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Baseball Crowdsourcing – Why Shouldn’t the Phillies Give it a Try?

Matt Riggleman 0 Comments

Wow – I never expected to take this long to write again. Life kind of got in the way. But finally, after much coaxing from Matt Horn – I’m firing up another post.

Let the Fans Have A Voice!

I’m a Phillies fan, but first and foremost I’m a baseball fan. I’m accustomed to the ebb and flow of baseball team’s and franchises and I watch the game still the same.

However, I am also a marketer, and as a marketer, I spend a good deal of time obsessing over how to deliver the best product or service to customers and potential customers alike. I also spend a good deal of time showing others of what their customer base really is and wants.

Which is why I think the Phillies are completely missing the boat. Without further delay – here’s a suggestion for Phillies management.

CrowdSource Decisions Regarding Personnel Moves and Trades

Phillies blogs - Google Search 2013-12-13 22-17-50The very idea would scare the crap out of the old boy baseball regime – but seriously – name a place where an organization could tap into a greater source of knowledge and information on baseball’s players and operations? This is no longer the era of the armchair quarterback. These days, individual fans have access to as much statistical facts and figures as many major league teams – and they’re driven by obsession and passion – who better to provide advice? Consider how your fan base would react if they actually felt a hand, albeit a small one, in decisions to sign a free agent (for example?). Again, using the social media networks cultivated by the marketing department for content distribution – try turning the tables and actually facilitating a two way conversation with the consumers of your brand and product. Consider for a second – given the moves Ruben Amaro has made over the last few years – Could the millions of people who have created the over 28 million pieces of content around ‘Phillies Blog’ really do much worse?

5 Bad Things Fans Fans Could’ve Warned Management About

Not to Sign Ryan Howard to a 25 mil. per contract: Everyone knows players of his body type/ability don’t age well – and why sign him before his contract ends?!

Don’t Spend a Ton for Papelbon – Everybody knows you don’t spend on a closer these days. For every Mariano – there are a dozen Joe Borowskis.. Go cheap.

Don’t Sign Ruiz to one of the largest contracts ever for a Catcher – Com’on – he’s already in decline and he’s no longer juicing. And he’s getting up there. Granted, this still be remains to be seen….but Com’on…

No Sacrificing the Future to win Now – Every fan wants continual success – not a couple good years. Quit giving up draft picks for older guys, stock the farm system, and promote from within. Winning teams have been doing it for years (including you once upon a time).

Hire a Freaking Stats Guy YESTERDAY! – Teams have been on this bandwagon since the early 2000s…why wait till November 2013?!


Thanks for reading – hopefully I can back on track and post more frequently. Have a good holiday!

Matt Riggleman

Using Psychology To Make the Best Fantasy Baseball Trades

I’ve been reading a lot lately about psychology and the way people respond to things. Anyone who knows me will tell you I spend wayyyyyy too much time figuring out why people do the things they do…and way too much time over analyzing things I should probably just leave alone. For example, I talked to a hibachi chef Friday night for an hour about how Lancaster Countians act differently then people anywhere else in the country (We both agreed to this point, and I’ve heard it from others). This kind of thinking has its pros and its cons – but it does provide a framework for describing why things go down the way they do most of the time.

Of course I’m rocking several fantasy baseball leagues – The big, longterm 16-team, 8×8 Roto Inglorious Bastardos, The 12 Team TFP Just for Fun 8×8 Roto You Dickey!, the a Weekly head to head 12 team full of people I don’t know, who don’t trade, and who I beat every year…not gonna’ lie. I’ve been playing in leagues for over 6 years now and I dig it..I think it actually makes me a bigger baseball fan and, believe or not, better at my real world job.

Trading, in my opinion, is the most important thing you can do to improve your team, and the single most enjoyable part of fantasy sports. Everything, from the offer created, to the evaluation, to the veto process is a lesson in psychology. Some of them are logical, some are them are completely irrational, but, just knowing a little basic psychology can help you pull off the ultimate value adds for your team. The info below is based on actual experience as well as some real research – not done for simply the purposes of fantasy of course…:O. The idea for the post comes from an ongoing text discussion with my buddy Matt Horn on how individual fantasy owners act the same way, year over year.  Leads to articles like this.

I just got done reading the book “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by David Kahneman. He started the field of Behavioral Economics and shared a Nobel Prize for his work. One of his primary theories is that decision making takes place in two distinct ways. System 1 decisions are sometimes referred to as ‘spur of the moment’, and many of them happen automatically, quickly and subconsciously. This part of the decision making process is biased by information readily on hand – and, surprisingly enough gets used over 90% of the time when people make decisions. The other side of this is System 2 thought which is slower, analytical and more logical (maybe I need to trust System 1 more?). So, you ask yourself – how do I make the acceptance of this trade happen on a System 1 decision? How do I make accepting my trade more of an impulse, than something calculated and analyzed up one side and down the other? Here is the secret –

Play to Irrational Biases of Other Owners

You know you’ve done it – you just never knew the fact that it works is based in science. Irrational biases show up in tons of places, but every league can rely on at least a few constants, and I would argue that even the most ‘advanced’ fantasy owner will succumb to overvaluing guys for one reason or another. Here are a quick 20 trading strategies that play off the irrational biases of others. Most of these I’ve encountered and used over the years, and all of them are based on some sort of psychological logic. The greatest moves come when you combine more than one in a single trade.

1. Trading Partner’s Favorite Real Life Team’s Players. Easiest one in the book. Kahneman suggests a concept called What You See Is All There Is (WYSIATI)..which basically states that people have an irrational bias towards the things they see themselves. Makes pretty good sense.

2. Team that has games on owner’s local cable station. Again, WYSIATI. If they see Rollins go 5-5, that increases the odds that they’ll trade for him…before they realize that it’s Rollins and he stinks now..

