View From the Balcony: Steve Zavaski

My guest today is a young CACer who took the Fall season off, but sent me an email yesterday looking to get back involved with the CAC leagues, and what better way to do so than with an interview?!

Tibbs: Who are you, where you from, how’d you get here?

Steve: My name is Steve Zavaski.  I grew up in southern Connecticut in a town called Wallingford, which is 20 minutes west of New Haven.  I ended up attending Suffolk University here in Boston graduating with a business degree in 2010.  I was fortunate to land a job right out of school and after seeing what it’s like to actually have some money in Boston, I have no plans to leave the city anytime soon. It’s nice being able to afford more than dollar drafts at Coogan’s on the weekends…

Tibbs: While nice to have some money to burn, you’ll always be looking for deals in the Hub. And never pass up free drinks, in my early 20s “I forgot my wallet” was my go to excuse for a solid couple years. Worked too.  Anyway, Hubspot right? (leading the witness!) that seems like the ‘it’ place to work these days. What do you have going on over there?

Steve: HubSpot is great.  I just recently started here in a sales position.  Essentially, we offer marketing software that helps companies of all shapes and sizes attract more visitors, convert more leads, and close more customers.  What company doesn’t need and want to do that?  That being said, it’s a fun market to sell in and I’m happy to be here.  

Tibbs: Gotta have some personality to do be a salesman. Can you imagine the days of selling door to door? Gross, I’m so much better behind a keyboard. So, Mr. Salesman, everyone that I interview from the balcony has something to plug, and I can tell you’re no different. Go ahead, lay it on me.

Steve: Well Jay, as you know I love basketball.  Whether it’s watching, playing, coaching, I love the game.  This inspired me to start my own site ( which offers folks a free schedule of the top places to play pickup basketball in the Boston area.  On my site, I also have a blog which discusses all sorts of basketball related topics.  Essentially, I want to make it as easy as possible for competitive basketball players in the Boston area to get together for organized pickup play on a frequent basis.  With my research, there really are no websites that provide this type of info, so I’m looking forward to starting this “basketball community” and making it simple for guys to get together for some solid hoops.

I’ve taken a look around and like the concept, but if I’m allowed the liberty to offer advice (I’m taking it regardless) there should only be one ‘Top League’ and that’s CAC Basketball. Lumping us with everyone else is like saying the ‘Top Flavors’ of ice cream are rocky road, chocolate chip cookie dough, mint chocolate chip and cherry garcia. Clearly it’s chocolate chip cookie dough.

Sorry Jay, I’m trying to drive a lot of traffic right now, so need to have some other leagues on my site.  Maybe in a couple months I can just leave the chocolate chip cookie dough.

Erroneous but I’ll allow it. What should CAC be doing differently besides ‘generating more leads’, which is what I assume you’re going to say?

One quick win for you is to make sure you have a “Call To Action” on every single page of your website.  A few example of this are clear and concise buttons your visitors can click, which bring them to a landing page, in which they need to provide some contact information in exchange for an offer.  For example, on your home page, maybe you can put a quick bullet point or two about the “Corporate League” and have a button that says “Sign Up Today!”  Once they click on this button, make sure you bring them to a solid landing page which outlines the details of the league (not too wordy) and has a form which gives you some contact information.  You now have a new lead.  Make sense?

Also, blog as much as you can and make sure you are blogging about content that is very relevant to your target audience.  Include keywords which you want to rank on in SEO, to help bring you up the Google rankings, which will lead to more visitors, leads, and customers.

I definitely need to be blogging more. Man why’s all the oneous fall on me? Whatever, I’m 30 now, maybe I’ll step up to the plate. Seriously, I’ll trade you a free league for free advice. My boss is all like ‘oh hey, why does our facebook page only have 550 likes?’ As if everyone doesn’t already like us enough.

Haha, we can discuss some more tips offline for sure.

I really need to be better listing our pick-up runs, maybe being included on a site like this will inspire me to do that. This calendar always seems to be out of date:

Honestly, that would be awesome for the both of us.  Maybe I can have a separate site page listing your pick up run schedule?  Let me know your thoughts there.  

Love it, I’m in. You see this Josh, I’m doing work!!

Is there an app for this?

Unfortunately, no.  But I can setup a landing page on my site to collect people’s contact info and in return they receive CAC’s pickup schedule.  Thoughts?

Again, I’m all for it! But let’s move on to what’s really important, rec league basketball. Rumors are swirling, since five minutes ago, that you’re coming back to CAC next season. I enjoyed covering your team in the B2 5v5 league so when you do make a comeback, what’s your entrance music going to be?

Haha, these rumors you hear are correct.  I will be “coming out of retirement” in January for the Corporate League and look forward to helping HubSpot make a serious run.  I’ve already done some scouting internally and the corporate league better watch out, as we have some serious talent and most importantly, a ton of heart. 2014 CAC Corporate League Championship is ours.

In the Corp league? Nice! Matty Bells does good work over there (mine is only so-so). Moretti said he was coming back after softball season was over, but I didn’t see Swish in any of the Fall leagues, why did he lie to me?

I haven’t talked to my boy Swish in a while. You’ll have to shoot him a tweet to find out the scoop.  Tag me in that tweet for entertainment purposes.  

Speaking of the pint-sized wonder, when are you stepping up your twitter game to be more like him? No dude I know shares as many cute dogs as he does

I will never be as dominant in the social media game as my man Matt Moretti.  Guy is a stud.

Agreed, ok so you’re back in Corporate. My extensive research shows me your second CAC season was spent there, how do you expect your former Akamai teammates to treat you on the court if they see you in the Corporate Winter 2014 season?

Haha, I love that question.  I built some solid relationships with my time at Akamai and have been keeping in touch with a lot of the guys, so I don’t see there being too much negative banter on the floor.  That being said, the only thing on my mind that game and any game I play is getting the W.

What’s your favorite gif from that B2 5v5 Winter 2013 season? I’ve been collecting them on Google+ and it’s about the only thing useful offered on that social media service

I have two favorites.  The first is this one:


That’s a great choice, I love it when good players mess up and I get it on film

I don’t have to comment – The GIF says it all….

My favorite has gotta be this one:


Yes, I chose a GIF of myself blocking this dude out of bounds.  This is because he was annoying the crap out of me all game, so this one felt real good.

It’s all about self promotion man! You gotta let people know not to come into the paint against you. All mail will be returned to sender!! Did you know there’s a Steven Zavackis in the league as well? Do you have any idea how confusing that is for me?

Hahaha, that is ridiculous and I had no idea.  Not sure how I feel about that either….

What would you rather be known for on the internet, falling off the 300 level balcony at a Bills game, or streaking at an eagles game? Both are super depressing.

Streaking at an Eagles game for two reasons.  One, I hate the Eagles as I’m a diehard GMEN fan.  Two, at least the streaking option contains a component of excitement to it.  Falling off a balcony anywhere would be awful, especially at a Bills game (sorry Bills fans…).

God now that I know you’re a Giants fan I want to shred this entire interview. Leave us with the best piece of advice you’ve been given and gtfo of my blog!!

The best piece of advice I ever received is very simple.  Do your best to keep a positive attitude.  Everyone will need to overcome obstacles in their lives.  What has helped me to move on and learn from these difficult experiences  is simply looking at everything in a positive fashion.  It obviously isn’t as easy as it sounds, but being negative about a bad experience will only make that worse.  Next time something negative happens to you, find a positive, keep your chin up, and watch how quickly you move forward from that experience.  

Thanks for stopping by Steve and we’ll see you on the court in the Winter!