Monday, April 26, 2010

“Who’s best?” It’s a matter of opinion.

It’s the fodder of sports talk on TV, Radio and Internet. Who’s the best?

I heard it on the radio today with one pundit describing Tiger Woods as the best golfer ever. Based on what? They used to say the same thing about Jack Nicklaus when he played. Ditto for Arnold Palmer. It would be great through some magical way to have all of them play each other in their prime. We could throw in “Slammin’” Sammy Snead to round out the foursome.

But we can’t, so we won’t find out. Well, maybe on a computer game.

Tim Tebow has been described by more than a few as the best college football player ever. So-o-o-o what about Roger Staubach when he played at Navy? Or Vince Young at Texas? I guess one measure will/would be at the next level, the NFL. Roger Staubach certainly is deserving of his Hall of Fame credentials. Vince Young is a work in progress and we’ll wait and see how Tim Tebow does playing for the Denver Broncos,  who drafted him last week. It would be great to see Staubach and that 1963 Navy team play the Florida 2008 team.

But we can’t, so we won’t find out. Well, maybe on a computer game.

Then there’s baseball. Oh boy, baseball. Wouldn’t it be cool to see the Yankees teams of Ruth, Mantle, or DiMaggio take on today’s Yankees?

But we can’t, so we won’t find out.

So why engage in the conversation in the first place? The answer is easy. It’s such great fun. It’s what sports is all about. Measuring who’s best today is easy. Just look at the win-loss column. Measuring then and now however, is pure conjecture, which is the point of this lecture.

But the conjecture part is such great fun. As Yogi Berra said, "Take it with a grin of salt."

Who’s best? Too bad Abbot and Costello aren’t around to do a reprise of “Who’s on First?”

John W. Scherer
John is CEO and Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
You can reach him at
Follow John Scherer on Twitter: @VidProf

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Look Ma! No CD's!

I'm writing this from the road and prepping for a cover story interview with an industry publication. These sorts of interviews always give me pause to reflect on what we've accomplished the past 23 years at Video Professor.

Our first lessons "back in the day" were produced on VHS tape. You set up your VCR and TV next to your computer. Clunky, but it worked very well. People sure liked our 'What you see is what you do" type of learning.

So when we started using CD-ROM lessons it was a big step forward. You just popped the lessons into your computer and started learning. The lessons played right on your computer screen like a DVR. By this time the Video Professor Library had grown with the ever expanding number of productivity software programs becoming available both at home and in the office. Computing had arrived.

The Internet existed but most folks accessed it via a dial-up modem. Some of you may remember that awful sound when your computer connected to the Internet. But something called Broadband came along, aka High Speed Internet. It was the beginning of a communications revolution.

We quietly began providing lessons via the Internet to stream directly to your computer. We dubbed it "Video Professor Online."

We are quiet no more. Now with High Speed Internet the norm, Video Professor Online becomes our new norm. It's win-win. You as a customer get access to our entire learning library of over 65 lessons. Because we don't have to manufacture, package and ship lessons to your house we save money which means you save money.

Check out a 7 day trial of Video Professor Online at It's an ideal learning opportunity for the entire family regardless of whether you're looking to learn or enhance computer skills so important in today's job market, or maybe start turning cash into clutter with our popular Learn eBay learning series.

All streamed directly to your computer. Click and learn.

So, Try My Product!’ (Online)

John is CEO and Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
Follow John on Twitter: @VidProf

Monday, April 19, 2010

“Cloudy” future for 4th Amendment?

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”-4th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

So…does this apply equally to desk drawers, or what’s inside the computer on your desk which at the same time is posted on numerous social websites?

It’s a point raised in an article by Bob Sullivan about Cloud Computing on the “Red Tape Chronicles” website.

The whole idea of the 4th Amendment is to prevent the authorities from just walking into your house and rummaging through your private papers without cause. But in today’s world of Twitter ® to Facebook®, just what’s private and what isn’t?

As I’ve posted before, once you post something online, it’s “out there.” As the article points out, “Technology has changed dramatically in the last 20 years, but the law has not.” That gap continues to widen.
Is a letter written to a friend then stuffed in a drawer any different than a Facebook posting sent to that same friend for everyone to see? Akin I would guess, to simply leaving the letter on the public sidewalk outside your friend’s house.

Here’s another problem, and one some Congressional friends have agreed with me on. Despite laws being crafted to keep up with progress, there’s a significant chunk of legislators that frankly should “Try my product!” As hard as it is to believe, some legislators actually don’t vote for what they don’t understand.

Writer Bob Sullivan shares some interesting thoughts about all this which I wanted to share with you.

