Money Is For Saving Newspapers, Not For Paying Athletes [Three Best Things 5/24/10 - 5/30/10]

Thing 1: A Popular Understanding Of Sports Economics from SB Nation. Sports fans whine about how much money athletes make. They spend more time doing this than they spend enjoying sports or life.

I’ve always tried to discover where it is that these fans feel all the money should go. Major sports leagues make billions of dollars — if athletes are making, like, $90,000 a year, does that mean the other 99.9% of each billion should should go to team owners? It’s gotta go somewhere. Might as well go to the people who provide the entire product, right?

It’s hard to avoid thinking it might be a race issue, as we’ll all get worked up about a guy named Rodriguez earning $25 million for 162 games, yet nobody complains about Tom Hanks making $25 million for doing one movie.

Thing 2: Flash Marketing by Grant McCracken.

What’s the hardest thing in the world to market?
It can be difficult, elitist, inaccessible, and as if this weren’t enough, it’s in a foreign language.
What do you do?
If you are the Opera Company of Philadelphia, about a month ago, this is what you do.

Thing 3: Google Fonts API - time to Drupal market - one day by Acquia.

Google announced their API and directory on May 19, 2010. On Thursday, May 20, 2010, a Drupal module was released that gives you all the tools you need to display Google Fonts on your Drupal website. Time to market - one day. In the first week after its release, the module has already been installed on over 50 websites, kick-starting the virtuous cycle of testing and feedback that is the hallmark of open source software …
The lesson here is clear: you can move at web speed by using open source tools. Stop waiting for your proprietary vendor to add it to their product, Drupal let’s you use tools like Google Fonts today.

Elsewhere in new, efficient, and agile vs. old, wasteful, and sluggish: The Government Wants To Save Newspapers And Media Moguls from Silicon Alley Insider (via Rafi Kam). A recent FTC report on how to save journalism ignores blogs and other independent media, instead cooking up schemes that basically amount to newspaper industry bailouts. (What else can you call “a 5% surcharge on consumer electronics to raise $4 billion for public funding of news”?) There’s too much astounding stuff to summarize in a short space; go read it for yourself.

Like There’s Not A Bonus Section

Cell phone in microwave. Yes, it’s worth watching. With your speakers on.

Three Best Things 4/5/10 - 4/11/10: WikiLeaks Publishes Conan O'Brien's Tweets On Billboards?

  • Thing: Conan O’Brien’s tweets on billboards by Everything Conan bangs out on Twitter immediately appears on billboards around the country. There’s not a syllable I can add to this that would make it any greater.
  • Thing: Inside WikiLeaks’ Leak Factory by (Drupal-powered) Mother Jones. However you feel about WikiLeaks’ video release from earlier this week, it’s worth reading up on the site’s founder. The type of cat who claims his Facebook fan page is run by Noam Chomsky when it actually isn’t, this guy chides a pair of assassinated potential sources for not acting “anonymous” enough. WikiLeaks has an amazing public ideal and has certainly mixed lots of very good work in with all its weirdness, but this article just offers up too many really revealing and hilarious quotes to pass up.
  • Thing: What Makes NPR and the Economist So Special? by the Washington Post. The answer, if you want the short version, is that they’ve found the sweet spot between news and opinion. Newspapers are dying because it’s too easy to get news the moment it happens, rather than waiting to read about it the next morning. Think about the blogs you read — chances are they include very little straight-up no-frills news content. Something anyone who writes, speaks, or creates can ponder… how can you tell the story-of-the-week in such a way that people will listen? [Via Rafi Kam]

Bonus Bonus Bonus

SEOmoz shows how to use the psychology of choices to improve your site’s conversion rate. In their example, a nonprofit was able to gain more newsletter subscribers by altering their call-to-action. Instead of just asking users to subscribe, they began asking users to either subscribe or link.

Think about how many times this could happen in a day: Mary Internet is on the fence about subscribing. She’d like to pitch in, but doesn’t feel like committing. But there’s another option — a link? Sure, that’s a one-time way to help.

There’s no data on this part, but it’s not hard to imagine subscriptions would increase too, making the new call to action a double success. Brilliant! We’ve been working with more nonprofits lately, and we’d love to try out something like this.