March Madness: America’s Unofficial Event

By Cheval John

I had the opportunity to cover collegiate athletics as a freelance journalist for the Huntsville Item for over two years in Huntsville, Texas.

As for those who might believe that they is nothing much to do in Huntsville, they will have to look deeper.

For starters, Huntsville is located just an hour north of the fourth largest city in the United States, Houston.

In reality, the small town is approximately 20 minutes from the Houston metropolitan area.

So for those who might want to see something different while living in Huntsville, they can just drive down to the Houston area.

Another thing that makes Huntsville unique is Sam Houston State University(SHSU) because a college campus is a “city” within a city.

And in any city or town, sports gives anyone the opportunity to be entertained for two hours or three hours if it is baseball, basketball or football.

The city of Huntsville can never be a home to a professional sports team because of the costs of having a stadium and a strong fan base.

The city of Houston has four professional sports teams because they have the infrastructure to provide the demands of what these organizations are looking for.

Case in point, the professional athlete making millions of dollars.

That is where collegiate athletics comes in for a small town.

The universities has to take care of their own departments.

And since collegiate athletics are under the umbrella of the universities, the places that these universities are based in don’t have to worry about the cost.

Which brings me back to Sam Houston State.

SHSU has 17 sports teams that competes at the NCAA Division I level.

And since the NCAA Division I level is as elite as professional athletes, Huntsville residents can see an elite level of competition that they would see at a major professional sports event.

I was fortunate to have covered the SHSU baseball team while they got three at-large bids to the NCAA tournament after winning three consecutive Southland Conference (SLC) regular season championships.

For any mid-major school, if you don’t win the respective conference post-season tournament, you will not get an at-large bid to any NCAA tournament.

I also had the opportunity to cover SHSU’s 2012-13 women basketball team that won their first ever SLC regular season title and finished as a runner-up in the SLC’s post-season tournament.

From the experience of covering SHSU’s sports teams, I will offer my answer to the question, “Are You Being Exploited By March Madness.”

I will have to say that I am conflicted to a large degree about the NCAA.

Beforehand, I would have disagree completely with the premise that college athletes are getting exploited by the NCAA because of the premise that they are going to school for free based on the scholarships that they are getting to play for their respective universities while the rest of the college student body have to pay a whole lot of money for classes and books in order to attend college.

However, I had a change of heart about the fact that the NCAA has taken advantage of the so-called “student-athlete” because they know that they don’t have to pay these same college students who are athletes due to the fact that they are college students.

I have always wondered why college athletics has been so huge in the United States like the major professional sports growing up.

I mean it is part of the student experience in college to participate in a sporting event.
The history of college sports in America is what makes the United States a unique country to live in.
At the same time, I feel a little disgusted by the fact that the NCAA and college coaches in the major universities are making millions of dollars while the same college athletes are not getting a single cent from the revenue that they are making.

Case in point, the NCAA are currently in their 14 year deal worth about 11 billion dollars with CBS.
The powers that be over the NCAA are being more profitable than ever.

The sad part is that the majority of college athletes come from low income families.

It is true that they get meals and “free tuition” due to scholarship.

But the fact that they can’t receive help from friends who can provide some funds while they are in college due to the fact that they might commit an NCAA violation.

This tells about the garbage rules that the NCAA has instituted and it feels to me at times that they want these college athletes to remain poor while they are attending college.

At the same time, these same college athletes should get a whole lot more compensation for the amount of money that the NCAA are making.

One thing that they can do is not make the scholarship a one year deal, but make it for the entire four years so that the college athlete will not have to feel the extreme pressure of succeeding on the field as well as in the classroom.

The Explosive Growth Of Podcasts

By Cheval John

It was during the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) National Championship matchup between Sam Houston State and North Dakota State that I had a true idea of what podcasting was all about.

I was covering the matchup for the blog of the school newspaper and a colleague who was working for the Huntsville Item at the time chatted about the beginning stages for his podcast.

Before the matchup, we did a podcast along with the sports editor of the school newspaper about the keys that both teams needed to win the national championship.

I did not think more about podcasting for a while until I saw an article by Eventual Millionaire host Jaime Masters on Social Media Examiner about why a person should start a podcast

That was when I realized that I needed to begin a podcast.

The problem was that I did not have enough money for podcast equipment.

Then when I saw about hosting your very own radio show on BlogTalkRadio with just a computer and a phone courtesy of Chelsea Krost‘s show, I knew that was where I was going to launch my podcast.

Since then I have been growing my show steadily and using blab to record my show which later appears on BlogTalkRadio.

And many entrepreneurs are now reaching potential customers via podcast.

This infographic below by CopyBlogger explains the rise of podcasts and why now is the time to have your very own podcast.

From 2003 to 2016: The Astounding Growth of Podcasting [Infographic]

Like this infographic? Get content marketing advice that works from Copyblogger.

And to finish this article, here are a couple of podcast episodes from What’s The Word? featuring guests Janette Speyer of Web Success Team and Natasha Davis of Impact Branding Consulting.

Janette Speyer

Natasha Davis

Have you thought about podcasting? If so, how has podcasting helped your business? You can leave a comment below.

Samantha Kelly’s Gift Keeps On Giving

By Cheval John

Samantha Kelly has come a long way to be where she is at today.