John W. Scherer
John Scherer is CEO and Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
You can reach him at
Follow John on Twitter: @VidProf

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Clicking beats Flipping

A new survey by Arbitron, Inc and Edison Media Research shows people, by a slight margin, prefer to surf the web for video instead of watching television.

I’m not surprised and it’s not too much of a stretch to believe the gap will widen.

Bottom line? 49% of the people surveyed say given the choice, they’d drop TV in favor of the Internet. 48% said they’d stick with the tube.

With so much video content available on the Internet, your computer or PDA is becoming a one-stop location for just about everything you need. Add devices like the iPadTM into the mix and you’ll have more and more people choosing to click (or tap) then flip through television channels.

The folks who produce the shows you watch online are of course very aware of this and make their product available through multiple platforms.

The study also points out that people multi-task watching content online, watching shows and posting comments on pages like Facebook® or Twitter®.

One thing to keep in mind is the launch this year of 3D HD television. Will that lure more people back to traditional television than online? The new 3D sets are expensive, so are the glasses you’ll need. Thousands for the set and around $150 for just one set of 3D glasses will make for a slow start. But it will take off once prices come down.

Unless of course, online providers provide 3D video. Which they will, sooner than later.

When I started Video Professor 23 years ago, the Internet was more concept than reality and certainly not mainstream. So while I could not have predicted the explosion the Internet has become, at the same time I’m not the least bit surprised.

Another reason why so many of you bought our “Learn the Internet” lessons!

John is CEO and Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
You can reach him at
Follow John on Twitter: @VidProf

Monday, April 12, 2010

“K” is truly Special.

He’s known as “Coach K.” I’m talking about Duke Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski. He won his 4th NCAA Basketball Championship last Monday, sneaking by Butler 61-59 in a classic.

Oh yeah, he also coached the “Redeem Team” to Olympic Gold.

Coach Krzyzewski (Pronounced “Sha-Shef-ski”) is at the top of the list of people I hope to meet some day. He’s right up there with my hero Muhammad Ali. (Who I did have the honor of meeting).

Here’s the link to his home page which tells an extraordinary story of accomplishment. Not the least of which he’s a graduate of West Point and served as an officer in the United States Army from 1969-1974. But like another service academy graduate, Roger Staubach (Annapolis ’64) the country was/is well served by the class both brought to the field of play or in the case of Coach K, the hardwood of college basketball.

He makes a lot of money coaching for Duke (Every penny of it deserved and then some) and he’s had more than a few opportunities to double or triple his salary coaching in the NBA.

But Duke is home and as long as it is, NCAA College Basketball has an anchor, a foundation of integrity and setting the bar for excellence.

Out of many quotes he’s given over the years, this one stands out:

“When you are passionate, you always have your destination in sight and you are not distracted by obstacles. Because you love what you are pursuing, things like rejection and setbacks will not hinder you in your pursuit. You believe that nothing can stop you!”

Coach, I love your product!

John Scherer is CEO and Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
You can reach him at
Follow John Scherer on Twitter: @VidProf

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Opening Day!

Tomorrow is the Colorado Rockies Home Opener at Coors Field in Denver. The team started the season on the road arriving home with a 1 and 2  record. Hurry back Jeff and Huston! The weather forecast is excellent.

There’s something special about Opening Day in baseball. Even fans of the worst teams in the sport arrive at the ball park with a renewed sense of optimism. Those hopes of course can be quickly dashed with a loss. But there’s at least a moment where anything is possible.

I’m one baseball fan who is happy that the sport is straightening up its act, however slowly. “Performance Enhancement” drugs and the like really hurt the game and a lot of player reputations.  Players we applauded for heroic performances on the field were actually getting a little chemical assistance. We had to go through the ordeal of watching these players “Take the 5th” in front of Congress. Ultimately it was the fans that got hurt worst of all.

We almost took a pass, on America’s Pastime.

But let’s get back to the season at hand. There are big expectations for the Rockies this year, as fans are getting used to the idea of the team making the playoffs and that’s where the bar is set for sure.

So with excitement comes high expectations; just like in every other MLB city and for their fans. 162 games is a lot. Just how fast the season goes is measured by the all important win-loss record. Because when it comes to baseball, October is where it’s at.

Play ball!

John W. Scherer
John is CEO and Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
You can reach him at
Follow John Scherer on Twitter: @VidProf

Monday, April 05, 2010

Why I love Twitter!

I’m a recent convert to Twitter but sure glad I am. Everyone has a “proof of performance” story about social media so here’s mine.

David Pogue is the guru of all things tech and his column in the New York Times is a must-read along with his weekly segments on CNBC’s Power Lunch. David is also hugely popular as a speaker at events across the country.

David makes tech fun. One of the first people I opted to follow on Twitter was David. The other day he put out a “talent” call for a segment he was doing about the Apple iPad. With tongue firmly in cheek, I tweeted him that I’d be interested and that I have a “little” experience in television.

