Book Recommendation: Front Row at the Trump Show

My politics don’t swing wide left or wide right. When there is a political event, I appreciate any media that provides a true and accurate statement of the facts. I also love the media in general, especially now. It’s a fascinating time for the broadcasting industry since ratings mean revenue and controversy brings ratings.

That’s why I am enjoying “Front Row at the Trump Show” so much, and recommend it to everyone I talk to. It’s a fascinating, non-partisan perspective from a member of the White House Press Corps through four Presidents. It’s a great listen on Audible as well.

Two Minute Exercises To Keep You In Shape During COVID

The gym is closed, you don’t want to run at Greenlake, and your soccer season is canceled. How are we all going to stay in shape?

For some people, a routine and discipline are the keys to exercise. So when every day is Tuesday and every hour is 1:00pm, how do you accomplish that discipline? How do you make that routine happen?

I surveyed a few friends, and here are some ideas we’ve come up with. All of them take two minutes or less, and by the end of the day, you’ll have completed a decent amount of calorie burning.

  1. TV Pushups: We’re going to be streaming more shows, especially until the weather turns around. So before every show, throw down 10-20 pushups. The more TV you watch, the more pushups you do.
  2. Old school Jumping Jacks: Yeah, it’s cheesy. But two minutes of jumping jacks will make you feel like you earned that episode of Ozarks.
  3. The Jump Rope: It was your favorite exercise toy as an eight-year-old. 2:00 as an adult will have you breathing hard.
  4. Walking Stairs: We may not own Stairmasters, but we do have staircases in our house. Take two minutes a few times a day and walk up and down the stairs 10 times. See if you can get to 50 flights a day.
  5. Sprinting Streets: Greenlake and Burke-Gilman can get crowded. But we don’t need long trails for sprints. Measure out 100 yards in front of your house and do a few sprints a day. Sprint up, walk back. It’ll take mere minutes and get your heart rate up.
  6. Chin-up bars: Cheap, easy to set up, and super effective. Don’t be discouraged the first time you try it.
  7. YouTube Yoga: You can find a lot of exercise content online – even short stretching and yoga exercises. Stay flexible my friends.
  8. The Massage Gun: Not everyone agrees in their benefits, but for a relatively small price (especially considering we don’t have gym membership dues), we like Massage Guns for loosening up muscles. I don’t have an Amazon Affiliate account or anything, so you can read about them on CNN.

You probably have your own ideas. Send me an email and share them, or just ping me on Twitter. Stay healthy everyone.

Can Legalized Sports Gambling Save Baseball

On one hand, you could say baseball is thriving.  Revenues are over Gross revenues are $10 billion, National TV ratings are up, and many teams have lucrative local or regional TV deals that help pay the bills and then some. Plus, every time an NBA or NFL team gets sold for a new record, each team sees its valuation go up as well.

But then there’s that pesky issue of attendance and fan interest. From Forbes, “The 2017 regular season saw a total of 72,670,423 in paid attendance across the league. This was the first time since 2010 that attendance dipped below the 73 million mark, which was surprising.”

People will argue why attendance is down, but most ideas fall around a central theme. The games are too long for today’s environment, often too boring, and the reliance on stats and analysis to make the smartest decisions possible takes the fun and unpredictability out of the game. Heck, even former players think the game is boring now. Jim Kaat says they should only play seven innings.

I made a comment earlier this week that I thought baseball was at its “Kodak Moment.” By that I meant, there was a time in the 1990’s when Kodak was making heaps of cash with a near monopoly on film and film development. Digital cameras kind of existed, but Kodak didn’t want to believe that people would prefer digital over film, so they just to keep looking at their stacks of cash, half-heartedly built some bad digital cameras, and ignored the direction the market was going. It’s easy to forget that in the mid-90’s, Eastman Kodak was a $90 stock. Today it’s barely above $5.00.

Compare that to Major League Baseball today. Heaps of cash, a storied history and a plethora of purists who want to make sure the game never changes. And the new entrants to their market are eSports and a growth in soccer, where people can get in and out of a match in a guaranteed 105 minutes. The market is shifting, and 10 years from now, you might be able to make an argument that the 2017 World Series may have been baseball’s apex.

But a savior has arrived, and its name is Legalized Gambling.

Today betting on a baseball game is dumb. Choose odds on a game or a point spread and hope for the best. It’s unpredictable at best, a monkey throwing darts at worst. Plus, why watch the game? All you need to do is check the score in the morning.

But the 2020 version of Legalized Sports Betting is intriguing. Be in the park or on your couch. Open your mobile phone app. Bet a tiny micro amount on each inning or each at bat. 2.5 to 1 he gets a hit. 2 to 1 they score a run. 10 to 1 there’s a home run in the inning. 1 to 1 there’s a strikeout. You could make 50-100 bets at $.25 to $2.00 per bet and the game would be awesome every pitch. And realistically, you’re probably only going to win or lose $10 to $20 per game unless you are exceedingly good or bad. A small price to pay for three hours of entertainment.

