Sep 9


The social media celebrity has killed the traditional sports marketing agent. That’s at least what marketer Evan Morgenstein recently told Forbes. Morgenstein believes that, ”The athlete market is dead. Sports agents are losing so many deals that they used to get as full endorsement deals to ‘celebrities’ just willing to lend themselves on social media. [There is] no need for appearances or traditional advertising.”

Morgenstein holds the sentiment so true that he’s abandoned professional athlete marketing for the “social media celebrities” that cut into his former sector.

Though most athletes should expect lesser endorsement payouts in the coming years, Morgenstein believes that the top athletes can still expect even higher payouts–like Houston Rocket’s James Harden’s recent $200 million deal with Adidas. However, to achieve these types of deals a player should expect to not only produce on the court, but also on social media. Figures like points per game and jerseys sold matter just as much to a marketer as does the athlete’s social media following.

“The first question asked by PR people is, what’s your social media numbers? What’s your engagement numbers? What kind of sell-through are you getting? These are the questions that sports agents never had to answer in the past,” Morgenstein elaborated to Forbes.

As social media continues its further immersion into the fabric of our lives, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to see this sort of shift. Social media represents a significant pulse for fans and athletes. Just as sports has embraced analytics, so too has its advertisers. Certainly, the social media celebrity may eventually burst, but for now, it continues to grow as some athlete endorsements lose air.

Sep 2

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 5.03.23 PM

Will Smith’s latest film Concussion unveiled its first trailer today. In Concussion Smith plays Dr. Bennet Omalu, the doctor who discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) after he conducted the autopsy on former Pittsburgh Steeler Mike Webster. Omalu’s work blew the door open on CTE and its ensuing research. Without Omalu’s findings, player safety may not be at the levels that is it today. Slated for a Christmas Day release, Concussion appears poised for a huge opening weekend.

The NFL has yet to release a statement about the trailer, but the league looks less than stellar from the preview. With such a hot button issue, Concussion could become a contentious film come its release. Regardless where you stand, Omalu’s work deserves credit for being the catalyst in protecting the brains of players.

Watch the trailer for Concussion here.

Aug 28


As the 2016 election heats up, net energy metering (NEM) is an issue that voters and candidates want to hear more of. In states like Nevada, the issue is especially pressing where the emerging industry continues to clash with public utility provider NV Energy. The two sides stand opposed over Nevada’s net-metering cap. NV Energy’s recent application for a three-part charge in the state has many up in arms. However, NV Energy contends that its application, which includes a credit reduction for solar customers, is necessary to address an “unreasonable cost shift” between the varying fields of consumers.

The first candidate to feel the pressure was Hillary Clinton. The Democratic candidate left many in attendance disappointed when the subject wasn’t raised during a recent stop in the state. With a growing focus on green initiatives and technology in the state, candidates stumping in Nevada should expect the issue to arise. While the Clinton momentum certainly won’t derail due her omission of the topic, it could impact their standing when it comes to primaries. With candidates offering a range of sentiments towards climate change and green practices, it will be interesting to see where candidates side in states such as Nevada.

An issue like net energy metering has the potential to be one of the proverbial boom or bust topics of this election cycle. A candidate must walk a fine line in satisfying one side of the aisle without completely isolating the other side. However, with candidates like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders offering a dose of candidness in their speeches and plans other politicians may be pressed into taking a stronger stance than usual. While Hillary Clinton was able to not address the issue this time, there is a high likelihood that won’t be the case the next time she or other candidates stop in the Battle Born State.

Aug 25

Source: John Martinez Pavliga/Flickr Creative Commons

Source: John Martinez Pavliga/Flickr Creative Commons

The Windy City might be earning itself a new title soon enough as the epicenter of sports tech in America.

A recent Crain’s profile delves into how Chicago emerged as the sports tech capital as the field rises in notoriety and profitability. While the profile mentions how this came to be “almost by accident,” a large portion of the credit should go to the ingenuity and adaptability of three specific companies. Collectively, three Chicago-based tech ventures–Sportvision, Stats and Zebra Technology–hold motion-tracking agreements with the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and Nascar. By responding to the athletes’ demands for deeper analytics, the company’s were able to provide keen insight for the players and staff. In turn, these companies rose to prominence as the market continues to saturate.

