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This game's sleazy monetization is trying to toy with your brain. Don't fall prey to it.
I get the game is F2P, and I understand they have to make money. At first, I was pretty disappointed about bundle prices because I believed (and still do) that they were too high. I get their tactic here, it's to target the wealthy, and hopefully, down the line, small fries like the major player base will get a fair deal. It isn't only the bundles which target the wealthy, however. To preface this, I will say also that no western, successful F2P game has pay-to-win. This game has the sleaziest monetization of any F2P I've ever played. I thought it would get better over time, but my hope has dwindled after Joe Lee's (RiotSWAGGERNAU7) statement regarding the battle-pass in Ask VALORANT #1. I would also like to say that managing monetization is this man's job. If you're going to get mad at anyone, get mad at the greedy guys at the top, not at him or the revenue team. No VP in the battle-pass. Interesting strategy. Here is what he had to say.
Our goal is that when you buy a battle pass, you buy it for the total value of it rather than buying it as a way of getting enough currency to buy the next one. We want the battle pass to be the highest value product we offer as well as a compelling experience...
This statement seems pretty genuine, but when you actually view the battle-pass beyond its face value, what they have done is pretty manipulative, and such manipulation is further demonstrated in the second half of his statement (which I'll cover after). Here is an image of VP and RP prices (I am in Australia, so prices will be different and the VP in each may be different, but the manipulation is a constant). Radianite points (RP) is the second of two paid currencies, I'll call it semi-premium because of their absolutely insulting prices, but I would also like to say you can earn a considerable amount in-game (that however, does not detract from its egregiousness). You have to buy VP first, and of course, they made it so you can't buy exact amounts, you've gotta use the packs. They also put these little "-x%" next to each tier of RP because oh boy, if it wasn't a steal already it's gotta be a steal now. /s It is insulting. 10 RP goes from around $10AUD to $15AUD, so you're pretty much best case scenario paying 10 bucks for an upgrade for a skin you've already bought (the upgradeable skins on their own btw, are $30AUD). Explained succinctly and pretty much perfectly by u/schemeKC, "Radianite is priced astronomically high to artificially inflate its perceived value". That's where Mr. Lee's statement comes in. Mr. Lee wants you to buy the battle-pass for "its total value". And jeez, the battle-pass must be good because of all that juicy Radianite which boosts its perceived value a fuckton. So after you finish the BP, you've got a nice amount of skins (none of which can be upgraded with RP). You've got this pile of RP leftover and it is just staring at you. The only way to use that RP though, is to spend even more money. Other F2P games give you premium currency for BPs months on end for free, and this game strips that away so you could be spending $10 every act, then coerces you to spend even more because of the RP you've been given. The way this statement was delivered to try and convince you that you were getting a good deal, now shows that this isn't something under the rug (to be felt not seen), it has been said by a real person. Any goodwill has been thrown out the window, and the player's intellect has been insulted. I hope that wasn't his intention, but that is exactly how it came across imo. VP can only be bought in really inconveniencing amounts, a tactic mostly used in mobile games but hey, it's 2020. Small indie dev needs to survive right? /s It is annoying for every player, and these tiers are worse than any F2P game I've ever played. If I wanted to buy 20 RP, I'd need to buy the 2175 VP pack and that would roughly equate to $15AUD per 10 RP. You can only use RP on paid skins (there are barely any free skins anyway). But let's say I want to buy the big boy 80 RP pack, ooh what value and it's 40% off! I would need to buy the 5800 VP pack for $80AUD and that would be around $10AUD per 10 RP if I were only buying RP. I need to buy another bundle to get an upgradeable skin, that sucks! I'll get the 1025 VP pack for $15 so I can buy a prime classic. That's $95AUD you've paid to get and upgrade a single skin (I'm not counting the RP you get for free for the purposes of demonstrating the confusion they have imbued within this model). This is a small demonstration of obfuscation. The system is designed to make you pay more and more and more until... oh. I still have some VP left, and I can get another skin! Let me pay just this little bit more. I think my bank balance might be negative. A single prime skin without any of its variants is at least $30AUD unless you buy the big boy bundles, but then you've obviously spent more than 30 bucks. It is designed to confuse the player into purchasing the highest value pack so they don't have to think, and if I'm being honest I haven't seen mobile games this cunning. This is malicious, and kind of impressive in a super fucked up way. The second half of his statement talks about the future of Radianite, and again, further attempts to display that "it's a great deal!" The revenue team wants RP to be "the evolving currency of VALORANT". They want this overpriced, huge pile of inflated pixels to be the next big thing. The RP you got for free can't be used for free, and honestly with the way this monetization is panning out I don't expect it ever to be used as such (despite what's said in the next few sentences, we've seen in the past a number of popular suggestions being thrown to the wind). An auto-renewable battle-pass in any game is designed to respect the player's time. If I see a game I love with an auto-renewable pass, actively rewarding me for spending time with the game after a one time purchase, you'd better bet your top dollar I will spend more. This system does not respect your time, it constantly probes you to spend more and more. Riot obviously didn't design this system with morals in mind, and there are certainly way more subtle additions that I didn't catch. So pretty much, this package has overpriced bundles and skins, psychologically manipulative RP, layers of obfuscation for all monetization - but hey, it's F2P! People who pay, they're suckers. Let their wealth be sapped for trying to support the devs. obligatory /s For a developer that has such strong ties to its community, these sort of manipulative business practices sour our perception. Even EA, after the Battlefront 2 fiasco completely removed loot-boxes and to a further extent, even microtransactions from everything but their sports games and AL. They tried to improve their reputation by investing in more indie devs and actually supporting them. Riot has done nothing. I know this post won't make them change their system. We have seen that they closed the door to the battle-pass changing after huge community outcry, and haven't at all changed the scummy Radianite, in fact, they've stated they are going to double down. But if we double down on our critique of the system we can be sure they will at least discuss it down the line. Your voice matters, probably not as much as your wallet though haha. Safeguard that shit from exploitation. If and when you decide to purchase something here, a good question would probably be whether this company actually respects your purchasing decision. As it stands, my feet are firmly glued to the "no" side of the fence. tl;dr - the game uses shady microtransaction design to confuse and fool players, then asks them to spend more money after stripping away common features of an established battle-pass model, completely failing to respect/reward their consumers' money/time.
Let's talk about the mind tricks and psychological warfare being waged by cheaters, hackers, and RMT vendors in Tarkov, and what we can do about it. This is a long post, but Tarkov is worth it, and a TL;DR is provided at the top.
Edit: There's obviously big money at stake as I started receiving death threats the moment this post hit the front page on hot. Be careful with your personal info and probably best to avoid commenting here if you have doxxable details on your reddit account. Stay safe, it's just a game and not worth it. TL;DR:
Tarkov is a crazy wild game with a bunch of people running around trying to do weird things. Remember that bizarre outcomes are just as likely (if not more) to be happenstance than suspicious behavior. Don't let others gaslight you into thinking every encounter is a hacker or cheater.
Cheat sellers, RMT vendors, and their customers, all want to push the narrative that rule-breaking is far more common than it actually is, and that the game developers are ruining the game so you may as well just hack/cheat yourself to level the playing field. It's great for business as a seller, and it helps rationalize malicious actions as a customer. Spreading paranoia, mass outrage, and undermining the developers are CIA-level tactics to sow chaos and anarchy that benefits bad actors at the cost of everyone else.
The best thing we can do is silence attempts by bad actors and focus on productive, positive discussions in Tarkov and let BSG (who are the only people who can do anything) do their jobs. They spend 65% of their resources on crushing bad actors and their profit margins, so this isn't an issue that's flying under their radar. As a community, the best voice we have against malicious behavior is deafening silence to starve it of attention and free publicity, minimizing the chances that they can sow enough fear and angst to radicalize players to get more customers.
--- First off, the point of this discussion is not to debate how prevalent cheating in Tarkov is. This sub already has more than enough speculation on that topic and as you read further along you'll see that letting fear and paranoia fester is exactly what bad faith agents in Tarkov want. Wherever you have competition, you're going to have cheating. Whether it's Tarkov, Olympic sports, or the stock market. As long as there is competition, there will always be someone who looks to gain an unfair edge, and it doesn't even matter if it's something as mundane and trivial as online chess, there's always going to be that guy who runs their opponents moves into a grandmaster-level AI because their enjoyment comes from that win at any cost. However, despite the fact that bad faith competition exists in nearly every facet of life, it seems like the Tarkov community is far more paralyzed by fear, anger, and suspicion than any other competitive forum. Why is this?
The game design makes it exceedingly difficult to discern bad faith actions from legitimate play. A naked level 1 with a TT pistol can accidentally get a lucky hipfire shot that instantly kills a fully kitted veteran who is highly skilled in the game. The incredibly punishing nature of the game also makes it so that deaths are highly impactful, which makes it difficult to "let go" of trying to figure out what went wrong. All put together, it means that players are forced to simply accept highly punishing deaths without being given any insight or explanation on how they were killed. 20 headshots with an R99 SMG in Apex Legends is incredibly obvious aimbotting. But in Tarkov, the fight is over with just 1, which leaves a lot of unanswered questions with no satisfying answers.
Because the shared raid map system that Tarkov uses, players have a wide variety of objectives that lead to very differing goals, resulting in bizarre interactions where the original intentions of other other players is unclear. Someone who's hiding in a raid to wait for the violence to die down could be stumbled upon by some other person who is completely lost trying to find a quest objective, or wandering around exploring an obscure area trying to find easter eggs. From the vantage point of the hider, it seems suspicious they were hunted down by someone who had no reason to legitimately to hunt in the location that they were. In other words, players will frequently run into other players acting in inexplicable ways that can be easily misattributed to malice when it was just as likely to be happenstance.
The lack of SBMM (skills-based matchmaking) means that all players are drawn from the same pool when forming raids. This means a complete new player to FPS genre entirely could be running face first into the most skilled players in the entire game. When the competition spans the entirety of the skill curve, it's incredibly difficult to know what is going on because player actions are often contrary to expectations of others. Chaos makes it easy to be suspicious about bad faith play because nobody is acting "logically" from each perspective. Naive players may charge in aggressively in silly ways that end up working by sheer luck that more experienced players will assume would only be as a result of unfair information. A very high skill player can take fights that they win with superior mechanics that most would assume you would only engage because of unfair aim.
The point is, this game is designed to breed suspicion, paranoia, and fear. Which is great in one way, because it's what makes it so exciting and fun to play. However, when channeled in the wrong way, is a serious problem because it's exactly what bad faith actors want. Let's think about various actors in Tarkov, and ask the question, "do they want people to believe that rule breaking is more or less prevalent than it actually is?"
CHEAT SELLERS: MORE
Because the narrative is, everyone is cheating, the game is unfair no matter what, every raid you load into has someone that is map-hacking, every fight you take is against someone who is aim-botting. Therefore, you should consider picking up some little helpers yourself to make it fair again, or be a naive idiot that willingly plays at a disadvantage while everyone else is using hacks. The idea that literally cheaters and hackers are infesting every single raid is probably the best possible sales pitch a cheat seller could have. The few instances of cheating leads to fear and paranoia festering, prompting more people on the fringe to consider cheating themselves, leading to more cheating, more fear, more paranoia, more business.
RMT VENDORS: MORE
Because the narrative is, this game is filled with cheaters anyway, half the lobby is people who bought stuff with mom's credit card, and Nikita is setting out to personally reduce your happiness in life and the game is unrewarding and unplayable for a normal legitimate player that doesn't hack or make a full-time job out of Tarkov. Why bother doing all the pointless stupid grinds while you're dying 50 raids in a row to hackers or someone who bought all their gear with their credit card, when you can just buy a few little cheeki Roubles from the side and get to having fun in the game? Negativity and toxicity toward both the existence of other bad faith players, as well as toward the game design itself, is inherently the best possible environment for a thriving RMT system. This is especially perfect for Tarkov because unlike other MMORPGs, it's much more likely that incremental changes will be more brutal rather than having power creep / loot creep / money creep, which fuels despair and more interest in RMT.
CHEAT/RMT USERS: MORE
This one is simple. If they can convince everyone that it's more common than it actually is, the more they can rationalize their own behavior. It's not that bad, everyone else is doing it anyway! Besides, it's not even that big of an advantage, some other cheaters cheat even harder! Some of you may have seen a recent thread where one individual texted "lmao I'm gonna turn off cheats for this group though, cuz these guys play legit." As if playing legit was actually the minority situation for a massively mainstream FPS game. Zzz.
THE AVERAGE PLAYER LIKE YOU AND ME: ?
It is human nature to rationalize defeat. When you face down failure with no explanation on why like in Tarkov, it's tempting to blame cheaters, hackers, etc. Different games often have different ways of rationalizing defeat. In team games like Overwatch or League of Legends, teammate-blaming is common to offload the burden onto random strangers. In solo matchup games like Starcraft II, race balance is often used by players who are frustrated that they lost. What's even more, these other games do an excellent job of explaining where you could have done better, but players will still look for ways to blame someone other than themselves. It's no surprise that in Tarkov, fear and suspicion of bad faith gameplay exists. The problem is, if we allow ourselves to be tempted to err toward the side of suspicion, to blame negative outcomes on the belief in rampant cheaters, hackers, etc., then we are aligning ourselves to the same narrative that bad faith actors like cheat sellers and RMT vendors want to push. We allow ourselves to be corrupted with the idea of "this game is bullshit, everyone else in the game is not playing fairly, why do I even bother trying?" This is a dangerous mindset because it fuels a toxic narrative that "this game is never going to be fair to me, the devs don't care, the game is becoming less and less fun for me, I should just quit if I'm not going to cheat myself." Let me be clear, I'm not saying that toxicity itself will convert an entire playerbase into cheaters. In fact, I think it has a minimal impact at a high level perspective because there just aren't that many people that are willing to traverse to the disreputable ends of the internet and take risks just to gain some internet points. However, even a 1% cheating rate to 3% cheating rate is a 300% proportional magnitude in the profitability of selling cheats or RMT vending. And more importantly, it significantly damages the enjoyment and integrity of the community at large. You can see clear evidence of bad faith actors in this subreddit. There have been several threads in this subreddit just in the past few days that have reached the front page claiming 1) false bans are rampant, Nikita should just let RMT be 2) hello I am bob, I am hacker all day, you should hack too because literally it's everywhere you don't even KNOW, btw PM me for cheap hacks 3) xyz devs are ruining the game, why stop RMT/hacks, just let it go, you're DESTROYING THE GAME, STOP DOING THAT BSG!. I'm not going to say any individual thread (even though many examples have been debunked) are complete bullshit. I'm just going to say that the narrative of these threads is completely aligned with individuals who are lobbying to protect their interests in making a profit out of bad faith play.
