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The Suggestion List

Posted by David Schwartz May 23, 2007

 

Our crack eteamz customer support team gets dozens of emails from members every day with suggestions for enhancements, improvements and new features to eteamz. More often than not, these are all outstanding ideas, some very creative and unique, others very practical. These suggestions are what have made eteamz what it is today, as just about every feature ever added to eteamz came from member requests.

 

 

 

But what happens to all these great ideas after you've shared with us? These ideas begin their journey at the inboxes of Ericha and the support staff. The staff then log each suggestion into a tracking system which I review on a daily basis. I try to keep things somewhat organized, maybe by the area of eteamz that would be affected. So I might group all the suggestions that have to do with the calendar functions and have another group for any suggestions about rosters, etc...

 

 

 

There's a little bit of magic involved here (hey, some things have to remain a secret, right?). But basically, I look at the groups of suggestions with a team of developers and marketers and business strategists and all that. We essentially prioritize the groups of enhancements onto a product roadmap and decide when we can get to all of the great ideas.

 

 

 

We get far more great ideas than we can handle all at once, so we try to pick out the ones we think will have the best impact for the most people, or will be needed at a particular time. We won't always get to everything right away, but we don't ever delete your suggestions, either.

 

 

 

So, the details of the whole process are a little more formal than that, but I hope you get the idea. Rest assured that not only does every suggestion get noticed immediately, it is always considered for our next release. Keep 'em coming!

 

 

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We've received many questions lately from admins that are trying to add scores or stats for games that haven't been entered or played yet and they don't know why they don't appear in the Scores folder. Here's the answer:

 

 

 

You can add scores and stats (PLUS feature) for games that have been entered and played only. Keep in mind that you cannot enter scores or stats for games which include a TBA team.

 

 

 

You can select the opponent within the Games section of the Schedules folder. Click the edit icon located to the right of the game, select the opponent then click "update". You can now enter the score within the Scores section of the Schedules folder. Click the edit icon located to the right of the game, enter the score and game summary if you'd like then click "update". Here, you will also see a PLAYER STATS (Click to add/edit)  link next to the team name. Click this link to access the stats form. To enter stats, you must have players entered within the Roster folder.

 

 

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Jimmy Hendricks, our tennis account executive here at Active, made an appearance at the USTA Campus Championships in Cary, NC this weekend to represent the Active Network and our products.

 

 

 

Jimmy���s report of the weekend���s frivolities was overwhelmingly positive, sharing that it was a great experience to spend a weekend watching tennis and interacting with current and potential clients.

 

 

 

eteamz was one of the Active products represented at the event, for which we developed a two-sided 4.25x5.5 printed card as well as a corresponding landing page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tennis landing page.

 

 

 

I have been trying to shift to a ���less is more��� strategy for our marketing materials, focusing on a couple key points about the product as well as big product screenshots.  Historically, eteamz has gone more with the ���fit as much info into the provided space as possible��� approach.

 

 

 

Sometime in the near future the plan is to adopt this minimalist strategy across the board for eteamz in tandem with the re-launch of the Active.com site.  However, at this point the focus is completely on fixing all the site performance and stability issues.

 

 

 

Pretty exciting stuff!

 

 

 

Cheers,

 

 

 

Eric

 

 

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Site Performance

Posted by Ericha_eteamz Apr 16, 2007

 

Many of you might have experienced performance issues with your site recently in the form of slowness, time outs, error messages, or blank screens.

 

We apologize for any inconvenience these issues might have caused and would like to reassure you that finding and implementing a solution is our top priority. The IT team already has a list of updates and fixes that should help to alleviate most of the site issues and is working on implementing them.

 

We'll keep you posted here with further developments. Thank you for your patience.

 

 

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eteamz will undergo a little bit of maintenance tomorrow morning, April 11, 2007 from 2am to 7am EDT. During this time some may see an interruption of some services, specifically related to the Collect Fees, Donations and Fundraising portions of the admin. Most of the rest of eteamz should remain unaffected during this time. We apologize for any inconvenience, and thank you for your patience.

