disappointed browns fan

NFL Teams Are Doing it Wrong: Teams Should be Set-Up Differently

NFL head coaches come from a teaching background. Every single one earned their job by being teachers beforehand. They taught players how to perform their skill and improve their ability.

Once they become head coaches, they are then asked to manage a game (clock, timeout, challenges), determine strategy (play call/in-game adjustments), motivate (give pre- and post-game speeches), and assist in player acquisition (provide their thoughts on scouting and the draft). While all head coaches have had some exposure to these activities prior to their promotion, their experience is quite limited with these, and they earned their position by being good at their previous primary function, being teachers.

NFL general managers come from a talent projection background. Almost every single one earned their job by evaluating and projecting the future performance of talent.

Once they become general managers, they are then asked to hire teachers, game managers, and strategists (head coaches). They are asked to acquire talent, sometimes through a strategy game, sometimes through interpersonal negotiations, and sometimes through other means. They are asked to manage salaries. And they are asked to terminate talent. While all general managers have had some exposure to these activities prior to their promotion, their experience is quite limited with these, and they earned their position by being good at their previous primary function, projecting talent.

There is something very wrong with an organization when what gets you promoted is fundamentally and totally different than what you did to earn that promotion.

When I look at the NFL, I see 4 distinct team functions (football-related):

  • Coaching: Defined as the act of improving a player’s ability to perform in game
  • Talent Acquisition: Hiring, Paying, & Firing
  • In-Game Strategy: Play-calling, game management
  • Talent Maximization: Day-to-day player management. Includes strength and conditioning, nutrition, motivation, personal concerns, etc.

These four functions are quite distinct, and in an optimal franchise, they would be split up. There would be a head of coaching, a head of talent acquisition, a head of in-game strategy, and a head of talent-maximization all reporting up to a president/CEO/owner.

Why should they be split? Well with this set-up each department head would have earned his position by doing the same job at a lower-level that he now does. He would not be new, or really anything less than an expert, at each aspect of his job.

Further, each of these functions require totally different expertise. Someone who may be a great teacher may be a terrible strategist (and we’ve seen many head coach examples of this.)

In the optimal NFL franchise, each department would have people with distinct abilities:

Coaching: This requires a teacher-like skill set. Coaches should be patient and knowledgeable about the specific position. Given that they should be teaching a skill, rather than deciding on strategy, it makes sense for them to be organization-specific, which means that the optimal franchise would hire and maintain coaches for decades, throughout changes in leadership. Coaching a position would be seen as an end-itself, not as the means to something more powerful, like a head coaching job (which doesn’t exist in this format).

Talent Acquisition: The talent acquisition department should contain a few different functions:

  • Talent management, which manages team-makeup and salaries. This is essentially the head of operations of the talent acquisition department.
  • Acquisition, with an emphasis on strategy and game theory, who work on player acquisition, led by a head of player acquisition.
  • There should be scouting, which work to project talent, led by a head of scouting.
  • And there should be analysts, whom constantly evaluate the talent level and various practices of this department to determine where new strategies/approaches should be implemented to maximize performance. This department should score every player in the league, it should evaluate various tools for projecting talent (scouting v. production-based algorithms v. analyst projections, etc.), and it should evaluate the efficacy and success rate of the acquisition specialists and scouts.

Each of these functions requires a different skill set. The head of talent acquisition should either have served in each department and/or should feel very comfortable empowering the leaders of each department when necessary.

In-Game Strategy: How many game simulations does the average head coach (or other play caller) perform prior to calling that game?

0.

And that is absurd. Based on the latest information (from each week) the in-game strategy department would update and maintain a model that projects performance from every play. Teams currently measure various play success rates and tendencies, but they do not have a predictive model that responds to previous performance. They also do not have the ability to run simulations.

The person who calls the plays in-game should have run through over a hundred game simulations during that week against various AI models for the opposing head coach/play caller. He should have watched various bots run simulations against the AI of these opposing play callers/coaches and evaluated and worked to implement the strengths of each. Having done this, he would be well prepared in all situations to call the optimal play, or play with a modifier (such as play ____ with the defensive line spread). This is such a specific function with such time dedication that it merits its own department. It also clearly points out the need for various departments, as a current head coach would have nowhere near enough time to properly prepare in game strategy and play-calling.

