Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Shaq Attack

You ever been asked to play the "If you had five people you could have dinner with, who would they be?" game?

Me too, as recent as last week.

Weird though, only one name had a definite seat at the table ... Shaquille O'Neal. Not exactly President Bush, or Ghandi, or the Pope, or even Michael Jordan (although he would probably be there though). The folks in the car kind of laughed, but I sincerely would enjoy spending time with Shaq.

Yes, a big part of it is his humor. I think he is the funniest cat out there. He would certainly have me in stitches before the night was over. But he is more.

I have heard numerous stories that paint the picture of him being the perfect star athlete. From him being Shaq-a Claus, to Shaqs-giving, to his life long passion to be a police officer after his NBA career is over he just genuinely wants to help. He is leveraging his star status to make a difference in this world. And I appreciate that.

The most recent illustration of him using his stature for common good is his newest TV show on ABC called Shaq's Big Challenge. He takes 6 obese children and will teach and train them on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

But he does it only as Shaq can. He is simply hilarious. His show is great ... so far. Hopefully, with the humor woven into the reality show, maybe parents and children can learn something. We as Americans are getting ridiculously fat. No, not heavy, not overweight, but FAT. If calling our children fat is going to motivate them into a healthy lifestyle, then by all means.

We have a program at Vanderbilt called Building Dores where we challenge elementary aged kids to keep an activity log for 2 weeks in exchange for a free ticket. I am very proud of this program and it has proven to be a great success as it relates to selling tickets. However, this show has me rethinking how we can make a real difference in these kids' lives.

Check out the show. If you have children, TiVO the show and watch them all.

I have used the following label for Shaq in the past and I feel even more strongly that he is my generation's Ali.

Take care.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Guarding Angel

So, I am feeling kind of sad. No, not sad about Angel Cabrera winning the US Open. But rather, sad because an American failed to win "our" golf tournament ... again.

Is that wrong? Is that racism? I am clearly cheering against every race other than American in the US Open. And I think this makes four straight that foreigners have won. Hmm. It was just very weird to have to have an interpreter do the interview following the US Open trophy presentation.

This is further evidence that this world is really shrinking. And really, I like it. I like a smaller world. I like the NBA champions having a nationality pot-luck style roster.

Kind of ironic that I am having these thoughts after the SI article I read last night on Omar Minaya. He has realized the true benefit at the big league level of having a multicultural roster on and off the field. And better yet, how to motivate and inspire them. The managers of tomorrow in the business world, where diversity management will be paramount, might take the time to learn the lessons people like Omar are teaching.

We Americans might have some humble pie to scarf down before we can take another step forward as a nation. But, there is still not other place I would want to be, good 'ole US of A.

Take care.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

NACDA Review

It has been a while since my last post, but believe me much has been happening. Below is but a taste:

  • Vanderbilt baseball won the SEC Tournament
  • Vanderbilt baseball garnered the No 1 overall seed in the Road to Omaha
  • VU hosts first ever NCAA Baseball Regional
  • Sold out all seats for Regional before Monday
  • Lost Track coach; resigned
  • Lost baseball regional in dramatic fashion Monday to Michigan
  • Lost very successful women's golf coach - went to Texas
  • My staff and I attended NACDA Convention
  • I spoke on our customer service program at NACDA
  • VU has begun our second Sales Academy
  • VU football season ticket sales are about 37% ahead of last year

A big part of the time recently was attending the NACDA Convention in Orlando, FL. While I will try to speak in more detail soon, below are the highlights.

  • Learned that ESPN 360 will soon become a major player in "television" rights game. ESPN 360 is espn.com's subscription service that has broadcasted some games so far, but will leverage their ESPN network rights agreements in the future to distribute many non-televised games but also could potentially supersede the RSN in the future. Stay tuned.
  • Of course, we made some more really good contacts in the business. It is funny, my first year I was wasting time in the exhibit area because I knew no one. But now, I barely even noticed the exhibitors because I am becoming more familiar with the people at the various institutions.
  • We talked more with CLC who will become our licensee in July. I am so excited at what possibilities exist as we move forward.
  • Saw the Space Shuttle take off! Freakin cool.
  • Learned that the college industry is VERY slow to adopt the pro sports sales model for selling tickets. While there is certainly momentum for hiring sales staffs, the movement is very slow. I don't get it. Everyone that has made the leap, reaps the rewards.
  • Gave my presentation on our Deputy Dores program which is a group of volunteers performing random acts of kindness. It is shocking how many people are interested in customer service, yet have no sort of plan. I thought I did well, but certainly tailed off on the third g0-around of a 45 minute presentation.
  • Listened to a pretty good speech by Head South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier. More on that later.
  • Coined a term - Networking Nitwit. I ave discovered there are some people that have an uncanny ability to network themselves extremely well with very little substance. However, these people do end up getting good jobs in this industry. Makes me wonder ... who exactly is the Nitwit?
  • Definitely wonder why some departments and schools choose not to send their staffs on a professional development trip like this. It just offers too much.

That's a good recap, and I will get back in the saddle with my posts now. Things I am paying attention to these days include:

Take care.