Level Up! Gaming at Work | Sam Caucci at 1Huddle

If you’ve ever been onboarded to a major company, you’ve most likely had to complete some kind of corporate training. And it was likely a painful and dispiriting experience. The materials are slow, unengaging, and for some reason perpetually antiquated. Sam Caucci, who spent his entire career managing sales teams, knew this all too well. That’s why he founded 1huddle, a company that turns corporate training into mobile gameplay.

On this episode of UpTech Report, Sam talks about his efforts to make corporate training fun and engaging, and how he harnesses competition as a positive force in the workplace.

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Sam Caucci has managed and coached sales and leadership teams for publicly held, private sector, and franchised companies across the globe. Sam founded 1Huddle a workforce training platform using game technology to help organizations better prepare their people for work.

With clients across the globe, 1Huddle has impacted people across organizations in a wide array of sectors, with clients including Novartis, Loews Hotels, ESPN, Audible (an Amazon Company), Madison Square Garden and the U.S. Air Force. Applying an innovative approach to preparing people for the workforce, Sam oversaw the creation of the training game platform, the first game-based platform that transforms the way organizations onboard, train & develop their team members.

Before 1Huddle, Sam was the National Director of Franchise Sales & Marketing for the Parisi Speed School where he directed the sales training program for 83 locations. He was previously in a leadership role with Life Time Fitness, serving as Director of Sales and spearheading the grand opening and overall management of the company’s expansion into the NJ/NYC market. Prior to joining Life Time Fitness, Sam was General Manager for Perfect Competition Athletic Development, a sports performance training center nationally recognized for its preparation of elite athletes from across the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and MLS. While at Perfect Competition, Sam managed sales, sponsorship, and negotiation for the team responsible for the training and development of over 2,500 elite professional athletes.

Sam is proud to have been a part of the sales and service training of thousands of workers. He is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller, Not Our Job: How College has Destroyed a Generation of Workers and How to Fix it and has been featured on Fox News, Fox Business, CNN, CNBC, The Huffington Post, ESPN, Yahoo Finance, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Bloomberg.

DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!

Sam Caucci 0:00
We just know that the way the brain works, material doesn’t stick unless you learn in a very specific way.

Alexander Ferguson 0:12
Sam, I’m excited to chat with you today about one huddle to begin, can you describe your company and your purpose in five seconds really brief? What is

Sam Caucci 0:21
it? Training that doesn’t suck? I was at a love

Alexander Ferguson 0:25
I mean, could you get to be sure in that training, that doesn’t suck? So talk to me, like, what was the initial problem that you saw, like, I need to solve this, that led to one huddle.

Sam Caucci 0:34
I spent my whole career in sales, managing sales teams, and a lot of the stops I made along the way, we were always hiring young sales reps right out of college. And I felt like that was getting harder and harder to get a new sales hire on day one that was ready to step in and sell it’s just getting harder and harder colleges aren’t teaching the right stuff. Companies, you know, try to deploy onboarding training, like we’re stuck in the 1980s, it’s, you know, watch the module, take a quiz, here’s a manual, it just doesn’t lock you in a classroom for a week, you know, and that stuff just didn’t work. So I would say that really is what got me going. The idea of one huddle was to take everything an employee needs to know, put it into a game as a vehicle to make it more fun, more sticky, which we can talk about in a second. But to make at the end of the day, get information from a company into the employees head so that they can do the right thing the right way. Every single time in front of a customer.

Alexander Ferguson 1:34
To tell me more about this gamification has to work? Why is it different than anything else out there?

Sam Caucci 1:40
Sure. So we believe that competition is a good thing. And science will back us up. The problem with why, you know, you forget most of what you learn the reason any of your listeners, if I were to quiz you on the last book you read, you might say, you know, I probably won’t do that great at it. But in the moment I remembered, it was really, you know, it stuck with me. But we just know that the way the brain works, material doesn’t stick, unless you learn in a very specific way. So, you know, when I started building the platform I was looking for, you know, how do you make material stickier in the learning process. And I kept coming around this concept called struggle, and struggle based learning where you essentially test somebody on something before they have ever seen the material. And while you’re going to fail the first time, when you continue to test and test and you struggle and difficulty. Eventually, you’ll learn it. And once you know it, you can’t forget. And that when we once we knew that, we said what can we wrap this thing in, because nobody wants to take a bunch of tests. And this is where the game, kind of the game layer came in. We said let’s take this testing models, plug it into a game experience, where employees log in, they don’t log in to learn, like I’m logging in to beat Alexander today. And if we can make it feel more like fantasy sports, or more like a consumer experience, because most corporate technology, it’s totally night and day compared to what we consume as consumers every day. It’s like the Tech experience is great as a as a consumer, but go to work. And you can understand why your payroll platform can’t tell you what you’re getting paid just like everything is so disconnected. So we said let’s make it let’s take a consumer game and wrap this thing around it and use competition as a way to get people to care about training. And it’s really tough to get a message from HR, all the way down to the frontline employees. And unfortunately, it doesn’t always get all the way down to them. So doing a lot, especially during COVID. For large enterprise companies that aren’t the fact that our product is mobile is obviously very relevant, given the moment. But in a post COVID world, everything’s got to be in the pocket of the employee. Otherwise, you know, you’re not for certain you’re going to be able to reach