Talent Maximization: This is the day-to-day HR department. It would have way too many functions to list, but the largest ones are player readiness (sports psychology), strength, nutrition, medical (all separate), security, and various player assistants.

Up to this point, I’ve argued that Head Coaches and GMs are ill equipped for their positions (based on their prior experience and training), that there are four distinct football functions, that these functions should be separate, and then explained what each department entails. I’ll now address some common objections:

Q1. NFL teams are multi-million (or billion) dollar businesses. Isn’t it obvious that they must have optimized their ability to prepare world-class teams for competition by now? 

A1: No, I think it is very clear that they have NOT optimized, for the following reasons:

  1. Nearly every NFL team is structured the exact same way. This is NOT the case in really any other industry. The lack of differentiation indicates a lack of experimentation with new models, meaning that innovation is rare.
  2. There are a number of clearly sub-optimal decisions being made regularly. Take the Bills trading up for Sammy Watkins, for example. There is no mathematical model that can justify giving up that level of compensation for that limited a return, regardless of how Watkins turns out. Mathematical models of draft value based on past history clearly indicate that giving up future first rounders, especially for this limited a return (moving up 5 spots) is a highly destructive decision (with a very high confidence level). This happens all too often, indicating a partially broken system.
  3. Level of turnover is extremely high. If you were to hire and fire decisionmakers in other industries this quickly, you’d know something was wrong with your system.

Q2. What about Bill Belichek (or other top coach/GM)? He does a number of the functions you describe and is clearly successful. He wouldn’t have a place in your model, and this shows that some people can do it all!

A2. Belichek and other top coaches/GMs are merely those who are able to best succeed in this system. Maybe they had more exposure in previous jobs and had to learn less when promoted, maybe they’re great at learning new roles, or maybe they are simply the best at the status quo but would be unsuccessful when facing a franchise that operates under the organization I describe. Until it’s implemented, it’s impossible to say with certainty.

Beyond that, there are a number of clearly suboptimal decisions these people make as well. They are clearly not immune to being underprepared for their vast positions.

Finally, people like Belichek would be very valuable under the new organization I propose. I see him at his best as a head of in-game strategy, although he would likely be a great coach as well.

Q3. You’re just trying to make the NFL like a corporation. Who says they’re well run? Corporations make lots of poor mistakes!

A3. First of all, it is not my goal to make each NFL franchise function like, or even be more similar to, a corporation. Instead, I am trying to point out the inefficiency and unreality of having key decision makers who are asked to do many significant new tasks upon receiving a key promotion without having previously worked in those fields in a significant way. I’m also trying to point out how those various tasks are best thought of in four key buckets, which indicates that each should really have their own department lead, with a singular focus on those functions.

Q4. What about pre-game speeches? What about game-planning during the week of preparation? What about….?

A4. Every function that current exists is easily, and best, handled within the organization being described. A sports psychologist, who interacts with the players on a personal level every day, and who does not evaluate the players’ performance, would give the pre-game speeches. That’s much better than some teacher or manager who needs to distance himself from the players in order to perform his other functions. Game planning would be based on simulations from the week previous. Either there would be a head simulator who would prepare each week for the opponent, or there would be a team that each has a member assigned to an opponent, and that member would work on the updated simulations after each week of new data. Having different people in charge would also increase the difficulty of opponents preparing for the team.

Having focused departments doesn’t create gaps, it instead provides people who are singularly focused, and prepared for, each football task.

tinder

How to Make Tinder Work for You if You’re More Brains than Abs

These are the various types of first messages I get on Tinder (and yes, I get first messages, this did NOT used to be the case… you’ll see why below):

tinder message5


tinder message4


tinder message3


tinder message2


tinder message1

 

 

Why? Well… This is my Tinder profile:

 

tinder profile

I used to have much more Tindery profiles… things like a cool quote, emoticons, nothing at all, dumb interests (i.e. ‘I like cheese.’) or weird/fake claims.

But this profile I currently use has been WAY better. I get more matches (of all kinds). I get better quality matches. And what’s been way way better, is I find out if I’m interested in someone much quicker. They see what type of person I am, and they quickly share what type of person they are. If we have common interests, we immediately have something to talk about. Look at the messages above… while some aren’t the type that interest me, each one tells me a lot about the person sending them, especially compared to the pathetic small talk that used to pervade most of my Tinder conversations.

