Monday Morning Musings

Happy Monday morning. Here’s a look ahead at a few things I noticed last week, and a few things I’m looking forward to this week.

1) A couple of good events this week in the Seattle Tech world. Tuesday is the March edition of New Tech Seattle at Galvanize. Looks like 4 interesting companies will be on display. Over on the Eastside, on Wednesday, Startup Grind Seattle Eastside hosts Sally Bergesen, Founder + CEO of Oiselle.

2) Welcome back Sounders. Tough loss to start the year, but they’re still delivering a top fan experience. The new mobile app is interesting, as they are trying to get rid of paper tickets forever.

3) The Mariners started playing Spring Training games last week. What do you think? I’m walking the line with everyone else and thinking they’ll win about 81-85 games. I just hope they can be playing competitive baseball until September. I hate that I find myself watching Seahawks pre-season games in August because the baseball season is already over.

4) Have a favorite marketing blog you like? I’m on the hunt for some new ones.

EDIT / UPDATE:
5) Check out this cool new product from the head of Startup Grind Seattle, Michael Grabham. Simple idea, crisp execution. I hope the Kickstarter campaign for Package Guard does well. Check out the Package Guard product web site here.

Imagining Presidential Candidates as League Commissioners

I don’t know what made me think about this, but indulge me if you will. If you took the remaining Presidential candidates and put them in charge of the sports leagues, which ones would they run? Here’s my proposal.

1) MLS
Let’s start with the easiest one first. Major League Soccer is by definition a socialist endeavor. The league revenues are split, the labor force has few rights for negotiating wages, and all transactions must go through the league office. This is Bernie Sanders’ league, plain and simple.

2) NFL
The country’s most powerful league is going to need a member of the establishment to carry out its charter. Someone who knows everyone on Wall Street as well as the rest of the Billionaire owners. They must have political clout to wield or they’ll be a lame duck. But also, the NFL needs someone who can deflect controversy, pretend things that are happening aren’t actually happening, and show a strong willingness to tiptoe on the wrong side of the rules. I think the NFL goes to Hillary Clinton.

3) MLB
This league is much harder to determine a proper commissioner for. Its leader must have the clout to appease 30 billionaire owners, manage municipalities to get stadiums built, and negotiate billion dollar TV deals, all while presiding over a sport that is losing its appeal to much of America. In some ways, to some people, MLB has become somewhat a relic of days gone by. A memory of what once was, rather than what will be. And with that in mind, I hand the keys to Jeb Bush.

4) NBA
Another tough decision. We’re looking for someone who can see the international picture while not overlooking the inner cities. Someone who can manage across different cultures. But also someone who can simply step into the shoes of his mentor and merely continue to operate the machine rather than create a new one from scratch. I think this role is given to Marco Rubio.

5) NHL
Here we have a league that not enough people get excited about. It rarely registers on your sports mind, even though the few times you pay attention to it, you find it quite enjoyable. It is the epitome of being John Kasich.

6) NCAA
With this organization, we’re looking for a few key qualities. This leader must be fairly tone deaf to the cries from its labor force who want to be paid. The leader must embrace the idea of the 1% receiving all of the money, and have strong convictions about who should be let into the system. Plus this leader must be stubborn, resistant to the opinion of others, and able to hold true to their beliefs. I believe Ted Cruz is our answer here.

7) WWE
Come on, is this one really that hard? There’s only one Presidential candidate capable of running the circus that is Worldwide Wrestling. The one and only, Donald Trump.

Have I missed a league that needs a Presidential candidate as a commissioner? Let me know.

Missed the .COM rush? Grab a .FAMILY Domain for your clan

If you’re not keeping up with all the online tech publications these days, you probably don’t know much about what are called, “Top Level Domains (or TLD’s).” The traditional TLD’s are the ones attached to url’s you know and love – .com, .net, .edu, .org, etc…

But some really smart people realized that with all the url’s already owned by people, the only way to make any money was in the secondary market. And since those smart people who made money the 1st time around weren’t in the secondary market, they needed a way to create a new primary market.

Hence, we have the expansion of hundreds of new TLD’s. Things like .Lawyer, .Ninja, .Me, etc…

The newest one to come out is .Family. For those of you who fancy the idea of having a personalized web site that your family can post info to, or have email addresses with your family surname, the opportunity to get it is now.

Just go to www.name.com and grab your family surname. Note: for most people the surname without an “s” at the end (ie www.Boyer.family) is like $500. Add the “s” (ie www.Boyers.family) is $20.

