Monday, December 27, 2004

What's A Zeitgeist?

Hi Everyone!

I became interested in what creates our American and now Global culture when I was around one-to-two years old and this thing called TV was before my eyes. I think I learned to read from Campbell's Soups cans, so imagine how many kids may have had the same experience simply because of the sheer number of "Mmm..Good" Campbell's Soup cans!

I'm serious.

I've always been a student of what we used to call current events. It's too bad there wasn't a college major in it...Come to think of it, I should have made one. As it was, I opted for the closest thing: city planning. Cities are really the study of people and the culture they create.

In fact, UC Berkeley City Planning professor Alan Jacobs instructed his students that if they wanted to learn about a neighborhood, they should study its garbage in the refuse cans. Think about it.

Anyway, my interest in the formation of popular culture increased with the establishment of my company Sports Business Simulations. Sports touches every aspect of our life and is so much a part of our culture we take it for granted. I think of last year's Super Bowl and how TV communicated one "strip" that became the talk of our times and in a way formed an event that bonded millions of people of different ideas and backgrounds.


Part of what we do at SBS is promote people, or what I call "SBS Personalities." I'm firmly convinced that anyone can be made famous.

Anyone. The definition of fame is wide. For example, Lindsey Huff, SBS Personality, VP of Sales, and friend, is looked up on Google at least five times a day. Why? Well, I think it's her picture on the front of our website ( . It's not only caused her increased cultural exposure, but a business deal for her I can't talk about. Oh, and there's the famous LegalBall and SBS Personality and friend Keith Dobkowski (Check out his site: There's also my SBS business partner, the legendary Dan Rascher and his SportsEconomics company, which came before SBS. ( SBS has only boosted his "Q" rating in America. (That's a kind of celebrity status ranking, I'm told.)

The trick is to find that something they have that other people feel they must obtain and cause them to get it. Even if it's for a moment. As part of my company research -- I am obsessed with the idea of making people think they have to come to our site and use our sims for some reason, even if it's just to say "I tried it" (have you? OK...come to Oh...need a sports ticket? Selling one? OK...come to See!)

Now that you've done what I asked and are now part of a statistic, let me explain that's how trends are started. A kind of persuasion to do something. That's only part of the whole....Zeitgeist.

"Zeitgeist" is..Meaning: the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era, according to Webster's Dictionary. What I'm interested in are trends and how they're started.

I'm interested in news: who's doing what, when, where, why, and how. I'm interested in sex, and not only our attitudes toward it, but what about it is changing, and how it's changing us. I'm interested in attitudes toward race (is there such a thing) -- especially since I'm black in America -- and how those views are changing..or not.

And I'm real interested in the culture of celebrity and politics (which are not far apart to me). I am interested in seeing how many ways I can get my name out there purely as a kind of game. A Zennie Drink. The Zennie Band. The Zennie Hat....The Zennie Pizza? The Zennie Car. (A Zenniemobile?)

Hey, you're laughing at this point, but by the time you've stopped cracking up, that pillow you are about to lay your head on may just include my name. Ooookay, laugh it up, but watch out.

Beyond me, I'm interested in hemlines, hats, wheels, seats, chairs, planes, trains, and automobiles. I want to know how we are forming our culture. I want to know why we're applying technolgy to ourselves, instead of outer space, like we did when I was a kid.

Of course, this all tracks back to my company, because SBS is in the business of drawing large numbers of people to out site. Let's face it, we're not going to do that with just simulations, so we've got to reflect the culture, and sometimes (maybe most of the time) take it where it seems to want to go, or should go.

That's a powerful statement, I know. But I think most Internet business people are on the wrong track, except those in Affiliate Marketing.

SBS, for example, has a great affiliate marketing relationship with StubHub, so go to to see SBS's affiliate marketing relationship in action.

Anyway, such marketers can and do pay attention to what the culture is doing -- they have to. We have to. I have to. So, this blog is part about me, and what I see and experience, and another part about The Zeitgeist.

That's where you come in.

Let's talk trends in society. Tell me what's going on out there. Why do people do things. Why do people pick out who to sit next to on trains? How has that changed? I want you to open your eyes and look around. Observe!

OK. let's start. You tell me what's going on. Here's a question to start: Why did the Democratic Party lose the 2004 election? (You don't have to be a Democrat to answer the question.) And another question: What's your prediction for the year 2005?!?