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PODCAST – Jesse Lovejoy, STEAM education & experience design

Tune in, as Jesse Lovejoy, the originator and former senior director, 49ers EDU & 49ers Museum joined our podcast to discuss the latest in STEAM Education and experience design.

More about Jesse Lovejoy

Jesse Lovejoy is a strategic and programmatic design consultant working within the sports, museum and nonprofit spaces to bring bespoke STEAM education experiences to youth furthest from resource and opportunity. He is the originator and former senior director for both 49ers EDU and the 49ers Museum, and the Founder of EDU Academy. 

While spearheading the 2014 launch of the 49ers Museum—a 20,000 square foot facility featuring 11 unique gallery and exhibit spaces exclusively dedicated to the 49ers past, present and future—Lovejoy concurrently led the 49ers into a domain where no professional sports organization had ventured before, a comprehensive, direct-service STEAM education program for students in grades K-8, completely free to the end-user. 

In 2017, as inbound interest in the 49ers EDU efforts exploded, Lovejoy founded EDU Academy, a consulting arm which helped organizations envision, build and launch education programs. EDU Academy’s clients included the Los Angeles Rams, Chelsea Football Club, the National Soccer Hall of Fame/FC Dallas, Leeds United, the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, Play Like a Girl, and more. EDU Academy was the foundation of the consultancy Lovejoy started in 2022 to service his current partners, which include the Golden State Warriors, the Smithsonian Institution, the Saban Center and others. 

Lovejoy sits on the board of governors for the Science of Sport and the advisory committee for the California Science Center’s STEAM of Sports exhibit opening in 2025. He was named as one of Silicon Valley’s 40 most influential people under 40 years of age in 2016 by the Silicon Valley Business Journal, and one of SportTechie’s “20 Innovators” in 2017.

Before he joined the 49ers, Lovejoy was director of community relations and marketing for the San Diego Sports Commission/San Diego Hall of Champions where he served as a brand champion for community relations initiatives, awards programs, and educational opportunities for nearly three years. 

Prior to his role with the San Diego Hall of Champions, Lovejoy served as a substitute teacher for the Catholic Diocese in San Diego and then as an English teacher at a language academy before taking the Hall of Champions position. 

Lovejoy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from San Diego State University-California State University. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Santa Cruz, California. 

PODCAST Transcript – Jesse Lovejoy

Hey, and welcome back to the MVP Interactive podcast.  

Today we have a very special guest, Jesse Lovejoy, who is the founder of Lo Lovejoy Strategies. Jesse serves as an advisor and programmatic design consultant within sports museums and non-profit spaces to create bespoke experiences that educate, engage, and inspire partners. Include the Smithsonian Institution, the Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City, national Memorial and Museum play, like a girl, the Saban Center, and the San Francisco 49 ERs coming to us live from the Chase Center as well.  

Jesse, welcome. Thanks for joining the podcast. Thank you. Yes. And, and as, as previously stated from a very nondescript loaner office in Chase Center, but an office nonetheless. a beautiful day in, in San Francisco today. So thank you so much for having me, James. And, I’m, I’m excited for our chat.  

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, we’ll get right into it here. And, you know, we’d like to kick off each podcast with a little bit of background of our guests. And, as previously, men previously mentioned, you’re heavily in communities and, involved in museums, but, you know, maybe you didn’t start there in your early career. So I, we’d love to hear the journey on, how this all took shape. Yeah, thanks for asking. so yeah, I started, went to, went to San Diego State, you know, studied communication, went into PR outta school, worked in PR for about a decade.  

and, realized, you know, towards the end of that run that it, it wasn’t for me, multitude of factors there, but, had always wanted to work with kids. Had had coached, had, you know, mentored, had tutored, had done lots of different things. It was an umpire. My first job I ever had was baseball, little league umpire. I think I was like 14, 15 years old. and so I, I took the opportunity to, you know, didn’t have my, hadn’t married my wife yet, didn’t have kids, you know, very little responsibility.  

So, broke off, started looking into education. a substitute taught for a, a hot minute, didn’t, didn’t work out exactly the way I wanted it to. I started to, I taught language, English, had a language academy for almost three years, which was really cool. It was, you know, how to teach the English language through cultural assimilation, which is where some things started to happen, and try to think about leveraging things that people were interested in to teach them things.  

then I ended up at the San Diego Hall Champions, which is a museum in Balboa Park that’s unfortunately no longer there. But, and, and that gave me the opportunity to start to marry sport and sport skill development and learning, and kind of social emotional growth. And then the, the job with the Niners. So, yeah, I mean, starting and communication, and, and working in, you know, everything from brand strategy to like, you know, hand-to-hand combat, pr to strategic planning and all that stuff.  