Tinder CAN actually be used for non-hookups (I actually think it almost always is, but that’s a different story), it can be used to find someone you’re really into, and the profile section can actually be helpful.

It CAN be used to show what type of person you are, to demonstrate value, and to not be shallow.

Revolutionary, I know.

Try filling out the profile section with some real stuff, especially if you’re like me and are more brains than abs. The results are awesome, especially since Tinder these days is quickly becoming the only dating platform that really matters.

japanese

Big Decisions I Live By: I’m Learning Japanese

(Big decisions I live by is an ongoing series about big life decisions I’ve made, and why I’ve made them.)

I am currently learning Japanese. It’s actually going (IMHO) pretty well. I’ve found three resources/approaches particularly helpful:

- Tim Ferriss’s idea on deconstructing a language

- The tips from the Irish Polyglot (particularly Skyping with a foreigner and smart, spaced repetition flash cards)

- And Michel Thomas Japanese audio course

BUT that’s not the point of this post. The point is that I’ve decided to dedicate a significant part of my life to learning Japanese. And as you know, I don’t make decisions, especially those that consume large blocks of time, lightly.

So, why??? Well, it has all been because of my good friend Leni Kinzli (thanks Leni!) and a particularly good rock song.

Leni is one of my best friends, and I’ve known her forever. We have some great memories of goofing off in 6th grade Spanish class. She grew up in the same city as me, going to the same schools, and basically having the same environment.

We share a lot more as well. We have similar goofy/fun personalities, we love travel, we’re very liberal, and we love exposing ourselves to the rest of the world.

The thing is, we’ve done the last one of those things in very different ways.

I’ve gone backpacking… I’ve probably spent about a year in total abroad, and the vast majority of that has been spent going from city to city and country to country with no more than a few days in any one place.

I absolutely love this style of travel, and it’s something I want to do a lot more of. My greatest personal wish (totally selfish… so not including relationships or helping the world) is to do a very extended (2+ years) backpacking trip abroad, visiting over a hundred countries.

Leni has done things quite differently. While she’s been to many countries and places as well, she’s been much more focused. Leni is as fluent in German as she is in English, and she lived for the past 6 years in Germany.

To be honest, you can’t truly know Leni now without knowing this. Not because it was a big part of her life, but because it is a huge part of the way she is, the way her personality and life is.

Leni is German just like she is American. She expresses herself much better in German sometimes and English sometimes. She can’t stand the way German’s insist on qualifications for professional advancement nor the way American’s try to use a filing cabinet for organization when it is so much better done using binders. She channels her inner German for various things and her inner American for others. Basically, Leni marries two distinct aspects of herself that were revealed to her/brought out by two very different environments and cultures.

It took a long time for her to truly communicate that to me and for me to internalize it, but it is a tremendous thing. Leni learned more about who she is, who she wants to be, and how she understands the world by becoming entrenched in, living, another culture.

That’s something I wouldn’t have ever really realized on my own, but it makes perfect sense. Countries are so different from one another… everything from value system to relationship development to food and world perception. It totally makes sense that if you were to live another culture, truly live another culture, you’d walk away with new understanding, new awareness, and a much broader mind.

And that, is why I’m learning Japanese. I realize a whole world will open up to me. Because after learning, I plan on living there for an extended period of time. I plan on literally becoming Japanese.

I’ll learn a totally different value system, a totally different perspective on world affairs, a totally different way of approaching life, relationships, career advancement, and much more.  Sure it’ll help me in practical ways… I’ll be able to use what I learn and observe for business and marketing and such. But the amount that it’ll help me get to know myself and get to know who I am and who I want to be and how I want to look at things will be tremendous. I wouldn’t call it an exponential change, but I would call it a step change. It will be a massive leap forward, and one that I am really looking forward to.

So why Japanese?

Well, I love Japan. I absolutely love Japan. I go there, and I can’t explain it… I feel like I’m home. I feel like I’m in the right place.

That said, the decision is actually about more than that. Japan is so different from the US that I can’t help but feel that I’ll get more out of it than I would if I were to do the same in western Europe, for example. I think that by going somewhere so completely different, it means that my potential for learning is greater than it would be elsewhere. And that’s truly why Japan.

