Information Technology Graduate and Founder of TrendTeams Launches New Fantasy Social Media App Alumni Profile
Meet Wade Tucker
- Job Title & Employer
- Founder, TrendTeams, LLC
- Information Technology
- May 2015
- College Activities
- Pittsburgh Penguins internship
- Pittsburgh, Pa.
- High School
- Quaker Valley High School
- Now Living In
- Pittsburgh, Pa.
- Hobbies & Interests
- Soccer, Pittsburgh sports, video production, cinema and gaming
"I gained all of the conceptual understanding that I needed to design this system from my coursework at Point Park. To be honest, I doubt that I ever would have thought to incorporate social media metrics into fantasy games or at least have considered it as a real possibility without the understanding of databases and APIs that I gained from my courses."
Tell us about your new web/mobile application Fantasy Social Media.
We believe that fantasy gaming can be enjoyed by everyone. Fantasy games require only one thing to function, quantifiable stats from live events. Unfortunately, fantasy games were born in an era when live sports were the only source of such statistics and the two have been inexorably linked ever since. However, modern social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram log more quantifiable statistical data in one day than the NFL will generate during an entire season.
TrendTeams Fantasy Social Media is a competitive fantasy game, similar to fantasy sports games like football or basketball. The key difference is that instead of tracking sports statistics, Fantasy Social Media is driven by global social media activity and the public’s response to it. This creates a new, fully inclusive fantasy gaming experience.
Fantasy Social Media’s huge diversity of entertainment interests opens it up to a multitude of previously excluded audiences. Yet the game’s format will still be completely familiar and accessible to existing fantasy sports players.
Actors, athletes, politicians, musicians and more are all part of the game. Everyone will be able to find something that they are interested in; you can draft your favorite movie star or draft your least favorite politician. Either way, if they are winning the internet, you will be winning on TrendTeams.
In addition to offering a new fantasy gaming experience built for everyone, TrendTeams also features a live, unfiltered window into the world’s top stories and posts. It is a raw perspective that is not often seen today since most other news feeds are custom-tailored to our personal preferences and data. Of course, when you are playing Fantasy Social Media, these unfiltered top stories do hold personal interest because any of them could directly affect your team.
What inspired you to create your company TrendTeams?
It was near the end of my first year in the information technology program at Point Park. I was watching an afternoon talk show on ESPN. Most sports were in the offseason and this was a particularly slow news day. I noticed that the stat tickers that normally scroll sports statistics across the bottom and side of the screen were instead displaying posts from Twitter.
The transition seemed to work perfectly. The two grizzled NFL veterans hosting looked like they were having more fun than ever while discussing recent tweets from famous athletes, as well as how many likes and/or retweets each tweet had received. Twitter analytics were simply swapped in to replace the usually discussed performance metrics such as points or yards. The rest of the show was business as usual.
Because it was the offseason for most major sports, I had missed playing fantasy. I realized that the same one-for-one stat swap that they had applied to the talk show would translate just as well into a fantasy game. Plus, social media runs all day, every day, all year. It would be game time all the time.
How have your Point Park information technology classes helped you in your career?
They have been absolutely critical in making this application happen. I initially enrolled in the IT program to increase my marketable skills. I had a prior B.A. from Denison University with a major in cinema, but the applicable positions for that skill set were understandably very limited in Pittsburgh.
I wouldn’t consider myself to be a great code writer by any stretch. I am sure that my development partner/CTO would agree, but I gained all of the conceptual understanding that I needed to design this system from my coursework at Point Park. To be honest, I doubt that I ever would have thought to incorporate social media metrics into fantasy games or at least have considered it as a real possibility without the understanding of databases and APIs that I gained from my courses.
Additionally, day-to-day operations during our development process would have been impossible without my IT education. As is to be expected, there were a lot of bugs and system failures along the way. My education allowed me to isolate the source of these issues and effectively communicate that information to others. Simply knowing that a portion of the app isn’t working is rarely sufficient information.
What factors made you choose Point Park and what are your favorite college memories?
As mentioned earlier, I decided to attend Point Park in order to increase my marketable job skills. I loved the location of the Downtown Pittsburgh campus and the program fit perfectly into my schedule. Since I was part of the weekend accelerated program, I probably didn’t have the typical campus-life experience, but being in the city made it feel like there was always something going on. Going to class on two St. Patrick’s Day Saturdays was particularly memorable for the juxtaposition of an academic environment indoors and a decidedly less academic environment outdoors.
During the 2012-13 season, I attained an internship that combined my prior film and video training with the IT skills that I was currently learning by working with the Pittsburgh Penguins in-game entertainment department. I was able to stay on for the entirety of the season and it was obviously an incredible experience to be working in the building before and during most games.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I had a lot of positive experiences during my time at Point Park, but what really sticks out most is the accessibility, consideration and genuine desire to help displayed by the faculty. From my first advisor Joan Mosey, to my database professor Mark Voortman, who is still advising me on this project, to Paige Beal from the SAEM department, who has been working with us despite the fact that I never actually had her as a professor, Point Park has assembled an excellent team.