It, it gave me the foundational skillset to, to move into a place where teaching and working with, with communities and, and now organizations that wanna work with communities via education. It gave me kind of like the bedrock, kinda knowledge base that, that you wanna have in order to, to, to, to do those things. So, very thankful for that time. Also, very thankful that I’m not doing it anymore. Right. Okay. Interesting. You know, and it, it’s funny, here’s a little fun fact, about myself as well.  

I was once a substitute teacher. Oh, wow. Here we go. Yeah, here we go. Yeah. I love that. And, as much as it was rewarding, and I absolutely loved the experience, I too was a failed substitute teacher. Yeah. I think, well, I’m thankful for every day. Not to say that, you know, it’s not a great career, but it’s just interesting how things, some of our failures turn out to be successful. Sure. Well, since you double click that, I just wanted to, a quick, a quick story, and I promise not to do too many of these, but so for me, you know, I, I needed a quick path to, to get in the classroom.  

I just really wanted to see how it felt. So I substitute taught for the Catholic diocese in San Diego, so no credential necessary, found that out. But you had to go meet with the nuns. I’m not an extraordinarily, I shouldn’t say I’m not a religious person, period. I, I didn’t grow up in a religious family, and so it was like one of my first, you know, kind of like organized experiences in, in the church. and it was really cool, and I really enjoyed being in a Catholic school environment.  

it wasn’t the, that environment that taught me that I wasn’t meant to be a classroom educator. It was more like the, the prep and all those kind of things that I wasn’t really ready for. but it was a really neat, kind of perspective changing moment for me as only teaching can do. Anybody who’s familiar with it. there, there’s nothing like trying to share knowledge with a group of people that they don’t have, that you’re responsible for giving them, that will teach you a lot about yourself very quickly. Sure, sure. Well, I once heard that teaching is twice learned, and I don’t think there’s truer words.  

Right. You know, because I like that every single day, you know, and I was trying to, by no stretch did I have a science background, but I was trying to teach earth sciences to, high school students. And so I was learning as, or relearning, I should say. I remember teak taking the classes. and coincidentally it was my, my hometown high school that I, that I actually ended up, substituting for and was a junior varsity baseball coach as well. Super cool. There’s your umpire in baseball. I like it. Yeah. There’s a lot of synergy here.  

This is gonna be a would’ve good conversation. That’s absolutely. So you had mentioned, rounding out your career at the, 49 ERs Mm-Hmm. museum. Talk to us a little bit about that. How does that, so, you know, you kind of go into education, you work within some community programs and then, you know, quite arguably you’re working with one of the best, you know, sports franchises in the world. Well, I, I just, so I grew up in Santa Cruz, California, about 60 miles south of, of, San Francisco. Still live there with my wife and kids.  

And my dad was the photo editor for the Santa Cruz Sentinel Small paper in town for, you know, 40 years. So, back in the late seventies, the Niners were horrible. And so it wasn’t difficult to get a credential to shoot on the sideline, and nor was there any security at Candlestick Park. So my dad would just bring me along and I would just hold his camera bag and, and he just walked in. ’cause he knew the guys that were like, at the gate. So it’s far, far different world now. Sure. but so I developed this love for the 49 ERs. Right. Just, just like hardcore NFL No, Niners and Giants.  

Right. Like, that’s me and my dad love language, my dad, my brother, my mom. Yep. So, just had this incredible affinity for, for, for the organization. So I, at the time I was working for, this is back in 2012, I was working for that, that outfit in San Diego I mentioned. And, you know, saw the, saw the posting for this role, which was, you know, after the 49 ERs, you know, got the proposition passed to build the advice stadium, got the funding, things are happening. Right. they, they put out the, the call for someone to do two things, essentially, to, to create and build the 49 ERs museum and to create and build an ed an education program that would kind of run within the museum.  

And, you know, I was working at a museum down in San Diego with, with sports, you know, kind of focus and doing educational programming. And, you know, I, I remember going to my, my wife and saying, Hey, you know, what do you think of this? And she’s kinda like, well, you know, do you want to go back up north? I said, yeah, you know, I’d, I’d love to go back up there. And, you know, one of those deals where you kind of, you do it, but you don’t really think that there’s a solid shot.  

and, you know, I got a, I’ll never forget, I got a call from Kena Turner, the guy who won four Super Bowl rings with the 49 ERs back in, in the Wow. In the, in the decade of dominance there. Ended up being one of the closest people to me, still is. and the rest is history. You know, got the job, and, you know, moved up. And yeah, my first year with the team was the last one in candlestick. So it was 12 months of wearing a helm or a hard hat and a vest and safety glasses to work.  

