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All comments by Jim Perkins
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I agree with Ray and suggest an agenda including 3 of our top 5 issues and add 2 after the meeting.

Online meetings can be held via ZOOM and I have an upgraded account that will allow up to 100 participants in a meeting (another error from the trial and error teaching file – but great for visits with faraway grandchildren).

I will be in Vegas.
16 hours ago
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What is this hand like? And how is it not like?

But you cannot start unless you have the building blocks of like and unlike.

And yes, when you start to break bridge down into building blocks the beginning is easy but after not too long at all the whole thing becomes hopelessly jumbled.
April 18
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I disagree. The subject has been the topic of probably over 100 volumes that detail various strategies from the simple use of position (finesse in bridge) to complicated squeeze positions.

Some publications run to over 500 pages.

I would answer your daughter's question in one word (for a beginner): Watson.
April 18
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I have videos. And vs. robot lessons to go with. LOL.
April 18
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As great a mind as Edgar was, the game has developed in the past 20 years.
April 17
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First thing is if you walk up to me in the bridge club or at a tournament the truth is that I am not all that interested in a hand you played or a problem you faced. Sorry, but true. I don't really care so I am not really listening nor trying to retain. (I have one partner who for various reasons this does not apply to and I am interested and pay attention.)

But when I am trying to retain, I just remember words/concepts/ideas without visualization or other trick. (I do use the “picture a Henry you know” method with meeting new people.)

The most important thing for me is that I actually care about and pay attention to the information. Then I can remember it without tricks.

This is why I can remember most of my bridge hands (at least 26 cards) and auctions from the last couple of weeks or so and some really crucial hands from months or years ago.

Edit to add: I guess I should add that a few decades back I did a lot of repetitive drill work on “13 into 4 baskets” while swimming laps over my lunch hour. “13-0-0-0, 12-1-0-0, 11-2-0-0, 11-1-1-0 etc. to 4-3-3-3.” These slots are “burned” into memory now.
April 17
Jim Perkins edited this comment April 17
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Yikes!! Jeff. Ask some of your Investment Banking customers.

A Super Bowl ad (along with Stadium Naming rights deal) is a big Sell signal.
April 15
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Oh Mike. Are you trying to get me suspended?
April 15
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Well thank you for that.
April 15
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The clubs and teachers can learn from BBO.

The BBO bots may be bad, but they never act superior, they never criticize.
April 15
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So what is that common goal Jeff?

For reasons irrelevant to this, I looked back at my teacher log including goals from 12 months ago (copying my spreadsheet from April 2018 as a template for April 2019). There I was so over-successful that I can hardly breathe these days. However, as I mentioned to you in a pm, there is the matter of the money that I bring into my household to cover our expenses. If bridge would pay me a living wage, they would likely get an enthusiastic 100 hour per week worker in exchange.

As to +15%, yes, we need an outreach to dropouts, at least the ones that we don't need to engage John Holland to reach. Yes, I will have to find another physical body to coordinate that.
April 15
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1. Regarding the Franchise model: Starbucks (or any other business) uses franchising to grow its presence and brand using the capital of and sharing the profits with smaller entrepreneurs. When there is too much pent up demand for the Company (the Starbucks) to meet with their own resources, they develop a franchise program. (Along the way some Companies, not naming Starbucks as being in this bucket or even an example of this bucket, have figured out that franchising is a great way to rip off people with dreams and capture a portion of hard earned life savings by selling an unattainable dream of financial success.)

2. Bridge from top to bottom suffers from a population that cannot ever admit their own error or participate in or even listen to a conversation about correcting an error that cannot be acknowledged. Try telling a player at the table that they should or should not have opened that marginal hand. Or that a safety play was available that guaranteed the contract. Try telling a club owner that they are driving people away . . . with any of a hundred little quirks that everyone complains about. Try telling the ACBL that tweaking the MasterPoint chart continually . . . .

3. “If the problem ain't me, there is no solution.” “No one is coming.” Whatever changes we identify as needed by the “Ecosystem” must be changes that we ourselves have the power to institute and implement. If we need some person or institution to assist, we should keep in mind their primary interest: WIIFM?

