We had the good fortune of connecting with Amanda McGrew and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amanda, how do you think about risk?
As a former athlete, I have always viewed risks in a very calculated way. I was always taught that if I worked hard enough and prepared my mind and body for the upcoming challenge, the risk would become smaller and smaller. The odds of things working in my favor would continue to improve. I have definitely taken this mindset with me into my post-athletic career. Founding a tech company, with no tech experience, and just a strong belief in an idea was definitely scary. But the thought of not taking that chance and letting that part of my life pass me by was far more terrifying. Growing up in a family with 3 siblings and two incredibly supportive parents has also really provided me with a huge safety net. I feel very fortunate to know that I have my family’s full support and even if I fall flat on my face after taking a major risk, they will be there to help me get back on the right track. Without being willing to take the risk of shooting the last shot of the game, you would never get to experience the feeling of hitting a buzzer-beater!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a former college and professional basketball player. I played four years at the University of Rhode Island and a fifth year at Umass Lowell. After graduating, I spent a short time playing overseas in Germany, before returning home to Los Angeles. I have been a full time PE teacher and basketball coach here in LA for the last ten years. Three years ago, I had the idea to create a dating app exclusively for current and former college and professional athletes. With no background in tech or startups, I founded Playoff Dating App and have been working tirelessly to help it reach its full potential. The idea for Playoff came after all of my poor experiences with the bigger, more generic dating apps. With the rise of niche dating apps, it felt like there was a specific dating app for everyone. I wasn’t interested in searching for people based on race or religion, so I asked myself, “If I had to identify with one group of people, who would it be?” The answer will always be athletes. So I set out to create a platform where people with similar perspectives and shared experiences could connect with one another! The process has been incredibly challenging, but I wouldn’t change it! Entrepreneurship was not something I pictured in my future, but I have now realized that it just took me some time to realize that my passion is in the human connection. What started out as a way to make my own dating life a little bit easier, turned into me finding a new level of happiness in seeing others find their person! Whether I am teaching PE to 4th graders, coaching my high school basketball team, or connecting with athletes on Playoff, I value relationships with people. The feeling that I get knowing that people are matching, chatting and meeting with other people on Playoff and finding happiness and connection is truly gratifying.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I was born and raised in Santa Monica and I have been a beach bum my entire life. All my friends know that the first place we are going is the beach. Most friends want In N Out at least once on their trip, so we always make that happen. Other must have restaurants would be Big Jo’s, Bay Cities, Tacos Por Favor, Tony P’s, Back on the Beach, and Fosters Freeze (RIP). In terms of things to do, a backyard BBQ is always my favorite. but happy hour, live music and live sporting events are also great.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My parents deserve so much recognition in my story. My mom and dad are the reason my siblings and I have experienced success within and outside of athletics. They had a way of showing us an incredible amount of love while also reminding us that we are no better or more special than anyone else in the world. Together, they taught me about the joys of competition and the discipline that is required to compete at a high level. As two of the most humble people I know, they walked the walk and never needed to talk the talk. The respect that I have for both of them and what they have done for our family is endless.
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