’cause we were building the stadium, we were building the museum. and then yeah, parallel to that, we were figuring out, you know, what, what, what is our responsibility of the community as it relates to education? Where can we be of service? And then what is kind of the unique thing that we want to focus on in terms of how to engage young people? That’s how we, and then, you know, we can go into EDU or the museum depending on how you want to go for it, but both those things were very separate in the sense of the projects themselves, but very related in terms of how they were kind of growing together.  

and I learned a lot during that time period. I, I tell people, I now know when it comes time to remodel my house, I know what to expect. There’s nothing like building something, like literally physically Building and Exactly. Twice as long as you think 6:00 AM meetings every day, you know, at the job site with, you know, the architect and the electrical contractor and the, you know, whoever it is.  

And troubleshooting, you know, whatever was going on that day. So, super cool and, and challenging and fun. What, What was Kia Turner’s role at the, at the 49 ERs at that point, And at that time, KT was, I think vice president of player engagement. So basically, you know, the, the, the entity that, that would oversee how the guys worked in the community, what their interests were outside of the game, facilitate, continue education, if that was something they wanted, you know, really just give them a place to go, to make sure that the needs outside of football being met.  

So there’s an office that does that at every pro sports team, you know, in, in the country and the world, probably. So where, and so he was, he was over that unit. and then he had just been tapped as a, like a kind of core working group along with two other people to kind of bring this 49 ERs museum idea along. Once the ownership decided they wanted to build it, they needed a set of folks that could kind of like steward the, the notion until they brought somebody on to lead it.  

And so he was doing that. The, the then VP of marketing was doing it. And then there was, another, another guy, and I’ll say, Ali Toll, hey Ally, if you’re listening. and she’s not, she’s, the Patriots now. And, and Mike Libby, a guy who was in the finance department and, and kind of the football analysis department. And so they were the three folks that were kind of, they turned into kinda like my board of directors. That’s not the right term, but Sure. So that’s what KT was doing.  

And now he is, you know, doing what he was doing then, except probably three or four levels higher. And he would probably bristle if you heard this, but he’ll never hear this. ’cause he doesn’t listen to the podcast that he’s essentially the consigliere to John Lynch now, you know, like when they’re talking about football moves. And he, and he and and John are very close. So I love KT The best. Well, you know, it’s a good thing if he does hear us, you know, I hope He does. I hope he does That. We’re, we’re climbing the ranks of the, podcast. There you Go. Rankings there. So, I do recall at the, the start of Levi’s Stadium, there was some controversy in terms of the location, right?  

Mm-Hmm. Where candle stake in the heart of San Francisco. And, you know, so many great memories in terms of championship teams with Joe Montana and, you know, even, you know, the early Bear Barry Bonds days. Sure. no championships then, but a lot of good baseball teams. Yeah. No championships, a lot, a lot of winning in for the Niners in San Francisco, that’s for sure. Yeah. Yeah. And so, did any of that, in terms of the community, when you’re thinking about a museum, and especially with education and, you know, did any of that, was that, was that a a a, a potential hurdle for you guys?  

Or how did you navigate that piece through, through the museum? It wasn’t a hurdle. You know, I think that, and I think to the York family’s credit, and Dr. John York, Denise to Barlow, York and Jed, you know, the family that owns and, and runs 49 ERs. Like, we never had conversations where it was like, oh, well, we have to come, you know, make people love us down here.  

Like, it, it wasn’t that, you know, the, everybody knew. I mean, the nine ERs had been trying to get a stadium built in San Francisco for 25 years prior to moving to Santa Clara. It wasn’t like it just happened, right. So it was definitely something that people didn’t love, but people kind of knew was in the works because the, they wanted to keep the team local and needed to find a place to build it. It’s not easy to do in the city or, or across The Bay has been proven by other franchises. so it, it was never about the challenge of kind of mitigating the dissatisfaction.  

It was more just about how can we be a good citizen, right? How can we be a good community member? And the, it’s really two different paths, right? The, the Footers Museum is just about fans, right? And we never had a conversation that was anything other than what would fans want, right? What’s our, what’s our responsibility to the, and fans and alumni, you know, and, and their families. What, what do we owe to the guys that came before us that allowed this, this place to get built? Right? Because if there is no John Taylor, if there’s no, you know, Jerry Rice, if there’s no, you know, John Montana, if there’s no Tina Turner, there, there probably isn’t a Levi Stadium Right.  

To get super macro about it. So you had that, and then on the education side, it was really, Hey, look, they had the, the, the for foundation had been supporting the educational ecosystems in the Bay for 30 plus years, just in grant making. Right? but this was like, Hey, you know, we’re gonna, we’re gonna be here. This is a physical place. We’re building a, you know, this the stadium, let’s use it and let’s use the museum to create, and, you know, a direct way for us to relate to the community.  