What can you do to stop this?
It starts with the self.
When you get an incredibly lucky clutch/kill, remember it for yourself, and use it as a reminder as to how fickle this game can be. Think about how your opponent must be so confused/suspicious about what you got away with.
When you yourself are on the receiving end of that ridiculous death, remind yourself of all the times where you were on the other side. Make your default reaction be "damn, Tarkov is crazy" rather than "I bet that was hacking 100%." Remember how easily flukes can occur, and how easily luck could be conflated with cheating.
Focus on learning and improving in a game where there is endless room to get better, something that is irrelevant to whether some minority of players chooses to play unfairly.
Encourage productive discussions, positive mentalities, and discourageDESTRUCTIVE SPECULATIONand toxic attitudes.
Upvote threads that discuss legitimate aspects of the game, whether it's discussions on strategies, advice on how to get better, or general productive discussions that are within our control as regular players.
Downvote threads that revolve around discussing cheating, hacking, or a bullshit "Reddit expert panel" of trying to speculate whether gameplay footage was legitimate or not, especially when there is a lack of context on user lag/latency, frames, system specs, server issues, date stamps, etc.
Upvote threads that explain technical nuances known to impact Tarkov gameplay, e.g. desync bullets resulting in apparently unkillable players, etc.
Downvote threads that attempt to sow paranoia in masses of players that have nothing to do with anti-cheating efforts. At best, they are attention-seeking threads made by users to profit infamy at the cost of community integrity. At worst, they are propagandized pieces designed to undermine faith in the developers and increase the temptation to use black market cheats/services and perpetuate a death spiral.
Downvote threads that attempt to induct mass outrage against developers. When someone says "they nerfed X, this is bullshit, we should all just RMT now," it could be from legitimate upset players, but keep in mind that it's also perfectly aligned with exactly the type of agenda that bad faith actors have. Remember that the best thing that malicious actors can do is to pit the player base against the developers so they can create a lawless wasteland to do business undisturbed.
BSG has shown an exemplary degree of interaction with this community. Always wait for an official response before jumping to conclusions.
Go try making a thread about cheating/hacking/boosting in Overwatch or Apex Legends and see how much official response you ever get from developers. This subreddit has been gifted with probably one of the best levels of community engagement from devs you could ask for.
When someone tries to hit the front page with a thread like "I've been falsely banned," track that thread carefully and wait 3-4 days for the official response. If it's anything like 90% of the threads we've seen in the past few days, you're going to see the truth hammer get dropped, providing the poster doesn't delete their own threads/accounts when they're exposed to be full of lies.
Upvote threads that make grandiose claims that are worthwhile for an official response. Then mercilessly scrutinize how events unfold, because 99% of the time, it's always liars that are hoping they can incite a riot as "punishment" for the developers interfering with them than anything else. This is a common occurrence in other communities that have high developer interaction like Old School Runescape, where banned players are known to make top-page threads about being falsely banned, before evidence is provided showing that they are completely full of shit and memes ensue when the truth hammer is dropped.
-- BSG spends 65% of its resources fighting cheaters and RMT and is a developer that has shown endless passion and commitment to its install base. As beta players that are trying to help them develop the best possible game, the best voice we have against bad faith actors in the Tarkov community is deafening silence. Starve them of attention, free marketing, free publicity. Demonstrate that just because they can infect one player, that will not tilt the hundreds of legitimate players into letting themselves surrender and be infected themselves.
I Can Make You Hot!: The Supermodel Diet (by Kelly Killoren Bensimon) -- Part One
NOTE: Although I was originally planning on posting this whole review at once, I was about a third of the way through the book when I realized that I was already quickly approaching the full length of my previous posts. So, in the interest of making this a pleasant experience for us all, I'm sharing the first half now, and will follow up with the second half in a few days. And honestly, KKB's writing reminds me of Inception in that it's almost certainly hazardous to spend too much time immersed in any single sitting. So fasten your seatbelts, and enjoy the ride! ------- So, a lot of you guys have been asking about Kelly Killoren Bensimon's I Can Make You Hot! (wow, is this what it feels like to be an influencer?), and I am thrilled to report that my adventure through this book's 264 pages was even more confounding than I could have possibly anticipated. I have a feeling that I'll need every ounce of my strength if I want to have any shot at conveying to you all exactly how bonkers this purported self-help book is, so -- without further ado -- let's begin. I Can Make You Hot!, subtitled The Supermodel Diet, has a fairly straightforward premise. Kelly, who "has done it all when it comes to nutrition and her body," will share her hard-earned wisdom with us, her humble readers. Or, as she says in her own words on the back cover:
In I Can Make You Hot! I'm going to clue you in to all the tricks I've learned from a variety of experts and that I now use to live my own life. I want you to be the best you -- happy, attractive, shapely, interested, interesting, and most of all, smokin' HOT!
The blurb promises that the experience of reading this book will be "like rooming with a supermodel and going on a diet together." Truly, only someone with Kelly Bensimon's tenuous grasp on reality would say this as if it were something exciting, rather than a scenario taken directly out of the third circle of hell. But before we can truly learn what it means to be HOT!, we're treated to a foreword by none other than Russell Simmons. As he shares with us:
Kelly is a great mother and is constantly instilling strong principals [sic] in her daughters. In my opinion, that's the essence of being HOT. Kelly is smokin'.
And just like that, I Can Make You Hot! is knocked out of the running for First-Book-I've-Read-By-A-Bravolebrity-That-Is-Also-Free-From-Glaring-Typographical-Errors. Better luck next time, champ! In case you were at all hesitant about Kelly's suitability for the job of helping the less fortunate among us reach their maximum potential, Russell clarifies:
Her beauty truly comes from within, and her clear internal compass and well-balanced lifestyle is what makes her an arbiter for what's hot. She has always had her own individual road map and is one of those people who beats to their own drum. Many are amazed by her leaps of faith and courage, which are products of her sustainable soul. And back to that energy! I used to think: If we could only package it. And now Kelly has!
I would kill to be a fly on the wall during a conversation between Russell Simmons and Kelly Bensimon. But all of these endorsements are making me impatient to dig into Kelly's advice, so I skim over the next few pages and arrive at the introduction: "What's HOT and What's Not." Almost immediately, Kelly reassures us that she was not always the gorgeous, talented socialite she is today -- "No. Let's just say that I was never one of those tiny, cute blonde girls who guys named their hamsters after." Excuse you what?I literally just walked away from my laptop to go talk to my boyfriend and make sure I'm not just ignorant of some otherwise well-known traditional male courtship ritual in which young men adopt rodents and christen them after the women they love. That doesn't seem to be the case, although please reach out if you can shed any additional light on this situation. Reasonably enough, before we can learn how to be hot, we have to know what hot is. Fortunately, Kelly wastes no time in getting us up to speed:
When I was trying to come up with a title for this book, I kept asking myself how I would define what I love. "HOT" is the word that best describes what I love, and it's not a word I throw around lightly. "HOT" is attractive, unique, and first-rate -- never mediocre. Avril Lavigne made a video called "HOT." There are "HOT" issues of all my favorite magazines. Hotmail.com was given that name to indicate that it was the best e-mail service, and www.urbandictionary.com, whose definitions are created by their readers, defines "hot" as (among other things) attractive, the best, and someone who makes you wish you had a pause button when they walk by because you don't want that moment to end. (I want you to feel like that "someone.") Health, wellness, and fitness are always hot topics. "HOT" may be a buzzword but it's also how I describe the best there is and the best you can be. I've used the words "smokin' hot" for everything from a killer chicken wing red sauce to a coveted couture gown.
There is…a lot to unpack here. My leading hypothesis is that Kelly must have accidentally exposed her internal circuitry to water and started shorting out while writing this passage, causing her to string together a rambling parade of incoherent sentences with no relationship to one another, save a tangential association with the amorphous concept of hotness. Also, it's factually inaccurate. A cursory Google search reveals that Hotmail.com was not "given that name to indicate that it was the best e-mail service." Rather, the service's name was selected as a reference to the use of HTML to create webpages, as is more apparent from the original stylization, HoTMaiL. I know from her savvy allusion to "www.urbandictionary.com" that Kelly is capable of navigating the Internet, so I'm disappointed that she's made such a careless oversight within the first three pages of the book proper. Kelly next takes us through a few scenes from her past to illustrate how she has come to understand the true meaning of "HOT." Here are just a few of the assorted pearls of wisdom that Kelly is gracious enough to share with us:
Is skinny hot? Naturally skinny is hot. Starving yourself in order to change your natural body type in order to get skinny is not hot.
For me, the ultimate HOT girl is the nineteenth-century Gibson girl.
…Bethany Hamilton, the young surfer who lost an arm in a shark attack and didn’t let it stop her from pursuing a sport she loves. She's smokin' HOT.
pregnancy is smokin' HOT
I'm distracted from my diligent note-taking by a line that truly makes me laugh out loud.
I don't want to pretend that I'm "just like you." To do that would be disingenuous, and you wouldn't believe me anyway. But I may be more like you than you think. My hair may be ready for Victoria's Secret, but my values are still Midwestern.
I appreciate the honesty! As I continue reading, I am pleased to learn that I am, in fact, already consuming this piece of literature in the appropriate way. As Kelly says:
I urge you to make notes as you go along, either in the book itself or, if writing in a book is anathema to you, in a little notebook to use as your own personal guide. Jotting down ideas as they pop into your head is the best way to process them and be sure that they don't leave again before you've had a chance to commit them to long-term memory. Then, if you've made a mistake, when you go back and see it there on paper, you'll remind yourself not to do it again. Or, as I like to say, you'll avoid getting bitten by the same food dog twice!
Bitten…by the same….food...dog? Never change, KKB. (As an aside, what's the oveunder on Kelly having even the slightest idea what the word 'anathema' means?) If I'm being totally honest, this book is making me feel a little superfluous. What more can I add when the source material is so impenetrable to begin with? How does one parse the unparseable? Newly humbled, I suppose I'll have to be content with just gaping in confusion alongside the rest of you. And now that I think about it, what better book to build me up from these insecurities and encourage me to be my best? In the words of Kelly herself:
After all, why wouldn't you want to be HOT? What's the alternative? Being "not so hot"?
The book is organized into seven chapters, one for each day of the week, focusing on seven distinct facets of hotness. We start our journey on "Monday: Make a List -- Plan and Prepare!" and are immediately blessed with another one of Kelly's philosophical ramblings:
To me, living well is the only option. What, after all, is the only alternative? Living badly? Who aspires to live badly? I want you to live well, and that's going to take some planning.
Eager to improve myself, I read on:
What are your goals for yourself? If you're going to make changes in your life, you need to have a plan, you need to prepare, and you need to take the time to get it right -- so that you don't wind up wasting your time. This is my plan, and from now on it's going to be yours. Monday is going to be the day you make a HOT plan and prepare for the rest of your week. Let's get started together!
I can't help but feel like this is one of those answers that beauty pageant contestants give when they don't actually know how to respond to a question. Or like a motivational speech written by a rudimentary AI. I can't quite articulate exactly what it is that makes Kelly's writing seem so utterly devoid of logical coherence, but it truly falls into the literary equivalent of the Uncanny Valley. Reminding us that "this isn't just about budgeting your food; it's about budgeting your life," Kelly peppers us with even more helpful tips -- "You don't want to be that person who is snacking while you're shopping. That's not hot -- period." and shares a stream-of-consciousness-style list of "Staples I keep in my house." Which may possibly be some kind of freeform postmodern poetry. Judge for yourself. Kelly advises the reader to "get out your calendar or PDA" to get a sense of your schedule. "Then use your PDA to find the closest well-stocked market and go there. Making life easy for yourself is what it's all about." Now is as good a time as any to clarify that this book was published in 2012. I'd be lying if I said reading so many consecutive Housewives memoirs hasn't made my grasp on sanity a bit shaky, but I am fairly positive that 2012 was not a banner year for the Personal Digital Assistant. Kelly has taken the time to pluck out a few particularly incisive pearls of wisdom throughout the book to highlight as "Kelly's Cardinal Rules." I would love to help clarify exactly what this one means, but I'm afraid I'm utterly clueless. One thing I do know for certain, however, as the chapter comes to a close, is that "human contact is HOT; texting is not!" The week continues with "Tuesday: A Little Ohm and a Little Oh Yeah! -- It's All About Balance." It is imperative that you work out, says Kelly, adding, "I've never met a smokin' hot couch potato and I bet you haven't either." Her personal exercise routine, as she shares, combines aerobics and yoga "because life is all about balance." As she quips, "I'm sure even Gandhi cracked a smile from time to time." A panel titled "HOT Tip" admonishes the reader: "Don't call it working out because exercise shouldn't be work!" If you'd like to spend a morning in the style of Kelly Bensimon, it's as easy as eating "a couple of oranges" and drinking coffee -- "I love coffee; I would probably marry coffee if it proposed." She also lets us in on some of her secret, highly advanced workout routines designed to maximize your time in the gym and propel you towards your full potential. Such as the "Happy Twenty," in which you run for 18 minutes and then do 2 minutes of squats. We get further instruction on the hottest ways to run on the following page, where a two-page spread advertises "a few of my HOT tips for having a fun run." To ensure that you're able to start your journey to HOT as quickly as possible, I've taken the liberty of transcribing one of her most valuable nuggets below:
Run in the street instead of on the sidewalk. I took a lot of flack for this when they filmed me on Season 2 of the Real Housewives of New York City. The thing is, I think that people walking down the street while texting are a lot more dangerous than a car. Drivers will go out of their way to avoid you (accidents are too much paperwork, and they really mess up a day), but strolling texters will walk right into you without even seeing you. You could also get smacked by a shopping bag, a stroller, or even an oversized purse. Sidewalks are really obstacle courses. Beware!
