Friday, June 17, 2016

Book review: "Shark Tank -- Secrets to Success"

"Shark Tank -- Secrets to Success" is a fun book for fans of the ABC TV show "Shark Tank."

The book gives you the back story behind nine sets of entrepreneurs who appeared on the show to ask the panel of "sharks" to invest in their companies.

Author Michael Parrish DuDell gives us stories of successes and failures, and emphasizes the "lessons" to be learned from each entrepreneur's experience.  Frankly, I liked learning about the problems and mistakes most, because those are rarely shown even when "Shark Tank" does an update on a particular business.

You get some view behind the scenes of the show, but I would have liked more on that element.

DuDell offers a kind of "rah-rah," let's-root-for-this-entrepreneur perspective. At one point, referring to a problems faced by one entrepreneur, he writes, "instead of backing down she doubled down." The writing is adequate, but don't expect anything too deep.


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Thursday, June 9, 2016

The mysteries of Millikan High School sports

Let's say you're a parent considering signing up your daughter for the girls cross country team at Millikan High School in Long Beach, California.

You probably have many questions, such as:
  • Who is the coach? How can I reach him or her?
  • How do I sign up my daughter? Are there tryouts? If so, when?
  • When is the season, and how long does it last?
  • When are practices?
  • Is there training during the summer?
  • How much does it cost?
Logically, you head to the official web page of the Millikan girls cross country team where, as I write this, you will find exactly NONE of the answers to those questions, Here is the page:

That's right, absolutely no information at all. Not only that, it says "Cross County" not "Cross Country."

It's worth noting that Millikan High School is not some tiny, podunk school that is only now learning about a thing called the Internet. Millikan is a 4,000-student high school, with 185 staff members, in the Long Beach Unified School District, one of the largest districts in California.

In case you think I just happened to catch the Millikan girls cross country page at a bad moment, note that the page, misspelling and all, has remained unchanged for 10 58 consecutive days.

By comparison, anyone interested in cross country at nearby Wilson High School, also in Long Beach, will find a full-fledged website dedicated to the team with a complete roster of both boys and girls teams, bios and pictures of the coaches, and complete competition results from the past three seasons.

Is it just the girls cross country team page at Millikan that's weak? Hardly.

The boys cross country page, as I write this, has an announcement about tennis, and nothing else. The boys water polo team page has the same announcement, an outdated schedule and nothing else.

Nine other teams have only an outdated schedule on their pages and no other information: girls basketball, track, girls water polo, baseball, boys golf, softball, girls swimming, girls golf, and boys volleyball

The gymnastics page deserves special mention: It has an outdated schedule and -- get this -- an eight-sentence report about the results of a meet from March. Hey, that's not bad, right? Well, keep in mind that the meet was in March 2010 -- six years ago.

It's disturbing that so many organizations don't recognize that their web site is their face to the world. It's the first thing people see when they come to learn more about your group. It's a page people will return to again and again -- if it is useful and up-to-date.  Sadly, these Millikan pages are none of those.


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