Yeah. So it was in the early days of establishing what, what went on to be called 49 er ZDU, it was really about making sure that we built it in a way that was thoughtful, that we engaged the folks that we were gonna be building for sure. so one of the things that I identified very early, and by very early, I mean like the first couple weeks on the job was, you know, I needed a group of folks that were gonna shoot us real straight in terms of what we were building, how, how to make sure it was valuable, you know, where the bear traps were, where the opportunities were.  

and so that was one of the first thing I did was kind of curate this body of folks and advisory committee, if you will, that kind of helped us make sure that what we were building was on point from an educational standpoint, and that it was constructed in a way that was really gonna work within the environment where we were. so yeah, I think, you know, I’m sure a lot more, if you were talking someone who was selling tickets, right? Or who is managing corporate partnerships, they probably have a much different breakdown on kind of what the, how they dealt with that, you know, which is a lot of folks being not super pumped that the team moved 40 miles out.  

But I think what quickly happened too was folks realized that, especially as you see teams move, like, what’s the alternative? Right? The alternative was the team goes, right? So, and that’s happened way too many times. Yeah, absolutely. And then, you know, there’s this overarching trend now to that, you know, the stadium complexes, if you will, or where the stadiums are, are turning into mixed use lifestyle centers, right?  

Yes. And I don’t know if San Francisco had that space, and, you know, I’ve been to Levi’s, stadium a few times, and, you know, even at the Santa Clara Conference Center, you know, you have, space down there and, and you do have the ability to kind of create this mixed use. And heck, I think there’s even an amusement park of sorts right there. Great. America’s right next door. Yep. Yeah. And, and related, related development. Steven Ross’s unit, Steven Ross owns the, the Dolphins.  

Yep. They’re building a massive complex directly across the street from Levis Stadium. So, and I, wow. I haven’t really kept tabs on how, how it’s coming along or when it’s slated to open, but yeah, you’re gonna have an LA Live, for those of you who know la you’re gonna have that right across the street from Levi Stadium, I would guess in the next three to five years. Yeah. which is gonna be good because, you know, from a guy who ran a, a museum, which is something that, you know, is heavily dependent on flow and foot traffic and those kinds of things, right? you, you could use that in and around Levi Stadium, but, yeah.  

As a, from a, from a, opportunity standpoint, from what you’ve got around the stadium Mm-Hmm. And really from where you were landing in a community, because Silicon Valley, San Jose, Santa Clara said objectively doesn’t have a great sense of place. Right. You, you’re, you’re never there feeling like, wow, San Jose. You know what I mean? There’s nothing wrong with San Jose, don’t get me bumed. Yeah. But there’s no real connection.  

You know, it’s, it’s tough because it’s a very transient place. Like people are there mainly to work, right? Or to be a part of the industry. There’s not a whole lot of folks who are super prideful about being from that area. And now, as I say that, I’m probably gonna catch heat, but I Mean, well, you know, Jesse, if it makes you feel better, it, I’m so happy that you had said that because, you know, as a non Silicon Valley tech founder, right, going to the mecca of technology for the first time for me, was a very lackluster experience because it’s, I look around and I grew up in New Jersey, and I’m like, oh, this is just a turnpike industrial park, right?  

Yeah. There’s just like these parking spaces among, amongst parking spaces and mid-rise buildings, not exactly high-rise buildings. And it’s like, wow. You know? So I didn’t have that sense of, history or connection that, that you just mentioned there. So I, I, I think a lot of pe you’re right, I mean, despite maybe Palo Alto or Mountain View Sure. I, I don’t know, maybe those communities are a little different.  

No, They do. They do. And I should say, like, in a micro way, you’ll find it, right? Like, especially Palo Alto, because the farm, because of Stanford, you know, like you, you get these institutions that drive, you know, passion that drive interest. But on the whole, the region, what, what the Niners were able to capitalize on was the fact there isn’t a, a big game in town, you know? And I don’t mean that from a sports standpoint, I mean that from kind of like a cultural connection standpoint. and one would argue probably whether they are that now, but I think that there was a big chasm there.  

And so coming into town was an opportunity, and to the, you know, 49 ERs, EDU was one spoke on that wheel in terms of how to kind of establish the team’s commitment to that region. and so it was exciting to, to lead that piece. I will say, and I made this up in my head, it was in a total imaginary scenario, but I did attend conferences at that, at the Santa Clara Conference Center. Like, am I walking the halls of, bill Gates and Steve Jobs and like the ghost of here of like, then selling there?  

Probably At some point, right? But, you know, like I, I highly doubt there was a lot of, of high level dealings of early Apple and everybody there. No, you’re more likely to find that if you like, probably go to the hiking trails in and around, you know, Cupertino and that kind of thing. I would guess you’d find more of that, the ghosts would be more there. Yeah, for sure. well, you know, I’ve been to Levi Stadium a couple times. I haven’t attended a game there, but I’ve, I’ve attended multiple events and the facility itself is amazing.  