Kelly shares some standout tracks from her workout playlist ("It's much more fun exercising to music!"), including the perennial pump-up-the-jam classic, "Skinny Love" by Bon Iver. With no regard for thematic continuity or overarching structure, the next page is dominated by the header "Get Leggier Legs."
An April 10, 2009, article about me in Harper's Bazaar captioned one of the photos "She's got legs." I was born blessed with long lean legs, but I work very hard to keep them looking the way they do. I'm tall, but I could just as easily have long, large legs. And long and large is not hot. Unfortunately I can't give you my legs. But I can help you to be the best you can be.
Truly inspirational. I think. We continue on with Kelly's advice for "how to avoid the 'freshman fifteen," accompanied by a list of what she refers to as "Kelly rules." These run the gamut from near-sinister
Get rid of any negative thoughts. Negative-town isn't Fun-town.
For every cheeseburger and fries, you owe me 12 cartwheels on the quad with your friends.
to bizarrely specific and also racially insensitive.
If you starve yourself for a day because you want to lose weight for Homecoming, you owe me 5 minutes of sitting Indian style in a corner and meditating on why you thought that was a good option.
Upon further reflection, I think I would actually be extremely motivated to stick to a diet if the alternative was being reprimanded by Kelly and forced to think about my poor life choices. As a scientist myself, I was ecstatic to see that Kelly has drawn from a diverse array of scientific disciplines to develop her HOT tips and tricks. Physics, for example:
From Isaac Newton's First Law of Motion A body in motion stays in motion. The velocity of a body remains constant unless the body is acted upon by an external force. So if you want to step up your exercise routine, try running in sand instead of on the pavement, or bike through gravel. That way your body will have to work harder in order to stay in motion.
Even biology has something to teach us about how to be HOT:
You are a living organism; life is an organic process. You need to be up and active, ready to enjoy the process. Be open and available and ready to do fun stuff. Participating in what you love is HOT.
I'm truly impressed by Kelly Bensimon's unparalleled ability to reframe the most basic common sense as divinely inspired wisdom. We see this in lines like
If you're feeling a bit frazzled and you need to calm down, you might want to take a yoga class.
or, as we read in another "HOT Tip" panel
Don't be afraid to drink water while working out.
I refuse to believe that this is a problem any person has ever faced. Even Aviva Drescher is not afraid of drinking water while working out (although, for the record, she is afraid of aluminum foil). Kelly closes out this chapter by encouraging the reader to "do one thing every day that takes you out of your comfort zone." If you find yourself lacking inspiration, she provides helpful suggestions, such as "try a fruit you've never eaten" and "try tap dancing." As she asserts, "there's nothing more foolish than sitting on your butt when you could be moving your body and having fun." I turn the page, and the clock rolls over to Wednesday -- "Diet = 'DIE with a T.'" Cute. I bet Kelly would find that Tumblr post that's like "she believed" to be unbearably clever. She wastes no time in letting us know:
I don't believe in diets; diets are for people who want to get skinny. I want you to be happy. If you feel good about yourself, you'll make good choices. If you starve yourself to be skinny, you'll be undermining your sense of self-worth and you'll be unhappy every day. Eating well -- a variety of high-quality, fresh, unprocessed foods -- is for people who want to be happy -- and if you're not happy you won't be hot! Happy is always better than skinny.
This is starting to feel like some sort of word problem from Algebra II. If happy is better than skinny, but hot is equal to happy, diet = die + t??? Kelly tells us that all women fall into two categories: overachievers and underachievers. Being an overachiever is good, and being an underachiever is bad. Here are some things you can do to become an overachiever:
Make good choices.
When in doubt, have fun.
Kelly's motivational-phrasebook app apparently starts to glitch out right about here, but she continues on:
Stay positive and move forward. This is your last try at today. Yesterday may not have been great, but, today is better -- you just need to see it that way. The choice is up to you.
The idea of someone being in such a dark psychological place that they are able to find inspiration in those words is so deeply sad to me that I can hardly bear to consider it. Thankfully, Kelly has already taken a hard left turn into what I think is some sort of extended metaphor:
I've already said that you need to treat your body like a Ferrari, but maybe you prefer a Maserati, an Aston Martin, a Corvette, or even a Bentley. Whatever your luxury car of choice, if you treat it well, it will increase in value; if you treat it like a bargain rental car, it's just going to wear out -- and being worn out is not hot!
Ah, yes, I'd momentarily forgotten that cars almost always increase in value after they're purchased, and don't have a culturally ubiquitous reputation for losing most of their resale value immediately. Solid analogy. Apropos of nothing, we get a "HOT Tip" list of "model diet secrets that DON'T work." I'm extremely glad that Kelly encouraged us to take notes while reading -- I'd be devastated if any of these pointers had escaped my attention.
Eating Kleenex to make yourself feel full does not work.
The Graham cracker diet does not work.
Drugs do not work.
Well, I suppose this clears up some Scary Island confusion. Had Kelly indeed been doing meth (as the reported cat-pee smell might suggest), she would be fully aware that many drugs are, in fact, extremely effective ways to lose weight. But lest you start to lose faith in the expertise of our fearless leader, read on: "when it comes to food choices, I've probably made every mistake in the book." By which she means that she ate Chinese chicken soup before giving birth to her first daughter and it made her sick, so she ate a turkey sandwich before giving birth to her second daughter and she didn’t get sick. To be perfectly honest, I'm struggling to find a way to apply this wisdom to my own life, but I'm sure it will become clear in no time! Kelly is relatable for the first time so far in the following passage:
When I was accused of being a "bitch" on national television, I was really upset. My response was to find comfort in Mexican food and margaritas for lunch and dinner three days straight.
But we promptly return to form on the next page as she recounts her daily diet of "2 green juices," "a KKBfit lunch," and "a KKBfit dinner." I'd like to take a moment to appreciate how generous it is of Kelly to share her wisdom -- earned through a lifetime of catastrophic missteps -- so freely. It certainly didn’t come without a cost, as the following anecdote illustrates:
On the last day of my juice fast, I took my older daughter to a Yankees game where we gorged on sushi. (Yes, they have sushi at Yankee Stadium) As a result, I was stuffed and blinded by carbs when A-Rod came up to bat and hit a home run. Was I able to savor that A-Rod moment with my daughter? Absolutely not. I was in a food coma. Will I ever let myself be thrown into a food frenzy again? No! Lesson learned: I made another stupid food choice, and because of that choice I missed that home run moment with my daughter. From now on, when I go to a Yankees game I'll have a small hot dog instead….I want you to do the same.
Verily! Heed her words of wisdom, lest ye not also lose the precious chance for thine own A-Rod moment. But don’t think this caution means that you have to get caught up in the minutia of your day-to-day. On the contrary, appropriate planning means "you can stop obsessing about your carrot intake and concentrate on what it is that's going to make you a great person in life." To help illustrate this point, Kelly introduces us to the "Kelly pie."Otherwise known as a pie chart. This is a helpful way to really visualize how much time you'll have now that you can cut that pesky carrot-pondering out of your day! Kelly even offers some thoughtful "hints" to divide your pie:
Celebrate your own health. We take health for granted.
Get up in the morning and say, "I'm so grateful to be where I am and look the way I do," no matter what your size is.
Tell yourself you look HOT, because you do.
Believe in your ability to make good choices today and every day.
Be mindful of what you eat. If I have to be mindful of what I eat, so do you. We're in this together.
Ooh, sorry Brad, I won't be able to make it to this afternoon's meeting -- it actually conflicts with my daily session of believing in my ability to make good choices today and every day. No, I understand how that could seem like an abstract sentiment rather than something that actually takes up time within your daily schedule, but if Kelly has to do it, so do I! And to be honest, my day is packed enough as it is -- it takes at least a second or two for me to tell myself I look HOT (because I do!), and I'm just worried that if I try to squeeze anything else in, it will cut into my mid-morning health celebration. Wish I could help! In a strangely threatening aside, Kelly commands: "Write down what you ate for the last two days. Don't lie. We can start fresh tomorrow, one bite at a time." In a section titled, "What I Eat Every Day," Kelly enumerates her "three go-to breakfasts": "two oranges or a plate of mixed berries if I'm not going to be very active, all-bran cereal or some other high-fiber cereal with almond milk or unsweetened coconut milk if I'm going on a long run, riding, or doing something else that requires extra energy, and on weekends, I love making pancakes to eat with my girls." As should be apparent, this is far more than three breakfasts. I am irrationally angry, in the same way I was when a Bachelor contestant said their favorite food was a charcuterie platter. That's cheating. (And yes, I do strongly identify with my Virgo moon, thanks for asking.) Kelly inexplicably (apologies if I've used that word for the zillionth time already) tells us that "a plastic cup that says 'Forced Family Fun' from www.themonogramshops.com makes the smoothie go down with a giggle." Also, "sitting alone in front of the TV eating ice cream is not hot!" We are then introduced to one of Kelly's more advanced strategies, which she calls "Energy Economics." This means that you might need to eat more on days when you are busy and/or exercising, and less on days when you're relaxing. So many innovative ideas, this book has really packed a punch for its < $5 price tag! Another ingenious idea? "Stuff cabbage, sweet peppers, tomatoes, or even onions with ground meat, chicken or turkey seasoned with salt and pepper. Bake until the meat is cooked through and the vegetable is softened." Granted, I have been a pescatarian for almost a decade at this point. But disemboweling an onion, jamming it full of hamburger meat, and cooking it for some indeterminate amount of time at an unspecified temperature seems…wrong. Circling back to her theory of Energy Economics, Kelly explains,
If I don't eat [well], I'm violating my own laws of energy economics and my body goes either into inflation mode (too much energy when I don't need it) or recession mode (not enough energy in the bank for me to draw from). The key is to create economic equilibrium: eating well so that I feel good, which allows me to be happy.
I am begging someone to start a GoFundMe where we raise money to pay Kelly to explain how the economy works. The next page introduces us to "The KKB 3-Day Supermodel Diet," which is less of a diet and more a random assortment of miscellaneous health-related sentiments that reek of the 2009 pro-ana tumblrsphere:
Chew your food 8 times instead of 3 or 4.
Brush your teeth and chew mint gum as soon as you finished eating. When your mouth is fresh and minty, you'll be less tempted to eat again.
The final tip ("nurture yourself") includes a reminder to "blush your checks [sic]." Which may be a typo, but could also very well just be some strange Kelly saying that no one else has ever used in the history of the English language. On the next page, we're introduced to "Kelly's Food Plate."Which other, less sophisticated people typically refer to as the food pyramid. Kelly also takes a brief aside (in a feature box labeled "hot button issue") to expound upon her favorite delicacy, the humble jelly bean:
If you're a fan of the Real Housewives of New York City you probably remember that on Season 3 I took a lot of flack for eating jelly beans and talking about processed and unprocessed foods. I was actually making light of that food snob moment. Who stops at a gas station and asks for carrots? Did you bring your organic food cooler with you on this road trip? The important part is not to be a food snob; but when in doubt choose the best option. Sometimes it's better to be happy than it is to be right. Was I able to make my point? Clearly it wasn’t in the cards at that moment.
This is a truly stunning synthesis of her experience. Underestimate Kelly at your own peril -- this girl has been playing 4D chess for longer than we know. The chapter continues with some tips from Kelly on how to make the most of your meal planning and shopping experience. And no -- you have no excuses:
There's absolutely no reason why you, wherever you live, can't eat "colorful" foods. All over the country there are "gi-normous" supermarkets where fruit and vegetable aisles are bursting with every color of the rainbow.
I am starting to get a "gi-normous" headache trying to make sense of this chaos. Kelly's advice that we can "mix and match what's there to make a FrenAsian or an ItaloGreek meal" is not helping. We also get some tips for how to grocery shop responsibly:
Always go with a list and never buy more than two items you planned on taking home.
This is incoherent, right? I know I need to wrap up Part 1 of this write-up pretty soon, because I've read this sentence at least two dozen times trying to make some sense of it, and am still at an utter loss. I assume she's left out a negative somewhere, but at this point, I realize I've already thought about this tip for approximately ten times longer than Kelly ever has, so I'll move on. For the third or fourth time so far this book, Kelly segues into a literal grocery list. To be fair, this is a very effective strategy to take up several pages with minimal text. And what could be more compelling than
Shitake/oyster mushroom combination packs
Truly the voice of a generation! Decades from now, English teachers will be teaching their students about a fabled wordsmith who once uttered those eternal words, "shitake/oyster mushroom combination packs." Because this book has absolutely no respect for logical cohesion, we are hurled immediately into a diatribe about how expensive it can be to buy organic -- "I recently walked out of an organic market having paid $400 for just three bags of groceries." As I read on, however, it becomes quickly apparent that Kelly has no idea what the concept of 'organic' even means:
"Organic," in any case, seems like something of a misnomer to me. I know the Food and Drug Administration has regulations for certifying foods organic, but to me, for foods to be truly and totally organic, they would have to be grown in a test tube or a greenhouse with no exposure to the natural elements.
Well, sure Kelly. If that's what you would like to use the word "organic" to mean, be my guest. She tosses us another crumb of helpful guidance, but it only serves to make me feel exceptionally sorry for Kelly's daughters and everything they have to endure:
Plate your food as if it were being served to you in a fine restaurant. Use a fancy foreign accent as you invite everyone to come to the table. Or try saying it in French. My girls love it when I announce, "Le dîner est servi!"
We learn in yet another "HOT tip" that "fast food doesn't have to be fat food," and Kelly tells us for the eighth time that she eats two oranges every morning. In what has already become a recurring theme for me in this book, the following passage makes me desperately curious to know how Kelly thinks science works:
One question people frequently ask me is whether I believe in taking vitamins or supplements, and the answer is "yes, I do," because, even though I know my diet is healthy, I can't be sure that I'm getting all the nutrients I need. All the vitamins and minerals we need can be found naturally in foods, but how do we know, even if we're eating a healthy diet, that we're getting everything we need?