3. Highly publicized player – Good or bad (even the bad ones will be fresh in their mind). Works great with prospects, another example of WYSIATI

4. Cool name Literally. Giancarlo Stanton just increased his changes of being irrationally traded for by simply changing his name from Mike. I think this is totally just because everyone has considered at one point or another, changing or improving there name. I am irrational about the name Clint (which actually happens to be my Pap’s name). I’ve never met an uncool Clint.

5. Guy who’s great in some obscure stat someone is pumped they look at and you don’t. Don’t have to be a rocket scientist here. Fantasy is all about maximizing value – based on the way I look at a player,if I think he’s better than the player I’m offering you, I’m all about it. It’s just up to you to know what your opponent likes to use. Plus every fantasy owner likes to think they got one up on another.

6. Aces. Chicks dig the long ball – but fantasy owners dig the pitching strikeout. Seriously. I’m convinced that it’s just because ‘Slugger’ doesn’t sound as cool as ‘Ace’..but aces are always overvalued.Ace

7. Urgency – Works mainly for roto leagues..but I’ve made some ridiculous trades because someone’s 2B just went on the 15 day. This speaks to a psychological concept called loss aversion – people tend to fear loss more than they appreciate gain.

8. Compliments – Every owner is an egomaniac when it comes to his team and his strategy. Tell them they’re doing good in the comments section of the trade, tell them you thought grabbing Bryce Harper and stashing him was a sweet move. Just like with anybody, they’ll be pumped someone is actually paying attention and that someone finally recognizes their genius. That’s relationships 101 baby!

9. Have a Trade Pending With Somebody Else – One of the quickest things people ask themselves when they receive a trade is ‘is this guy trying to screw me with some junk offer?’ By already having a trade going with someone else, they know you’re at least capable of executing a fair trade and that alleviates this fear a little, and plays into everybody’s irrational need to do what everyone else is doing. Use it!

10. Have a Good Reputation – Kinda plays into the one above, as well as every relationship you’ve ever tried to make in your life. Bottomline – if you were a scumbag to somebody else – calling them out, offering them crap deals, saying dumb stuff on the message board – it lowers your credibility as well as your chances of making deals/relationships in the future. People talk.

11. Trade for the extra player or provide a replacement – This is the one that happens to me all the time. I play in a 16 team league. Why am I going to trade you Troy Tulowitski for Robinson Cano? I have no backup SS, and none are available? It would also leave me with an extra 2B. I’m human; I fear loss more than I support gain. Instead, try to grab my 4th outfielder for an upgrade or add on pitcher. You’re not leaving me holes and I considered that guy trade bait anyway. Loss Aversion.

12. Don’t make them drop guys to make it happen – Remember, I’m an egomaniac and I think my team is great and my strategy is better than yours. Even though I like your deal, why would I want to dump a guy I like so someone else can pick him up later basically for free? Instead, offer me an even up deal personnel-wise..I’m much more likely to include a guy in a trade for slightly less value, then to dump him and lose the ability to gain something. More Loss Aversion. Fear Loss more than like gain!

13. Be Visible – Related to reputation, but it’s another play off of WYSIATI. Look visible, look interested. Make add drops, post on message boards. Text people about trades. If you have a good reputation, let people experience it..don’t keep it quiet…and the trades get easier.

14. Trade Them the Guys They Had Last Year – A bunch of things going on here. They’re familiar with the guys’ stats, they were into them enough to keep them last season, AND, you recognized that so that plays to the whole ego trip thing. I’ve seen this happen MANY, MANY times.

15. Hometown Favorite – Just like 14, jump on board the big name who reluctantly got traded to some other real-life team. They’re definitely going to be more educated about the guy than most people. How many times has a baseball fan told you…we loved (insert name) when he played here..but he went where the money is. Cater to that bummed-outed-ness…

16. Encourage Someone Else To Ride the Hot Streak – There are a ton of reasons why this works. WYSIATI is definitely in play. Kahneman also believes people generally underestimate chance, instead preferring to assume what they see will continue to happen in the future. Plays great to the owner who just watched the breakout game the night before too. Works great when an interleague matchup is dominated by a mediocre American league pitcher against a pidly National League one….for example…

17. Trade With the Guy Who Got the Better Side of an Earlier Deal – Cockiness plays hard and any male-dominated competition is overflowing with it. If the owner is on cloud 9 over the Clayton Kershaw for Rafael Betencourt deal they just made – hit them up with a deal you like ASAP. Risk aversion will be overcome with the feeling of the surplus they just hauled in. Make it happen now!

18. Trade the Guy Who Got the Worse Part of an Earlier Deal – Kahneman calls it Sunk-Cost…or the tendency of someone who has made a bad move to continue making them to try and outweigh a sense of regret. So go for it – target the owner who traded Josh Hamilton for Albert Pujols…he’ll be looking for an upswing.

19. Explain Yourself – Literally..the only true enabler of System 1 thought. If the owner knows your intentions right from the get-go..on how you value the guys you’re offering and asking for…that’s one step closer to making a snap judgement on the trade. Tell them – “I really need steals and you’re down holds, so  I think Balfour for Bonifacio works for both of us.” helps him better understand how you think for future deals. Excellent!

20. Frame Your Words Carefully – Kahneman discusses a concept called Framing whereby people respond differently to the same concepts depending on how they’re presented. His example is, are you more likely to have a surgery where you have a 90% survival rate…or one with a 10% mortality rate? Most people say the prior. When you’re explaining your trade offer…use the most positively correlated messaging you can to explain the trade…it may affect the outcome.

Remember when Nintendo was relevant?

Matt Riggleman 5 Comments

Recently,Nintendo has been in the news, first, for their latest foray into the gaming arena, the Wii U .. and 2nd because they posted their first loss. I want to be excited. I grew up with Nintendo. I feel like I knew who  Mario was before I could walk. I’ve been playing video games since I was 3, and I played Nintendo first. Now at 29, (sigh…) I want to get excited about the new P.U…I mean..Wii U…but I can’t…and though I’m quick to say it’s because I’m getting older..I just don’t think that’s what it is.

