Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Motorsports – Word of the year: Value

While enjoying my holiday away from school, I’ve had some precious time to reflect on my experience in Orlando at the Motor Sport Business Forum. Among almost every session, I found the distinguished panels to keep repeating one word: VALUE.

I want to a share a few memorable anecdotes.


Eddie Gossage, President of Texas Motor Speedway, was asked a question about what his track has done to ease the burden on fans at the track. According to focus groups conducted in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the ability to bring a cooler into the racetrack and free parking are two amenities that set TMS apart from any other sporting option in the region. Contrast that to the new Texas Stadium, home of Jerry Jones’s Dallas Cowboys where it costs $75 just to park a single vehicle!

While some perceive the series to be struggling, IRL President, Terry Angstadt was able to shed a lot of light on American open-wheel racing, which I know far less about. Clothing company IZOD originally began a relationship with IndyCar as an Official Apparel sponsor in 2009. It has since embraced the diversity that IndyCar represents (having a driver lineup far more diverse, with many competitive foreign and female drivers), and wanted to increase involvement. Starting in 2010, the IRL has changed its name to the IZOD IndyCar Series. It will kick off 2010 with a third race outside of the US, on the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil, in addition to races held in Toronto and Japan.

NHRA President, Tom Compton, spoke about the objective of delivering value to four main constituents. First, the fan – through delivering high quality entertainment. Second, the sponsors – using the sport as a vehicle to sell products, services, or promote awareness. Third, the tracks – holding their events provides income, and long-term stability for the series. Last, the competitors – by maintaining the prestige of the series to provide satisfaction and an income.

Susan Lute, from Canadian Tire, title sponsor of NASCAR Canada, laid out four strong points for when a company searches to activate their sponsorship. First, objectives for your plan must be defined. Deviating from those objectives can cause you to lose sight and miss your point. Second, move from “I think,” to “I know.” Third, a company’s goal should invest in a marketing message that reaches 100% of your intended target. Last, this would apply for any working relationship, being excited about working together helps both parties succeed.

To conclude, Eddie Gossage and TMS have worked to increase the value for fans by keeping a little bit of cash in fans wallets. The IZOD IndyCar Series has a more diverse culture, which has attracted new partners. NHRA has outlined who they serve, and strive to meet their goal. Canadian Tire, has outlined their strategy which not only increases value (sales) for the company, but experiences a mutually beneficial relationship working with NASCAR Canada.

These just a few pieces of information I was able to pick up while attending the Motor Sport Business Forum. I hope you find it interesting. Please, feel free to ask questions or leave comments. I look forward to responding to your thoughts and writing more over the next few weeks.


As always, follow me on Twitter, connect via LinkedIn, or email kylecedington@gmail.com.

Friday, December 11, 2009

History-Making at the Motor Sport Business Forum





Having just got back from the Motor Sport Business Forum in Orlando, Florida, I am still decompressing and comprehending all that went on in the 48 hours I was there. One of the very first announcements made at the opening session, promised guests a special announcement at the Tuesday evening cocktail reception, sponsored by The Walt-Disney Company.

As a participant in the MSBF, I was one of a select few who witnessed and awarding of the inaugural Paul Newman Winning Through Giving Award. This new annual award will be given to an individual who shares the late acting star's passion for motorsports and the unwavering devotion to philanthropic work.

The award was presented to Jim France, NASCAR Executive Vice President and ISC Chairman. Presenters included Zak Brown, CEO of Just Marketing International, Simon Berger, CEO of IM2 Events (individuals who developed and created the MSBF event); selection committee chairs Sarah Gurtis, Camp Boggy Creek Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Development (a Paul Newman Hole in the Wall Camp in Eustis, Florida) and Michael Brockman, Newman's former racing teammate and actor.

The award was preceded by a video sharing the impact motorsports had on Newman's life and how his philanthropic efforts have changed lives and inspired others to make a difference.

In the years to come, as the awareness of this award grows, the Paul Newman Winning Through Giving award will be one that will be highly regarded and respected beyond the motorsports community.

In my next few posts, I will discuss the impact of the MSBF, and touch on some topics/points made speakers, and other thoughts I on the great event.
Please feel free to leave comments, as I would love to discuss your opinions and hear more from readers.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Motor Sport Business Forum

It's been a while since I've had a new post. I've been busy getting ready for a great networking opportunity in Orlando for the Motor Sport Business Forum. If you've been following my Twitter account, you'll note that I've booked my tickets, and updated all my other important pieces like resume, and Web sites.

Check my Twitter over the next couple of days, where I'll keep you posted on my travels and experiences in Orlando. I'll also post some reactions after the trip.

Wish me luck, searching for opportunities as I chase my dream!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Buy Nothing Day - Latest Holiday Craze!



It's been a while since I have posted a picture of the week. I think this will qualify. For my Graphic Design course, we are to design a postcard encouraging participating in Buy Nothing Day. On Black Friday, instead of getting up early, and spending unnecessary hard earned money on likely useless items, spend the day instead with quality family time. Play a game, go outside, enjoy the Thanksgiving leftovers, etc! So do your family a favor and hangout with them instead of potentially getting trampled at Toys 'R' Us.

Enjoy, have a Happy Thanksgiving! I'll see most of you when we return from break. In the mean time, keep blogging! By the way, if you like the Buy Nothing Day image, please email me or give credit where credit is due. Thanks!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

This Is It is Alright


VS.


I love music. My iTunes has a very eclectic variety of artists, genres, etc. I have a number of favorite artists, but I saw something that made an interesting connection.

I went to go see Michael Jackson's This Is It, at the Ada Theater on opening night. Personal life aside, the King of Pop was very talented, I enjoyed a number of his songs, and the movie was very interesting from a creative perspective. Viewers get a rare chance to see how a production, as elaborate as that concert was going to be, come together.I felt that with as many creative an innovative aspect that were going to be included in the concert series, that it will elevate musical stage productions in the future. From the 3-D video to scenes that were going to be acted out on stage (one word: bulldozer) there are many examples that will push the boundaries of concert viewing. The point that I want to make, is that until the very end, Mr. Jackson's creativity still has the ability to influence artists of all genres.

I'm a big fan of Hootie and the Blowfish, so therefore, as lead singer Darius Rucker made the jump to country, I have continued to listen to his music. I missed catching the CMA Awards that were held earlier this week in Nashville, so after pulling up a video of Mr. Rucker's performance, I notice a similarity in the backround in his rendition of Alright, to two backgrounds from This Is It.

Now, I am not trying to say that this was an obvious nod to Mr. Jackson, but it was a cool reference, and a first example of where Michael left off, and other artists will pick up and run.

Any thoughts from readers?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Grand Ole Opry on MySpace!

Do you like country music? Well if you do, you need to some day make it to Nashville to see the show that made country music famous. I am talking about the Grand Ole Opry. However, if you cannot make it this weekend, definately check out MySpace or http://www.myspace.com/grandoleopry on Saturday night at 9 pm. I say this because the Opry will be streaming live online. 


I'm really excited because up here in Ada, whether it is through Time Warner Cable, or ONU cable, we do not get GAC, the channel the Opry is broadcast. I hope broadcasting online, is something that the Opry can continue for special occasions. 