4. I still don't think that we have defined goals with enough clarity to be able to know when we have achieved them. For me, in the position I am in now (mostly a volunteer supported to some extent by a couple of benefactors and by a second full-time job), I feel like the most critical need for the organization that I am associated with is an immediate 15% increase in table count. (from wherever) Actually, I aim for a net 5% increase (or even less) after adjusting for a historic decay rate of 10% y/o/y. This may be depressing next January or April or whenever when I look at the numbers. But I am willing to admit failure, learn, adjust and get better.

5. Our best and most friendly and patient people need to be at the reception desk. That is, our first contacts are critical and important. We all should recognize this and, in my experience, just appreciate them more and especially express it more, will go a long way. If you are male and sneering right now, just try it with the ladies on the front line in your club/unit/organization. Jeff asked me, “Where do new players come from in your organization?” I responded, “I don't know. From K____________. Our absolutely new to bridge coordinator.”

6. I don't think resenting other elements in the “ecosystem” is the path forward. There are Sectionals. There are Regionals. There are NABCs. There is a Board of Directors. Are they helping us or hurting us. Or more precisely, How are they helping us and how are they hurting us? I know, for example, that attendance and interest among my 299ers is up due to the Las Vegas NABC and they themselves have organized a junket of at least 8 to go to the event and play in the competitions. Yes the club will be emptier that week (since I will be at the NABC myself, there will be no director for the 299er game anyway). But we are definitely seeing higher table counts as these players try out new partnerships in anticipation of a week of 3 a days, if they prove to have the stamina.

7. Like it or not, we need to balance the instant profitability of empty nesters with some sort of youth movement/outreach. China is doing that, with an assist from the authorities that I feel is topical. Play bridge and get into college with lower test scores than non-players. I feel like BBO (or its direct online competitors) is (are) best positioned to reach this audience. When Facebook launched, there was a company Zynga that had more activity on its toy chip poker app than all the live and online card rooms in the world where players actually played poker for real money (or, as some would say, really played poker). Friends told me with pride about the millions of toy chips that they had accumulated. There is the Pokemon generation (now in their early 20s). It's not cards that are the problem. It's us. We are not selling the beauty and challenge of our game to the next generation (or at this point, the one after that). Perhaps someone on this thread will be the last bridge player. They will deserve that fate.

So as I said, my all consuming goal right now is to find 15% more players than we had last year in a fight against our natural attrition (death or disability) rate of around 10%.
April 15
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Check on the Web, Deb.
April 14
Jim Perkins edited this comment April 14
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Obviously unmarried.
April 14
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Certainly no one would advocate moving on from this particular partnership over a table decision, thread caption notwithstanding. I hope.
April 14
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Because it is a poll something more extreme (or lead directing) is tempting.
April 14
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So I found myself wasting time on the summary of Dr. Kinsey's report. Perhaps appropos of bridge. Then again, perhaps not.
April 14
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Three words: BBO.
April 14
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Thank you Don.

I would say the good news is that judging from the amount of bandwidth committed to the subject on BW, there is plenty of grassroots energy and interest in recruiting new members, even if it has to be on a mostly volunteer, uncoordinated basis.

That is, at least, step 1.

Where I spend most of my bridge energy we have a “natural” decay rate of -10% per year. Ideally, with some thought and/or effort and initiative we could add +15% to that. That would be around 50-100 tables a month, or 15-25 a week. That is a big step for us as not every game gets 15 tables around here. And for now, most of those new tables are going to have to be social, non-competitive bridge (sounds oxymoron-ish to me, but people tell me that's what they want).

I don't expect ACBL to do anything at all to help here. Not because they shouldn't. But because they haven't. And even when they have tried, they haven't. Period. ACBL is not the savior and never will be. Not for a lack of trying.

Where are those bodies to come from? I asked the question privately to Jeff B. and he put it right back to me and I answered, from K_________ our “completely new to bridge” teacher. I asked her where she found the bodies and it was a combination of website inquiries, referrals from current players and current and former students and the to be expected, “I don't know where.”

I would classify our potential newcomers as falling primarily into 2 groups: Empty nesters and students. At our club we are doing OK with empty nesters. Our student initiative simply DOES NOT EXIST. I also think we could leverage some of the passion that comes with the occasional “instant addict” that finds bridge and falls in love with it and thinks everyone should learn and play (me, circa 1984).

But clearly the ACBL is not and has proven that it cannot be of any help whatsoever on the recruitment front.
April 14
Jim Perkins edited this comment April 14
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Thou shalt not poll thy marital disputes on the internet. Ever.

To thy couch with thee.
April 14
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