Winning the #KaepernickingWorldwide Contest

In July of last year my then-girlfriend and I spent three weeks traveling mostly around the Philippines with a few days in Hong Kong and Singapore. We made the most of our trip to Singapore when we randomly stayed one night at the Marina Bay Sands hotel. (When I say randomly I mean we booked the hotel and flight the day before we left!) We chose the Marina Bay Sands thanks to my future brother-in-law’s recommendation of it looking like a spaceship (and who doesn’t love spaceships?).

The hotel boasts the world’s largest infinity pool, essentially stretching from one end of the roof to the other. In person it’s such an amazing experience to be sitting in the pool at night (or day) looking out onto the Singaporean skyline and beyond. The flip side view is equally amazing as you look out into the very, very busy harbor and the gardens below. As “tourists” we probably took more photos from the Marina Bay Sands than from the rest of the Singapore trip combined (even counting our trip to the massive aquarium).

Both my wife and I are HUGE San Francisco 49er fans. She, more than I, enjoys posting and following people on Instagram but we both follow the San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s account. I think it was August of this year, when we noticed he was holding a photo contest called #KaepernickingWorldwide. Participants would take a photo of themselves or someone they know “Kaepernicking” (see the featured photo), post it on Instagram, tag Colin Kaepernick, #kaepernickingworldwide and their location. We were excited because we had a photo from our stay at the Marina Bay Sands where I was Kaepernicking in the pool. Neither of us figured we had a chance to win.

A few weeks after the post went live we got a direct message from Kaepernick (Kap) saying we had won! I think we jumped for joy for about 10 minutes before we responded saying thank you and providing our shipping address. A follow up search on the hashtag revealed about a half dozen or so winners – so we joined in on the fun. At the time it wasn’t entirely clear what we had won (it looked like a bobble head, some t-shirts, socks, and wristbands), we were just happy to be part of the contest!

Roughly 9 weeks later, we arrived home from our wedding in Napa to find a package sitting at our doorstep from Kap. What a great wedding gift! We were amazed when we opened it:

Among the great items Kap sent us was one of his Jerseys signed along with the tag #kaepernickingworldwide. Wow! This isn’t the kind of Jersey you can buy online (we have a few of those), this is the heavy duty version with the short sleeves he wears on Game Day. Again, wow! Also included were a signed copy of GQ Magazine, signed football card, a signed action figure from his Nevada days, some clothing and a few wrist bands. We put some of the items together into a case and hung it on the wall.

As 49ers fans we’d like to formally say thank you to Colin Kaepernick. Often being a a fan of a team or a person (sports, business, tv, whatever) is a one-sided affair so thank you for briefly changing the dynamic. We are even bigger supporters than before. Go 49ers!

Cross published on Medium.

Guilt about not buying music

Ever feel guilty about not buying music?

I don’t mean stealing, torrenting or other ways of not paying for music. I mean the guilt of not directly paying for an artists work (song, album, video, whatever) in this day of streaming everything. Maybe guilt is the wrong word. Do you ever miss the feeling of not having some physical representation of your fandom?

Sometimes I do but I’m not sure why. I’ve likely spent more money, on average, every year for the last few years for music streaming than I did back when I’d either purchase a CD or something on iTunes. (Paid subscriptions include Spotify and Satellite radio but don’t include the ads I listen to on Pandora, Satellite radio stations and video ads.) Perhaps it’s nostalgia or maybe the ownership of a physical item is more salient? 

This came about as we’ve been traveling frequently between northern and southern California preparing for our wedding. We recently went into a Rasputin Music in Stockton where CDs cost $0.99 — $3.99 for used and upwards of $15 for new and popular albums. Besides the nostalgia of songs we’d heard back in the day (which are easy to find on Spotify or YouTube) there was a practical reason to have CDs — my now wife’s car doesn’t have a way to interact with our iPhones, has basic radio (terrible on long road trips) and a 6-disc CD player (sometimes it’s nice to have “off-line” music choices).

As we bought CDs for the trip, I had a hard time reconciling what I’ do with the physical discs once the trips were done with. I did however feel like it was more apparent (salient) we were directly contributing to the artists — showing our support as it was. I know better than to think the artist sees any (or much) of that money but there was a more direct link. This was the first time in a long time I gave much thought to paying specifically for one album (first time in a long time I’ve purchased one physically).

I’d purchased a number of albums over the years on iTunes and Apple recently gave away millions of free copies of U2’s latest album but those have a different feeling. Guilt temporarily kicked in.

I enjoy supporting artists on kickstarter where backing a project feels like a personal investment. I enjoy going to concerts from time to time and seeing an artist in person. I think buying a CD gave me some of the feeling of person investment but I don’t think streaming music or buying an album online provides that opportunity or feeling.

Maybe someday that will change?

From a recent TIME article:

Bono tells TIME he hopes that a new digital music format in the works will prove so irresistibly exciting to music fans that it will tempt them again into buying music — whole albums as well as individual tracks. The point isn’t just to help U2 but less well known artists and others in the industry who can’t make money, as U2 does, from live performance.

Then again, maybe not.

Cross published on Medium.