As a marketer, I look for ways to spin things in a way that presents them in a unique fashion, to the audience I’m trying to impress. Nintendo was the master of this. Beginning in 1985, they offered the first video game system to truly become ubiquitous. There were literally 1000s of titles (Check this out..and they don’t even claim to have the entire list). Every kid that was born in the 80s has at least one original theory on how to get their NES to play. Personally I preferred hitting the cartridge on the floor a few times, then hitting the reset button 3 times. Mario, and Link to an extent became cultural icons. Then came the Gameboy and SNES..further spreading Nintendo’s brand and carving (the first) niche into portable gaming. Nintendo then reached a point where their brand was so strong, people like me bought their latest systems just because they were available. But what did they do that was so special?

Nintendo understood before anyone else the value of gameplay and game mechanics 

Nintendo got this. Immediately. And it worked for a very long time. They knew that if they could reward you…and this is the key part…quickly….and would enjoy the game and continue to play it. More importantly, this worked for EVERYONE…not just hardcore gamers. Think about it. It felt great to jump the flag pole in Mario 1…and you got to do that in EVERY level. Everything action created a reaction and a reward – the sound that was produced when you crushed a goomba…the sound when you grabbed a fire flower…and that just made you strive for more. Actually beating the game was just icing on the cake. Now, compare this to Sonic the Hedgehog..which represented the first challenge to Nintendo’s dominance. You collected rings..freed small animals, and spun a sign at the end of each board. The small rewards just aren’t there. It’s just not the same…and Sega eventually sold to Nintendo.

Each action was its own reward..and like rats..we continued to hit the feeder button.

Eventually the Xbox and Playstation came along to challenge Nintendo’s dominance. The Xbox has traditionally been niche marketed to the more advanced gamer. Their games require a greater amount of control, feature greater graphics, a higher price tag, and a general perception that they’re just a little too involved for the casual gamer. The Playstation was a great system but suffers the same fault…they just weathered it for awhile because they attracted a lot of great games because it was so cheap to produce a CD rather than a cartridge. Both great systems, but they never (and won’t ever) mobilize the world.

Nintendo launched the original Wii in 2006 and they sold a buttload. The unique motion controller gave the casual gamer a new, original way to play games..and living rooms around the world welcomed a Wii console. Moms became energized to get them..they were popping up in old folks homes..and this was unique even for Nintendo. They had truly created a system that EVERYONE could enjoy..and this  was the pinnacle of over 20 years of work.

But then something happened.

Like cheap Chinese knockoffs, companies began to understand that it wasn’t about the graphics..or content…it was only about the reward..and…to a lesser extent…the ability to rub that reward in your friends’ faces. And, as Nintendo understood, this combo works for EVERYONE, not just already established gamers. Just check out this story on the now-famous cow-clicker game on Facebook.

This theivery of Nintendo’s “secret sauce”… coincidentally coincided with the Wi-fi boom and the launch of those little Gameboy killers – Smartphones.

Companies like Apple & Facebook began to make it simple for game designers to crank out quick, low cost games that could be distributed fast & cheaply to a growing market of smartphone (and now tablet) owners & social networks.

To add insult to injury..all of those kids that grew up with the “hit the feeder button” mentality that Nintendo bred into us..were now old enough to buy these devices..and we are because the quick reward mentality is bred into us.

Why the Wii U Will Be the First Nintendo System since Virtual Boy to Flop

Because it’s going to target a niche market with features that don’t matter or already exist and are too advanced for the casual owner. Just take a look at the features –

1080P – It’s totally cool if your TV has it..but the masses don’t care. Facebook & Smartphones have proven this. And, Nintendo agreed, until now (no system has gone over 720P res).

TouchScreen Controller – I already have an Ipad2 and touchscreen is awesome..but how does this spell unique gaming experience?

You Can Write on it – Nice, but why would my Mom buy this?

Different information on the controller than the TV – Again, sounds kinda cool, but it’s a little too much going on for the casual gamer.

It doesn’t appear to be tied to social networks – Maybe it is and I haven’t seen it yet..but EVERYBODY wants to share EVERYTHING now. A lot of the preview videos discuss how this  system will offer a “new unique” experience. Yeah..pretty sure people like to share those these days.

Where does Nintendo go from here?

License their content to smartphones, streaming services etc. en masse – For the masses, it’s no longer about the’s about the message (Thank you Marshall Mccluhen). They want their games wherever they are first and foremost..even if that means sacrificing graphics. Plus, all of we Nintendo fanboys are older now…we’d love to play our favorite games on the devices we already have (can I get a Bubble Bobble app?!)..not just on the newer Nintendo consoles. Quit forcing us to illegally download emulators..charge us a small price for  our favorites..optimized for phones and tablets. Set me up a Netflix-like feed to a low-cost box that lets me access EVERYTHING from EVERY prior console…and I will subscribe. And those in my generation will subscribe too.  Anybody remember Sega Channel? Let’s get on this Nintendo! I pose this question – would you pay $10 a month to stream any Nintendo or super Nintendo game on your Ipad or WiiU? Yup…I think I would.

Socialize EVERYTHING – This is where everything is going. Nintendo needs to provide the tools for game players to A. Play their entire catalog easily from anywhere..and B. Share these experiences with friends. It is no longer about the console is about the games..and nobody has EVER done games better than Nintendo. When’s the last time you’ve seen a game update, other than a Facebook app…on your wall? I would have told the world when I beat Mike Tyson…..[youtube]

Suck the price out so much, that even casual gamers may try – They did a great job doing this with the Wii in comparison to the options available at the time. Unfortunately, now it’s tougher. How do you compete with smartphone apps..or even smartphones for that matter. The simple fact that people NEED a phone..puts it ahead of a game system even without price concerns. And this economic recession isn’t going anywhere…

Nintendo’s been around a long time so there’s no reason to panic just yet. But the storm clouds are gathering – don’t let this be their flagpole moment.