So check out the music, it will be excellent. Did I mention that the lineup includes Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride and Jake Owen?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thoughts on Thought Leaders

Over the last ten weeks, as we've become immersed and experienced using the many tools of social media, we have, in turn, become thought leaders ourselves. We are likely the most expereinced within social media on campus. I know I've shared my thoughts and experiences with friends.

I'm also likely to share my social media information with the Office of Career Services. In my opinion, it could use it.

Good class everyone, I've never actually enjoyed a four-hour long class before, but this one was more than enjoyable. I'll be sad to see it go, but I hope you all continue to blog periodically. I'll be sure to not only read, but COMMENT as well. Good luck finding your niche, I'll be reading.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Organizational Twitter: @ONUSports & @SpiritAirlines

Twitter is has been the most important tool to catch fire within the social media revolution over the last year. I believe that if you had asked the average organization or individual one year ago, if they would be on Twitter, the answer would likely be, no. Over the last twelve months, many users have learned how to use Twitter more effectively. Over the last week, I’ve observed two organizations that I follow and would like to offer some comments on their tweets.

As a student here at ONU, and one who knows a number of our student athletes, I follow @ONUSports. This week has been a big week, as not only students begin to wrap up our academic quarter, but also for many fall sports, they begin to enter postseasons and tournaments. Keeping followers up-to-date, @ONUSports does a nice job updating the status of award winning players, and updating tournament standings. The following are some tweets posted in the last week from @ONUSports.

Dan Otanicar earns ESPN the Magazin/CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District honors http://bit.ly/2heHHp

Men's Basketball has solid performance in 75-66 loss in exhibition game at NCAA Division I-foe Kent State http://bit.ly/24tRA2

Men's Basketball has solid performance in 75-66 loss in exhibition game at NCAA Division I-foe Kent State http://bit.ly/24tRA2

No. 6 Volleyball sweeps Mount Union in OAC Tournament Semifinals http://bit.ly/2oq0jx

No. 6 Volleyball wins fourth straight OAC Tournament Title with 3-2 win over No. 19 Heidelberg http://bit.ly/H7POA

As I look to utilize a networking opportunity in Orlando, which is quickly approaching in December, I am looking for a cheap airfare. I was told by a friend to check out Spirit Airlines. I have logged on to their website a few times, and liked what I saw. I figured with this assignment, I should see if they had a Twitter account. Sure enough they do. No later than the end of Thanksgiving break, I plan to make my plans final, and very likely that I will be making a seat reservation on Spirit Airlines. I find their tweets to be exactly what I would be looking for, as I am about to purchase a flight myself: all about saving money. Here are the tweets I read in the last week from Spirit Airlines.

Coupon clipping is cool! Why not use one when booking your flight? Spirit is offering $35 & $24 coupons*! Click here:http://bit.ly/2Wq0Yn

Take advantage of your Spirit's $24 Coupon*! Book today and save on your next flight. Hurry, this offer ends tonight.http://bit.ly/1iYCHl

Use our $35 and $24 coupons now to save big on your next flight. Find the coupon that works best for you and book now -http://bit.ly/3cs1uN

"Falling Fares" at Spirit! Watch our fares fall as we roll through autumn! Our fares are falling as low as $9* E/W

Overall, I found the two organizations that I followed this past week to be very interesting to me personally, and fairly effective for their purpose. @ONUSports kept followers up-to-date as new news about our sports teams became available. @SpiritAirlines was effective in offering coupons to people searching for flights, while not bombarding with annoying tweets. Many companies can do too many in short periods of time. Spirit kept their tweets to at least twenty-four hours apart, so never read more than one a day.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Live Sports Broadcasting

Partly due to the fact that I'm a bit under the weather, I've kept myself inside today. But one of the bright spots of my day was watching my friends on the women's volleyball team capture yet another OAC Tournament Championship! Congratulations to them! I was able to watch them via a live broadcast from Heidleburg's Web site.

It brought me to this thought: why doesn't ONU broadcast (with television) more away contests? I'm aware that we have a number of dedicated sports announcers who do their homework, and broadcast many away contests on WONB. I feel as though more people would be willing to tune in and watch a webcast than just an audio broadcast over the radio.

Last year, during the opening round of the NCAA Soccer Championship, I got to watch ONU defeat Wheaton College in an exciting match. In doing so, I fulfilled a promise, that if they won, that I would take a carload of friends to Chicago the next night to watch the next game! It was a great experience, because as a fan with little to no knowledge of soccer, being able to watch the game instead of listen, makes it more enjoyable.

Does anyone know why we do not broadcast live games on the internet? Just a thought.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Looking at the New Rules

Having become familiar with many of the New Rules of Marketing and PR, our class is truly aware that our goals  as marketing and public relations practitioners, our goal is to establish a mutually beneficial relationship with our target customer or individual.

We have been exposed to the many tools used by todays professionals to build and maintain relationships; from podcasts to videos and blogs to twitter, I think it is our responsibility to continue to participate in the online environment, after our class is through.

While no one from our social media course would consider ourselves experts (yet), we are certainly among the cutting edge, within our University, and hopefully other job candidates.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Students In Free Enterprise Video



This video was created to help encourage students to become active in student organizations, and specifically Students In Free Enterprise.

Heard on the Tundra - Keep your eyes open!

I just wanted to share a brief piece of advice with my readers. Keep you eyes open on new and exciting ways to demonstrate abilities. This applies to anyone interested in gaining meaningful employment after graduation. As a peer career assistant in the Office of Career Services, I have a variety of responsibilities, but the latest task is really exciting.

I now get to be the Voice of the Office of Career Services, occasionally recording spots that will be played on WONB, our university-run station. Not only do I get to learn how to use different technology to record and edit myself, but I also get my name over the airwaves!

Be open to exploring new opportunities, whether they relate to your field of study or not. I will say that using the podcast as a baby step, made me feel more comfortable recording in the studio.

I'm also working on putting together a digital portfolio of sorts, and I'll look forward to the addition of an mp3 copy of my work from WONB. So my point: take advantage of unique opportunities presented to you!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

In-race Social Media Interaction


Every year I look forward to watching the four restrictor plate races at Talladega and Daytona. The unpredictability, tense and tight 30 car packs, create a must watch event. After the wild finish at Talladega in the spring, when Carl Edwards attempted to block Brad Keselowski, and left Edward airborne and in the fence, NASCAR has implemented a number of changes.

A. First and foremost, the speedway raised and improved the catchfence, for fans safety. There were a few minor injuries after the spring race when debris from Edwards car hit the fence. 
B. NASCAR made a change to the size of the restrictor plate carburetor, reducing the power to keep the top speed below 200 miles per hour.
C. This final change is one that is somewhat controversial. Due to the design of the cars, when two line up bumper to bumper, the aerodynamics create such an effect that the two cars can pull away from the pack of cars. [It was truly exciting to see the strategy work when the two cars become one and charge through the field.] So after final practice on Friday, NASCAR made a change stating that cars need "daylight" between them and can no longer push bumper to bumper through the corners. 