It doesn’t hurt that I’ll be able to use the language for the rest of my life at sushi restaurants, most likely in tech, or that I’ve found some amazing Japanese music. In fact, as alluded to in the beginning of this post, it was a single rock song that gave me the final push I needed to actively studying and prioritizing language learning over alternate activities (mostly reading more). It’s an excellent song, and it came out years ago. If I was Japanese, I would have known about it long ago, and would have been enjoying it this whole time.

I’m sure I’ll feel that way about a whole whole lot more than just a single rock song by the time this Japanese journey is over. :)

happy clock crop

Time is My Most Valuable Asset

Something I’ve found that really unites those who live an intentional life is that we’ve all realized something that so many take for granted…

Time is our most valuable asset.

What this means is that we recognize that we (most likely) have a finite time to be alive. We also recognize that there are many things that, if they are to be done at all, need to be done earlier rather than later, due to sequential, social, or physical restraints, which effectively shortens that time horizon.

We look at life intentionally, and we realize, there are SO MANY AWESOME THINGS TO DO. Things like fall in love, scuba dive in Antarctica, live abroad, and have kids. Things like reading an addicting book, being in the exact place you want to be, or spending a perfect (or even better, not-at-all-perfect-but-makes-a-great-story) night with friends.

There’s all these great things to do, but there’s only a specific amount of time… making it a very rare and very valuable asset.

When you have this perspective, the way you look at and live your life really changes. What is important comes to the forefront, and what is a waste actually starts to seem like what it is… a waste.

These things are different for everyone, but as an example, I now barely ever play video games. I used to play a whole, whole lot (console sports/shooting games).

Why? I usually get nothing out of them. I don’t learn to problem solve and I don’t walk away happy and satisfied. Even worse, these days most of the time a video game takes up at least an hour, and sometimes many hours.

I always knew this, but I still used to play video games all the time, because I wanted to. It was fun. It was easy. It was a split-second, impulsive decision.

Now, I can’t look at video games and see anything but a time suck. I get a bit disgusted when I think of all the great things that could be done with that time. The little I got out of video games (a somewhat fun time, sometimes challenging) is easily replaced with the fun of nearly every activity I substitute (such as reading or learning Japanese).

It’s not that appreciating time as a valuable and rare asset made me stop having fun, it helped me position myself to have the most, long-term fun. The occasional times I do play video games it’s with 3 of my best buddies and a headset on. Why? Because that’s a great social and bonding time, and that IS a good use of time.

When you make a mental adjustment that time is your most valuable asset, you automatically prioritize better, and you automatically plan better.

I just gave an example of prioritization, but to give an example of planning, I’d like to mention that I got scuba certified last year.

Earlier I mentioned wanting to scuba dive Antarctica, and that’s a very real dream of mine. The pictures of Antarctica I’ve seen are among the most beautiful, and that becomes even more pronounced and unique under water.

BUT, one does not just go scuba diving in Antarctica. You get certified first. Then you get certified to dive under ice. Then you get Nitrox certified so you can stay under longer. And dry suit certified so that you can stay warm.

You go on lots of easier dives first. You become an expert traveler first. You acquire the financial means necessary to afford to go to Antarctica and the additional means necessary to dive there.

AND THEN, you go to Antarctica. Without a doubt, it is a multi-year process. Knowing that this is a dream of mine, and knowing that it is something I really want to do, helped me allocate the time to getting scuba certified now. It went from being a dream to something that I’m in the long process of achieving.

So when I was deciding whether to procrastinate, or to play video games, or get scuba certified… the choice was easy. Time is rare and valuable, and I had to make the most of it.

You know how so many people say high school, or college, or your 20s, goes by in a blink? Well, if you treat time as your most valuable asset, that becomes less true. You approach each moment trying to extract the value from it. You plan in the short and the long-term. And you can look back at days and weeks and years and really be happy and satisfied with how you lived them.

one-hundred-dollar-money-order1

The Permanent Way to Unlimited, Free Manufactured Spend

With the recent shutdowns of the Vanilla Reload/Bluebird connection and Serve reloads now effectively becoming truly cash-only, people are looking for new ways to manufacture spend. A ridiculously high number seem to think that they’ll no longer be able to hit their minimums and they need to find a magic way of manufacturing spend.

Lost in all this is that there is a permanent, free way to manufacture spend that will never disappear. It should be fundamental to any churner’s strategy. It also, for me, makes finding other ways of manufacturing spend more of a sometimes interesting hobby, and not at all central to my churning experience.

Step 1 (optional): Check blogs, flyertalk, google news, whatever to find out if any cashback sites are running special rates on visa/amex/mastercard gift cards. If you’d like, wait until they are, or just proceed to the website of whichever cashback site has the current best rate going. (You’ll buy on a site that’s linked to from the cashback site, such as GiftCardMall or a bank’s website.)

Step 2: Go to the cashback site and click through to purchase the visa (or whatever) gift card. The amount you get from the cashback portal will exceed the fees in most cases.

Step 3: After you receive and activate your gift cards, go to the post office, Walmart, or anywhere else really (a bank I think can work too!) and get a money order or cashiers check using the gift cards. They can all go on one money order/cashiers check. The fee will be negligible ($1-$4) (and your total should still be less than the amount of cashback).

Step 4: Deposit the money order/cashiers check into your bank. You’ve now completed your fee-free MS.

whitepages

The Definitive Contact Information, Phone Numbers, and Hours of Credit Card Reconsideration (Recon) Lines for Churners

I couldn’t find a single blog post or forum entry anywhere that contained at all up-to-date contact numbers and hours of operation for each bank’s reconsideration line. So, I called each and every one to get the information for myself, and share it with all of you.

This post will always be current and updated as needed.

Chase:

Personal: 888-245-0625 (8am-10pm Eastern, M-F; 8am-8pm Eastern, weekend)

Business: 800-453-9719 (1pm-10pm Eastern, M-F)

AmEx:

Personal and Business: 877-399-3083 (6am-10pm Mountain, M-F; 8:30-4:30 Mountain, weekend)

Citi:

Personal: 800-695-5171 (7am-11pm Central, every day)

Business: 800-763-9795 (7am-midnight Eastern, every day)

Bank of America:

Personal: 866-505-7481 (8am-9pm Eastern, M-F)

Business: 800-481-8277 or 888-663-6262 (8am-midnight Eastern, every day)

US Bank:

Personal and Business: 800-947-1444 (7am-7pm Central, M-F; 8am-5pm Central, Saturday; closed Sunday)

Barclays:

Personal and Business: 866-408-4064 (8am-5pm Eastern, M-F)

Pile of Credit Cards

Credit Card Churning: An Overview and Instruction Guide (Part 4)

This is part 4 of 4 of my step-by-step guide to credit card churning. This part covers what to do after applying for the cards in your App-O-Rama.

Part 1 provides an overview of churning, explains its benefits, and outlines my approach. Part 2 provides the basic knowledge and tools necessary to determine if and how you can begin churning. Part 3 takes you from the general knowledge necessary to the process of planning and executing your first churn through an App-O-Rama.

8. Call the reconsideration lines for any cards you were not instantly approved for.

I’d recommend calling in the same order you applied, but once again, it doesn’t really matter, unless you need to call both the business and personal reconsideration lines for a bank, in which case I’d call business first.

Chase:

Personal: 888-245-0625 (8am-10pm Eastern, M-F; 8am-8pm Eastern, weekend)

Business: 800-453-9719 (1pm-10pm Eastern, M-F)

AmEx:

Personal and Business: 877-399-3083 (6am-10pm Mountain, M-F; 8:30-4:30 Mountain, weekend)

Citi:

Personal: 800-695-5171 (7am-11pm Central, every day)

Business: 800-763-9795 (7am-midnight Eastern, every day)

Bank of America:

Personal: 866-505-7481 (8am-9pm Eastern, M-F)

Business: 800-481-8277 or 888-663-6262 (8am-midnight Eastern, every day)

US Bank:^

Personal and Business: 800-947-1444 (7am-7pm Central, M-F; 8am-5pm Central, Saturday; closed Sunday)

Barclays:

Personal and Business: 866-408-4064 (8am-5pm Eastern, M-F)

Reconsideration calls are most often easy, in that the analyst asks you a bunch of information, you answer honestly, and they often approve you.

Sometimes, they’ll ask you why you want the card. The best thing to do is cite benefits that are unique to that card v. your current cards with that bank (not the sign-up bonus… ongoing benefits), talk about why you’ll use that card often due to those benefits, and mention that it fulfills a unique role in your wallet for various reasons. The easiest reason to give is often that it will help you organize your expenses for whatever reason (make one up).