Alexander Ferguson 4:09
the ability to quickly create one of these probably is paramount. Tell me more about that creation process and who uses it inside these companies?

Sam Caucci 4:20
Yeah, I mean, I’ve been blown away at how you look at the rest of the HR elearning ecosystem of tech companies. And they’re they’re stuck in this yesterday concept that content is king. And you know, while I agree from a marketing perspective, contents really valuable. The perspective that only one person inside of the company can build it is crazy. And you know, you think about in your company, you have an HR person or someone in charge of learning or talent. And they’re tasked with either buying pre built content from like LinkedIn learning or any iteration of that or they have to be the one to create it. We will Get the world as a fact that we can turn a company that has 1000 employees into 1000. Content creators with one huddle. So you can with one huddle, you can literally open the app, build a game in minutes, swipe right and your entire sales team could be pinged with a game that they have to play today. And that’s it. That’s seems simple. But it’s really big. Especially when you think about categories like restaurants anybody’s ever worked in a restaurant knows you do that you do your pre shift huddle for five o’clock before service. You know, chefs gonna tell you what’s the menu? What’s the specials? You know, what do you need to talk about, people are generally on their phone, looking around doing other things not zoned in. So with one adult, you know, chef at 12 o’clock, can take snapshots of tonight’s menu, send it out in minutes, and expect all of the front of house and back of house staff to be already played that game before service, they’re already ready to go, you know, so we’re just cutting out all that middle, the middle ground that happens. So authoring is big. Anybody that is an organization with 100 can have the ability to build training around their job. As a subject matter expert,

Alexander Ferguson 6:20
how you already mentioned two years ago, you’ve made that that adjustment. Look, tell me about where are you now? And what’s the plan in the near future next year? to five years?

Sam Caucci 6:33
Yeah, great question. We, you know, we’ve been growing super fast. You know, the COVID moment has been really interesting for us, because gameplay just soared on our platform. Overnight. We had, we had companies that saw 1012 13x increases in participation. Not big, not just because employees, this is the only way they could stay in communicate, or one of the only ways you can stay in communication. But companies are really struggling right now. Not to train. But to keep people together. You know, I, my team and a lot of other teams, I know, the fact that you don’t go to the office and interact and have that in between time that water cooler moment, grab coffee, walk down the street, that doesn’t happen. That’s really tough. So, you know, we’ve seen a lot of a lot of new uses of our platform, you know, next four to five years for us? I’d be crazy to say I know the answer to the question completely. But I do know, you know, we’re trying to do every day in the months ahead, are to be a platform for every worker. And there’s a digital divide today. And there’s definitely inequalities today in society that exists. And one of the places that I’ve been so surprised to see it as well is in who gets access to workforce training. Now, if you are a frontline worker at Home Depot, you get access to a fraction of the training that the general manager does. And the only reason that is is because the company doesn’t want to invest in technology. It’s not the information, we’re in the information age, it’s, it’s as simple as just making something accessible on their mobile device that they can then consume. So what we’re fighting for every day is to make sure that from the frontline worker to the corner office, let everybody compete. To your point on competition like the best person went,

Alexander Ferguson 8:37
where can people go to learn more and what’s a good first step that they can take?

Sam Caucci 8:43
Sure, if you if you want to learn a little bit more about our platform we have, we have a free trial that you can access on our website, you can go to one That’s the number one huddle like a football huddle, Dotco. And you can sign up for a free trial to check out some of our some of our some of our best games depending on your industry. If you have a business, I guarantee you we have some paths pathway for you with different games that might be able to help your business whether it’s onboarding or compliance training or COVID safety stuff, and we got a lot of really good stuff. So I would send you to check us out at one huddle and you can always connect with me as well.

Alexander Ferguson 9:25
That concludes the audio version of this episode. To see the original and more visit our UpTech Report YouTube channel. If you know a tech company, we should interview you can nominate them at UpTech Or if you just prefer to listen, make sure you’re subscribed to this series on Apple podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcasting app.



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