A 2014 Update

Greetings all!

I hope you all are well.

Things are steadily rolling along here. The second semester has been stop-and-go due to the wacky cold weather. As I write, CrownTown is projected to get close to 12″ of snow.

Crazy.

Other than that, below are a few things going on.

The Countdown

Yes, it is 60 days until I get married. That’s pretty exciting. We avoided some major pitfalls too, and everything (that we control) has been taken care of. For now.

Next Venture(s)

From spending nearly five years in the startup/entrepreneur space to jumping into the education world, I can not help but keep both doors open. I enjoy being busy. Plus, it keeps me out of trouble. I have several things on my plate I hope to steadily chomp off.

Writing a book– I know…I fell into the marketing strategist pitfall- creating something of my own. For the record, it is not entirely my fault. My future wife thought it would be a great idea, and when I’m given the opportunity for a new challenge, I can’t help it. Details about that soon.

Launching AdLand Heroes– One of the two big ideas I have. The Charlotte Agency will stick around, for the time being. But I picture AdLand Heroes as being an advertising publishing (own my book, probably), consultancy to help freelancers and small (3-10) advertising folks get noticed. I want AdLand Heroes to provide training for those populations that may not be able to receive it, and fill other gaps as needed.

Launching GoMatthewsMintHill– The second of two big ideas I have. These two areas, which are growing- and fast- has no real centralized digital presence so people know what’s going on. With help (programmer, sales people, office manager) I can get it off the ground.

Updating TCA– TheCharlotteAgency.com needs a serious facelift. So yea, that needs to happen too.

Needless to say, I am happy to see that though I am thoroughly enjoying teaching, that my entrepreneurial spirit has not yet withered.

 

Coming Up-

DECA States- Instead of being a judge, I will be an advisor during the North Carolina DECA Conference. Wild.
Social Media Day Charlotte (June 30th)- If you know people who’d like to be involved, give me a shout (Twitter: @SMdayCLT)

That’s it for now, folks. I hope to come back with updates on progress.

As always, thank you for reading.

Surprise: Refs Aren’t Always Right

This is an issue that has been bothering me for some time.

In the age of technology, commentators and spectators have the privilege to watch a moment in sports frame-by-frame, inch-by-inch, in order to see if the officials on the field made the “right” call.

If so, the ref is given credit for getting it “right”. If not, the referee, or group of officials, are blamed for missing it.

Stop it.

This issue came to a head for me during (at this time) tonight’s Seahawks/49’ers game. A Seahawks player ran into the planted leg of the 49’ers’ punter. The flag came out, and the officials declared it “running into the kicker” rather than “roughing the kicker.” A substantial difference- “running” is a five yard penalty, while “roughing” is a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first-down.

Fox (which I hate watching sports on anyway) brings a former director of officiating and lambastes the group of officials for the five-yard penalty because it was the planted leg. A player going into the planted leg is- according to Fox’s in-house guru- always considered roughing the kicker.

When you look at the series the 49’ers played, and you look at the penalty, as a sports official myself, I think I came to the conclusion the refs did on the field- the team didn’t deserve the “roughing” call.

The cool thing about being a sports official is that penalties and fouls are at the discretion of the sports official. It’s not a foul/penalty unless its called.

So for networks like Fox (don’t get me wrong, I’m picking on Fox but broadcasters like NBC Sports, CBS, and those covering Premier League are just as guilty) to bring in experts and go according to the book, are simplifying and not giving due respect to the position of the official.

Another example: as a soccer referee, I have seen plays “worthy” to be called fouls in the penalty area. Coaches yell, players throw their hands in the air, but I- with common sentiment of other referees- leave the tic-tacky fouls alone.  In a situation where the goal keeper has an 18% chance of saving the goal, something game-changing has to happen for me to award a penalty kick.

Officials can’t win. On the flip side, if the referees were calling every single thing- everything in the book that’s a foul- Fox sports would have their guy on it explaining why officials need to cater the game and let the players play. He’d explain why rules are in place and the highest responsibility of a game official is game management.

