Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, August 20, 2021

Not that I’m trying to foment a residential real estate collapse — despite my mention of the Mr. Hou$ing Bubble t-shirt — but when I read about efforts to curb the “flipping” of new housing developments through penalties, I wondered about the long-term impact.

After all, flippers have been a big fueling component to Florida’s hot market. Without the money coming in from speculators, valuations wouldn’t be nearly at the level they’re at. If that activity is curtailed, it has to dry up the money flow. From there, it’s a domino effect.

So why should developers care about buyers’ ultimate motives, anyway?

- Flippers undercut the builders on price and still walk away with profits.

- They benefit from the money builders spend to advertise their homes. It’s the builder’s ads that get prospective buyers out to a model home sales center the builder has paid for. If a buyer then purchases from an investor, the builder gets nothing for his advertising and marketing dollars.

- Rows of “For Sale” signs make potential buyers wonder what’s wrong with the community: Why is everybody bailing out before it’s even finished?

- If the investors rent the houses, the climate of the neighborhood changes. What the builders sold and the buyers bought as a residential community can turn into a rental community, not what anyone bargained for. That makes it harder for builders to sell their homes.

The third reason is a significant one that I hadn’t really considered. It does make sense; perception is so important in real estate, and it doesn’t take much to scare off potential buyers.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 08/20/2005 08:47pm
Category: Business, Florida Livin', Society
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Portsmouth, New Hampsire is going all-out for the centennial of the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth. Presumably because not much has happened in Portsmouth since (must have been a killer to have later lost out to nearby Bretton Woods for the conference establishing the post-World War II global monetary system).

As for the war that the treaty ended:

The struggle for dominance in Korea and Manchuria is often glossed over in history classes and gets scant attention in many textbooks. But the Russo-Japanese War marked the first military victory by a modern Asian nation over a European power and signaled the emergence of Japan as a force in the Pacific.

“A lot of scholars have nicknamed it World War Zero. So many things about this war set the tone for World War I — the style of warfare, the type of armaments,” said Allen Hockley, a Dartmouth College history professor who is helping to organize an international conference in Hanover in September to commemorate the centennial.

By spring 1905, the war had already cost tens of thousands of lives on each side and seemed likely to evolve into a protracted stalemate, leaving both Russia and Japan eager for a settlement. Although triumphant on land and sea, the Japanese were exhausted and their treasury was drained. Internal unrest prompted Russia’s leaders to direct their attention closer to home.

And obviously, it cemented the United States as a powerbroker in world politics (although far from being an unparalleled power — it would take two real World Wars to achieve that).

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 08/20/2005 08:25pm
Category: History
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flagged down
Amid the constant harping from sports teams owners about how much money they’re hemorraging — regardless of increasing attendance, record-setting TV broadcast and merchandising deals, and collective-bargaining victories — you’ll sometimes find them slipping and giving us a peek into just how “badly” they’re doing.

Here’s the latest instance: Daniel Snyder, in his quest to acquire publicly-held theme park operator Six Flags Inc., lets the veil slip on the finances of his Washington Redskins and the $300 million in annual revenue they pull in:

While the Redskins were already considered a profitable franchise, the documents reveal that the franchise belongs in the upper echelons of moneymaking in U.S. sports. The document puts the Redskins’ annual revenues at $162 million in 1999, when Snyder bought the team and its stadium for $800 million.

Snyder made his original fortune through marketing, and he has applied his expertise fully with the Redskins. Sponsorship revenue, for example, has risen 1,200 percent — from $4 million to $48 million — in six years. Some 10,000 seats have been added to the stadium, which has a capacity of nearly 92,000 and is the largest in the NFL. More efficient concession services have led to greater customer spending, with the average fan spending $15 for food per game instead of the $9 when Snyder bought the team.

And I’ll hand it to him: Snyder knows how to extract even more money from a business where it’s not terribly hard to make a lot of it: There’s no direct competition (aside from concerts and other non-sports options), and player salaries are capped. So bravo to him for maximizing the revenue generation.

