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.