What’s it worth

I was in a meeting at work when a very useful tidbit of information was given out. I’d imagine most business people know this but of the entire meet this little piece of advice is what stuck out to.

Sell something for it’s value

This sounds obvious but let me explain. It doesn’t matter what it costs to make the product, you sell the product for what it’s worth. Sure there can be exceptions here and there but overall this should be followed. The reason I bring this up is because this corresponds with a perfect example that I have in mind.

As most of you know I’m an avid track and field fan. I follow the sport very closely and find myself on Letsrun all the time and Flotrack and decent amount. Flotrack recently switched up it’s business model. Instead of making money through advertising on the site, they have come up with a new way to make money; Flotrack Pro. Flotrack Pro is a subscription based service where they give you access to live streams of big track meets as well as lots of high quality videos of the biggest names in American track and field. Right now they are in the middle of a feature on the Nike Oregon Project (Galen Rupp, Mo Farah, etc.) and it’s information, techniques, training methods, and footage that you will more or less never find elsewhere.

Flotrack Pro costs $150 a year. I have a full-time job, few expenses, and plenty of cash saved up. I can afford Flotrack Pro. The fact of the matter is, in my (and most people’s) opinion, Flotrack Pro simply isn’t worth $150 a year. First, they took something that used to be free (streaming meets) and made it cost money. This pisses off customers. I don’t doubt their videos are very good and informative. I’ve actually seen a few of them and they’re worth watching. However, they’re not worth paying for, it’s as simple as that. I could easily afford the $150 but the cost simply outweighs the value.

Here’s where Flotrack’s problem lies. They likely charge so much because they have to pay employees to fly out to visit groups, edit videos, travel to meets, etc. Their costs are ‘high’ so they price their product high. But if the product isn’t worth what you’re charging no one is going to buy it. There has been an uproar in the running community about Flotrack Pro and people largely hate it. This business model will not allow Flotrack to survive unless they change something. Once again, people aren’t going to pay for the product because people don’t value it that high. So they either need to improve their product or decrease the price. I can’t think of a way to improve the product so they need to drop the price. But track and field doesn’t have the following that major sports do so a lower price can only draw in so many customers.

I can easily afford Flotrack Pro and it would be nice to have, but it’s not worth $150 a year. I enjoy drinking iced tea, but if each half gallon of iced tea was $8, I would stop drinking it. Not because I can’t afford to spend $8 on iced tea, but because it’s not worth it.

Obviously the inverse of this is true as well. If you have low costs and can afford to price your product low doesn’t mean you should. You should charge what people value your product at. Why charge $50 when people will pay $100?

Do what you want

As I said in a previous post, I watched the Notebook the other day. Surprisingly there was a quote in there that stuck with me and I’ve used it twice since watching the movie. It’s quite simple, here’s the quote:

“Would you stop thinking about what everyone wants? Stop thinking about what I want, what he wants, what your parents want. What do you want? What do you want?”

Taken in context, this quote is very girly. Noah is telling Allie to forget everyone else and who’s feelings she may hurt and just make up her mind based on what she wants. Well a situation just arose in my life that is very similar to this. About a week ago Nick asked me to go to AC with him this weekend to celebrate his relatives 21st birthday. I agreed noting that I had never been to AC and that I’ve really wanted to go. Some details had not been drawn out yet but the general idea was there.

Fast-forward to today and we figured out a few more details. Here’s the deal.

  • Friday would be a night in AC at a hotel split between a number of guys, ~$100 per guy
  • I could drive up Friday alone after work in shore traffic which would be miserable. I’d probably get there around 8-9 which leaves a good amount of time for the night but it’s not ideal
  • Saturday would be a house party for the kids 21st. I wouldn’t know a lot of people and it’s not AC but it would definitely be a fun time
  • I could drive up Saturday afternoon for the house party, stay the night, and drive back Sunday
  • Also on Saturday is a concert in Philly, Dr. Dog and the Lumineers, both bands which I like a lot, with my brother and some friends
  • If I stayed home for the weekend and went to the concert Saturday it would save money and the concert would likely be a better time if we’re just talking Saturday night

So in this scenario I had somewhat committed to going to the shore but it is not a great situation. If I go, regardless of what night, I’m spending a lot of money and neither work out as well as I would hope, although it would no doubt be a fun time. If I don’t go, I have a very good concert to go to. Ordinarily, I’d probably just go down the shore but because this concert is an option, it changes what I want to do. 