But just keep this nugget in mind the next time Snyder, or any other NFL/NHL/NBA/MLB owner claims poverty.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 08/20/2005 07:15pm
Category: Football
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In the quest for grabbing mindshare, even God has to compete with a myriad of earthly media and entertainment distractions. And so, churches are making marketing prowess a chief consideration when recruiting preachers.

“The church in more ways than not is mirroring Wall Street and the world and Madison Avenue,” says H. B. London, vice president of pastoral ministries at Focus on the Family, a national resource network for evangelical Christians. “We’re [lagging] behind them to a certain degree, but we’re using all their techniques.”

In the past decade, several firms have honed a niche by providing churches with marketing professionals for hire. Aspire!One, a marketing firm in Sycamore, Ill., has branched out to serve church clients - who might need one mailer or an entire brand identity - alongside its corporate ones. At Church Marketing Solutions, Inc. in Centreville, Va., which offers low-cost marketing, 4 out of 5 staffers have masters in business degrees. At the headquarters of Outreach Inc. in Vista, Calif., 120 employees have brought corporate-style marketing to thousands of congregations.

This fits in with the megachurch phenomenon that’s been developing of late. The conversion of the old Compaq Center in Houston into a gigantic House of the Lord, for instance, signifies the upping of the ante in worship services. It makes sense that congregations would put a premium on leaders that know how to use marketing methods to draw in folks.

That training starts early, too:

For many in church leadership, corporate-style marketing is nothing new. Among males enrolled in seminary in 2000, the most common educational background was technical science, including business, communications, and computer science, according to a study by the Center for the Study of Theological Education at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York. (For women, it’s social science.)

Another factor: almost 2 in 3 seminarians are over 30 years of age, according to 2003 data from the Association of Theological Schools, which means church leaders often have had business experience.

I hope they take care to target-market the unrepentant sinners, because they should be their most receptive spiritual demographic.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 08/20/2005 12:23pm
Category: Advert./Mktg.
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I sometimes question the merits of paying so much per month for 900 channels of DISH Network.

But then, I come across an hour and a half of old “Beavis and Butt-head” episode on MTV2. And I realize that, yes, it’s worth it. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had so many satisfying bellylaughs in one sitting. It’s been too long.

The best part? These episodes are completely uncut — meaning that the original music video segments where the boys prattle on are all there. These were often the best parts of the show. They’re not included on the commercial DVDs they sell now, because of rights issues (although I can’t believe long-forgotten bands like Jawbox would have an issue with getting any sort of exposure). So I’m grateful to be able to catch even small snatches of them now.

In keeping with the spirit, I’ll now repost my favorite comedy routine from the show:

(The boys are sitting in front of the TV, watching some music video.)
Butt-head: Boy, this video really sucks.
Beavis: Um, yeah; I know that, Butt-head. Tell me something I don’t know.
Butt-head: Uhhhh… Okay. You know when you went to the bathroom before? While you were there, I hocked a big loogie right into your Coke. And then, when you came back, you drank it! Huhuhuhuhuhuhuhuh, huhuhuh…
Beavis: Um… uh… No I didn’t.
Butt-head: (still laughing) Yes you did… Huhuhuhuh…
Beavis: (unconvincingly) I, um, spit it out when you weren’t looking.
Butt-head: No you didn’t, I saw you, and you drank it. HUHUHUHUHUHUHUHUH!
Beavis: Shut up, Butt-head!! I took a dump once on a cracker you were eating! Hehehehehe…
Butt-head: Huhuhuh… Yeah, I remember that. But I didn’t eat it.
Beavis: Hehehe, yeah, but you, hehehehehe, you ate the cracker… HEHEHEhehehe
Butt-head: Yeah? I took the turd off, and then I ate the cracker.
Butt-head: So what?
Beavis: HEHEHEHEHEHE! So, hehehehehe….
Butt-head: So anyway, this video really does suck.
Beavis: Yeah, I know. Tell me something I d- um, uh, uh… Yeah, this video sucks.
Butt-head: Huhuhuhuh…
Beavis: Hehehehehehe…

Pure genius. Don’t even try to deny it!

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 08/20/2005 12:07pm
Category: Comedy, TV
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