Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Spin to win, know what I mean? Ulrik puts down the first backside 1620 on film for Factor Films' 'They Came From'. The movie comes free with Onboard 109. Of course I say first because this is the first one I've seen. Somebody may have done it first...
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
The title of this rant should really be Why paid print and digital distribution is irrelevant for 90% of media properties in 2009 but I didn’t think anyone would bother reading this post. The trigger to this banality was the notification on the latest issue of TransWorld Business (no not the transgender video series) which offered a VIP subscription for $49.95 or a digital subscription for $9.95. Hold the phone! My beloved rag is now charging me to learn why shops are in the toilet, see waif (ahem) models in the latest Volcom biknis, and how to effectively market Reef sandals to frat boys? When I read further, it turns out the VIP subscription is the only subscription, providing the same benefits that I currently receive for free. This smells like the ‘ol "VIP" lapdance scam. The digital subscription is, well, the digital version of the magazine, yawn.
I can envision the conversation at the board room of TransWorld Media. Dudes, we need to make more money as TransWorld Wake isn’t pulling in the big bucks. Brah, let’s do what Rupert Murdoch and John Grisham do! What’s that? Let’s charge people to read our Industry mag! Whoa, that’s brilliant! Pass the bong.
Now I think many of you are saying, it is only fair payment for a service or good. I agree, but one needs to review the purpose and quality of that service first. In this case, TW Biz provides industry-specific information for the Surf, Skate and Snowboard industries. They have not broadened their reach to include other “Action Sports” and traditionally have been pretty generous on their subscriptions (hence why I am on the list). Because of their niche reach, they have a very limited audience and need to boost circulation to warrant prices that they charge for advertising. I’m pretty sure that they did the math to realize what $49.95 x 40,000 or so peeps would provide ($1,998,000), but that’s assuming that you can get all those subs when they’re not free.
Shops and industry peeps aren’t immune from the recession either. Do you think that they’re going to spend $50 on TW Biz when the same content can be found elsewhere for next to nothing or free? For $50, you could subscribe to a series of small business magazines, which would guarantee to have more useful information on inventory and cash flow management, but wouldn’t have the pretty pictures of all the cool parties. Usually there’s a Jake Burton or Yvon Chouinard article in there though. And you’d have some money left over for a case of Bud. But I digress.
It is the year 2009. Only the Wall Street Journal and Hustler charge for their content, and you ain’t Larry Flynt. With the Internets, mediocre to good content can be readily found for free. And often most publishers are posting content quickly after the print publish date anyway. It isn’t only the expectation but the rule that content is a commodity. As a result, you would be better served to truly reach out to your audience with a better business model. Why not reach out to the Industry that depends on these shops for their lifeblood to help sponsor the magazine with exclusive advertorials, straight up advertising or exclusive opportunities? Or may be increase your coverage of key events such as conferences with webinars, valuable statistics, etc. The model should be Forrester Research not the NY Times. In conclusion, because subscriptions are down across your other properties, don’t come knocking on my door. C’mon I need to know if short short boardshorts are in or OUT.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
For the rest of the snowboarding masses, you read the hype, saw the boards, possibly demoed or purchased a snowboard with "rocker", "reverse camber", "banana", "rocking chair", "v-rocker" or one of the 8 million other terms used to differentiate different alternative camber theories in snowboard shape construction. Midway through 2008 and fully into 2009, the reverse camber trend was in full effect. With the crazy success of the Skate Banana by Lib, companies hurried and quickly brought their RC boards to the market in 2009. This utterly chaotic release left many snowboarders shaking their head as the boards were released without much explanation for the masses. You gotta remember: Most of us aren't smarter than a 5th grader.
The result? Lots of misinformation, board purchases that left consumers confused and frustrated, and in some rare cases, some really really really stoked snowboarders. Ok, may be I'm overstating things a bit, as most people who ride a RC board are pretty stoked, but in the middle of 2009, you'd be more likely to find a male shop employee who can explain what the clittoris is than explain what reverse camber is.
Now in 2010, companies have had time to prep, do their due diligence and actually thoughtfully explain this technology. Leading the charge (duh) is the mags. You'll see RC guides from Transworld Snowboarding, Snowboarder mag and Snowboard (to name a few). Of course, you'd have to subscribe, buy, find then read the article after being unindated with a billion ads for useless crap.
Instead, we've summarized all of those articles while adding our years of experience (aka bitter, over the hill and injured) to help you find the right type of reverse camber board for you. And if you need to see what the mags are saying, take a look at this quick one-pager from Snowboard mag (to the right). This was the most coherent description of the various types of RC, so much so that I have used it as a guideline (note to the kids at home: honest online writers reference their sources). Buy their magazine so Nuñez will get off my back.
Camber: Starting with the basics. This type of board is a "traditional" board. As the you move closer to the middle the board bows slightly upwards off the ground. When you ride the board and flex it through the turns, it creates a traditional arc in the snow. This is snowboarding, pre-2009.
Snowboarder type: Non-lazy, conservative/scared to change (aka someone who's job is snowboarding)
A solid example? Burton Uninc
Reverse Camber: Banana, V-rocker, RC, Jib-rocker, All-mountain rocker, 1985, this type of "reverse camber" has a bunch of different names all saying similar things. This is what you expect of rocker. It's traditional in the tips and tails then veers downwards like a V or a dirty sanchez mustache towards the middle of the board between the bindings. The best use of this type of rocker: Pow turns on your jib stick with a centered stance: no joke. Also great for flatland, spins and other 15-yo crap. But watch those 50-foot kicker landings, if you're not centered between your bindings, you're fucked. No sitting in the back seat on these boards.
Snowboarder type: JG said it best, "Rocker makes you lazy", someone with an open mind and open wallet, 100% of beginner to intermediate snowboarders will benefit from rocker as it won't catch an edge so say bye bye to scorpions.
A solid example? Lib Tech Skate Banana
Zero Camber +/- kicks: Confused by many, this is often called reverse camber but includes phrases like zero camber, flat kick, scoop tip/tail, upturns. No it's not a type of ponytail hairstyle, this board is flat across the length of the board like you're 5-yo old beat-up rock board, but often includes upturned tip and tail to ease initiation when doing butters, flatland spins, etc. It could be considered the poor man's reverse camber.
Snowboarder type: Any snowboarder who sees the potential of reverse camber, but isn't sold on the hype. These boards also float pretty well in the pow pow even without the moustache. They also feel more like a traditional deck.
A solid example? Nitro Rook comes with a zero camber option
Camber/Rocker combos: To add to the confusion, companies like Never Summer, Lib and Burton have released snowboards that mix Camber and Reverse Camber. Often there is camber or flat camber between the bindings to give you that traditional feel when carving, but has rocker outside of the bindings to give you that jibberific feel and benefit in the pow pow. This could be the future.
Snowboarder type: It's a toss up if everyone should be riding these boards. Out of all the RC-types, I have gravitated to these boards first. It's sorta "all the benefits of rocker and none of the downsides." The one that that I've found is that these boards tend to require a bit of tech (vario edges, MTX or PDE) to keep you straightlining, but that's a downside of any RC board.
A solid example? Never Summer's SL-R
The only useful piece of advice that I can give you the snowboard consumer is don't listen to my drivel, try before you buy. Go find a demo, borrow a board from a friend or stalk your local rep. Only you can tell if reverse, v-rocker, camber kicks is for you. Remember as Chris Farley (pour out a lil liquor for our homie) wisely said in Tommy Boy:
(A)ll they sold ya was a guaranteed piece of shit. That's all it is, isn't it? Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I got spare time.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
But, they all kinda flowed together in my mind. Now, I'm pretty much in the camp of skateboarding is skateboarding. I'm far too removed from giving a crap about who landed what trick. When I see something amazing I usually get excited. Let me qualify, amazing for me is something that happens very small, localized and is pretty much more technical than I can dream of. Hence, why I like watching Haslam, Malto, etc. I also classify spontaneity as something amazing. People who just throw out a trick that's entirely disparate from what they've been doing, that blows me away. Bigger jaw dropping things - Mega Ramp, 25 stair ollies, amazing yes, but they don't leave a huge impression. So to summarize this non-sequitor, if it's within my reach of comprehension and lets say skating every day for two years reach ... yeah I like. But, what Spencer, Jackson and Vallely do is kinda out there between those realms.
On it's own I imagine it's perceived as goofy or weird. However in conjunction within it's own skate-ecosytem, it's kinda cool. I'd actually like to see these guys come together and maybe do a road trip or something. That would be interesting. Maybe it could be the next MTV show. We can call it Circus Tricks. Andy Mac could be their vert pogo stick guy. Viacom are you taking notes?
Just a random thought.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
How do I get sponsored?
How do i get an action sports industry job?
How do I get a sports industry job?
Why don't you start a skateboard company?
How do I get my product reviewed on your site?
How, what, why ..... ?
So as I soft pedaled my carbon fiber ride next to the Potomac I slowed down and stopped. How do you do all these things? My path is pretty well known. I took what I knew how to do professionally, blended it with what I love and abracadabra ... here we are.
But, its gotta be easier than that. I bet with the right guidance I'd be in a different place right now. Don't get me wrong, I am very happy where I am: employed with a killer job, hanging with with fam, cycling, skating, writing ... life is damn good. So I figured why not tap into those I know, some knowledge I have and maybe I can help somebody move forward. So stay tuned over the next few weeks there will be blogs and interviews with some sports industry folks on how they got started, a few nuggets of advice here and there and basically me telling you what I know. I figure -- why not. if one of you 20,000 monkeys who came here last month has any interest in action sports this might just help you get a job.