So the 1st round of the @deanshaw 2012 Twitter Madness Tourney is in the books and along with some expected outcomes we had some wild upsets and close calls. The 2nd round should be a real thriller as the competition heats up and the tweets become more critical.
It’s the second round people! Let’s get it on!
1st Round Summary
@BorowitzReport v. @SquareJawMedia: Like Lehigh University, this was just a tough matchup for SquareJaw and I am a sucker for snarky political humor. Wait…what??? Lehigh beat Duke????????
@iamJeffCohen v. @spikejones: If you’re gonna beat defending champion @spikejones you’re gonna have to bring more than a few tweets about Mountain Dew.
@MarkRaganCEO v. @jimsterne: In the first upset of the tourney @jimsterne brings down the heavily favored PR man. Mark Ragan brings a shitload of info to your twitterstream but he violates so many of my twitter douchebaggery rules I cannot in good conscious advance him to the next round. Jim also questioned my intelligence on a blog post I wrote showing a savvy recognition of my idiocy.
@DRUNKHULK v. @JustinKownacki: What a barnburner! Justin was cruising along hitting singles & doubles when out of nowhere hit a homerun with a brilliant George Clooney tweet. But in a squeaker JKow pulls out a narrow victory.
@chrisbrogan v. @overdrv: Perhaps still stinging from his first round upset from last year Brogan narrowly beats out Overdrv who unfortunately spent much of their matchup obsessing over some chick named Jane Mass. Ya, I don’t know who she is either.
@danzarella v. @awarenessinc: The social media scientist must have got lost on his way to the tourney posting only one tweet during the matchup. That was enough to hand the victory to Awareness.
@GSElevator v. @frankreed: Yet another bracket busting upset. Despite the Goldman Sachs news this week and the treasure trove of potential material, the elevator went down on GSElevator and Frank took advantage.
@mollybuckley v. @Cole_Watts: Cole Watts bracket looks waaaay better than mine at this point. He’s gotta go. #NotThatImPettyOrAnything
@TheOnion v. @carlsonjill: C’mon, it’s The Onion.
@stevehall v. @glenngabe: Perhaps sensing he was up against last year’s tourney finalist, Glenn brought his A-game and overwhelmed Steve
@badbanana v. @zachward: Two comedic geniuses go head to head, but while Zach was ‘hustling’ the badbanana was dropping dope tweets.
@dmscott v. @erictpeterson: Not only is there an “I” in David Meerman Scott but there’s also a ‘me”. Eric Peterson wins by an egomania DQ.
@thesulk v. @digitalalex: This was a battle of two people who really don’t seem to have the passion to win the Twitter Madness Tourney. Hard to figure that.
@1918 v. @cnmoody: Buckley whipped Moody. “That’s what she said”
@HubSpot v. @morgansiem: Morgan is tha shit but you need more than that to stop the Hubspot train.
@radian6 v. @HelenASPopkin: Radian6 mostly that blah blah blah engagement stuff. Helen brought some flava to the party.
@iamJeffCohen v. @spikejones: If you’re gonna beat defending champion @spikejones you’re gonna have to bring more than a few tweets about Mountain Dew.
@SteveMartinToGo v. @coreyspencer: Ya can’t win if ya don’t tweet.
@ShannonPaul v. @RudiShumpert: “if you are on opposite sides of the street you can WAVE to each other.” ‘nuf said.
@jdharm v. @johnlovett: I thought the web analytics wonder man could handle the marbly-mouthed Stern staffer but he came up short this time.
@leeodden v. @DavidBThomas: My buddy Dave musta been all tuckered out from SXSW as he was unusually silent in the first round.
@jowyang v. @CoreyCreed: Two underwhelming performances from two heavyweight Twitter titans. Edge Owyang
@JudahWorldChampion v. @dearblankplease: Why do you thing he’s the world champion?
@adage v. @JayDolan: Jay Dolan is getting healthy which only reminds me that I eat horribly and I’m in lousy shape. I gotta get rid of this kid
@Humblebrag v. @covati: Wow! A stunner! One of my favorite tweeters is humble and doesn’t brag. Adam Covati catches a huge break and advances to the next round!
@SethMacFarlane v. @FYeahAnalytics: A first time Twitter Madness Tourney participant and FYeah showed his rookie jitters against a comedy titan.
@jtobin v. @gemsie: I can only assume Jim was too much of a gentleman to beat a lady in the tourney.
@avinash v. @OMLee: Avinash said something about bacon.
@kaimac v. @mktgdouchebag: The douchebag made a deep run into the tourney last year but must have pulled a hammy in his twitter finger as he was largely quiet during this matchup. Tough break for the big fella and fortuitous luck for the mick..
@KimJongNumberUn v. @mediatwo: That tubby little dictator kid is funny but just like his critics in North Korea, I don’t think he has the legs for this tourney
@Exxx v. @SocialMedia411: I love potato-eating fairies that have pornish sounding twitter handles as much as the next guy, but The 411 is just that good.
