Monday Morning Musings (Tuesday 4/26 edition)

So I broke the #1 rule of consistency. But it’s been kind of a nutty week. More announcements to come…

Sports
All Hail the Mariners. All Hail a 10-9 record. All Hail being in 1st place in the West with just 88.3% of the season remaining. At this pace they’d win 85 games which *could* get them close to a playoff spot. For comparison, last year the Astros made the 5th playoff spot with 86 wins. So that’s saying something.

History
I found myself pretty intrigued by the historical TV show “Turn: Washington’s Spies” over the last year or so, and did a little research on some of the American Revolution’s main characters. Here’s a little stat you don’t read in your 6th grade history books. Ben Franklin had an illegitimate son. That son had an illegitimate son. That son had an illegitimate daughter. I’m not sure those are the family values the Daughters of the American Revolution type conservatives want to talk about.

Politics
Man, is this really going to be Trump vs Clinton? Most interesting idea I have heard lately is to temporarily pass a Constitutional Amendment making the President a 2 year term of office, giving us a redo for 2018.

Business
Good luck to the 32 teams still remaining in the University of Washington’s Business Plan Competition. This is the first year in a long time that I don’t have any students trying to get their companies off the ground. But I’m still looking forward to seeing what this year’s group has come up with.

Culture
Where would you say Prince’s death fits in terms of impact and surprise? Not quite Cobain level perhaps? But close. RIP.

Monday Morning Musings 4/18

Economy
Happy Tax Day! This might a good day for Bernie Sanders to dial down the rhetoric about raising my taxes. It’s a little bit of a sore spot for me this week, Bernie. Or another way he can look at is, “I don’t have any money to donate to a political campaign for about the next 4 years. Or charity for that matter…”

Politics
Speaking of Bernie, this political theater just gets more interesting by the day. The New York primaries are this week and I have to admit, I just want results to fall into place that will cause the most amount of chaos. I have my extra large back of popcorn kernels and am ready to sit back and enjoy the absurdity of super delegates switching sides, both parties having candidates claiming unfairness, pledged delegates being bribed and threatened, rules being made up on the fly, and the eventual elecetion of someone not even in the race right now. It just fascinates me that in one day, Hillary Clinton can have photo opps with Wall St billionaires and the leaders of Black Lives Matter, and vigorously tell both of them that she has a plan that works for them.

Seattle | Sports | Events
Startup Grind is a good event to hit. But next week, on 4/26, it should even be more fun for you sports fans. Adrian Hanauer, founder and owner of the Sounders, will be on stage with host Michael Grabham. Get your tickets now, as this one may sell out.

Business
So my new business is officially off the ground. I’m calling it Content365.Online because my niche is developing content and materials for B2B companies so they can publish every day of the year. Take a look and give me a shout if you know any B2B companies that might need what I’m selling. Content is hard to produce, but I’ve been working on a process to make it easier.

Have a good week.

“I Have Front Row Seats to Kobe’s Last Game And…”

Well, I didn’t have seats to Kobe’s last game, in the front row, right next to the Lakers bench. But this woman in the photo below did. What would you do with such a prime location for such a milestone game? I’d probably do one or more of the following:

  • Watch intently
  • Take photos
  • Take video
  • During commercial breaks, post to a social channel or 12.

Now let’s see what this lucky person was doing. By all means, blow up the photo for a better view.

Kobe Bryant Last Game

What could should be doing? What’s your guess?

  • Checking Facebook
  • Calling an Uber so she can get out before the crowd
  • Texting her friends
  • Checking stats

Your thoughts?

Guest Post – The Referee’s Perspective: Sometimes We Know What We Are Doing

Editor’s Note: Garrett Galbreath is a high school basketball official in Washington State and a Board Member for the Snohomish County Basketball Officials. Since I am someone who has ALWAYS treated sports officials with the greatest of respect, and NEVER engaged in any kinds of disagreement with one rearding the idiocy of their calls, laziness on the field, or out and out incompetence, I wanted to get an opinion from his side of the whistle. Why do some parents, coaches, and players insist on arguing with these highly trained and well-meaning people, simply for screwing up a call on the field? This is the 1st post in the series of, “The Referee’s Perspective.”

As high school basketball official, I have heard just about every criticism a coach, player or parent can offer. Sometimes I register the good advice, “Watch the hook on the post!” …and consider it the next time I am in a position to observe post play.

garrettgalbreath_officialBut most of the time, we are bombarded with simple and contradictory instructions for how the game should be officiated. One minute its, “Call the foul!” The next, “Let them play!” What’s an official to do?

The answer is more nuanced than most people think. My general philosophy on officiating is broken into three mandates:
1) Keep the players safe
2) Enforce the rules
3) Consider the game

These (personal) rules are listed in order of importance, but numbers two and three blur a bit in many situations.

Some Examples

Parents Yelling 1Consider a typical 5th grade game. If we were to enforce all the rules in the NFHS rule book, the ball would never cross half-court because we would call travel violations on every possession. Nobody wants to sit through that. Instead, we have to balance where the rules must be enforced and when to let them slide for the sake of the kids trying to learn the game.