He’s such a nice guy and Tweeted back to me almost immediately and so we taped my segments of the video with the result you can watch here. A "Bit Part" granted, but better than no part at all.

Like the ESPN spots I did last summer, it’s great fun and a break from the regular routine. And having your “face” out there in one way or the other is good for business.

All because of Twitter.

So my first real success story in social media. You can have one to. The great thing about social media is one size doesn’t fit all, and your success story will be as unique to you as mine was to me.

By the way, David Pogue used to be a Twitter skeptic. Now he’s a true believer and you can bet he made one out of me!

John W. Scherer
John is CEO and Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
You can reach him at
And yes, you can follow him on Twitter! @VidProf

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Seeds are for planting.

The NCAA Final Four is set. Just one #1 seed is left in the tourney, the Duke Blue Devils. When all this started, there were three other #1 seeds. Kentucky, Kansas and Syracuse. They’ll be watching from home this weekend.

Butler, Michigan State and West Virginia U. will be in Indianapolis with Duke.

Of course, just about everyone is picking Duke, if for no other reason than they’re DUKE. Having Mike Krzyzewski as your coach doesn’t hurt either. The Final Four is his second home.

I heard at least one pundit this morning raising the question if they should re-seed the Final Four. Re-seeding is good for lawns, but the Final Four, not so much.

I have no idea who decides who is seeded where and when the tournament starts. I’m sure statistics, records, strength of schedule blah blah blah all factor into it. But all that goes out the window when two teams hit the floor. That’s the magic and beauty of the best three weeks in sports.

Part of the fun is watching teams like Northern Iowa make it to the Sweet 16. They went from “Who?” to a solid place on the basketball map. A bunch of “Cinderfellas” for sure. Then you have 11th seed Tennessee knocking off #2 Ohio State. Say what??

Neither made the Final Four, but they sure felt “Sweet” about this year’s tournament.

So when it comes to seeds, they’re for planting. When it comes to College Basketball and the annual three-week fan fest, it’s all about team, desire and the thrill of sending a #1 seed home.

The Final Four opens with Duke taking on Butler. Will the “Butler do it” again? It wouldn’t surprise me a bit.

Seeds, schmeeds. Give me teamwork any day.

John Scherer is CEO and Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
You can reach him at
Follow John Scherer on Twitter: @VidProf

Monday, March 29, 2010

Am I Over-thinking new NFL Over-time Rule?

Call it the “Brett Favre” Rule. Ok, I’ll call it the “Brett Favre” Rule. You can call it what you like on your blog. But I digress.

The NFL has tweaked overtime rules for playoff games. Up until now, winning the coin clip meant a lot. The odds favored the team winning that coin flip. First to score won the game. Cut to losing team holding their heads in disbelief.

That’s no more.

Now both teams have a shot in over-time. Well, sort of. If the team who wins the coin flip then scores a touchdown, the other team goes home. Cut to losing team holding their heads in disbelief.

But…if they only score a field goal, the other team gets a shot to score. Cut to team jumping up and down for joy.

So, touchdown and you go home. Field goal and you hit the field.

Not everyone likes the idea. It’s hard to please everyone all the time. (Google Health Care Reform)

One of my favorite ESPN commentators, Michael Wilbon has no problem with it. He says if you’re on defense, then man up and play defense. If you can hold the other team to a 4th and 2 on let’s say outside the 40, chances are you’ll get your shot. Then get the ball back and score a touchdown. Cut to other team holding their heads in disbelief.

Personally, I’d like to see the rule apply to regular season games. But it’s a start. I believe Brett Favre will like the change, especially if he comes back for another season. We’ll leave that for another blog, likely around training camp time.

John W. Scherer
John is CEO and Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
Contact him at
Follow John W. Scherer on Twitter: @VidProf

Thursday, March 25, 2010

To 3D or not to 3D? That is the question.

Having seen a couple of 3D films in the past few weeks including Avatar (Brilliant) and Alice in Wonderland (Brilliantly weird) I can say without fear of contradiction that the way we watch movies going forward has changed forever.

But what about at home? Soon we’ll be seeing 3D HD sets at electronics stores, and like the early generation HD sets, they will cost in the thousands of dollars.

But the folks making those sets learned a lesson. HD had been around forever. You could go to trade shows as far back as the 80’s and see pretty pictures on HD screens of flowers and butterflies. Impressive but forgettable once you got home.

What drove the huge and rapid migration to HD sets? Sports. Especially “Left-Right” sports like football and hockey that are a great match for the 16x9 format. When viewers could see the individual blades of grass to the eyeballs of the players, they were hooked.