For Stats, its SportVU system began tracking moves of NBA players and the ball in 2010. Today, the company estimates $100 million in revenue for this year. Sportvision expects similar results. Their first example of sport tech prominence came with it’s famed yellow line that now appears on every televised NFL game. For Zebra, it rose to prominence in 2013 by repurposing its technology to track the amount of ground NFL players cover during each game.

The city is known for its rabid sports culture, a trait not lost on leaders within the emerging sector. However, not all is coming up rosy for the Chicago sports tech industry. With a 26 percent increase over the last five years, the field now boasts 3,000 market research analysts in varying roles. With that increase comes additional companies to compete against.

Recently, Sportvision lost its contract with the MLB to a Swedish analytics rival to track player movement. Similarly, Stats could not retain its title as the NFL’s official stat tracker. While this may dent Chicago’s claim to the sports tech title, it does indicate a depth of competition within the field. It should be exciting to see if Chicago, or any city, can retain the distinction in the coming years as more sports warm to technological advancements.

Aug 17

Source: Ian Britton/Flickr Creative Commons

Source: Ian Britton/Flickr Creative Commons

On August 3, 2015, President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the biggest plan to reduce CO2 emissions in American history. Labeled as the Clean Power Plan, the initiative is designed to reduce carbon pollution by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, as well as accelerating the fast-growing trend towards clean-energy sources. Moreover, under a series of executive orders and actions, the Obama administration is set on showing venture capitalists that moving towards a path of energy efficiency and sustainability is not only good for the environment, but also a great opportunity to get involved in clean-energy projects. These are some of the initiatives:

Renewable-Energy Projects on Public Lands

Since President Obama took office, the Department of the Interior (DOI) has approved over 50 renewable-energy projects on public and tribal lands, including wind, solar and geothermal utility-scale projects . Together, these projects can support more than 20,000 jobs and generate enough electricity to power 4.8 million homes. In population numbers, that means more than twice the size of Houston, TX.

Expanding The Clean Energy Economy

The Obama administration has made the largest investment in clean energy generation in American history. It has increased more than twenty times the generation of solar energy and tripled the generation from wind power sources. Following in that line (and with the clear intention of attracting the private sector towards clean energy) the administration has also secured more than $4 billion in commitments and actions from the private sector to increase clean-energy innovation projects.

Expanding and Modernizing The Electric Grid

As President Obama stated: “Expanding and modernizing the grid provides improved access to remote sources of solar and wind energy”. Under that principle, the Obama administration has put forth efforts to establish energy corridors. It has constantly encouraged venture capitalists to use designated energy corridors in western states; expedited the review of electric transmission projects in non-western states and improved the overall transmission, permitting, and reviewing processes. By expanding and modernizing the electric grid, the government is aiming to draw investors to compete under a clearly demarked set of rules.

Creation of ARPA-E

In 2009, the Obama administration created the Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy. This Agency is intended to help advance high-impact energy projects with the potential to transform the way the U.S. generates, stores and uses energy. It is opening the door for thousands of entrepreneurs and innovators to get economic funding for clean-energy initiatives, and also bringing entirely new technologies to the market.

The Better Buildings Challenge

Through the Better Buildings challenge, the Obama administration is partnering with the private sector to develop energy-efficient building spaces. The better building challenge aims to make commercial, public,industrial, and residential buildings 20 percent more energy efficient over the next decade. This will result in saving hundreds of billions of dollars on energy bills, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and allowing public and private organizations to work together in order to replicate energy-efficient projects. Since the launch of the program in 2011, it has saved 94 trillion units of energy and $840 million.

A great example of success regarding energy-efficient building is the city of Chicago. For more than a decade now, Chicago has been the epicenter for LEED-certified buildings in the U.S. In this time, the city has focused on green architecture with initiatives such as the Green Permit Program, which offers reduced fees and expedited processes for investors developing green projects of infrastructure.

Advancing Towards a Sustainable Federal Government

In 2009, President Obama set an ambitious energy goal for the federal government (the largest energy consumer in the U.S.). He instructed federal agencies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent by 2020, as well as ordering them to increase the contracting of renewable energy sources. Thanks to this effort, the federal government expanded energy performance contracts from $2 billion to $4 billion for energy efficiency upgrades in Federal buildings. Additionally, in 2013 President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the federal government to buy at least 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

Access To Solar Energy

The Obama administration created a new initiative to increase the access to solar energy for low- and moderate-income households. Because of this, citizens can now apply for the “Residential Renewable Tax Credit,” which offers a 30 percent credit of qualified expenditures for a solar system from the federal government.

