Whether you are a subscriber to his podcast How Success Happens or meeting Robert Tuchman for the first time, you can tell he’s an innovator. While he holds many titles, ranging from published author to co-founder of Amaze Media Labs, his entrepreneurial spirit and drive are how his “success happens.”
As a recent college graduate, Tuchman was an aspiring reporter. With a deep passion for sport and a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism, Tuchman sought a job as a sportswriter in New York’s competitive media market. He struck out in this attempt, though, struggling to find his dream job in the tough employment market that was the early 1990s. But as fate would have it, three decades later, his career has encompassed sporting events, journalism, and media — in a different way than once anticipated.
“I was fortunate at a young age to realize that life is short and blessed to live in a country that afforded me the opportunity to find a job in something I was passionate about like sports and entertainment. I went to school to be a journalist and, at the time, I couldn’t find any jobs. I begrudgingly went to work at Lehman Brothers for a few months, hated it, and ended up working at a sports marketing company — one of those sweepstakes companies where larger companies would host ‘win a trip’ raffles for their consumers or to entertain clients,” Tuchman says.
“All of the clients that we had liked the sweepstakes for their customers, but what they really wanted was the experience, to entertain their clients or provide incentives for their own high-performing employees. At that time, a company would take a client to see the Yankees and give them a hot dog. I saw the opportunity in corporate America and we became one of the first companies to white glove, more immersive and high-end experiences to attend sporting events,” Tuchman continues. “We targeted companies who had budgets to entertain their clients on this level helping them build and develop relationships.”
Tuchman started Tuchman Sports Enterprise, which later became TSE Sports and Entertainment. As the industry grew, the experiences being planned by Tuchman and his partner, Brett Sklar, grew larger and more popular. They’d incorporate celebrities, former-professional athletes, and sports stars into their once in a lifetime experiences. After some time, TSE Sports and Entertainment was placed on the INC 500 list.
Tuchman and his partner would spend nine years building the business until a private equity firm acquired the company.
After spending some time helping the PE firm acquire other businesses to grow the overall company, Tuchman and his partner transitioned themselves into a new venture: Goviva. Tuchman recognized that demand remained high in this niche of the entertainment industry, Goviva would approach entertainment with a broader scope.
“Really my partner Brett noticed a trend of companies not only looking for sporting events but for experiential opportunities in fashion, culinary, or with celebrities. We built Goviva with the same concept, and it kind of took off,” says Tuchman.
Goviva grew, also landing itself on the INC 500 list. Goviva was working with Fortune 500 companies, including American Express, SAP, Capital One, Salesforce and Google. Tuchman and Sklar remained at the helm of the company until 2015, when Goviva was purchased by Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Tuchman stayed on at CAA for almost five years through the transition.
After leaving CAA, the president of Entrepreneur Magazine, Bill Shaw, approached Tuchman, with the opportunity of hosting his own podcast. Entrepreneur named Tuchman the host of “How Success Happens” where he has had in-depth interviews with many of the world’s most notable entrepreneurs.
He’s interviewed business leaders ranging from Alex Rodriguez to the founders of major companies like Lululemon, Shake Shack, Warby Parker, Home Depot, Square/Block, and many more, in over 150 episodes. He says it’s been the best business school he could ever attend as he has learned so much.
“Audio is an incredible way to be authentic and to share stories in an empathetic way,” Tuchman says.
As he hosted the podcast, he thought these business leaders should be hosting their own podcast and establishing their own forum to speak with employees, clients, and consumers.
“This was another lightbulb moment,” Tuchman says. “I was interviewing people, I realized that the leaders of these companies should be creating their own branded content for themselves and their businesses,” he continues.
So Tuchman started Amaze Media Labs with his longtime partner Sklar in the middle of a pandemic, a company that helps many of the businesses and brands that we interact with in everyday life create branded content. Whether it is through having their own podcast or another form of in-house media, Amaze helps companies share their stories and create their own narrative.
“Within two years, we now have over 70 clients, from Pfizer to BetMGM, to insurance companies, to retail stores like Michael’s art supply. I’ve realized that everyone wants to tell their story. It’s no different than back in the ’90s when every company needed their own website.”
“The business has grown and now we have employees all over North America. And we have created a technology to go and target people who might find a certain podcast interesting, generating listens and downloads. No one else in the industry has been able to do this yet. Our technology is the only thing I’ve ever seen that actually generates an audience with IAB approved downloads — I’ve learned for myself,” Tuchman says. It’s pretty incredible and it’s a game changer in the podcasting industry where building an audience is the hardest thing to do no matter how good your content is. We are thinking about raising money to really build out our technology platform further.
While a native of the Upper West Side, the warm summer months bring Tuchman and his family to the East End, to enjoy the quaint and relaxed quality of life that we all enjoy. He spends most of his time with his wife and two daughters in Sag Harbor, which he fondly calls his favorite community in the Hamptons.
When asked about his favorite part of spending time here, he reverts back to his passion for sports, and his embrace of the weekend softball league that has made its home in Sag Harbor.
“My favorite thing in the entire world is playing in the Sag Harbor softball game, which I have been playing in every weekend on Saturdays and Sundays at Mashashimuet Park. The history of the game is incredible and it’s been going on for decades, and there’s nothing more than that,” Tuchman says.
“But my wife loves the beach, so we always go to Mecox Beach, and spend a lot of our time sitting outside on the porch, staring off at the boats in the Harbor. On Fridays or Saturday nights, we will walk around in the calmness in Sag Harbor, and get ice cream. We fell in love with Sag Harbor and the ‘New England’ feel you get when you visit here without having to see any Patriot or Red Sox hats, Tuchman says.
Todd Shapiro is an award-winning publicist and associate publisher of Dan’s Papers.