As HD sports programming increased, so did sales. When sales go up, prices go down.

So it’s no surprise to see networks like ESPN jumping in big time with 3D HD sports programming. What will everything from football to basketball to auto racing look like in 3D HD? I have no idea.

But I can’t wait to find out. See you at the Big Box store!

John W. Scherer
John is CEO and Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
Reach him at or find John Scherer on Twitter: @VidProf

Monday, March 22, 2010

99 Cents for 99 Hours? YES!

Ok, you’ve seen me holding up CD-ROM lessons on TV for more than a few years and they remain a great way to learn. Millions already have.

But I want to share with you, what has been a bit of a “Best kept secret” around here and that’s Video Professor Online.

Same great Video Professor lessons, but instead of waiting for the lessons to arrive in your mailbox, you just log on and start learning with full access to the entire Video Professor Learning Library. All you need is access to a high speed Internet connection.

Our proven “What you see is what you do” method of learning is available online! How convenient is it? Here’s what you see when you click the “How it works” link:

“Today, your credit card will be charged just $.99 for a full 99 continuous hours of access to over 60 titles. After your trial period, you will be charged just $29.95 per month until you cancel. There are no refunds. Or simply call (800) 424-0277 and cancel at anytime.”

Yep, just 99 cents for 99 continuous hours of learning from over 60 titles. Should you decide to cancel, just one toll free call does it.

Check out a great alternative for your computer learning needs, Video Professor Online.

Click and learn. It’s just that simple.

John W. Scherer
John is CEO and Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
You can reach him at
Follow John W. Scherer on Twitter: @VidProf

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Online News: Searching for News and Dollars.

The Pew Research Center’s “Project for Excellence in Journalism” just released a survey as to what condition the online news condition is in. (Thanks Kenny)

You can read the entire report here:

It wasn’t hard to find the bottom line. Revenue, or lack of it. Pew found that while there is a rapid growth in people going to the Internet for news and information, they’re not quite as anxious to pay for it. According to the study, 79% of those surveyed rarely click on online ads.

People still listen to radio, and watch TV for news, but those outlets are also facing revenue challenges with networks to local stations losing revenue, cutting staff and doing more with less.

The demise of the traditional newspaper is well-documented. Chances are you don’t even have a local paper where you live.

So why are the same people who willingly paid for a newspaper subscription, so hesitant to support the online sites they’re going to?
But as writer Derek Thompson reports in Atlantic Online, actually we do. Thompson points out people pay an average of $41 each month for Internet access at home. So yes, we are paying. But what part, if any of that revenue stream, is reaching the content producers you pay for access to through that monthly bill?
More and more papers like the Wall Street Journal now charge for “Premium” content. So you get some news free, but not all of it. Cloth seats vs. Leather.
Another model for some online editions of papers is getting “X” amount of story clicks each month. Go beyond that and you’re charged moving forward.
What has sustained any news organization, whether radio, television or print, has been paid advertising. But the online advertising model is a different animal and one marketers and apparently consumers are still trying to figure out.
The Pew Study also points out that a little more than half of us rely on about 2-5 sites for our routine news and information “fix.” That’s certainly the case for me.
Pew says a total of 199 websites get at least half-a-million visits per month. You can ask someone for instance what’s their favorite news website and they might say CNN or FOX. But these websites have multiple versions that deal with everything from news to sports and business.
Just one from my point of view. It’s always has, and always will be about revenue or as Pew reports, the lack thereof. Click on the story, but not on the ad.
We all know there’s no such thing as a free lunch. That goes for online news too. Now we just have to figure out how to do it. Advertisers and consumers.
John W. Scherer
John is CEO and Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
Follow John Scherer on Twitter: @VidProf

Monday, March 15, 2010

It’s mad to mess with March Madness.

If you haven’t had a chance to watch the Sports Reporters Sunday Mornings on ESPN, you ought to. It airs at 7:30am Mountain Time. The podcasts can be found at here. Great insight and analysis, week in and week out.

A recent topic of discussion included thoughts by the NCAA to increase the number of teams in the college basketball tournament known as “March Madness” from 65 to 96. Yes, 96. Which would essentially mean everyone gets in. Even making #65 in what used to be a 64 team bracket via a “Play-in” doesn’t make sense. In fact it’s nonsense.

But 96 teams? Come on folks! The three weekends that make up the current structure are as good as any in sports. The best, in the minds of many fans. What makes the current format successful, along with exciting basketball and the opportunities for Cinderella teams to make it in is the involvement of fans. The biggest being filling out your bracket sheets in the myriad of office pools and on-line games. There’s nothing like it in sports.

Can you even imagine a 96 team bracket? Nope, this idea just won’t fly. It’s anything but a slam-dunk. More like a slam-dud, dude.