I flip back two pages to confirm that Kelly told us quite recently how important it is to read nutrition labels to know what is in the food we eat (to make sure we avoid foods "whose labels are full of words you can't pronounce"). Exactly how she is reading these nutrition labels yet still manages to have no inkling how anyone could possibly begin to assess their vitamin and mineral intake eludes me. She continues:
I don't want to take that chance. I think of the food I eat as fuel and vitamins as my oil -- my body's engine needs both. Vitamins and supplements are not food replacements, but we're exposed to so many environmental toxins on a daily basis that I believe we need to supplement our diets to counteract all the harm those substances can cause.
I can certainly think of something that is causing harm to my psychological stability at this particular moment, which I should probably take as a sign to wrap things up for today and go read some incredibly dense Victorian prose or something to remind myself what a properly constructed sentence looks like. Promise I won't leave you waiting for long!!
Liga NOS returns today - here is my guide for you!
Hello and welcome! As you lads might know tonight the Portuguese league returns. Yes, I know, most of you don't give a damn. But then again, football is football and right now we are probably even excited about marble races, so let's give it a try, shall we? So, to start up with here are the matches for today and tomorrow: Today Portimonense x Gil Vicente - 7pm UK Famalicao x Porto - 9.15pm UK Tomorrow: Maritimo x Vitoria FC - 6pm UK Benfica x Tondela - 7.15pm UK Vitoria SC x Sporting CP - 9.15pm UK Friday: Santa Clara x SC Braga - 7pm UK Aves x B SAD - 9.15pm UK Saturday: Boavista x Moreirense - 9.15pm UK If you want to jump to the end, check out the Liga NOS table at the moment and also some interesting curiosities about it. P.S.: NOS is the sponsorship, it's a big TV/Internet provider, but they will stop being the sponsor in 2021/22. Now a small sum up of each teams current status, hopes and expectations. 1. PORTO Porto had quite a recovery after being 7 points down on the title race, as they won to Benfica at home and saw Benfica losing against Braga and drawing against Moreirense. Then again, they could have further their lead if they hadn't dropped points against Rio Ave, but they let that one slide. + STRONG POINTS Porto's defense Alex Telles and goalkeeper Marchesin mostly, have been their best assets. Although Telles is not available for Famalicao, but if he comes back with the usual pinpoint crossing accuracy they might have gather some victories with the usual Sergio Conceicao goals: set pieces! Players to watch: Diogo Leite, Fabio Silva, Fabio Vieira, Vitor Ferreira (young blood from the UEFA Youth League victorious team) - WEAK POINTS Well, you might have figured through my nickname that I am not the biggest Sergio fan. He is not very well known to make a proper use of the youth academy and his tactics are neither productive or attractive to watch. Porto does not have the best attack or defense (Benfica holds both) and has just lost Marcano on an injury that will sideline him for 3 months. The option is to finally let Diogo Leite shine, but might be too much pressure on the youngster. Added to that, add games against Braga and Sporting to a heavy calendar and they are sure to lose some points on the way. BENFICA They are one point behind Porto, but due to the injuries of their direct rival, they might have an edge. Plus they do not have such a difficult calendar, besides trips to face Rio Ave and hosting Sporting on last matchday. + STRONG POINTS They got the best defense and attack in the league. That said, they also can rely on players that can finish with ease, like Carlos Vinicius, Rafa Silva, Pizzi, while Porto's attackers are all quite clumsy in front of goal. Players to watch: Vinicius, Florentino Luis, Ferro. - Weak Points Benfica has a strong squad but the insistence in having Seferovic upfront has brought quite some nightmares to Benfica fans, as the Swiss is not very sharp in front of goal. He has only 2 goals this season in Liga NOS (10 games) and averages 1.6 shots on goal. If Bruno Lage strategy goes through bringing Seferovic in times of need, he might be shooting blanks once again. Verdict on the title hopes: I would say Benfica will have the edge if Porto's defense crumbles under the absence of Marcano. Pepe is 37 and is injured often, so they will have to rely on Mbemba and Leite, a duo who is unexperienced and might cost points. The other teams: SC BRAGA Currently in 3rd place, 4 points ahead of Sporting, they have not lost a single game since December. Their manager Ruben Amorim arrived and left undefeated, winning to Porto, Benfica, and Sporting on the way. Sadly though, jealous Sporting down there scooped him for €10M (either the best or worst deal ever?). The new coach Custodio is not a strange face as he coached their youth squads and will likely keep the tactics and routines of Amorim, so trust in Braga to keep their 3rd place (their most challenging match will be on last day against Porto). Players to look for: Palhinha, Trincão, Paulinho, Abel Ruiz. SPORTING CP The loss of Bruno Fernandes to United in January impacted the team immensely , as they have already accounted 2 losses since then. Then the president had the brilliant idea of spending some of the cash he just got on a shiny new coach, only for corona to come up and ruin his spotlight. Well, Amorim might not have enough eggs to make omelets and Sporting should not go further than the 4th place, as they are struggling to find a player who can bring the creativity that Bruno once did. Sporar, the striker they signed in January, does seem like a good asset as a player with the same characteristics of Bas Dost. Players to watch: Jovane Cabral, Sporar, Big Dick Wendel RIO AVE Probably the best surprise of the league so far, Rio Ave have been playing very attractive football, under the command of former Swansea manager Carlos Carvalhal. They haven't lost a game since 14 of January and if they stick to 5th place they might sneak into Europa League. They have less goals conceded than Sporting and SC Braga. Matches against Benfica and SC Braga probably will be the highest worries. Players to watch: Taremi, Lucas Piazon (remember him?), Borevkovic Vitoria SC To start with it's Vitoria Sport Club, not Vitoria Guimaraes. Don't trigger a vimaranense! Vitoria are 6th and close to the desired 5th place, but they got a difficult calendar ahead with matches against Porto, Benfica and Sporting. They sold Tapsoba in January and that might impact their defense, although they won 4 of their last 5 games (the only defeat was against Porto). Players to watch: Sacko, Marcus Edwards, João Carlos Teixeira (will this kid finally bloom? Wait he is 27 already, wtf!!) Famalicao Back in October I posted here an article about the Famalicao phenomenon. Well, they are still making an impressive campaign but the hype quickly faded away as they conceded defeats to their closest rivals, being thumped by Benfica and Porto. For a newly promoted team 7th place is still a feat, but they got the top 3 on their calendar so an Europa League place seems too far out the horizon for now. Jorge Mendes will have to wait for this child to grow older. Players to watch: Neuhen Perez, Gustavo Assunção, Toni Martinez Moreirense They haven't been as strong as last season, when they finished 6th under Ivo Vieira. However they haven't lost a game since January. They have already faced Benfica (1x1 draw), but they will have matches against the other 3 teams in the top 4.. Players to watch: Fabio Abreu, Patricio Rodriguez, Pedro Nuno Santa Clara - The only team from Azores in the league, has gone through some extra sporting issues, but they have a complicated calendar with matches against 5 of the top 6. They haven't won any of their last 3 games, so they might drop some positions. They should be safe from relegation by now, though. Players to watch: Lincoln, Osama Rashid, Fabio Cardoso. Gil Vicente Guided by the veteran coach Vitor Pereira, the team from Barcelos has already played the top 3, so they got an easier calendar ahead. They have only lost one game in the last 5 matches (0-1 against Benfica) and they got a better attack than the opponents below (25 goals). Players to watch: Lourency, Lima, Kraev. Boavista They were a serious case of success in the beginning of the season, being mostly unbeaten. However, somehow they went through a managerial change (even though their coach Lito Vidigal had 18 points in 14 points) and since the appointment of Daniel Ramos they have struggled. They have 3 losses in the last 5 games and they might risk being relegation threatened if they don't get their shit together. Players to watch: Helton Leite (GK), Heriberto Tavares, Marlon Vitoria FC The other Vitoria, this one is called Futebol Clube but is from Setubal, south from Lisbon. They are coached by Spanish manager Julio Velasquez. They got only 2 points in the last month, but if it serves as consolation one of those points was against Benfica. Also, they already played the top 3 teams, so the calendar is on their favor. Don't fuck up sadinos! Players to watch: Mirko Antonucci (remember this guy Roma fans?), Tofol Montiel, Brian Mansilla Belenenses SAD Well, this is the only team who probably does not mind playing under closed doors, as this is the only way they can equal their opponents on fans. If you haven't heard about the Belenenses division interesting read here Anyway, they ere doing fine before the interruption and didn't lose any of the last 4 games. They have to face Porto and Braga still, but they should be safe from relegation (even though I wouldn't mind they dropped). Players to watch: Koffi (GK), Cassierra, Marco Matias (where are my Sheffield Wednesday fans at?) and Cafu Phete (for the South Africans out there!). Tondela This is a mystery for me, as this team always struggles but ends up being saved at last call. You know, like Sunderland years ago (so I guess when Tondela finally drops dark times wait for them: Tondela Until I Die?). They are coached by Spaniard Natxo Gonzalez and they had a pretty good season start being 6th, now dropping until 14th. They failed to win a game in the last 5 matches and they got the top 4 all in their calendar. Stay strong Tondela fans, hold up your buttcheeks together. Players to watch: Claudio Ramos (GK - seriously, how is this guy still not in a better team?), Jhon Murillo (FIFA legend), Fahd Moufi. Maritimo Edging close to the relegation zone is Maritimo, who somehow has the player with most successful take ons on all the league (Zainadine Jr), yet seem to be struggling anyway. 3 defeats in a row in their last 3 matches with games in hand against 5 of the top 6 will test the team from Madeira. Won't be surprised if they get back to Segunda Liga. Players to watch: Zainadine Junior (again, how is this guy not in a better team?), Daizen Maeda, Xadas (what happened to you mate?) Paços de Ferreira After 14 rounds on the relegation zone they finally saw the light to get out of the hole. Paços future might be positive as they got 6 points out of the last 5 games and they played Benfica already. A match against Portimonense who is just below might be a decider on who gets down and who stays up. Players to watch: Pedrinho, Tanque, Eustaquio (Canadian international!) Portimonense If you were expecting to see two teams from Algarve in the league next season and see some more Primeira Liga games while you are on Spring Break on Portimao... it might not happen. Farense did get promoted, but their counterpart Portimonense are edging by a thread. They got 5 points in the last 4 months so future seems dark. Players to watch: Jackson Martinez (he is likely to retire after this season), Mohanad Ali, Koki Anzai, Marlos Moreno (wonder where this guy had been?) Aves Well finally, if you thought Portimonense was doomed to drop, well what can we say about bottom placed Aves? Not only they are dead last, they also have some problems leaving due to owing them salaries. Their calendar contemplates matches against Porto, Benfica and Braga, so betting on them to drop seems like easy money. And thinking that not so long ago this team won the Portuguese Cup! Players to watch: Mehrdad Mohammadi, Adam Dźwigała. That's it lads. If you want to give some support and read further in depth on the league return click here Wish you some good games and might the odds be in your favor. Also fuck you Sergio Conceiçao!
