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All comments by Len Fettig
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Transparency has left the Ed. Foundation.

Background: After the 2017 spin off of the Ed. Foundation from the ACBL, there was some organizational chaos, which settled down.

Last year, I contacted a Trustee and asked that the Minutes of the Trustee meetings be posted to their web site. They followed through and the Minutes were posted.

Some months later, I asked that the detailed financial reports be added to the web site. Shortly afterward, the financial reports were put on the web site.

Today, the Minutes and the financial reports are no longer available on the Ed. Fd. web site.

The annual IRS 990 filings are available and even though they are short on details, they do show the Grants and the overhead dollars.

I know that I printed some of the Minutes and Financial Reports. I'll look this week and see what documents I have. However, I think there are valid reasons to be cautious about our financial support for the new Education Foundation. But that is just my opinion.
Oct. 2
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I have never liked this equation.

playing Bridge = playing Duplicate = playing in Tournaments

Can we just let people play bridge, with friends, for the general enjoyment of all?
Oct. 1
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Linda, I'm sorry to hear that you are having health issues. I hope for a full and speedy recovery.

My ideas to advance the engagement and involvement of our BoG members looks like this:

Compile an email list of the 120+ members.

Send them an email to encourage their use of the BW forum.

Prior to all BoG meetings, send an email to The List, with descriptions of all motions that are expected to be made at the meeting. The motions will include the email address of the sponsor so that questions can be raised and explored before the meeting.

These emails should be sent by Richard Popper, but with administrative support from us.
Sept. 19
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It is good to see so much agreement for introducing newby's to bridge.

I suspect that there are many Bridge Teachers who are using the 6-8 week teaching programs.

What should be done to align these two divergent approaches?
Aug. 16
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Before defining What or How, it is important to define our Objectives.

If we think developing Duplicate Bridge players is our main objective, then we would craft an approach that best leads to that Goal.

I'd offer: Helping people to learn to enjoy playing Bridge.
Transitioning newer players into a compatible bridge group; for their continuing enjoyment.

Realistic goals may be very small steps.
Aug. 12
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Let's do away with the various Ribbon events.
Aug. 5
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Social Bridge and Rubber Bridge are the same thing, in my tiny little brain.

If it is Rubber Bridge scoring, it is Social Bridge. If it is Duplicate scoring it is competitive bridge - regardless of whether it is friendly or cut-throat.

It is somewhat unfortunate that at BW, Bridge means Duplicate Bridge to most people. It makes it harder to have a discussion about the need to increase the number of Rubber Bridge players.
July 15
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The slogan for the State of Arkansas is: The Natural State.

My t-shirt order arrived today; just in time for the Vegas NABC.

The shirts read: “Play Bridge in the Natural State”, super-imposed over an outline of Arkansas.
July 15
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“STaC runs on multiple sanctions”

Actually, STaC's have a sanction number that is used by all participating Clubs. While the Clubs do have their own sanction numbers, it does not apply when running STaC events.
July 8
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David, Your data collection and analysis is greatly appreciated.
For Regional attendance, my District level data and analysis shows that the NLM's want more events for their peer group. If the schedule does not have the events that they want, they do not attend.
This would mean that aggregate tournament attendance is elastic. Adding 299er events, running concurrent with Gold Rush events generally adds 10+% to the total table count for a Regional.

Next, with Pianola, it has become easier for sponsors to advertise their tournaments. Therefore, understanding the difference between advertising and marketing is necessary for effective tournament promotion. This topic is a fairly recent development and would not be reflected in our data collection processes.
I do my data collection and analysis on an individual tournament basis and the two observations are huge factors in D-15.
An important take-away is that tournament planning and execution has changed dramatically and there is no clear evidence that our experienced Tournament Chairs understand what is currently needed.

Good Luck and keep up the good work.
June 27
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Gary, Thanks for reporting the issue.
Try this: http://lenfettig.com/ACBL%20Restructuring-II.pdf
June 24
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Jeff, As of 4pm CDT, we have 63 views. I think that means unique views.
June 22
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Steve, Can we sell online Vugraph sessions? Seriously, can we monetize the spectator aspect of top-flight bridge?
I'd like to see this idea move forward.
June 9
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We have seen many comments that question the suitability of either the current Unit or the District Boards as the electorate.

While there will be a transitional period, as the 25 member BoD gets replaced by a 9 member Executive Board (EB), afterwards, we need a sustainable methodology which will give stability in governance.

I've posted my recommendations in the Board of Governors (BW) area, but will repost them here:

My ideas to supplement the Task Force’s initial plan appear below.
http://lenfettig.com/ACBL%20Restructuring-II.pdf

I have previously provided ideas: http://bridgewinners.com/forums/read/boardof-governors/restructuring-the-acbl-goverance-post-3/

My recommendation (post transition) is that the Districts nominate people for consideration for seats in the Senate and/or the EB. There is also a provision for petitioning (self- nomination).
A Panel (labeled the Leadership Development Panel) will vet all of the nominees. The voting for the Executive Board will be done with 60% of the vote cast by the Senate and 40% cast by the EB.