What’s truly weird is that the same “Brain” trust behind all this is the same one that refuses to install a playoff in College Football. Yet now they want to ruin one of the best events in sports.

Even with the current format, let’s face it, the only people watching #3 play #14 in first round action are fans of those teams. Now should #14 win, welcome Cinderella! Then we watch and it’s when the fun begins, except when our brackets self-implode the first weekend.

So please NCAA and the Networks involved, leave a great thing just that, a great thing.

It’s madness to mess with March Madness.

John W. Scherer
John is CEO and Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
You can reach him at
Follow John Scherer on Twitter: @VidProf.

Monday, March 08, 2010

“Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor gloom of night.” (Except for Saturdays and holidays.)

Recently I  shot a commercial where I mentioned the 22 years we’ve been in business at Video Professor and the millions of people we’ve taught over those years.

At the time, I didn’t know the folks at the United States Postal Service were considering cutting mail delivery on Saturdays. It caught my attention for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is we ship our lessons to you via USPS and last year they honored us with their Distinguished Business Achievement Award.  The USPS team is great to work with.

One thing that has impacted the USPS is e-mail. How many actual letters do you get in a week, if you get any at all? Then there’s competition from other package delivery services like FedEx and UPS.

But certainly computers have had an impact on the way we communicate. If you send an e-mail, you don’t need to mail a letter. If you bank electronically, the bank doesn’t need to send you a statement in the mail. When you invest online, you can opt to get your financial statements sent via e-mail instead of your mailbox. Paying your bills online means not having to wait for a bill in your mailbox in the first place, or having to mail your payment when you do get a bill.

So less traditional mail means less business for the USPS. Less business means less revenue. Less revenue means having to cut back if you can’t find a way to make up for the lost business; which could mean no mail on Saturdays.

We’ve taught over 15 million people to put the computer on their desk to good use, to make their lives more efficient and organized. The machine on their desk or on their lap, in many cases has replaced the mailbox outside their door.

But there is no small irony in the fact that what you order online, which saves you time and in many cases money, will now be delivered Monday instead of Saturday. I suppose some day, some scientist will finally find a way ala Star Trek to simply “beam” products to your home. Not likely in our lifetimes.

So what will the impact of one less “mail day” mean to you and me? I conducted an online discussion on the subject last week via and got dozens of responses. Just about everyone’s reaction was different as to how eliminating mail delivery on Saturday would impact them. The funniest came from a Canadian friend who told me they haven’t had Saturday mail delivery for a long time and added they won the Gold in Hockey! (Not sure what the connection is but I’m sure it was a bit of a shot and I don’t blame him!)

We’re about to find out. Either way, we’ll also find a way to adapt. Pending of course, what Congress decides and when.

John W. Scherer
John Scherer is CEO and Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
You can reach him at
Follow him on Twitter: @VidProf

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Professor makes extreme point.

Ok, I just play a professor on TV. But I came across this video of a real professor who apparently doesn't like the use of laptops in his classroom.

Granted the clickety clack of keys can be annoying, especially those keyboard pounder-types, but to not use laptops in today's classrooms seems a tad foolish.

You watch. You decide.

John Scherer
John is CEO and Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
Reach him at
Follow John on Twitter: @VidProf

Monday, March 01, 2010

Mr. Dithers, Jeremy and Hi on Social Media.

Reading through the “funnies” the other day (a guilty pleasure) there were three different comic strips that included Social Media in their story lines.

First up, the popular comic strip Zits®. Young teen Jeremy is talking about spending too much time on Facebook®. His mom tries to chime in with advice, but he quickly tells her that he’s on Facebook asking his friends for advice.

Then reading Blondie® we visit the offices of the J.D. Dithers where Mr. Dithers is chewing out the staff for wasting time playing online games.

Finally a stop to catch up on the adventures of Hi and Lois®. Hi is talking with a friend who uses a PC at work and a Mac® at home. Asked about the conflict of machines, his friend tells him he’s seeing a “Computer Therapist.” (Maybe he should try the Video Professor!)

All these strips are must-reads for me every morning, online of course. In the case of Blondie and Hi and Lois, these strips have been around for decades. No one has aged a bit but they’ve all kept up with the times nonetheless. At least Jeremy recently turned 16 after several years of being 15.

But the latest gags are about Social Media. Just more proof, it’s here to stay.

Like it or not.

John W. Scherer
John is CEO and Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
You can reach him at
Visit him on Twitter: @VidProf.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Happy 100th Birthday to the Boy Scouts

Congratulations to America's Boy Scouts, a wonderful American Institution.

John W. Scherer
Video Professor, Inc.
Reach me at or follow me on Twitter: @VidProf.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Got Mobile? The video floodgates are about to burst.

