@web smith

More About Me

Entrepreneur and other things.



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I have been privileged to work on some great teams over the last six years, the opportunity to lead this team has been an amazing blessing.

Our Columbus & Cincinnati teams are working on something pretty cool. Engineering is speared by Adam Linkhart and Dan Vanwinkle. Product Management is led by Jonathan Poma. It’s called Whence and you will love it.

Here is a screen cap of something that the team is working on. Follow the Whence Tumblr here, stay updated with @whenceco​, and be sure to reserve your spot at beta.whence.co

The law is abundant and existent due to the ability of internet users to link together. If the internet were for information posting only, Metcalfe’s Law would be a mere imaginative concept. Websites and blogs such as Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace are the center of this law taking effect. Forty five percent of Americans in 2005 said the internet had played a huge role in a major decision in their life as a result of this social networking. Some of the major decisions involved buying a home, buying a car, inquiring medical help, and discovering a career. Interconnecting two networks is said to greatly exceed the power of the two separate, individual networks.

The law has often been illustrated using the example of fax machines: a single fax machine is useless, but the value of every fax machine increases with the total number of fax machines in the network, because the total number of people with whom each user may send and receive documents increases. Goods characterize the first component or intrinsic network effect. Services fall under the second component of network effects known as complementary.[6] A social networking site works the same way as the fax machine described above. The greater number of users with the service, the more valuable the service becomes to the community. Deriving from Metcalfe’s Law, every new “friend” accepted or added on these social networking sites makes the user’s profile ever more valuable in terms of the law. Positive and negative outcomes take place with all network effects involving a service of this sort. New jobs, relationships, and opportunities arise with more people coming together, however, if not used correctly, services of this type can lead to distant relationships.

Influence marketing in a nutshell. This is what I believe about branding’s intersection with consumer psychology. Metcalfe’s Law (via Princeton University)

Columbus has become my favorite American city. There is so much upside and friendly competition. And the city’s intellectual resources are infinite. I wish that I would have moved here sooner in my life. That being said, it is with sadness and a bit of regret that I tell you that Mizzen+Main will no longer have a presence in the Capital city. Building the allegiance of the brand over the past few years was an incredible experience. There is a great team in Dallas, led by a young man who I believe is a field general in the making. The state of Texas has rallied around this young but growing company. Kevin and team will build in Dallas where the clothing company will focus its energy - moving forward - to become the great American brand that it I know it will be. As for me, I will maintain the entirety of my cofounder’s stake in the brand. It is an earning that I hope will benefit my two young daughters, some day.

I have begun a new retail software project with my Columbus team and we will be adding a new addition or two. We will focus operations in Columbus and then see where we go next.

It’s tough to say goodbye to good things, it’s tough to begin again. But sometimes, we all just do what we need to do.

Web Smith


Steve Mesler lived on a serious budget back when we’d see each other on a daily basis (2008). Back then, the U.S. Bobsled Team won nothing on the Olympic stage. But there he was, like a robot, training six hours per day for the 2010 Olympics. He’d live on supplements and the very sporadic, great meal. In my mind, there was no way that the guy could achieve what he had on his heart — a U.S. Bobsled 4-Man gold medal. It just didn’t seem like he had the resources to make it this way for years.

Of what I remember, one of his primary sponsors was Lululemon, where he served as an “elite ambassador” - a classification given to Olympians and others at the highest level of performance. This product only sponsorship also allowed for services like free massages, yoga, and other holistic bonuses. All in all, Lululemon actually helped him; they gave him more than gear, they gave him value that actually offset his costs.

His gold model and his increase in notoriety meant that he should have had more than a product only deal. He helped raise the Lululemon profile at one of the greatest national stages. But how do “small revenue” athletes properly communicate their value, relative to a realistic standard?

It got me thinking of ways to prove your value to a brand. A great way is to think of yourself as an employee and then compare your market value to other members of that team. Keep in mind that this is simple math designed to express value in one of the most meaningful ways, the bi-weekly paycheck.

The typical junior level marketing employee at your favorite brand makes $1,458.33 per pay period, before taxes ($34,999/year). An old mentor once said to me, “If you aren’t making us 5X what we’re paying you, you’re out.” That junior marketer, earning a smooth $35k, is responsible for $174,995. Is the company’s investment into you lesser or greater? And where does that leave your minimum intended ROI?

Marketing value differential:

[(Total sponsorship $$ - (Hourly x brand travel hours))/ 24] - 1,458.33

Total sponsorship $$ = guaranteed pay + accumulated cash bonuses

Hourly = total sponsorship $$ / 2,088 (i.e. the # of work hours / year)

Brand Travel = 15 days of appearances last year? Multiply by 24 hours. That time reduced your training, practice, and recovery. It cost you money.

1,458.33 = a good enough benchmark

You will arrive at a number that is to the left or the right of “0.” That is the difference in your bi-weekly paycheck in relation to junior marketers whose purpose is also to move the needle for the brand.

What does this begin to illustrate? Your value to a company’s marketing force. Most sponsored athletes operate, in many ways, like 1099’d contract employees. They spend time at the HQ, give feedback on future initiatives, and help build a presence within the market that the brand wants to capture.

An athlete should focus on finding ways to prove themselves valuable to an organization. But first, they have to believe in and state their own value. Thinking about your sponsorship dollars in the form of an hourly rate or biweekly paycheck format will begin to help you clarify.

Steve Mesler shouldn’t have had to worry about money. He deserved a life focused on training, recovery, friends, and family. And that life was deserved before his gold medal.

Quick Strike, No. 1: 3 Questions with Rovell



Rovell: Web, tell me about this site. What’s the URL?

Me: athletegeni.us.

Rovell: Pretty cool. [Rovell notices that that the Athlete Genius logo has a significant sports marketing relevance. It’s the product that changed everything in sports marketing, 1988 A.D.]

The logo is of the Jordan 3’s! Nice. What’s the goal?

Me: My goal is to demystify sports marketing. Athletes need to better understand the nuances and the economic benchmarks that they should be comparing themselves to. That product only deal that you just got? That’s not a good look. Some athletes are making hundreds of thousands of dollars per year and some take what they are given and put up no fight. There is never an easy contract signing, especially in niche sports. As much as I love billion dollar sports, the niche sports are more interesting to me.

To give you an idea of how busy the 35 year old father of three is, I actually believe that I would crumble under the demands of his schedule. And my bandwidth is decent. The guy has three kids in 2014, that’s like 17 kids in 1940. I’m nervous just gearing up for number two, in my household. Not to mention, he is leading a social crowd-sourcing movement that combines professional “inner-circle” communications with amateur (confirmed) factoid curating.

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Before The Shark: Why I Respect Daymond John

Back in 1999, Daymond pulled the slickest move in startup fashion history by outfitting L.L. Cool J with a FUBU cap and influencing him to rhyme:

"For Us By Us, on the low" in a widely circulated GAP ad campaign.

GAP paid $90M over two years to air that commercial, FUBU rose from $30M to $300M/year after the masses grew to learn of the FUBU brand (thinking that it was sold at GAP stores). As a young brand, Mizzen+Main is one shout out away from achieving FUBU’s then-legendary trajectory. Enjoy this marvel in viral marketing.

This is from The New York Times (1853) on the autobiography, “12 Years A Slave.”

The sad and poignant truth is in the final line:And no recovery can be had for his services. Because he was bought without knowledge that he was a free citizen.” Of course. Solomon, I hope that last night brought you a bit of justice. 

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