Until next time  –


Collegiate Donation Campaigns – Let’s get it right .edu?!

Matt Riggleman 1 Comment

You’ve just graduated from a college or other institution.

You head home and you’re feeling good – about yourself and the experiences you just put behind you. Your family and friends stop at a steakhouse – bill is on them for all the hard work you put in.

Bank is knocking down your door – just a heads up – now that you’re into the real world, you’re going to have to start paying for that 4 years of fun & learning. You’ve heard of loan consolidation…you’re going to have to get on that.

You’re sending out resumes to jobs you’re not even sure you want to do.

And, you get a letter in the mail from the place you just graduated from.

“That’s cool, ” you say to no one in particular. “They’re checking up to see how I’m making out..and it’s only been a month.”

But that’s not the case at all.

Littered with checkboxs..your .edu of choice (EOC) is asking, sincerely, if you could find it in your heart to throw a couple extra bucks their way.

Think about this for minute. When is the last time you put $40,000 on credit, then the creator of said debt asks you for a couple bucks on the side out of the goodness of your heart?

After picking your jaw up off the floor, you state, again to no one in particular, “But I’m already in debt 40 grand to these guys… what more do they want from me.. expletive, expletive, expletive.”

And you resolve to never even consider donating anything to your alma mater again.

So let’s take a step back here and consider what could be changed to make things a little more friendly.

4 Things College Donation Programs Could Do Better

1. Spend Your Marketing Budget Better

Frankly, the fact that I begin getting bombarded with college donation requests right out of the gate kind of makes me feel a little less confident in the education I just received. Can’t this place of higher education take a look at some analytics? Presumably, most college donations come from older people…and more specifically, older people with nothing left to spend their money on. At that point the college’s marketing campaign is basically a “Don’t Forget Us In Your Will” kinda thing. How ’bout you reallocate your marketing budget towards them..and give me a few years of breathing room? Or, better yet, roll that marketing budget back into helping the students you want me to donate to.

2. Allow Me The Opt Out

I know, I should be overjoyed at the education I received and feel an overwhelming urge of reciprocity to give back, just like others gave back for me, but frankly, at this point I want my space. It’s kind of like a break-up…sure, we had some great times and you helped me experience a lot, but I’m not ready to run into you on the street yet. Put the direct mail on hold.

3. Additional Buttering Up

This is the marketing equivalent of sending a gift card to your best customers at Christmas. Colleges try to do this, and admittedly, it does continue a bit after graduation, but keep hitting me with it. I can think of at least 20 things I needed help with after I graduated that my EOC didn’t really beat me over the head with post-grad. In no particular order – Additional real-life advice or contacts regarding my field (not necessarily even for a job, just advice), budgeting for loans, house, family, etc., practical real-world instruction in things like dealing with bosses, clients, figuring out the most direct path out of Mom’s house..Determining how to feed yourself without a meal plan etc. etc. We are more educated than the majority of folks, but we’re people too. Creating a network of practical transition assistance – BEFORE asking me for money – would have made me a little more likely to give back.

4. College Isn’t Cancer

Colleges use donations to help acquire new students and give scholarships, and that’s great. However, isn’t a plan that revolves so much around the altruism of its former students doomed to fail? College made all who attended better, more thoughtful & more potentially giving people – of that I have no doubt. We should want to give back to those that helped us. But it’s tough to give to an educational organization when organizations that hit home a little harder – like Cancer charities – are always looking for the same thing. We are taught to make as large an impact on the world we live in as possible – are we truly maximizing that impact by donating to our alma mater? Seems like the collegiate business model has to adapt a bit to rely less on donation (though I know that means higher tuition). Or to look at it another way – What means more to society – feeding 100 Rwandan children – or making it a little cheaper for an intelligent American to attend college? Seems like a tough call.

Ok, </rant> over. Enjoy the Superbowl (Giants +5)…


A Gumptastic Evening Of Thought

Matt Riggleman 1 Comment

I just got done watching “Forrest Gump,” which I hold up as one of the greatest movies of all time. The movie resonates with me on a bunch of levels and I can’t help watch it whenever it’s on. Of course, with me, the “Greatest Movies of All Time” list also includes the likes of “Commando” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” I’d forgive you if you decided to move on before I tell you why. But I figured I’d use Forrest Gump this warm Sunday evening to get all introspective and build some blog content.

The Forrest Gump “I just Felt Like Running” Moment

[youtube]One of the underlying themes of the movie is Forrest’s simple-mindedness. He’s programmed with a set of beliefs and morals and he carries those out..with little regard for how other things fit into life’s equation. I feel like I’m doing this right now with the “Biggest Loser” program at work. For the record, I don’t give a crap about losing weight…I’ve never weighed more than 175, like LMFAO I work out, and I’ve always eaten everything in sight…I just can’t resist a competition. 17 lbs. later..I’m going hard to the finish…with the chance to win $500 bucks. “I just felt like competin’.

The “What If Gump Had a Cellphone” Moment

Also known as the Seinfeld Paradox – pretty much every plotline of Seinfeld would have been entirely different if just 1 of them had a cell phone. Because I live in the 21st century (most of the time), and cellphones are ubiquitous, I always try to see if pre-cell movies can hold up. Unfortunately, I don’t think Forrest Gump could…unless you assume he’d be too simple minded to own one.  Just think how crappy it’d be if he could just pick up the cell and give Jenny a ring? Though it’d definitely be sweet to hear some Forrest voicemails…

The Forrest Gump “Simple Man” Moment

I always wondered why they never threw in Skynard’s classic “Simple Man” into Gump’s soundtrack…it fits the era…and the area..of the majority of the movie. But then, I guess celebrating Gump’s “Simple-ness”..kind of belittle’s the complexity of the character. For me, and a good portion of my family I think, we have to support a few “Simple Man” moments. Sometimes it would be great to just get out of our own ways (and heads) and do the things we know we want, and should, do anyway. Sometimes perhaps, ignorance is bliss.