 

 

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When will we see a paradigm shift in athleticism?  Over the last hundred years, there has certainly been an evolution of the competitive athlete.  Modern athletes are now bigger, stronger, and faster than ever before���I imagine that athletes from the early 20th century would have a hard time believing some of the things modern athletes can do (picture Joe DiMaggio standing next to Barry Bonds).  But when will we see a truly revolutionary shift in athletic mechanics, not just strength and size?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I came across a really interesting new story on NYTimes.com this morning about an ambidextrous college-level pitcher at Creighton University, Pat Venditte.  Now this would be a true shift in game mechanics!  What if being ambidextrous became more prevalent in competitive sports?  Not only would this have an enormous impact on general game mechanics, but it would affect the very strategy of the game���that is, at least, until being ambidextrous became mainstream and effectively eliminated the advantage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will a whole generation of new parents start teaching their children to train both arms, rather than just one?  Will tennis players some day be able to avoid the dreaded backhand all together?  Will golfers be able to switch stances when the lie of their ball necessitates it?  Possibly, although I would pity the caddies forced to carry around two sets of golf clubs for an ambidextrous golfer.

 

 

 

The future no doubt holds a great many advancements in the world of sport, some being minimal, and some being revolutionary.  It will be interesting to see how athleticism develops over the next 50 years.

 

 

 

Cheers.

 

 

 

-Eric

 

 

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The eteamz Blogosphere

Posted by Ericha_eteamz Mar 30, 2007

 

It's always fun to browse eteamz sites and see the variety of different things our members use their sites for.

 

 

 

One of our resident eteamz celebrities, Pat Neshek, recently had his eteamz site/blog mentioned in an ESPN article!  How cool is that?

 

 

 

For those who don't know, Pat is a pitcher on the Minnesota Twins and uses his eteamz site to post news updates about his life as well as share his passion for trading collectibles, yet again showcasing how eteamz helps teams, athletes and enthusiasts connect and share their passion for sports and activities.

 

 

 

Click here to view the ESPN article.  Check out #6 to see where Pat is mentioned.

 

 

 

Click here to view Pat's eteamz site.

 

 

 

Cheers,

 

 

 

Eric

 

 

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Super D

Posted by Ericha_eteamz Mar 20, 2007

 

I was checking out the Newz today on eteamz, and I came across the site of Super D, Davey Matthews.

 

 

 

It is not your average eteamz site and Davey is certainly not your average kid. I really enjoyed reading about Davey and his quest to be a big time racer. I bet were going to be hearing more about him real soon.

 

 

 

I encourage you to check it out here.

 

 

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The re-launch of Active and eteamz in the upcoming months marks the advent of the video-age for the two brands.  Active, along with our video partner JumpCut, are integrating top-notch video services into Active and the Active suite of products (including eteamz).

 

 

 

An interesting issue worth pondering though is the legal ramifications of video support and how the system will function.

 

 

 

Case-in-point: YouTube.  Google has been embroiled in legal conflicts with major media networks recently regarding the use of copyrighted materials on Google���s recent acquisition, YouTube.  Originally heralded as the next cash cow application on the internet, YouTube has experienced a mass exodus of sponsors / partners due to the legally volatile nature of the YouTube business model.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My question is how will you, the eteamz and Active community, use these video tools?  I envision a vibrant network of folks sharing original video of sport-related accomplishment rather than recycled content from TV shows and movies.  Videography and photography of sport can be a truly powerful and awe-inspiring thing, imagine how powerful this consolidation of sport-related video from around the world is going to be?

 

 

 

I, for one, can���t wait!

 

 

 

Cheers,

 

 

 

Eric

 

 

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Quality & Identity

Posted by Ericha_eteamz Feb 23, 2007

 

The key to sustainable business is honesty and good intentions; a genuine interest in adding value to another person���s life.  This aura of good intention will then pervade the company, product, and community and become a more powerful marketing force than any of todays generally accepted mass-media marketing tactics.

 

 

 

This hasn���t always been true, but as monopolized industry becomes a thing of the past, the competitive nature of the marketplace is shifting power from the corporation to the consumer.  With the ball in the consumer���s court, it is up to the company to create products and services that add value to the consumer as well as create an image that the consumer can relate to and support.

 

 

 

Ikea is a great example of a company that delivers on all of these points.  They are a trendsetter in the budget furniture market, constantly designing and producing numerous styles of furniture sets and they are also a company that has done a great job developing a hip and conscientious corporate identity.

 

 

 

Quality Product + Positive Identity = Success

 

 

 

Recently, Ikea started an environmental program where they are charging shoppers $.05 per plastic bag with the proceeds being directed to an environmental conservation group.

 

Ikea's U.S. stores went through 70 million plastic bags last year
-- and officials want to cut that in half over the first year of the
''bring your own bag'' policy. That would equate to about 1.5
million trees being planted.

Polled customers responded favorably to this program, which makes perfect sense.  Who wouldn���t be willing to deal with a minor nuisance in order to be a part of such a respectable and socially conscientious program?  Programs like this help create an identity that people support and are proud to be a part of.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I���d love to get your thoughts on this topic regarding eteamz.  Is the eteamz product something you are excited to use and proud to display?  Can you easily identify what the eteamz brand stands for?  Do you think eteamz has a positive image?

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

-Eric

 

 

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Unique Nicknames

Posted by David Schwartz Feb 22, 2007

 

<span style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">You may have heard about the {color:#800080}Active.com Relaunch{color}, coming this Spring. Among the many great new features coming with this launch is a single login account and user profile across eteamz and Active.com. This is a perfect opportunity for us to roll out a new feature that has been requested by many of you: unique member nicknames. Your nickname, or display name, is how you will be known in the eteamz and Active.com communities, and is shown along with all your message board posts and your user profile. </span>

 

 

 

<span style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">This change is coming very soon for eteamz members, and rather than choose nicknames for everyone, we wanted to give you a chance to stake your claim to your own unique nickname. Most of you probably already have a unique nickname, so this will be easy for you. All you need to do is go to {color:#800080}your member profile page{color} and update your profile with the nickname you���ve already chosen. If someone else beat you to it, or if the nickname you have doesn���t work (only letters, numbers and the underscore (���_���) are allowed), you can choose a new nickname. </span>

 

 

 

<span style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">After <span style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold">Thursday, March 15, 2007</span>, any eteamz member that has not selected a new, unique nickname will have one assigned. We���ll try our best to make it similar to your current nickname, but we may have to do some special tricks to make it unique among our more than 3 million active members. The sooner you get to it, the better chance you have of being the only ���Mike��� or ���Coach��� on eteamz. And if you don���t feel like doing this for yourself, then please consider doing it for the eteamz customer support staff, cause they���re going to have to go through all the leftover accounts by hand, and they���ll get no dessert until they���re done!</span>

 

 

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Widgets!

Posted by Ericha_eteamz Feb 13, 2007

 

Widgets are the future of the web.  A totally user controlled, adaptive environment.  Many herald this technological advancement as the death of conventional web pages���of course the timeframe is debatable.

 

 

 

Widgets are already utilized by some of the big players in the internet and technology spheres:

 

 

Google's personalized home page can also be considered a
collection of widgets.  Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo
also offer desktop widgets.  And Typepad, the service that
hosts this blog, now lets you turn your blog into a &quot;blidget,&quot;
or blog widget.

 

 

Many see widget technology as analogous to Tivo/DVR.  Tivo/DVR allows you to choose which television content you are interested in watching by effectively fast-forwarding through the ads.  Widgets would allow you to basically do the same thing with your web content; to only experience the content you are interested in, rather than being bombarded with banners or news stories about Paris Hilton���s latest racially charged drunken binge (I apologize in advance for those who take an active interest in Paris Hilton���s life).

 

 

 

The rate of adoption for Tivo and widgets is also analogous.  Tivo/DVR is great technology and will no doubt become the standard in the future, but the product is still in its early stages and hardly has a dominant market presence.  Likewise, widgets are out there now and being utilized by millions of web-heads, but the technology has yet to explode.  Pageflakes.com and Netvibes.com are two examples of widget technology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With widget technology just waiting to be adopted by mainstream web users, one must consider the implications and possible integration of widget technology into the eteamz framework.  Is widget-esque functionality the future of eteamz site templates?  Can this functionality also be applied to the admin UI experience?  I think it is possible and would be incredibly cool!  Imagine not only being able to customize every aspect of your Web site, but being able to do so in an admin tweaked to your exact specifications���your Web site and your admin would be completely customizable environments.

 

 

 

I would love to hear your thoughts about the current eteamz admin and site design templates as well as any ideas you might have for the future!

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

-Eric

 

 

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Hello eteamz fans,

 

 

 

Be sure we have your current email address on file.  If you need to update your email you can follow the instructions at:  http://eteamz.active.com/support/faq/admin.cfm#nickname

 

 

 

In the coming weeks and months we will be sending out important information regarding the re-launch of Active (our parent company) and eteamz.   More information will follow but for a sneak peek you can visit:  http://www.active.com/launch </span>

 

 

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Commercials have become an integral part of the Super Bowl experience.  Essentially, the Super Bowl consists of three separate factors combined into one event: the football game, the halftime show, and the commercials.  However, Super Bowl commercials are more a source of entertainment than anything else these days���how effective are they as advertisements?