Ms. Kelly, also known as “Tweeting Goddess” built her first business to profitability because she connected other Irish entrepreneurs through the #IrishBizParty twitter chat.

That twitter chat led other business owners for meetup gatherings and also led to the Dublin, Ireland native to launch her Tweeting Goddess business.

Ms. Kelly success did not come by accident.

She understood from the first day that if you were going to be successful in business, you have to help other people to achieve success.

And because of her giving mentality and her willingness to help other business owners to be successful, she has achieved great success herself in her business.

In addition, her native Ireland is now going to be even more better because they are catching up in social media.

The reason is because of the first ever Social Media Summit Ireland that began earlier today at Aviva Stadium, home of the rugby and soccer national teams in Dublin.

The conference came to being due to the vision of yours truly, Ms. Kelly.

She saw how behind Irish businesses were in social media compared to businesses in the United States and the United Kingdom.

And the fact that she saw how much it would cost her to attend social media conferences to learn from the leading experts in the social media industry gave her the idea of bringing these same experts to teach the business owners how to build their audience on social media.

The speakers themselves are truly happy to be there to share their social media expertise because they felt welcomed.

Some of these tweets below showcases the success from the social media summit ireland

So if a business is going to be successful for the better by lifting each other up, why are they still tearing each other down?

What they don’t realize is that they are contaminating the market with their selfishness and are ruining opportunity for anyone to make a living for the better.

They still subscribe to the fact that if they undercut their competition and put people down, then their business will be successful.

Thank goodness Ms. Kelly don’t subscribe to the dogma of putting people down in order to be successful with her business.

Because of her willingness to help her “competition” to be successful with their business, the entire business community and sports organizations in Ireland will now be a step further to being proficient with social media as their counterparts in the U.S. and U.K.

YouTube video courtesy of TEDX

Everyone “Benefits” From Oil And Gas

By Cheval John

February 23rd, 2016

Photo Courtesy of Art Institute.edu

Photo Courtesy of Art Institute.edu


Houston has it advantages and disadvantages of being the energy capital of the world.

One of the advantages is being the location of 26 Fortune 500 companies behind New York City.

The other advantage is being the host of the 35th annual IHS CERA Week at the Hilton-Americas Houston hotel in downtown Houston.

The conference brings together executives, policymakers and government officials from around the world to discuss about the future of energy and the inconsistencies of the oil and gas industry.

One could say that this conference was timely because of the drop in price for oil in recent months.

Some quotes from the conference on Twitter includes:

For the ordinary consumer, this would be seem to be like great news because of the low cost of gasoline in most of the USA.

They would believe that they deserve a huge break after the years of paying high prices for gasoline.

What they fail to understand is that the recession in the oil and gas industry have an indirect effect on other industries as well.

Case in point, Houston.

The Bayou City had grown over the years due to the oil and gas industry.

Marcellius Foster, a former resident of Huntsville, Texas, became wealthy due to his investment in the discovery of oil at Spindletop and founded the Houston Chronicle in 1901.

And when the recession hit most of the country, Houston was able to offset the recession because the oil and gas was able to boost up their local economy.

And over those years, those who become millionaires due to the oil and gas industry gave the city of Houston their own respective sports teams like the Houston Astros (1962), the Houston Oilers (now Tennessee Titans,) the Houston Rockets (1971) and the Houston Texans (2002).

But when the oil bust happened in the late 80s, Houston felt the worst of that failure because the majority of their economy was in the oil and gas.

And though Houston has diversified their economy since the oil bust, businesses will still experience the sting of the oil and gas industry indirectly.

An example would be the restaurants and coffee shops.

And when most of the employees gets laid off from most of the Fortune 500 companies due to the current recession in the oil and gas, it affects them because they cater to these same employees.

So in the long run, everyone is affected by the oil and gas industry.

And if they want to avoid the affects of the oil and gas industry, they will have to build a strong online presence by sharing valuable content through their blogs, podcasts, video etc. about their expertise in the oil and gas industry.

They will also have to be as transparent as possible and participate in group chats on social media platforms.

Because when they have a strong network that they built while they were working in the oil and gas industry and have a loyal audience through social media, they will have a 80% chance of gaining work whether as an employee or an entrepreneur when the layoffs happened to them.

Working The Second Shift

By Cheval John

Most entrepreneurs begin their businesses while they are working full time for their respective companies.

When they finish their duties for the day as an employee, they go to work on their business for the better.

Dr. Harold Arnold describes these part-time entrepreneurs who are building their businesses in the term of working the second shift.

He came out with the book, Second Shift, and shared about how he wrote the book on “Starve The Doubts,” with host Jared Easley, where I served as one of the co-host of the show along with fellow co-host Renee Groskreutz for this episode.

Professional athletes are in a lot of ways like part-time entrepreneurs because they are competing on a daily basis compete in their respective sports.

Everyday on national media outlets like ESPN, NBC, we hear from pundits on what these athletes did or did not do to help their team win.

Their identity are immediately connected to the sports they play.

And most of these athletes are working in their second shift when they are building their very own businesses during their off season.

They understand that they have to do something different once they retire from their respective sports.

So in a lot of ways, part-time entrepreneurs can relate to professional athletes.

And there is nothing wrong with starting your business on the side while you are an employee.

As long as that businesses does not conflict with your place of work either in the sports industry, public relations industry, etc.