I thought about it for a bit, should I stick to my word and go or should I do what’s easier for me and what I want to do a little bit more? I texted Nick a bit ago and told him I was backing out. Could I have hurt his feelings? Potentially. Could he be pissed? Potentially. His response was perfect; “Don’t sweat it man, I just figured you’ve never been down and you could come get wild with us.” Given the circumstances I expected a potentially bitter response but this response was genuine and understanding. It’s favorable when people don’t put pressure on you and vice versa. If Nick’s response was something like “I fuckin’ knew it, you pussy” you could argue that I had it coming. But for the future, it would make me reluctant to commit to anything with him for fear of getting scolded. Now I know there’s no pressure and it makes the relationship and planning things in the future much easier. I don’t want someone to come hang out with me just because they said they would. I want to hangout with someone because they want to also.

Obviously there’s some give and take. I can’t keep promising that I’ll go places and then keep backing out because then my word is meaningless. But in situations where the circumstances permit, you should do what you want to do. When you’re in a tough situation just do what Ryan Gosling says, stop thinking about hurting other people’s feelings and just do what you want to do.

Without further ado, the scene from the Notebook.

Due for a change

This blog is due for a change. I was with a few friends last night and my blog came up. The one girl was not aware that I had a blog and asked what it was called. This, along with “what do you blog about?”, is the most frequent question I get asked regarding my blog. I somewhat embarrassingly told her “Banshee. Man. Seven. The man has two Ns… It was the screen name I made up in 6th grade so I’ve just stuck with it…” Her reaction is what I would expect, a slight laugh.

Where does Bansheemann7 come from? Banshee came from my favorite silver and red bike in elementary school. I added man because it sounded cool and the second N because “bansheeman7” was already taken. Everyone had numbers on their screen name and at the time 7 was my favorite number (though 3 has since taken the #1 spot).

The name Bansheemann7 describes me about as little as possible. A banshee is female spirit type figure and it’s usually associated with death. Man accidentally describes me. The name is actually pretty emo if you break it down. I’m saying that I’m a male version of the female spirit of death, and there could be as many as seven of us. What the hell does that have to do with anything?

Again, this blog is due for a change. The title “Full Speed Ahead” was a pun because I was a runner and “Adventures of me” was the only thing I could thing of. Neither are original nor descriptive as to what this blog is about. It would be more appropriate for my old blog which literally just recapped my day to day actions. I went back and read some of those entries and they just suck. Finally, the quote “All I want to do is drink beer and train like an animal” used to be pretty relevant when I was in college. Running and drinking were the two most important aspects of my life then. Since then I’ve stopped running and drinking isn’t what it used to be so that quote has fallen out of relevancy.

The problem is I just don’t know what to change these things to. Am I really going to change the name from Bansheemann7? Other than samstortz.com I can’t think of anything else to make it. The others should and probably will be changed soon but I need to sit and figure out what they should be changed to. All suggestions are welcome. Please, help. It probably won’t be as drastic as Shake’s transformation, but it does need a change.

The Beard

I remember thinking in middle school and early high school that as I got older a few things would happen. Perhaps most embarrassingly, I bet Ian McGrath $10 in probably 8th or 9th grade that by the end of high school I would be taller than him. I finished around 5’8 and he’s about 6’2. I always thought height would come to me but it hasn’t and I’m somewhat accepting of this fact. My brothers instilled this confidence in me that I would be tall since Tom is about 6 feet and Jeff is an inch or two over. Maybe I’ll finish at 5’10 but I doubt any taller.

However, one thing that is still possibly in the cards is facial hair. More specifically, a beard. Right now I have a very poor excuse for any sort of facial hair. This is annoying because it requires maintenance every other day or else I look stupid. Tom and Jeff can both grow pretty solid beards so (perhaps wrongly so) I’m expecting that within 5 years I’ll be able to grow a full beard and I would certainly take advantage of that opportunity. With this grand expectation, I will honor The Beard and post some of the great beards in history.