Note: Yes, those links are referral links above so if you use them, I would get $5 credit to my account (not cash.) But that’s not why I’m writing this. If you don’t want me to get the referral bonus, just type or click thiswww.name.com/domains/family. There’s no referral code attached to that one.

What I’m Looking Forward to in 2016, List 1

I don’t do predictions. But I like to read other people’s predictions. And based on what I accomplished in 2015 and what other people are saying is coming, here’s what I’m looking forward to in the year ahead.
1) Travel: In 2015, I made it to Spain, France and Italy. I also enjoyed a fantastic 2 week road trip through Southern California and the Central Coast, and an annual trip to Arizona. In 2016, I’d love to get to France for a Euro 2016 match, Cuba, and Orlando to see the Sounders play.
2) More medical technology: This isn’t really my field, but I’m fascinated how devices are becoming available that can help people with preventative medicine. From heart trackers, to cholesterol monitors to simple devices that measure stress, I’v never been more interested in health products.
3) 3D Printing: It’s still years away from being practical in every home. But there was also a day when mobile phones were useless devices that weighed 8 pounds and had to be plugged into a cigarette lighter. Keep you eye on this and notice the baby steps the industry makes.
4) Really bad political drama: Oh lord, this year’s Presidential election is going to be a disaster. If you were a company that needed to fly under the radar, this campaign is going to give you plenty of air cover.
5) The Mariners: Last year I was skeptical. I believe in Mariners 2017, and that Mariners 2016 will at least be interesting to watch as it’s being built.

That’s today’s top 5. More later in the week.

7 Fun Facts About the St Vincent and the Grenadines Soccer Team

The U.S. Men’s National Team starts its World Cup Qualifying run vs St Vincent and the Grenadines tonight. Who the heck is the the St Vincent and the Grenadines soccer team? Well, here are some fun facts.

1) The island is here.

2) The country has 109,373 people. That is approximately 321,905,480 less people than there are in the U.S. For perspective, the United States has 4,186,778 registered soccer players.
3) Assuming the team has a standard 23 players, .021% of the country’s population is on the National team, or 1 out of every 4,750 people.
4) The team is ranked #129 in the world. That’s actually better than Luxembourg (146), New Zealand (159) and India (172).
5) There is an actual St Vincent and the Grenadines Professional Soccer League. It features the Toni Store Jugglers, Prospect United, Avenues United, Fitz Hughes Predators, JG & Sons Stingers, Camdonia Chelsea, System 3, Zodiac Football Club, Nemwil Hope International, Digicel Jebelle, Besco Pastures and K&R Strikers.
6) Two members of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Soccer Team, Myron Samuel and Oalex Anderson, play for Sounders FC 2. Put that in this perspective – the man with the most games played and most goals scored for this country, plays on the minor league version of the Sounders. If Oneil Fisher was from SVG, he could be a starter.
7) In the qualifying round for the 2014 World Cup, they were eliminated in the 2nd round, going 1-2-3 vs Guatemala, Belize and Grenada.

Join me at the Seattle Interactive Conference November 3

Over the last few years, I’ve had a few amazing chances to get in front of a large audience and either speak on, or moderate panels full of smart people. In about two weeks, I’ll get the opportunity to moderate a panel at one of my favorite events – the Seattle Interactive Conference.

The panel is focused on the changing role of online advertising. Here’s the description:

Game of Screens: The Rise of Multi-Screen Marketing
The rapid evolution of consumer behavior as it relates to their media consumption has rendered many of advertising’s traditional targeting and measurement metrics difficult or obsolete. So how do you accurately measure results when Device proliferation is making even basic reach and frequency management nearly impossible? How can you balance the new expectations amongst consumers that messaging to them should always be relevant and timely? And what are some recent technology advancements in targeting and measurement to help address some of these challenges? In this panel, executives from Choicestream, GoDaddy, Logitech and Sharethrough will share their experience and expertise in delivering successful behavior-driven marketing to consumers who live on multiple screens.

The panel will be on Nov 3 at 11:00am. If you’re attending the event, please come on by and check out our session. And if you have questions you want answered, shoot me an email and I’ll add them into the queue.

I’ve Become One of “Those” People, and You Guys Can’t Drive

I like to think that at my advanced age, I have the ability to shift opinions. To change my mind. To “evolve,” as it were.

