Oh Tiger.....

So everyone has heard about Tiger Woods, his car, and his wife. To sum up my guess on what happened before I get into my thoughts on the bigger picture.....I'm betting that they got into a fit, she slapped/scratched him, he stormed out, she ran after him, busted the car window with the club, and because of the broken window, he was distracted and drove the car over the hydrant, and then into the tree. Is it bad that a husband and wife got into a fight? Of course it is. Should we care any more because it was Tiger, versus Joe Blow from 2 streets over? I'm not sure. Are we, the public, somehow entitled to know more about what happened? Does someone's celebrity come with some forfeiture of privacy? Where does that privacy end?

My belief is that when you decide to do something that puts you in the public eye, and especially when that provides you a living, you give up a lot of privacy. If you're an athlete, an actor, reality TV star, you make your living because people want to watch you. You're an entertainer. As an athlete, you don't get paid because you play a sport well. You get paid well because people will pay to see you. When you take that endorsement money, you're getting it because we watch them pitch something to us. Gatorade doesn't pay Tiger because he's a great player. They pay him because he gets a lot of exposure on TV and people like him. There's a lot of people out there that are great at something, even world class in that something, and don't get paid a huge amount of money. When you become famous as an actor or athlete, you're making a decision to put yourself in the public spotlight.

Especially when you start accepting the big endorsement deals, you are trading in a lot of privacy for the big payday. Tiger doesn't have to have his face everywhere with Nike, Gatorade, etc. When Nike comes to you with that kind of money and exposure, you have to realize you can't just say "Please give us privacy". If you really wanted the privacy, you wouldn't take the deal. You can't do both. That's just the reality of today's world. Is it wrong to take the deal? Of course not. I fully support someone's ability to make a pile of money in the public eye. You can be a jackass if want. Just please be aware that if you take the public's money, you do have some responsibility to answer them when they ask questions.


I'll have a Moons over M'Hammy,.....and can I see the wine list?

I found a terrific news release about a new product at 7-Eleven. 7-Eleven is bringing a private label wine into their inventory. I saw a few other people making jokes about 7-Eleven having a private label wine. This isn't all that funny, as pretty much all grocery stores, Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, etc have some kind of cheap private label wine. For 7-Eleven, trying to give itself some space from other convenience stores with this, is actually a pretty good idea. So what's really funny about this news release? If you keep reading the article, you come to this delicious nugget:

Also participating in the launch and carrying the new beverages are Ito-Yokado super- and hyper-markets, York Benimaru supermarkets in northern Japan, Shell Garden upscale grocery stores, Denny’s family restaurants, Seibu and Sogo department stores,

Denny's will have wine! How freaking great is that? Maybe a nice red with your Grand Slam breakfast? How about a refreshing white with your Moons over M'Hammy? With as many drunken 3am Denny's trips I had when I was in college, the humor of having the option to order wine is just unbelievable. (well, we probably couldn't have ordered wine at that time of night, but still, the jokes would flow like wine). How will it be served? Will Denny's have a collection of wine glasses? Will the wait staff bring it out and open it? Oh my goodness.....I feel a Denny's trip coming up.


Golf Ramblings

Since I'm just sitting here on the couch watching golf, I thought it would be a great time to share some thoughts I have about golf TV coverage.

1. The Tiger slurping has to stop.
I know Tiger is a great golfer. You don't have to tell me that at every shot. The worst offense of this comes during tee shots. Tiger will hit a shot and they will just fall over themselves about how great of a shot it was. And then the other guy will hit and it will be in pretty much the same spot, except somehow it wasn't as exciting. I think it was yesterday (Saturday), when Tiger hit one of those stinger shots with a fade. It landed in the left first cut. "Only Tiger can hit that stinger". Well, the other guy hit a regular shot, and it landed in the middle of the fairway about 10 yards farther. I'll take the regular shot.

I've been able to watch the Directv coverage of the major tournaments this year, and they have a special Marquee group channel that just follows one group. Surprisingly, they usually follow Tiger's group. Watching all of Tiger's shots, especially when you can see of all of his opponent's shots, you have a different view of his game. Listening to the media, he is the most dominant player ever that just can't be beaten, hits all kinds of shots that other guys can't hit, etc. That's just not the case. Look at the stats....he doesn't drive the ball any farther than most guys, doesn't hit more fairways, doesn't get more greens, etc. The way it is portrayed, you would figure he would lead every statistical category. He doesn't. If you just watched the three guys play, you wouldn't think he was the greatest ever.
So how does he win? One thing you do notice is that he seems to make more of those 10-12 footers for par. That isn't really something that would jump out in stats, but would explain that extra stroke or so over 18 holes. He also doesn't seem to "blow up". If you ask me, that's the formula for his victories....consistency and a couple more 10 footers over a tournament. Does that make someone "dominant"? I don't know if I would use that word, but then again, I don't know what word I would use.

