Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #113, with Troy Busot, the Founder of Athlinks[i], the world’s largest racing database with a mission of making it easier for people to race more often and have more fun in the process.
How Troy Busot, the founder of Athlinks.com helped Andrea to launch her business 10 years ago.
How Troy took an idea, and created the world's largest racing database.
The Secret to launching a business, or any idea.
The importance of failing fast, identifying and fixing deficiencies.
Hello and Welcome back! I’m Andrea Samadi, a former educator who has been fascinated with learning the science behind high performance strategies in schools, sports and the workplace, for the past 20 plus years. Our initial goal with this podcast was to close the gap recent surveys show exists in our workforce where 58 percent of employers say college graduates aren’t adequately prepared for today’s workforce, with a particular gap in social and emotional skills. Research shows that social-emotional skills like social awareness, self-regulation, and growth mindset (the skills that we covered early in the podcast episodes) are crucial to college and career readiness. The outcomes of developing these intelligences are vast as they impact our performance, leadership, personal excellence, time management, and decision-making.
And if you have been listening to our podcast for some time, you will know that we’ve uncovered that if we want to improve our social and emotional skills, and experience success in our work and personal lives, it all begins with putting our brain health first. We’ve mentioned that daily exercise is one of the top 5 health staples that’s a known brain-health and Alzheimer’s prevention strategy, from our episode #87[ii] helping us to take our results, productivity and health to these higher levels. Our guest today, Troy Busot, has always impressed me by the way that he and his family took their health and fitness seriously, and his dedication to his health, spilled over into his work life, as a successful entrepreneur. He’s my old neighbor—his family used to live directly across the street from me, but they moved to another state, and now like many of us, we stay in touch via social media where we recently connected on some of his latest missions and to brainstorm ideas with our podcasts. Not only is Troy the CEO of Athlinks.com, but he also runs the Athlinks Podcast, a high-quality podcast that features interviews with athletes around the world as they prepare for events. I will tell you more about Troy, the company he founded, his podcast, and how he gave me that push that I needed to launch my business, achieveit360.com over 10 years ago, but first, let me tell you about what he invented.
He’s the founder of Athlinks--the best way to track all of your race results in one place.
Basically it’s a Results Database for those who compete in races.
Each year, over 40 million athletes in the U.S. cross a finish line at an endurance event, but with the recent Pandemic, these numbers have been reduced to under 10 million, but you get the picture. There’s a lot of people who train long and hard, pushing themselves to these higher limits. For most people, it's not about the medals. It's about the results. It's about getting better each race - going faster, going farther, beating a rival, or lifting up a loved one. It’s about the hours, minutes, and seconds scribbled on the back of a race bib or on a row in a spreadsheet.
Athlinks (or my old neighbor Troy) set out to make capturing those rewards as simple as typing your name into a search box. This was his idea, and he’s the mastermind behind this company, who pulls in times for running races, triathlon, swimming, cycling, mountain biking ... pretty much any timed endurance sport that you can think of - if they can find the results, they will add them to the database and link them to their members' accounts.
So how did Troy help me to launch my business idea? I realized that after producing 113 episodes of the podcast now, I haven’t done one episode on exactly what we do at Achieveit360.com. If you ever make it to the end of our episode, you’ll hear the trailer telling you to go there, and you will find books, and tools for schools and the workplace. I will do another episode explaining where we began with our work, and where we are going now with our workshops to help you integrate the simple neuroscience into your school or workplace. Stay tuned for that.
But first, let’s go back to 2012/13. This was a year before I partnered with AZ Department of Education with the Character and Leadership program, Level Up, that you can see through my website, making my first huge step forward towards the vision I had for making an impact with education, character, SEL and leadership. The vision that began when I worked with Bob Proctor seminars in the late 1990s, when I watched him change the lives of 12 teens in a matter of months with topics that mirrored what we now know to be called Social and Emotional Learning.
Troy was and I’d say still is a very serious businessman. He was always working on something, not much time wasting going on when I saw him. But he would always say in passing, “If you ever want me to come over, and brainstorm where you are with your business, and where you want to go, I’d be happy to do that” and when he offered, he said it with a serious tone, that made me realize he wanted to help, and I knew he meant it. He didn’t mean, “Hey, we are kicking back and chilling out, come and join us, and throw out your ideas.” He meant business, and had this look in his eye that he knew I needed some direction.
