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Thursday, August 17, 2006

sara stalks me too...

my wife has a great new blog.. .actually not that GREAT.   its about a persistant friend of hers who wants to hang out 24/7. check out

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

party foul...

a new pet peeve of mine..
Cher and I had a party last weekend.  Good time, around 20 people came, but a few who RSVPed didn't make it.  Mostly people from work.  What drives me crazy are these same people explaining their sob story of why they couldn't come.   It's nice that they recognize that they didn't come, but at the end of the day I really don't care why they didn't make it.  it's the past over... let's move on.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

is this thing on?

always want to know who is reading out there so here is a little game I play.  It's called question wonderland.
First, recommend to me:

A) A Movie
B) A Book
C) A Vacation spot

Then: Ask me three questions ... anything you want ... don't be shy ... and I will answer in the comments section.

congrats to billy and susie

Congrats to Billy Gould and Susie Becker who finally got engaged this past weekend. I know they will have a lifetime of happiness ahead of them. They are the perfect couple, they balance each other out, are the ying to the other's yang and are generally good people.

This relationship also proves a few important points.

1) High school seniors should spend a bit more time checking out 8th graders in their local junior high.

2) You can meet the love of your life at venues where barmaid dance on the bars.

3) Single people in Manhatten actually do get married. Take that, Sex in the City.

Friday, August 11, 2006

i am irate

not sure if you have heard the story about the little league championship game in bountiful, Utah.  To make a long story one of medium length, here is what happened.  Bottom of the sixth inning, two outs, the Red Sox are leading the Yankees by one run with two outs and a runner on third.  The Yankees best hitter is up.  On deck, if the Yankees weakest hitter, an undersized cancer survivor.  Given this situation, the Red Sox coach walks the best hitter and the cancer survivor strikes out.
The two coaches nearly come to blows and the liberal media got on this like stink on a money.  Rick Reilly and the media blasted the coach for this.  Apparently, in the new world, we need to find a way to be nice to our opponents.  The fact of the matter is that there are winning and losers in life.  The thing worse would if they didn't keep score.  Children need to learn how to live with disappointment.  Sports are a great way of teaching this.
And you know what, I am speaking from experience.  I have been one of the worst players on a little league team.  And guess what happened--- i practiced and got better.  Maybe the cancer survivor will never be intentionally walked himself.   However, he should at least have the chance to try.  because if we are going to try to "compete" in things but not really push ourselves to the limit, then how shallow is the victory?
For a more biased account of the events, check out rick reilly SI column about this.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

menu for barbeque

- Johnsonburgers.
still need to work on this though the weather looks good.

wsop final table

final table tonight...who will be the focus of the poker world for the next 12 months.  i'm rooting for AC, for all of those who said a top pro would never win the big one again.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

please support my advertisers

every click matters.  Please help put food in the stomach of my unborn children.

strasser out in 130ish place

lost a big hand early in the day AA vs. AK.  (he was AA)  After that, he hovered around 200K for a few hours, but never really got back into it.
In other news, the main event is about 1 day ahead of schedule now.  They were supposed to be down to 300 after yesterday, they are down to 137 now.  They are supposed to play down to 150 today so technically they don't even have to play.   However, they will end up stretch out the final table to 2 days now.  However, fatigue ath the final table won't be the difference this year.

Fwd: movie business challenge-- an equity market for movies (aka how to align theatre and studio interests)

Recently Mark cuban make a blog entry with the following challenge. 
So if you want a job, and have a great idea on how to market movies in a completely different way. If your idea works for any and all kinds of movies. If it changes the dynamics and the economics of promoting movies, email it or post it. If its new and unique, i want to hear about it. If its a different way of doing the same thing you have seen before, it probably wont get you a job, but feel free to try.
Here is my response.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: mark johnson <double>




I am writing in response to your Movie business challenge blog entry from last week.  I have taken a slightly different approach than most of the others who have posted about ways to either get more people into the theatres or create a better value equation for those consumers.


Well these tactics may create some growth in the movie industry, they won't stem the existing tide of declining revenue for theatres.  Ultimately, growth in any industry must come through innovations.   For the movie industry, this means we need to change the business model for making a movie and getting mass distributions.  We need to take some costs out of the equation and reallocate some spending toward parties who can perform them better.


My proposal for you Mark, is the creation of an equity market for both movie financing and movie distributions.  In my market, studios will share equity portions of films at all stages of production.  In return for the equity, studios will receive either cash or more likely, guaranteed points of distribution or local marketing investment.   By pushing support for theatres down to the local levels, studios have now removed one of their biggest expenses.


This "efficient market" if you will, will make it easier for smaller films to be financed, while guaranteeing distribution at the same time.   As a result, marketing costs will be partially transferred from the studios to the theatres, who can market locally better anyway.  Films will now have an easier time being shown is cities other than New York and Los Angeles.


