Monday, July 27, 2009

The Video Professor spends a day at ESPN™.

A few weeks ago my Public Relations representative came down to my office and said ESPN™ was interested in using me for a promotional spot for a new show.

I kept on waiting for the punch line! A few days later he was back and told me, “You’re going to Bristol!”

Is anyone not a fan of ESPN? Granted, a lot of people cover sports on television. But when it comes to sports coverage (and sports promos) there’s ESPN and there’s “not exactly.” ESPN re-invented sports coverage. Heck, they re-invent it every day.

ESPN is located in Bristol, CT. It’s a small community near Hartford. Their facility takes your breath away. It’s a huge campus full of studios and state of the art technology. The home of Sports Center!

ESPN promotional spots are among the best. They’ve developed a unique brand of humor and style, and I admit to being a wee bit nervous. I’ve been on TV for years, but this was something entirely different. The ESPN crew was great and made me feel right at home.

(John W. Scherer with ESPN Production Team)

The easy part was that I got to play myself. Sort of. ESPN2 is launching a new interactive sports talk show hosted by Colin Cowherd and Michelle Beadle called SportsNation. But this isn’t your Dad’s call-in sports show, this is all about interactive. You can Skype™, Twitter™, e-mail or even make old-fashioned phone calls with your questions and comments to Colin and Michelle in real time.

That’s where I came in. I’m a sports fan named VidProf45 and Colin Cowherd is talking about Manny Ramirez. I’m Skyping into the show telling Colin I taught Manny everything he knows about the Internet. In fact, I can even teach Colin, to which he responds that he’s been there done that. I close out with my famous commercial tagline, “What have you got to lose? Try My Product!®” Colin quickly moves on to another call.

(John shooting his lines for Sports Nation Promo)

I know they have a few other folks who’ve cut promos and like you, will see them on ESPN2. Check them out here:

But for a day, at least, I got to hang out at ESPN and shoot promos that I hope will be successful in promoting SportsNation along with its terrific co-hosts Colin and Michelle. I’m honored that the folks at ESPN and The Martin Agency thought enough of the Video Professor brand to use it to promote their brand.

(John on the set of ESPN’s SportsNation)

When I started out Video Professor almost 22 years ago, I had no idea where computer technology was going and what it could do.

Now I know!

So, what have you got to lose? Try ESPN’s product (and mine, too)!


John W. Scherer

John is CEO & Founder of Video Professor, Inc.

You can reach him at

Neil, Buzz and Mike are on to something.

Last week marked the 40th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing. After the current shuttle mission, only six flights remain scheduled. Then the “Space Truck” will be retired. It’s 1980’s technology.

Funding for the space station could run out as early as 2016. So, what’s next? For the meantime, we’ll have to hitch a ride to space—and only in low Earth orbit.

Getting to the moon July 20, 1969 was a remarkable achievement. It was more “Stick and Rudder” than high tech. The onboard computers had the power of a Commodore 64, if that. Slide rules, ruled. (Google® that one.) Your cell phone has more computing power than what was available to Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.

The current goal appears to be a return to the moon through the Orion Project. It looks remarkably similar to Apollo. Just bigger, and of course, with computing power that could only be dreamed about 40 years ago.

The Apollo 11 crew dropped by the White House last week. They suggested Mars instead of the moon. As they’ve “Been there and done that” we should heed their advice.

The Russians just completed a simulation of a flight to Mars. The return trip will take at least 150 days. The challenges are huge. But we’ve proven we can send spacecrafts to Mars, land them safely and explore the surface.

The moon doesn’t offer much. Mars does, including an atmosphere of sorts, and water. Or at least ice.

Two points I’d like to close with, the first being cost. (It’s a CEO thing.) One of the staff here at Video Professor did a paper about the Apollo Program while in college. He discovered that at its peak, Apollo used just half of one percent of the national budget.

Secondly, the Apollo Program drove technology in computing, fuel cells and simply how to boldly go where no one has gone before.

Besides, Mars is “Shovel-ready.”

Do we go it alone? No. It should be a joint effort between the United States, the Russians and even the Chinese. All have established space programs. We already partner with the Russians getting to and from the space station, ferrying food and even equipment to fix the plumbing!

Other nations including Europe, Canada and Japan can also be active partners.

It’s human nature to want to know what’s over the next hill. This continent was discovered by explorers.

We’ve been to the moon. Let’s make the next stop Mars.


John W. Scherer

John is CEO & Founder of Video Professor, Inc.

You can reach him at

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wall-to-Wall 1963-2009

I've been pondering what's referred to in the news business as the "Wall-to-Wall" coverage of the Michael Jackson memorial.

It harkens back to the network coverage following President Kennedy's assassination in 1963. The networks literally had to invent technology as they covered the story.

That coverage was described then as television's finest hour. I agree.
I'm not sure the same terms will be used today.

In 1963, there were just three networks and newspapers for coverage. That was it. Yet, the coverage then, as it is today, was incredible. Technology in 1963 was crude by comparison.

In 1963 it was Walter Cronkite and other journalistic giants of the era providing the coverage. Today it's "Jackofan4ever" competing with FOX News™ who is competing against (or working with)

Dozens of networks, broadcast and cable/satellite, went 24/7. Many of you followed coverage streamed to your computer or PDA.

It involved streaming, tweeting and downloading, which created huge demand and big numbers.

Gigaom reports that it was one of the busiest Internet events ever.

Akamai says it delivered more than 2,185,000 live and on-demand streams in both the Flash® and Windows Media® formats. There were 3,924,370 visitors per minute as of 1 pm EST and an average of more than 3.3 million visitors per minute overall.

Facebook® announced 800,000 status updates during the memorial.

People filed pictures and video via their cell phone cameras on their sites and others.

Regardless of what you think about last week’s events, or those 46 years ago, it takes just these kinds of moments to push the communication envelope as to just what can be done—both good and bad.

Gone today, however, is the filter of traditional journalism. In fact, this modern era of communication often takes a backseat to rumor.

We need to work on that part.


John W. Scherer

John is CEO & Founder of Video Professor, Inc.

You can reach him at

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

July 4, 1776 and July 4, 2009

It’s hard not to think about The Declaration of Independence this time of year. What an incredibly brave thing it was for the men who signed it. They risked their fortunes and their lives doing so. Telling “Old King George” to essentially stick it was a risky proposition.

With all that’s going on, and sadly not going on in Washington these days, I offer you the text of the original document from the National Archives to read then think about. Pay attention to what these men were saying and the point they were trying to make about freedom and representative government; a government that truly serves the best interests of the people and doesn’t interfere with their lives or businesses. A “Less is more” approach.

Happy birthday America, may you continue on for centuries to come.

John W. Scherer
John is CEO & Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
You can reach him at

In Congress, July 4, 1776.
A Declaration

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When, in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. -- Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock Trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offenses

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton