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Every summer for the past nine years, while reflecting upon my unique career, I think back to where I was the first week of August 2009. It was another insanely hot and humid month in New York City, and I was working full-time at Manhattan’s 92nd Street Y as Director of Adult Education Programs. I had just moved into a new garden apartment on the Upper East Side, and had been dating the girl who would eventually become my wife for close to a year.

We were also in the depths of the worst global financial crisis of my lifetime. Those who were in the workforce at the time – particularly in NYC, which was hit hard – know just how scary and uncertain things were back then. For the previous seven or eight months, employers were downsizing left and right; there were hiring freezes, wage cuts, and those of us who still had jobs were tasked with picking up the slack.

I was personally affected by all of this. While I was fortunate to have retained my job at 92Y during this difficult time, about 60 of my colleagues weren’t so lucky. I was told at the start of that year that I would now be fully responsible for not only my own workload, but that of a colleague who had been laid off. Would I be receiving compensation for this additional work? Forget about it; they made it clear in no uncertain terms I should just be glad I didn’t walk out of there with a cardboard box full of personal items.

I had already been severely underpaid for the work I was doing as it was, and this didn’t help. Like so many other people during that time, I felt overworked, stressed out, taken advantage of, and severely underappreciated. Fortunately, I still had my bi-weekly bar trivia night hosting gigs in Manhattan, which I’d been doing on the side for about three years to supplement my income.

I’d long been toying around with the idea of doing something else with my trivia hosting, something that wasn’t just gong to give me some extra pocket cash – while in fact helping bars earn big bucks on “off” nights. Once the recession hit, I knew that whatever I wound up doing had to be designed to reward employees like me; an interactive corporate game show to boost morale, and give cash-strapped companies a means of saying “thank you” and showing appreciation when they didn’t have the means to do so through direct compensation.

Summertime at 92Y was an historically slow period, and I always had extra time in July and August to myself. I usually spent those sleepy months exploring NYC with friends, reading novels, and otherwise taking it easy; but not this summer. Instead of novels, I plowed through every single entrepreneurship and business development book I could lay my hands on. I sat down at my home computer and pounded out a detailed business plan, with a strategy for what I wanted to accomplish: developing a brand-new, highly engaging company entertainment experience. I was focused, thorough, and clear-eyed about my goals like I’d never been with anything before.

Finally, after months of preparation, I was ready. Armed with a new company name and business entity, freshly-registered Website domain, Twitter handle and strategic plan, TrivWorks went “live” during the first week of August, 2009.

Looking back on that week nine years later, I shake my head in awe at how far this thing has come. I’m in such a different place now, it’s just incredible! Today, instead of working on a desktop computer on an IKEA table in my studio apartment, I’m working out of a real office. I’ve now got hundreds of corporate clients, including some of the most prestigious Fortune 500 companies on Earth. And it’s not just me producing and hosting these events anymore; I work with a stable of highly trained professional trivia emcees, corporate game show hosts, celebrities and “special talent” emcees. I’m also now in Los Angeles, producing events nationwide!

Sometimes, during the mad crush of the daily grind, I lose sight of just how far things have come, and what I’ve been able to achieve here. I started TrivWorks with nothing – literally nothing. No starting capital; no investors or seed funding; zero clients, zero testimonials, zero traditional media placements and zero social media followers. But I knew exactly what I wanted to do, where I wanted to be, and where I saw things going.

So, where are things now that they weren’t at a year ago, when I last looked back on my company’s anniversary? Let’s take a look!

Ophira Eisenberg

For one thing, I’ve got a brand-new corporate game show hosting partnership with Ophira Eisenberg, veteran stand-up comedian and host of NPR’s trivia/puzzles show Ask Me Another. I’ve long been a fan of Ophira’s, and her unique background with comedy and trivia make her uniquely suited to emcee trivia nights for corporate audiences. I’m honored and thrilled to be working with her, and can’t wait to bring this exciting new collaboration to audiences nationwide!

TrivWorks DIY

I launched a brand-new, downloadable do-it-yourself trivia game show this spring, which I am truly thrilled about. My services aren’t cheap, and for too long I simply haven’t had any products I can offer to companies – or individuals – who are seeking inexpensive live game show entertainment for a party. The solution I’ve come up with is TrivWorks DIY. Instead of sending a professional emcee and all of the necessary materials, equipment and staffing, I now provide customers with all of the tools and direction needed to run their own trivia parties!

What I love about this is that ANYBODY can do it – it’s just that easy. You go to the “DIY” page of this Website, click a button, pay the insanely low one-time fee, and boom! You’ve got everything you need in a ready-to-print format. The trivia questions are professionally written, fun, and most off all contemporary – as in, they’re regularly updated with fresh pop culture content! Unlike Trivial Pursuit, you won’t have to deal with horribly dated questions and references which nobody’s heard of; all of the material will be relevant to the here and now.

I’ve also included a comprehensive yet easy-to-follow guide for setting up and hosting, which allows users like you to not only lead the event, but to incorporate several of the proven interstitial entertainment formats we’ve developed over the years like head-to-head bouts, physical challenges and karaoke. It’s an absolute blast, it works, and I’m just so proud to share it with the world!

New Clients

One of the most exciting things for me to do each year is to look back and see all of the amazing new clients we’ve added to our roster. In addition to many repeat clients, I am so honored to have produced our first-ever events over the past twelve months with the following prestigious companies & organizations:

  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Penguin Random House
  • Patterson Belknap
  • Robinson+Cole
  • Standard Chartered Bank
  • National Australia Bank
  • Assurant
  • Prager Metis
  • London Stock Exchange Group
  • Auto Club of Southern California (AAA)
  • iN DEMAND
  • Applebee’s

There have been so many others as well, but it is always so humbling for me to look at the biggest-name clients we’ve added over the course of the year, and just shake my head in amazement. Again, think about where I started from nine years ago – and look where it’s grown to now!

Travel

One of the things which I find so exciting about watching TrivWorks grow is seeing where it takes us. Whereas upon my move to Los Angeles two years ago I was basically only servicing clients in the NYC area and West Coast, over the past year things have really ballooned – we’re doing gigs everywhere!

Just off the top of my head, I know that over the past year we’ve been to:

  • Ohio
  • Idaho
  • Georgia
  • Florida
  • Virginia
  • Michigan
  • Arizona
  • Pennsylvania
  • Illinois

In addition, we’ve been throughout our familiar stomping grounds across Southern California, the five boroughs and the New York City metro area:

  • New Jersey
  • Connecticut
  • Long Island
  • Westchester
  • Upstate New York

Over the coming weeks/months, our travels will soon take us to Tennessee and Missouri as well. Each time we do an event in a far-away place, it makes me so proud; I am just so happy to bring what I know works in my “home” regions, an see it be a success in other regions of the country!

Forthcoming Projects

As always, I’m never just sitting on my laurels. In addition to servicing longtime and new clients with trivia team building and company entertainment events, I’m always innovating, seeking out new and exciting ways to build my brand. What else can we be doing which we’re not already? Who else can we be serving, what markets are still not yet reached, what trends do we need to get ahead of? All of these can mean exciting new projects for me to focus on in the year ahead – and I am!

I can’t reveal just yet what these new offerings or services are, but I can assure you that they’re going to be VERY cool! Stick around, keep reading and I’ll be back before you know it to let the world know about our next adventures!

For further reading on TrivWorks’ unique interactive corporate game show event entertainment, visit https://www.trivworks.com/2017/08/corporate-game-show/