Mm-Hmm. It is a well architect, well laid out facility that is definitely mixed use. And, you know, because I’ve been there multiple times, as I mentioned, without you’ve ever seen a game, where exactly is the museum location within the, the confines there? And, and what can, what could guests expect there? Yeah, so it’s on the, the northern side of the stadium on the actual perimeter at street level.  

And it was designed that way so that folks could walk up without having to be in the security perimeter on a non-game day. so yeah, so if you’re, I won’t start saying street names ’cause they mean nothing to most people, but, you know, just imagine street level, northern most part of the stadium, right? In between the box office and the, the team store. and you know, that’s a hard question to answer quickly, but what I’ll say that we were, what we tried to be very intentional about with the museum experiences, you know, kind of multimodality, right?  

We, we wanted it to feel equal parts reverential and interactive, somewhat befitting of the area that we were in, but, but more in tune with how people experience museums and content. You know, some people were very didactic. They want to go in and they want to read a bunch of stuff and stand and look and feel. And, and increasingly there are large swaths of, of the audience that just want to kind of pop through and punch a few buttons and maybe have an app that overlays their experience.  

So we, we, we did it that way, you know, and again, to the York family’s credit, this was a $20 million venture. You know, most of the time when you’re talking about a sports museum, anybody out there who’s been to a few knows that they’re generally not designed with an architectural flare. Like, they’re just kind of very boxy. They’re very, you know, sterile. they kind of feel somewhat jumbled. Anybody you’ve been to Cooperstown, I mean, I love Cooperstown. It’s incredible.  

And it’s like, you know, it’s a pilgrimage, but it’s also, I won’t say the word I was gonna say Rimage. Yeah, yeah. It’s very cobbled together. You know, it doesn’t feel like something that was designed with a major architectural vision, but you wouldn’t think that you wouldn’t feel that way if you walked into the four hours museum. Well, that, that actually, I’m sorry to interrupt here, but now that I’m thinking about it, ’cause you know, as you mentioned, most of those facilities are nonprofits, right? Mm-Hmm. And so when you $20 million runway to kind of build from the ground up, I mean, were you licking your jobs, like Well, yeah.  

I mean, so that was decided before I got there. So what I was looking at my chops about was the chance to have an open kind of whiteboard to tell the story. so my job was, was less about, you know, advocating for the budget, you know, the square footage that stuff was set. It was, okay, we’ve got 20,000 square feet. We’ve got it’s bi-level, right? We, we know in doing all the work we’ve done with our, you know, key constituents, these are the kinds of things that folks wanna see.  

So how do we do this in a way that’s really cool? That was the fun part for, for me. Yeah. and on, and to be honest, it was working with the Cambridge seven is the group that did, the architecture for the building. They also did the store. I’ve worked with them on a number of other projects. They, they’re world class architecture firm. They do aquariums and museums and all kinds of things all over the place. And so it was so fun working with them, because I had never before had this kind of conversation, which is, okay, well how do we, how do we make an experience out of the physical setup of the building?  

So learning about proximity, learning about, you know, the, the concepts of compression and release in terms of how people move through spaces, right? Elevation, large form, small form graphics, you know, the, the juxtaposition of fine art. You know, like we did these incredible life-sized statues of the 49 ERs, hall of Famers in the four ERs Hall of Fame gallery, studio in Brooklyn, studio Ice is the name of it, does the pieces.  

And, you know, laying those right up against an interactive kiosk where you can, you know, quickly flip through pictures and highlights and bios and all that other kind of stuff. So that was the really intriguing part for me, was how to marry those things so that the goal from my standpoint was no matter what kind of person you are in a building like that, there’s something for you here. And you will never go too far without encountering it. so you, what you would expect is, you know, you would expect to go in and leave feeling very connected to the team via whichever kind of path of consumption that you like.  

Oh, interesting. Yeah. No, I like that. You know, ’cause I’d imagine it’s a, it’s a fine balance, and it’s just by way of coincidence for our loyal listeners, you know, hearing our last podcast, we, had yarn from the, soccer hall of fame museum, which I, I, Jordan, You better be listening to mine because I listen to yours.  

Yeah. We’ll, we’ll pinging them on the, on the socials and LinkedIn, for sure. There you go. when we had learned that there was quite a bit of a fully immersed connected technology experience, you know, as soon as you sort of registered into the experience, which as self-serving MVP interactive, we love to hear that. And, you know, that’s kind of the world that we live in. But it sounds like, you know, you were able to kind of really strike that balance between Ana analog and, and I don’t say analog in a negative way, but non-technical.  