For years, I did not understand the concept of riding a bike to work. I found it non-sensical. Foolish and childish even.

But then about 3-4 weeks ago my doctor explained some things that were going to happen to me in the coming years if I did not lose a fairly significant amount of weight. And he wasn’t saying things like, “Wow you are going to feel great!”

So I left his office, went to the bike store, and bought myself a new way to commute to the office. I’m now one of “those people” who are in the way when you are driving to work.

What I’ve learned

Now I’m in no way an expert yet. I’ve maybe done the Wallingford to Downtown Cannonball Run about 8-10 times. But here are some initial impressions.

1) You people can’t drive. I never noticed it before, but there really is no consistency from one driver to another. You make crazy left turns out of nowhere, pull over in bike lanes (it doesn’t matter if your hazards are on, I still can’t jump over you), block interceptions at red lights, and nose your car out into the middle of the road. Bring on the driverless cars.
2) Texting and driving is seriously dangerous. There aren’t a lot of things a biker finds scarier than seeing someone in a car with their face buried in their cell phone. We have no idea where you are headed, if you see us, or what you are going to do.
3) We need more bike lanes. On my way in, I zip down Stone to 34th to Dexter to Bell to 2nd and it’s a breeze. On my way out of town, inexplicably you can’t head back UP 2nd very far. So I have to weave through buses, cars and/or pedestrians on 3rd and Blanchard to get back to a safe path.
4) Some bikers are really decent humans. Contrary to my previous belief about bikers being traffic-causing, egotistical, stubborn jerks, a lot of bikers are pretty nice. We usually end up in a nice little pack around stop lights. There’s safety in numbers and we’re all more visible when we’re traveling in a flock. Usually everyone is following traffic rules, being courteous to drivers, and being safe.
5) Some bikers are total jerks. Nothing is more frustrating to a rookie biker like me than seeing some yahoo zipping through traffic, slinging between lanes, ignoring street signs and signals, and generally creating chaos. For the record, I’m the guy following every rule, doing everything like you’d expect the guy on the bike to do. Bikers who flaunt the fact that they are on a bike scare me because they make you unpredictable.
6) The time is comparable. On an average day at rush hour, driving 6 miles downtown plus parking takes me about 25-30 minutes door to desk. On a bike, 30-35.

Ok, I’m a cheater
So here’s the thing. I’m not in good enough shape to get up Stone Way. And I don’t like the idea of being stuck at 8mph in traffic. So I bought an electric bike. I’m an absolute believer in these things.

The electric bike is great because you really only use it up hills, or if you need to maintain a consistent speed of 15-20 mph. You can shut it off if you’re by yourself and can go at your own pace. And maybe one day when I’m in better shape I’ll be able to keep it off altogether. But if you are considering becoming a bike commuter, look into the electric bike. It will help get you off the fence.

So there you go
So I’m a convert, at least when I can be. It’s still totally impractical for anyone who needs to wear a suit or pick up the kids after work. But there might be a good number of you who could pull it off.

And try that electric bike.

Saving Greece and Soccer at the Same Time

In case anyone wonders, this is a completely facetious comment. I don’t honestly believe this is a good idea… But in a make believe world, here’s how you could save Greece and International Soccer at the same time.

Qatar buys Greece.

Think about it. It’s win-win-win-win.

Win 1: Qatar gets the recognition it desires.
Qatar has a ton of money that it can’t spend. They want to change their image and have a larger presence in terms of global awareness. By buying Greece and renaming it “North Qatar,” they get all of the history that comes with it. Just like Gary Payton is somehow the leading scorer in Oklahoma City Thunder history, North Qatar would be where the Olympic games originated. Zeus and the rest of the Qatari gods lives on Mt. Olympus in North Qatar. And where would the world be without the contributions of famous Qataris such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle?

Win 2: Greece pays off its debt.
The banks want to get paid. The Greeks don’t want to pay anyone back. Qatar has dump trucks of cash sitting in gold plated garages. Let’s redistribute some of that cash and keep the country – and Europe – from collapsing.

Win 3: We don’t have to play soccer in 120 degree weather.
The 2022 World Cup can stay in Qatar – it’s just going to be played in North Qatar. (Except they’ll make Germany and the U.S. play their games in South Qatar out of spite.) Tourists will now want to attend the games. And Qatar can send all those poor abused migrant workers home.

