side. So the marathon - you never know in the marathon. That's why it's a great event. On the women's side, I think the women's field is stronger, compared to the rest of the world. On the men's side, Ryan Hall's one of the best - he'll get top five in races, but the men's fields are just so stacked with many of the East Africans are just running some really fast times.
Russ: That's why I asked the question. Well, Mark, I really appreciate you sharing this with us, interviewing once again here at an event. It's real exciting. And I wish you all the success in the world with Flocast.
Mark: Yeah, thank you so much. I love being in your show.
Russ: All right. That's it. There you go. And this the Businessmakers Show, heard on the radio and seen online at a thebusinessmakers.com.