2. If someone has a 6 foot putt for birdie, please show the shot into the green. Watching someone putt a 6 footer is not exciting, watching them throw a dart from 180 yards is exciting.

3. While the slurping is still too much, the commentators have started to root a bit for other players. This may have had something to do with golf ratings last summer when Tiger was out. When they just slurp Tiger all the time, people don't get excited about the other players. Hence, when Tiger is out, the people don't care. I really don't understand how the PGA and the networks can seem to market any of the other players. Even today, Rory McIroy is out there playing pretty well, and they're only mentioned him 3 or 4 times. This would be a GREAT chance to follow him a bit, talk him up, etc.

4. Nick Faldo is infinitely more interesting than Johnny Miller. I hate Miller.


So I got a job…..

Well, as anyone who would read this blog knows by now, I recently got a job here in Omaha.  I had to resign from my post at Boeing when we moved here, so I had been out of work up until 9 July.  That put my job search at 3 months, which is right about half of what the experts say the norm is.  I’ve heard the normal time for a job search can be 6 to 9 months, so I feel pretty lucky that I got it done in 3.  So what did I think of my job search?  Lucky for you, I have thoughts:

1.  Companies are really confused on how to hire people.
All you hear about these days is networking.  It’s all about who you know.  Get your resume to the top of the pile. Etc.  But if you look at a company’s hiring policies or talk to an HR rep, it’s all about the online application process.  Setup your profile, search for jobs, click the apply button.  These two policies couldn’t be further from each other.  So what happens?  You can’t get to anyone in either direction.  I networked with people who gave my resume to people internally and had the HR person tell me to apply online, which gets you back to square one.  I had recruiters contact me about positions that were posted online that were already spoken for, but the HR process required the hiring managers to post the jobs online. 
These HR policies have to go one way or the other, or have separate hiring processes.  Trying to use an online process to hire people through networking makes it hard for the HR dept and confusing for applicants.  Gravitating towards networking processes really limits a company’s access to a wide range of applicants. 
So what’s the answer?  I don’t know.  I just know this current situation is confusing, time consuming, and frustrating. 

2.  Job fairs aren’t much fun.
Granted, I only went to one job fair.  I spoke to probably 10-12 companies.  Of the 12 companies, there was one (1) company that was taking paper resumes.  The rest consisted of “Have you created an online profile?  Our jobs are posted online”.  What’s the use in that?  I spoke to several people who had absolutely no idea what jobs their company had open.  If they aren’t taking resumes and/or the people that showed up aren’t in the functional areas that are hiring, just leave a bunch of pamphlets with your website and let’s call it even.

3.  The social websites can fill a lot of time.
Lol….  I spent a lot of time on Facebook and Twitter when I was out of work.  It’s a great way to spend some time because you can be on the PC looking for jobs, but keeping up with friends at the same time.  It helps to keep your head up.

So how did I end up getting my job?  I was really hoping to spurn the networking people and get it through posting for jobs on the company’s website.  I did end up with my resume getting passed to the right person at the right time.  One of my Boeing contacts that I had worked with before I quit had passed my resume to another company here in Omaha (BAE Systems).  It got passed to another BAE person, they called, and the rest is history. 

So far the job is pretty good.  It’s quite a bit different than working for Boeing.  hehehe.  I’ll write up a post later that goes over some of the differences.  There’s some significant ones which are very interesting. 


Blurring the line between sports star and person

The recent murder of Steve McNair brought up a discussion on PTI yesterday that I thought was very interesting.  Steve McNair was killed by his 20 year old girlfriend in a murder-suicide on the 4th.  The reporting of the killing was interesting to watch unfold, as the first headline was that he had been killed, then it was added that there was also a female killed, then it was a 20 year old female, and then it was determined that her and McNair were together.  McNair had always been viewed as one of the toughest guys in the league, as well as being one of the stand up guys in the league, with a wife and 4 boys.  This now happens, so the end of his legacy is going to be that he was killed by his 20 year old girlfriend.