The Bubba Blue’s My Best Good Friend Moment.

In lots of ways, Forrest Gump is just a lucky guy. There’s a huge list of events, totally out of his control, that totally make things go his way. In no paricular order (that sounded Gumpian) – Got wounded but not seriously injured in Vietnam, learned how to play ping pong in army hospital, was home when Jenny showed up, ran into Jenny in DC, got recruited to play college football after running across field, meets Lt. Dan in NYC, survives Hurricane Carmen…and, last but not least, he runs into a guy who is just as conventionally backward as him in the Army..thereby gaining a great friend and inadvertently setting up the rest of his life. So, my Bubba Blue moment would have to be getting to asked to be the best man at my “conventionally backward”  best friend’s wedding. Congrats to Matt and Christina..and thanks for the honor.

The “What the F is Jenny’s Last Name” Moment 

I know it now, but I will forget it. Every time I go into that movie I try to come out of it with this one useless bit of trivia..and I always end up forgetting it like a day later. They only show it once, and nobody says it. I’ll leave you the pleasure of finding it yourself..but no Googling..

The “Forrest’s Mom is Sick” Moment

One of the truly awesome parts of Forrest Gump is simply the quality of the supporting cast. Each one of them easily passes the “If they were going to do another movie, from (enter character)’s perspective, I would watch it” test. Sally Field’s performance in the scene where she tell’s Forrest she has cancer is powerful and (I think) she won an Oscar for it. For me, unfortunately, this kind of hits home. Another scenario where I’d like to be able to throw it on auto-pilot and not really dwell on it, but both of my Grandmas have experienced some sort of Cancer over the last few months. One had it removed, the other is battling pretty hard to kick it. Definitely a tough situation to go through..just have to keep hoping for the best.

The “Shrimpin’ Ain’t Easy” Moment 

Sidenote – I always thought this would make a great T-Shirt..and apparently so did somebody else  cause it exists here

This is kind of like the “Simple Man” Moment. Gump’s simple/single-mindedness drives him to continue to hunt for shrimp despite a toilet-load of crappy catches. His perseverance pays off after he survives Hurricane Carmen and Bubba Gump Shrimp takes off. My Shrimpin Ain’t Easy Moment has come over the last few months as I’ve basically forced myself to become a good cook. Not going to lie..right now I can crank out some pretty good stuff and I’m starting to dig cooking alot..after a pile of early failures.

The “Forrest is Everywhere” moment 

It’s kind of wild as you’re watching this movie how much history Forrest actually walks though. Like I said above, most of it could be attributed to luck…but nonetheless it’s pretty impressive. My “Forrest is Everywhere” moment has to do with Twitter. As a Marketer involved with understanding social media and the likes, it took me a long time to really understand the appeal of Twitter. I dabbled a little last year during Fantasy Baseball season..there really is nothing better to stay up to date on sports. I wrote here once that Facebook reminded me of how similar each person’s life really is, but Twitter takes this to another level. At this point, Twitter really is the world’s shared experience. It is what certain TV programs were in the 60s 70s and early 80s. Twitter allows you to tap into this shared experience in real time…and to participate in sharing it with people in all walks and status’. That kind of connection is powerful – and you could argue – world-changing. As we become more connected with every nook and cranny of the World English Muffin – won’t it be harder to do things like say…go to war with it? That’s the Egg McMuffin of thoughts from this blog (don’t know why I went all breakfast food on ya there..).

The “Greatest Gift Anybody Could Ever Get” Moment 

Not really sure why Forrest applies this title to a pair of Marty McFly Nikes…but since they are shoes I figured I had a parallel going on. I’m not one to buy clothes, shoes or really anything wardrobe related. As my friends will readily tell you I have a pretty regular cycle of clothes that gets washed as I run out of clean underwear. But, by the urging of my apparently extremely fashion-conscious roommate, I broke down and bought a new pair of brown shoes. Gotta’ say it feels pretty good to wear them…but I wouldn’t make the buy again.

Thanks for reading..and feel free to comment or hit me up on twitter @mattriggleman.

1 Thing Local Businesses Can Do To Keep More Customers – Why no Wi-Fi?

Matt Riggleman 1 Comment

Zach Morris PhoneI think I mentioned this before, so bear with me if it’s redundant info, but despite avoiding complex, non-Zach Morrisian mobile phones for the majority of my adult life, over the last year, I’ve succumbed. I’d like to think it’s for the better. I feel more organized. I can play games at will. My time at unorthodox places like dentist offices and roadside fruit stands is full of the things I used to only enjoy from the comfort of my office chair. I’m constantly connected, for better or worse, to everyone I know – in whatever manner they propose to contact me. So in the end, the phone helps indulge my obsessiveness (and helps others as well).

Which brings me to this post.

Being a marketer, I am bombarded with posts, feeds, tweets, @rants, etc., about the ubiquity of cell phones – and how you’re a freakin’ imbecile if you don’t go full-throttle into some sort of all-encompassing, data-driven, ROI-generating, mobilic, Googilic, juggernaut advertising campaign. Most educated marketers will access their audience (and hopefully their common sense) before engaging in such a campaign, but ALL businesses can and should start small.

Have you seen this sign?I’ve read entire posts about how businesses should add Wi-Fi so customers can access locally targeted offers, do some on the spot price comparing, and generally facilitate the process of making the sale, and I agree with that logic. Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, and similar establishments give you Wi-Fi because then you’ll sit there, read more..and generally raise the percentage a bit that you’ll walk out of there with something. It’s as old as peanuts in bars.