Abe Lincoln

What more do you have to say? Abe had a powerful presence from the start since he was 6’4 but the beard caps it off. One of the greatest presidents in the history of the US had a full beard. This shows that a beard isn’t associated with brute strength or being an asshole. Honest Abe was a model human being and did more for this country than pretty much anyone else can claim. I couldn’t find any pictures of him with a beard next to him without a beard so this will probably send traffic sky rocketing. A beardless Abe is cool but which one would you rather fight? Definitely the guy on the right. Lets be honest, the hero on the left is who we all think of.

George Clooney

George Clooney Beard

George Clooney is, from what I can gather, the definition of a smooth operator. The guy has so much swag it’s unbelievable. He won sexiest man alive when he was 45. Even at the ripe age of 52, Clooney was dating none other than Stacey Keibler, only a 19 year difference, though they broke up this month. The beard represents Clooney perfectly. It has a bit of gray which shows his experience but the black in their shows he’s not an old man quite yet. It doesn’t blow you away but for whatever reason, you’d love to impress the guy. Nothing phases him, and he’s never flustered or at a loss for words. He’s as suave as any man past, present, or future and the beard in that picture is one reason why. Of course this is all speculation but you get the point.

James Harden

Harden's Beard

While James Harden is a very good basketball player who showed what he can really do this year if he’s the #1 guy, he’s known for his massive… beard. Once you have a beard like that and it becomes your signature, you don’t shave it. It becomes an emotional attachment, a defining characteristic, like Dr. J and his afro (although Erving did eventually play ball with out his afro, boo). This beard gets no tending to, absolutely none. It serves as an intimidation factor on the court. He’s a reckless guy who you don’t want to guard or have driving in on you. It’s no wonder this guy gets to the foul line more times than anyone else in the NBA.

Alan from the Hangover

Alan from the Hangover, bearded

This is the definition of someone you don’t want near your children. This is about as thick as most beards will get and that, coupled with his locks of hair, make Alan a lock for a psycho. Surprisingly enough his beard is actually a little more tame than Harden’s. It’s pretty impressive to not only be able to grow it out that thick, but to actually go through with it. From what most of my bearded compatriots tell me, growing out a beard itches like a mofo. There’s also a certain line where it goes from attracting women to repelling them and Alan has with out a doubt crossed that line. Certainly Alan’s character helped reinforce the fact that this type of beard is a no-go but without the beard, Alan just isn’t the same.

John Lennon

John Lennon Beard

Lennon was a god among men in his day and his heavenly beard only cemented that status (well, that along with his Jesus-like hair). This beard made him seem one with the earth and mother nature which is probably exactly what he was going for. It separated the boy-Lennon from the man-Lennon. Boy-Lennon was young, charming, and could sing/dance his way through any problem he had. Boy-Lennon evolved into the above man who was much more philosophical, hence the beard, and wasn’t trying to solve his problems, but the world’s problems. All great philosophers had a beard; Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and then Lennon. When preaching peace and love, this beard added a unique touch to his character.

Lasse Viren

Lasse Viren Beard

What would this post be without a famous runner? Viren is one of the greatest runners in history. He’s the only one to ever pull off the double double, winning the 5k and 10k at back to back Olympics (even the great Bekele couldn’t pull that one off). In the 1972 Olympics he fell down in the 10k and managed to get up and still break the world record. At the 1976 Olympics, 18 hours after winning his second gold medal, he figured why not give the marathon a try (his first one ever) which is a ridiculous triple, and managed to get 5th place! Arguably the second greatest Olympic distance performance of all time (behind Zatopek). Of course, he comes with strong allegations of blood doping and the beard itself isn’t spectacular but regardless, there has never been a greater bearded runner than Lasse Viren.

Bored and Boring

After nearly 10 weeks of being a real person, I finally experienced the type of weekend I’ve been expecting to have. Friday was a Madmex happy hour followed by 7 games of Fifa and a night at Miller’s. This was a good time but Saturday is where things really kicked in. I didn’t leave the house one time on Saturday aside from a very short bike ride. I was bored out of my mind all day but I didn’t mind. I watched a number of movies including the Notebook and Battleship. I went to bed relatively early to catch up on my sleep. Saturday as a day was a complete waste.

