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All comments by Eric Sieg
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I am not aware of any disclosures I could possibly make. I doubt most of the board knows I exist and I have no business relationship with the ACBL.

As for the question of why I've suddenly started posting a lot on a topic that doesn't concern me directly, I'm not sure I have a good answer for that. I made one relevant response when Nick first posted the allegations and ignored it in the well.

I think there are a few reasons that I have posted a significant amount in this thread:

1) The allegations are clearly shaded and misleading. While Nick usually colors things to make himself look good, they at least have the appearance of accuracy. Here, it felt like accuracy and truth were abandoned.
2) While I have never met Jay in person and haven't ever had a meaningful conversation with him, I have had favorable impressions of both him and the software he has built for the benefit of bridge players in the US.
3) This is the 3rd time this subject has come up and nothing meaningful has been added and there was no reason for it to be posted again. Had Michael bothered to spend any time at all other than copy pasting Nick's stuff into an email and yet another BW thread I might feel differently but nothing new has been offered. I think it is human nature to assume that where there is smoke there must be fire and for this to have been surfaced three times there must be something there, when instead it seems like there are just a couple people focused on creating a lot of smoke.
4) This was a bit of a tipping point for me and my opinion of Nick. I personally felt that he contributed significantly to the failure of the ACBLScore+ replacement, and it felt like he put significant effort into detailing all the failings of the ACBL without any musing as to what he could have or should have done differently. The first priority (in my opinion) of a consultant should be the success of their client. In this business you frequently have to deal with troublesome and uninformed clients and managing projects through that to success is a necessary skill. The (outside observer only, no special details) feeling I got was that Nick's skill here was less than sufficient and he tended to get stuck on minutiae and worrying about the exact details of a contract rather than driving a successful project forward in a way that would get outside observers excited. This was just a feeling of mine (not necessarily accurate!) but then seeing him go from painting himself as favorably as possible (a human trait) to misleading allegations against someone who HAS successfully pushed bridge technology forward was particularly galling.
March 7, 2018
Eric Sieg edited this comment March 7, 2018
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For people who are actually curious, I think the people involved are happy to answer questions where the intent is to understand as opposed to just stirring the pot. For example, for all the talk of “for profit” and “no bid contracts”, the amount paid to Bridge Finesse for all of 2017 was $0. Richard Willey similarly got satisfactory answers to his questions.

When people post allegations that are designed to be misleading and stir the pot, not engaging publicly makes plenty of sense to me.
March 6, 2018
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The possibility of 3 spade losers pushes me towards pass, although certainly have no conviction that 3 isn't better. Much easier P at imps.
March 6, 2018
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Have had partner think I was bidding GSF when I meant it as pick a slam several times. Have not ever wanted to actually bid GSF myself once. The only situation I think it makes sense is when opponent bidding has put it at the 5 level before we can keycard/exclusion which came up one time when doing challenge the champs and hasn't come up at the table.
March 5, 2018
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You have chosen to c/p allegations that have already been posted twice on bridgewinners without bothering to add anything to the conversation. There is no extra clarity, no analysis of Nick's claims, etc.

I'm probably replying here way more than is reasonable, but asking for clarity while pasting verbatim a bunch of allegations that do their best to mislead the reader seems to be contradictory. See Adam Parrish's post on the ACBL score fiasco for what an attempt at finding clarity looks like. This comes across (to me) as stirring the pot.

Actual clarity might be boiling down Nick's actual accusations, looking for the facts and things that are misleading, and asking 2-3 factual questions of the ACBL.

Example: Asking the Jay or the ACBL how much $$ they paid to Jay's company in 2017.
March 5, 2018
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Sure, but they also just allowed companies including Nick's to give it a try in San Diego. Had that been a clear success (which it wasn't, from my understanding), then that might have resulted in certification or at least getting used more going forward.

The August date seems nonsense since December is clearly well after August, and also characterization of “it worked great!” seems in contradiction with what I heard from participants who dealt with the hiccups.

If the accusation was instead:

“I was allowed to show off my technology at the San Diego NABC and the ACBL even let me run some events on it. There were some problems that might or might not have been my fault. As a result, I am not going to be running any events in Philadelphia and the ACBL is figuring out a method for certification to iron out hiccups in advance rather than subjecting players to issues like that again.”

then that wouldn't be nearly as inflammatory, cause upset, etc. Should the ACBL figure out that process and get rolling? Of course. But the allegation was intentionally phrased in such a way as to cast the ACBL and Jay in as bad a light as possible with little attention paid to accuracy.
March 5, 2018
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Did Nick ask for and get denied access to this software?
March 5, 2018
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Interesting how Nick's company was providing services in Nov/December in San Diego but was told to stop in August. Also interesting how no such message was ever broadcast (that I'm aware of) to unit/district leadership about this. A less dramatic way to phrase this might be “the ACBL wants to certify software to be used in tournaments, but hasn't figured that process out yet” but that wouldn't be as inflammatory.
March 5, 2018
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http://bfy.tw/GwKG

So you re-posted allegations from someone who has an axe to grind in a public place without taking any time to understand what those allegations are actually attesting?

