I love a good clip show. It’s the laziest form of television. Today, Kosmo turns the tables and shows me how lazy he can be. I’m working on a couple of new ideas for the new year (as well as setting new goals) and should be back with a new article on Thursday.
I’ve been writing off and on (mostly off) for Lazy Man for almost ten years. When I began writing for him, the power electricity had only very recently been harnessed, and now we have flying cars! Earlier today. I scrolled through the list of my previous articles in an effort to come up with ideas for a new article.
Then the idea struck me – what if I could get Lazy Man to pay me for writing a recap of some of the greatest articles in Kosmo history? Even better, what if I could get him to pay me for several volumes of greatest hits? Without further ado, here are a handful of my favorite articles from the past decade.
Did Jon Singleton make a bad decision?
Many of my articles touch on sports touch on sports. Baseball, in particular, pops up a lot. This particular article discussed the decision made by a member of the Houston Astros in 2014. The player, Jon Singleton, signed a contract that would pay him at least $10 million spread over five years and as much as $32 million spread over eight years. On one hand, he was locking in at least $10 million, which should give him a nice nest egg. On the other hand, if he became a superstar, the $32 million he’d earn over eight years would be far less than he’d earn on the open market.
Other players blasted Singleton’s decision. I tend to be risk averse and try to avoid the scenario where I’m forced to work as a Wal-Mart greeter to make ends meet.
How did it turn out? Singleton played in 119 games between 2014 and 2015. His OPS+ was 76. The average hitter is 100, which means that he was 24% worse than the average hitter. To compound the poor hitting, he played only first base and DH, a position that requires a player to be a very good hitter. Those positions contribute almost no defensive value – literally none in the case of the DH.
Since baseball contracts are guaranteed, Singleton got the entire $10 million. That’s about twenty times what he would have made on a standard MLB contract. Singleton clearly made the right choice.
That’s not to say that these deals are always good. For example, the Braves signed Ozzie Albies ($35 million over seven years) and Ronald Acuña ($100 million over 12 years) to long contracts at the beginning of their careers. Both of those players have outperformed their contracts.
We may hear from Jon Singleton again. After being released by the Astros, he dropped 75 pounds and found his hitting stroke in the Mexican League. He is in the Brewer organization now and was recently added to the 40-man roster.
Fantex: Buy a Share of athlete earnings
Fantex was a company that would buy a share of an athlete’s future earnings. This would allow an athlete to lock in several million dollars while still having the potential to keep a large share of their future earnings if they became a superstar.
The first article I wrote focused on football player Arian Foster selling 20% of his future earnings for $10 million. Foster would come out ahead if he had less than $50 million in career earnings. Given the relatively short career length for running backs, $50 million seemed pretty unlikely. Indeed, Foster earned “only” about $40 million in his career, making the FanTex deal a winner for him.
In 2015, I wrote another article about FanTex, this time when baseball player Andrew Heaney sold 10% of his future earnings for $3.34 million. The break-even point for Heaney would be $33.4 million in career earnings. (Note: this ignores the time value of money – actual break-even would be somewhat higher). Heaney has never emerged as a star and right now has career earnings of about $25 million. However, he recently signed a two-year contract at $12.5 million per year. That will bring his career earnings to $50 million.
(Editor’s Thought: Kosmo and I are in the same fantasy baseball league, and I drafted Heaney. He’s been injured a lot, but when he’s healthy, he flashes star power. Even at age 31, he could get to 80-100 million in career earnings.)
Coke and free wifi
In 2014, Coke announced that they would begin offering free WiFi to poor villages in South Africa. The WiFi hotspot would be a Coke machine. If the pilot was successful, they were going to expand to other areas of Africa and beyond.
I haven’t seen any articles about this since 2014, so I’m going to assume that this was a flop. I thought it was an interesting idea, but the one sticking point is that the villagers would have to be affluent enough to afford a WiFi-capable device. Additionally, enough people needed to buy a Coke from the machine to make the project worthwhile for the country.
Does anyone know if there are similar projects currently underway?
My $0 iPhone Data Plan
This article was about how I avoided having a data plan by using my wife’s old iPhone as a WiFi-only device. The downside was that I didn’t have access to the internet if I went into a WiFi dead spot. This is one of several articles that touch on my tendency to be a bit frugal. Cheap. Whatever. (Editor’s thought: I think most iPhone plans were over $100 at the time. There are much better plans today.)
Am I still on a $0 data plan? Unfortunately, no. I have a normal iPhone that is connected to the internet 24/7.
Does this mean that I no longer try to save a buck? Of course not. When I get a new iPhone, it’s typically a very low-end model. I really don’t need all the bells and whistles. I own a tablet – but it’s not an iPad. It’s a perfectly capable Lenovo Android tablet. It can handle video streaming apps and Kindle Reading, and that’s pretty much all I need. It’s a decent brand at a low price point.
Both of the kids have Chromebooks. True to my nature, we have bought them some of the cheapest Chromebooks on the market, although we stick to brands we know. We also stick to refurbished rather than new. This has been a wise decision, especially since my son doesn’t always treat them very gently. We recently had a screen replaced in his Chromebook. A friend of mine at work is very hardware-savvy and was able to quickly replace the screen. The screen was about $30, which my son paid for out of his pocket.
Wow, I had forgotten about a lot of these articles from the past. (Who’s Jon Singleton?) The concepts are still useful today. I’m most curious about the Coke one. WiFi devices are a lot cheaper to make in 2023 than they were in 2013, so maybe the WiFi coke machine makes more sense. Looking more locally (the US), McDonalds’ WiFi became famous during the 2020 COVID shutdown – kids could get their school work done there if they lacked an internet connection at home.
I’m a fan of the Amazon Fire Tablets. I bought the kids them in 2019 and they ended up distance learning with them. During last year’s Amazon Prime Day, I upgraded them to the latest version. Even though the newer tablets do all the same functions, it’s much smoother with the hardware improvements. They love their tablets a lot more now. Of course, kids loving tablets has some drawbacks.
Stay tuned for Kosmo’s Greatest Hits Volume 2. (I wonder if my kids understand the “stay tuned” expression.)
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