Needless to say the style of racing has changed today, as I'm watching the race. Many have been upset from drivers to fans with the mid-weekend change. While I'm a little sad to see the change made, I do realize that it was made to keep the competitors safe; I figured I'd check to see if there was any activity on the NASCAR Facebook page. The following quotes are from some opinionated fans posting on the NASCAR Facebook wall during the middle of the race.


"Nascar isn’t saying anything now to em, hmmm, maybe [NASCAR President] Mike [Helton] got his head out of his ass!"
"Looks like a IRL race""Finally a little bit of excitement, ok Nascar time for you to step in with your warnings, its getting to crazy.""Come NASCAR, REALLY? This race sucks! I'm so pissed that's about as nice as I can be right now!""Did nascar ok this 3 wide?""there more excitment on this board then on the tv""It's bad when right now I am watching the Cleveland Browns more than the race"

While the middle of the race was a little boring, the end is sure to be gratifying. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get back to he race. Enjoy

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Inagural TGC Sports Talk with Kyle Edington and Herb Hufford

Check out our first TGC Sports Talk podcast. Topics include the latest with the Ada Bulldogs and comments on the inagural induction class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Please feel free to post any comments. Herb and I look forward to producing more TGC Sports Talk podcasts. We're open to new ideas for discussion or how to improve.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter! Myself, Kyle Edington - @KyleEdington - or Herb Hufford - @CoachHerb.

Johnny Jobsearch here - ready to stand out

I found this latest chapter of then New Rules of Marketing and PR very interesting. It is interesting how there will likely be a growing debate among companies and corporations between following the old rules and blazing a trail into the new rules.

One positive example I recently commented on, was how GM is getting their custoemrs excited in developing new accessories for the Camaro. At this year's SEMA show, GM will debut the next strip/decal pages that will be chosen by the fans of the Camaro. By logging on to their Facebook page, there is a poll being conducted of a number of strip packages to be considered. The winner will be revealed at the SEMA show in Las Vegas. In an attempt to target the younger crowd, we could assume that GM has a buyer persona profile developed, and they are aware that we (me, specifically) is active on Facebook.

I know that since I've started in the social media course this quarter, my online presence has greatly increased.  While I'm still in the process of growing an audience, this chapter helped me realize that I need to take some time to consider what exactly my audience will be looking for, or how I should approach them. I know that after this class concludes, sadly, in a few weeks that I'll be looking to further tailor my blog to my interests and   create more job search oriented posts.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Online Reviews

This has been stated in class many times before, but the online collaboration, when it comes to customer reviews is proving to be more and more important. I know with the latest editions of Microsoft and Apple operating systems, performance reviews from experts and comments from users on different forums will be key to winning over consumers and declaring a winner of this latest battle. Microsoft has clearly emerged from the Vista debacle with a solid offering, while Apple continues to refine an already robust Leopard system with the new Snow Leopard.

While I am not in the market for a new computer at this very moment, I will assume that I'll look to purchase a new one sometime in the next year after I graduate. I know there are a lot of great features offered by both systems. I've also had experience using both operating systems. When it will come time to make my decision on which type to purchase, in addition to price, I'll be reading up on forums and plenty of other user reviews to help me make a decision what I'll purchase.

After I make my decision, I'll do my best to return the favor and publish some of my opinions on how I make my decision, on a blog or article on the internet.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Big School/Little School

Today, I had another experince that showed me a little bit of what going to a bigger school would have been like. I traveled north to Bowling Green State University where I got to watch a high school friend play football for Central Michigan University. 

There is something about that Division I environment, no matter how small the BGSU crowd was, that helps to get your adrenaline rushing. I think it could have been initiated by the fact that we had a fly over from the local military base! I seriously thought that the flyovers only happened during bowl games and NASCAR races! Maybe I need to pay a little more attention. Either way, what a way to start the game off!

Even though I would not change my decision about coming to ONU for anything, there are certain compromises that you have to make. Division I sports and the big city enviornment, are most likely the most significant. I will hopefully make up for the that latter by getting a job in a cool city in the next few months!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Going Viral


After reading the chapter, Going Viral, in The New Influencers, it brought up the Numa Numa video I had posted back from the first week. Just as it was stated in the book, this happened to be one of the first viral videos that I had come across. I think the authors stated it perfectly, that almost everyone wants to be Gary Brolsman, and become some kind of sensation and claim their fifteen minutes of fame.

The best part about viral marketing is that it can happen very quickly, and a minimum cost to the firm. However they are not always effective. I came across this recent attempt by DisneyPixar (as noted by their ID) promoting the Toy Story 1 & 2 in 3D. View the link here. I really liked the idea, but I don't think it has caught on. It's a remix of "You've Got a Friend in Me." I saw when it was first released in early October. To date, it only has 45,000 views. I've only seen the link come up on YouTube, however the video does direct you to their Facebook page.

Often times companies violate so many of the rules outlined in the Going Viral chapter that they deny their potential sensation any chance at becoming successful. However, I don't think the folks at DisneyPixar violated any of the Success Factors as outlined.

The product had better be good - Toy Story! I don't know anyone my age or even remotely close that didn't enjoy Toy Story.
The campaign must be innovative/intriguing/fun - The remix was definitely fun and intreiguing, however, I do not think it was innovative. Everyone has seen or heard a remix at some point. I think it was a good idea though.
Don't push it - They folks responsible for creating this did just that. It is sitting on YouTube, and a link is on the Facebook page. Accessible to all.
Reward - I think the reward is the enjoyment of watching and listening.
Let go - at this point, I don't think, overall anything good or negative have come from this, except that 45,000 people have viewed it. Today their are 97 comments. Most of them positive and encouraging.
Use the medium - Seeing the Facebook and YouTube page, DisneyPixar is doing a fairly good job at using Social Media. Not everything can be a success.

I at least hope you got a little enjoyment out of the video. I did!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The lastest e-reading device



While I do not personally own a e-reading device, I certainly have a lot of experience with the Amazon Kindle after some of my work this past summer. The e-reading devices are growing tremendously, with reports that Barns and Noble recently saying that they will be producing their own model. This is in addition to the Kindle with a new lower price, that rumored Apple tablet, and the revamped Sony Reader. Of the latest device rumors, Plastic Logic finally released the name and a few profile images of their device, called the Que.

The Que will be primarily targeting to the business crowd. This device is being promoted as one that will be superior to those who read magazines, newspapers and read many PDF documents. It will also be compatible with Microsoft Office to read Word documents, Excel files and PowerPoint presentations. 

However, we will not now the final specifications for the Que until sometime in January. 

After my brief experience with the Kindle this summer, I find having an e-reading device to be very useful. Because the device was purchased for work purposes, I don't think at this point in my life, I would otherwise purchase a device. I do not do enough leisure reading to justify spending $300 dollars on a specific new device. If there were more textbooks available in an electronic format (which I would imagine, in the next 4 years there will be) I would seek out a device to lighten my backpack. 

Saturday, October 17, 2009

To my high school seniors out there...

Since Fall is upon us, that only means one thing around the ONU Campus. Well, it could mean several things, but the one thing I'm thinking of, high school visitors. So I thought I would offer a few pieces of advice for when you're out there visiting prospective campuses.

