Saturday, March 26, 2011

Just came across this. It's exactly the sort of thing I was talking about in an earlier post. This type of presentation style is going to help spread a lot of ideas.

Watch it - its pretty cool. A short video presentation on a cloud-based way to help media sources and freelance journalists do business together.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Genius of Rebecca Black


The demographic of middle-class 7- to-10-year-olds is under-exploited from a marketing standpoint. My tongue is only partially in my cheek on that one (as in it sucks but its true).

Obviously this market segment has been targeted in the past. Its just the cartoons that worked in the past do not cut it anymore. The writing is on the wall. Kids are increasingly connected to pop culture. Way more than I am. The only thing slowing them in their embrace of technology is their parents who still park them in front of the TV.

Kids seem to be doing everything at younger and younger ages. From dating to joining gangs*. Young kids always want to be like the older kids and now there are people providing their own pop stars, singing and rapping at a first grade level.

The video is here. What market do you think is being targeted?

*I have personal experience with the latter through working with inner-city youth. Not only are existing gangs recruiting at younger ages than they have in the past, but it is becoming common for youth who are still too young to form their own gangs. In my experience this has been at the ages of 11 and 12 or so. Obviously this really sucks....

Data Presentation

There is so much information available to us.

Through the roof amounts!

I think we're primed for some very cool breakthroughs in terms of what we can do with our mountains of data. Those of us who can show glimpses of creativity and smartness might as well get to work on this. Many people already are (eg, earth kings: Google).

But there is SO MUCH more to do. The age of the plain, black and white text, up/down-only documents are over. Video? More video.

And don't tell me to buy an iPad. I think that the coolest breakthroughs will be the ones that we can fit in by using or modifying existing technologies.

Finally, here's a little example of how we can present the lyrics to Rebecca Black's song Friday!

Wordle: Rebecca Black - Friday

Who knew she said so few words, so many times?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Groupon Effect

The 'Groupon effect' has already begun to change how people buy things. It will soon change how we vote - and everything else.

For those not familiar with "Groupon" it is a business that provides consumers with an enticing offer to buy coupons worth 50%-80% off at local businesses. Every day is a different offer and you only get 24 hours to buy or let the deal pass. If you need more info google it.

The important things here are:

- groups of people have power
- businesses and organizations increasingly want to identify groups so they can cater to them.
- this is really, really popular right now

I believe that many areas of life are heading in this direction. In politics there have long been lobby interests for industries (milk producers) or causes (drunk driving). Now, a group like MADD can form in an evening online through twitter, facebook, and whatever comes next. It won't have a president or constitution but it will have leadership and be real. We're entering a world more friendly to group-forming thanks to social media.

Yeah... people are going to want to group themselves for community. Then they'll find that they have influence, too.

Monday, March 21, 2011

This Is Remarkable

TED Talks often pretty great. This one had my jaw dropped right down to the floor.

Just over half of the talk is on how infants learn to speak, then at the 11:48 mark presenter Deb Roy applies his research to social connectivity. It is worth watching.

He presented 3-D maps of the social universe. Media sources on one plane and viewers/commenters on another, with a web of connections between the two planes and a web of connections between the viewers/commenters themselves. It was as if someone made the Internet into a model city.

MUCH to infer from this. But all I'm going to say for now is that this is very important. This is world-is-round stuff.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

We All Suck at Tipping

Why the hell do you tip? Probably for bad reasons I'll bet.

A) You are rewarding your server for past performance - ie the meal you just ate.
B) You are trying to build a good reputation at a restaurant you frequent.
C) Its just part of going to a restaurant.

"A" is a good response. If the server made you go "Wow!" in some little or big way, or maybe just 'cause he or she is hot, leave a big tip. No prob.

"B" I really like, but then I've never been a "regular" anywhere. It makes sense to tip well at a restaurant you frequent. It's an investment in future service.

"C" is lame. Okay, most restaurants require servers to share a percentage of their tips with the cooks and this is based on their net sales, so a tip of $0 actually costs them money. Also, minimum wage (or thereabouts) alone would be unfair to the server in most cases. It's not the easiest job in the world.

BUT - for pete's sake a lot of servers make damn decent money for being on the ball on refilling your coffee cup. If you don't think there's surplus money at this position, ask how many servers resume's they have on file next time you're at a popular restaurant.

I think most of us tip - and tip pretty well - because we want to feel like "good tippers". If you're not coming back to this restaurant twenty times in the next year why bother giving that 20% tip? Just leave 10% and be done with it. If you need to scratch your generosity itch, consider who else may be more in need of your money.

Friday, March 11, 2011

post #1

As of right now I am a light user of social media. I've had a facebook account for several years which I'm not particularly active on and a recently created twitter page.

Right or wrong I've been convinced that social media is worth understanding because it might be damned valuable to use. Recent events in the Middle East and speeches by US Defense Secretaries of all things have led me to believe this.

I don't need or even really like attention - or at least appearing to seek it. This may be a big hurdle...

Was up at 4am researching how to be more effective on twitter and plan on buying a book on this subject.

This is step one I believe.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Return of the Jets, pt.2

Thanks for reading pt.1! Here is pt.2. Will the Jets return? This post answers that very question!


The world changed one cold September morning... of 2008. That was when the US economy crashed.

If the Jets DO come back it will be because of two words: "recession" and "parity". The metro Phoenix area has over 4.3 million people (does this include illegal immigrants?) who potentially like team sports. It also has a ton of corporations who may not like hockey best, but probably like tax write-offs just fine. I know this hasn't panned out for the Coyotes yet but it was at least worth a shot - and for Bettman it looks like it is still far better than the other alternatives. Sure the Coyotes have lost a lot of money since they moved there but it took the entire US economy to tank to even have them MAYBE moving back to Winnipeg.

