The Patriots And The Business Of Winning

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If you are one of the many people who haven't cut the cable television, you might want to set your VCR or DVR for to tape CNBC on Sunday 7PM ET. CNBC is going to air a special called Touchdown!: The Patriots And The Business Of Winning. Regular readers of this site, know that I've long been a fan of the Patriots.

I hope that CNBC gets into the decision making process the Patriots had to go through with resigning players. For instance the Patriots let fan favorite Adam Vinatieri go and sign with their biggest rival, the Indianapolis Colts. There's a lot of other things that I'm sure CNBC will touch on like the cost of building the current stadium and how they did it without requiring season ticket holders buy personal seat licenses. The Patriots are also building a new Patriots Hall of Fame complex and I'd be interested to find out how that fits into their overall business model.

I know that throughout the show they'll touch on how the Patriots find value where other's do not.

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Last updated on January 22, 2008.

Did Lazy Man Hurt Erin Burnett’s Career?

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Earlier this week, a reader wrote me to tell me that the media is exploding over Erin Burnett's Men's Health article. I don't know how I missed all the news, but I give many thanks go to Sam for updating me.

Regular readers may remember that I wrote Why I Would Not Impress CNBC's Erin Burnett. Dealbreaker claims their own Bess Levin first brought attention to Erin Burnett's desires in a man. Depending on your definition of "attention", I would like to claim the honor of bringing the article to light. Ms. Levin's article was published four days after mine had spent some time on various social networks.

News stories tend to spread quickly. The NY Post picked up the story and it is currently listed as their most e-mailed article. This lead to the Huffington Post picking up the article as well. When two organizations of that size pick up story and it become popular, many new organizations are going to follow. A look at a Google search for seems to show quite a few of them. While I'm disappointed to not be referenced in any of them, but happily I'm near the top of the list - even ahead of Dealbreaker's article.

Readers of those articles only got the message that she seems to be a "material girl." I wanted to stress that she lives in a different world than the average Joe. When you talk with Wall Street executives every day, the value of a dollar is simply skewed. Secondly, the context of the article was not mentioned. The Men's Health article in the magazine was on a page titled, "Let Your Money Grow." Men's Health got off extraordinarily easily for posting something completely counterproductive to their message. It's simply as irresponsible as advocating their readers go on an all donut diet.

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Last updated on August 1, 2011.

Erin Burnett: Why I Would Not Impress CNBC’s Anchor

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For a variety of non-financial reasons, I like to read Men's Health from cover to cover each month. I know it's not as entertaining as Maxim Magazine for a lot of people, but I still like it. Though it has a ton of advertising and is one of the few magazines where it's impossible to get cheap, the content is usually well worth the cost. I've even found the articles about money fairly interesting. In the Jan/Feb edition, I found one such interesting article. Unfortunately, I can't say it's very helpful to their target audience.

On page 123, there is an article 8 ways to impress me by Erin Burnett. Let's go through them one by one and look at why Men's Health would put this (with other articles) under a page titled, "Let Your Money Grow."

1. "Any guy who can plan a trip to an exotic locale... would impress me" - That doesn't sound pretty cheap does it?
2. "Buy me a new atlas and globe... I love to travel and hope to eventually set foot in 100 countries." - An atlas and a globe, I can handle that. Stepping in 100 countries, well that could get pricey.
3. "...round-trip business-class tickets to Australia and New Zealand for my parents would earn you big points" - Assuming they live near NYC, that's probably more than $5,000 gift for just the airline tickets. That sounds like a good way to "let your money grow"
4. "...I'd be impressed if you thought to send a yoga instructor to my apartment for private sessions." - In NYC that's got to cost at least a $1,000 a month right?
5. "Finding an exercise bike at my door would be great..." - This is something that's a pretty reasonable one-time cost. Of course, getting exercise equipment for a woman you want to impress is always smart idea. If you can't smell the sarcasm in that last sentence, I can't help you.
6. "Reading is a passion of mine, so a gathering with some of my favorite authors... would make for an exceptional evening." - When she started with reading, I thought it would surely be a way to earn some major points on the cheap. That was one big curve-ball she threw though.
7. "Hiring a personal chef to prepare meals... would be unforgettable." - You know I really would love to do this. While I'm at it, let me get you one for your new yoga instructor.
8. "A long weekend spa getaway for my sisters and me would be perfection" - My money is multiplying just reading this...