Onto the PTI discussion…..  JA Adande and Dan Lebatard were having a discussion how this changes his legacy.  JA was trying to make an argument that people will look back and see his actions on the field and his philanthropy in a different light than his affair and murder.  I do agree that people will look favorably on his football career, but people WILL remember his death.  So how is this different than what JA was saying?  It’s different because in these days of twitter, blogs, etc, people and fans view sports personalities (and celebrities) as people just like us.  Previously, we looked at these types of people in a different light.  We let them live two lives because they seemed to be different kinds of people.  There was their “on air” or “on field” lives, and then they had a personal life that we kinda let slip.  “Everyone cheats in Hollywood” or “Of course they got divorced, 5 years is a long time to married in Hollywood” or “Athletes travel all the time and there’s all the groupies, so….”  With today’s world of twitter and blogs, this veil is being lifted.  We don’t feel these people have two lives, they have one life like us.  We have found out that pro athletes are like us, except their job is a sport.  These guys have been twittering their problems, and guess what, their problems are a lot like ours.  I’ve been following Ian Poulter (the pro golfer), and he doesn’t seem all that different than me.  He likes to drink beers with his friends, he went and saw the Hangover with a big bucket of popcorn, and he is still impressed with how much stuff Titleist gives him.  It just happens he is way better at golf than I am.  We can kinda see how small the difference is between us.  We can see how we could hang out with these people, or how they would act if they were in a situation like the one we are in.  The closer we get to these people, they become less athletes or celebrities, and become more like us. 

From now on, when things like this happen to celebrities, we judge or view their entire life like we would judge our friends or neighbors.  If a friend of yours is cheating on their wife/husband, you don’t split the person’s accomplishments into a good person and a bad person, you judge them as one person.  If you’ve got a good friend that you’ve known for years and have great memories of golf trips, Vegas, dive bars, etc, and then he cheats on his wife, you don’t talk about his great accomplishments of 10 years ago when you went to Vegas and we won $500, you talk about him cheating on his wife.  The memories you have of him are still there, and you will still enjoy those memories.  But, they will be tarnished because of what he’s done.  Everything that has happened still happened, but you add in “but he also just cheated on his wife.”   

Hopefully this will help to reinforce to pro athletes that they can be role models and can have a big impact on people.  You can have a bigger impact on people when they are able to relate to you.  Let’s hope we tilt towards this end of the spectrum.


The Guess Who Music Discussion

Last Friday, B and I made the trip to Memorial Park here in Omaha for the annual Celebrate America concert/fireworks.  This year’s acts were The Guess Who and Grand Funk Railroad.  I’ve been on a classic rock kick lately, so I was pretty excited.  We got down there around 5, and it was HOT.  It had been cloudy all day, so we were not ready for the beating sun.  Luckily, I had made a batch of summer beer (lemonade concentrate, water, beer, vodka), so we managed. 

As for the bands, The Guess Who were great.  They played the songs you expected, and sounded great.  Grand Funk was ok….they jammed a bit too much for me.  I’m definitely cool with a band doing some extended solos and having some fun, but when a jam goes on for so long that you’ve forgotten what song they’re playing, that’s too much.  That happened a couple times with GF.  Overall though, very good.

So, the crux of this blog post was in response to something the Guess Who mentioned.  They played a couple songs as they were released as an A side, B side 45.  Of course, he made a joke about people not remembering those and kids not having any idea of what life was like before ipods.  For some reason, this ignited my mind to think about two things.  One was how has the delivery and availability of music changed the way we view music, the other was why is music from the 60s and 70s, 70s rock that is, so enduring?  For instance, by the time I’m in my 40s and 50s and I think about the music I loved when I was younger, I’m going to mostly mention bands like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Skynyrd, etc, more than I’m going to mention bands that were releasing music at the time.  Why is that?

The first discussion about delivery is easy to understand, but can be difficult to fully grasp.  In the 60s and 70s when all of this really great music was being released, it was released on LPs and you would listen to it on the radio.  There wasn’t a lot of portability, so if you were going to listen to your favorite music, that’s what you did, you listened to the music.  With the ipod today, actually, it started with the walkman back in the day, we don’t ever JUST listen to music.  Music has gone from being the main focus of our attention to being a soundtrack or background noise.  When was the last time you just sat and listened to music for a half hour?  I’m not talking about listening to music when you’re working out, or cleaning, or studying, just sit and listen to it.  Today, you might be more worried if the music will help you through a workout or if it helps your focus on studying, rather than if it’s something you actually like.  Back in the day, the main focus was to listen to it.  That was something you would do in the 60s and 70s.  “I had some friends over and we listened to the new Led Zeppelin record”.  You don’t hear that any more.  I don’t know if people are having parties to listen to the new Daughtry album. 
So how does this affect our view of music?  I think it makes it more disposable.  We like music now because it helps us exercise, or helps us to study.  With the ease of getting new music from itunes or amazon, we almost feel obligated to continually try new music, rather than listening to an album over and over to really learn it and take the time to think about what the lyrics and music is trying to convey.  Not that much music today has much to say. 

