Saturday, October 15, 2011

SOCRATIC METHOD

Below is a comment I received from a JW (I have no idea who this is) concerning my "piece" the other day on what might be useful to get more people to come to an event such as the upcoming CHESS TNT gala next week (Oct. 21-22). As you no doubt noted, I did not comment on JW's because I want to see what people will think. But I do have one point to make:

"Whatever stance you take, try taking the opposite stance (Devil's Advocate) to see what you come up with." You might be surprised. That is, take your point of view, then melodramatically imagine someone will give you $1000 to instead offer an opposing point of view and see what you come up with to present.

This will show you the difficulty of dealing with the public. Periodically I think of writing (in a book) on such issues, but not for the time being. I'm concerned that should I say anything the "viewing" audience might say "See he doesn't really want to know!" That's not it at all. I want to know what EACH individual thinks or feels for themselves, not for everyone else because they really don't KNOW everyone else.

Here are JW's comments:

"Bob,
It is always hard to know why people don't come to anything, since you really don't know who they are - because well, they don't come. But here goes some notions:
1. Timing: The fall is a busy time. Schools are back in session, a lot of professional and business meetings are held, there are a lot of holiday and social events. Football for example has a major social component (tailgating and parties) and consumes 6-8 weekends.
2. Timing and a Limited Pool of Potential Attendees: There was already one event this year up in Red Wing, MN. For many people there is only so much time (not to mention money – but you ask not to involve cost as a primary factor) budgeted to chess. Even regulars at local tourneys may only play in a big state event occasionally and play at a national meeting every few years. Time (and money) for a training session is clearly finite – and perhaps that was all consumed already.
3. Format/Method: This is a new(er) way of doing things so it may be a hard sell just because of the newness of the concept. Steve L. makes some good points; having an expert like Andrew push you to analyze positions, pick a move, and defend your choices is really helpful. As a patzer, it is interesting that even better players like Steve L. (to whom I have lost badly) face many of the same problems - it suggests a universality of these concerns. Opening books have traditionally sold better than middlegame and endgame books, so an opening theme is not necessarily a weak point. Clearly people are interested in openings. But I can see why some players may not feel that this is time well spent at a weekend training event.
Hope this helps some.
JW"

I appreciate JW's input, but mostly it is about what JW thinks concerning others, not JW's self. That is the ONLY valid criteria, each person.

If I should take the opposing viewpoint, from MY experience, you would see, of course, completely different commentary, which, in most likelihood, would also make sense.

I invite those who have reasons for why THEY don't do something (or, do do something), to tell me.

KARPOV
This morning I was confirmed as a "friend on Facebook" for Anatoly Karpov, the 12th world chess champion. Undoubtedly this was a fake as I never asked to be his friend. I had the opportunity to once, but chose not to. My friends on FB are either family, or clients of Thinkers' Press inc or G&L CHESS. Some are business interests, but in general I refrain from those invites from people who have 750 friends and want to add me to their list! Why, what advantage is it to me, or them? What a huge waste of the finite time we have left.

"TO THE POINT"
I am getting feedback on this new chess idea I am promoting, and it is GOOD-GREAT feedback (means people are actually sending the money in). And I am working on the content, design, etc. to put together a promo-pak for $9.95 which can be sent any place mail can legitimately be received on this planet. The genuine article and the details will not be available until February 2012 most likely but the ball has begun rolling. The amount is small and you will have a strong idea of what the purpose is. It is affordable and most likely will be a bright experience for the day it arrives in your mail box.

RIDING SHOTGUN
It's great to be in the "saddle" once again of creation, harmony, and doing something engaging and useful and taking on a "theme." Unfortunately, I got news yesterday that a company who has been courting my business for the past year doesn't really engage in the kind of packaging I am looking for. Their brochure said they did packaging but apparently some other, non-defined, kind. So last night I spent more time looking and while I came up with a couple nifty ideas, a packager wasn't among them. Interestingly, there used to be a company in town called Warren Packaging and they are no longer around or merged and moved somewhere else. But I have more ideas and one is to contact the HQ of a local Pizza Chain named Happy Joes. The company started here, years ago, a mile from me, and he expanded around the Midwest and became a multi-millionaire. His food was the best, but, he was the ultimate cheapskate (i.e., his vendors couldn't make any money off of HIM!). In time, there were problems with various management, etc. and though his company is still successful, somebody definitely took their eye off of the ball--as sometimes happens. But, I will contact THEIR packager and see what I can get for this project.

As my friend Sarah said the other day, "When you show you are enthusiastic about a project, others become enthusiastic too!" There will be a referral program. I launched one, early in the year and it was without a doubt, a total FLOP! As I said a few Blogs ago, "failures are more common than successes."

Getting others engaged in a really FUN way is paramount, and as I have looked around the chess landscape, for years, almost NO ONE is doing that. Thus, many subscribers are inured, or used to dealing with mediocrity. If I can rise above mediocrity, perhaps that can change things? I hope so, but complacency and apathy are ingrained in most of us because we have "other stuff going on."

Leave your comments. If you give me your name and email address (addressed to bob@thinkerspressinc.) then I can respond in private. Who knows, we might become lifelong friends and not the drivel one see so much on Facebook.

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