Matt French co-founded Sevwins, a growth mindset app built to empower student-athletes and coaches. Additionally, Coach French is entering his fourth year as the head baseball coach at Del Oro High School in Loomis, California. Prior to Sevwins and the coaching position, he spent 20 years in the enterprise software industry and contributed to the explosive growth of ServiceNow (NYSE:NOW). Matt is passionate about inspiring young adults by passing on the learnings from his corporate experiences and college baseball career.
Inside Pitch: Please explain your background in baseball, the “real world” and the calling to get into coaching.
Reflecting on my 20-year career in the software industry, I can’t help but compare my mindset to Happy Gilmore’s. I considered myself to be a baseball player moonlighting as an enterprise software exec. My leather computer bag sported a Rawlings logo, I took pride in doing the small things right and I went to the office to compete every day. While sports had a huge impact on my life, coaches and corporate leaders influenced me the most.
As little guys, my brother and I shadowed my dad on the pool deck where he coached several Olympians. A handful of local iconic high school coaches taught me the importance of committing to teammates. The learning experiences continued under Jerry Weinstein and Andy McKay at Sacramento City College and later Rich Hill at the University of San Francisco. In the “real world” I had the opportunity to learn from some of the software industry’s greatest leaders. While each operated in different environments, their messages were strikingly similar – dream big, do more than what’s expected, deliver quality, attack weaknesses and put others before yourself.
After a highly rewarding and grueling tech career, it was my turn to do what many others did for me – I became the head baseball coach at the high school that influenced who I am today. While my plan was to mentor young adults, the student athletes have taught me more than I could ever give to them.
IP: What did you do specifically with the software firms you worked for?
One of my most memorable quotes of wisdom came from Frank Slootman, my former CEO at ServiceNow and current standout CEO at Snowflake. He once said, “give me absolute crap or give me greatness.” In short, there is no place for mediocrity. You are either all-in or not at all. And this is how I operated.
My enterprise software career evolved from individual contributor to leading company go-to-market strategies. Most of my professional growth occurred at ServiceNow – one of the fastest growing software vendors of all time. In nine years, the company expanded from 30 employees to more than 5,000, revenue grew to $2B and we IPO’d on the NYSE. While our technology was superior, the people and the culture are what set the company apart. We were confident, but humble. We cared deeply about each other and our customers. We knew that failure meant we were pushing our limits. Do these sound familiar to your coaching philosophies? Coach mentorship transcends athletics. We teach young adults to develop the “all-in” growth mindset.
A few years after exiting ServiceNow, I reconnected with Greg Moore at St. Mary’s College of California. He opened my eyes to a growth mindset framework that could help me better influence the high school players and impact the lives of young adults on a global scale.
IP: How did you meet/get involved with Greg Moore?
There are few leaders that are as charismatic and determined to help people as Coach Moore. His attitude is infectious. I often ask myself, “how can anyone be that genuine?” The reality is, Greg has been that way ever since we were teammates at the University of San Francisco. At a Hot Stove Coaches Clinic hosted by the St. Mary’s staff in 2019, Coach Moore pulled me aside to get my thoughts on a growth mindset framework that he developed throughout his 20 years of coaching at the college level. His goal was to simplify and automate a paper-based process that he relied on to better understand his players and prepare them for long-term success. The high school coach in me was floored by the potential to see my student athletes as individuals. And the tech guy in me was intrigued by the possibilities of making these concepts widely available to all coaches. Shortly after sharing the framework concepts with a good friend and one of the best minds in the tech industry, John Roberts, Sevwins Inc. was born.
IP: What is the significance of the name “Sevwins”?
The company name, Sevwins, is rooted in the core principles of Coach Moore’s growth mindset framework. His framework set out to empower athletes to get seven wins each week. By completing daily growth reps in a seven-day cadence, athletes become more accountable. They boost self-control and awareness to ignite growth. Seven + wins = Sevwins.
IP: What’s the purpose of the app? How easy is it for coaches and players to use?
We know that developing the whole athlete improves game performance and leads to success long after baseball. But the way we mentor today, takes a ton of effort and more time than we have. Sevwins was designed to make it easier for coaches to mentor, create more meaningful relationships and extend their impact into the ‘other 20-hours’ athletes are not in their presence.
Sevwins is a growth mindset app built for student-athletes and their coaches. Through simple prompts sent to their phones daily, athletes learn to set goals, assess mental skills and reflect on experiences. In just seven minutes a week, young adults build intentional life habits while coaches see the individual and team mindset. Accountability stats, goal and reflection journals, mental skill trends, and app-based guidance provide coaches with the level of information they need to understand and mentor athletes more effectively in less time.
Sevwins is easy to start and use. It’s a browser-based app so there’s nothing to download from app stores. Simply sign up at sevwins.com and send the team’s invite code to your players. Once players create their profile, the app will begin engaging athletes in growth reps. Coaches gain immediate visibility into mindset trends and journals across the team and for each player.
IP: How long in the making is Sevwins, in your opinion?
Coach Moore originally delivered the concepts as an in-class mental skills training program at USF in the early 2000s. It evolved into a daily routine managed through paper, then later through text messages. The first line of Sevwins code was written less than a year ago. Since that time, we have learned a great deal from our early coaches. If you are interested in guiding the next evolution of mentorship, partner with us. Start using Sevwins today.