I realize that Erin Burnett probably makes a great income. As part of her career she rubs elbows with CEOs who have multiple millions of dollars. It seems that this is poor choice for the average reader of Men's Health - especially if you going to run the article on a page with other tips about helping your money grow.

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Last updated on December 11, 2008.

Three Great Commericals From One Financial Institution

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Since I've resigned from my day job, I've found myself watching a fair amount of CNBC. I find that I learn something new almost every hour. However, for the second time this week, I want to focus on the commercials. In particular Lincoln Financial has a brilliant campaign going on. As opposed to this Ebay campaign that tries to glamorize people buying junk that they probably don't need, Lincoln Financial's campaign is designed to make you think about the future. I think these commercials are very well done, even if a couple of them do make me shed some man-tears a couple of times a day. Interestingly two of these YouTube spots differ slightly from the commercial that actually airs on CNBC.

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Posted on October 26, 2007.

My experience as a member of CNBC’s Fast Money live audience – Part 3

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I surprisingly had a number of people write me to finish my experience as a member of Fast Money's live audience. I was a little surprised because I got the feeling that I was going off topic for a personal finance blog. Alas you requested and I can't make you wait any longer, so I hope enjoy part 3 of the story. For those who missed part 1 and/or part 2, where have you been?

We last left off with my ticket not really being a ticket and despite being early, I'm a member of the standby audience to see the live broadcast of CNBC's Fast Money.

1:10 - I finally get to the front of the line and receive my standby ticket. I'm the 14th standby person. I tell myself that's actually not bad. There are at least a hundred people behind me, probably closer to 150.
1:12 - What is this? It is food! I thought for sure that I'd starve since this took place right through lunch. Unfortunately, it's what my anti-PC friend would call, "fat people's food." I don't care, chocolate chip cookies and regular coke (I have switched to diet years ago) will shoot my blood sugar to about a billion (or whatever is a high measure of blood sugar).
1:20 - Friends of Charles Schuab are being let in first.
1:25 - Everyone else with a regular ticket is being let in.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Last updated on October 26, 2007.

My experience as a member of CNBC’s Fast Money live audience – Part 2

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Yesterday, I took you though the preparation and process of being an audience member of CNBC's Fast Money. When we last left, I was just arriving at the Computer Science Museum at 12:20, ten minutes before I was requested to be there and an hour and a half before the live broadcast starts.

  • 12:20 - I get out of my car in a business suit (as the dress code stated). Before I take two steps, two young men, probably not far out of college if out at all, comment about their lack of dress after seeing me. They aren't dressed poorly, but no tie or suit as I expect business attire to be. I didn't catch their names, so let's call them Jack and Mike.
  • 12:22 - As I get towards the entrance, I see more people that are more casually dressed than me. I'm starting to get nervous now
  • 12:23 - I step inside. I was unaware that the Computer History Museum was a Disney theme park. I'm amazed to find no roller coaster, but everyone waiting to get into show. There's line snakes around on the current level for awhile and then goes up some stairs and out of sight. So much for showing up a full 7 minutes before they requested. If not for this blog, I'd turn around and go home.
  • 12:26 - There's a gentleman that seem to be ushering people to the front of the line. Maybe my "ticket reservation" (see yesterday's article for explanation of that) pay off and I'll be able to skip this line.
  • 12:27 - No such luck. Charles Schwab has invited some special guests and they don't have to wait in line it seems. For the first time in my life I'd like to "Talk to Chuck." I'd have a few words that can't be written in this space. (Later on I'd change my stance on this.)
  • 12:35 - Jack and Mike directly behind me in line, become my "entertainment." Entertainment, like most things, is a relative turn. It seems that Jack is a software engineer for a medical start-up. He says the company has a bunch of shell companies and corporate faces, but it's all legal and necessary. To paraphrase him, "if you didn't know better you'd think we are doing shady business." Also, the doctors submit funny bug reports. I feel you need to know these things.
  • 12:42 - I love Google Reader. I catch up this article from The Simple Dollar. It's a great article, so I star it for later.
  • 12:51 - I've reached the stairs - not bad for nearly a half hour. It's only two two flights before I get the space that I can't see past.
  • 12:53 - Mike shorted the market on the previous Monday. It was a bad move and he couldn't get out because he wasn't near a computer. He was afraid the market was going to open negative the next day and he'd lose more money. Again, you really need to know these things.
  • 12:54 - Keeping in mind that entertainment is still relative and everyone is quite bored, a female staff member gallops in slow motion down the stairs. Jack probably explained it best to Mike, "I've never seen someone so enthusiastically bounce down a set of stairs and yet take so long." Every heterosexual male noticed as well.
  • 12:56 - The female staff member returns up the stairs. My notes for this entry simply reads, "Bouncy Girl 2.0".
  • 12:58 - I look down at the line behind me and longer than when I got there. I notice a guy with a shaved head, ZZ Top goatie, and an Oakland Raiders game day jersey on. He must have missed the line about the a dress code, but no money in the world is going to make me break it to him.
  • 1:01 - I reach the top step! Better yet there's a check in desk in front of me. There are only about ten people between me and the finally being done with this line!
  • 1:02 - A staff member informs the ten people in front of me that they are out of seats and that they are trying to add more, but we'll have to be considered as "on standby" and there are no guarantees that we'll get to see the show. So much for the people that actually showed up when they were supposed to. At this point, I wish they simply had tickets that were giving out to people who requested them online first.