Current Scenario


There are currently three general key players in the movie industry rights—the movie studios(both large and small), the movie theatres and the consumers.   All they have in common is that they don't like doing business with the other two.


Consumers think they are paying too much for a commoditized experience.  Movie theatres complained about declining margins, lack of choice and little revenue from the back-end of the movies.   Studios are caught are suck in this high-spend situation because everyone else is doing it.


The biggest result from this scenario is the lack of quality films.  Marginal films can not be produced due to the problems described above.   What if there was some way to remove risk from the projects?  Let's find a way to make it easier for films to be financed and remove some of the risk from movie producers.


Some of these problem have been solved by the vertical integration of the process, which your companies have made significantly progress in.   As a result, you have created some differentiation between relatively similar chairs in the theatre.    I expect trends like this to continue.   However, given the declining number of theatres in America, the number of fully integrated movie companies will be limited as well.  We need to find another way to add more choice to market.


Problem 1:  Right now 80% of the screens are owned by a small number of companies.   Their efforts are centrally coordinated and relatively inefficient.   Since they are being squeezed on margins in both directions, they have little ability to promote content themselves.   As a result, these theaters are generally only interested in promoting films which have a huge general market media spend behind it.   As it stands, studios don't actively promote one film over another and really don't spend much behind any film at all.


Let's look at the income statement as a typical movie theatre.  Currently, it has a huge fixed cost base due to real estate.   As a result, theatres are doing whatever they can to push marginal consumers into the seats.   We saw this happen as 50-screen multiplexes opened up through the 90s.   Nice theory, however, when everyone else is doing it, it doesn't make much sense.  So now, we have a million screens out there some the exact same movies every 15 minutes.   Given the search for eyeballs, movie theatres are positioning themselves in high-traffic, high-population areas.  This is an expensive real estate strategy.   So let's reviews, we are adding a ton of costs to an undifferentiated movie experience.   Since consumers don't see any difference between theatres, these theatres has no incentive to market movies themselves since other competitors will just "Free ride" off their efforts.


Problem 2: Given problem 1, major movie studios need to make big bets.   In order to cut through the marketing clutter from advertising spending, only large pictures can be promoted.   As a result, many quality pictures are either not made, or made then not subsequently promoted because of poor intial test results.   There are more Direct-to-Video or limited  releases now than ever before simply because a full national release is not justified.


My solution


With an efficient market in place now, marginal films with risks of distribution due to poor support will now be able to be funded.  With distribution guaranteed, marketing effort can now be better targeted (hence, cheaper) and theatres will now have an interest in promoting certain pictures over another.  Moreover, under this system, there may be only one or two theatres within a city with a specific movie.  Now, there is some differentiation as well in the industry.


Additionally, we now have an alignment of goals between theatres and studios.  Those studios with distribution will now have a vested interest in promoting smaller films locally.  With guaranteed distribution, more films get made and will be shown outside of New York and LA.  The average consumer in Boise, who wants to go to the movies now has more choices.  With more choice, the movie industry will now get more share of these consumers' wallet.



Thanks for taking the time to read this.  Please shoot me an email back if you have any thoughts or would like to talk about this further.





Saturday, August 5, 2006

more complaints..
- PTI without BOTH Tony and Wilbon
- Women with big toes (especially when they try to show them off)
- The lack of new movies.   I'm not the biggest movie fan in the world, however, I heard so many people complaining about how Hollywood is dead.  Look at your local multiplex, find me one weekend other than amajor holiday one, where more than 2 major films opened.   One of my favorite shows is HDNET's nothing but trailers, however, the trailers change at a very slow rate... eason being, the pipeline is just so damn slow.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

can the US finally be lovable winners?

So ok, they have only lost their last 2 international competitions, but it may as well have been the last 20.  The US men's national basketball team is not exactly the Chicago Cubs, but they aren't prohibitive favorites either.  Kinda strange but I am rooting for them more than I can remember rooting for a US team in a definitely, definitely more than the recent world cup.
I remember the 1992 olympics with the so-called Dream Team winning every game by 40 and generally making jackasses out of themselves.  The rest of the world didn't have the talent to compete and the US team finally convinced the sports world that they were as ugly americans as anyone else.   Over the next few years, the level of play slowly diminished as did their worldwide reputation.  They should have lost in Sydney and finally lost in Greece... and the rest of the World LOVED it.  As an American, I wasn't that upset because our best players didn't play, and those who did whined and I hate whiners.
But now things have changed.  we have a coach noone can criticize and the shenanigans of the past just won't happen with Coach K.  And one more things... we have put a TEAM together.  No longer do we have a shoot-first point guard and a center who is either a completely offensive liability or a complete defensive one.  The team works hards, isn't outwardly cocky.  I think this has the makings of a great story.
editor's note:  As I am typing this, the US is down 30-29 to puerto rico in the middle of the 2nd quarter.  oh well!!

Wednesday, August 2, 2006


Jason strasser finished day of the main event as one of the chip leaders.  Way to represent Duke, Jason.