As officials, we try to balance the rules vs the game by looking at advantage/dis-advantage. Did a player gain an advantage by violating a rule? No? Maybe it’s best to let it go so the game continues.

Coaches Yelling 2We need to apply the same logic in a high school game. Although our tolerance for violations narrows a bit, we still have to consider the skill level of the players. Our 3A state champion team is probably going to have a different skill level than a rural 2B team with 6 varsity players. We have to figure out how to manage that gap in skill sets every single game.

So to you parents pleading for a foul at one end of the court while imploring that we let them play at the other end… Most of us saw the same thing you saw. By the rule book, you might be correct. We could make you sit through an hour of inbound passes.

Parents Yelling 2But remember, youth and high school sports are for the kids. In addition to being competitive events, they are teaching opportunities and a way for your kids to gain confidence. Our decisions might be different than yours, because we are working hard on blending a need to enforce the rules of the game while considering the quality of the experience.

Please include any questions in the comments below and I’ll be happy to answer them.

Monday Morning Musings 4/11

Politics
Last week really brought home a harsh realization about Presidential politics. We the People actually don’t have a right to determine who a Political Party puts up for President. This wacky delegate rule is different in each state, but what’s clear is that its the members of Political Parties in each state who get to decide who they nominate. Sure we have the right to participate with an opinion on the matter, but we really don’t have to right to choose. This illusion is displayed in many different ways, with the Colorado GOP at least making it perfectly clear it doesn’t really care what people think.

Politics and Sports
You may have missed it, but the attacks in Belgium were not supposed to take place in Belgium. They were supposed to be in France during Euro 2016. Now that’s scary. Hundreds of thousands of Europeans shuttling around France’s airports, train stations and metros. Now, consider that the mass shootings in France last year happened during a soccer match.


These two things make it seem really possible that the Paris shootings were a dress rehearsal for some sort of multi-faceted terrorist attack during Euro 2016. I’ll watch from home thanks.

Sports
In 2 games pitched, Felix Hernandez has given up 1 earned run in 13 innings, with 16 strikeouts. Over the 1st 6 games, the Mariners are 2-4. But here’s the twist, they didn’t win either game that Felix pitched. This has the markings of a frustrating season.

Sports
The Sounders are not playing well. But Oalex Anderson and Chad Marshall bailed them out.

There is a key to this play that no one is talking about. The Dynamo had the ball at 92:40. All they needed to was possess for ;20 and the ref would have blown the whistle. But inexplicably, they booted it down the field where it went out of bounds. That gave the Sounders a throw in at about 92:50, and the ref let the play run its course until the Dynamo got possession back, even though it took the clock past the 3 minutes of extra time he called for. Quirky soccer rule. Dyanmo can only blame themselves.

Startups
If you are a B2B tech startup, you have three great reasons to attend this event on Tuesday at 11am, “Go-to-Market Strategies for B2B Tech Start-ups.” 1) It’s taught by Matt Heinz, who probably knows more about this than anyone. 2) You meet the folks from 9 Mile Labs, who are actively looking for promising B2B Tech Startups. 3) You get to see Galvanize, where a whole bunch of tech startups are hanging out. This is an easy call. Go check it out.

Have a good week everyone.

How Much Should We Blame the News Media for Donald Trump?

There have been a lot of articles about how the media, needing a way to breathe life into this election 12 months ago, hooked itself up to the Trump Train and rode it through every area of chaos it went, cashing their checks whenever it came into the station to refuel. It really wasn’t until they realized that a Trump Presidency was becoming ACTUALLY POSSIBLE, that the media jumped off and then started blowing up the tracks ahead in hopes of derailing it.

But that’s not the question I’m asking now. What I’m curious about is how much we should blame the collective news media for dumbing-down the news so much over the last 10-20 years? Was it only a matter of time before someone like Trump was able to attract the hearts and the simplified minds of “Soundbite America?”

Maybe it’s not their fault. Maybe it’s ours for only being able to absorb 8-10 minutes before needing a commercial break. Maybe we need to be mesmerized with four talking heads each bringing their best two to three minutes of content to a discussion. In this format, no one ever has time to discuss a “How.” It’s only about the “Why” and you usually have a full screen of people with polar opposite opinions fighting to get in the best dig.

But then, I could argue that IS the media’s fault for forcing that format down our eyeballs and earholes. What is the total cost of losing a few viewers to make sure that the people who keep watching get something more thorough than clever quips and cut downs?

I don’t know the answer to that. Broadcasters are owned by public companies so they need as much money as they can get to survive this new media economy that forced them to lose their near oligopoly status. Yes, it is much harder to compete in a bifurcated market than to be one of a handful of outlets covering news. So I understand the need to dumb down the news to make it appeal to more people. But I’m not sure I’m happy with the results.

Check Out This Sneaky Amazon Product Placement

Q: If you are a TV show on the bubble between renewal and cancellation, what’s the best way to make the bosses happy?
A: Make them more money.