Sunday was more of the same spare a ~22 mile bike ride. I watched the Open for a few hours and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind before I went to bed. I’m pretty bored and to quote Harvey Danger “…if you’re bored then you’re boring”. I’m not nearly at the level of Joel Barish before meeting Clementine but if people start moving away and I end up with few friends that’s the point I’ll eventually get to. Being boring is a bad quality to have. You don’t attract people or form relationships which only makes your life more boring, it’s one big feedback loop.

I need to find some passion or hobby right now and I’m in limbo trying to figure out what it is. I am actually motivated to run but can’t so I need to find something else. I like the idea of doing something productive like learning guitar, a new language, reading, etc but I’m just not motivated to do any of those right now for whatever reason. I can’t really think of anything else to do though but Ryan Gosling pretty much built a mansion for himself in the Notebook. I don’t think I’m up to that quite yet but that would be pretty cool to do. Sure, sitting on the couch and watching movies that I’ve seen 5+ times before while playing Candy Crush on my phone is nice and relaxing for a bit but I can’t keep this up year-round.

My boringness is clearly reflected in this post.

Kids react to “Racist” Cheerios Commercial

I apologize for another post about racism but I came across this and thought it was worth sharing.

I don’t know how serious people were when they said the commercial was racist but I hope they weren’t serious. Dash, the little kid in the green shirt with the blond hair, reminded me of myself for some reason. Then he stole the whole show starting at 4:05. Also, this is going to sound very creepy but, 12 year old Olivia looks like she’s going to be a super model. Her emotional breakdown at the end shows that she probably has the personality too.

Piers vs. Larry

Here’s a clip from Piers Morgan’s show where he talks to Larry Elder (never heard of him), a black conservative. I don’t think Larry looks especially good here because he dodges a lot of Piers’ questions and never stops talking but the message he’s trying to get across is what I agree with. It’s 11 minutes so I don’t expect you to watch it all but I’ll sum up the important facts below.

  • 7000 murders in the US last year, almost all were committed by black people.
  • About half of the murders in this country are committed by black people
  • 94% of the time that black people are murdered, they’re killed by other blacks.
  • Black people account for 12% of the population
  • 75% of all blacks are born into wedlock.
  • Larry “this is why common-sensical people profile, this is why people profile”
  • “Hard work wins, get an education, don’t pay attention to negative people, and stay focused, and you’ll be okay in America.”
  • A paraphrase from another video “Black people are relieved to hear footsteps and look behind them to see the person is white.”

The Zimmerman Martin case was not a case about race. Determining the verdict had nothing to do with the fact that Trayvon was black and Zimmerman was white. This case has very little significance regarding the problems that black Americans face today. Black people are not scared of being stalked and murdered by a random white person for the reason that they “look suspicious”. They weren’t before this case and they are not after.

As Larry said, hard work wins. There’s no doubt the area that you’re brought up in has a huge effect on how your life will turn out. When everyone around you is failing out of school or doing drugs there’s no reason to think that you should be trying hard in school and getting out of where you are. When a member of another gang kills a member of your gang you think you should kill them back because of the people around you. It doesn’t matter if you’re white or black, you’re going to think that either way. It just so happens that the majority of people brought up in the shitty position happen to be black. Ideally we would get rid of the shitty position. That’s what we should be trying to do and there’s no doubt we are trying to do that but it’s an uphill battle. It’s ridiculous to say that what we really need to focus on is the number of white people that go hunting down suspicious looking black people which is what people are making the Martin Zimmerman case out to be (in my opinion).

Quick Phil’s Update

Wednesday was my first real race in a while, the Phil’s Tavern 5k. Rumors were going around that not as many people had signed up and the weather was supposed to be 90+. I figured this was a great opportunity to steal some prize money against a weak field. While I did run about as fast I would have expected given the conditions, I was nowhere near winning. About 400 people showed up and the competition was high quality for this kind of road race. I’m friends with some of the other guys so I knew once I got there that placing well was out of the question. At this point it was just about see how fast I could run and having a good time.

Instantly there was a pack of 10 doing a pace that I couldn’t hang with. I executed my race pretty well I thought. I ran pretty even splits and outkicked some kid for 12th overall and about 17:16. In my mind that’s pretty fast given the training I’ve done so I was happy. There was one guy sub 16 and maybe 5 more under 16:30. The plan is to finally take an extended period of time off and see what if I can get back to serious training. That would be a race that realistically, if I had some really good training beforehand, I think I could win, which is a some-what long term goal in mind.