@SteveNash v. @lyndseo: In the battle of the Canucks (I didn’t know they had running water up there, let alone twitter) my girl and fellow Winnipegger came up short (get it? short? basketball player?) against the only decent b-ball player Canada has ever produced. Legend had it he got lost on the way to hockey practice when he was a kid and ended up at a gym.
@AndyBeal v. @GinneySkal: Still bitter from his early exit at last year’s tourney, the uke playin’, karate choppin’, Hawaii visitin’, photo takin’, reputation managin’ titan is back in form and ready to rock this year.
I heard a radio ad the other day that actually caught my attention. Imagine that, a radio ad that caught my attention…score one for old skool media. On the other hand it caught my attention for all the wrong reasons because it was promoting what has to be the worst promotion in the history of mankind. It was so stupid I actually have done some homework on it just to make sure I’m not over-reacting.
The promotion is Quaker State’s “Cash Back Bonus”. So why is it so horrible? Well actually, the promotion is actually called “Cash Back Bonus when you hit 300,000 miles”. No, that’s not a typo, 300,000 miles. First of all, who the Hell drives a car until it has 300,000 miles on it? Forget that, who makes a car that lasts 300,000 miles? I mean I have a car that has 197,861 miles on it and pray to God every morning that it doesn’t break apart on the Interstate. It makes noises that have never been heard by human ears before. If there’s a car out there made of some kryptonitic substance that gives it a half-life of 1,000 years please let me know. But for the purposes of this blog I’ll play along and deconstruct the merits of this program for you.
So, for my analysis I’ll use the Toyota Camry as the example. It’s been one of the best-selling (and reliable) cars since the 1800’s and seems a logical choice. Using industry averages I will assume that I am driving 15,000 miles per year and getting oil changes every 5,000 miles. Using those parameters I would reach 300,000 miles in 13.3 years. Now if you read the fine print, you are required to use one of Quaker States “Specialty” motor oils (i.e. expensive). Of course there are other requirements like keeping ALL your oil change receipts and some other things that on their own make cash back unattainable, but again I am throwing all reason out the window.
So, let’s continue…
I did backwards math to determine that if that car were eligible today it would be a 1998 model year. Using a generous description of its condition on Kelly Blue Book that car had an estimated trade-in value of $1,867 in very good condition. Now, I could argue that most 13 year old cars with 300,000 miles are a piece of shit that even the most desperate teenager wouldn’t be caught dead in and is more likely a target of demolition derby enthusiasts but again lets suspend disbelief for the moment.
Now, let’s remember that you’re required to use “specialty” motor oil. Estimating the cost of that over using standard oil I figured that you’ll pay an additional $12 for each of the 40 oil changes you’ll have to perform costing you an additional $480.
So the net-net is that you’ll arrive at the eligibility for this promotion with Quaker State providing you a check for $1,867. Subtract the additional cost of Specialty oil and you’re left with $1,387….and a piece of shit car that will challenge the dignity of even the most frugal driver. Congratulations, Quaker State just rewarded you with a bonus of about $100 a year for using its specialty oil. Of course this comes with the assumptions of:
• You even making it to 300,000. If the duct tape holding it together falls apart at 299,000 you’re SOL.
• Anyone at Quaker State even acknowledging that the program ever existed 13 years from now and can stop laughing that you even bit on it.
• You have the humility to keep all the receipts, meet all the requirements, fill out all the paperwork, and have the willingness to acknowledge that you actually drove that rust bucket that long.
But let’s face it. This thing is some demented piece of science fiction that was probably borne out of a marketing department that was tasked with coming up with a promotion that sounded unbelievable and masked the fact that it was also unachievable. I’m pretty sure that when the marketing folks at Quaker State were batting ideas around, it came down between the “Cash Back Bonus” and the “If You Hit a Sasquatch that is Riding a Unicorn with your Car & Bring it into the Quaker States Offices Alive, We’ll Give You $1,867 Sweepstakes” because the odds are roughly equivalent of either being fulfilled.
If I have offended someone who right now is driving that 1998 Toyota Camry with 300,000 miles on it only through the miracle of Quaker State Specialty oil, I offer my sincere apologies…actually I offer my insane curiosity of ‘what the hell????”
For Quaker State I offer my sincere amazement that this promotion actually made its way into existence without someone in the meeting dying of laughter. Your belief that this would actually encourage someone to take the 300,000 challenge is admirable if it weren’t so obviously disingenuous.
For all you other marketers out there, the lesson is to not treat the public like a bunch of idiots. They are way smarter than you give them credit for.
As for me, while the world waits for Quaker State to prove the existence of the mythical “300,000 car”, I’m going hunting for Unicorn-riding Sasquatches in my 2000 Toyota Sienna (197,884 miles and hanging by a thread).