Psycho Betting and Stats 301-Degenalytics Question
!!!!DISCLAIMER:!!!! Before you even start watching this for entertainment and see if you get offended by this un-P.C. content. Don't be a pussy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Igsb3ejgbL8 If you can't handle it, leave this thread. If you can, then you may proceed to the next level. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 📰📜Story📜📰: I've been scatter-brained, ire-filled, soul-searching and lost after a 7-day Degen Marathon that brought a shit load of misfortunes. I used to hate social media, but I've learned how to wield the soc. med. sword like a fucking Degen Jedi. I'm going to promote an honest cause where I seek to be victorious in the end. Just you watch you fucking doubters, haters, blockers, scammers. How much grit and intellect would the average fucking person have to endure what I've gone through in the last fucking 48 hours and still come out alive with a sense of greater purpose? Had about $400 to $500 in righteously earned bonus dollars earned through impossible grinding degen mission that came pretty close to accomplishing (91%). I would have had some imaginary >$600 BR by now, but instead the roll-over deadline caused the entire deposit to be forfeited and I manage to salvage some $100. Due to a bonus rollover scheme, 80U of my balance was stuck in bonuses and if I fail to accomplish the roll-over by the deadline, it all gets forfeited. With a $500-$600 balance, I could have somewhere at $900-1000 by now after a 20-2 W-L record on European football on Wednesday. How did I get that record yesterday, by sampling a bunch of solid pre-game picks and live betting using my own fucking brain. I consult with the finest in capping. With $10-$20 bet sizes, That would have put me up maybe $15x16 = +$240 at minimum. $1000 was the imaginary bank roll. As of today, betting with $1 units, after Monday-Wednesday's successful run, while Tuesday was a -$50 blip, I converted $100 to about close to $200 (40U). 🤪🤑Psycho Betting🤑🤪: I learned the art of psycho betting. Taking some well-advised 10U and 30U psycho bets that put my bankroll up a significant amounts, but a big loss does the opposite. Yesterday I manage to hit 4 grand 30U slams in a row, however many on juiced lines, so each $30 bet one returns about $15-20. Thus my bankroll grew nearly +100 units and sits close to $200 from the initial $100 I manage to salvage after that bonus robbery. If you want to fucking learn the art of Psycho-Betting to the extremest and be successful at it, fucking put in $100 in Bovada (remember to use money that you can afford to lose) and get that fucking bonus for the purpose of looting the bookies in a successful vengeance scheme. This guy is a fucking Artillery: https://twitter.com/GoTimeCappers. Fucking hit more than 4x30U grand slams yesterday and some 10-20U cherries on top. I tailed his free picks and other through consultation [Haha fucking reddit/sportsbook will probably ban me for promoting another tout, :)].Of course with my $1.5U size on a crippled bank roll, I cannot grow it to as much as I wanted to using GoTime's techniques. I would have been at another +$400 if I had $6 units. It's a high risk and high reward system, but if you are confident with your picks you go big on it. If you lose it, then you grind back with smaller 10U and 20U bets to try to get back to part to be able to do another 30U bet. The goal is to be like 2-1, 3-0 on 30U grand slams a day. There is some level of sustainability and back up plans to execute in case the 30U bet did not work out. It is very improbable for you to lose 10 in a row on well researched picks that the experts in the community have common agreement on. A lot of the times, the lines shift to reward you less for the pick since big money is already on the pick. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- !!!!!DISCLAIMER: DO NOT READ BEYOND HERE IF YOU HATE MATH OR HAVE AN IQ OF < 89!!!!! Use the chart on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IQ_classification Here is a Nice Calculation to do: 📚📑💻Stats 301 Question in Degenalytics💻📑📚**:** Lastly I asked anyone in the past few days to do a Stats 301 question with Degenalytics Context: To fucking determine the probability that an avg Joe with a $100+100 Bonus Bank-roll or $500 + 250B bank roll can actually pull off the $3000/$7500 grind in some number of N months betting with supposedly 2 full months of real sports (N-2) getting Obliterated by COVID-19. I want you to give me an analytical calculation or a simulation of your work and give me all the possible scenarios. Then give the final verdict of if that number converges to 0.000% or 100.00% that the average Joe would succeed his false-hope mission for a successful rollover. In other words think of it like this: If the average joe bets his entire bank roll 12 or more times (roll-over is not x10 because of bookie juice), what is the probability that he will still end up in the green? Also assign a tilt probability factor that the Average Joe would go on some emotional tilt spree to end up bust again? And make it even harder by eliminating 2-3 full months of real sports (N-2.5) and having to bet on Bovada's limited shitty ass lines and shitty live odds. If you fucking want to eliminate the -2.5 months, then allow the average joe the freedom to bet on N months of e-sports [hahah] and see where that goes. I had a bad experience betting on e-sports for 2 months and only end up -15-20U. I'm not saying that I lost because I suck at e-sports betting or I tailed the wrong people. The Bovada lines are super shitty and limited. Most of the time, on live esports, all you see are dashed out lines as if they fucking know what the rigged result is and prevent people from doing hedge bets or try to bet opposite spreads when they are winning to guarantee an insurance 1-1 with minimal damage incurred to their bank-roll. The live betting experience on e-sports on the Bovada platform is so bad that you are guaranteed to lose in the long run. Fucking hell Bodog/Bovada even offered me a $250 deposit on 100% bonus after the Rudy Gobert day in Mid March. They advertised the joys and wonders of getting rich betting off esports. I was so tempted to deposit, however I kind of over-slept and missed out on the dead-line so they closed the bonus offer. Pretty good relief that I did not fuck-up my real credit card and bank account by falling for that scam again. It was an accidental Grace of God moment to fucking avoid that E-sports deposit marketing scam. BONUS Questions: A: Calculate the number of months needed and number of successful bets required for the conservative degen 1u bettor to grind out the roll-over playing $2.00 tug of war with the bookie. B: Calculate the odds that a professional capper who knows how to adjust unit sizes (1u-5u), do parlays once a while, will succeed the roll-over in some N-2.5 months or add some e-sports to have fun to keep the N factor. C.1: Calculate the conditional probabilities for the bettor succeeding in the mission if on the first few days of betting: i) He loses bet 1 for about $20. ii) Wins bet 1 for about $20 to earn $17.5. iii) Goes on a 3 game losing streak iv) 5 game losing streak v) Positivity case: The guy got lucky and nearly doubled his bank roll on a decent run from day. Up +100U or $200. [I'm sure that out of bad discipline the average Joe would still go -200U in the long run with a pretty high probability.] C.2: Determine the mathematical scheme on how the Bookies can use your first few losses to eventually put you in a 60+:40- (Greater than 60% locked in bonus, less than 40% of your deposited money). Bonus:Locked funds ratio. The Jinx-King answer: It converges to zero [hahaha], but I really am interested in know what other scenarios math and stats people have come up. And your mathematical approaches and formulae used to generate possible scenarios and probabilities. But I think it is safe to say that for the average Joe,the answer is 0.00% success rate. Bodog/Bovada knows this exactly and refuses to put a hiatus on the roll-over deadline. Instead they keep it going so that people can try to wager on e-sports and lose their entire bank roll. They are only interested it getting 100% of your locked funds so that they can buy expensive cruises, yachts, beach mansions, resort packages, etc in Aruba or some other tropical place. Where you got millions of desperate Americans, Canadians in struggling economies with lost jobs and zero positive cash-flow. About 10% or so or perhaps even more deposit money into off-shore gambling websites hoping they can roll-over their bank-roll some ridiculous number of times and make a few bucks to put food on the table. In fact, it makes matters worst being jobless, having zero cash flow and having locked funds in scamming bookies. If you are not good at casino or sports-betting games, you would have: A: Lose your entire deposit for failing to grind it out properly. B: Not grind it out on time on whatever dead-line the roll-over was. C: Even if you did successfully grind that shit out using conservative 1u betting and play $2 tug of war with the bookie, you will end up just wasting your time grinding it out for hours and hours on end. It would have been better for you to fucking find a job at some farm helping out with harvesting crops or work in meat plants so that food does not go to waste. I bet you I can make more money than your $2 tug of war in one a day picking off cans and bottles off the streets in some exercise walking/running/biking + collection routine then selling it to the recycling center for $0.05-0.25 a unit. Trust me at my university, I spot maybe about 50-200 empty/partially driven cans and bottles left on desks, lecture halls, the floor, libraries, work areas, etc. Supposed that I harvested that shit, I would be making $5-$20 a day collecting it all and going to the recycling center once every week. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ⚖Conclusions⚖: The fucking company knows this COVID-19 closure shit and want to use it to their advantage to continue to rob millions of their customers. Last week, I tried to call customer service, chat help, email, etc. and management has spoken to plead my case to delay the roll-over dead-line in a pro-rated time frame so that customers with locked balances can resume betting with their full balance when Game 1 of any Major League Sport actually returns. They give me the same bull-shit over and over saying they decline my request. For what reason?
The terms and conditions written in fine print for accepting the bonus conversion challenge. "Rules are Rules."
They were aware my deadline of June 22 at 19:23 ET was approaching soon. They knew I was on a mission to salvage my bank roll before they yank out the 60-75U trapped in bonus balances (i.e. Ghost money). By the end of it, I realize I made a foolish mistake. Most of my wins were just from bonus money and I was rewarded $0.00 on righteous wins on expired bonuses.
Therefore Bonus money only earns bonus money which put my entire bank-roll in a 80:20 ratio where the bookies control 80U in ghost money. By the end of the roll-over deadline, they get to yank out 80U of my balance at the deadline and left me with about $100 (20U) bank roll to regrind.
They knew I was winning consistently making solid picks.
During my 110 hour marathon over the brutal grind of losing more than 70 hours of work, leisure and recreation; 35 hours of sleep; to a fucking impossible grind of trying to roll over some 60% of $7500 on sports I have little knowledge of capping (i.e. E-sports, Table Tennis, European football) after a few days of studying the game, I was picking up my stride to grind it to 91%. They fucking knew that if I had another day to grind, they would be coughing up +$600-800 of withdrawable balance to my account. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bio:😎📚🎓👨🎓 I am a Fucking PHD Candidate (2-6 months from graduating and not having to pay another round of BS tuition) who does a shitload of mathematics, statistics, simulations, mathematical physics, wrote scientific papers. I've won T.A. Awards, Government/Provincial/Institutional level scholarships, Conference presentations, with even Undergrad honors back in the day. DM me if you need a fucking CV to prove my fucking credentials. Why am I able to write a lot of shit? Because my fucking brain operates on some max level Intel Xeon chip on overclock mode and I cannot do much to shut it down other than going to sleep. They only way is to write articles that I think might benefit the community. I have a crazy interest in sports and Degen'ing. I love to fucking put action on sports games, be proud about making the correct calls on the outcome of games before it happens, and then boast to my circle of competitive friends about who's the fucking Boss. As tabboo as society think us degens are, I think this absolute BS. There is a pure enjoyment in watching sports and having action on it. It is nice to get paid beer money to cover a round for your buddies, or earn that rent money over a successful night of betting on shit you actually enjoy watching. Fuck I rather make $300 for one evening of enjoying sports rather than working a 9-5 dull job to try to afford rent/mortgage. If I can fucking pay off all my monthly expenses in 3 fucking successful nights of 3 hr sessions of sports matches, that would be ideal. I would take the lather over a 9-5 rat-race grind. Overall I am "PRO" in the debate for local single sports betting bookies to be established in Canada. Get these fucking scamming off-shore books like bodog/Bovada who contribute only contribute "Bagel" to the Canadian Economy, but instead make it worst by scamming the masses of hard working or desperate people to leak out some sum of billions of dollars of national GDP. Probably the same applies to all American States, that people should not have to cough up their hard earned $$$$ to off-shore scamming bookies. I shall write an article about this later to justify my arguments later. Ultimately I my goal is to obliterate or negate the influence of all the cons, scamming bookies, and false touts out there who are just interested in stealing people's $$$. To write out full studies on exposing their schemes in an objective lens. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Calling me out:(Think I cannot track these pussy downvotes? I know you cowards 😂😜😎) If you think I'm full of BS, then send me a personal DM to have a 1v1 argument the same way that Stephen A debates sports with Max Kellerman. You can downvote me or flame me with empty hate talk all you want on public threads. But don't be a fucky pussy by avoiding a debate with me. Trust me, I'm going to win and be the last one to state a real point that you will have no comeback for [haha]. Lastly, if you are open to discuss or debate with me about some issues, do some resarch/exploration, betting strategies, etc., I would love your collaboration in some projects I got going on. Ultimately, I should help every honest worker strive towards Degen success or if not, just to purely enjoy putting action on sports games. If you are too full of yourself, then you are on your own, I bid thee adieu, and wish you all the best. However you will be absolutely declined to all services and counsel I work to provide to friends for free. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Social Media📺🎬 Some extra Resource to how I got to this point in my mission. Here it is for starters: June 23, 2020: The Impossible Pursuit Reddit/sportsbook/Brag and Bitch (Tuesday) June 24, 2020: Doubling Bank roll and rewarded Bagel: Reddit/sportsbook/Brag and Bitch (Wednesday) June 24, 2020: How can you win 5 in a row and lose it all simultaneously? Reddit/sportsbook/What is your most impressive win? Full Twiiter: https://twitter.com/jinxking0p5 All my media: https://twitter.com/jinxking0p5/media Discord: ????? To be solved. Challenges: Got a few right in progress now and a couple of drafts I am working on. The Jinxking Crusade (In progress): https://twitter.com/jinxking0p5/status/1275516258822131714?s=20 Turns out many people cannot withdraw anything out of Bovada/bodog due to some website glitches. Will try to recover a bankroll to attempt a withdrawal, however I am likely to have the same issues too. They will make some lame excuse to not give me a cheque. Definitely no point of pursuing anything in bovada/bodog if they refuse to give you withdrawables. The goal is to get their website off outta here. As well as get them out of advertisements. They definitely pulled off some "Get the fucking money and run scheme" and you will likely not see your money again. GG The Jinxking Challenge (In progress): https://twitter.com/jinxking0p5/status/1275661929940467713?s=20 Want to expose a bad tout who over prices the service and has a mediocre record? Tail and fade to call their their BS or mediocre non profiting record out. Also good for finding legitimate winners too. This will be a mission to expose shitty touts on Twitter the way Penn & Teller exposes BS in the market.
A step-by-step guide of how I would build a SaaS company right now - part 2
This is part 2 of 5. Part 1 LET'S DO THIS! Big thank you to everyone that upvoted and commented on the last post. I’m pumped, this is part 2 of 5 for those keeping track at home.
Start with your revenue and monetization plan (are you targeting a sector that has money and can/will pay - Part 1)
Align yourself with others in your space (cheapest way to get traction/credibility)
Work on road mapping your product to align with what complements your partnerships (cheapest distribution)
Work on building a marketing strategy that can help expose and align your brand while strengthening its recognition with your partners (will this make us both look good)
Build customer advocates along the way, tell their stories (lead with examples)
Early traction, everyone wants it, very few people know how to do it effectively. Hell I’ve seen it all, run all the experiments, all the tests and I can tell you from experience if you have the patience, slow, steady, and surgical is the way to grow. Especially in the beginning. In part one we spent a lot of time asking some basic fundamental business questions. Including, an exercise in the importance of being able to niche down. We’re going to expand on the niching down because it’s how you gain clarity and find people to align yourself with early on. The goal of this will be to understand:
How to niche down
How to use this to target a market and recognize opportunity
How to position within that market
How to give yourself the biggest chance of success
I’ve chosen to outline these in all our steps for niching down. You’re going to see these steps move from research to market evaluation to list building stopping just short of outreach. We’ll touch on this in part 3. Last week I took a call where someone told me their target market is males 25-45 that like sports. This is the most important part of your entire business. I’m serious. Let’s rock through this together so we can get you super focused and know where and how to spend your time and money. (The below was laid out in part 1 and was the layered niching exercise) LEVEL 1: We’re a helpdesk product. How to niche down The big question is “for who”? So you’ve picked the type of product you are building and a use case, the problem is there are lots of people like you out there and this doesn’t tell me much about your market, it’s too broad. How to use this to target a market and recognize opportunity Because this is so broad, it’s impossible to actually target a market and without being able to do that, it’s not possible to recognize opportunities, there’s just too many of them. How to position within that market Competition is good and bad, but it’s always better to be a big fish in a little pond, the best way to reduce the size of your pond is to niche down as much as possible while still understanding a large enough TAM (total addressable market). How to give yourself the biggest chance of success No wasted effort. Every idea, concept, must have a small goal attached to it. It’s too expensive to try to be everything for everyone and when you take this approach you end up failing at doing any one thing well enough for people to switch. Let’s build on this. LEVEL 2: We’re a helpdesk product for eCommerce companies. How to niche down Pick an industry or trend that is on the rise - look towards a shift or something that relates to changes people are making in their daily routine. In this case we picked eCommerce because it’s on track to hit over $7 Trillion worldwide this year and has steadily been increasing across all brands. So we have an industry with a large enough economic driver to let us start niching down. How to use this to target a market and recognize opportunity We now buy things online that we never would have thought to do so even just a few years ago. Amazon is selling Tiny Homes now, seriously, if you can buy it, odds are you can do it online. There are massive opportunities to bring goods and services to people through convenient online shopping. And with that increase they will all need a help desk platform to provide the best experience for their customers. Customers today don’t want to speak with people, they want answers quickly and easily. It’s all about reducing friction. How to position within that market Narrow down within the market. eCommerce is a good starting point, there are different industries, subsets, and categories. Go narrower. Start thinking about where the friction exists in the industry and for what subsets. How to give yourself the biggest chance of success In the beginning, it’s going to be an uphill battle, picking the right trending industry will give you the best chance of success. Something that is rising up to the right in popularity is way easier to sell into than a trend that is declining. Know your competitive landscape. Everyone has a competitor, whether direct, partial, or mildly related. Spend a lot of time on understanding this and knowing that your product is part of a very large landscape or landscape of potential competitors. Any one of the existing partial or mildly related competitors may be building something to more directly compete with you down the road. Practical advice Most companies stop here and hope for the best. Unfortunately, this isn’t a go to market plan or a sustainable business model. There’s an important bit worth mentioning here as it will become a theme of this entire post. Great products enhance workflows through features, the focus isn’t on the product but what the product enables people to do. Success in the software business is all about understanding existing workflows and simplifying the experience. As you do this exercise to niche down ask yourself: What does the current workflow look like? What are they currently using? How are they currently using it? Where are the gaps? What are the best practices for creating workflows? Always seek to understand how your product works in a workflow - what role it plays, how it best optimizes - this is the data play referred to in Part 1. What are the things that matter most to people in the eCommerce space? That’s a lot of questions with even more answers, when you peel everything back it becomes very clear that it’s not possible to answer all of them without going deeper. Too many people to talk to, too many industries, too much everything. Let’s take a different approach - how I got to Shopify in the next niche down. No successful new SaaS company today launches without an integration. So let’s find an eCommerce platform to integrate with. We have to look for a stable player that has an app store and is a market leader. As a starting point, my goal is to be a help desk for ecommerce companies.
