Prairie Portrait: Luke Babb of Sporting Innovations
Name: Luke Babb
Bio: I'm a Colorado native transplanted in Kansas City. A recent grad of The Kansas City Art Institute, and now working as a designer for Sporting Innovations. I love KC (minus the humidity), work is play, and Monday mornings are seldom tough. I ride a bike and I'm involved with the Tour de BBQ, a cycling event benefiting the fight against cancer in Kansas City.
Title: Interactive Graphic Designer at Sporting Innovations
Residence: Kansas City, Mo.
Intro music: "Gold On The Ceiling," by The Black Keys
Silicon Prairie News: What big lessons have you learned about the intersection of sports, entertainment and technology in the year-plus that you've been at Sporting Innovations?
Luke Babb: One of the biggest lessons learned while at Sporting Innovations is that nothing's impossible. We have such a creative and dynamic team, and although we can't do it all at once, there's hardly ever a time when someone says something can't be done. However, the most valuable lesson has been figuring out how we can leverage technology to create unique and valuable experience for fans, whether they're interacting in-venue, or simply watching at home on the couch.
SPN: You've described yourself as "constantly pushing the edges of technology." What methodologies or philosophies do you subscribe to that are particularly cutting edge?
LB: One of the many fundamental things I feel keeps a cutting edge approach is simply being observant. Constantly researching trends and technology, what others are doing right and/or wrong, and what interactions make the most valuable user experiences. One of my biggest secrets is thinking beyond the mobile screen or desktop display and simply asking "What if?" Sometimes it just takes that out-there thought to create something groundbreaking ... the sky's the limit!
SPN: You're in the midst of redesigning your personal website. What essentials should that site convey about you, professionally and personally, and how does the site's design help achieve that?
LB: It's said that designing for yourself is one of the most difficult things to do, and at times I think that may be an understatement. But overall I love the idea of someone visiting my site and really getting a feel not only for my work, but for my personality as well. Right now, I'm big into creating unique user experiences, and I hope that shines through. And most importantly I hope the passion for what I do really rings true and expresses that design holds much more importance than simply "looking pretty."
SPN: What's your elevator pitch for your Hack the Midwest project, Where Da Spot? What's the latest with that project?
LB: Whelp, Where Da Spot is a Kansas City parking app created to take the hassle out of parking. Using the city's API along with a few others, in a nutshell, users can find parking spots based on availability, price, location/venue, lot type (meter, lot, garage) and time restrictions. We took it a step further and allowed users to "bookmark" their spot with a photo and caption, set a timer, brag to friends and pay directly from their mobile device. Our hopes are to release a version 1.0 that implements the search and navigation to spots, and further collaboration with the city will bring a future release with more of the features previously mentioned. Whew, hopefully this elevator is in a 20+ floor building.
SPN: As an avid cyclist, what are your three favorite routes in the world to ride, and why?
LB: Funny you should ask because I actually didn't get into cycling until moving here. Being from Colorado you'd think that would have been the perfect place to get started. So favorite routes in the world might be a bit of a stretch for me as just about all of my miles have been right here in KC. But if I could, I'll give a shout out to the Tour de BBQ; I've been a part of the group that puts on this ride for three years now, and we have created some amazing routes (touring KC's finest BBQ of course), and it's beyond exciting to see cyclists come out en masse for a great cause.
Credits: Photo courtesy of Babb.
Prairie Portraits: To learn more about this series, see our introduction post, or visit our archives for past Prairie Portraits. To suggest an individual for a future Prairie Portrait, contact email@example.com.
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