Multi-media maven and multi-talented alum Ty Ahmad-Taylor ’90 has made many sports world waves in the last few months with his creation “FanFeedr.” No, FanFeedr is not a way to get the hot dogs to the fans faster; what it is is “a real-time personalized sports aggregator.”
Translated into terms even someone over 30 can understand, that means that the sports fan who is already inundated with lots of news he doesn’t much care about can list his favorite sports, teams and players, and be connected with all the latest about those particular passions, picking and choosing exactly which items to read.
Then, our rabid fan can share, discuss, e-mail or rate said items and pass them onto friends via Twitter or Facebook.
As Ty recently told a sports blogger, Jason Peck, “We believe we can capture most of the market, from the casual fan to the Fantasy Sports player. Specifically, you can get all of the news about your favorite team or some of it or just bits of it (e.g., ‘just show me video about my team’) in an easy-to-use manner.”
“In a nutshell,” continued Ahmad-Taylor, “I am explicitly a fan of the 49ers and the Warriors (unfortunately). While I certainly love keeping up with my under- achieving-until-recently Bay Area teams, I am also interested is what my friends are interested in. and thus the social aspects of their consumption become a discovery vector for me for stuff I wouldn’t know otherwise.”
The erudite Ahmad-Taylor compares what he’s doing to the works of abstract artist Mark Rothko or the film No Country for Old Men, so we won’t get hung up on what a “discovery vector” is, but we do wonder how a Haverford economics major found this particular niche.
Ty recently told another blogger, Jeff Brunelle, that after college, he started as a “visual journalist at The New York Times. Because I was younger and could run fast, I got all the death and destruction stuff like the LA Riots, Waco, TX, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Cambodian elections in 1992, and so on. Rather than continue to cover the newly-emerging fields of the world wide web, I decided to actually create stuff.”
That decision meant a return to San Francisco and three years as Creative Director of Excite@Home (nee@Home Networks), interspersed with a year in cooking school in London. (We told you he was multi-talented.)
A stint of developing interactive TV application s for TV works ensued, followed by the obligatory Ahmad-Taylor escape (nine months snowboarding in Lake Tahoe). Then it was back to the Philadelphia area to work in many departments at Comcast and on to Viacom, rebuilding MTV.com, “rolling out social features with my smart team across the Music and Logo group.” Somewhere in that energetic career came a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia U.
Ahmad-Taylor headquartered FanFeedr in Mahattan’s DUMBO section. We imagine that he will soon meet, if he hasn’t already, Douglas Warshaw ex-’81, another Haverfordian NYC-based sports news innovator and founder of Jockipedia.com, which conveys athletes’ own blogs and tweets to their fans. Ahmad-Taylor believes that development will break down the “final barrier to sports consumption, as what the athlete thinks becomes less opaque.”
Ty, who has no objection to athletes and coaches tweeting fans during games and practices, won’t predict how his new project will develop. He told Brunelle, “Users of the site will determine where the site evolves. I simply want to give them the tools to make their sports consumption easier and more timely and to model to things they are already trying to do (but lack the tools to execute).”