Friday, November 30, 2012

Cities are getting smart about getting scammed

The Economist has a commentary about how the Atlanta Falcons are looking for a taxpayer subsidy in the neighborhood of $300 million to build a new stadium.

Now, that $300 million won't pay for the entire stadium. Just 30 percent, as plans are to spend $1 billion to build the new stadium.

I don't begrudge NFL team owners for trying to get money from their local area for new stadiums or renovations of their current stadiums. It's never a bad idea in business to get someone else to pay you for something you want.

But local cities are starting to catch on. It used to be, that teams would threaten to relocate if they didn't get a new stadium paid in part by the local governments. But economists are also putting out reports about the lack of economic benefit that new stadiums bring to cities, considering the large amount of funds governments put into the stadiums.

That threat of relocation is still there, as teams such as St. Louis, San Diego and to a lesser extent, Jacksonville, are threatening to  move if they don't get their ways. But the problem, is that there are view viable markets for the team to move.

Los Angeles is really the only place a team could move to - with a new stadium. San Antonio has a dome that is waiting for a team, but it likely will need well over $100 million in renovations to make a new owner happy.

So where does that leave Atlanta? I don't think they go anywhere. I don't think they get a new stadium with any public money, especially with their stadium being just 20 years old. If Arthur Blank wants a new stadium, he is going to just have to scrounge around in his pockets for more money to cover the costs himself.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Oh Groupon!

It is being reported by Yahoo! that Groupon CEO Andrew Mason is about to get canned by his own company.

Getting fired sucks. I can't imagine what it would be like to be fired by a company that I founded. If the reports end up being true, it certainly wouldn't be the first time this happened, and it certainly won't be the last time it happens.

However, if it hasn't been made clear by anyone who has a clue about the 'daily deals' industry, their time is over - at least how the industry is currently structured.

Do a quick Google search on the experience that companies have had when they utilize these deals. Sure, it may be great for a particular business or a one time, small deal but most businesses have had a negative experience.

Even when I had my own business, there was a short time where I was hounded on a daily basis by Groupon, LivingSocial and the others, to sign up and have a deal. However, I had done my homework and there was zero upside and it would have been nothing but a money loser for me. I think most businesses have experienced that and I was smart enough to apply those lessons to my business.

Speaking of LivingSocial, when was the last time you saw a commercial for them? It used to be every commercial break (sometimes more than once a break) on nearly every channel. I think now, it has been six months or more since I last saw their commercials aired.

That being said, I see only two ways forward with this particular industry. First, if there is going to be a national model, there can only be one or two companies - and they can't take 50 percent of the revenue from the merchant right off the top (after the discount is applied). They must take a smaller cut from the merchants to even have a chance of getting some of those companies back.

Otherwise, it's going to just be some local model that is run by a local business. I've primarily seen local newspapers and TV stations getting in on this business. They likely do this because they are able to take a smaller cut of the revenue from the merchant because it includes something along the lines of advertising - so it's more of a win/win for the media company and the merchant.

I'm sure the 'daily deals' industry isn't going anywhere, but unless the firms such as Groupon and LivingSocial change, folks like Mr. Mason are not going to find themselves in the industry much longer.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Where to go

I've spent the last several weeks assessing myself and what I want to do with myself going forward. I've attempted to network with anyone I can, in order to solicit help in that - and I've been able to find some answers.

Utilizing my experiences and expertise, I feel best suited to do something with business operations. I've had a knack of seeing what is going on in a company I have been involved with and finding better ways of doing things, while saving money at the same time. There have been times I've been successful - such as fixing the cafeteria system when I was on the school board or overhauling the operations of the store I was most recently at (to the most my boss would allow).

However, as basic as this sounds, I want to be able to do the job that I was hired to do! I don't mind being given direction, tasks or other things in order to accomplish my goals, but don't stand in my way. Don't ask for my input and then blatantly ignore what I have to say. Don't prohibit me from doing things that make a positive difference! You hired me to make the change! Stopping me from doing that only reflects negatively on yourself.

Along those lines, I also want to work for and with others that know what they are doing! I'm not saying that myself or anyone else has to be the smartest person in the room - but at least know what's going on. Know your strengths and weaknesses. I want to work with others that know when to step back and let others handle situations. Is that asking too much? Probably - but it's something to strive for.

That being said, where do I end up? Middle management for a company? Seems like a logical place, but I also want a path for advancement. Consulting appears to be a good path as well - but I need some contacts there.

I'm also willing to travel and work remotely. Living in Pensacola yields few opportunities locally (let me know if you know of any!), but we have good air service here and I have a great Internet connection, so there are no problems there.

I'm networking pretty much non-stop now, so feel free to contact me! Let me know not only if you are able to help me, but if I am able to help you! Spread the word and I look forward to hearing from you soon!