Great staff photo, huh? Only, that's not us. And that will never be us. We don't wear power suits or ties. We wear jeans, t-shirts, ballcaps, athletic shorts... pretty much whatever we want. 

I was looking at our "About Us" page the other day and I couldn't believe how corporate looking I had allowed it to become. All our staff photos looked like we belonged in a photo like the one above. But that's not us. So I decided to spend my morning getting US back into our about us page. There are no major changes here but it's a much better representation of who we are than it was before. This page doesn't include our entire staff, by the way. Just the people you're likely to come into contact with when you deal with us. Though after spending some time working on this page, I think we probably need to get our entire staff on here.

Anyway, take a look at the revised About Us page.

Earlier this week, Ashley and I adventured to Kansas City to attend the 2nd Annual Sports Fan Engagement Forum.  Despite what it sounds like, this was not a forum where attendees return engaged to be married…sorry Mom.  Instead, attendees learn about engaging with fans in the stadium during games and at home during the offseason through various technological channels.

Although we might not directly deal with these topics and issues being discussed, our clients do.  It was very interesting to hear what these teams go through no matter if they are college, minor league, or major league teams.  I think learning more about what our clients are dealing with will help us create better solutions for them.

While in town, we were provided the opportunity to tour Sporting Kansas City’s soccer stadium.  What a place!  It was so nice, and every last detail was taken into consideration.  The carpet and interior in the suite level is black and white to represent the soccer ball.  The lower level – field level – has brown and green wall accents to pay tribute to the field.  Even parts of the ceiling/lights are hexagons to reflect the soccer ball.  

We also got to see the team’s locker room, which is fully equipped with Ferarri racing chairs for every player.  This chair is $4,000!!!

Overall, I’m glad that Ashley and I attended this forum.  We learned some new things, made new friends, connected with old ones, and had a lovely time. 

Here's a couple more pictures...

My obligatory #HandstandsWithHannah

Even Zac made an appearance to moderate a panel!

Last month I downloaded a new app to my phone.  I had always heard and read many funny stories about the conversations people have on this app.  So I go to sign up.  First thing it does is ask for permission to access my Facebook.  I absolutely hate when things ask for my Facebook info.  This normally means that they are seeking to sell your private information to a third party, but then I read that it only needs access to my public profile.  I was like cool I'm okay with that, but then the app goes back and keeps asking for more and more permissions.  This erks me to say the least.  Anyways due to boredom, I go ahead and give them access so I can see what everyone is talking about.

I start reading people's profiles, and something starts to become a reoccurring theme.  In their profiles, people keep saying that they are a different age than what it shows.  I start thinking, why are they doing this?  Then I realize they are pulling the information from Facebook.  To protect their identities and personal information, people commonly lie when filling out their Facebook profiles.  I checked my profile to see what it said, and I was 19 years old according to the app, which made the app completely worthless to me at this point.  I updated my Facebook birthday to something a little closer, but now Facebook gives a warning that you are no longer allowed to change my birthday after this last time... So what did I do?  Yea it's still not the correct birthday.  A lot of this has to do with Facebook's actions in the past which has caused the majority of people to mistrust Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook as a whole.  So this app now is trusting false data for its functionality, leading to bad user experiences.

So what info from Facebook can be trusted?  Well mainly people's likes and shares tell the most about them.  Most people don't sit around liking and sharing stories they don't like.  Where as they commonly have fake birthdays and a lot of girls I know find it funny to change their names on Facebook, especially when using apps like this that require their name to work.

So why is this all important to you?  Well a lot of people believe that Facebook is the best way to collect information from their clientele for contests and such, but as commonly known to developers, the more information you ask for from the person, the less likely they are to tell you, and probably the less likely they are to tell you the truth.  You are better off finding fun more innovative ways like the 12th Man Challenge campaign to gather info from your prospects than Facebook, if accurate data is required.

Today we have our mid-year Staff Infection.  We will sit down as a company and talk about what we plan to do in 2015 and how we plan to accomplish it.  While this meeting always takes away an afternoon or two of work, I look forward to this day.  It is a unique opportunity that Zac gives his employees and something that helps us understand where Old Hat Creative is heading.  

In meetings like this we may have to deal with difficult decisions.  We may make them as a whole company or provide our input so Zac can feed off of that to make his decisions.  This can be difficult for anyone.  

I have found that most people have their own process when it comes to making big decisions.  I have also found that most people are willing to tell you about how they make difficult or important decisions.  To be honest, I do not think I have found a tried-and-true method for efficiently coming to conclusion on the larger matters in life.  If I had to explain it, it would probably be something like this: 

Step 1) Don’t get a full nights rest the entire time you are struggling with said decision.

Step 2) At least five times, think you have made your mind up only to have something remind you about why you should change your mind. 

Step 3) Stare blankly at a wall or a sunset or a tree or your dog until he comes over and hits you with his paw. 

Step 4) Ask lots of peoples advice but don’t really respond to what they say because you are deep in thought and make them feel like you are not listening. 

Step 5) Get mad at yourself for taking so long to make a decision and force yourself to finally decide. 