But that’s not a sexy story. Officials coming to the “wrong” call, therefore creating a missed opportunity is the story.

And lastly, yes- sometimes officials don’t make the right calls.

Think you can do it better?

No?

Shut up and enjoy the game.

On Ghostwriting

Long time no see, friends.

I hope I haven’t driven off the tens of you who stumbled across this blog from time to time. Writing at BMA has been awesome, in the 3rd year and going strong.

Also, I’m teaching marketing now at Hough High School, and that has been rewarding.

In my classes I have been placing emphasis on writing. Of course I’m a little bias, writing everyday would have that effect. But I want the kids to understand that writing helps you build a process of organizing your thoughts in a manner which others can understand.

Keep that thought in mind.

Background: before I started teaching I was looking for other ways to bring in additional income. I found this site called Write Zillas, and it is a database of freelance writers. The site would take in orders and writers could bid on them.

Awesome, I thought. I joined.

Little did I realize, the orders were for college papers and essays. Even PH.D candidates were posting orders for their thesis papers.

Not awesome, I thought.

This ties in my former point: if these college students are not writing the papers and essays that are to showcase their grip on the subject matter, how can they progress in their thinking?

Ghostwriting can be good. Very good, especially in the business world.

In the academic world? Not so much.

Dem Pittsburgh Pirates Are Dangerously Close to…

1987–1996

1987–1996 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been trying not to write at all about our Pittsburgh Pirates. But their win over the Marlins got them to their 70th win.

70th win. In the beginning of August.

I know…breathe.

That means, you know. I’m not going to say it.

My good friend Jeff who writes about sports all the time and whose opinion on sports I trust more than nearly anyone, hasn’t even said it.

Ahh! How exciting. Living in Charlotte, I rarely hear people talk about MLB. So to see my hometown team do so well, though I barely get a chance to see the games, is awesome.

Pittsburgh needs those battlin’ Buccos.

But it’s only August, with too many games left with St. Louis, the Brewers and Cincy to make a jaded Buccos fan comfortable.

So, we’ll see. But keep it up Bucs; the city of Pittsburgh (and beyond) is behind you.

No Referees? No Games. Love Your Refs.

English: English football (soccer) referee How...

English: English football (soccer) referee Howard Webb (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have no idea what’s been going on in the world of sports recently, but it is getting out of hand. In less than a year, there have been three referee deaths in soccer, all in different parts of the world.

In December 2012, a volunteer linesman referee was beaten to death during an amateur soccer match in the Netherlands. The ref was 41 years old, while his assailants were two 15-year olds and a 16 year old; all players on the same team.

The linesman was officiating a match that his son was playing.

On April 27th, 2013, in Salt Lake city, Ricardo Portillo was assaulted while he was serving as the center ref of a match in a Hispanic soccer league. Portillo, who was 46, was punched in the face by a 17 year old player after Portillo gave the player a yellow card.

Portillo died later because of the internal injuries from being punched.

Now the craziest incident. This happened during the July 6-7th weekend. The center ref was 20yr-old Jordan Silva. He was officiating a match in Brazil when he showed 30yr-old player Josenir Abreu a red card. Abreu didn’t like it, and got in the ref’s face.

This is where it gets crazy.

Silva, the referee, pulled out a knife and stabbed the player, Abreu, which ended up killing him. The player’s family and fans captured the referee, tied him up, and when they heard that Abreu died, they tortured the ref and dismembered his body.

I’m going to need everyone to calm down.

This on-the-field violence, especially against refs, should not be tolerated. Players need to understand that without referees, they wouldn’t have a game to play. Referees instill rules. Referees instill fairness. When there is violence directed at the referee, no one wins.

Who knows why that situation in Brazil escalated so quickly. Why was the ref carrying a knife in the first place? Was he attacked before, was he given a reason to fear for his life and strike?

I’m not condoning his action. I hope no one ever has to make a decision to take someone’s life for fear of losing their own. I’m trying to figure out why the ref felt that he needed to carry one.