These and many other initiatives being adopted by the Obama Administration are intended, not only to strengthen the U.S. government’s protagonist role in fighting climate change, but also to attract vendor capitalists to take a chance and invest in clean energy solutions.

Jul 23

via Penn State/Flickr Creative Commons

via Penn State/Flickr Creative Commons


Between Golden State’s Klay Thompson’s concussion during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals and the gut wrenching head-to-head collision between Morgan Brian and Alexandra Popp during their Women’s World Cup match, concussions are once again at sport’s forefront.

These injuries serve as a reminder that it isn’t just the traditional warrior-esque sports facing protocol and safety revisions. While Brian’s injury proved to not be a concussion, similar incidents like the collision of Chelsea’s Oscar with Arsenal’s David Ospina earlier this season left fans with jarring reminders that player safety needs optimization in all sports.

While the soccer world is championing a revised substitution policy that protects players while leaving the game’s three substitution rule in place, several college football teams adopted a new measure to gauge the severity of blows to a player’s head that will take effect next season.

Wearable tech company i1 Biometrics will soon provide college football programs with its new real-time cranial data gathering technology. Programs signing on include Texas A&M and South Carolina. The technology is able to collect player’s impact data through wearable sensors that is then sent to a mobile device operated by team doctors. While i1’s doesn’t diagnose a concussion, the data indicates the severity and location of a player’s head injury.

In short, i1 believes that, “…our state-of-the-art mouthguard is transmitting real-time information, allowing real-time decisions about a players’ ability to continue on the field. It’s the first solution to be inside the player’s head to protect them from the inside out.”

Currently, i1’s sensors go into a player’s helmet or mouthguard. However, that will soon change when they soon roll out their product in headband form. Though slated for basketball players, this could prove useful to other sports like soccer. With all hope, real-time data like this will help sports that aren’t as impact-heavy to catch up the evolving landscape of their sport as well.

Jun 26


The tuk-tuk, or the auto rickshaw, is a common public transportation vehicle seen across several developing nations. In recent years, the vehicle also called the auto rickshaw has crept into a growing number of major cities across the globe–mainly in Europe–as a tourist vehicle. Yet, in America the tuk-tuk has yet to catch on. Possibly sparked by the multiple transportation options already presented, Americans don’t seem too intrigued by the prospect of riding in a new vehicle, regardless of its ability to reduce traffic and energy output.

But those views may eventually change if a design of out Melbourne, Australia catches on with the world. RMIT University student Kyle Armstrong recently revealed designs for an electronic version of the tuk-tuk called the Lindo. Lindo derives from the Spanish word meaning, “a word that describes an object as either especially cute or beautiful to mean a great deal.”

Armstrong’s invention came about in a bid to redesign the rapidly growing Melbourne population and its transportation system. With the Lindo, Armstrong hopes to see a Melbourne where public transport leaves the linear confines of public transportation and instead becomes more like an Uber-based platform. By using the Lindo smartphone app, the user is able to book, pay and track their travels in an efficient manner. Armstrong’s design focuses on a carbon fiber chassis, and titanium space frame that makes it light yet strong and highly durable. In addition to the features, the Lindo also boasts lithium ion batteries that charge at a fraction of the time.

The Lindo is still a ways away from disrupting the current transportation system. However, Armstrong believes that the Lindo will eventually lead to a cleaner, safer and more efficient Melbourne. Check out the video above for a more detailed look at the Lindo.

Do you think the Lindo would work in your city?

Jun 10

Source: Butz.2013/Flickr Creative Commons

Source: Butz.2013/Flickr Creative Commons

Increased investments in renewable energy and green initiatives continue to impact the Earth well beyond the battle against climate change. Beyond leaving a greener planet for future generations, increased investments benefit the world over in several other key ways–and not just in the major nations. Thanks in part to lower price points, developing nations are seeing the benefits of the green boom as well.

The effects of investing in the environment is felt from Bulgaria to Vietnam and several countries in between. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)’s 2015 report on the sector revealed that 7.7 million people worldwide are working in the industry. That’s an 18 percent increase from last year, and 35 percent over the last two. As Adnan Z. Amin notes in his article, if you add hydropower to the statistics, roughly 1.5 million more jobs are added to the tally.