If they tell you they can’t approve you, the first thing to do is understand why. Once you’ve been churning for a while, there are two common reasons:

  1. They’ve already provided you with as much credit as they’re willing to give. There’s nothing wrong with that, reiterate how much you want the card and how much you’ll use it, and ask if there’s any way they can get you approved. Ask if it would help if you lowered the credit line on some of your other cards. Usually, those are magic words, and the analyst will start asking or recommending cards that you could lower your credit line on. Work with them to make your credit lines what they need to be to open the card, and you’ll be approved.
  2. The second reason most often given is that you have too many recent inquiries. As above, reiterate how much you want the card and how much you’ll use it, and ask if there’s any way they can get you approved. You can still offer to move credit around, but that likely won’t help. Instead, I’ve had success emphasizing how long my relationship with the bank has been (if applicable), how little I’d like to go to another bank for a similar card (if applicable), and how it has been a long time since those inquiries (3 months) and my spending habits/earning potential has really changed recently, so I need more cards (make stuff up without giving concrete numbers/examples… i.e. Some of my investments are performing better than expected, work has asked me to travel more, I have an imminent promotion, etc.).

If neither of these methods work, I’ve had a lot of success asking for a supervisor. Repeat this process with them, and there’s a decent shot they’ll approve you.

Unfortunately, if the supervisor doesn’t approve you, it’s rare you’ll get that approval. You can certainly try calling later/another day and trying new rationale, but in my experience, they only deny you if they really can’t find a way to get you approved, and different reps doesn’t change that.

If you get denied for a different reason that above, they’ll likely tell you how to address it. Feel free to comment here and I’ll help you at as well.

9. Follow-Up and Document

Sometimes you’ll have to call reconsideration another day on their instruction, or pay off a balance and wait for it to clear, or some other procedural thing. Follow-up on these as soon as you can.

Document your results on the spreadsheet. Make sure to note the offer, and any notes on why you were not approved if applicable.

10. Treat Your New Cards Well

Once you receive your new cards, activate them, set-up autopay, and add them to Mint.com (highly recommended for organization).

If applicable, call and set-up any offers (such as hotel status, or electing airlines for credit, etc.) and set-up anything procedural you’d like (such as statement date and billing cycle, or authorized users).

Add one or two to your wallet for daily spend (ones that have bonuses you’ll use, or ones with banks you’d like to improve your relationship with). Plan how you’re going to hit the minimums using manufactured spend for the others.

Proceed with manufactured spend and track on Mint.com. Use AwardWallet to ensure you’re receiving the points and miles you’re entitled to. Make sure to hit all minimums for bonuses by the applicable date.

Rinse, repeat, and enjoy the amazing world (of credit card churning ;)) for fun and profit.

Feel free to comment any part of this guide with questions.


^US Bank doesn’t really do reconsideration… instead they take about a week and decide on the application themselves. Still, it’s worth calling, because sometimes they want to ask more questions to add to the application. The big difference is that they won’t decide on the phone, they’ll take their time and let you know.

card spread

Credit Card Churning: An Overview and Instruction Guide (Part 3)

This is part 3 of 4 of my step-by-step guide to credit card churning. This part takes you from the general knowledge necessary to the process of planning and executing your first churn through an App-O-Rama.

Part 1 provides an overview of churning, explains its benefits, and outlines my approach. Part 2 provides the basic knowledge and tools necessary to determine if and how you can begin churning.

5. Learn the basics of miles and points

There are a few different types of points and miles you can earn from churning.

Flexible points (best): SPG, Ultimate Rewards, AmEx

- These points can be transferred, at favorable rates, to a variety of valuable airlines (and/or hotel programs). They’re awesome to have, since they give you the most flexibility and value. You can use them to supplement various trips across various airlines or hotels.

Airline miles: United, American, US Air, Southwest, Lufthansa, Alaskan, British Air …. LAN, Delta, Virgin Atlantic

- I have these ranked in general order of value, but you’re going to have to do the research yourself if you want more precision or customized ranking based on your location. There’s a big gap in value at the ellipsis due to difficulty and expense in redemption, so much so that many churners will ignore the last three ones listed.

