For Marc-André Maillet, the path to entrepreneurship started with two words, “what if.” Maillet’s burning curiosity would lead him to found Beyond Pulse, the ultimate soccer coaching diagnostic tool that empowers coaches with critical health data, resulting in better training and improved player health and performance. Maillet’s innovative approach is to improve athletic performance by focusing on the coaches. And with the Pakistan national cricket team recently contacting Beyond Pulse for help, global sports teams are taking notice. Read on to get the full story.
What was the spark that inspired the birth of your concept?
While I was coaching and working on my masters in coaching pedagogy at Ohio University, I had the chance to use a heart rate & GPS system that monitored the performance of our athletes. I was expecting to learn about my players, but I actually learned more about myself as a coach in the process. I realized the impact on player development could be much greater if we improved coaching behaviors, and I started to wonder, “What if we had a tool to help coaches become better instead of players?” I think of the quote, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat forever.” We are impacting players through improving our coaches.
What problem does it solve?
Up until now, only professional teams had access to an objective tool to provide metrics on how athletes perform during their training sessions. We wanted to bring this benefit to youth organizations so we took that technology and we made it affordable and accessible, we made the process easier so that youth organizations can benefit from it.
What has been the biggest surprise in your entrepreneurial experience to date?
Being an entrepreneur has changed my perspective on how I view organizations, small and large. When I see a successful product or event I’m now very conscious and mindful of the amount of effort, time and communication that went into its design and launch.
Your biggest success?
The team I’ve assembled at Beyond Pulse. It’s a group of great people with a shared vision of improving youth sports in the US and around the world.
Do you have a failure story to share? What did you learn from this failure?
I believe we are not defined by our failures, each one is an opportunity. It is the failed attempts and hard experiences that teach us how to learn and grow, it’s how we improve.
As an entrepreneur, what keeps you up at night?
From product development to financing to customer service, being ultimately responsible for every piece of the company means that any time something isn’t working as smoothly as we wish, I stay up thinking “How can we make it better? How can we improve this?” Ensuring people are satisfied is what keeps me up.
What is the best entrepreneurial advice you have received (and from whom)?
Max Kamhi gave me two pieces of really valuable advice. The first is there is no substitute for effort, you have to grind. And the other to accept that not everything will work out exactly as you planned, but having a composed attitude toward it lets you focus on what you can control and then the process.
What is your #1 piece of advice for a budding entrepreneur?
Aspire to build a product or service that is really useful for society, but beyond that think about how you will have a positive impact on the lives of the people that will help you build your company. I believe that you can and should have as much positive impact on your micro-society, the people around you, as you do with the society your product or service influences.
What is the #1 book you would recommend for a budding entrepreneur?
“How Will You Measure Your Life” by Clayton Christensen. It explores why some people can excel in their jobs but struggle in other areas of their lives, and offers insight into achieving a more fulfilling one. Each chapter takes an example of a business scenario, explores the strategy toward a solution, and then dives into applying that to another aspect of your life.
Imagine your venture becomes wildly successful. What does that look like?
Simply that we are able to change the landscape of coaching in the world. We want to make sure that coaches have the tools they need to become better so that we see kids having more fun at practice while developing them into successful adults.
What’s your favorite local business and why?
An English pub in the southeast called The Toffee Club. It’s a great place to meet friends and watch football because they’ve set up an environment to create relationships around the love of the game.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Prime Minister of Canada. I grew up in Montreal, my third-grade teacher predicted it. She was wrong.
Do you think Oregon is a good place to start a business? How has it helped you, and what challenges has it posed?
It is a phenomenal place to start a business. Oregon is about people and relationships and I believe a company should be about collaborating with others, creating an organization that is greater than the sum of its pieces.
Any other tidbits or fun facts to share?
We recently received a call from a cricket team! The Pakistan national cricket team reached out to us, and it was really cool to hear how we can help them. We were excited to partner with them because we feel that Beyond Pulse is not just for soccer, but an organizational resource to improve coaching and player development.
Beyond Pulse: beyondpulse.com