But, let’s take a step back and look at it from a more basic level. I don’t care what the business is. I like businesses that have Wi-Fi because –

1. You’re saving me money by NOT using my data plan

2. I don’t have to think twice about using UP my data plan

3. I feel sweet because I can check out what I want, when i want.for FREE..and you helped me do that, so I’m loving you for it and feel a little reciprocity effect when it comes to buying from you.

With the Iphone, the thing actually pops up when it detects local networks (which is why we should all name our networks something cool like “Your Mom”). Which brings me to my@Fail list regarding Wi-Fi:

1. Networks that are locked out entirely at a business. Seriously?! Why tempt me?

2. Networks that aren’t locked out, but take you to a login page that requires a password. I’ve literally walked out of places where this is the case.

3. Places that directly benefit from Wi-Fi and don’t have it..hello..Best Buy?!

4. Places that confine HotSpots to sitting areas. I’ve got a phone that is mobile and a home that isn’t…I don’t have to be sitting to want to know EVERYTHING NOW.

If I went all Old Glory Insurance on you and said that you could improve your business’s relationship with your youngest, most tech-savy, socially-engaged customers for pennies a day, wouldn’t you do it?

robotIn this age of penny-pinching, I’m surprised I haven’t read more about this. I suspect data usage will become more of a topic as more and more folks feel the pinch of non-unlimited data plans. At this point, it seems the cell phone companies have done a pretty good job conditioning people to absorb the cost of data. Me, I don’t like the thought of absorbing the cost of anything.

To hammer home this point, I was at a Harrisburg Senators game the other night. I took a sweet picture of the fireworks that occurred after the game, and tried to Facebook it. The Iphone4 has a sweet high-res camera, but that camera comes with a price if you want to share: to upload in full glory, I had to chop it smaller, or use 1/4 of my 200MB data plan?! Are you freaking kidding me?

Ok, the next big thing alert..are you ready for this? A site that socializes this – I accessed (insert wild/disgusting/raunchy website) on (Insert Business)’s Wi-Fi. You can’t tell me someone won’t think that’s at least deserving of a hash tag…#MyWiFI #MiFI  ….ha. It’s kind of like a much, much, dorkier version of the Mile High Club.

So the final takeaway here is, 1. I’m cheap, and 2. I’m obsessive. Goodbye and Goodnight! Hit me up @mattriggleman if you have anything to share.


Marshmallows and Whipped Cream Coffee Marketing

Matt Riggleman 5 Comments

Wow, did I really not write on this thing for a year and a half? Geez. I guess life kind of got in the way. In a nutshell, life has basically flowed slightly in the direction of a routine now including bill paying. My job is now at least above average serious and I spend the majority of my week pondering marketing, writing and search engine optimization and mix in a little COD Black Ops. But, at the end of the day, I’m still pretty much the same. But, since I call myself a writer, I guess I had better start writing on my own again, hence, the entry below.

StayPuft Marshmallow ManYou like marshmallows. And, you like Whipped Cream. As far as products go, these sell themselves. There’s no convincing. For the most part, there’s no strange allergies involved. There’s no age limit. If you’re concerned with weight, marshmallows are fat-free. You can stack marshmallows, and they formed the internal structure and general awesomeness of the Staypuft Marshmallow Man which quite frankly puts the Pillsbury DoughBoy to shame. And, you can put them in stuff. Which, brings me to this post.

I live on caffeine now. At least a little. Anyone who is in this boat inadvertently becomes familiar with Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, or the local coffee equivalent.  But, there’s something missing here. Something that these large, overly expensive, coffee monopolies should have exploited a long time ago.


Just look inside your cup the next time you get one. The barista, who I will refer to here as “Hot Coffee Chick” after the girl who works at my nearby shop, puts in the drink, realizes that in order to cram the whipped cream and marshmallows under the tight sealing, do-everything-we-can-to-not-get-sued-for-you-spilling-this lid, she’s got to hold off on filling the thing..essentially jipping you out of a few ounces of java or hot chocolate. I don’t want to have to choose between the MarshMallow Whipped Cream Experience, or getting my just deserved full cup of java. The crazy part is, it’s not that hard to fix…and none of these billion dollar companies seem to care. Possible solutions:

1. Let the customer control Marshmallow and/or Whipped Cream Distribution.

Ever notice that these are the only condiments you REALLY want to add to coffee or hot chocolate and they’re not available? It’s like quasi coffee shop Communism. They control the means of distribution. By allowing me to put the marshmallow or whipped cream on as I see fit, I don’t care that I have to sac a little java…I just don’t want the company screwing me. Especially when I just dropped 4 bucks on this junk.

2. Design a Domed Lid Capable of Sealing Tight Enough To Prevent Spillage

Dart Container RCL LidI’ve worked in the Largest Lid Plant in the World at the time they built the RCL lid that goes on Dunkin Donuts coffee. Trust me, it’s a relatively complex process. These guys can surely come up with a domed lid that can allow for mallows and whipped cream without sacrificing spillage OR volume.

3. Market a new “Marshmallow-Safe” Cup

Let’s face it, Marshmallows and Whipped Cream are here to say, shouldn’t a coffee company take advantage of the natural relationship these lifesavers have? Wouldn’t you rather buy your coffee or hot chocolate from a company that fully supported the mallow and whipped cream without “secretly” screwing you out of a few ounces? I propose cups that add an extra ounce or two on top known as the “Marshmallow zone” or the “Creme of the Cup” or something. Market the new 18 oz. cup specifically to marshmallow lovers (AKA everybody), and continue to charge the same exorbitant price you already do. Why hasn’t anyone thought of this?

Big Green EggIn other news, I now have my own house, a fish tank, A Big Green Egg and a 7:1 Channel surround sound system. Not in that order. I hope to write again within the next year and a half, stay tuned. I leave you with a clip from Last Saturday’s SNL featuring the greatest Will Smith impersonation ever from Jay Pharaoh.


Jacksonian Democracy & the Power of Popularity

Wow, back after a long hiatus. Not gonna’ lie, not much has really gone down to stop me from writing, save the fact that my next post will most likely be from the friendly confines of my first house.