Instead of furiously copy pasting something which has already been posted multiple times, perhaps you could take a few seconds to comprehend the actual accusations? Along with that, perhaps a 5 second google search to figure out who to send this to at the ACBL instead of the CEO.
March 5, 2018
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Bahar has answered all of my questions. Did he refuse to answer Nick's questions? Did his BOD rep refuse to answer questions?
March 5, 2018
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This accusation lacks specifics on exactly what those 1.2M links are because that might take away from the dramatic sound of the accusation.
March 5, 2018
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I don't think everyone involved would say that everything worked great. At least, I heard comments from directors to the contrary. I don't think banning a technology showcase is accurate, did the ACBL actually say that Nick's company isn't allowed to set up a table and show off their technology? Or did they say that they wouldn't be using them for events in Philadelphia? I'm personally excited to see Bahar moving forward on technology and if skipping an NABC to work out kinks or whatever else seems appropriate to leadership, then what is the problem?
March 5, 2018
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FB doesn't use the freemium model, thecommongame doesn't appear to use the freemium model. “Completely free services with no ads” isn't the freemium model, it is the free model.
March 5, 2018
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These accusations seemed embellished and in poor taste when first posted and I'm not sure how that has changed.

That said, a large part of my opinion is based on the impression that Nick is very focused on profit while Jay has given the impression of:

1) Providing significant services to the bridge community without trying to maximize profit
2) Provided those services with significantly less drama, issues, etc than Nick has managed to accomplish in the past.

He claims that Jay is using the freemium model, but I don't see any method to upgrade and pay more for extra services. I went to every single page I could find and the only way to make money is to “donate” for no extra benefit. That's not a freemium model. In addition, he references facebook using freemium but FB doesn't use a freemium model. FB makes money from ads. I look for all these ads on thecommongame.com and fail to see any. I look for ads/revenue making tactics in the emails from thecommongame.com and continue to fail to see any.

The only question I actually want answered is: “How much $ is the ACBL paying Jay Whipple's company for services rendered?”. My assumption is that it is a lot less than market rate and with significantly fewer issues/drama/headaches for the ACBL than they have experienced with Nick in the past.

Should they add a route to certification? Sure, but if that is the issue then that should be the focus rather than suggesting that Jay Whipple resign which seems unnecessary.
March 5, 2018
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Hi Jay,

Thank you for taking the time to answer questions! It seems like you have consistently been a force for driving technology forward in the ACBL.

On to the questions:

1) What do you feel are the next 3-5 technologies/tools that the ACBL and/or your company should consider building in order to improve the bridge experience in the ACBL?

2) Similarly, what are your long term dreams of technologies/tools that would be really cool but are further down the road?

3) What do you think is the most practical way to reduce effective size of the BOD in a way that might actually happen? For example, would rotating district representation to the board (4 years on, 8 years off) be more possible than trying to collapse districts?

4) The Spring NABC schedule has a giant hole on Sunday for those who are not old enough for the silver ribbons. Bahar was proactive about reaching out in order to solve the issue and there was some discussion of fixing it in San Diego but when it made it to the BOD nothing happened. Will something be done in order to make sure this gets fixed before 2019? For context: https://bridgewinners.com/article/view/acbl-scheduling-adjusting-spring-nabc-schedule-to-avoid-excluding-certain-gendersages/ . Two comments worth highlighting imo are Adam P's: (add ?cj=548233#c548233 to the link) and Adam M's (add ?cj=549503#c549503 to the link) with followup comments. I have also seen a variety of friends/people I know also make plans in previous years and/or this year to either wait until after the mixed pairs to come or (if a short flight) go for the first event, go home for 4 days, then come back for the last two events.

5) What are your thoughts on offering more events at NABCs to reduce periods where people have nothing to play? For example, 3 day events with nothing starting on the 2nd day (plat pairs), events that are gender restricted with no parallel open event (mixed pairs), and 3 day events where the event starting the next day is gender restricted (last weekend of summer and fall NABCs)?
March 1, 2018
Eric Sieg edited this comment March 1, 2018
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I've been down a lot twice. The first time our Day 2 Vanderbilt team had roughly 1500 points total and were in it for the experience and there was not a single hint of a suggestion by the other team that we withdraw. They were fine/pleasant/etc throughout and it was a great experience that several members have mentioned having great memories of years later. The other time there was definitely pressure from the other team to withdraw even when it was clear that at least some people on our team weren't eager to do so and I thought the dynamic was just really uncomfortable. We ended up withdrawing, but the whole experience did make me question the current approach where the people who apply pressure to get a withdrawal will benefit with more rest over the teams that don't.
Feb. 26, 2018
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Lots of great books that one shouldn't miss. For the author I read the most of when I was learning I think that would be Lawrence. I found his style very engaging and it was easy to go through his books in one or two sittings. He also covered a wide variety of topics and his play the X with Mike Lawrence was fun too.

For single favorite book I would go with How the Experts Win at Bridge. Very easy reading, packed full of great information.
Feb. 26, 2018
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The higher ranks increase in gold requirements and then platinum requires 100 platinum points.
Feb. 18, 2018
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I don't know that the people who can't get the gold to hit LM are in huge need of more/harder goals.
Feb. 18, 2018
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I would consider it a limit raise, but wouldn't be upset at a partner who felt otherwise
Feb. 14, 2018
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