Undateable will never win an Emmy. It’s niche is that in its 3rd season (and basically out of desperation due to being moved to the Friday night dustbin), it decided to shoot every episode live. The result is a hyped up Friday night live studio audience that contributes to a show that is part script / part improv.

BUT… that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be back for Season 4. So the show needs an extra revenue source on top of the normal :30 spots to secure its place in the Fall lineup.

Enter Amazon, in what is one of the sneakiest product placement deals I can imagine. Remember, subliminal advertising is illegal. But subliminal product placement apparently is not. I counted about four different camera angles in two different scenes where the logo is visible. I’m going to estimate the logo got about 60-120 seconds of airtime. How much do you think that subliminal product placement is worth? More or less than a :30 spot?

Can you spot it?

Undateable and Amazon 1

Undateable and Amazon 2

Undateable and Amazon 3

Undateable and Amazon 4

Undateable and Amazon 5

Monday Morning Musings, March 28

Global News
At least 69 people Christians died in a suicide bombing last week carried out by Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. No, not in Belgium, in Pakistan. The bomb went off in Lahore, the capital of Punjab, Pakistan’s largest and wealthiest province and the political powerbase of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. It didn’t get nearly the same amount of coverage as the Belgium bombings, but we should pay attention to non-European terrorism as well.

Sports (and Conspiracies)
Sure, the World Cup isn’t technically until 2018, but every country has 3 or 4 rounds to get through in 2015, 2016 and 2017 just to reach the final 32. The U.S. *should* be able to get through six games in a preliminary round vs the likes of St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, and Guatemala, in which they only need to finish 2nd to advance. But ruh roh, Guatemala just beat the U.S. 2-0. There’s still time to right the ship, starting tomorrow with a Guatemala rematch in Columbus, OH. But an unexpected loss there suddenly means that halfway through the 2nd round, the U.S. destiny would be out of their hands. Now, we know soccer is corrupt, so do you think there is a chance FIFA is sending a message to our fair country for coming in and prosecuting them?

Politics and Culture
I’ve been watching House of Cards,Season 4. Is it just me, or does the show attempting to show politics in the most ludicrous light possible, actually seem tame and predictable in comparison to the actual Presidential election?

Sports
Baseball season starts one week from today. Things will finally seem balanced again. What’s your prediction for Mariners wins? Personally, I’m simply hoping for them to stay competitive until the Seahawks start playing regular season games. I hate when I’m forced to watch a pre-season game because the Mariners have already fallen out of contention and playing games that are equally as meaningless.

Sports
And finally….Syracuse in the Final Four? Syracuse??? Come on… no one wants to watch that boring zone in the Final Four.

6 Business Lessons To Learn From Bruce Springsteen

3 hours and 45 minutes. That was the amount of time Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band played at Key Arena on Thursday night. What can a musician teach a business person in 4 hours? Here are some simple lessons of which I was reminded.

1) Treat your customer right
How do you get you most ardent fans, all who have seen you play multiple times, to spend hundreds of dollars to see you again? Deliver them something so over the top, that they can’t say no to you. Do something unheard of – like playing “The River” from front to back for 2 hours, and then delivering another hour and 45 minutes of your hits. No intermissions, no fake encores, just turn on the lights and start playing.

2) Deliver consistent product
Once Springsteen hit his groove, he continued to deliver what his audience wanted. Sure, he dabbled here and there with some things like Tunnel of Love, but for the most part he has kept driving updated versions of what his customers were clamoring for. And when he wasn’t producing new material, he was on the road reminding his customers why they loved him.

3) Work with a strong team
Look at the folks he works with, and those who have passed. Solid musicians who do things better than he can. You don’t see him doing a vanity song on the piano or sax to show us he can play any instrument. He has the E Street Band, who are a key part of his storyline, and critical to the customer’s overall experience. Oh – and don’t be afraid to bring on someone like Eddie Vedder for a freelance consultant role.
IMG_7629

4) Let your team discover their own creative outlets
I bet there are fans of Silvio Dante who has no idea he was the lead guitarist for Bruce Springsteen (while even fewer Lilyhammer fans had a clue.) And plenty of Conan O’Brien lovers didn’t know who Max Weinberg was hanging out with on weekends. These were creative outlets where the guys in the shadows could get some spotlight and be known for being more than, “That guy who plays in Bruce’s band.”

5) Work harder than everyone else
Did I mention 3 HOURS AND 45 MINUTES. Without a break. With stage diving. At 66 years old. You don’t just do that. You train for it. You eat right, train better, and have the will to get it done. You practice so that you know exactly how to be the most efficient with your effort. You plan so that you know how to give everyone a couple of minutes here and there to get some water (or whatever they need) to stay on top of their game. This isn’t stumbling onto a stage at Bumbershoot and goofing around for 45 minutes. Any half-ass band or company can fake it for a little while. But that’s why he’s been selling out stadiums for 30 years.
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6) And of course, it’s good to be The Boss.