Step 6) Repeat all above steps in any order you want.

I am pretty sure that is not an efficient way to come to a conclusion, but it is what I find myself doing most of the time.  I probably change the order up quite drastically, but I am sure I cover each step in some form or fashion.  And that is a big reason as to why I enjoy Staff Infection.  We are able to get the people who care the most about our company in a room and hear what they have to say.  I do not have to go through my usual steps.  The thoughts and opinions that come out of these meetings are from people who have a vested interest in the future of Old Hat and we are able to do it in a setting where people are comfortable enough to speak their mind.  

Feel free to borrow or steal my awesome decision making steps above and be thinking about all of us Old Hatters as we get infected this afternoon. 

A lot of our readers or followers out there recently got a gift from Old Hat, Limited Edition Gold Pack Select Old Hat Playing Cards.  For me, it is a bit weird to be on a playing card, but it turns out they are pretty popular, well at least with my nephew.  Last week, I got a video of my nephew asking if his father had any more Uncle Kevins.  Weird at first, but then it made me laugh. 

So in effort to help Zac learn more card games and to teach our readers out there a valuable lesson, I present, Old Hat Go Fish…

Rules (guidelines or things that most people try to break when playing cards):

Five Old Hatters are dealt from the Limited Edition Gold Pack Select Old Hat Playing Cards.  You can choose to deal seven Old Hatters if you choose, but usually having that many Old Hatters in one hand can get a little awkward.  The rest of the neglected Old Hatters are placed in a pile in the center.  In Old Hat Go Fish you refer to this as the “Puddle." 

The person who goes first (Duey), looks at another player (Gnorman), stares at them a bit, and then asks for a specific Old Hatter.  The person (Duey) asking must have at least one Old Hatter in their hand to ask for that specific Old Hatter.  If Gnorman does not control any Old Hatters at the moment, he tells Duey to “go jump in a lake”, signifying that Duey can now steal an Old Hatter from the puddle or choose to jump in a lake.   At this point, everyone must stand up and turn around twice.  If the Old Hatter that Duey stole from the puddle is the same Old Hatter that he requested from Gnorman, only Gnorman has to turn around twice and Duey gets another turn.

Once the turning has been completed, the next person repeats the process.  If at any time, one player has managed to kidnap four of the same Old Hatters, then that Old Hatter is laid on the table in front of the kidnapper.  

The game ends when Robert gets frustrated and starts throwing cards or all of the Old Hatters have been kidnapped.  

I hope you enjoy playing Old Hat Go Fish but don’t worry the fun doesn’t stop there.  Check out the other games you can play with the Limited Edition Gold Pack Select Old Hat Playing Cards like “Try, try, to Slice My Eye” or the always classic “Lick Your Cards.” 

With the start of the new year there is always some time spent going over what happened in the last year.  Whether going over financials or marketing plans or the whole year in general the beginning of a new year can end up with a lot of talk about the previous one.  Even if you look through our blog over the last week there are quite a few mentions of 2014 and probably more than 2015.  

However, there is one thing that we did early in 2015 that is completely about this year.  We launched and released the information for this year’s Super Fan 5k.  There will be a few changes this year and a few new additions but it will still be the same enjoyable time as years past.  

Check out and get registered for this years race. 

On Thursday, I am headed to El Dorado (like tornado), Arkansas to visit my sister and her family.  My nephew turns five today and his birthday party is on Saturday.  I am a bit embarrassed to say that this is the first birthday of his I have attended.  He made sure to lock down my commitment early last year as he had already decided he wanted a soccer party.  It turns out his fondness of soccer comes down to my obsession with the sport. 

I love soccer and have since I was four.  The only reason I started playing the sport is because a doctor thought it might help with my asthma.  Then it turned into a way to keep me exercising between baseball seasons.   Add in the ‘94 World Cup and Fox replaying F.A. Cup games at random times, and I was hooked.  

My nephew has asthma but has not had soccer recommended to him to help.  His parents, both great athletes in their own right, couldn't care less about the sport, so I took it upon myself to make sure he was introduced.  He has owned Manchester United gear from the get-go and one of my first gifts to him was a blow up soccer goal and ball.  He loves kicking the ball around enough that I get a regular flow of soccer related videos that could make even the most ardent hater of soccer smile.  

Which brings me to a slightly relevant point for this blog.  How did you find your fanhood?   Or more importantly, how did your fans find theirs?  I find it interesting how I became a Manchester United fan.  Marketing.  I have supported them since I was nine or ten years old and came to support them with no family influence.  Around that time, United was at the beginning of a twenty-year period of dominance of England, and at times, Europe.  They amped up their marketing and distribution of television rights to all areas of the world.  On a Saturday morning in south Texas, I was able to stumble upon a replay of United playing in the F.A. Cup.  I recognized the club name from one of the teams on a video game and started watching.  A year later, I saw this goal and wanted to be Cantona.  Twenty years later, I spend money buying gear, follow the team on Twitter, pay to see them whenever I can, and deck my nephew out in everything United.  