When I first entered the work force one of the best perks around was being able to attend trade shows and conferences. What was not to love? You got away from the drudgery of the 9-5 grind, got to go to strange and exotic places (like Cleveland for example), and were generally given meals and accommodations well beyond what you were used to in real life. There were no sweeter words than “per diem”, which I think is Latin for “eat whatever you want, the company is paying for it” (SIDE NOTE: Have you ever noticed how fancy some people get when they are spending someone else’s money?).
I can’t say I’ve done a lot of work related travel, after all, I am waaaaaay too important to leave the office for any length of time, but I have been able to travel to some parts of this world that I wouldn’t have never seen otherwise. (Quick Disclaimer: For those that envy business travelers, while it seems like a paid vacation from the outside, I can tell you that traveling on the company dime isn’t nearly as fun or as glamorous as it often appears).
But that was then and this is now: Then, was pre-internet where communication was done primarily by phone, mail, and in person. Al Gore had not invented the Internets yet and conferences and trade shows were by default a location-based activity. Oh how the world has changed since then.
Today, I am barraged with emails inviting me to download whitepapers (98% appear to talk about how important it is to have a social media presence), sign up for webinars (98% appear to talk about how important it is to have a social media presence), or view live coverage of events (98% appear to talk about how important it is to have a social media presence). If I never felt like working, I could easily fill my brain with enough information to, well, fill my brain, all from the comfort of my desk. There is literally nothing you can’t learn with a few well-booleaned Google searches. Seriously, I did brain surgery on my dog this afternoon after Googling “How to do brain surgery on my dog”. (Mental Note: Google “where can I bury my dead dog” later).
This leads me to my point; Has digital media evolved to a point where business travel is becoming obsolete? Other than to enrich the industries that profit from business travelers (I’m looking at you mini-bar manufacturers), why do I really need to go to Orlando to learn about the latest social media techniques? What’s the value of venturing to Seattle to discover new advances in web analytics? Tell me the ROI of going to the junket, drunk-fest, douchebag convention, think tank that is South By Southwest. The truth is, you don’t need to go beyond your comfy little cube to be the smartest man on the planet on almost any subject you want. Yet these conferences continue to thrive, grow, and be well-attended.
Now, liars proponents will tell you, “Being face to face is the most effective way to learn and interact” (Translation: Dude, how am I gonna figure out who’s hiring so I can angle for a new and better job at a different company). They might tell you “rubbing shoulders with the customer is the best way to get deals done” (translated: Dude, sure I know the customer is going to renew, but I love free Ruth Chris Steaks, so a little business dinner on the road is a win-win). You will often hear “By removing yourself from the distraction of the office, you are able to focus on activities that will enhance your development and benefit the company” (Translation: Dude, when you’re on the road, it’s harder for the boss to see what a slack you are and if the strip joint restaurant is smart, they know how to
write a receipt that will not only pay for your filet mignon but also allow you to over-expense the company and profit from the trip). Another popular argument is “by going out into the field you are better able to understand the market and its needs and demands” (translated: Dude, Cirque de Soleil can only be truly appreciated in Vegas). Finally, an oldie but goodie is “I’ll be able to bring back knowledge that I can share with the team (translated: “fuck the team, they already loathe me because I got to go to London and they didn’t, and by the time the boss remembers that I didn’t do a knowledge transfer, whatever I learned will be outdated, and I’ll have to go to the next conference for a refresher”).
The dirty little secret is that most of these trips aren’t necessary. The company will probably do just fine if you miss that “Mobile Marketing: Your Roadway to Success” conference in Tempe. You can probably find 14 webcasts on ‘YouTube Channel best practices’ that will teach you more than that “Leveraging Video Content for Sales Success” event in New York. And I know for Goddamn sure that whatever the fuck they talk about at South By Southwest Interactive isn’t something that can’t be learned at some loud noisy bar on a Friday night at your local college campus (I mean that’s pretty much what happens at SXSW right?).
Don’t get me wrong, if you can convince the company that you need to attend every conference in the country like some weed-smokin’ Phish fan, more power to you. Just be on notice that the day will come when the gravy train ends and we’ll look back and say “remember the days when we traveled the country for free to learn stuff we already knew?” Until then enjoy your free travel perks while you can, rack up those frequent flyer miles and 5 Stars restaurants because someday soon that pinhead Lionel in finance (who never travels) is gonna take a hard look at the books and ask “Why do we send Phil to San Francisco every year for MacWorld? Aren’t we in the semi-conductor business?”
* Disclaimer: While Dean talks a big game about his disdain for business travel and its uselessness, he is generally full of shit and disingenuous on the subject. He is more than happy to help you spend your per diem at a fine restaurant that has fresh cut chops, a wide selection of Brandy, and well-stocked humidor. Give him a call as he is available most evenings