We’re huge action sports fans. Huge. We’ve followed skateboarding since we were old enough to fall off a board, so having the opportunity to work with one of the greatest actions sports stars of all time has been one of our biggest thrills.
Ryan Sheckler is a superstar, one of Fox Weekly’s “15 Most Influential Skateboarders of All Time”, an entrepreneur, a reality TV star, and a philanthropist. Baby Steps has worked with Ryan on a bunch of great projects, going back to pioneering sites we created for Red Bull and leading to our current involvement with his amazing foundation and the great work it does for kids and injured athletes.
We met Ryan through a really fun project we did for Red Bull, building a super-intricate website with video and music and 3-D rendered transitions—really state-of-the-art work that established our reputation with Red Bull and really showcased how creative and innovative we can be. We followed that up with another groundbreaking project, the Easy Button Webcast. We created a red “Easy Button” in his practice space that allowed Ryan to flip on a live webcast and simultaneously tweet all of his followers that he was “on air”. People could then watch him skating or chatting to his buddies or talking to his fans whenever he wanted with no fuss and no hassle. This was an industry first and a pretty amazing piece of technology.
After that success, Red Bull challenged us to come up with a smart way to keep Ryan’s website up-to-date and engaging. Without plenty of fresh content, website traffic falls off quickly and it’s just not realistic to expect a busy, driven professional athlete to keep posting new material to his various digital properties. So we developed the first version of what we call the Stream. The Stream is part social media aggregator, part blog, part article base, and it makes posting to a website super-easy. With social media aggregation from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, every time Ryan posted to one of his social media sites, the content on his website was updated at the same time. It’s a great way to make sure Ryan’s website stays current, exciting and entertaining for existing and new fans.
When Red Bull handed management of the site over to Ryan’s team, we handled the switch over and got his team up to speed with how everything works. That was the beginning of a new and really special relationship for us. Ryan’s team loved how easy it was to update everything on his site and appreciated that we were always available to help them out. We loved their great energy and the personality that made them so much fun to work with. We also got to play a major part in creating the website for Ryan’s charity, the Sheckler Foundation, which has turned out to be one of the most meaningful sites we’ve ever been associated with.
The Sheckler Foundation run a contest called “Be the Change” in which small charities apply for a chance to win a cash donation. They start by submitting video entries online and the foundation selects four finalists with the ultimate winner being chose by a popular vote. It’s all integrated with social media and a pretty complicated process, so we built them an app that handles the entire contest from beginning to end, making a really simple experience for applicants and the foundation team. It’s been an amazing success, providing much-needed help to very deserving people and causes and we’re truly proud of our association with it.
It’s exciting enough to be able to work so closely with such an amazing group of people making such a difference in the lives of the people they help. The fact we get to help out a genuine superstar of a sport we love…well, that’s the cherry on top.