I need a list of all eCommerce platforms
I need to understand which help desks they already integrate with
I need to understand what people like and don’t like about them
I need to find out which platform is going to be the best fit for my product
There are lots of sources for this and even more articles, google and read. If you’re looking for numbers though and data, use BuiltWith and run a search on the platforms after you have your list to figure out which is the most popular. Ok so we have our list of eCommerce platforms, we’ve analyzed the data, made sure they tick all the boxes and we’ve run our reports and found that Shopify powers 1.2 million stores. Let’s lock it in as our next step in niching down. LEVEL 3: We’re a helpdesk product for eCommerce companies using Shopify. How to niche down It’s more than just market size. Going with a market leader is always a safe bet but it also provides the most competition. Sometimes going with a smaller platform that doesn’t get all the attention is a worthwhile research project. How to use this to target a market and recognize opportunity There are two sides of the opportunity and this is something that I didn’t touch on in the original niching down. Shopify and BuiltWith categorize the types of stores that are on the platform, so you can niche down to a certain type of store, for example just cosmetics or just apparel. The other side of the opportunity is putting together your list of companies currently operating in the ecosystem. How to position within that market Smart people are really good at collecting data and interpreting it. Let’s get some data.
Go to the shopify app store
Type in “Support”
Click paid on the left margin and click the “Support Category”
Use something like Simple Scraper ( a great chrome plugin, no affiliation)
Get your scrape on, this shows 87
Time to get busy - categorize them
Pick the ones most similar to your offerings
Click on them, look at their reviews - all of them on shopify Scrape them
Go to G2 and Capterra and look through all those reviews as well
Put them all in a spreadsheet, read them all, highlight those that stand out
Find the ones that are popular, others that have features people like etc.
Document, and integrate the baseline features into a trello board on your product roadmap
Take all the bad reviews and complaints - look for gaps that you can fill
How to give yourself the biggest chance of success So take a look above, we went from a bunch of questions to being able to do a ton of market research to do product research and understand the current market offerings and where we might be able to gain some ground and offer something people might be interested in and ARE PAYING FOR. How do you stand out? You need to have a workflow that is 10x better than a current competitor in the market with a strong roadmap that lays out how you intend on optimizing this workflow. Features are built to augment the workflow and simplify the work of your clients employees, less work, more data, better understanding. Ok so we’ve narrowed it down to eCommerce and Shopify and we have a list of other products that are currently playing in the space. We’re now looking at workflow - let’s figure this bit out. LEVEL 4: We’re a helpdesk product for eCommerce companies using Shopify and Shipstation. How to niche down Add another variable - it doesn’t have to be Shipstation, but it’s a good example as for eCommerce you’re likely shipping products places. By adding another variable, we’re shrinking our population to target. How to use this to target a market and recognize opportunity The biggest problem for all companies these days is combining different one off services and getting them to play nicely together. Stand alone products usually outclass all in one products as stated above because the focus is better. This is generally always going to be where you can find a gap in the market as the integrating of products is an afterthought rather than something contemplated in the very beginning. How do you decide on the technologies you want to work with? How to position within that market Don’t guess. Understand the workflow of an eCommerce company and how it relates to support. For instance, most support tickets relate to order status, tracking, and returns. These all involve the store, transaction, the service desk, and the shipping carrier. Look for ways to streamline the experience for the service rep - for instance if refunds require approval, build a system that allows for all those tickets to be queued up with an easy interface for approvals or different color tagging to allow for them to be easily sorted by type. By focusing on two technologies you can start by creating a better visual collaboration between tools to improve overall experience. How to give yourself the biggest chance of success Stack the deck in your favor. Focus on where you can drive early alignment between your product offering and the audiences of your now two products. When you reach out to both companies especially the smaller ones like a Shipstation, you can collect more information about who they are catering to, volumes etc. Most companies have a partner program - look into connecting with the lead. When the time is right you might even get a shoutout on their social or blog or you can decide to co-publish some research report together. Lots of options. Let’s double down on what being niche allows us to do:
Know our audience
Research with purpose
Personalize outreach with early feelers
Better understand a realistic TAM (total addressable market)
Understand overlap between products
Early alignment with bigger names
This whole topic is about alignment, alignment with partners, customers, and your product. We have a list of potential customers now, but we need to segment them down further. LEVEL 5: We’re a helpdesk product for eCommerce companies using Shopify and Shipstation that have less than 100 skus. How to niche down Why less than 100 skus? This means they are small enough to try a new product. It also means you can see what works and what doesn’t work on a potentially smaller store. When you’re managing a store with more than 100 skus, things get a little complicated, it’s an arbitrary number but changing internal processes and workflows when you get to that level means that your staff is coming from a place of having used a system before that could handle the volume and trying out something newer or unproven is a tall order. This process can be applied to anything, if your product does better project management look for people that run less than 20 projects at a time or projects that are less than 6 months, whatever it may be. We’re starting small. Always default to the path of least resistance. Work smarter, not harder. How to use this to target a market and recognize opportunity I’m sure this could be automated, but in lieu of it being automated, you should start by manually figuring this out for yourself. That list you have from BuiltWith that has urls, yeah we’re going to use that one. Put the websites in the spreadsheet you downloaded, then create a new column and add “products” to the url - so you have the website in cell A, the word “products” in cell B then in blank cell C write “=CONCATENATE(A:B)” congratulations now you have cell C that will take you straight to the product page to see how many skus they have. Update this hack doesn’t work on all shopify websites like I had hoped and after some research it seems like this is a bit of a struggle point for others as well. I’m sure someone could write a script to scrape this information. Go find an intern or hire someone to do all the lookups for you or find someone to write a script to automate the results - remember always work smart. Run this and you’ll come up with your go to target list. How to position within that market The best helpdesk for stores on Shopify using shipstation with less than 100 skus - all of a sudden this starts to sound like something someone would almost search for. That’s the point. We’re working our way down where it becomes a simple checklist if someone was searching for things. Shopify - check Shipstation - check Built for smaller stores - check How to give yourself the biggest chance of success Remember you’re not building a product for everyone yet, your goal is to dominate a niche. You can always expand from there. So we’re about half way through and we have figured out our potential partners and now we’re working on narrowing down this customer list. Before we dive in and start reaching out we need to really understand who we’re targeting and we need to start small. Let’s narrow this down even further. LEVEL 6: We’re a helpdesk product for eCommerce companies using Shopify and Shipstation that have less than 100 skus and do less than $10 million in annual revenue. How to niche down Why the less than $10 million in annual revenue? The only reason I would say this in the beginning is that they won’t have as much traffic and ticket volume, they make for better early clients, you can learn a lot more from their use cases and improve the product without worrying about something going wrong and a larger client really getting mad and churning. You also usually have greater access to work with their staff to improve your product. How to use this to target a market and recognize opportunity Unless you’re currently on the front lines, you need to find some early providers of feedback that are on the front lines. In essence, this is the starting point of a community and information play. There aren’t a lot of data points available about companies in the early stages. People always have questions and there are limited resources in the early days, even across similar companies. (Just look at reddit there are tons of repeat answers and questions.) Someone answering tickets all day is the last person that wants to provide feedback, as much as they would like their job made easier, they don’t have the time. How to position within that market “But I need a big logo to let people know that I’m real.” You don’t, not in the beginning. All you need is a few good customers that are open to lending you the feedback you need to get better. A lot of smaller brands do a good job of branding, play the long game, find brands that are growing and try to get in early - grow with them. Logo hunting has its place but you need to find product market fit before you can really make that happen. By now you have probably figured out that whenever possible you should automate things. The way you do this is through data collection. Using logic, math, and a spreadsheet you can do enough to be dangerous. Use a service to figure out what their unique traffic is, take a look at their products and assume that their cart value is around 2-4 products per order then take the conversion rates by industry - you can find these online they are openly listed. Your sheet will look something like this: Company, Traffic, Conversion Percentage, Order Value, Sales Percentage, Revenue eCommerce blended average is 2.2% - go use a spreadsheet and some formulas and bam you now have the revenue numbers. We’re not looking for exacts here, but more generally a good estimate. I’ve actually run these numbers, if the products are sold through other channels, Amazon, retail, etc, then a rough estimate would be around ~33% of the revenue will come from the ecommerce store. Factor in a range based on the size of the brand and it’s channels this should give you a rough estimate of the revenue even if they don’t publish it. How to give yourself the biggest chance of success Provide value - the most overhyped phrase but still true - the question then becomes, with something as subjective as “value” rather than just create, instead ask and create. This part is coming up, we’re almost ready to turn this on. We’ve started to move from who are partners are to who are our potential customers. This is on purpose - my stance is that your first customers are really your partners and you should work on aligning yourself with those that are the best fit for your product. You want your first clients to buy into your vision and invest the time to help shape it. Ok on to the next - LEVEL 7: We’re a helpdesk product for eCommerce companies using Shopify and Shipstation that have less than 100 skus and do less than $10 million in annual revenue with support teams less than 5 people. How to niche down So now we’re getting into the easier stuff - this is just a simple LinkedIn Search - small teams are usually before the real deep process point, they are also really good at providing feedback on tools that can actually help them out. How to use this to target a market and recognize opportunity If you have less than 5 people on a team, it’s a small enough number to target the entire team - multi prong approach to product awareness. For customer support they are often the least paid and they have the most stressful jobs - it’s an all around shitty position to be in, so if you can provide them joy, you’re going to make fans quick. Also, they aren’t usually sold into, they are rarely asked their opinion, etc. How to position within that market Give them a voice. The same goes for any lower level positions as well by the way. When people are getting started in their careers they are looking to hear about the jobs people have even at the lower levels but the resources just aren’t there. Even for more senior roles, it’s hard to get a beat on what the current status is of their projects, people don’t like sharing - I still don’t know why. We’re seeing communities around Sales popup SalesHacker, sales, Bravado etc. We don’t see as many for other roles, there is a wide open space in this. I don’t see any places for people to better understand customer support/success which is THE ONLY INBOUND TOUCHPOINT WITH CUSTOMERS POST SALE. How to give yourself the biggest chance of success This is part of the philosophy and psychology of understanding human dynamics. Find a persona that you can relate to immediately and build your product around fixing their problems, be obsessed with this. They get paid nothing, but they’d like less tickets, how do you reduce that ticket count, how do you bring other parts of the business that they may need to have access to more prominently in your support system so they don’t have to have multiple windows open. How do you build something to maximize their efficiency? Better yet, how do you tag someone in the CRM and flag it over to the sales system to see if they purchase more product as a result of a good interaction with support - this is how you turn a cost center into a revenue generator. This is a killer feature that I’m not aware of out of the box. This could unlock a commission structure and reward system for what is arguably becoming a dealbreaker for most companies. Which is a great segway to the next drill down - you should be starting to see how this all really blends together if done correctly. LEVEL 8: We’re a helpdesk product for eCommerce companies using Shopify and Shipstation that have less than 100 skus and do less than $10 million in annual revenue with support teams less than 5 people who arelooking to automate their processes. How to niche down They have to be looking to automate their process or improve their workflow. When people find a tech stack that works, oftentimes new technology doesn’t stick around very long, we’re all creatures of habit. How to use this to target a market and recognize opportunity You’re only looking for people that are talking about processes or a company that has something related to the pride they take with their process - you can check out BuiltWith and see a list of products they have tried over the last 18 months. When a company is testing a bunch of different products it means they are looking for a better process. This is your sweet spot. How to position within that market You’ve seen me sprinkle “workflow” into this post. This is pretty much a preview of Part 3 and the importance of product design. Your product must improve someone’s existing workflow. If it doesn’t it’s not a viable product. There are two parts to this, does your product improve an existing workflow AND how easy can your product be inserted into that workflow? Remember, this is their business and they need to make a transition as smoothly as possible with as little disruption as possible. This goes for any product you’re selling. Change is hard. Understanding a company’s process really is everything. If people aren’t looking to automate or improve their process, there’s a good chance you should change your approach immediately and work towards more of an education campaign and double down on what it would take to let people quickly switch over from an existing platform. Focus on reducing friction. How to give yourself the biggest chance of success Looking for people that are interested, not those we need to educate early on. Data migration and implementation is one of the main reasons people don’t want to switch or entertain new products. There is always a fear of lost productivity. Everyone is looking to automate right now, but the price has to be right, and that includes not the subscription amount, but the training, the migration, the new workflows, the time to adopt, the willingness to adopt, etc. During almost any transition, the company will be paying for two systems at the same time during that handoff. This is rough, not enough companies actually address this in a meaningful way. The argument is that a pure SaaS play doesn’t exist or shouldn’t exist for an early stage company, there should always be a service and consulting component. Hold everyone’s hand, understand their problems and make them feel like you’re building a product just for them. Ok we’re almost there - LEVEL 9: We’re a helpdesk product for eCommerce companies using Shopify and Shipstation that have less than 100 skus and do less than $10 million in annual revenue with support teams less than 5 people who are looking to automate their processes who are currently using Zendesk. How to niche down Let’s spearfish. Zendesk - great platform - but has its limits that only show up based on workflows. Zendesk will work great until you have a workflow that incorporates other tools - then it starts to struggle. This is true of most large legacy platforms. As legacy platforms moved up market to Enterprise for revenue reasons, they usually forget about smaller teams. Instead relying on dev house partners to do customizations. This is where industry experience really comes into play - knowing the goals of a company or team, their workflows, and where you can create a better solution for those with those workflows for things that the legacy platforms prefer to source out to their dev house partners. How to use this to target a market and recognize opportunity Your calls can now go from generic to focused with questions that can hone in on workflows and gaps. For example, Zendesk’s UX/UI sucks for partner integrations, we’ve seen companies like Kustomer, Gorgias, and others become more popular because of a better UX/UI that supports the whole customer experience and journey. This is a fundamental switch in approach. From one of our earlier research steps we found 87 companies that people were using for support with shopify, we have them in a spreadsheet, we then could take those and put all the competitors in builtwith to run some reports to understand market penetration (you can do this with number of reviews as well by the way if you’re lazy - don’t be lazy). Download your list - populate your CRM - you now know what people are using, how long they’ve been using them. Narrow down your list to the top 20 clients - yes only 20. Even if you have 100 clients or a thousand clients at this point, this process works for every single Sales rep you have - and I’m going on a 95% chance none of them are doing this stuff. And if you tell me they are, I know from the amount of generic ass emails I get regularly spewed out to me they aren’t doing it well and I guarantee you money is being left on the table. (Topic for another day) How to position within that market You know what software they are using, you know their tech stack, your goal is to figure out their workflow. If you don’t know, ask. You should understand the general business workflows for the industry - again industry knowledge is required. Engage them with conversation and find out. Base your questions on conversations you’ve had with other people in the space and be a source of information about how other people are doing it. The above is completely able to be put into a human measurable process, one based on quality over quantity, relationships over transactions, and geared towards long term growth. Be about the things that other platforms are not. Focus on changing the narrative from cost center to revenue generator. The helpdesk for Shopify and Shipstation customers looking to streamline their processes and free up their support teams to become revenue generators in an organic and measurable fashion. How to give yourself the biggest chance of success It’s all about workflows, data, and automation. Niche down, learn from the inside out, follow the trends and work on being able to tie back data to creating more revenue no matter what your product does and you’ll be able to start conversations with people actively looking to create more optimized workflows. Focusing on a legacy product and small businesses usually allows you to find a sweet spot, they don’t find value in all the features because they won’t use them all. But they do want the more advanced features like automation and workflow help. These are usually cost prohibitive in the platform. This is why you focus on workflow over features, you’ll never catch up with the big guys in terms of features, but there are always ways to compete on workflows, because everyone has their own independent goals around them. There aren’t standards, only best practices. Side note - there are entire companies that are hired to implement systems like Zendesk and build integrations on top of it and it’s a market leader. The same goes for any market leader. LEVEL 10ish: You can add location to the end of our narrowing down. A company physically local to you (at least this was the case prior to COVID-19) can allow for an in person visit which has been massive in building trust with early clients. Makes it easier to have a conversation as well. That’s it. Go through this process, substitute your values, keep drilling down and recognize opportunity along the way. When you do it correctly you’ll see massive improvements for your initial outreach. Emails go from: We’re a new helpdesk company. To: We’re a new helpdesk company for customers that use Shopify and Shipstation. We help agile support teams that are looking to better automate their workflows. Our integrations also allows your support team’s interactions to be directly tied into future revenue generation. ___________ I can tell you from experience I’m visiting the url for the second email even if I’m not looking to make a change. This is a good place to stop, we hit question 2 of 5 and we’re almost at the halfway point. If you have more specific questions about this part just drop them in the comments and I'll respond to them.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure OC Tournament #5: Round 1 Match 20: Casey Williams and Manta Malaise?