Furthermore, the uptick in employment and investment has primarily been spurred on by declining prices in green tech. As Amin notes, the cost of moving to a greener landscape has now, “reached parity or dropped below the cost of fossil fuels for many technologies in many parts of the world.” This shift is now helping these nations revitalize their economies through job creation, overall growth and increasing the quality of life for large amounts of citizens in these nations. Looking a slight bit into the future, IRENA’s report goes on to estimate that the sector could support 16 million jobs by 2030.

The Pew Charitable Trust’s findings back up IRENA’s statistics, showing that developing nations are, “attracting significantly more investment in [the] renewable energy sector compared to developed nations.” Of the renewable projects undertaken worldwide, $28 billion was invested in 10 developing nations. Solar power generated the most interest with $12 billion in investments during those years.

Diversity in investments creates a hopeful prospect that each nation will be able to thrive in its region without mass competition from neighboring nations.

Looking at the Pew results, we see that Kenya could become a major player in geothermal plant production, while Thailand may be a prime example of biomass production success. Soon enough, Vietnam could see itself as a leader in small hydropower after bringing in $1.2 billion of the estimated $2.1 billion invested in the sector between 2009 and 2013.

Just a quick glance at the industry’s recent events and you see how Pakistan’s investment in solar panels is reshaping its deserts. Joining Pakistan in the solar movement is Morocco and Oman, providing solar power potential to three key regions of the world. Additionally so, Thailand has its eyes set on becoming a regional bioenergy hub while Ukraine strives for energy independence.

The world stands to benefit significantly as Earth opens up further to renewable energy and planet conservation. With an ideal to preserve our planet, it is incredible to see residual benefits coming from the movement. If the initiative continues, and by all indications it will, we could see nations develop into regional and potentially global powerhouses. At the very least, these investments will hopefully provide dual relief for future generations in developing nations. If we as a planet can provide a better quality of life for its inhabitants through the environment and economy, that may be our ultimate win-win scenario.

May 26

LED via WIki

via Wikipedia

LED lights are nothing new, but they are constantly innovating. Originally invented in 1927 and entering the commercial market in 1968, Light-emitting diodes have evolved to serve various purposes and buying sectors. What started as indicators for electronics and other ancillary support components is now a thriving commercial option. The commercial push saw massive gains in recent years as efficiency of the lights increased, while the eventual price tumble slowly reveals itself to the market.

It’s amazing to think that in just over a century after its initial discovery in 1907 that LEDs are set to challenge the conventional method of lighting across the world. But that is just the beginning to the potential of LED lighting. If you Google ‘LED Lights’ on any given day, you are likely to find at least one or two articles covering a new breakthrough, innovation or theory regarding how life can improve thanks to LED.

Now, with all ranges of colors and types that include organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and quantum dot LEDs, it remains to be seen where the ceiling for its innovation can go. While there are justifiable concerns about LED that includes heavy doses of “blue-rich” white light and other performance disadvantages, other areas are coming forward with ideas that could enhance life and nature.

In the healthcare field, two LED uses could bring improved comfort to patients and potentially ending a crippling disease in many African nations. Starting in 2013, Berlin’s Charité Clinic began using LED lights in its intensive care unit to create lighting effects on patients’ ceilings. The concept, in part with Phillips, aims to stimulate patients in the unit and reduce stress levels. Doctors reported positive results during its initial launch. Meanwhile, early hopes are that new LED lights could prove useful in the fight against malaria. The belief is that arthropods were much less attracted to customized LED lights than compact fluorescents. Now the hope is that the next round of studying will place the LEDs on the same level as no lighting, which proved least desirable to the species overall.

When it comes to improving the environment, LEDs serve as integral components to the growth of vertical farming. As an increasing number of cities and urban areas embrace the hydroponic growth movement, the need for the lights increases that much more. According to Gizmodo, LED lights help vertical farms harvest crops over 25 times a year with 85 percent less energy. The benefits of vertical farming include increased farming space and crop production. Since LEDs have quite a few varieties, they serve as ideal candidates to serve the varying needs of different plant types.

LEDs contributions extend into communities well beyond farming. The lights have helped brighten cities across the country as multiple other cities close in on joining the ranks. Neighborhoods have clamored for the bulbs to replace traditional street lighting due to LEDs ability to provide brighter and more focused glows. Not only do the bulbs provide increased safety for drivers and pedestrians, it also saves the environment and city’s finances. Once the project is completed in St. Paul, city officials estimate that the new lights will save the city $30,000 per year.