How can we shift the view of referees from “necessary evils” to “champions of the game”?

One group is trying. In memoriam of the referee in Salt Lake City, a group created the site, Love the Refs. The site is meant to show the world that “passion does not equal aggression.”

How true.

Being a fierce competitor does not mean that you must also wield your anger out on anyone or anything on the field. That is not how things work.

I think that sports organizations need to make an even stricter stand when it comes to violence against referees. Let players who show aggression be automatically suspended for 2-3 games. If they act on their aggression, ban from the league for that season. After that, any other infraction they are banned from the league and leagues around the area/region for life.

Or, every time an act of aggression towards the referee happens, end the game. No one wins.

Or, provide the referees with security.

In any case, the worse thing we can do, is nothing. Love the game, love your referees.

Yes, I Still Have a Blog…

Long time no see, folks.

It’s funny, once you are hired to write every day, it makes it increasingly difficult to find time to write for one’s leisure.

Yet, here we are.

First, some life events. The wedding planning is going along fine. It’s times like these when being easily pleased is quite a virtue.

Second, some work events. Things have picked up at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, with plans to continue. We are in the progress of doing some major changes. First, some background. When John and I started JDW, LLC., we wanted to plan with the end in mind. The end, being that JDW,LLC itself owns multiple business segments. In business school we learned time and time again that the best way to maintain a revenue stream is diversifying your investments.

With that being said, in the very near future, JDW: The Charlotte Agency, our marketing shop, will soon be known as The Charlotte Agency, a JDW LLC. subsidiary. The JDW logo will continue to be the brand for JDW LLC, and The Charlotte Agency will have its own specific logo, but similar branding to JDW. We are currently making our website anew with the changes in full sight.

My soccer referee gig is going quite well. I just started my coaching and private conditioning, and am working on my personal trainer certification with the hopes of starting a personal training company for couples with my wife-to-be, Mackenzie.

Third and finally, some leisure events. Believe it or not, I still have some time to spare. So I decided to start a pickup soccer group on Sportsvite, with the intention of forming it into a modest pickup league. If it continues to grow, I have plans in mind for tournaments (small and full side), rec-league play against other groups in the Charlotte area, and a youth league.

Also, I’m thinking of changing the name of the blog. Since writing for Beyond Madison Avenue, I have been able to thoroughly scratch my marketing writing itch. Therefore, “New Age Marketing” is longer a need title or avenue. I’ll still write about marketing, economics, consume behavior and the like, but I think it is time for a new name.

It has certainly been an exciting couple months, to say the least.

I know you all have been waiting for an update. I hope these 400 words have sufficed. Until next time.

Crowd Vs. Pro….I’ll Take the Pro

Color me old school, but I have a hard time taking the opinion of a crowd over anything.

Even if we play the “Founding Fathers” card, they too were against obliging the will of the majority. That’s why in the Senate, each state, how matter how big or small, has the same number of Senators. It is meant to balance out the crazies (on both sides) in the House.

The same applies in business. Professionals are called professionals because they spend a dedicated amount of time becoming proficient at certain activities. I may be able to understand using crowds of professionals (when necessary) but using consumers or the public for certain matters that were traditionally in the hands of “experts” is totally beyond me.

I do see the attractiveness of selling a product or service that the crowd of consumers design themselves. It goes back to a saying in marketing, that we want to provide what the consumers want.

But the saying was never meant to be taken literally.

A book came out about using crowds and Freakonomics covered it. I do believe they made valid points, but I think my studies of behavioral economics and following the research of Dr. Dan Ariely have made me conclude that there is no such thing as a rational crowd. When groups begin to make decisions, inaccuracies are bound to follow.

Maybe that product or service designed by the group will sell, but I would believe that the driving forces are not the features picked from the crowd, but in fact because the crowd wants to but the product they designed, and people- who don’t like many options- will choose the option others are buying.

I’ll listen to a crowd.

But obey one?