Enjoying a great holiday week!

Once again I dropped off the face of the earth for a little over a week, enjoying my Thanksgiving break from both work and school – and pretty much life in general.  I pretty much unplugged for over a week, spent a lot of time with family and just relaxed.

Of course I really got nothing done.  I barely made a dent in my pile of homework, my NCSC work is through the roof and I’ve had projects in both the band and in the business that have been neglected as well.

Acquire Nintendo Wii: Mission Accomplished!

The beginning of Thanksgiving break brought about a bustle of activity throughout the weekend that kept me out of the house.  One major accomplishment of the weekend: acquiring a Nintendo Wii – not just one but two!

With all of the circus surrounding the PS3 launch I was growing a little nervous about the Wii.  People literally set up camp outside of Best Buy in Fort Collins on Wednesday – 2 days prior to launch!  I dropped by on Thursday to get the Family Guy DVD and it was a total zoo outside.  I read that they only had 6 consoles at that store, but they turned out to have something in the neighborhood of 12.  Despite camping out for over a day, people still walked away empty-handed.

I knew that the Wii had significantly more release-inventory than the PS3 had, but I was still nervous about what we’d have to do to get one.  Because I had a show in Denver early Sunday afternoon, followed by a Broncos game that evening, it was paramount that I get a good night’s sleep (hence not camping out).  Plus spending my night in front of Target on a 20 degree night isn’t worth any freakin’ video game system.

Armed with determination, Bethany and I set out on Saturday night to get the Wii.  Initially, things looked pretty grim.  Bethany rushed from church over to Wal Mart to see what the line was up to.  At 6:45pm (for a 12:01am launch) the line was already longer than what FC Wal Mart had in stock.  We called Loveland and Cheyenne Wal Marts with no luck.  It was apparent that we weren’t going to get a Wii before the morning.

What we lacked in endurance (or foolishness depending on how you look at it), we made up in intelligence and calculation.  We set out and game planned, driving around to various locations.  Already riddled with campers Target, Circuit City and Best Buy were out.  We kept driving around looking for "Plan B" locations.  We drove into Toys’R’Us to find no one outside – not a bad sign.  When we went in we found the Wii display and asked someone at the game counter about their launch.  For some reason she wouldn’t give us the exact number, but she did assure us that they did have a few extra over their pre-orders.  Our "Plan B" was now "Plan A", and we used Sam’s and Sears as backup locations.

The next decision was whether we should camp out, wake up super-early or risk going at a more reasonable time?  We tried to strike the battle of necessity and convenience by waking up at 6am with the intention of being at the Toys’R’Us line at 7am, 4 hours before they open.

Our timing couldn’t have been better.

We rolled into Toys’R’Us with no one there!  Not even 2 minutes had passed when the next person in lined rolled up.  Within a half hour the line had grown to 9 people.  The person behind us was 40th in the Target line of 39 consoles, and the rest of the line was primarily composed of people who missed their opportunities at other stores.  We had two parents trying to get a Christmas Wii for their kids, and one mom and son.  Around 8am the manager opened the door and told us they had 10 consoles to sell.  The 10th person showed up about 10 minutes later and we were at capacity.

To my surprise, the time passed relatively quickly.  We brought 2 video game rocking chairs, books & magazines and our laptops with the Family Guy DVD’s.  We ended up not needing half of those things to pass the time.  Everyone in line was really nice, and the atmosphere resembled tailgating  Bethany picked up some hot breakfast for the two of us, and a donut and coffee run was made for the group later on.  I remembered I had a football in my car and a few of us were out in the parking lot playing catch and 500.  It was actually pretty relaxing.  Throughout the morning people drove into the parking lot, and abruptly left when they realized that capacity had been reached.  It was hard to say, but I would say that at least 20-40 cars rolled in and out of the parking lot that morning.

The manager at Toys’R’Us was awesome.  He came out multiple times to check in with us, explain the process and even opened the store an hour early to get us our Wii’s.  I definitely had a positive Toys’R’Us experience and a video game console launch couldn’t have run any more smoothly.