LED innovation shows little signs of stopping. With its price point falling, more customers and businesses should be investing in making the switch. It remains to be seen where LED lighting will end up in these sectors, but to take the old adage, “the future looks bright.”

May 18

spruce-image Vertical Farming

The future of farming could very well be found in America’s largest cities, and it’s all thanks to vertical farming. Vertical farming takes farming and puts it inside massive glass houses that could easily look like an office building. The process grows plants hydroponically, or without soil. The plants are then given ample amounts of artificial light to grow under. The process isn’t so new, but it has recently gained momentum in parts of the world–America’s cities included.

There are many alluring traits to vertical farming, including the ability to grow crops at a much faster rate than traditional farming. With new advancements in vertical farming technology, a number of advocates believe that this will be the standard by 2050.

With land for farming growing scarce and vertical farming moving towards a productivity rate 100 times better than the field, these cities have become the latest to jump on the bandwagon.


Buffalo, New York

After just a few months of work, Vertical Fresh Farms has 600 heads of Romaine lettuce to account for. “We want to try to provide produce to people locally,” Co-owner Jeremy Witt told ABC 7. “We were really discouraged that a lot of our produce comes from 1,500 miles away.” Additionally, the Vertical Fresh team uses aquaponics to create fresh water and nutrients for the plants and koi fish used in their process.

While the operation is small at the moment, the local press aren’t the only ones looking to work with the fresh farm. The group has spoke to local businesses in the region about possible partnerships. It has a ways to go, but this could become a significant trend for the often frozen Buffalo region.


Detroit, Michigan

As Detroit continues its climb out of disaster, the city has taken on several new endeavors to lure youthful, artistic and eco conscious people to the city. Now, the urban farming community has taken notice. By taking remnants of the city’s past failures, mainly its abandoned buildings, the city’s farmers have repurposed the structures to become the epicenter of Detroit’s vertical farming.

“It doesn’t necessarily take a huge building,” Ron Reynolds, one of the partners in Green Collar Foods, said to the Capital Press. “You don’t have to go to the city and say, ‘I’d like that 50,000-square-foot building.’ Effectively in 400 square feet you can have three stories up. So a lot of the buildings begin to open up for viability.” The city’s Brightmoor district is known for its stretch of abandoned buildings, which has made it the ideal location for the farming boom to begin. Those involved in the process take pride in ecological benefits that include reduced water use and less carbon outputs. Best of all, the region is eating directly from the contributions of its reemerging city.


Newark, New Jersey

Newark is a city that has long felt the pain of dying industries and lack of opportunities. Now, New Jersey’s largest and hard struggling city will house the world’s largest vertical farming center. Recently announced, the city a $30 million partnership with a group of investment and farming groups to revive the city’s East Ward. Not only will the venture bring fresh crops to the city, it will also bring jobs and hope.

“Newark is increasingly becoming a destination city for high-tech and environmentally-friendly commerce,” said Mayor Ras Baraka. “It will also expand the role of urban farming and locally-produced vegetables in our city. This will provide greater access to healthy and inexpensive food choices for our residents, helping them live healthier lifestyles.”

No timetable has been set for the project, but the initiative is sure to bring a new meaning to “The Garden State” once completed.


Jackson, Wyoming

As Fast Company Exist explains, Jackson is far from the ideal farming destination. With short growing seasons, high altitude and months of snow you’d be a massive risk taker to try your hand at traditional farming in the region. But that’s in the traditional sense.

Now, just like Newark, Jackson is gearing up to become one of the first vertical farming centers in the world. Unlike Newark’s East Ward, Jackson’s endeavor will convert an empty lot into a three-story greenhouse for local farming. “We’re replacing food that was being grown in Mexico or California and shipped in,” explains Penny McBride, one of the co-founders. “We feel like the community’s really ready for a project like this. Everybody’s so much more aware of the need to reduce transportation, and people like to know their farmer and where food’s coming from.”

Adding to the increased interest, the town will hold a stake in the project as it is being built on city land. With five years of planning with the city under its belt, the project looks set to go. The project expects to produce over 37,000 pounds of greens, 4,400 pounds of herbs, and 44,000 pounds of tomatoes in a year.