I’m going to do my best to translate tech talk to people talk as I comment on some research released by the folks at Cisco. You can read it here, which has an additional link to more tech info.

The bottom line is, according to writer Sarah Perez, is not that the mobile web has a future but just how big is that future. It appears to be huge. (Not that there was any doubt as one person who posted about the article noted.)

Traffic on portable devices increased 160% in the past year alone and according to the Cisco study is expected to increase 39 fold by 2014.

We are becoming a nation of big screens at home, and small screens on the go. But wherever we go, we want content on demand.

All this is getting noticed by consumers because it’s win-win for them. More and more mobile devices, PDA’s and iPad-like devices will be flooding store shelves in the big box stores. Competition is good for consumers.

But those of us who market everything from computer lessons to car parts are already making use of this new and rapidly growing pipeline. The biggest demand will be for mobile video and this isn’t just here in the United States. The demand is world wide.

Nations like Iran and China are working hard to “narrow” the pipeline and what comes through it. But technology will trump ideology.

That’s a good thing.


John W. Scherer
John is CEO and Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
Share your thoughts and ideas with John at
Follow me on Twitter: @VidProf

Monday, February 15, 2010

Teens Text, We Tweet.

The folks over at the Pew Internet and Life Project have been studying how we communicate on Web 2.0.

They found some interesting facts. I wasn’t surprised that communicating online is a multi-generation thing these days, but there are generational differences in how we do it.

What Pew found:

• Teens tend to text while older generations are more likely to use Twitter®.

• Blogging is on the decline for those under 30, but people over 30 are blogging more. Blogs are popular in business, hence mine each week.

• Sites like Facebook® remain popular with the younger generation but more and more “Boomers” are connecting on Facebook as well.

All of the above remain a work in progress. There are no experts as we’re inventing all this together as we go along.

Regardless of method, wireless interconnectivity is growing and will continue to grow. There are many ways to do so and different sites ranging from Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn® offer young and old alike ways to catch up, make new friends and even market themselves or products.

I came across an interesting description of Social Media Networks from Mike Hanbery of Hanbery & Hanbery, ) a Denver-based marketing firm. Mike posts,

“The Office, The Water Cooler and The Bar: A Tale of Three Social Networks

Here’s a real easy way to think about the cultures of the “big three” Internet social networks: LinkedIn is the office, Facebook the water cooler, Twitter the bar after work. Source: Swift Kick Blog.

A pretty good description if you ask me. (He posted this on Facebook by the way.)

Remember that famous line from the movie “Cool Hand Luke?” The boss of the prison camp says to Luke (played magnificently by Paul Neuman,) “What we’ve got here, is failure to communicate.”

They didn’t have PDA’s back then. Not that ole Luke likely would have used one.

As always, a word to the wise: Once you post something via Twitter, Facebook or whatever, it’s out there. Forever. The good thing about the ‘Net is everyone has access to it. The bad thing about the ‘Net is everyone has access to it.

Look both ways before you cross the digital highway.

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

Monday, February 08, 2010

Should Super Bowl be a Saturday Night Special?

Another Super Bowl is over, and millions of bleary-eyed people are showing up for work this morning, if they haven’t called in sick. But congrats to the Saints who've gone from "Who Dat?" to "We Dat!"

Super Sunday. Eat, drink and be merry. Not so good on Monday. I wonder if anyone has done any productivity, or lack thereof, studies about work the day after the Super Bowl. I did hear one analyst on the radio say this morning the cost is in the millions.

I was listening to Mike & Mike in the Morning on ESPN before the game, and they raised the idea about moving the Super Bowl to Saturday night. It seems to make a lot of sense. Let’s be honest, people party hearty during the game; it’s become a tradition. An unofficial national holiday.

I think a Saturday night game would actually be good for both fans and the teams. Certainly sports bars would get better business if people had the next day to recover. (Remember, always bring a designated driver.)

Long as I’m on the subject, do we really need a four-hour pre-game show? It’s not like there hasn’t been wall-to-wall coverage the weeks(s) leading up to the game.

So that’s my idea. Shorter is better for the pre-game and let’s make the Super Bowl a Saturday Night Special.

Sunday you can sleep in, or better yet, go to church and ask for forgiveness for over-indulging the night before!

I’m just sayin’ …

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

Monday, February 01, 2010

NASA, Inc?

We have a magazine exchange here at Video Professor. Once someone has read a magazine, instead of tossing it, they share it.

Digging through the box, I found and read the January 2010 edition of Popular Science. The cover story dealt with the commercialization of space travel.

Several companies led by Richard Branson, uber entrepreneur, and Burt Rutan are offering commercial space travel. Still pricey but the line for flights is a long one.