The other idea was what kind of music are we going to be talking about in 20-30 years?  When my parents talk about music they listened to 20-30 years ago, it was the great music of the 60s and 70s.  Are we going to be talking about the great music of the 00’s in 20 years?  For instance, the top 5 albums of 1969:
1.  Iron Butterfly
2.  Hair  (soundtrack)
3.  Blood, sweat, and tears
4.  CCR
5.  Led Zeppelin

1.  50 cent
2.  Eminem
3.  Green Day
4.  Mariah Carey
5.  Kelly Clarkson

Are we going to want to go to a Eminem concert in 20 years?  Are we even going to remember these bands then?  With the disposability of music these days, we will have processed and thrown out all those people.  Let’s try another comparison:

1.  Fleetwood Mac
2.  Stevie Wonder
3.  Barbra Streisand
4.  Eagles
5.  Boston
Just terrific….
1.  Spice Girls
2.  No Doubt
3.  Celine Dion
4.  Space Jam Soundtrack
5.  Jewel
Are those even comparable? 

So what’s the difference?  One thing that is very apparent, you have bands in the 60s and 70s, and single artists today.  Do we not like single artists as much over the long haul?  I don’t know.  Is it easier for a band to evolve over time?  If you’re in a band, there’s 4 or 5 people with the creative juices flowing vs 1 in a single act.  What about how these bands come to light?  If you’re in a band, you probably fought and clawed your way to a record deal, vs a single act that probably got picked by a record company to promote. 

So what’s the point to all this?  Music has, and will probably always play an important part in our society.  Taking a look at how it has changed over time is really interesting.  Unfortunately, it looks like we might be taking it for granted these days with our multitasking lives and our ipods.  Next time you have some time to kill, sit down and put an album on and see if you can just sit and listen to it.  Before you buy a song on itunes, ask yourself why you’re buying it.  Take the time to think about music over time and what music means to you, or if it’s just something you use to keep your mind busy. 


Renaming GM?

With GM hitting the bankruptcy court a couple weeks ago, I've seen several articles talking about whether or not GM should rename themselves. The idea of renaming a company as it exits bankruptcy was been popular lately (Blackwater Worldwide to Xe, GMAC to Ally, etc). This can be a good idea for some companies that are trying to escape bad publicity. Blackwater changing it's name is a good idea, as there were some pretty bad things attributed to them in Iraq. But at the same time, it was not a well known company in the first place. If someone asked you to tell them something about Blackwater, the only thing you would be able to pull out of your mind would be that they were the contractors that got in trouble over in Iraq. AIG is another example of a company that would do well with a name change. Most of America knows them as the huge insurance company that didnt' really know what they were doing, overleveaged themselves, and had to have the taxpayer bail them out.

What about GM? If you ask someone to tell you something about GM, they could very well have a story about an unreliable car, prodcut disasters, or bad management practices. You'll also hear good stories about generations of people being employed there, stories of Corvettes and Camaros, Buick sponsoring Tiger Woods, and how the new CTS-V outpaces the BMW M5. I think that us, as a nation, are more disappointed with GM than anything else. We thing AIG is a bunch of crooks that took advantage of us, we thing GM has gotten lazy. There's a big difference in those views, especially with regards to brand.

I've been thinking a lot about brand lately, after reading Branson's last book, Business Stripped Bare. Branson spoke alot about the value of a brand, and how important it is to protect it. It's a lot different for Branson's Virgin to do that, since the Virgin brand includes things from trains, airplanes, spaceships, and cell phones. But keeping that Virgin idea in all aspects of the business is of the upmost importantce to him. GM struggles with keeping a consistent brand image across it's brands. Granted, that's really difficult when you have Corvettes and Escalades on one side, and G3s on the other side. Overall though, GM has done a lot over the last century or so that has built up its brand. Trying to change a name at this point in a company's history would be a waste of all that goodwill that has been built up. True, things haven't been very well the last decade or so for the whole company, but there have been some terrific successes. The Z06 Corvettes have been awesome, the redesigned Malibu has gotten good reviews, and even though it's not gonna be around too much longer, the G8 GT is a nice vehicle. As always, we look at history in terms of the last 20 years or so, but GM is an example of a company that is larger than the last 20 years. Making a knee jerk reaction to try and drum up business for a few months would be a bad idea.