I've been told that some high school students interested in ONU may be reading my blog. I have a brother who is a senior in high school, so I at least better have one person read this post!

1. Visit all the schools you're interested in. Just because you've driven through a campus on a family trip, or really enjoy their athletic programs doesn't mean you will automatically enjoy the school.
2. Take the official tours. These tours always show the highlights of the campus and they help familiarize yourself with what you may get used to seeing everyday.
3. If you get a chance, talk to a professor or visit a class. If you happen to get some wierd glances from other students, disregard them. Most of them are really nice, and remember, they were in your shoes not so long ago.
4. After the tour, walk around on your own with you family or by yourself (as long as you feel safe).
5. Ask questions of the people you talk to from the school. How they answer is very important. Are they engaging? Do they seem interested in you?
6. Try and determine how you feel about school size. Do you want to be in a large and busy environment? Would you rather have some sort of relationship with professors? Tours can help make those complicated questions become more clear.

However, when it comes down to it, everyone makes thier decisions for their own personal reasons. If there is one piece of advice that I could give anyone performing a college search, it would be this: Find the school that feels most like home to you, the place where you could see yourself, enjoying, succeeding, and be happy for the next four years.

Best of luck out there! Anyone have any other suggestions?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pictures of the Week


Touchdown run and Marching Band at halftime

What is old is new again

In this weeks reading of The New Influencers, I enjoyed the comparison of how blogging today is viewed in the same light that journalism was in the day of Thomas Jefferson.


The Wikipedia definition of a pamphleteer ia historical term for someone who creates or distributes pamphlets. Pamphlets were used to broadcast the writer's opinions on an issue, for example, in order to get people to vote for their favorite politician or to articulate a particular political ideology.


While most writing done during Jefferson's time, the news was driven by politics, our current 24 hour news cycle lends itself to people blogging on anything and everything. The blogging process allows the commenting and interaction to happen at an instantaneous rate, allowing those with influence to be spread new ideas at an infectious rate. 


There are also a few characteristics that remain similar between a blogger and a pamphleteer. Just like a pamphleteer, bloggers are passionate. Their passion is evident through their arguments because they may have a sort of one-sided viewpoint. Also, both bloggers and pamphleteers use the fastest and widest form of communication available. Today the newspaper, what was the standard for pamphleteers, is becoming more obselete, while the blogging on the internet has allowed shifted power and influence to more ordinary individuals. 

Friday, October 9, 2009

FCC Regulation on Endorsements

It's no lie that NASCAR is one of the most highly commercialized sports around. Sponsors have the ultimate say in who does what for whom in the sport. Their dollars are spent trying to promote their product or service. Drivers endlessly plug their sponsors, because it is a necessary 'evil'. Sponsors allow drivers and teams do what they love; race.

Soon, no matter how genuine a drivers' feeling toward a sponsor during a plug will have to be regulated.

Burger King's latest campaign with Tony Stewart touts that he endorses the Whopper purely because he loves it.   Today he could be on the television stating, "I just went to Burger King, to get my favorite burger, the Whopper." Under the new regulation, he would have to insert the phrase, "I just went to Burger King to get my favorite burger, the Whopper, because the sponsor me." Or something to that effect.

I write about this, because many drivers are on Twitter. From Juan Pablo Montoya to Kevin Harvick, and Denny Hamlin to Elliott Sadler, are all sharing tweets with the world. I personally follow Elliott Sadler, who is sponsored by Stanley Tools and Best Buy. I've seen tweets from him that could be in violation of potential regulation and also safe from regulation.

Bad Example 1Gonna have to go to best buy and buy some more games cause kevin thinks this one is rigged. Best buy here we come!!!!!!


Good Example 2: I have the coolest sponsors! Follow these guys! RT @BestBuyRacing19 Giving away an Insignia 8" photo frame trivia starts @ 2 ET.


Most race fans know that drivers endorese their sponsors because they are paid to do so. I just find it interesting and also very confusing (especially all athletes and celebrities who endorse products) as to where the line will be drawn.  I hope that the legislation (should it eventually pass) be clear and define that line.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Heard on the Tundra: Tropical Tundra

Tropical Tundra? Really?


When I think of homecoming, I don't jump to the conclusion of breaking out my 6th grade-fad Hawaiian shirt, putting on a lei, and doing a hula dance. Don't get me wrong, homecoming is one of my favorite events on campus, but the theme this year? I think it might be a little weak. Who doesn't love a good use of a little alliteration? I'm just not a fan of the exaggeration.

Sounding negative on this year's theme, may be a result of the non-cooperative wheather we're having at the moment. Givin the fact that we live with frigid temperatures and snow for four to five months, I don't like having tricks played on me. Especially when it involves getting me in the mood for putting "my butt in a lawn chair, toes in the sand, not a worry in the world, a favorite beverage on the way" (a little edited Zac Brown, anyone?). Also, did I mention that my youngest brother is going on a visit this weekend to Flagler College? Yes, it would be the one in St. Augustine, Florida, where he will get to go to the beach between trips to the cafeteria and residence halls. (How ONU is even in competition with Flagler, on my brother's top schools, I don't know?!?)

For all the negativity and sarcasm I've provided in this post, I think I need to put a positive spin on this. Maybe the choice of a Tropical Tundra theme for homecoming, will give us all one last chance to dream about warm, sunny days until Week 8 of Spring Quarter. Yeah, that's it.

Needless to say, homecoming is always a blast. Seeing campus light up with activity from dawn, dusk, and most likely dawn again, is very exciting. Be safe, be well, and get leid!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Podcasting

Reading the latest segment in The New Rules of Marketing and PR, taught me about the significance of podcasting. As an iPod owner for the last six or seven-ish years, I obviously familiar with what a podcast is. However, I do not regularly listen to any. Provisionally, I have downloaded a few of specific interest, but none where I actually subscribed to a feed.

Last year during a weekend retreat for Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) I had the idea of starting some type of SIFE Success Tips to play on the Ohio Northern Radio Station, WONB. I however, did not think about the opporunity a podcast could present. SIFE could produce a once-a-week/month podcast discussing current issues, job search strategies, or any other topic relating to the six main goals of SIFE. This can pose an excellent opportunity to grow the awareness of ONU SIFE around the campus and community.

The tips and advice provided in both chapters six and eighteen made it sound simple enough that is an opportunity worth exploring. Stay tuned, and hopefully SIFE can get something rolling before the end of the school year!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Heard on the Tundra: Bachelor Life

I like saving money where I can. Who doesn't? At some point, it will come at some cost. With the sudden weather change this week, our house was pretty cold. However, we have refrained from turning on the heat. I'd like to think I could go until Mid-October or November before we start paying the gas company ample amounts of cash during the harsh Ada Winter. The coldest I saw our thermometer in the living room was 59 degrees one morning. I think I stepped outside to go to class and warmed up.

Despite the fact that I may be complaining about not turning the heat up, living off campus is great! I had two and a half amazing years in the ONU dorms. My whole wing from freshmen year, we were all very close. My current roommates and best friends are all people I lived with in the Founders first floor. Having meals prepared (despite all complaints about MAC attacks) was very convenient. But as an RA last year (the reason I say two and a half), after my brithday in February, I knew I had to get out of the dorms and on my own.