Sure. No, it’s, it’s very positive in a museum you have to have that, right? I mean, that’s what people expect, Right? And so, you know, maybe let’s kind of jump ahead a little bit in terms of, you know, you’re, you’re calling in from the Chase Center. Is there anything mm-hmm. That we can tease here? Or, you know, when we, when we talk about technology and you in and around museums for the last 20, 15, 20 years, talk to us a little bit about some of the trends in technology that you’ve seen or what excites you for the future.  

Yeah. yes, I’m here with, with at Chase with the Warriors, and, you know, to their credit, not surprisingly, given how innovative the franchise is and the commitment to their community, they’re, they’re thinking through, you know, what it, what are some ways that we might kind of look to broaden, our impact to serve the San Francisco and Oakland educational ecosystem. So I’m helping them think through those pieces. very exciting and, and huge thanks to Mike Kitts and Aana Moody and John Bevin, everybody here who’s, who’s, who’s doing that.  

but to, to get more specifically to your, your question about kind of the trends in, and I’m, maybe I’m reshaping how you said it, but the trends and, and how people engage with technology in a museum and those kinds of things. You know, in my experience, it, it, the tools have changed, right? The what AR is now versus what AR was, then what, what, what, even just the hardware, the size, the speed, the, the, the user experience on an interactive kiosk, like what it is now, what’s capable of, versus what it was then, this is 10 years ago, I know, is literally light years difference.  

So for me, the, I guess I would say the strategy and approach hasn’t changed all that much, but what the new technology and what all the advances in the platforms themselves have done is, is introduce speed, introduce nuance, introduce like, opportunity to create more layers on top of the experience.  

So, for example, you know, we did AWW we, we did a, what’s the right word for it here, geolocated isn’t the right word, but, you know, you’ve got a app, you’re kind of walking through a space, you, you get close to something, it’s gonna trigger, you know, a, a feed of content, right?  

and it’s so rudimentary, you know, based on like, when I think about what it, what it, what it was versus what it could be now. Sure. So now, you know, if you, if you’re doing the same thing, you’re building something that’s allowing me to, to use maybe some, a similar interface, a cell phone, but I can share socially, I can download content, I can interact with this probably in some kind of way back to your conversation that you have with Jordan. And I’m not gonna try and pretend that I know everything about his building, but I know some of it, it’s really just about depth, I think.  

And that text technology facilitates a more like, robust experience within these spaces. and to me, the important thing to think about as a purveyor of those things is exactly what you were talking about at the jump of this kind of line of thinking, which is the juxtaposition. Because to me, that’s what makes it powerful in a museum space. It’s different if you’re going to say, you know, like in, a hyper interactive or innovation forward kind of venue, right?  

Sure. and this is the world that you work in, right? Right. But if I’m going to a museum in particular, a museum about sports, I’m expecting to have some low key observational reverential moments, right? If I’m in the pro football hall of fame and I’m looking at the busts, I wanna look at those, right.  

And I want to, it me, me, maybe not everybody’s this way, but I think I wanna make them talk to you. Yeah, exactly. And you should, and, and the thing is, like, and most people, like if you, if you surveyed a hundred people that walked in the door, there’d probably be 50 that told you like, I don’t want to hear that. And 50 that said, I do. Yeah. Yeah. and that’s the point is, is understanding where and when to, to push those buttons, though, you know, sure. Where’s the right moment? And that’s where it’s really important to have groups like yours, and interact with producers that know what they’re doing in terms of how to, you know, create the content and to just folks that design buildings that know the right places to plug things in, in terms of how people actually move through spaces.  

because there’s no question that there’s no way you could do a viable or enjoyable experience these days without layering a ton of interactive experiences and leveraging the high-end technology to do it. Especially you’re building something new. and in my opinion, nor could you do achieve the same goals without offering the opposite. and that’s, that’s where the magic happens in my mind.  

Sure. Yeah. yeah, it’s funny you mentioned 10 years ago, you know, and we’d like, that’s sort of the nascent days of our technology, and we look back and we’re like, oh my God, it’s cringeworthy. But at the time, it was the most, you know, advanced and we were doing these face filters prior, you know, before Snapchat was even doing it. And I wouldn’t have called it ar right? But that’s, that’s sort of what the nomenclature allows for now. And, but back to your sort of, seamless digital touchpoints, you know, we, as a byproduct of, of Covid and sort of not having live events or people in seats and, you know, we need to get really smart with how we were selling our services and offering value to our clients.  