Baseball needs to get behind this. Having people actively involved on a batter by batter basis is akin to Fantasy Football players watching the 4th quarter of a 34-7 blowout to see if their receiver can pick up 60 cheap yards in garbage time. It would be great for the game, and engage a whole new set of fans who need instantaneous entertainment on their mobile devices. This generation of fans wouldn’t even need to watch the whole game – they could log in for an hour, play 20-30 bets, and then move on with their day.

Baseball need to embrace this.  Don’t listen to the people who want to make fancier film. Go where the market wants to go.

 

 

Almost Twitter Famous

I tweet for fun and emotional humor release, not to develop an audience. And my typical tweet generates somewhere between 0 and 5 responses. Who knew that I could generate a larger audience by making fun of anarchists? Maybe I should present this strategy in my next client meeting.

What I Learned – The Bird Scooter

For weeks now, I’ve read articles blaming The Bird Scooter for everything from congested sidewalks to world hunger.

But last weekend I was down in San Diego where hundreds of thse things can be found along the Boardwalk in Pacific and Mission Beach.

Source: Thomas Melville, SDNews.com

The concept behind the scooter is simple. Like Car2Go, you download an app and look for a nearby scooter. When you see a scooter close to you, you walk to it, then “Unlock it” using a QR code. Then you ride it where you need and “Lock it” so someone else can use it. Locked scooters are almost impossible to roll anywhere and make a beeping noise that alerts that someone is trying to steal it.

The boardwalk along Pacific Beach and Mission Beach is pretty long. It could take you 40 minutes or more to walk from a bar to your hotel. But with The Bird, you just hop on, and cruise at a nice safe 8-12 MPH, cutting your time by about 66-75%. It costs $1.00 to start it and $0.15 a minute. So it’s roughly the cost of a short Uber ride, but way more fun.

After using it for a weekend, I think the haters in San Francisco are ridiculous. I was able to navigate the scooter through pedestrians, bikers, unicyclists, skateboarders, roller bladers, and other scooter riders. My only near accident was caused by a 5 year old on his non-motorized scooter who decided to come at me head on while in my lane. But it was easy for me to stop the scooter and dodge the kid at the last minute.

Source: Thomas Melville, SDNews.com

Also, you can ride remarkably slow and still keep your balance. In fact, you can literally slow to walking speed if you see someone you know and want to travel at their pace, or see a group of pedestrians going 5-wide and blocking the entire path.

The downside: Even on a small hill, I was pretty uncomfortable, and my repressed teenage memory of crashing into a tree while trying to ride a skateboard down a hill in Bellevue suddenly re-surfaced. So, I don’t know if I’d come down from 6th to 2nd downtown. But for getting around Wallingford, Greenlake or Capitol Hill, these things would be great.

Bikers will yell and scream that you should just ride a bike instead. But really, if you are going out to dinner, do you want to get sweaty riding a bike? No, a scooter is effortless. And a bike is actually much larger than The Bird. You take up way more room on a road or bike lane.

So, what I learned is that the scooter is an effective form of short-form travel in flat areas. I’d like to see it become more prevalent up here. Ignore what the haters in San Francisco say. If they are so worried about being a pedestrian and getting hit by a scooter, then they should jump on a scooter.

9 Reasons the Mariners Will Make the Playoffs

It’s Opening Day! Yay Baseball! Is this the year the Mariners break their playoff drought? Here are 9 reasons why we shouldn’t be worried. We’re playoff bound.

1. James Paxton
You say he’s a guy who’s never been able to stay healthy, I say that with all those days on the DL, he has a 29 year old brain with a 26 year old’s arm. He could have 140 games started under his belt, but instead he’s just at 75. His stuff makes grown men cry and he’s ready for a huge year. Let’s write him in at 19-6.

2. Felix Hernandez
He’s spent the last 10 years playing with (and for) a bunch of chumps. It’s human nature – why work your hardest when the rest of your co-workers are drunk by lunch? Now he finally has a team around him that actually inspires – no, forces – him to be good. Big comeback year. Maybe not 2014 good, but let’s mark him for 17-8.

3. Mike Leake
He’s going to be a great #3 starter. Just wind him up, go watch a movie for 2 hours and come grab him in the 7th. If he can pitch to his career 3.98 ERA with THIS lineup, he’ll be 16-9.

4. The other pitchers, minus Edwin Diaz
At this point, the Big 3 have the team at 52-23, 29 games over .500. The rest of the crew with Iwakuma, Ramirez, Gonzales and whoever else we can bring up should be able to grind out at least 22-28. That gets the starters to 74-51 for their 125 decisions. Assuming the bullpen can go about .500 (say 18-19) in their 37 decisions, that gets the team to 92-70. That’s Wild Card worthy. Probably.

5. Edwin Diaz
So why do I think the bullpen can go .500? Because Edwin Diaz is almost un-hittable in the 9th inning, so they won’t have to play Reliever Roulette out there. Guys will settle into their roles and while they may struggle at times, most of the time they’ll have about 3 to 4 arms to get the team through the 7th and 8th. Diaz will blow a couple, but for the most part he’ll make sure the rest of the guys don’t have to work outside of their comfort zone.