Trying not to be unbiased, I feel as though my house is one of the nicest off-campus houses I've been in. I enjoy the challenge of cooking for myself. I also got my first credit card in order to start building a solid credit history, so I can get my Camaro! In conclusion, I just want to say that for any underclassmen, thinking about going off campus for the final year, DO IT!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Is NASCAR Opening Up?



Often considered the sport most heavily dictated by executives, NASCAR may be opening up a bit. If so, it is only a small estimate. NASCAR is at least providing an easy avenue for which to interact and communicate with fans.

Starting last week, NASCAR is going 2.0! One of my favorite blogs to read, The Daily Planet, released an article last week, discussing how NASCAR officials have expanded their offerings on the web to MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook (You will find each of the NASCAR pages linked). In addition to the article, I also obviously noted the signage on the NASCAR.com homepage (which is operated by Turner-Sports) touting the new and enhanced community features.

The development that seemed of the greatest importance, noted by The Daily Planet, was the MySpace page. Last time I used MySpace was in high school, and I deactivated my account. Instead, I am on Twitter following the official NASCAR account, in addition to the tweets posted from NASCAR_com.
Since I started studying the social media phenomena, the main idea is that everything revolves around relationships. Considered a fan friendly sport, NASCAR seems to be providing an easier, more direct line of communication for fans. After all, we the fans are what make the sport go round, or at least what I'm supposed to believe.

The first topic of conversation I noticed on the Facebook, Twitter, and NASCAR.com home page was the topic of a shift to more two-day events. For you non-NASCAR followers, the average race weekend consists of arriving at the track Thursday night, qualifying on Friday, and practice Saturday, before the race on Sunday. The thought is to condense the weekend by practicing and qualifying on Saturday and go racing on Sunday. Logistically, a two-day weekend would work wonders for a team's financial burden of travel and hotel accommodations.

My opinion aside (although I’m not opposed), the various sites lead fans to places like the Community on NASCAR.com or direct Twitter followers to comment on the Facebook page, to leave opinions and thoughts. On Tuesday, the Facebook page had 145 comments. As of Friday evening, I saw more than 560! What a great way to easily, and relatively effortlessly gain voluntary opinions.

Knowing that the stakeholders besides fans, like track-holding companies, team owners, etc, will have a greater influence over any major decisions, NASCAR has proved that they are willing to make changes to please fans and generate better competition (i.e. Double-File Restarts). Plus, any way that owners can save more money to help the cars go faster, should have support in the garage area.

Of all these advances with the social media and the sport I love, I have a couple concerns/thoughts:
1.      People take the opportunity to speak with some authority and intelligence (yes I’m aware of the NASCAR stereotypes)
2.      NASCAR continues to learn and grow with the social media trend, and establish stronger relationships
3.      Hire me! I’ll help do it!
That’s my time for the evening. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, or take any other ideas to blog about in the future.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Getting Off the Ground

Last week, I had the chance to eat lunch with the Dicke College of Business Administration's Business Advisory Board. I got to have a delicious (free) meal, and have a great conversation with a few professors and business leaders at my table. One of the side conversations between myself and a President of a regional bank, was my choice as a Marketing student to take a class involving social media.

One question he directed at me, "What kind of strategies could you recommend I get involved in?" First, I was blown away, that a question like that was directed at me. Second, I brought up some of the advantages to starting a corporate blog. However, after reading part two, of Groundswell, I wish I would have read it a little earlier in the week. Having an answer by asking, what would be your overall goal, for starting such an initiative, would have been a better more educated answer (not that my answer was wrong or off base). Bringing up one of the five objectives commonly pursued: listening, talking, energizing, supporting, or embracing, may have been more along the lines of a recommendation than the straight answer I gave.

This chapter provided great insight on what to consider when implementing a new social media plan. Starting with first, an evaluation of your objectives. As many ideas I've had whether helping a friend with starting a business, and promoting his brand, this very first important step is one that would not have considered. Being aware of that first, has the ability to change the overall direction and increase the effectiveness of the plan.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pic of the Week


IMG_4246, originally uploaded by buckeye_guy72.
Did this pen drawing I did a while back as part of a brief pen drawing exercise.

I have a large Camaro that I have been working on (in pen as wall) that I will try to finish and post soon.

After the Camaro, I'll have to tackle a Michael Waltrip Racing photo.

Today's Marketing Leader - A Student Perspective

Earlier today, I was browsing around LinkedIn, and came across this discussion in the Answers section. The question is "What do you believe are the three most important attributes of a great marketing leader?"

Some of the common themes I saw from the active LinkedIn responders were:
  • Listening to others/humility
  • Strategic Planning
  • Communication skills (from interpersonal to verbal)
  • Leadership/Motivation
  • Creativity
Those are just to name a few. Every response had something relevant or important characteristic or quality for a Marketer to posses.

It leads me to one general conclusion: today's marketers must be versatile. This past summer, as a marketing intern, not only was I directing my own Stage-Gate development plan, I was responsible for contacting and working with members from departments from design and accounting, to finance and production. Marketers need to be able to motivate co-workers, delegate tasks, but most importantly, have an overall grasp for the plan, and then evaluate the execution. 


I am far from an expert in anything, but consider myself knowledgeable enough to get excited about opportunities to practices such qualities. I've already had a variety of internship experience, but tomorrow, I get to find out what my projects shall be, for my Senior Capstone course. I will have one individual case and a group case, where I'll be a single Marketer, working with a variety of majors outside of my own. This course is not just another group project, but a culmination of my college career, and a way to enhance my value to future employers by practicing qualities I mentioned above, and more - BEFORE I hit the real world.

Tweet Your Way to $100 million

As of noon today, the Wall Street Journal posted a Breaking News article (found here) that Twitter is reportedly raising $100 million from as many as seven investors. This is the third time that the folks at Twitter have raised capital, and this is the largest sum to date.

Using a similar method to the one applied for Facebook, investors have estimated Twitters value at over $1 billion. This is astounding because Twitter has yet to post any true revenue. This is because the value lies in the users, and the content users post. Supposedly, part cash being raised may go towards building premium services for Twitter-users.

So much of the value I perceive is that Twitter-users have the speed of communication and the variety of access is points (web, simple text message updates, to the applications for sophisticated smartphones).

As far as premium services go, what could Twitter offer for some type of subscription, besides what is already availible, such as: TweetDeck, Twittervision, Twitpic, etc.?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Democratizing Control of Information

In the latest chapter reading from the book, Citizen Marketers, it discusses how the blogosphere has granted the power do distribute information, among a larger group of people, at a rapid rate due to the ease and speed of many social media technologies. As I read, I tried to highlight some of the most interesting statements and I want to offer some of my thoughts on a couple topics.