And so, as a result of that, we found opportunities in a very museum-like setting to work with universities. And we found that there’s a real need for universities to memorialize the historic history of a said program, whether it’s an athletic department or, you know, faculty, staff and what have you. Yeah. So we actually had the opportunity to really design these mini museums, almost recruitment facilities for, particular sports teams, Stanford, one of them, Cornell, another one where building out a content management system allowed for a light but intriguing technical experience where you are navigating, you are learning, you’re, you’re using touchscreens, it, it’s multimedia.  

So you can, you know, learn the bio, read the biography, and then watch a highlight video of that individual. And so, you know, being able to kind of create that, you know, it’s not the most advanced technology, but for most people that don’t get to interact with say, you know, an 80 inch screen touchscreen, you know, that Yeah.  

The sheer imposing nature of that and being able to see content is, is advanced enough and, and it works within the setting. So, Yeah. Yeah. I totally relate what you’re saying there. I, I’m doing a project in Alabama, and we went and toured Alabama football, or Alabama athletics. and so I know exactly what you’re talking about, right? in terms of, and it, it’s so interesting the lens that you see these things through, right?  

Because it’s not meant to be an experience that the, the public really interacts with. It’s meant to be a, a, a decision maker between Georgia and Alabama, or Ohio State and Alabama. So like the target audience for these things. Yeah. I remember walking through, and I don’t know if you’ve ever been there, but you’ve probably been to others that have very similar things, but Sure. You know, they have this, essentially this like hall of honor. So you’re looking this Jalen Hertz and here’s, you know, Derrick Henry and all these guys, and all these things that they’ve done, and like they’ve got, thanks for The Philly shout out there. Thank you for that.  

Yeah, sure. Yeah. I’ll, I’ll, and, and it’s incredible and to like borderline old dude, it’s overwhelming. Yeah. I’m like, I can’t, there’s so much happening here. Yeah. But then I’m like, no, this is meant for 19 to 20 year old kids. Yeah. And so, you know, you, you have to look at it that way. And then what you’re also capable of doing in that, in that same space, even by just the slightest little change in, in location in the room or whatever, is pay the homage to past, right.  

To look to future and technology and the way that it operates and the kinds of things that y’all do, do facilitate that in a way that wasn’t available, at least at that level, you know, 10 years ago. Sure. Sure. Well, I know we’re talking about technology in the future and things, and I wanna make sure that we, we touch on and highlight some of your, your education past, again, in terms of, when I first was reading your bio, I kept reading stem stem, and that’s what I, you know, formally, new and we’re aware of from a, an education, standpoint.  

But you work within ESTEEM education community. Yeah. One differentiate the two. Sure. And, and two, tell us a little bit more about that before we wrap here. Sure. Well, I mean, the, it, the simplest sense, it’s obviously just a difference of a letter and an acronym, right? Which is the inclusion of the concept of art within the concepts of science, technology, engineering, and math. Yeah. And this is one of those situations where depending on who’s listening to this, it’s either a 32nd conversation or it’s a three hour conversation.  

Because, you know, a lot of folks will, will, will say, you know, from a purist standpoint, you know, mathematics really is the, the major umbrella under which everything else falls. Other people will talk more about the sciences and, but what, what we’re talking about, and the majority of work that I’m doing is really about changing the way young people are oriented towards these subjects. Because the majority of projects I’m working on are aimed at kids coming for this from resource and opportunity.  

And when you’re doing that, you know, you have to understand, that sounds preachy. you know, the, the, the majority of these young people, they don’t have an interest in steam or stem, not because they’re not great at learning it because they don’t see it, they don’t see relevance, they don’t, you know, understand why it should matter. And, you know, when you’re looking at what the opportunity is there, it’s really to use these common connectors to use the power of sport to use other shared interest, to get them to lean into these things.  

So all of that backdrop is just to say that, you know, when you talk about the inclusion of the a of the arts, you know, one of the things that I always say is problem solving is an innately creative exercise. So, and, and, and not that those other disciplines don’t involve creativity, but allowing and, and, and articulating through curriculum development or articulating through pedagogy, the influence of art on a kid’s experience and how they address these things is really powerful.  

Because when you think about the way that kids are asked to learn now, and I’m not gonna do it back in my day moment, but, you know, it’s just, No, I’ve got a 14 year old daughter now, and I’m, I see. So it’s just that, you know, how different it is. Like you, the, the, the process through which they’re asked to, to engage themselves in learning the outcomes they’re expected to show, you know, it’s just so different.  

So because of that, you lean into project-based learning, right? You lean into social emotional skill development, you lean into the things that, you know, and I say you when, I mean the, the programs that I’m working to build, because that’s what kids are getting met with. But before you can do any of that, you have to, you have to create an interest, you have to develop a passion, you have to open a window.  