Anyway, Michael Jackson has died. You’ve heard about it. You’ve formed your opinion on the guy. It’s the aftermath of the tragedy that has been particularly fascinating to me though.

Michael Jackson is the King of Pop. This is without question. His body of work includes the Thriller album, which is enough to qualify this title all by itself. But to me, it’s amazing the roller coaster that has resulted from the perception of his POPularity along the way.

Michael Jackson has never been conventionally cool in my lifetime until now. In the late 80s, early 90s, you could break out a copy of Thriller or the Bad album and get away with it; appreciating the King for the artist he was, even though he was starting to turn a little whiter and for some reason was hanging out with the kid from Home Alone. Come mid-90s, you could get beat up, or at least ostracized for a couple grades for even admitting you owned a Jackson album. These were the years I told people I listened religiously to NWA and Dr. Dre even though I was never allowed to actually own the albums. Closet Jackson fans had to enjoy the music solo mission style, or in my case in the company of other non-cool Jackson listeners poolside while playing billiards, as the “Pop” star was continually in the press for a bunch of outlandish crap. Now that he’s dead, the appreciation of his music, and amazingly, the man himself has resurged like a tidal wave. It is now “cool” and “POPular” to like Jackson again.

The interesting thing to me is that Jackson achieved his momentous 80s popularity while suffering from the same social anxiety and desire to fit in that made people NOT listen to his music 10 years later.

Jackson’s not a criminal, but he is a weirdo. I mean, there’s no way around it. He never achieved the ability to socialize or understand anyone over the age of 8, he most likely underwent a host of plastic surgeries to create an appearance he thought people he couldn’t communicate with would better appreciate. He lived in an amusement park, had weird relationships, and treated children as though he were their own age (much to the dismay of their parents. This being said, everyone knew he was a weird guy; for that reason alone, why would anyone let their kids hang out with him?).

But, yet, though much of this was at least apparent early on, his tremendous ability pulled the wool over the world’s eyes and led to the creation of the King of Pop persona that rendered him untouchable and yet even more vulnerable to attack.

And it was this same popular opinion, that kept fans down for a decade, until he died and it was cool again to listen..

The power of pop…and Jackson was a master of it in more ways than one.

Ha, in honor of Michael’s, and most people’s, search for popularity, check out the crappy video below from a few years back.


Video Gaming: The System

Matt Riggleman 0 Comments

It’s cold out. When it’s cold out, I start playing video games a bit more. As many of those who know me freely observe, I’m a recluse a lot of the time, and no more is this reclusiveness more prevalent but in the cold.

So, this year so far, in the absence of warm weather, any regular Frisbee, Softball, an active Fantasy league, non-busy “let’s go to a bar and get a beer” friends or anything else that really demands my attention after work during the week, I’ve started playing “Rainbow 6 Vegas” for the Xbox 360. For those that don’t know their video games, Rainbow 6 is kind of a swat-team-like take on the traditional 1st person shooter. Though not as readily discussed as they absolutely phenomal Call of Duty 4, Rainbow 6 provides a more realistic AI, and (with the exception of COD4 on Xbox Live) a way more enjoyable “Terrorist Hunt” multi-player option that takes advantage of these intelligent computer dudes. I played the multi-player first, so I naturally figured I’d like the single player campaign too. Well, that was a yes and a no.

As I’ve written before in previous debunked blogs here, I’ve come to believe that the fascination with video games lies with the fact that it’s a way of achieving quick victories and reward. People love the ability to feel vindicated quickly: I mean, if you think about it, normally these possibilities don’t exist all that frequently.  However Rainbow 6 added an important extra facet to this theory for me.

Now I’m an expert at games. Seriously, this isn’t a boast. Malcolm Gladwell in his new book “Outliers” points out that the magic number of hours to be an expert at something (Including the Beatles, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs..etc. etc..) appears to be 10,000 hours of practice. Well, I started at age 3 (A shame I can’t parlay into something more than witty blog entries..doh!) but this one got to me.

The damn game didn’t play be the rules!

For those at all familiar with video games and even computers in general, they’re all based around predictable algorithms: sooner or later good gamers will figure out the pattern and effectively “game the system” if you will. This is why good gamers are always able to run under Koopa’s legs in Mario 1. This is why in James Bond 64, you can clear out an entire room of guys by getting them to run out the door when you fire an unsilenced weapon. To take it from a movie standpoint, Morpheus states that the Agents can never be as good as The One because they’re based in a world that has RULES. Morpheus also patented the behind the back arm fold, which in itself was absolutely amazing.

But Rainbow 6 was beyond that, and it was truly maddening. I found myself yelling and cursing circa: 1996 Matt Horn. The game continued to cheat me by firing through walls, planting extra quiet grenades, and literally beaming in bad guys out of no where. The bad guys never appeared at the same place twice, and the kinds of actions that would’ve emptied a room in James Bond 64, just made the bad guys in the other room curse at you (literally).  Now I am all for progressive games that figure out how to get around earlier games’ falicies, but this one took it too far for me. I chalked it up to bad programming rather than intuitive, in part because if this WAS so real, why didn’t games like COD4 employ such an intelligent engine?

Regardless of the reasoning, I learned another plausible reason why people continue to play games endlessly: Simple predictability. Where the common perception is that we guys run out and pick up the latest copy of Halo or Madden to enjoy an all-new gaming experience, we still rely on the same predicable algorithm running in the background that we’ll eventually be able to “game.”

Which brings up obvious question: what happens when games are too good to be gamed?

It’s coming. Computer technology grows in leaps and bounds monthly. But will complex AI games really be as popular?  Based on my recent experience, I’d say certainly not. The recent resurgence of old classics and back-to-basics games that companies like Nintendo stake their fortunes on, makes me think I’m on to something too.