 

 

 

Marketing and advertising is a constantly evolving and dynamic discipline.  The effective marketing techniques of 10 years ago, 5 years ago, or even last year might not be nearly has effective now.  For example, with the advent of DVR technology (Tivo), the effectiveness of television advertising has seriously diminished.  At $2.6 million per 30-second spot (on CBS), do Super Bowl commercials have a reasonable return on investment?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faced with diminishing returns on traditional mass-media advertising, companies are being forced to get a little creative (God forbid) and pursue alternate methods of marketing.  Specifically, online advertising and guerilla marketing���but again, how effective are these types of marketing?  With the amount of spam circulating around the internet, online advertising is already seeing a decline in effectiveness.  Guerilla marketing still has potential, but caution must be exercised in order to avoid a situation like the Turner Broadcasting guerilla marketing debacle that cost the company and their agency $2 million. (http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/01/31/boston.bombscare/index.html).

 

 

 

So where does this leave us?  To paraphrase Field of Dreams: if you build it, they will come.  Marketing is all about building and maintaining long-lasting relationships with consumers.  The best way to build these relationships is not interrupting a person���s favorite television program with a commercial, or covering a person���s favorite web page in banners, or spamming their email inbox.  Rather, the best way to build these relationships is by building a quality product, letting word of mouth bring consumers to you, and then nurturing those relationships through open, two-way communication.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did Google obtain 42.3% market share (search) through traditional advertising?  Hardly.  They created a quality, innovative product and let people discover it on their own.  Once word got out about Google (word-of-mouth), they experienced exponential growth.

 

 

 

eteamz is on the verge of great innovation.  The re-launch of the Active.com website and the further integration of eteamz into the Active parent company will bring about a series of significant advancements���not to mention all the changes, updates and upgrades we have in queue for 2008.

 

 

 

As always, we would love to hear your thoughts about anything!  The upcoming Active.com re-launch, eteamz marketing strategies, or changes/enhancements you���d like to see.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

-Eric

 

 

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Modern society thrives on the connectedness that is offered by constantly evolving technology and the internet.  Many of the things that the average person takes for granted are powered by computers and the ability of these computers to network with each other.  However, at what point do security holes and information sharing begin to compromise personal privacy?   

 

 

 

CNNMoney.com and Business 2.0 recently published their 7th annual ���101 Dumbest Moments in Business��� report for 2006.  One of these moments which resonated with me was this blunder made by AOL:

 

In an ���attempt to reach out to the academic community with new
research tools,��� AOL releases the search queries of 657,000 users.
Though AOL insists that the data contains no personally
identifiable information, the New York Times and other news
outlets promptly identify a number of specific users, including
searcher No. 4417749, soon-to-be-ex-AOL-subscriber Thelma
Arnold of Lilburn, Ga., whose queries include ���womens underwear���
and ���dog that urinates on everything.���
The gaffe leads to the resignation of AOL���s chief technology officer
and a half-billion-dollar class-action lawsuit.

In a perfect world, search queries and other tech-actions of a personal nature would live the moment they are processed and then disappear forever.  Unfortunately, this is not the way technology works and pretty much everything done on a computer these days is recorded.  But if all our actions are to be recorded, then we should at least be able to take comfort in the fact that this data will not be disseminated to random third-party organizations.

 

 

 

While personal data is quickly becoming the currency of the realm and extremely valuable to a wide variety of companies and institutions, holding this type of personal data in confidence is mutually beneficial for all involved parties.

 

 

 

 

Consumer confidence is maintained when a feeling of security and trust is experienced.  Similarly, companies benefit from being trusted by their customers���trust that seems to be hard to come by for large companies these days.  Case-in-point: avoiding costly lawsuits and negative publicity such as those experienced by AOL.  I should patent this theory���C2: Eric���s Theory of Consumer-Company Relations!

 

 

 

It all comes down to trust.  A senior executive at IBM shared his thoughts with me on this topic: when making decisions or faced with internal issues, he noted that he would apply the ���Light of Day��� test to the situation.  How would customers, other companies, the general public, etc. respond if and when the decision, event, or situation saw the ���light of day.���  If AOL had applied this rule to their search query decision, they would have realized that sharing the personal data of over half a million users was not a good idea and avoided the negative situation that ensued.

 

 

 

However, mistakes can be productive learning experiences, and hopefully companies facing issues similar to those experienced at AOL will use this as a guide.  To quote Batman Begins (and reveal that I am a total nerd), ���And why do we fall?  So we can learn to pick ourselves up.���

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

-Eric

 

 

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