At the time I was taking all of the content I had created, and was putting it online, creating an online portal www.achieveit360.org where you can see our courses for students and educators. I was working with a young kid out of Chicago, whose not a young kid anymore, but back then he was teaching me how to create a website, to code, and everything I needed to know about the online world, and he was a high school student at the time. Once I had my content online, I was ready. So one day I said to Troy, “I’d love to take you up on that brainstorming session” and it was the end of the year when many people were in the middle of their holiday celebrations, and he asked “What are you doing on New Year’s Eve?” I almost laughed out loud, because EVERY New Year that I can remember, was always focused on planning and firming up the following year, not going to parties or fancy dinners. It’s always been a time to reflect, gather new ideas, and “Sharpen the Saw” for the New Year, so I wasn’t surprised that the founder of Athlinks was doing exactly the same thing.
Troy came over after dinner time, and we sat at my dining room table and brainstormed some ideas of the vision I saw, where I was starting from and where I wanted to go. Troy offered some ideas, but the most valuable information I remember, was some of the leaders he told me to follow. He said “You have got to follow and read Gary Vee’s book Crush It[iii]” and I did, and it really helped me to create the work ethic that I have today. It was a serious meeting, no joking around. He let me know that he has seen far too many people never start something, and he hoped that our meeting would give me a push to get moving. It did. It was shortly after this meeting that I presented my ideas to AZ Department of Education when they opened up the doors for new vendors to provide their services for a Character Education Matching Grant. We would end up being one of the preferred providers chosen for this grant that went from 2014-2020, and this is where everything began for me, working for myself, outside of the corporate world, with just an idea.
I wanted to bring Troy on the podcast because many people I know have been forced to start something new maybe because their job was eliminated, or they’ve just had some sort of shift with what they are doing, and if you were like me, I had my idea just about ready to go, and hearing from someone who had launched something successful, gave me the insight I needed get going, and learn how to quickly fail forward (which we did). I hope you find this time with Troy as helpful as I did many years ago, as he shares exactly how he launched Athlinks, and his vision for the future. Here’s Troy Busot!
Welcome Troy! Thank you so much for coming on the podcast today, and also for helping me to launch my business almost 10 years ago. I don’t remember exactly when it was, but it was before I had partnered with AZ Department of Education in 2014. I’m just curious, what do you remember about coming over to the house that day?
Q1: Getting back to your work Troy, where did your vision for starting Athlinks begin and how did you go from an idea, to building such a successful database that’s used by so many people?
Q2: Can you tell me more about the programs and services that you offer through Athlinks? Other than a database, what is there?
Q3: I haven’t raced since I used to do these mini triathlons back in Toronto when I was a lifeguard, so I know there’s no information next to my name, but some of my high school friends are avid racers. How can they use the info in Athlinks to help them?
Q4: We’ve been friends for years, but I just started to notice you posting on Instagram about something you’re doing called 50 Chasing 50. I had no idea we were both chasing 50, but now I know! What month are you turning 50?
Q4B) I also know that putting health first has been a huge mission of mine, especially as we uncovered that Exercise is one of the top 5 health staples and Alzheimer’s Prevention strategies. I don’t know anyone chasing 50 who doesn’t want to arrive there healthy. What exactly is 50 Chasing 50?
Q5: You’ve launched a successful business, sold it, and the last time we spoke, you mentioned that you had your eye on another vision. That’s the entrepreneurial bug at work, I recognize it! After 50, what’s your vision for yourself?
Q6: Anything I have missed? Final thoughts?
Thank you very much Troy first of all, for offering your time, ideas and suggestions that launched my business Achieveit360.com in the early days, and for coming on the podcast to share your vision with our listeners. I’m so grateful that we met and have remained friends. Looking forward to learning more about 50 Chasing 50, and watching your success well beyond this next milestone. Thanks Troy.
[ii] Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #87 with Andrea Samadi on “The Top 5 Brain Health and Alzheimer’s Prevention Strategies” https://www.achieveit360.com/the-top-5-brain-health-and-alzheimers-prevention-strategies-with-andrea-samadi/