First, I think it is amazing to take the ability to find an inadequacy, fix it or offer an alternative, and be able to make money. It's the classic, "if I'd have only thought of that first" mentality. The book's example is how the Trott's were able to make blogging a more user-friendly and accessible experience through creating Movable Type. For those, who are unware, the latest version has a significant number of features. One allowing individuals or groups to create a social network. The first one that comes to mind is President Barack Obama's site, which was part of his influential social media campaigning, in the last election. Putting power in the people's hands, Obama's campaign mastered this theory. Obama's site allowed his supporters to go online, host individual rallies, encourage voting, and watch election results. These were all events that were previously organized by campaign officials that were now allowed to happen at the free will of avid supporters.

The biggest challenge in blogging and spreading the word (of yourself/company) is to gain attention and followers. It helps having a strong brand, or a celebrity-esque name. Look at Twitter, and the number of people who follow large corporations, or celebrities like Shaq and Ashton Kutcher. (Follow Me here!) Also, Citizen Marketers recommends you become a "prolific linker." I'm not sure how many links per post make you prolific, but I at least try to link terms that make the most sense to the relevance of this post.

To wrap up, I know it has been mentioned to drop this book from the reading list, but I have found myself enjoying the reading in CM, the most so far.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tale of Two You's

With the huge social media explosion taking place in our world today, especially for emerging professionals, it's important to be aware of your online profiles. Filtering content on profiles such as Facebook should be common knowledge, but can be an easy thing to miss. It's really hard for employers to take you, the professional, seriously while you, the party-er, is bragging about the past weekend's escapades, or posting all the crazy photos online.

Most people are aware enough not to post compromising information themselves. What people need to watch for is what other people post. If needed, individuals should ask photos or other information be removed if necessary. It is always interesting to see the information that people post about others.

Have you ever read the fights between people on Facebook? They are hilarious to read. I can recall seeing those on news feeds in High School, but I was always dumbfounded that they actually happened. Does anyone have anything surprising that they've seen come up on Facebook or anywhere else online?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Stuff you might miss

To all my seniors out there, there are some things I'm not going to miss about being in school. Here's a couple:
1. Homework - when you work, you get to go home and more or less do what you want. Not when we're in school. That's what makes summers so great. You may actually have some free time. Not the kind of free time you make when you should be doing homework.
2. Just forgot what number 2 was - Well I thought I had a list. Mainly homework is what I won't miss.

On that note, on our last year on campus, take time to do some things you won't ever do again. This summer, I started biking. Just riding a bike to ride. It was something I hadn't done since before getting my drivers license. You could kind of call it the Le Tour de Ada, but I don't think this is that impressive. But what I will say it has been fun visiting the grain towers north, south, east and west of Ada. Here are a list of villages/towns I've been on my bike this summer:

Ada
Alger
Dola
Dunkurk
Lafayette
Lima
McGuffey

I still have yet to make it to Kenton and back, but fully intend to ride there and north of Route 30 (not on the same ride of course) before it gets too cold outside. I think we all know that my window of opportunity is closing quickly.

I also intend of going to the Wilson Football Factory "garage sale" and getting some discount Ada merchandise on Saturday. I want a flawed piece of Ada, history. That's right, one of those discounted NFL footballs!

Overall, I'm just encouraging some exploration of Hardin County and the ONU area. Don't miss out on the things that make this area unique - whether or not you plan on coming back after graduation.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pic of the Week


IMG_4233, originally uploaded by buckeye_guy72.
Not only am I required blog for my social media course, I am also required to post images to Flickr for my Graphic Design course. I also have an interest in Digital Photography, in which I'm now taking that class. So in honor of being so enveloped in Social Media these days, I'll occasionally post a Picture of the week.


So check back often, these are bound to be very exciting!


This image is 1 of 101 apples I drew. It is mixed media, pen and colored pencil. I'm not a very abstract person, nor do I typically draw abstract, but this turned out really cool. Thoughts?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Reading Reaction: Week 1

In the reading for this week's class, one of the most interesting sections was from the first chapter of Citizen Marketers, by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba. I was intrigued by their theory of the Four F's: Filters, Fanatics, Facilitators, and Fireworks.

As I was reading the descriptions of each type, I found myself trying to come up with examples of my own, using blogs or websites I regularly read. Here are some of the thoughts I was able to come up with. Being the motorsports and car enthusiast that I am, you might be able to guess the general theme.

1. Filters -
ilounge.com - I know this site was featured in the book, but I wanted to mention it because this site was very useful during my internship this summer. At one point I was looking into various iPod accessories with my company as a part the product development I was working on.
In addition to ilounge, I also read a filter type blog devoted to unhappy Enterprise Rent-A-Car employees. I ended up declining a position with their Internship program, in lieu of working with American Trim, where I had an AWESOME summer experience!

2. Fanatics -
The Daily Planet - I came across this blog multiple times from another NASCAR site I often read. The tagline of their blog reads "Where NASCAR fans talk TV all the time." The authors here, post commentary of coverage for almost all NASCAR events, from qualifying to post-race coverage.

3. Facilitators -
MyMonte.com & Camaroz28.com - Even before it was mentioned in the book, my first thought of a facilitator type blog would some kind of online car community. Back in High School I was a member of  MyMonte.com site with the user-name, Nvr2HotMonte. While my screen-name was cool, my activity was pretty slim on the site. Until the 2010 Camaro was released back in March, I would constantly be searching for information regarding the new model on the forum.

4. Fireworks -
Numa Numa guy (or any other viral video that has been passed my way) - I refer to the Numa Numa guy in particular because it was the first viral videos I remember watching. The book mentioned the Milk and Cereal video, and I'm sure that one shortly followed.
Over the last year, there have been a number of movies have started their promotion plans with a form of underground viral videos. The Watchmen, District 9, and countless others may begin with short clips or trailers around the web, with little or no other information creating buzz (and often questions) about the content.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

How do you watch your sports?

I think it is fair to say that the advances of social media has really changed many aspects of our lives. Not only do we have the ability to notify everyone (who subscribes) on Twitter, what we are doing at any particular moment, we cam share images via Flickr, or share our opinions on a blog, recently, social media has recently made its way on to my television during sporting events - NASCAR specifically.

I've always been biased towards the NASCAR on FOX coverage, because I grew up a fan of Darrell Waltrip. Also, I can't get enough of the veteran commentator, Mike Joy, lead pit reporter, Dr. Dick Berggren, and number crunching-guru of the garage-tech Larry McReynolds.

However, Kyle Petty, since stepping out of the car and into the booth, he has proved he is all about the fans. Using his Twitter account, before, during, and after the race, Kyle is always tweeting something unique going on. He also responds to questions from fans during races.

One particular moment I recall during the July race at Daytona, there were a number of wrecks. Television viewers are accustomed to getting interviews with drivers after they fall out of contention. Petty stated that he was getting lots of questions about why no drivers were being interviewed after falling out. His response was that all the teams/drivers/crews were busy repairing cars or were back out on the track, and unavailble for comments.

I can recall a number of times during races I've watched where the commentator fail to connect to the fans parts of the current storylines. Twitter, and Kyle Petty have helped bridge that gap.

In addition to the race itself, Michael Waltrip, a driver/panelist, on weekly re-cap show, This Week In NASCAR (TWIN), occasionally invites viewers to Twitter along with him during the broadcast of the show on the SPEED Channel.

