In my experience, I’ve found it’s valuable to focus on what I want the headline to say and work backwards from there.
Tracy Deforge, a “recovering attorney,” has been starting, growing and selling sports-related companies for over 12 years. Her less-than-traditional evolution through business and legal affairs—working on professional sports and youth sports marketing, digital spheres, venture capital and now mobile—has been anything but dull. She has been involved in the start, growth and sale of multiple companies.
Deforge’s ability to jump into new roles, learn entirely different industries and aspects of business in each and add value is a proven positive. In multifaceted leadership roles, she has integrated each company’s vision, mission and values throughout the organization’s structure. Companies she has worked with and for include the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, Advance Media, Vision Sports Marketing, The Active Network, Accrue Sports and Entertainment Ventures, Route 2 Digital and now Burst.
Deforge is a graduate of Seton Hall Law School, is the founder/adviser of the national organization Women in Sports and Events’ (WISE) Boston Chapter and has completed six New York City marathons. She is the mother of two children.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently the Co-Founder and Co-COO of Burst, a family-friendly mobile video sharing solution. Burst provides an easy way for families to stay connected via safe sharing and storing—an organized place to access videos and photos from any internet-enabled device.
Where did the idea for Burst come from?
This idea has been kicking around for a while. As parents, we really wanted to share videos and photos of our kids with their grandparents, and there was no easy way to do that. With the evolution of smart phones, we knew it was time.
At first, the idea was focused on youth sports. But, like any good idea, it quickly evolved to factor in everything our children were going through: taking a first step, losing a first tooth, etc. As a mom myself, I need something that works with my everyday—a.k.a., Burst.
What does your typical day look like?
My typical day consists of waking up early; I try to get up around 5:00 a.m. to get in a workout. After my shower, I wake up my two kids and start the morning routine. We always have breakfast together, and then I walk them to school. This is by far my favorite part of the day, because we chat and giggle. Then I take the train into my downtown Boston office for a day of making the world safe for video sharing. Then the train home, with the effort to be there in time for dinner with the kids. Review homework, discuss the day, and it’s the nighttime routine. I lay with them until they fall asleep (don’t judge), pack lunches, check emails again and hopefully get to bed at a reasonable hour.
How do you bring ideas to life?
As an entrepreneur, I pride myself on being a planner and an executioner. I know there are a ton of good ideas that fall down because people can’t get it right, and a lot of bad ideas come to life because they’ve been executed well. In my experience, I’ve found it’s valuable to focus on what I want the headline to say and work backwards from there.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I’m sure it comes as no surprise, but mobile video privacy is a trend that I’m really excited about. I’m glad to see more and more people are capturing video on mobile phones, but there are concerns with how to share that content. That’s where Burst comes in—our solution provides a safe and secure way to share content from a mobile phone and store and organize it in the cloud.
What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?
I actually have never had a bad job, only bad employers. To me, a job is a job and you’re always learning. The people you work with teach you, but sometimes it is what not to do. That what I love about what I do today; it’s not a job to me—it’s a passion. Everyone should try to find theirs and not view what they do as a job.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
One thing I wish I had pursued is a joint JD/MBA degree. One more year of school would have made a huge difference in my current career path. Ah, hindsight…
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
My mantra is to always keep an open mind and always keep learning. My career has spanned a number of industries (laws/contracts, digital and MLB.com and running a venture capital firm, to name a few), and it’s important to be vocal about what you don’t know and surround yourself with smart people who do get it.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Like many, I’m challenged by maintaining work-life balance. As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to make work everything, and it’s a constant struggle to split your time among several different places. At the end of the day, you can’t give 100% to everything.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I would obliterate ignorance and intolerance.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources, and what do you love about them?
1. Audible.com – Audible is a great way for me to get my “reading” during my workouts and commute.
2. Cloud – Very general, but it’s great to be able to work from anywhere at any time. It’s changed my life.
3. Burst – I’m an avid Burst user (shocking!), and I love how easy it is to share videos and photos and know they are saved for me—without more work!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Born to Run by Chris McDougall. This is truly an inspiring, remarkable book. There is amazing spirit behind it. As a runner, I really enjoyed it, but I also think non-runners will enjoy the messages behind it.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
1. @85Broads – A strong group of inspirational women, 85 Broads connects powerful women across the country.
2. @gretchenrubin – Gretchen, author of The Happiness Project, is engaging and thought-provoking, and I really admire what she has accomplished.
3. @Caissie: Caissie, my BFF and strong woman, is hilarious.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
This morning, with my kids. They are the funniest people in the entire world, and without fail, every time I’m with them I laugh out loud.
What is it like to be the only woman working with all men?
Challenging! I tend to be the Team Mom (despite trying not to be), but as with any startup, you wear a lot of hats.
If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?