Join the Fight to End Breast Cancer

I'm reposting a note my sister sent out about our Mother - we're running the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure in honor of our mother's successful fight against cancer.    You can donate to our effort using this link or follow the offline instructions Miriam lists below.

Dear Friends and Family,

I hope this note finds you well.

I'm writing because I'd like you to join me in celebration! This week our mom Deborah received news of yet another cancer free screening! I remember the day in March of 2008 when she shared with us that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I wanted to fight it! Now that she is cancer free I want to make sure that others can achieve a similar winning outcome. 

On Sunday September 12th we'll be running in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Central Park. It's a 5K race to raise money in the fight against breast cancer. 

Our team, "Team Bust a Move" has a fund-raising goal of $2000 this year.  Please help me reach that goal with your financial support.  Online donations are simple, and the site is secure.  Please go to my fundraising page and make a tax-deductible donation online a t -- click on "Sponsor a Race Participant" and search for my name.

If you prefer, mail your donation today to:

Komen Greater NYC  Race for the Cure
P.O. Box 9223, GPO
New York, NY 10087-9223

Please make your check payable to: Susan G. Komen for the Cure and add my name in the memo so that I will be credited for your donation.

Thank you in advance for your support. It means so much to us!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy new year,

Miriam and Jake Williams, Ben Bloom, and Rachel Rothman

Jose Canseco- Blog Pioneer?

Reading Dale Tafoya's Bash Brothers: A Legacy Subpoenaed which has been fantastic so far, and I'm finding out all kinds of things about Jose Canseco. Like, did you know Dave Parker said about him at one point, "That man is illegal."



What really has me going, though, is that at some point Canseco set up a 900 number where he would record a message every DAY, and you could call in and 900-234-JOSE would give you daily updates on the mundanities of his life. 

If only there had been the internet.

Weekend in Review

My Broncos lost a squeaker to the Bears special teams...I mean come on it sure as hell wasn't their anemic offense!  I think Jay Cutler has real talent, and if you take that idiot Sauerbrun out of the picture (he should haver to wear an "I Kick To Hester" t-shirt) we would have won, for sure. 

In other sports news, my trip to the Garden for the Cornell-Boston University hockey game was a little disappointing0 ended in a 6-3 defeat for the Big Red.  Given that MSG holds about 5 times the fans as Lynah Rink, it was pretty spectacular to hear thousands of Cornell fans yelling "RED" in the middle of the national anthem, and all of our other mob behavior is still way entertaining. 

Watching football this Sunday, I was treated to an ad for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which I look forward to seeing in 08.  However, if it continues the post-T2 decline of the franchise, I imagine I'll ultimately be disappointed.

The other thing I discovered was in those Toyota Tundra ads, the guy who drives up in the Tundra with the line "Get in" is none other than Eric Allan Kramer of Robin Hood, Men In Tights fame.  Go get 'em, little John!


The End of the Diversified Media Company?

How valuable is is to have assets over a variety of businesses?  Do economies of scale and especially scope really exist?  I think it is interesting what is happening this week.

Previously I blogged about IAC breaking up- essentially this is a vote for "yes" and a vote for "no" because the breakup into five separate companies suggests that the value of the parts individually is higher than the value of the whole.  Barry Diller also said that IAC

needed [the transactional businesses like Ticketmaster] earnings to allow us to invest in emerging Internet businesses. Now that we have real scale in the pure Internet units, it makes nothing but sense to me to reorganize the whole.

So essentially, having TV, internet, real estate, and retail assets all together under one roof wasn't maximizing shareholder value after all.

CnbcNbccom What are other firms doing?  Try GE. General Electric's NBC Universal unveiled a sweeping campaign last night during the Sunday Night Football broadcast of the Eagles-Cowboys game aimed at  "entertaining, informing and empowering Americans to lead greener lives."  But was anyone watching?

I would be surprised if this was not one of the top games in ratings this season.  The campaign, NBC Green is Universal, will turn the NBC logo on virtually all of its TV channels (cable and broadcast) Internet properties(excluding MSNBC),  green for one week to coincide with eco-awareness programming.  I don;t know what Matt Lauer was doing near the arctic circle, but apparently the earth is getting warmer :)  It's "Green Week" at Claire's high school on Heroes. 