The highlight however was not the race itself. I must have talked to about 20 different people that I used to see very frequently but haven’t seen in years. Between old teammates, coaches, rivals, etc. It’s really a cool thing to take part of once a year and I can see this as something that I would do for the next 10 years.

I didn’t run yesterday and I’m not running today. I may run one day a week for the next few weeks or months but I’m going to commit to taking off.

Media is a business

A girl from Ursinus tweeted the following in regards to the much controversial Rolling Stone magazine cover:

“Doesn’t the media understand yet that many real-life villains want the coverage & infamy that they get from being front page? Don’t give in”

I wanted to reply with the following (but opted not to):

Don’t people understand that the media doesn’t care about anything other than making money like any other business?”

Take Sandy Hook for example. That was perhaps the most gruesome display of human behavior that I’ve ever heard of. Killing or mutilating an adult is terrible, but looking children that young in the eye and shooting them is about as bad as it gets. So after that whole event happens people wonder “How come someone do that? What was wrong with that person? Weren’t there signs leading up to it? Could it have been stopped?” The media wants to provide people with the thing they will read most and after an event like that, everyone has those same questions. If there are two magazine covers and one is an interview with the Super Bowl champs who broke a record and scored 100 points and one is a fully detailed back-story and recap of an event like Sandy Hook, the people are going to choose the latter. If there’s an interview on TV with the QB from that team or the mother of the killer, people will watch the latter.

I’m sure there is some human element that goes into reporting the news. But when it comes down to it, it’s about selling your product. Whether it’s software, cars, food, or furniture. Whether it’s magazines, TV shows, newspapers, or websites. When a tragic event happens no one is rejoicing, but as a business, media outlets have a job to do, they’re supposed to provide the people with the information they want. When bad things happen people want to know who, what, where, when, why, and how. If one magazine doesn’t cover it, the other ones will, and those that do the best ‘job’ will sell the most and make the most which is what a business is all about.

Now I understand this particular case is somewhat different. Rolling Stone easily could have elected to not put the alleged Boston Bomber on the cover of the magazine. The thing that bugs me is they didn’t even put the guy’s name on there, they just put “The Bomber”. They potentially lost more readers due that cover than gained (although probably not). I would argue that this cover specifically was in poor taste, but in general, media outlets act like any other business.

Write it down

This weekend I was at my brothers’ place in Philly. I opened up what I thought was a book on the table and flipped through some of the pages. It turns out it was not a book at all, but Jeff’s journal. He warned me to stop reading because whatever is in there is 100% uncensored and more or less for his eyes only. Today, while I was out picking up food, I decided to go to CVS and buy a notebook (two actually, $.79 a piece!).

Obviously I write in this blog (or diary as Mark would call it) almost daily and I think writing everyday is a very useful thing to do, but this blog can only say so much. My last post was about as emotional as it gets which isn’t saying much. This blog is censored to a large degree. Sure I can speak my opinion on a lot of current events and give my thoughts on everyday occurrences but there’s a lot that gets left out in terms of my personal life. I would say that in my life, I’ve written down maybe ten things that I’ve never shared with anyone. Two of them are blog posts about running that I semi-intended to post on here one day but haven’t. The weird thing is that I always felt better after writing it down. Even though I knew I wouldn’t share it with anyone, it still felt like some sort of release or something. Even things that I do end up sharing with people, I generally get very antsy until it’s all written down and clear in front of me. I’ll have an idea for a blog post and if I’m really working it out in my head I need to get it written down ASAP and it’s always a relief. It’s funny actually, for the first time ever today I suggested to someone else that they try writing something down because I thought it could help them.

I don’t know do this on a private level with any regularity though. I’ll be starting this for two reasons. One is because of what I said above, writing things or feelings or situations or anything down makes me feel better about them. But two is sort of the same reason I keep this blog, to keep a personal history of me. What I write in this journal will probably be fun to go back and read in the future just as this blog is (at least for me). I don’t if I’ll write in it every day or if I’ll stop completely after a week but I’m going to give it a shot.

That’s a bit of advice I can give though. If you’re feeling bonkers about something in particular, write it down and see how you feel afterward. Maybe it’s just me but I’ve found that I feel way better after I write it down.