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All comments by Eric Sieg
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Hi Kevin,

For marketing directly, my general inclination would have been going to the areas where competitive nerds already go: board and card game tournaments and conventions. Things like Pax, Gen Con, BGG Con seem like a great place to set up a learn bridge in a day or similar. Similarly, reaching out to people like Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day and seeing if they might share their insight on getting people excited about games and potentially giving it a whirl themselves would be interesting.

I also wonder about helping the 27-50 crowd feel connected with others their age. I know part of the reason I drifted away for a while was the general lack of people under 60 playing bridge. Even after I moved to Seattle - I went to the wrong club game a few times, somehow missed the younger Seattle crowd, and then stayed away from bridge for another 4 years. I've talked to others who have had the same experience. I wonder about things like a monthly 50 and under game on BBO, a 50 and under 1 session event on the Thursdays before an NABC, etc.

Anyway, just some general thoughts. I know I was bummed to not pick up the game until 25ish as I quickly aged out and went from lots of cool things like junior camp, junior events, etc to the ACBL pretending I didn't exist. Would be fun to see more things helping connect those who are younger than the norm as I think friendships and connections with people closer to our own age helps tie people more into the game.
March 20
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I'm not sure I agree with the sentiment that the ACBL isn't trying. The college stipend thing seems interesting.

The area I always felt was ignored was the 30 to 50 crowd. People in their teens and early 20s are going to have a lot going on after college with finding a job, not having money/leave/etc for bridge, finding a significant other, starting their life, etc. It seems like many people disappear at that point and some come back and some don't.

In contrast, there is a large contingent of people in their early 30s who have pushed through that time and now have free time, money, bandwidth, and interest to potentially become regular tournament players. Board games have exploded in popularity and most board gaming conventions/tournaments/etc I've been to have a large amount of 30+ people. While Magic the Gathering is played by those of all ages, the age of those who are traveling to compete in tournaments are upper 20s to late 30s.

Even in Seattle where it seems like we have a lot of younger players - a good chunk of those were people who picked the game up in their 30s.

As someone who was interested in bridge, it seemed like there was tons of support for those under 26 with the junior programs, but the instant you turned 27 you no longer existed. If you came to the game a bit later, then you just missed out.

So… while I think it is great to see the college stuff happening and would love to see the ACBL do more with those in high school and college, it'd also be great to see them expanding strategies to hook players who now have the money, time, and bandwidth to become serious players in the post college years as well.
March 19
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Hi Jan,

FYI it looks like you meant this for a closed forum but posted it publicly to everyone.

FWIW, my two cents are that having it back to back with the NABC was really nice and makes it more appealing. I generally skip USBC events but if I could condense 2 plane tickets down to 1, it would be more interesting. Maybe with Monday as a rest day.
March 19
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Always a fan of seeing the highest original seed get shown, at least for the first quarter
March 14
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Although apparently the bulletin authors didn't realize that teams who lose in the afternoon can still advance in the evening as they listed 5 upsets in the top 40 instead of 2.
March 13
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Prediction looks good, with the 34 and 39 seed falling out as well as two more in the 40s
March 12
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Hopefully this is a precursor to Live showing results from more locations. Assume BW role might eventually be brackets for the Spinderbilt, although interested if they are expanding into other things.
March 8
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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
Eric Sieg edited this comment March 7
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Did Nick ask for and get denied access to this software?
March 5
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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