And so art can do that, and the creative disciplines can do that in a way that many of the others can. And really just to get maybe as direct as possible, it’s really important to, in my mind, to include and to work from esteem perspective, because you have to get young people to understand that everything inherent to problem solving and learning is already inside them. you know, it’s this kind of curiosity, this place of exploration, this place of, and I don’t say invention in a, in a, in a practical sense.  

I say it in a colloquial sense. I, I can, if I see something in front of me, and I, it’s a problem for me to solve. The first place I’m gonna go is gonna be to a creative one. So I think that’s, that’s why I like to work in that sphere, but it’s also not that different, you know what I mean? It’s not like there’s this universe over here, steam in these universe over here, stem, and never the two shall meet.  

It’s in, for some people, it’s, it’s very interchangeable. But where it does become important is when you actually get to designing what the lessons are when you get to thinking about the language that you use. Right. and you know, the other thing that in including art in your, in your approach does, is it opens up the opportunity to teach about music, to teach about graphic design, to teach about, you know, we had a really cool, lesson and experience we had in, in Levi Stadium because of the, the art collection that was curated to fill the building, which is all local artists.  

And so you wanna talk about a diverse plethora of modalities. I mean, is everything sculpture, fine art, you know, graffiti. And so you can, you can create this wow moment for young people. Yeah. And, and, you know, and I think it’s a real, it’s a more real world example of what the future holds for these kids, right? Because not everyone is a scientist. Not everyone’s a mathematician. And not many jobs fall in those two buckets, right?  

No. It’s in the creativity and whether you’re in business, the social sciences, or what have you, you know, being able to be a broad thinker to conceptualize philosophies on things that, you know, aren’t as binary as ones and twos. Yeah, sure. You know, is, is really important. And, you know, I see it with my own daughter where the methodology in her school is, all right, well, even still to a degree, it’s, it’s kind of old school and like, all right, memorize this. Yeah. And then great, you know, we can teach you to memorize things, but how’s that gonna help you in the workforce when you need to think on your own and, you know, really Yeah.  

Be abstract with, with problem solving. So, Absolutely. Yeah. I, I love that. And it’s, it’s, you know, not to get too far down the rabbit hole on this, but I think, you know, to, to tie back into what you’re saying, and really just that realization and visualization for kids, it’s, you know, a lot of times now what, what so many jobs that are in, in industries that are booming, are in analytics, they’re in data aggregation, they’re in data interpretation. They’re in, in the use of those things to fuel AI and all these other things that are taking us forward in terms of how everything works.  

But the outcomes of those things are, are, are human experience, their fan experience in the sports context. So when you’re asking someone to think about, for example, why, how is AI or data analysis related to what I see on a scoreboard? They have a notion of what the scoreboard looks like, which is an, a concept in the curriculum, right?  

They think about that visually, they think about that. They don’t think about that, you know, mathematically, they don’t think about that scientifically. and you can back them into that, you know, by allowing the relationship to come forward the way it organically does for kids. Sure. Well, Jesse, we are unfortunately at our time, we like to give our listeners an opportunity to reach out to our, our guests here. And so whatever you’re comfortable with, whether it’s your phone number, your home address, no, I’m kidding there.  

But your social or best point of contact. Yeah. give us, give us a way to reach out to you. Sure. well, you can find me at Mitchell’s Cove in the water, you know, just about every day in Santa Cruz, if you there. No, I’m just kidding. so LinkedIn, Jesse Lovejoy, you know, you can find me there. there are a few Jesse Lovejoys, but if you google Jesse Lovejoy Lovejoy Strategies, which is the name of be Jesse Lovejoy. Got your handle. Yeah. Lovejoy Strategies is, is the organization I founded, not too, not too long ago, literally a couple months ago.  

so congratulations. Welcome. Thank you. Thank you. I do have a website for that that’s up. and jesse@lovejoystrategies.com is my email address. so any one of those works. and you know, I will just say to anybody listening who is thinking, you know, on a scale of one to 10, they’re at like a three or above an interest in anything I’ve said, just reach out because I really enjoy talking to folks and just, you know, seeing what people are thinking about. Yeah.  

Well, that’s awesome. We could, we certainly could’ve, kept this going, but we, we wanted to be respectful to, to your, your time. I know you’re busy with the new project, and, but Jesse, this was great, and maybe, hey, there’s no reason, not that you cannot come back. Right. You know, so maybe at the completion of this project, we can I would love To. All right. Awesome. That Would be awesome. all right. So look, James, I I really appreciate the time. I’m, you know, hoping that things continue to go great for what you’re doing, and I’m a big fan. I appreciate, thank you. Yeah. So yeah, maybe I’ll come back and, to everyone out there listening, and I hope things are going well for you too.  

All right, well, thanks again for another edition of the MVP podcast. Until next time, James. Julio.  

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Jesse Lovejoy - Podcast Guest


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