6. Mitch Haniger
Remember the beginning of 2017, before he got hurt? He came out strong. He can bat 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th. He’s an All-Star. And he was the guy no one had ever heard of in the Segura for Walker and Marte trade.

7. Dee Gordon
In his last 3 healthy years, he’s hit .289, .333 and .308 with 64, 58 and 60 stolen bases. Now put him in front of Jean Segura and Robinson Cano. He’s going to drive pitchers batty.

8. Jean Segura
.319 and .300 in his last 2 seasons for bad teams. Now he hits with a stolen base threat (Gordon) on 1st and Robinson Cano on deck. The guy may not see a curveball all year. Just swing away Senor.

9. Robinson Cano
Maybe by the end of the year he’ll be down at the #6 hole because Haniger is batting .340. But you can still count on him this year for .280 and 20 HR. Either way, he’s still one of the best 2B in baseball.

Conclusion:
This team is going to hit the ball. They have 3 starters who can throw the ball, a closer who will give batters nightmares, and a cadre of supporting arms that won’t kill them. Keep it simple, stay healthy, and have a few other guys hit near the stats on their baseball card (Cruz, Seager, Zunino, Gamel), and it’s a 92 win team. Not enough to win the West, but enough to earn a one game wildcard playoff game with James Paxton on the hill. From there, who knows what happens?

Ask a Marketer: Video Marketing

In the last two segments of the “Ask a Marketer” series we covered Paid Search and Email Marketing. This week’s topic is Video Marketing, and we talk to Derek Merdinyan of Video Igniter.

Q1: Give me the 3 second pitch – Why should I spend money to add video into my marketing mix?
Video enables you to package up and present your message in a way that is educational, entertaining, engaging and easily sharable.

Q2: What are some examples of things I can explain better using video than if I just tried to write it in a blog or white paper?
Software, technology, systems, stories, anything that is complex and better explained through analogy. In almost every case, it is possible to explain things better with animated video instead of ‘filmed’ video because animations can be used to focus on the specific visual details that make it easier to understand new material.

Q3: What are some ways I can take the money I spend on video, and use it in other areas?
If you are speaking about animation specifically, be sure to ask your animator for a full project archive – odds are you can repurpose the visual images they created (i.e. characters, icons, charts, etc) and turn those images into image posts for social media.

Q4: How much should I expect to pay for a video? What’s the range and what determines that range?
If you go to a freelancer marketplace website, you can expect to pay $300 – $5,000 – the range varies by a few factors, notably the production quality, the number of revisions you can request, and the overall responsiveness, creativity and professionalism of the person you are working with. Hiring a full on animation studio can run you $5,000 – $50,000 or more. 2D projects tend to cost between $3,000 – $15,000/minute for visual quality you will be proud of. Quality 3D animations are easily going to be north of $15,000/minute.

Q5: A standard line is that on a project, there’s Cheap, Fast and Good, and you can only have 2 of the 3. Is that true for video as well?
100%.

Q6: Anything else we need to know about Video Marketing?
Most people think you just make a video, put it online, and promote it. Few people analyze and optimize their video – which for many companies is their largest marketing asset. When you first put your video online, you should host it with a service that provides you analytics to see what % of people click the thumbnail to play the video & how long people watch the video before they stop. Are only 10% of your landing page visitors clicking the play button? Maybe you need a better thumbnail for the video.  Do most people watch the whole video or are a large number of people dropping off around 14 seconds? If your video is animated, it’s much easier to revise and recreate part of your video to make it flow better for viewers; live action videos are harder and more expensive to optimize because it means bringing back the same film crew, actors and booking a location just to re-shoot an alternate segment. It would be wise, for both live action and animated marketing videos to create multiple alternate endings for your video to see which variation leads to more conversions (i.e. sign up here, call this #, download the app, join our newsletter, etc).

NCAA: Don’t Pay the Players – But Let the Players Get Paid

Full disclosure, I love Arizona Basketball. In fact, I think I actually ended up at Arizona because I went to the 1988 Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games at the Kingdome, and Steve Kerr became my favorite college basketball player.

And now the Arizona basketball program is in – shall we say – some turmoil. So I’d be remiss if I didn’t say SOMETHING. But since I know NOTHING, what can I really say?

Except this.

Any NCAA athlete should be allowed to profit from their likeness.

We don’t need schools to pay athletes. We should just allow people who want to pay athletes out of their own pockets to pay them. If that means the guy who runs Tuscaloosa Ford and Chevy wants to give an 18 year old kid $250,000 to be a spokesperson, who cares? If John L Scott in Seattle decides a good use of funds is paying $80k to a UW QB to be their official face of Instagram, why not?

What does it hurt to let 18-22 year olds get paid for the notoriety that 90% of them will never have again?

You could argue that we can’t let high school kids be corrupted by agents who want to take advantage of them. But that is a solvable problem. There are ways to create a licensing program where only people who properly qualify – and stay qualified – can gain access and negotiate on the behalf of a minor. It would actually lend legitimacy to an already existing corrupt system.

Now should the NCAA be paying the players? Thats a thornier question that begets a ton of problems. But in the meantime, let’s just let players get paid by people who want to pay them.