Needless to say I’ll never play Rainbow 6 one-player again…

In other news,

Happy Birthday to my buddy Nate Fish who’s the first of us to 26. Thanks for introducing me to the would-be-my-mom’s-favorite-bar The Jukebox too buddy..haha It was cool to see some friends I haven’t seen in awhile too.

My other friend Rachael recently started her blog here: Rachael’s Blog….check it out and post some feedback. According to her, it’s basically going to be about simple introspection, but, like me, she tends to get pretty detailed about the simple stuff, so it’ll probably be a good read.

Got sucked into a Rocky Marathon this past weekend..again. The Rockys with the exception of Rocky 5 and Rocky 3 if there’s ANYTHING else on TV, are high on the list of Movie’s You Can’t Not Watch. Which made me wonder: why does Rocky get INSANELY beat up in the first couple, but seemingly stronger fighters Clubber and Drago don’t appear to really damage him all that much? I mean, sure he’s in the hospital with brain damage at the beginning of 5, but he still has enough sense and energy at the end of 4 to give the whole “If I Can Change, and U Can Change..” speech. Also, by far my favorite character in any of these movies is Apollo’s-turned-Rocky’s trainer Duke. No one shows even a tenth as much emotion as this guy does, particularly in Rocky 4. I mean, even with the death of Apollo and impossible Rocky/Drago match on the table, I STILL think this guy throws out too much emotion, and that’s why he’s the man. It’s single-handedly the greatest emotional display to ever exist in a movie without murder involved. Anyway, I digress. Thanks to Bill Simmons, once again for sharing this great scene-by-scene remake of the “No Easy Way Out” montage in Rocky 4. Hilarious.


Until next time,


C.C. Sabathia to headline 2020 Phillies late relief

Matt Riggleman 3 Comments

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve noticed that the Yankees are being the Yankees, and while the rest of the world begins to crumble under an economic system as unstable as a Minnesota bridge, they’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars on 3 players. The headline of this deal is the largest contract ever given to a pitcher, namely the 7 year, 161 million dollar deal given to one C.C. Sabathia. To give the Yankees credit, the guy is in his prime, works hard and has shown periods of complete dominance reminiscent of any top-flight ace. The only questionable thing about the deal is the fact that Sabathia has continuously ballooned up in size over the last few seasons. Standing at 6 ft., 7in. and 290 pounds Sabathia is a monster on any scale. He dwarfs sports’ favorite heavyweight Babe Ruth in his prime. Check out this blog that breaks down the number of pinstripes Sabathia will probably represent: to give you a hint, his uni may have the most in history. And it this mammoth proportion that leads to the title of this blog.

Sabathia, the current StayPuff Marshmellow man of pitchers, is destined to be a Phillies long reliever by his 40th birthday. Coming off of the later years of his contract with the Yanks, weighing in around the size of one of those ultra compact cars, the Phillies are sure to milk the end of his career. It’s been a few years, but by 2020, they’re sure to revert to their old ways. If there’s a past-his-prime reliever out there who is generally in terrible shape and is complete and obvious bad call, the Phils seek him out like a dollar dog.

Examples of this include, the once great Jose Mesa. Not familiar with Mesa? Beginning his career in good ol’ 1987, Mesa made a name for himself as a fireballer for (who else?) the early 90s Cleveland Indians. A top of the rotation starter, the years quickly caught up to Mesa, and he never again reached the triple digits in innings pitched after 1993. He was then relegated to life as a journeyman reliever for a variety of clubs, eventually ending up with the Phils from 2001-2003. This stint started well, with Mesa posting above average era’s in the early years, but being let go in 03 after an abysmal 6.52 ERA. But, the Phils using traditional Phillies Logic, immediately ascertained that “Gee, our buddy Joe Table is older, heavier and in way worse shape then he was when he sucked before. Let’s give him a whirl again.” So he came back and sucked again to the tune of a 4.61 ERA before being released. He also managed to start a feud with (who else?) that notorious bastard Omar Vizquel somewhere along the way?

The second example is the great Antonio Alfonseca. To Alfonseca’s credit(?) he was never that good, and not that old, but he was a big guy. He was only 35 when the Phils picked him up in 2007, but weighed in at 235. As a fan, I can remember lots of games where Alfonseca put me on the edge of my seat, and than completely lived up to his potential by costing the Phils the loss. He left at the end of 2007 to the tune of a 4.61 ERA.

UrbinaThe third, and one of my personal favorites is Ugeth Urbina. To make a long and not so interesting story short, Urbina was a journeyman reliever for 10 years prior to joining the Phillies in 2005.  He ended the year with 4.13 ERA which isn’t hideous, so there had to be something wrong right? He never came back to baseball the next year after killing a man in his native Venezuela. Doh!

The 4th, and kind of an honorable mention, because Gordon is generally a good guy. He started his career in 1988, made a name for himself as a setup man for the great Mariano Rivera back with the Yankees used to win World Series’, and than, of course, ended up in the Phils relief crew when he was too old to function effectively anymore. From 2006-2008, Gordon has seen his ERA balloon from 3.34 to 5.13, and his spent numerous stints on the disabled list. Rumor has it he’s still on the Philies roster. Though again, as a fan, I gotta’ say Gordon has broken my heart many times with busted setups and closings. But..he’s old….

So, when Sabathia is broken down, either due to age, size, or a myriad of domestic disturbances, you can be sure the Phillies will be calling, and we won’t be taking no for an answer.

In other news. I saw this video last night on SNL and, having grown up in the late 80s early 90s it hit a chord. I can’t believe I remembered the theme song. Was there ever a more memorable premise or character on TV at least in the last 20 years though? I can’t even think of any that come close. It was the perfect combination of ridiculous premise, not-as-bad-as-you’d-think acting, and of course a set of easily memorable occurrences on each show: starting with the theme song and ending with the journal..sure to make it a cult classic for years to come.


Anyway, until next time,

Go Phillies in 09