Denver Office
CEO Avi Stopper sketches out a plan on the chalkboard walls at CaptainU’s Denver office. Photograph by Chris Strong.

A Workday With Michael Farb and Avi Stopper

The cofounders of sports-recruiting-software company CaptainU diagram their game plan for a productive day at the office.

Avi Stopper, ’06, and Michael Farb, ’09, cofounded CaptainU to create an easier way for high school athletes and college coaches to connect and build meaningful relationships. The CaptainU suite of products allows the athletes to promote themselves to recruiters, and the coaches to control the recruiting process from start to finish and improve their teams. The company’s roughly 60 employees span two offices, with CEO Stopper based in Denver and COO Farb settled in San Francisco. In the last eight years, CaptainU has helped more than 1 million students connect to more than 10,000 college coaches and over 2,000 tournament directors.

6:30 a.m. Farb: My 18-month-old twin boys wake up on the early side, ready to go. It’s an amazing way to start the day to see their smiling faces.

7:30 a.m. Stopper: Work out. Routines matter.

7:30 a.m. Farb: I have my best ideas of the day in the shower.  I came up with a new concept to fast-track our mobile strategy for athletes to help them make college teams on the go. I’m excited to run that by the product team.

8:15 a.m. Stopper: Bike ride to work: rain, shine, or blizzard. My record in Denver was -8 degrees, which actually beat my Chicago record of -5. Though, to be fair, in Chicago it was -30 with the windchill.

8:30 a.m. Farb: Bike to work in downtown San Francisco. I listen to podcasts on the way to get some fresh perspective on business, news, and life.

9:30 a.m. Farb: Meet with a few teams for our Monday weekly kickoffs to set the plan for the week, get fired up, and go out and conquer.

11 a.m. Stopper: We have chalkboards all over our office. I like to spend time working with chalk. It forces you to avoid details and think bigger picture. One of my favorite math teachers always had chalk all over him, so I try to channel that.

12 p.m. Farb: It’s good to take a break and sit with colleagues to discuss the weekend and what’s ahead at our Monday team lunches. In a company with many former athletes and coaches, there’s always a lively sports debate happening.

12:30 p.m. Stopper: I try to block off time each day for deep focus with no distractions. How often do I actually accomplish this? That’s another story.

A COO Michael Farb takes a foosball break with CaptainU employees at the company’s San Francisco office. Photograph by Randall Spriggs. COO Michael Farb takes a foosball break with CaptainU employees at the company’s San Francisco office. Photograph by Randall Spriggs.2 p.m. Farb: I have a scheduled call with Avi. Things change fast with CaptainU, so weekly calls are great to align with each other, get over roadblocks, and assess the direction for the company.

2:30 p.m. Stopper: I like to take a walk with at least one colleague a day. We step away from our screens and take stock of where we are and what adjustments to make.

3 p.m. Stopper: Work with our product managers and designers to plan development projects or work through tricky design challenges.

4 p.m. Farb: I take a walk to get coffee and connect with a sales manager to discuss updating targets and getting more aggressive with our hiring plans. 

6 p.m. Stopper: After I complete my checklist for the day, I try to close my devices so I can avoid work dripping into the other things I do. It helps me return fresh the next day to a new set of opportunities.

7 pm. Farb: Get home to see the kids for an hour before they go to bed. They recently learned to say “Da-Da,” which is really the only word they need to know. Once the babysitter arrives, I can go out with my wife, Nicole [Shariat Farb, ’09], for dinner. Nicole also runs her own company, Darby Smart, so it can be tough to get dinners together. Date nights are great.

—As told to Melissa Lamkin