It only makes me think that it won't be long before more sports commentators will take the time to learn Twitter, and utilize it during broadcasts for a more interactive experience. More-so than any single "mailbag" or trivia question has ever done.

How do you feel about making televised sporting events more interactive? I think there will be an increased quality of coverage, by letting fans ask pertinent questions, but also, not let it consume the commentators task at hand calling the game.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Heard on the Tundra: Career Search

For the Class of 2010, this week marked the beginning of so many "lasts" as a student here at ONU.
Final first day of class; final campus move-in day; final first weekend of nothing to do, etc. etc.

While bittersweet, I've approached this with an excited, and retrospective attitude. My advice to all those "Sen10rs" (if I borrow that spelling from my younger brother), is absorb the little things around you, because sometimes, its the minute details that help us create so many lasting memories with our friends and around our little village of Ada.

It's almost strange to think, that this time next year (hopefully/thankfully) we'll all be contributing members of society, in our own special ways. Getting to that point is going to require hard work on our part to get there. Finding the right position, is without question, difficult in these times. Start early and search constantly.

Here are some of the thing I've been doing lately, to start my career search:

1. Sign-up for Career Kaleidescope, through Simplicity on the Career Services website. Even though my preference would be to live and work in the South where my family is now living, I'd consider any position. Hopefully the career fair on Monday will bring about some new employment possibilities.

2. Get LinkedIn. I love this site! Find a group, make it something that your interested in, like Communications, Marketing, PR, and find one in the area you're looking to find a job. I'm personally a part of a Nashville Communicators group, and also the Motorsports Professionals Group. These are great ways to stay up on the information in your geographic regions and topics of interest. Start a discussion by asking a question, there are plenty of professionals willing to help and answer questions.

3. Do not get overwhelmed by school work. This one may be tough to do, but it's at least good advice to offer. It is early in the school year, but don't get sidetracked. Keep your eye on what will be most important. Finding the right job for you.

What do you think, PR-Social Media-COMM 390 class? What do you think? (By the way, we should nickname this course, unless there is one I'm not aware of?)  

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wow

I'm going to work on my writing skills. A few of my prior blogs are in need of some edits.

Dismiss those blogs, and I'll have some better posts in the future.

And yes, welcome back to my blog - for the third time.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Why hello old friend!

When I was little, after I graduated from the bike I used the training wheels with, I had one of the best bikes EVER!! The MUD SLINGER. Metallic grey, red and neon yellow accents, splash guards - man, I tore up my street on that thing. I cannot even tell you how many miles were logged, or tires I went through.

Moving up in the world, in the sixth grade, I got my Huffy Ironman mountain bike. That is the same bike I rode until I could go somewhere else, besides my neighborhood, by driving there. Or so I thought.

Born from necessity last weekend, when I sprained my ankle pretty badly, I was itching to do something to do, other than lie around with an ice pack. Up until last week I was running 3-4 miles on a run 2 or 3 times a week. To solve this dilemma, I braced up my foot last Sunday evening, and hoped on a jalopy of a bike that Corrado found in the trash one day (When I say jalopy, I mean it, it's stuck in gear 12 of 21).

I rode up Main Street to 81 and went East. Round trip distance ended at a 12 mile ride. Not bad for a bum, and still bum ankle.

It was so peaceful. I was exploring parts of Hardin County I would never expect nor intend to see. Being a student in Ada, if like myself, develop a one track mind focusing everything around school. While not a bad thing, some of the subtle beauty is easily missed.

The fun I had on the piece of junk bike, has me wanting to complete my own little Le Tour de Ada. Tonight I made it the next village over. Dola. Scratch that. What's the word for a town smaller than a village? Dwelling? PO Box? Either way, I saw the next big grain tower and rode to it and back. I took a camera, to savor some of the cool scenery along the way. I'll be sure to share those pictures when it's not so late.

Even though its similar to most other areas of NW Ohio, I still enjoyed seeing from a different perspective. Back on a bike. So whenever I decide to go on another extended "Stage" of Le Tour de Ada, I'll be sure to tell about the experience.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Welcome Back To My Blog!

Living in Ada, Ohio for the summer has its ups and downs.

Good: I'm taking full advantage of the rent I'm paying for the next year living in my house.
Bad: Not too many folks to hang out with all the time.
Good: Makes for great get-togethers when people do make it back!

Bad: Compared to living in Tennessee, the weather does not. (It didn't make it passed 75 on the thermometer this weekend.) Jeans are only considered appropriate attire during the summer on casual Fridays; not for lounging around the house or playing cornhole outside.

Good: I have a great internship, providing me with great experience!
Bad: I'm paying way too much for the minimum number of credit hours to a fantastic institution that is providing nothing in return (other than confirming my internship).

The list could go on but I'll leave it at that for now. As for the retitling of my blog, it stands true: You know you live in Ada or the summer when you start to blog. When my current roommates leave for home on the weekends, I have plenty of quiet time which gives me time to think about "stuff" and generate ideas. One thought is to share some with you. Hopefully I'll stick to my plan, and provide entertaining as well as insightful posts.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Saturn, You're On Your Own!


It seems, over the last (roughly) ten weeks, that I have been a big fan over Neal Boudette, of the Wall Street Journal. This time, it comes at a moment where bad news is the word of the day. In the restructuring plan for General Motors, they plan to cut their Saturn, Pontiac, Saab, and Hummer brands.

While the Hummer brand comes as a surprise to no one, I found it very surprising that both Pontiac and Saturn are going to be cut as well. The Saturn brand was born out of more an experience, rather than a car company. My hope for Saturn, like it was mentioned in the article, is for someone to buy the brand. Pontiac, has been known as the "Excitement" division, but lets face it, looking back, nothing really exciting has come from Pontiac since the GTO or the G8 (which was only their Australian Holden rebadged as a Pontiac (But still SWEET to drive)). As someone who has worked, albeit, indirectly, promoting GM vehicles in the past, this latest round of news is hitting as close to home as it can get.

GM must do what is necessary to survive, and by cutting brands, and eventually, more jobs, my opinion does not matter. I just hope that the funding GM receives from the government will find its way in to the right places to turn the corporation, and the country around!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Will the Kindle 2 start a Fire?

Molly Wood from cnet.com reporting from New York City, and the unveiling of the Kindle 2, overviews the second installment of the Amazon e-book reader. In continuing the process of digitizing our society, the Kindle 2 looks to improve the feature set over its predecessor.

At a price tag of $359, Amazon grants you access to over 200,000 book titles that can be bought for a fee, and unlimited free newspaper and periodicals. It also has access to a specific netowork connection called, EVDO. Free access to this network is unique because other devices that connect like Sprint mobile devices, charge monthly fees.

Using 16 shades of grey to generate text and images, the battery life has been increased, and an improved interface are also part of the new Kindle.

At the unveiling in New York, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos demonstrated the product, and then opened the stage up to Stephen King. He sat in front of an audience reading an except from his upcoming book.

I have a feeling that the Kindle 2 will help the progression of increasing the popularity of reading books on mobile devices. Eventually, I see a slew of competitors, most likely adding applications for iPhones, iPods, and smart phones. Although there will be an increase of e-book usage, the printed word will not completely obsolete.