The models on Deal or No Deal will be  wearing recycled parachutes.  Jay Leno shows you how to clean a green sink in an eco-friendly way.  Even as CNBC was reporting that Citigroup stock was probably headed lower, there was Eco-Awareness brought to you by NBCU. GE announced this on October 23, apparently.

It's going to be hard to avoid all of this, as NBC is everywhere, but I think the only thing this proves is unified campaign launches across platforms can be done well, with the added benefit that we decide to tell all our bosses to buy that $2,000,000 GE HVAC unit for the office park because it's 20% more efficient and uses 16% renewable resources (i made those figures up- all of them).  GE  named Ann Klee Vice President for Environmental Programs today!  All this seems more to be happening for corporate PR value and brand equity than any DR/commerce advertising.

Times are just as challenging for other large media companies.  The AOL/TW merger never produced the kinds of scale and scope ecomies and leverage promised to investors. Viacom spun off CBS radio in an apparent loss of faith  in the radio business's  fit with its other assets. 

Maybe all of these are examples of businesses with strong positions but weak strategic frameworks.  Are software/tech companies like Microsoft and Google doing this better than others?  In some sense, it seems like their model isn;t much different- using a cash cow (Windows OS/office software for Microsoft, search for Google) to lever into other lines of business.  Time will tell.

As if Fox wasn't idiotic enough

"Fox Super Bowl inventory 90% sold" says MediaWeek []

I hope Joe Buck isn't calling the Superbowl, because Fox is going retarded with its pregame show (which I am announcing right now, I will not watch.  I would rather watch "Requiem For A Dream" while inhaling jalapenos)


Fox will also create a Red Carpet arrival area for celebrities attending the Super Bowl that will be hosted during the pre-game telecast by American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest. Movie companies buying in-game Super Bowl spots, as a value added by Fox, will be able to parade its stars of upcoming movies on the Red Carpet and be asked a question about the movie by Seacrest.


Oakland, this is no way to treat your starters

Seeing Oakland lose at Shea last Saturday was tough- a 1-0 loss in the bottom of the 9th.  With the A's losing 3 games to the Mets and two to the Tribe, it was looking like another wasted June.  We picked up a win against Cleveland on Wednesday, and then blow a 3-1 lead to lose again Thursday night.  This is a good precis of how we keep losing ballgames.

Coming off a 1-0 loss in New York last week, Blanton once more left his club in prime winning position.

But with one out, two men on and the A's ahead, 3-1, the bullpen was fatefully summoned. And again, Blanton's outing was wasted when Ron Flores, a newcomer to such pressure situations, promptly left a 2-1 fastball over the plate and allowed a three-run homer to Jason Michaels.

"I feel bad for Joe," Flores said. "I can only imagine how it must feel to have a good outing go down the drain like that."

A thought from the first quarter of the Giants game

In The Hunt for Red October, Captain Marko Ramius explains to his officers that the reason he told the Soviet navy of his intention to defect (and thereby assured that the Soviet navy would hunt them down) with this anecdote: "When he reached the New World, Cortez burned his ships. As a result his men were well motivated."

Something about the Giants march down the field for a score to take a 7-0 lead reminded me of that.  Maybe it was the ridiculous assertion by a radio talk host that there were Giants fans rooting against the team just to get rid of Tom Coughlin.  Wow.  Maybe it was just the general feeling that the Giants were fighting their coach and the opposition at the same time, or that the public and the team seem very hostile to TC.

But something about that drive said to me: they're using Tiki Barber, they're motivated, they are ready.  So maybe it's "proper motivation" that Coughlin feels- the motivation of being about to lose your job in a hail of gunfire.

A heroic 4th-quarter Giants drive, which included three consecutive Giants penalties creating a 1st and  30 from the Eagles 33 culminated in a game-tying TD pass, but the Giants defense couldn't stop the Eagles from getting into field goal range.  Eagles 23, Giants 20.

I wonder how long he'll still be the head coach.