Will I be part of the audience? Or will I have to do the rest of series by watching the DVR? We'll have to find out in Part 3.

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Last updated on October 27, 2007.

My experience as a member of CNBC’s Fast Money live audience – Part 1

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I leaked information last Friday that I was going to be in the audience for the live broadcast of CNBC's Fast Money from Silicon Valley. This was to be my first experience as part of a live audience. Living in Boston for most of my life, the opportunities for being part of something on TV were limited to Spenser For Hire and, well that's about all that I can remember, but I imagine other things were filmed there. This was a special event for me because it was the first time that I could do something fun while working at home.

For those unfamiliar with Fast Money, as I was, the show is similar to a post-game wrap-up of the day's markets. It's largely about trading stocks over the short term rather than buying and holding. They may talk about Microsoft hitting 32 by next Friday for example. There are 5 people in a discussion panel headed by Dylan Ratigan. He's one of the hardest working CNBC employees as he seems to be everywhere at once. The following four people each have specialties that combine to form a vast knowledge of the markets. Guy Adami has expertise in the commodities market. Jeff Macke built up a company from scratch and seems to zig when the market is zagging. Pete Najarin is the options guru and former linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Minnesota Vikings. Karen Finerman runs her own hedge fund and sexes up the panel (whether she likes it or not). If you are interested you can read more about the panel here

I thought of a few ways I relate the whole experience, but I settled on keeping a diary like my favorite sportswriter, Bill Simmons, would do. Here's how it all played out:

Pre-Show Process

  • Friday, October 12th - I hear about Fast Money coming to Silicon Valley. Free tickets clinch my interest. I quickly go to CNBC and sign up.
  • Saturday, October 13th - I receive a response about the taping asking me for additional information about myself. It asks that I include a picture of myself or bring ID to the show for "security reasons." I opt for the later, since I carry ID everywhere I go. The show airs at 2PM local time, but the letter requests that I arrive by 12:30. Seems like a lot of downtime.
  • Thursday, October 18th - I receive a reminder of my ticket reservation the show requiring my response if I'm still interested. I reply back that I am.

Day of Show:

  • 10:00 AM - Time for me to prepare for the show. This means printing out the waiver form as well as the ticket reservation letter.
  • 10:05 - Going through the waiver... no cameras, no cell phones, no communication devices of any kind to prevent trading before the end of the show. Did I mention that this is airing live and after trading hours? At most there's a 5 second delay before the panel says something and it is broadcast. Also note that these people have no inside information that they can talk about.
  • 10:06 - Going through the ticket reservation letter... I notice that this is my "reservation for 1 FREE ticket" and that "Since tickets are free, we honor a first-come, first-serve policy. THIS IS NOT A TICKET." Seriously, look at this letter. In the words of Jerry Seinfeld, "You know how to take the reservation. You just don't know how to hold the reservation. And the hold is the most important part of the reservation! Anyone can just take reservations!"
  • 10:07 - Hmmm, "dress code is business attire." I wonder if that's New York business attire or Silicon Valley business attire. There's a huge difference there. I'm going to assume New York, but this could be interesting
  • 10:45 - I get my suit from the closet. I haven't needed it since I moved to Silicon Valley. Where is my white dress shirt? Oh there it is. Wait this doesn't fit! It's one of my wife's military shirts. Good fun, but I still can't find any of my dress shirts. After trying on 2 more shirts, I find something that can pass as long as I wear my coat the entire time.
  • 10:46 - 12:20 - Everything with getting dressed and going to the Computer History Museum goes very uneventfully, but that's all about to change... in part 2.
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Last updated on October 25, 2007.

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