Meanwhile, NASA fiddles and faddles. NASA is a bad mix of politics and science. As said in the movie “The Right Stuff,” “No bucks, no Buck Rogers.” There also seems to be no direction or definitive goals set for the agency either.

Commercial space vendors are soaring while NASA is running out of shuttles and ideas. Soon we’ll be hitching a ride with the Russians just to get to the space station.

If you have a spare $25 million or so lying around, the Russians will actually fly you to the space station. Not so with NASA. Heaven forbid they actually try and make money from space.

The commercialization of space is nothing new, and it’s creating international partnerships. The television programs you watch are transmitted from satellites launched, in many cases, on American Atlas-Centaur booster packages with Russian Proton motors. Many commercial rockets are transported to Cape Canaveral aboard Russian-designed Antonov AN-124s (think the C-5A Galaxy on steroids) flown by a Ukrainian air transport company.

Do you believe the Cold War is over?

The bottom line is that if you have the cash, you can go into orbit.

Is it time to turn over the space program to private enterprise or for NASA to operate as a for-profit entity? Just think what Apple® or Google™ would be willing to pay to have their logo on the shuttle.

Competition means progress. Competition produces results. Free enterprise does the best job of it.

Space isn’t just for Buck Rogers anymore. It’s for anyone with the bucks to get there. The list grows every day.

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

Monday, January 25, 2010

Is Privacy "Passe?"

If you haven’t read the Jan. 25 edition of Bloomberg BusinessWeek, I recommend you do so and turn to page 13.

In an Ideas column, Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg is quoted as saying that privacy “is no longer a social norm.”

Think on that for a minute.

Tech bloggers are chiming in. Marshall Kirkpatrick wrote on that “the notion of privacy can no longer be equated with absolute secrecy.”

Blogger Evgeny Morozov wrote on that some governments are “moving towards reinforcing privacy protections.” France for example is thinking about laws to allow citizens to have old online data about themselves deleted. The technology, however, doesn’t exist to do that.

With the growing number of social media web sites, it’s so easy for someone to bend, fold and electronically mutilate anyone’s reputation. A sober reminder that in a world where everyone has a camera, a picture of you is just seconds away from being posted.

Let me say that social media sites are great fun, a wonderful way to stay in touch with friends and family. As one of our employees here said: It’s a way for her to “have a high school reunion every day.”

But once something is posted, it’s out there. Forever.

We all treasure our privacy. These days you have to work very, very had to protect it.

The great thing about the Internet is that everyone has access to it; the bad thing about the Internet is that everyone has access to it.

Privacy need not and should not be passé.

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

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sports will break your heart.

I’m writing this prior to the Jan. 16-17 playoff games but wanted to talk about both the Texas-Alabama NCAA championship game and the extraordinary battle between the Packers and the Cardinals in their NFL wildcard matchup.

Both are perfect examples of why we love sports, and why sports will break your heart.

As for the Texas game, the strategy was obvious. Stop the Tide, and get the ball to Colt McCoy. It worked for two minutes until McCoy was sacked on only his fifth play of the game, which he left with a limp throwing arm. He never returned. Fifty-eight minutes left on the clock. So much for that idea. In comes Garrett Gilbert, true freshman and thoroughly unprepared.

But the Longhorns battled back to get within three points. There was hope, right up until the ‘Bama “D” got to Gilbert, who was sacked and fumbled the ball. Then, the Tide “rolled” into the end zone and that was that. But Gilbert, the most highly recruited high school QB in the country, showed grit. There’s much to feel good about in Austin.

Then, watching the offensive free-for-all between Green Bay and Arizona, it looked like the Pack was out of it early. Proof again that you should never leave a game before it’s over.

The Pack battled back, and after a missed chip shot field goal by Arizona’s placekicker, the game tied up at 45-45 and went into overtime. The Packers got the ball and began their drive. Put another brat on the grill!

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is good, very good, especially making plays when everything around him is falling apart. Early in overtime, he made a simple three-step drop but held on to the ball too long, perhaps expecting to make magic one more time. He ran out of rabbits up his jersey.

Just like the Texas QB, Rodgers got hit, lost the ball and Arizona ran it in for the game-winning touchdown.

The emotions for both games ran the full gamut, and if fans have fingernails left from either game, I’d be surprised.

But in sports, one team has to win and the other has to lose. Texas and Green Bay fans had their hearts broken.

But the nice thing about sports is that both those teams will be back next year, likely to break a few more hearts, and both are hoping it’s the hearts of their opponents.

For you non-sports lovers, this is why those of us are so passionate about sports, because it’s so full of passion.

And heartbreak.

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

Monday, January 11, 2010

Eighty Football Fields of E-Bliss!

The annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) just finished up yesterday in Las Vegas. Although the economy has had an impact on attendance, it remains one monster of a showcase for all that’s new in technology.

Imagine over 80 football fields-worth of displays from all the major players in tech, plus tucked away here and there—and out in the open—the next big thing.

Absent as always is Apple®, who does their own thing, not the least of which is the anticipated release of the ”iTablet” on Jan. 26 in San Francisco.

By any measure 2009 was a disappointment for folks who make their living selling tech toys, but optimism was seen everywhere looking ahead through 2010.

What will be hot in 2010 (my humble predictions):

My “super hot product” prediction for the upcoming year will be 3-D HDTV. Like any other technology there will be early adaptors, there will be bugs and of course, like anything new, the first sets will be expensive. With both ESPN and TLC rolling out HD it provides incentive for potential viewers to invest in the sets, but do satellite/cable program providers have the bandwidth and, if so, at what price?

But 3-D HDTV, especially in sports, is guaranteed to be a hit eventually. The transition from HD to 3-D HDTV will be faster than it was from standard def to HD (depending on the economy of course).

Also hot: E-readers like Kindle and tablet-style computers. I blogged elsewhere that reported that they actually sold more digital books than traditional ones on Christmas Day 2009. According to the CES web site, there were 23 different exhibitors with various types of e-readers.

Small will be big, and as a result, “hot.” Handheld TVs with both off-air and premium programming will also become very popular. Prices should be affordable from the start and only get better as more players enter the market.

DVDs are on the way out, as it will be more and more common simply to download movies right off the Internet to your TV. There will be a myriad of ways to do it, and it will be confusing for many at first, but it will catch on. Actually, it already is.

CES isn’t open to the general public, but attracted more than a hundred-thousand industry folks and media who cover tech. Has the tech turnaround begun? I think so. Proof will come when all these goodies hit store shelves throughout the year.

See you at the Big Box store!


John W. Scherer

John is CEO & Founder of Video Professor, Inc.

You can reach him at

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

It’s about the terrorists, stupid.

Call it a Christmas miracle, but for some reason the bomb carried by 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab of Nigeria didn’t go off the way it was supposed to while he was seated in 19A aboard a Northwest Airlines jet.

He tried to set off some sort of explosive device while the jet was approaching Detroit. There was smoke; there was fire but no explosion, which is doubly lucky because 19A is very close to the fuel tanks.

Catastrophe averted. Abdulmutallab claimed to be Al Qaeda-trained and, within a few days, a murderous group linked to Al Qaeda claimed he was a “brother” and that they had trained him.

So how did it happen? We know he started his “mission” in Nigeria where security screening involves just getting on the plane. Oh yes, he paid cash for his ticket and had no bags. Destination: USA. No red flags, at least not in Nigeria.

By then he was in the system. There were additional security screenings in Amsterdam, but he sneaked by those as well.

Initially, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the system indeed worked. Oops. Last Monday she “recalibrated” her position to say the system, in fact, didn’t work.

Passengers are already being impacted. Some airlines won’t let you leave your seat within an hour of landing. Laptops and the like also have to be stored at that time. Bomb sniffing dogs are everywhere, especially in international departure areas.

Sadly, there has also been some political sniping going on. Cheap shots are out of order.

Much of the talk remains on the “system.” Can it be made better? Absolutely, but terrorists aren’t flying from here, they’re flying to here. The problem isn’t the system, it’s the terrorists!

They keep trying. They keep coming back. They’re not giving up. They’re relentless in their “jihad” against the West.

They’re sponsored by, and find refuge in, nations like Yemen and Iran. Countries like Nigeria simply let them walk on.

All the security here in America won’t keep them from boarding planes in other countries. The terrorists know that. Their modus operandi is pretty basic. Bombs, made from stuff you can buy at a drugstore. Scaled down versions of the improvised explosive devices, or IED’s, killing our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Our high tech vs. their low tech.

What we continue to underestimate is their cunning. Intelligence gathering is getting better. The capture of Najibullah Zazi in Denver is proof. By holding the 9/11 terror trials in New York, who knows how many young, misguided people will only be inspired to join the ranks of terrorists because you can bet the bad guys on trial will take every opportunity to portray themselves as glorious martyrs.

So, while we take our computers out of bags, slip off our shoes, are submitted to random pat downs, etc., here in the United States, terrorists will simply continue to refine their techniques and continue to walk on to planes in countries that have few if any security checks.

Keeping people in their seats an hour before landing just means the terrorists will try an attack more than an hour before landing.

We know where the safe havens for these terrorists are. We know who is bankrolling them. What we’re not doing is anything to stop it at the source.

The horse has long since left the barn. No need for a new lock. What we need is a new door. A door that locks from the inside rather than the outside.

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