It all started with a replay of an old game and some marketing.  I am a lifelong fan.  I am up early every weekend watching and I am going to give my nephew every opportunity to do the same.  

How are you reaching out to new fans?  How are you setting up the newest members of your community and making sure the seats will be filled in twenty years?  

A lot of this comes from your existing community.  Fans bringing fans.  That comes from the community you establish and the feeling of belonging that your fans bring to the table.  

At Old Hat, we Amplify the Sports Experience.  That is our standard line and that is what we pride ourselves in doing.  If you ask Zac why he does this, he will share a story or two about going to Oklahoma football games with his father.  Every sports fan has stories like this, some explanation of how they got to where they are in supporting THEIR team.  We want to help you create those stories.  We want to make sure there are fans with amazing memories creating even better memories in your stadium for the next 20 years.  We want to help you Amplify the Sports Experience.



Oh and Happy Birthday!

I love the sports world for this last week (and first of the next) of the year.  More specifically I love all the football I can watch.  Bowl games get going earlier than this but not as thick as they are now.  

On top of that, my favorite football (the round one) league forces their teams to play a ridiculous amount of games over a short period of time.  While the coaches and athletes are complaining that the human body cannot recover blah, blah, blah…

I do not care (they are definitely correct about that and I am willing to bet the league racks up a lot of injuries but I hope they are not Manchester United players).  I get to watch the English Premier League on Dec 26th, 28th, 29th, and 1st.  My favorite team will play three times over that span of days.  Add in college bowl games and I will get my fill of the sports I enjoy to watch.  

In case you are wondering, Texas A&M plays at 1pm today and Manchester United are at 6am Thursday morning.  Happy watching!

A couple times a year I spend a day going over the analytics for all of our Old Hat sites.  When it comes to that usually leads to a discussion about the salad bowl game.  

To be completely honest, I had never heard of this particular game, but thanks to Tricia, I am reminded about it every time I look at our analytics.  Interested to know what it is? 

Exciting stuff isn’t it?  

As someone who makes a living working in web and the digital space and who blogs on a regular occasion, it is not easy to accept that the most relevant blog on the old hat site according to the internet is one about a made up party game. Not one about our work or our staff or even our clients, just a salad bowl. 

I know I am far from the best blogger, but I try to write about things that are relevant to what Old Hat does as a company.  If anything, it makes for an interesting case study.   What Tricia managed to do was to find that long tail or that niche market where her blog can reign supreme.  When I write about thanking our veterans or going viral or about our amazing staff and the awesome work they do or customer service, I am writing about things already saturating the market.  There are other companies thanking veterans and talking about going viral.  Don’t get me wrong, high quality and relevant content is still king, but finding that niche market can go a long way to telling your story and letting the world know who you are.   

The next time you are blogging or trying to tell your story, think about your competition.  Think about how many other people are out there talking about the same thing and then find a unique way to reach your audience.  It may not be as simple as a salad bowl, but finding the niche market that aligns perfectly with your message will go a long way to coming out on top of that google page.

Movies have trailers, computers and phones have conventions, elections have campaigns, and websites have... well... yeah... let me get back to you on that.

So I was watching the new extended trailer for Avengers 2: The Age of Ultron (which I cannot wait to see)

And it hit me! When launching a new site, how do you get people excited about the launch? Here at Old Hat we created another site to countdown to the launch of a redesign.  We posted on social media.  We sent Duey (or gnome mascot) on a tour of the US. My buddy who is about to launch his new business site, held a fund raising volleyball tournament, shot a commercial last weekend, has a Facebook page that regularly posts updates, and is hosting a launch party.  All of these things are great and help raise awareness for your brand.  Only problem I see with the majority of them is that they limit your awareness to only your immediate circle of friends and maybe their friends.

Finding a way to reach beyond the obvious is always tough.  It will be something that continues to be that way.  Right off the top of my head, these are just some solutions I came up with:

  1. Have a Hollywood movie feature your site in some aspect of their movie...
    Which is not going to be anything realistic for most people unless they are a screenplay writer.
  2. Use TV commercials and radio...
    Just don't over do it and make sure it is not annoying.  There are only some many or commercials a sane person can take.
  3. Create another website to announce your upcoming site...
    This just seems really redundant to me. I think you would be better off building a temporary site on your current domain so people get use to typing it in, if you are going to go this route, but may not be possible if you are just doing a rebrand.
  4. Advertise or post on Social Media...
    This is probably the cheapest way to do it, but also just gets ignored or blocked by many users, unless you create some sort of game or contest out of it, such as Fangage. A game or contest such as this will help get it out of your immediate circle of friends.  The more fun and exciting you make it, the more it will spread.  The key here is to gently let users know about your product [site], but just as a "Oh by the way" type of thing, as opposed to a "Beat a Dead Horse" here is our upcoming product [site] over and over again. 

As you can tell it may be tough to get users excited about your upcoming site, but the more creative you are, the better the response will be.  After the initial launch, it will be up to your individual website and its content to bring people back and get new users to join in.  What ideas have you used with your past sites, and what do you have planned for your next site?  Feel free to drop a line in the comments.


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