The results are in for Match 18. The game was lasting quite a long time, with Red Carpet Renaissance’s more aggressive playstyle hardly giving the room to breathe to the carefully-crafted tactics of the Sharp Lookers, but those very same plans at once keeping them from finding themselves getting clicked. Violet Lange was watching, still, invested in how the hell this could keep on going, what might finally turn the tides, only for her cell phone to vibrate, a text message appearing on it from a contact registered under: “C. Williams”
Things seemed even for most of the voting period, with many of the votes being split, but late into it, a modest number of Sharp Lookers votes translated into a massive lead. For the first time, this resulted in votes splitting perfectly by .5s when the division was done, and since it would mean taking a point away from one side to give it to the other, that thirtieth pop point simply vanishes into the aether…
Half an hour later… “Uh… Kisa?” Masa asked, earning his partner’s attention. “You know how I said I’d watch the girl to make sure she didn’t pull somethin’ weird?” “Hm?” Kitose Saiko turned to face his friend, and noticed the lack of anybody he was standing beside. “Oh my god. How… How, Masa?” “I dunno!” He answered, sounding similarly bewildered, waving his hands as Kisa, in his frustration, lit up the entire remaining pack of his cigarettes and took a drag from each of them at once. “She just sorta… Was gone when I stopped paying attention.” “The woman is… Gone.” Dimitri was incredulous as well. “And there goes our hints on this Black Angel! The library is surely closed by now, so we’ve wasted a day and this town knows we’re looking.”
pranked again… violet lange, u r officially… epic
As Nebula’s synthetic voice remarked that and moved to silence, Ace couldn’t help but laugh. “Vitus is gonna be pissed too, that we were dragged off to play some game instead of tailing Peres… Haahhh, man, what were we thinking? This was her job, I bet. She just needed to waste our time awhile, get us heated and fighting each other, throwing piss around and playing dirty… Gave us the slip soon as our attentions were off her. Well played, I must admit… Well played…” “Distracting us from the Black Angel…” Dimitri stroked his chin. “And also from Peres? But I remember Laverne saying the Black Angel vigilante was banned from the Devil Blue, the hotel she works at. What could the common thread between them be..?” “Well, I’m annoyed too… Don’t just bail on an agreement you make…” Masa answered, before adding with a slight smile. “But hey, in some good news…” He held up a gift card, waving it between his fingers. “She left the CaraMel’s gift card, 200 USD just like she said, and that place? Not just to die for, from when Ray came back with stuff from there the other day, but I hear the ‘goss’ is ‘hot’ there too, as she said in that super-exaggerated little Valley Girl voice. What say I claim this card and treat you all? Call it a, uh… Ceasefire, for now.”
gonna be annoyed if its stale by the time i can actually eat it but ok sounds good
The game of assassin was fruitless, but the fruits of an assassination are still born, and two pairs of Stand Users fight to protect their local leaders from them. There’s still about a day to vote in that when this goes up. Scenario: South Aurelio - East of the Wormwood “I am so sorry, I just lost track of time… I got these four roped into this big assassin game, and I didn’t wanna bail, but…” Not long after Violet Lange officiated that little college game and the evening began to roll in that, again she found a Stand User’s company. Casey Williams, MFA member, sat in the passenger seat of a vibrant purple convertible, occasionally staring either at passing suburban scenery in the transition between the college town and suburban hellscape, or the way her companion’s lavender scarf billowed in the wind. “Look, I get it, I get it, shit happens, especially ‘round Midnight Sun. You don’t need to explain.” After a few moments of silence, tapping her hands against the outer door of the car as her arm hung over the window, Casey spoke up. “I, uh… Didn’t expect you to call me, but Kirk vouched for you. Why me, for… Whatever this is?” Violet had, that morning, asked Casey to aid her in an investigation after she finished up with some shit she had to do on campus, and still now, had said very little about what was going on sans its importance. “I trust you… For the same reason I took over the bifrost server, and the same reason I revealed myself to your team. André had faith in you all to do what was best, and, well, I have no idea what to do but follow his lead and use what power I have to do it. As for you in particular… I want to work with somebody my age, basically. No more than that.” “If you trust me so much,” Casey said, looking to the river to her left as the pair drove along a road opposite it, admiring how the setting sun reflected upon its rippling waves, “why haven’t you told me what we’re doing, then? You sounded like it was important, so I agreed to hear you out, but you’ve still been cagey.” “I wanted it to be in person, while we were speeding along,” Violet explained, looking out upon the road still, briefly glancing off in the distance and seeing a manor across the water, braking for a moment and pointing towards it. “See that house by the riverbank there?” She handed Casey a pair of binoculars, and the latter surmised, “looks like a dump.” “From the outside, and nobody has owned it for thirty years, yet…” She paused, as if she was about to say a name and reconsidered. “My contact - a high-schooler who comes and goes late at night, you wouldn’t know them, and I’m purposefully leaving them out of this, but I can vouch for their reliability - says that sometimes, late at night, delivery trucks bring perfectly good furniture to the bridge just North of here, and by morning, they seem to have just disappeared into the ground. I dunno if you pay attention to the news, but there’s a ‘Serial Killer’ who operates in this town, and besides that… Sixteen people who disappeared in this area are still missing, and haven’t had their bodies identified. The more research I’ve done lately, I’m completely certain of it. That ‘abandoned residence’ must be the ‘lair’ of this killer! It’s certainly big enough to hold that many people and then some… So I plan to break in.” “Serial killer..?” Casey’s head tilted slightly, then, suddenly, the words hit her as Violet resumed her drive. “Wait, what? So even if you’re right, you’re just gonna bust down this guy’s door without knowing what he’s capable of? Why this? Why you, and so covert?” “Because I’ve spent my life sneaking and slipping by to survive, clinging to stronger people. Because I used to roll with the kind of scum who would use Stands to do whatever the hell they wanted like we were better than everyone else. Because the last time I tried to get someone to take care of this killer, all she did was kill an innocent man in front of me! I’m tired of just being an ‘extra,’ moving pieces around and waiting in place, Casey. I’ve said that I just want to survive, but a friend of mine, every day, fights tooth and nail to make this place better. I’m going to be an adult and try, goddammit, and if you don’t want to do the same, I can just drop you off, and-” “Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Casey continued, raising her hand up, and then offering Violet a confident little smile. “When did I say I was going to refuse? Hell, lives are on the line, pedal to the metal! I hear this town has like two cops, and I sure don’t see either of them around!” “That’s what I like to hear…” Violet’s own lips curled upwards slightly, and she stepped on the gas. “We’re gonna totally tear shit up today.” They drove along the bridge in silence from there, Casey contemplating things as they sped along, occasionally stealing glances towards the house just what was now South of them. Not long after, though, she began to grow uncomfortable, pulling her shirt’s collar over her nose. “Eugh… What’s that smell now? We pass a dead skunk or something?” “That’s… I know this smell. That isn’t a skunk.” Violet gave a glance to her rear-view mirror, and her face stiffened. “Casey… Get out of the car, now! Ditch it!” “What? What is-” Casey stammered, surprised and trying to hurriedly work her seatbelt off as Violet began to jerk the vehicle around, as if intended on steering the thing straight into the river. As she did so, she glanced behind her, and though the rising shape of a figure on the back of the car was hard to make out in the twilit evening, there was certainly a massive, and vaguely humanoid, and there were eyes on her. There were so many eyes. Slightly down the Wormwood River… Ah, the Wormwood River. This massive landmark is a symbol of Los Fortuna in many ways. It came to exist during the city’s foundational years, it runs from the Northernmost mountains into the city itself, and quite symbolically, it splits the affluent Eastern portions of the city, highly regarded centers of culture and quality of life, with the Western, the environmentally unclean, the poorer, the portions of the city in which the greatest safety and stability comes from being within the care of a territorial gang which has earned the ire of countless other districts. This divide was sharp and clear in the way it split the affluently beloved outer suburbs of the Woods of Aurelio, whose schools, fine homes, esteemed country club, golf course, town hall, and most of the town’s voting centers all sat in the East. Manta Malaise thought this symbol of all which they sought to destroy a poetic place to take their pollution this evening. “This Metropolis which is so very very burdensome to me, and this humble hamlet so tantalizingly close to it nearby,” they began aloud, just in the off chance somebody was around to hear it (and if not, rehearsal was always useful), while the diesel-burning gas-guzzling pickup truck they purchased on the resort’s tab began dumping a container’s worth of sand and grit, “I have heard it said that this location in which we are entrapped it on the decline… Yet nay, I say. At least, nary the full picture… This place is but a microcosm of all that surrounds it, a more blatant case of all that is true elsewhere, as well… A fine example for the world, it will make.” As they spoke, a ripped-away purple car door floated by on the river, distracting them from speaking about how, if they repeat this process for a few weeks (maybe buy a new car every time), they would be able to kill the fish eggs and microorganisms that make up the key bottom of the river life’s food chain, eventually add nitrogen to the mix to toxically increase ugly and deadly algal growth, and aloud, they spoke “curious… That is a recognizable door of a quality automobile… To whom might it belong? Ah, no matter!” Seconds later, a bloodied figure with several open wounds along its back burst from the water, clinging to dear life to the floating door and beginning to kick in Manta’s direction with surprising strength. He seemed to have tall blond hair, green pants, and a sleeveless shirt, though those all were obviously soaked and stained both with water and blood. As he reached the shore nearby them, within the range of ‘Morgana Courts Danger’, he gasped and turned onto his wounded back. The young man who floated towards Manta Malaise said nothing, and did not even seem to notice the effects of their proximity as they approached and turned him around to get a look at the other side of the sleeveless shirt-clad figure. The life was fading from the blond man’s eyes, and his lips trembled, a faint grin on them. He did not say a word, but as Manta looked down, they realized that the phrase on the outfit he wore said more about his final feelings, the state of his body, than his voice ever could.
