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NFLPA creates program to expose players to tech industry: A player’s point of view – Shane Vereen

Shane Vereen explains what he learned after visiting Twitter as part of the NFLPA's program to expose its players to the business and tech world.

In an effort expose its players to businesses in the tech space, the NFLPA set up site-visits and meetings for NFL players to meet with some of the largest tech companies in the U.S. over Super Bowl week. Focuses included social media, gaming, venture capital, mobile apps and wearable technology  with companies such as Uber, Facebook, Twitter, EA, and Intel. It allowed the players an opportunity to network with top execs and staff at every level, and see what a career in tech looks like post –playing career. Over the next few days we will run a series of player contributions discussing what they learned and how they benefited from the NFLPA’s program. Below is the second piece by Shane Vereen, and here is the first contribution from the New York Giants Mark Herzlich.

SAN FRANCISCO – When I graduated from Cal five years ago, a number of friends of mine stayed in the area. As I moved on to the NFL, they stayed in the Berkeley and Silicon Valley areas, taking jobs that kept them in the tech industry. So I’ve always felt that I had a pulse on what life was like out here, getting little tidbits from them every now and then when we caught up. It’s a cutting-edge place, there’s no question about that.

But until you’re out here and see it for yourself, it’s hard to fathom just how revolutionary this area of the country is.

For me, being at Twitter’s headquarters on Friday was so eye-opening. I’m a big user and have been for over five years now, but until I walked in that building as part of the NFLPA’s Tech Tour during Super Bowl week, I never really appreciated it. Just walking in and seeing every tweet – really, they have every tweet — was something else. It kind of blew my mind, as far as that there’s that many people using Twitter and there’s someone watching all the different things being said.

Especially from athletes.

Being a pro football player, I’m fully aware that having a presence on social media – especially a platform like Twitter – puts athletes in a position they’ve never been in before. We not only can have direct interaction with fans, but we can create business opportunities for ourselves that have never been available before. But seeing how Twitter monitors athletes, looking for different business opportunities, really changed my thinking about the platform.

I really never thought about it that way before this experience of speaking with people from the company, it’s more than just the app on my phone. I feel like I understand Twitter more. I understand how I can market myself better through Twitter. I understand the value more. Talking to different companies and being able to reach out to them and see how they choose players for endorsements. It’s really not based on popularity.

Players are able to generate business opportunities simply by being different on social media platforms. You can get endorsement deals simply based on what your interests are. Like, if you’re interested in a certain brand of water, then that company is more apt to reach out to you and create a partnership. Because through your Twitter or Facebook or Instagram feed, you can reach even more consumers then they can through regular marketing. You essentially become a personal marketing tool.

Spending time with some of the best minds in this industry over the past few days has really enlightened me on how to use it as best as possible. To get as much out of it as I can, by not just being another athlete looking to strike an endorsement deal. But to rise above that and become a party that a business wants to invest in.

That instantly makes Twitter or Facebook or Instagram more than an app in my eyes.

Having spent three days being around people from these companies, I feel that I can now take some wisdom back to some of my friends and share with them, what they’ve been sharing with me. That what is happening out here is really, really impressive.

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