Bethany and I ended up getting 2 consoles, one for us to play and one for us to sell.  Out of the 10 people in the line, I think were the only ones who were going to sell – and that’s only because we were buying 2.  I have it listed on eBay right now, we’ll see how it does.  It hasn’t received a bid yet, but I’m not too worried given that we still have a day left.  I had delusions of grandeur that the eBay Wii would pay for both of them, but the going rate for a Wii is about $100 over.  We’ll see how we do.

With everything going on we’ve only played it for 2 hours over the last 3 days, but we had a blast with the Wii – it’s definitely not like any video game system I’ve played before!  I’ll post some more details on it later this week, but I’m very excited to have the Wii to pass the turkey cooking time on Thanksgiving!

Update: The eBay auction went pretty well, I made a pretty decent profit from the sale. It was interesting how much it shot up in the last 15 minutes of the auction!

Thoughts on promoting a band – suggestions welcome

Over the last few weeks things have really started to roll for Greenfoot (my band), and we’re really starting to build up some momentum.  Back in early October we were getting ready for our first gig and over the course of the last few weeks we’ve played a number of shows, spent time in the studio and have our demo CD cut, released and ready for distribution.  We’ve definitely made a lot of growth over the last few weeks, but now we’re exploring ways to take things to the next level.

Last night we started a discussion about our next steps in promotion, and coming up with a plan.  We bounced a lot of ideas around, and I spent the drive home dwelling on those ideas.  Right now I’m in the midst of two interesting scenarios: promoting a band, and marketing a new business.  While I thought that I could employ the same methods for both, but I find that promoting a band allows a lot more liberty and enables us to take more risks.

From that comes a laundry list of random thoughts, and I thought I’d do a brain-dump:

  • Don’t sell the demo CD’s under any circumstances.  The amount of money we would make from sales can’t buy the PR that we’ll make by giving the CD’s away.
  • Put the MP3’s on the web site and make them available to download, encourage fans to share our music – make it known that people can get the music (put "download free music" at www. on the promotional posters)
  • Put up our promotional posters on college campuses, venues, coffee shops – anywhere people hang out.  Put CD’s in sleeves and tack the sleeves onto the poster so that people can pick CD’s off the poster.  Yes they may get "stolen" but what’s a thief going to do – listen to it?  This experiment may be worth it.
  • Make better use of our mailing list.  We’ve talked about using Evite or another events planning tool to track attendees, provide directions and generate discussions.  This goes back to trying to build a community of people who like our music.
  • Put together our promotional kits. I found a great web site that talks about some things to include in the promotional kit.  We’ll be sending these out to venues that we’re looking to play.
  • Connect with bands that we’ve previously played with, or bands in our area that sound like us.  If they’re looking for opening bands or maybe we can find some way to share events.
  • As we’re getting established, promote ourselves to booking agents as a band that can also open for other acts, as well as headline act.
  • Get some stickers out there, capitalize on our logo and hand them out
  • Get a big vinyl sign that says www.GreenfootMusic.com

Those are just a few ideas we’re kicking around.  This band promotional stuff is very "chicken & the egg".  Venues won’t let you play big nights unless you can guarantee a big crowd, but you can’t build up a big crowd if you don’t play where people are (at big nights).  I would definitely appreciate any ideas or suggestions regarding this – no idea is to outrageous.

Greenfoot CD Out!

Our hard work in the studio has paid off, and I’m happy to share that we have our demo CD put together!

We are pretty happy with how things turned out, and I’m really proud to be sharing these songs!  Below you should be able to play the music (using Adobe Flash).  You can also find these tunes on Greenfoot’s MySpace Site (also be sure to add us as one of your "friends" while you’re at it)!  Our primary goal for the CD is for promotional use.  We’re not going to be selling anything, and simply would like to give CD’s out.  If you’re interested in getting a CD just email me!  In the next day we’ll be posting Mp3’s of our songs on our web site, and I’ll post the URL in my blog.

Give it a listen, let me know what you think!

Sorry I did not post this earlier, but this week has been a killer week.  More to come regarding the band.