Win 4: FIFA moves to North Qatar
Nothing significant in the world can happen without it benefitting Sepp Blatter in some way. This works for him. Qatar can revoke any extradition treaties it has with the U.S. and FIFA can build a 200,000 square fit office complex overlooking the Aegean Sea.

Could it happen? Of course not. Should it? Hmm….

One Human, One Block, One Year: An Idea for Solving Homelessness

So file this under pie in the sky, hopeless ideas that have no chance of coming true.

Unless, that is, one person tries to get it going.

NPR published an interesting article the other day about Homelessness in Seattle. One stat stood out: “According to the latest count, in January, more than 3,700 people live on the streets of King County. The number of people sleeping outside shot up by 20 percent in just the past year.”

3,700.

Via NPR

That number sounds enormous when you are thinking about how a government agency could fix the problem. And the government has proven it can’t do it. Here’s another stat from the article, one that should make you pretty mad. “All told, under a 10-year plan put together a decade ago by a public-private partnership called the Committee to End Homelessness, roughly $1 billion has gone to the cause.”

$1 Billion spent in 10 years. 3,700 homeless. At $100 million spent per year, we could just pay every homeless person an annual salary of $27,000 and just close down whatever services are trying to solve the problem.

But 3,700 is also a really small number.

King County has 2.044 Million people. For every 1 homeless person in Seattle, there are 550 non-homeless. This is the math I use to think there’s an opportunity at fixing this problem.

One Human, One Block, One Year
The idea is simple philosophically. Homelessness stops being a macro issue that we need “leaders” and “organizations” to try to solve. Homeless people need to stop being nameless, anonymous shadows that we can easily ignore on the side of the on ramp.

Let’s make homelessness a neighborhood cause. And not just a neighborhood cause, but a block cause.

I’m going to guess that almost every city block contains the following things:
– A house with an unused shed, mother-in-law attachment, garage or other structure that could be fitted with a simple bathroom. (And if not, a group of 20 people who’d split the rent on an apartment for someone.)
– At least one if not more people who hire part-time help.
– Someone who is or knows a psychologist, therapist or life coach.
– A teacher.
– A retired person willing to occasionally give someone a ride.
– Someone who’d spring for a bus pass.
– Neighbors with extra clothing they can give to a specific human.
– People who will donate money to make sure someone they know is well fed.

When you think of the idea that 550 people working together could help a single person get off the street, it seems almost mathematically insane that we have homeless people in the first place.

Now yes, I know that there are gigantic holes in this idea. Addiction, dementia, stubbornness, safety. These are all issues that would have to be dealt with. Then you’d have to get through the government red tape of permits, zoning, etc…

But doesn’t it seem doable? Doesn’t it seem like if everyone who lived on your block assembled for two hours one Sunday afternoon, you could come up with everything you need to get someone a home, a part-time job, a wardrobe, counseling, a bus pass, some education and tutoring, addiction treatment if necessary, and most of all – friends in a neighborhood. Friends who want to see their guest succeed and move on to successfully re-start their own life in 12 months.

That’s my utopian idea. One human, being helped by one block of neighbors, for one year.

Join Me at the American Ad Federation Seattle This Thursday

Well this should be fun. You’ve seen it before. We get 4 people who know everything there is to know about a topic and I ask them a lot of questions for 90 minutes. And try to throw in a joke or two along the way.

Here’s the scoop for this Thursday from the AAF website:

FORTUNE Magazine recently published a survey of the world’s most respected brands. The Seattle area boasts 6 in the top 30.

As marketing and advertising professionals that call the Seattle area home, we are global stewards for the brands by nature of our profession. Join AAF Seattle as we continue the discussion around diversity and multiculturalism from the perspective of driving brand engagement, both from the agency and brand perspective.

We’ll touch on such topics and questions as:

How prepared are we to support billions of consumers that share the Great Circle of the Pacific Rim?
What are the key insights we can share on how to optimize the brand experience and messaging?
What role does multiculturalism play in our ability to connect with consumers?
What works (and may not work so well) when it comes to strategy to addressing diversity in your teams and your advertising message?

Who are the experts? A really strong group.
Ben Rudolph – Director, Sales Evangelism, Worldwide Retail Channel Marketing, Microsoft
Natalie Rouse – CEO, Southern Cross International
Ken Cho – Co-Founder and CEO, People Pattern
Shelly Kurtz – Executive Director, NBC Universal, International Media Distribution

Hope to see you Thursday. Email me if you have a question or topic you want me to sneak in.