Winnipeg's hopes for an NHL team depend on the Canadian dollar trading at parity with its US counterpart. The financial community sees this happening for the foreseeable future, ie. the next ten to twenty years. So if you find yourself watching Sidney Crosby play our boys in the MTS Center in the next year or two, you'd better thank God we live in the same country as those Albertans with their sandy, black gold.


People will name their children "Goldwater" if the Jets come return in 2011 - and for good reason.

The city of Glendale (along with the NHL, I imagine) came up with quite a creative plan to make the Coyotes a palatable purchase. As I said above, they essentially figured out a way to give $197 million of taxpayer money to a private business. And it came really close to working.

Unsurprisingly, someone did have a problem with giving $197 million to a rich guy. The Goldwater Institute not only didn't like it, they also believed it to be unconstitutional (although if the $197 million was paid to Hulsizer in the form of guns I believe it would've been legit) and threatened to sue. Actually they sent out a letter to potential investor's in the city of Glendale's bond offering (that's how city's come up with lump sum money up front) advising them that they may be suing.

Goldwater has had their clout increase from annoying to powerful. Their letter scared away those who thought Glendale would not become the next Greece (now threatening to not pay back its debts), and this week they were paid the highest form of respect: they were sued by the city of Glendale. Stephen Brunt has long pointed out that those in Goldwater ideologically driven and zealots in their cause against government waste. They do not appear to be backing down.

Final Thoughts

Matthew Hulsizer has said that he will not sweeten his offer for the Coyotes nor should he. So, as bad as this deal sounds for the citizens of Glendale I don't think he feels he's ripping them off. The city of Glendale is begging him to take their money and suing the watchdog organization that stands in the way of the sale, so they clearly agree. Doesn't say much for the profitability of the millionaire-hockey-players-with-high-school-educations industry.

The big thing is that Goldwater can tie this up in court. How long would that take? A year? Two? Can the NHL stomach covering more operating losses and having the unprofitability of one of its franchises brought to light in court again?

This is what we're up against Winnipeg, and it's pretty much a tie. Doesn't make us feel too special, does it?

The NHL in Winnipeg...

Will be the greatest couple of years ever. I can say that with certainty. Beyond that I can only speak for myself - I don't plan on devoting huge sums of money for my own personal entertainment, and I don't plan on spending all my time thinking about the team. So I hope that its affordable for me and a lot of other regular people in this city for the long-term.

Will the Jets Fly Again in Winnipeg?

Gary Bettman is a smart, crafty villain of a man. If anyone can keep the Coyotes in Phoenix, he can. If I had to pick what's most likely though, I'd say....

Start saving for your 2011/12 Winnipeg Jets season tickets now.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Return of the Jets, pt.1

Many are wondering if the NHL will return to Winnipeg. I am an expert on this. Allow me to tell the story...

The Phoenix Coyotes are in purgatory. Both hockey-wise (desert) and ownership-wise (owned by other 29 NHL teams). They have been for nearly two years now.

Will they escape that quagmire to play in this barren, frozen, hellhole/hockey paradise that we call Winnipeg? The answer awaits!

Hockey in the Desert

Here's the situation. The NHL owns the Coyotes, and that's just pretty awkward. Especially when you consider that the other 29 owners have to chip in to cover the operating losses of $30 million annually - give or take. Therefore its time to sell the team.

Plenty of people would buy the Coyotes, just not anybody who is dumb enough to keep them in Phoenix - or should I say, Glendale - the suburb community with illusions of professional sport grandeur. Glendale, btw, REALLY wants to keep the Coyotes to bring business in its new retail district.

Enter Matthew Hulsizer.

The Deal of The Century?

How much would you pay for an NHL franchise? The correct question should be how much should you be paid to own one - in Glendale, at least. The deal in place is for Hulsizer to buy the Coyotes from the NHL for $170 million. He will then receive $100 million from the City of Glendale in exchange for some parking lots near the arena. The City of Glendale will also pay him $97 million over the next 5 years to "manage the arena". Pull out your calculators!

This says two things: First, everyone involved really expects the Coyotes to continue to lose a lot of money. Second, Glendale is absolutely psycho desperate to keep a tenant in their arena.

Glendale: Screwed Either Way

In the early 2000's Glendale bet heavily on professional sports to transform the local economy from a primarily suburban residential one into a thriving commercial and retail destination.

That was before the world's economy collapsed.

Phoenix was hit harder than almost all other major cities in the US. I imagine the situation looks pretty grim (crippled housing market, diminishing tax revenues, etc) even without considering the Coyotes situation. But if the Coyotes leave, Glendale's city council believes it will ruin the recently built commercial/retail district. They have recently alleged that this could cost the city $500 million in lost revenue over the next 20 years or so.

While that number was probably probably pulled out of somebody's ass, they are willing to hand over $197 million of taxpayer money to this dubious cause - meaning they REALLY believe the Coyotes and their 41 sparsely attended home games will have a serious economic impact if they left. Plus, as bad as this looks, the politicians in Glendale responsible for building the arena and luring the Coyotes may look even worse when the only economic spinoffs from the arena are from the coffee breaks of security guards needed to keep vandals out of the empty building.

* * * * *

I'm tired. More in Pt.2 later.

In the meantime, here's a FastFact!

Media: Get your NHL-related information from guys like Stephen Brunt and Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail. Especially Brunt. He's quality.