For candidates to the Senate, the Senate votes on nominees vetted by the Leadership Development Panel.

Constructive comments are appreciated.
June 9
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I took the survey. Here is the text of the ACBL email and my follow up emails.

ACBL wants to know about you!

Hi Len,

The American Contract Bridge League has recently partnered with a third party firm, RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy to help create a new member acquisition strategy, raise awareness of the ACBL, and raise awareness of the wonderful game of bridge.

That process starts with understanding what drivers influence our current members such as when you started playing bridge, why you currently play bridge, and why you became a member of the American Contract Bridge League.

Based on your survey responses, we will provide the ACBL with recommendations to grow their membership and awareness.

Because your candid responses are critical, it is important to note that no responses obtained through this survey will ever be linked to an individual, and as such, your responses will remain anonymous.

We know that your time is valuable and estimate that it will take about 10 minutes to complete this survey.

Thank you in advance for your participation.

_________________

Me to ACBL
Hi,

I received a survey request that may be a scam.
You might want to send out an email to members to confirm or deny that it is a valid partnership.

Hi Len,
The survey is legit. I’ll forward your suggestion to our Director of Marketing.

Stephanie Threlkeld
Education and Communications Manager


Feb 28, 2019, 1:48 PM
to ACBL

Hi,

I took the Red Rover survey and then looked up the company.
I was disappointed in both. In particular, I don't feel that the Red Rover Company understands membership organizations. I feel that they took some routine questions that were developed for other types of organizations and plugged them in to our survey.

I hope that something good comes of it

____________


//
June 3
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The full election chart can be found here: https://www.acbl.org/about-acbl/administration/election-chart/
June 3
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I believe that most of the Memory and Brain enhancers are blood thinners in some way.
Use with care, if already on blood pressure medication. Nose bleeds are a good indicator of too much.
May 28
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Brett,

I pulled up the flyer for your Albany Regional and the results from Albany 2018. It is pretty easy to identify major problems with the tournament management; just by looking at two items.

A bad tournament (poor attendance and therefore loses money) is almost always the result of:

1 - a bad schedule
2 - bad management
3 - no marketing

I see a terrible schedule. The most obvious issue is that there are no games which are limited to our 0-299 players. Gold Rush and Intermediate/Newcomer events will attract a lot more players than just running Gold Rush.

But the attendance at the Albany tournament is dismal. It should be a 1,000 - 1,200 table Regional; instead of 600 tables. This is likely a result of limited advertising and no Marketing.

The flyer devotes more space to Travel Directions than to the tournament schedule. Nothing is said about Hospitality. In addition to a Tournament Chair and a Partnership Chair, you also have someone with the title of ‘Room Problems Chair’. That is under-inspiring.

No tournament website, no pre-registration, entry fees not stated and the list goes on.
You don't have an attendance problem you have a tournament staffing problem. Running a successful tournament takes more effort than is represented.

FYI, My Unit is in rural Arkansas, with a membership of 270 players. We get 100+ tables per day at our tournament and year-over-year growth is 10-15%.
May 24
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Jeff,

Thanks for raising the concern.

I agree with the premise that something needs to be included in this reorganization of ACBL governance to deal with specific things which are not now being handled.

On March 29th, I posted this comment:

“The main issue that I have {with the reorganization plan} is that as an 80+ year-old organization, the ACBL has no organizational entity that is responsible for member recruitment.
We don't know how to locate or engage bridge-playing prospects. The general approach has been to manufacture new players.
There is a lot that goes into this topic. The important take-away is that we need to deal with this vitally important function.”

My response to the reorganization plan (not yet posted here) will include a Membership Recruitment and Retention Panel and a Leadership Development Panel.

Membership recruitment and retention embraces the Club Managers and our Bridge Teachers. We need a top-tier group that will focus on our ‘engines of membership growth’.

Leadership Development will deal with on-boarding candidates for the Senate and the BoD, as well as grass-roots education of our Unit Board members.

Jeff, I read all of your BW posts and I feel you have expressed many good ideas for teaching bridge. I hope that you do consider running for the Senate. Our organization needs your insights and no one would be a better advocate than you.
May 24
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FWIW, the process of developing members to serve on Unit Boards begins long before the arm twisting. The minutes of every Unit Board meeting should be sent out to all members of the Unit.

The minutes of District Board meetings need to be sent to your Unit Board members.

Motions that affect Clubs (aka the change in Club Appreciation Games) need to be sent directly to all of the Clubs in our Districts.

Current Board members must constantly be on the lookout for people who have potential to take on more responsibilities. Engage them in discussions of current issues.

We know that we need a steady supply of members to move into leadership positions. Start grooming them and never stop.

Communications is clearly the missing element in many Units and Districts.

Further, rotate your volunteers into and out of different positions. Don't be afraid to put your best members on the bench for a year or two. Everyone needs a rest and more members need to be engaged and involved.
May 12
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