In a video (which I would post here, however can no longer find on cnet) Stephen King talks about the Kindle and what it means to the publishing industry. To paraphrase his opinion, King states that the e-book format is just an additional channel to absorb the printed word. Much like an actual book or an audio book, it does not matter how people read/listen to a story. He knows that as long as there is a good story, then people will still be reading. Whether it will be done more through the digital realm in the future, the Kindle 2 gives us another look ahead.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tony Borroz of Wired.com recently wrote about a competition called the Progressive Automotive X-Prize. The competition has peaked the interest of 25 entrants, all competing for the $10 million prize. The goal is to build the most fuel efficient mass production capable vehicle, in addition to a number of other criteria.

Here are a few highlights from the 70 page rule book:
  1. Must develop a fuel efficient vehicle with greater than 100 MPGe. (the e stands for equivelant. When using various fuel sources, the amount must be equivelant to one gallon of gasoline.
  2. Must meet federal safety guidelines.
  3. Must have a viable business plan allowing for 10,000 units to be produced annually at reasonable costs.
  4. Must be in production by 2014.
There will be a preliminary round held later in 2009 with a final competition scheduled in 2010. Viewing a number of the concepts that are being entered, there is a wide range of competitors and technology being used. India's Tata Motors is entering a vehicle, while some Navy and Marine buddies, who all graduated from the Navy Test Pilot School, are building their modified Honda Insight.

I look forward to following this competition when it begins. Most of the ideas or concepts that will be presented should be very realistic, and therefore, utilized either by larger corporations or give the teams funding to create them on their own. As far as fuel efficient vehicles goes, the Navy pilots are at the relatively same starting point, as the big boys at GM.

I highly recommend that you check out the link to the article to view some of the images and information about the competitors.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New Stadium Equals New Mentality

Matthew Futterman, a writer for the Wall Street Journal recently interviewed Arizona Cardinals President, Michael Bidwell. Highlighting the Arizona Cardinals rise to prominence this season, and ultimately, a trip to the Super Bowl in Tampa Bay on Sunday.

The difference, Bidwell states, from being the Cardinals of old, to today was first building and moving into a first class facility. After migrating the Cardinals from St. Louis in 1988, their home had been sharing the Arizona State University facility. Moving away from Arizona State had been the goal from the beginning. However, putting a mediocre product on the field each week, to crowds averaging 35,000 fans, was not very convincing to those who were asked to fund such a project. The time spent in Arizona State granted them only 12 sell-outs.

Moving into the University of Phoenix (the for-profit online school) Stadium, has provided a revenue stream has attract the talent (players, coaches, and administration) necessary to compete at a high level. Revenue generated from the stadium that the did not have access to includes, parking, attractive suites, naming rights, and more sponsor sinage.

I find it very interseting that the Cardinals consider the turning point for their current success the building of a new stadium. They had looked at a trend across the NFL and saw that teams with newer stadiums were the ones having more and better success. I think that this is a trend that could be refuted when looking at other sports like Basketball or Baseball.

The Bidwell's plan has been successful thus far. Their final test will be on Sunday as they take on the Pittsburg Steelers.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rolling in Security and Style - Limo One


In the spirit of marking President Barack Obama's Inauguration today, following the recent theme of automotive related posts, I wanted to learn more about - and pass on to you - information on the new limousine for our 44th President. Wired.com posted a blog featuring the new Cadillac Stagecoach.



Many specifics of the vehicle remain unknown, for obvious security reasons, but it is intriguing to know that the vehicle weighs over seven tons. The Stagecoach is taller and wider than the previous Cadillac DTS, which President Bush has used since 2005. Watching the parade coverage, it is very easy to see why the car would need to be wider. The doors are clearly just as wide commercial jet. Cadillac has produced fewer than 25 editions of Presidential Limos.

In terms of staying connected, the Stagecoach will allow the President to never miss a beat while traveling via Limo One. It has the latest satellite and communications technology. As far as safety, more than 5 inches of bulletproof glass, a kevlar mat protecting the underside of the vehicle, and a sealed air recirculation system will protect anyone inside from most any attack.

One interesting fact mentioned in the blog is that since 2001, the current Presidential Limos are no longer allowed to serve as museum pieces, and are required to be destroyed after their use has passed in order to protect their security secrets.

A limousine will not make or break a Presidency, however, I believe it will be one of the many tools that will help him fulfill his duty. Here is to a new era, President Obama!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Auto Show Brings Hope

Every year, many car enthusiasts look forward to the North American International Auto Show. Often, car makers take to the public, new, exotic cars, showcasing their design talents, which often influence future designs, technology and car models. The Wall Street Journal has a slideshow featuring new concepts.

This year is certainly no different in terms of excitement and anticipation of whats to come.

Many of the concepts featured, include green technology like improved efficiency from combustion engines, electric, and hybrid powered vehicles. Looking at a number of concepts, I think a number of the vehicles seem very feasible (as well as being told that by their company executives). With the style and technology, experts and consumers are less likely to say WOW (when some of them deserve the attention!) and more likely to ask, When?

The Chrysler 200C, a beautiful midsize concept, state that it will be a rear-wheel drive platform in order to possibly accomodate, hybrid, extended-range electric, or efficient V6 engines. When? When will I get to see these options available? I assume that will be when the economy begins to turn around.

GM is looking to play to its strengths. It is about time. For the past few years, Chevrolet and Buick have tremendous success selling their products in China. The first redesign since the Buick LaCrosse was introduced at the NAIAS. Looking quite different from the original, it was stated that GM's China design team had a major part in redesigning the car from the ground up.

Getting the products the consumers want, are going to take time for the established companies (GM, Chrysler, Ford), however, because of the infancy of the new, alternative fuel vechicles, many companies are at a level playing field, looking to capitalize on the new, important segment of the market.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Forget HD - Let's Go 3-D!

Today in the Wall Street Journal, Joseph DeAvila writes about the opportunity sports fans have for the BCS National Championship game on Thursday night. Close to 80 theaters across the nation will offer fans a Three-Dimensional viewing of Florida Gators and the Oaklahoma Sooners battling it out for the national title. Fox Sports has been putting 3-D to the test, most recently with an NFL game, and also mentioned that NASCAR's season opening Daytona 500 may also have 3-D broadcast.

The introduction of more regular 3-D programming seems to be the next step in television, despite having been developed decades ago. Technological advancements like High Definition Television make the high quality imaging more possible.

I find two aspects of 3-D sporting events fascinating. First, the quality of the broadcast is most-likely phenominal. Using theater surround sound, and huge projection screens would the stadium seating into a theater into a "satellite" stadium section. Second, using theaters as the destination for the watching games in 3-D may create a whole new market for attracting customers to movie theaters creating an additional revenue stream for them.

The only downside to a theater environment for watching sporting events is the environment. As movie-goers, we are conditioned to be quiet during films and not to engage in conversations. Sports fans are used to watching events in noisy stadiums, drinking at bars, sitting at home while entertatining friends, cursing the referees, high-fiving, and discussing the next play call. While the veiwing experience only becomes more enhanced, creating a similar atmosphere will be the primary challenge.