Hotel points: Club Carlson, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott

- Once again, you have to do the research yourself. These aren’t ranked, they’re just the hotel programs that seem to have the most value and are able to distinguish themselves versus other hotel programs.

While familiarizing yourself with these, it’s valuable to learn about redemption. For example, I was floored when I first found out miles on United (and other programs) could be used for a free stopover, and didn’t have markups for obscure countries since redemption is region based (i.e. it costs the same to go to the Marshall Islands as it does to go to Sydney!). Knowing about redemption will help dictate how you prioritize what miles/points you earn.

6. Begin planning your first AOR.

Overall AOR Structure:

1 business and 1 personal card:  Chase, BoA, US Bank, Amex

2 cards of any type: Citi

1 personal card: Barclay

Choosing Which Cards:

If you are following my philosophy of churning (as explained above), simply choose the top cards in my credit card rankings that you have yet to acquire within the past 2 years.

Even if you don’t follow my philosophy, that will be the best source for locating credit card offers, updating monthly.

The exception to this is that you definitely want to take advantage of any targeted limited time offers, probably want to take advantage of any public limited time offers, and want to wait on any cards that have specific timing bonuses (i.e. end of year, or frequent limited time offers). The notes for these are included in my rankings.

A targeted limited time offer is one for which there is no public link available, and you’ve received an invitation code to apply within a specific timeframe in the mail. If you receive one of these and it is good (10k+ above normal offer, and one of the better offers that people receive on this card) go ahead and take advantage of it in this AOR.

A non-targeted limited time offer is a card that has recently had the bonus increased on a temporary basis.

If you’d like to learn to rank you own cards, it’s pretty simple. Subscribe to the special credit cards offer thread on Flyertalk, check out the latest blogger rankings, and watch Flyertalk.

If you really want to get ahead of the game, create Google alerts for offers from each of the banks!

Schedule

Per the 10 day Citi rule explained above, you usually want to put in one Citi application and get approved 10 days before your AOR.

7. Do the AOR: Choose a weekday, and apply

You want your applications to go in as quickly as possible, so that each credit pull does not show the other credit pulls for your other applications. There’s a rumor out there that applications just need to be the same day… this is NOT true. I’ve had reps on reconsideration lines see credit pulls for cards I’ve applied for no less than an hour prior.

To accomplish what’s above, I recommend having a firm plan in place, including the links to each application (in incognito mode/separate browser if that’s encouraged for that offer), the list of cards, and the order you are going to apply for them in.

It doesn’t really matter that much, but I recommend applying in the following order:

  1. Cards for any banks you have previous denials from
  2. Cards you really want (usually limited-time offers)
  3. Inverse order of banks listed above (AKA Barclay’s first).  I’d also apply for the business cards for any banks before the personal ones. The general idea is that you want to apply for the cards you’ll have the most difficulty getting first, since that credit pull will be cleanest.

Most likely, you’ll get some instant approvals and some applications that will say it is ‘under review’ or ‘under consideration’, etc. As soon as you are done submitting your applications…


READ ON: Part 4 covers what to do after applying for the cards in your App-O-Rama.

food mess

Bad Marketing: Foodini Kickstarter Video

The Ad

Why It Sucks

This video is just horrible.

  • The ad should focus of the amazingness of having all these foods prepared for you, not health! Health advantages are great, but you can say that in one line.
  • It doesn’t even sell health well! All it says are fresh ingredients, while talking about a number of unhealthy dishes.
  • Why is the first half of the video background about weird metaphorical visuals of other machines and food? Takes forever to show the product, and it’s just weird and confusing.
  • What is it demoing? The machine demos the weirdist dish ever as background in the video. Something with arranged marinara sauce, spinach leaves, and nilla wafer-like things?
  • Why is it demoing something that takes human assembly?!?! They are basically showing off just how not great the machine is.
  • No one cares about you cofounder and CMO… especially when you talk in such a soft voice that lacks excitement or conviction.

Conclusion: Big, professional video, awesome product, and they still really couldn’t get a single thing right (probably why their campaign is struggling despite lots of press). Then again, they didn’t say something they’ll regret or necessarily scare people off. This gets a 1/10 for marketing, since you have to actively scare people away to get a 0. But, since the production value makes the product seem decent automatically…

2/10 Overall :(