“What… What on this fetid dying earth is going on here?” They weren’t concerned, per se, but curious about the sudden arrival of this man. He continued not speaking, bringing a trembling hand up and away, pointing softly with a single finger Southwards, slightly - towards a shabby-looking abode. “Do you… Mean to send me there?” His strong lips curled into a serene smile, his hand dropped, and his eyes closed. “Nghh… I had not the time to have his final sounds heard in life a rejection of this quest, perished for naught…” Manta remarked aloud, gritting their teeth. “As if I would simply traipse towards what is not my business… Though, how did he get here through the water? He seemed to appear so suddenly…” They looked towards their truck. The motor was still running, but it had emptied its load fine. “I am curious,” they remarked, and so, after cranking the heat and AC of the vehicle as high as it could go, they abandoned it, diving into the water to see where this dead lad may have come from. ??? Casey awoke to that same odor again, but less severely so, in an uncomfortable, unsheeted mattress in what appeared to be a bunk room of sorts. As she rose, she had to avoid scraping her arm on a rusty spring, rubbing her eyes all the while. “Nngh, what’s..?” She looked around, and after glancing past her a few times, saw Violet laying in a similar situation, a bizarre metal collar around her neck poking out behind the scarf, but otherwise looking unharmed. “Violet..! Wake up, Violet!” “Nnghh… What’s..?” She sat up, feeling around for her beret and putting it on, glancing at Casey. “You’ve got a weird collar on you, Casey…” She felt at her own neck, then. “Oh.” “Look out for those things,” a casual-sounding, low voice uttered, earning the attention of the pair; a woman with dark, wavy hair and a velvet dress was filing her nails on one of the springs. Nearby her sat a cone-haired, dirty-blond high schooler, built like a football player and a varsity away from dressing like it. “When ‘that person’ brings in a ‘Stand User,’ they get a collar like that… Likes to make up little game rules, and if they break ‘em or leave, uh…” She jerked her thumb towards a far-off wall of the room filled with a few dozen bunks, in which a bloody, smoky outline shaped like a person outstretched was dried against the wall. “Poor bastard didn’t listen because the floor wasn’t literally lava… Hey, don’t jump now, yeah? That’s not the game being played right now.” “Palmer, you’re scaring the hell out of them, and that really isn’t useful right now… We’re going to get out soon, I’m sure of it,” another young woman’s voice called out, and as the voice seemed familiar, the face confirmed it. Though her long neat hair was short in an uneven cut, the blue blazer’s sleeves were destroyed, and the bowtie was loose, it was absolutely TV personality Jillian Heart. “Jill..?” Violet asked, tone lightening up immensely. She took a moment to process that, but then nodded. “Hey, Lange. You and Reed doing alright? And, uh, this a friend of yours?” “Yeah, hi,” Casey answered, “Casey Williams… College student.” “She’s cool, yeah,” Violet promised, looking around, “where’s Chad? Not like him to run off…” “That’s why we’re getting out soon,” Jill answered, happily, “we noticed it when you two were brought in! Broke open this statue in the courtyard and found a waterway that ‘Worm’ - that’s what the killer goes by here - has to have been using to get in and out. They have one of those ‘Stands,’ but we all can see it, so they wear it like a costume and it guards them… But Chad’s the strongest person here, and he’s been our rock through all of this! After Worm left again, he volunteered to go through it and find help, and with him, that means it’s as good as done!” “I see… So that makes how many people left here, then?” Casey started counting on her fingers. “Sixteen, minus you two,” Miss Palmer answered, “I’m, uh… Palmer, by the way. Drama teacher at the high school out here. Same story as everyone else here, more or less… Bet the Superintendent’d be happy to hear Elton here and Swift Taylor are still alive, though.” ‘Elton’ said nothing, still, simply sitting there, while Jill took over a bit to talk about the place. “I think I’m gonna start getting the lay of the land, then…” Casey said, feeling the need to take the initiative. “I’ve still got my Stand with me, thankfully, and if we can’t leave just because help shows up, that means we’re gonna have to fight to get out when this killer shows.” “Careful,” Jill warned, “there’s traps all over the damn place here… And ‘Worm’ changes them when we’re not looking, just like they change the furniture, or what doors lock how. Makes everyday in this big house hell, and it’s worst of all around the edges. Makes up most of how people die here…” “I’ll be careful,” Casey said with a nod, stepping out into the halls of the bizarre home. The underwater corridor Chad had needed to swim through to get out was brutal, and even Manta Malaise had felt tense handling it. Over four meters underwater, less than two meters wide, and the top of the dark, dirty, dank area was lined with rusty nails, blades, and the blood of the man who had attempted it, across a forty-meter stretch of water - slightly shorter than an Olympic swimming pool, but so much more claustrophobic, and with pressure much higher. They managed it, however, and were they able to speak now, would have commended the amateur cameraman who only swam as a summertime hobby for managing fatally what they were able to get through unscathed carefully. At the end of this gauntlet was a straight shot up, illuminated by moonlight, and so, Manta hurried upwards, taking a breath as they surveyed the area they had come out in. It was a large fountain on the Eastern end of a long, statue-decorated courtyard full of thorny ground. The crumbled, destroyed remains of such a statue, presumably having once sat atop this passage, was now in pieces, only a pair of outstretched arms on either side of them. “Look out, you damnable fool! The arms, the arms!!” A theatrical voice called out, and Manta looked its way to see a figure in a top hat, three-piece suit, and black cape with a handlebar moustache and unibrow, and before they could process it, an automated voice emerged from the crumbled head at the fountainside.
Flow 24 Detected
The stone arms seized their neck firmly, and so soon after they had breathed, they could not again. It was no matter for their strong arms to easily smash these damaged ones of stone, however, and soon, they crumbled and descended into the deep. However, Manta felt a new weight around their neck nonetheless; a metal collar. “So… You are the ‘help’ that damned Kroeger sought? Imposing and impressive-looking for sure, but entrapped like the rest of us now.” The dapper fellow complained. “Who are you to criticise me, when you yourself are enraptured in this place as well?” Manta asked, spying the man twirling his moustache and moving to do the same with their own facial hairs as if in challenge. “You dare insult Los Fortuna Parking Lot Magnate Born Bad? I was celebrating turning a GarfieldEATS into one, when I thought I might make my next grand step the transformation of the entire Wormwood River into the world’s largest parking lot as well!” Bad was twirling his moustache hard enough one might have thought it would catch alike. “It would have been a fortune for me, and a record for parking lot-kind!” “That would destroy the ecosystem of all of Los Fortuna, you know… Ingenious, if more brazen and avant-garde than I might have done,” Manta answered, “tell me now. What have I been caught in?” Through much villainous posturing, Born Bad explained similar basics of the situation to Manta that Jill had for Casey. “So my own curiosity has laid me in this ‘Worm’s’ tunnels… Yet, at once, I think it will do to undo this as well. Entrapment here stands in my mission’s way.” That conversation was cut short by the sound of the Westernmost balcony opening its doors, several meters above them, and a young woman with brown hair, eyes, and skin was looking down at them. She appeared, at once, confused and intimidated by their presence, which was the response Manta generally wanted to evoke. “Hey, you! Are… Did Chad send you?” Casey asked, clearing her throat. “How is he? Is he alright?” “If you mean the youth who died luring me here without a word, he is certainly deceased… And has caused for me a definite predicament of a pickle.” “Wh…” She sounded taken aback. “He’s dead? H-how can you sound so indifferent? That guy risked his life to get help for us, and-” “And I knew him not, and he got me trapped here. Why should I shed tears for his passing?” Before this argument could escalate further, a large, pristine-quality monitor which framed the upper Northern wall of the courtyard turned on on its own, and in it, was an image of the entrance foyer of the manor. Slowly, from its floor, that that thing Casey saw before emerged, idly twirling a saber in its hand and lifting it over its head as it leaped several meters into the air. (Shout-outs to Skelly-tan for this art!) A voice, both distorted and gargling yet perfectly coherent spoke from its wide maw. “Good evening, everybody, thanks for tuning in! It’s me, you all know me, your hero, the Conqueror Worm! Let’s give it up for our guests tonight… We’ve got a lot going on for our last big ‘game night!’ That’s right, you heard me, last one! Much as doin’ what I have here has been fun, after this, I mean to move onto bigger and better things… But I’ll never forget this place, pinky-promise!” There was a sort of twisted, uncanny elegance to the way ‘Worm’ paced around, both as if it were limping in agony and gliding effortlessly, the camera focused on it at all times. “Yep, Aurelio, you heard me right… Conqueror Worm is done bein’ your killer! The lot of you left in here are the end of a generation, and y’all are absolute treats to work with! So, with three Stand Users here, good an’ collared and here to have a time and a half, let’s make this a grand finale for the BOOKS! Stand Users,” it pointed its blade towards a small entranceway behind it, “that door there is locked, but also, in the right circumstance, the one way you’re gettin’ off my property without explodin’ into funny lil’ chunks! See!” The screen, then, turned into a showing of two maps of the building, with several spaces highlighted. “I just got finished slitherin’ around droppin’ off three ‘chips’ which ya scan against your own specific collars, and then, if you’ve unlocked that mini-foyer behind me, boom! They’re off, and you’re free! I just gotta make sure you die before then, and I can do it with ease! With this body of mine, I can grab anything, put it in there, and pass through any surface I can fit on, see! And to the first person t’get out of it alive? A SPECIAL gift’ll come!” “Didn’t mention the master key?” Another voice asked. “Well no I didn’t, but no way they can get that offa-” The camera returned to its view of Worm, though Violet was standing directly behind it, directly waggling a keycard in between her fingers. Not much further back, Jill was covering her mouth with clear amusement. “Wh- Why you!” He swung at her with her blade, and she dodged back, and Worm threw his head back and laughed. “Well, I’ll be… How’d you manage t’pull that off? That’s on MY person, INSIDE here!” “I started to steal things just for the rush and attention of it when I was seven years old,” Violet said something then, which the audio blurted out and her mouth was off-camera for, but the sound of which shook Worm to his core, his laughing growing slightly incredulous. As she did, she swiped the card over her collar, and it clanked to the ground in pieces. “Yeah, that’s right, I figured out exactly who you are… and now your whole audience knows.” “I mean sure, think that if y’want!” “Right… You probably censored it then.” She pouted, then struck a cool and casual pose. “No matter… I’ll just show them your corpse.” A big bushy white hound emerged from Violet’s person, then, ethereal and snarling and beautiful, and she called out, “This is the start of a new me! ‘Forgive and Forget’ is putting you down, Worm!” As the Stand-dog rushed forward, he chuckled. “Keep runnin’ into white Stand-dogs lately, huh… It’s gonna end for you like it did the last one, too! You shoulda just run!” F&F leapt into the air, taking aim for the throat underneath Worm’s pungent armor, but he lifted one arm, and as fangs sunk into that, his other swung its blade. Violet’s face went wide-eyed and pale, and she looked down at herself, clutching her stomach and noticing how red poured out. “Ooh, did I reach bone there? Tough break…” Worm pulled back the blade, removing it from Forgive and Forget’s midsection as the white dog dropped to the ground before its user, fading away as she fell to her knees. “Aw, y’didn’t realize? This ‘Saber of the Gold Knight’ I perma-borrowed from our local museum ain’t just a conversation-starter… I wouldn’t take it for no good reason at all!” “Violet..?” Jill asked, stepping back towards another room, too afraid of Worm to rush to her friend’s aid. “What… What even happened? Worm swung at the air, and… And…” Panicking, despite her resolve, Jill ran into the other room, a look of clear terror and guilt on her face. “…I dunno, blanked out there!” Worm chuckled a bit, shaking off its bitten, uninjured-looking arm and retracting the sword inside its own fetid rolls of rotten off-white flesh. “But whatever happened, that’s ONE down!” He kicked Violet into a corner to the sound of her whimpering and sighed, pacing around a bit as he held up his master keycard and sucked that, too, up in his person. “Won’t cause me much trouble like that, but I know the other two of ya are in my courtyard… Funny startin’ place, since I like to use that place for when a guest wants to just say ‘I give up! End it here!’ Real useful tool for that bit of mercy, y’know? But anyway, the show goes on, and one-on-one is more interesting anyway! First one t’get to the end, I’ll even throw in an EXCLUSIVE interview to make it worth your while! But I’m not gonna keep the viewers at home waitin’ anymore saying more, since this is already goin’ on a little while, and you’re our stars still! So, without further ado…” “OPEN THE GAME!!! Man is that SATISFYING t’say!” Location: The estate of the Conqueror Worm, a two-floor building straight out of a Survival Horror. The whole place is hanging with an odd smell, and walls of most of the rooms are dotted with realistic murals of bones and various body parts - given Conqueror Worm’s ability, one must wonder how they were made. 1F MAP, 2F MAP. Due to interests of character limit, the details of each room in the estate can be found here. Most of the rooms are pretty simple, though, so don’t be intimidated by that. The players are denoted by the circles marked with their character’s initials, with Manta standing in the fountain on the far-East end of the Courtyard of Despair, and Casey standing on the Western second-floor balcony overlooking it. Worm, meanwhile, starts in the first floor’s entrance hall, marked with a question mark. The C marked squares and the M marked squares are the chips that Casey and Manta need respectively, scanning which against their collars will ‘count’ them as read. For what it’s worth, the Violet chips were in the hot tub, freezer, and conservatory, but that is completely irrelevant now. The circles with numbers in them represent the nonstand-using Survivors present in the area. Exact details on each of them aren’t particularly important, but a list of their names can be found here. The personality blurbs and occupations listed aren’t really relevant for the match’s sake; even the sports stars have been brought to a point where they have the same stats as everyone else. The X and Y marked rectangles are locked doors and their respective keys are somewhere on the map denoted by the X and Y marked diamonds; these function not unlike car keys; though they can be used to physically lock and unlock the door in person with a turn, it’s much more convenient that one press of the buttons on them can instantly lock and unlock every door on the map marked with the correct letter. The “F” marked square is the keycard that unlocks the finish line room. Several of these rooms have traps which Worm knows about, but the players will not be given foreknowledge of all of them. These are already set in stone, however, and it will be up to the attentiveness of the players in following the location descriptions not to fall victim to these; hints are provided, basically, and they’re designed not to be too hard to respond to if you see them coming. The rooms’ ceilings are generally quite high, three and a half meters above the ground, with about half a meter of space between the ceiling of one and floor above - basically, being a story directly above or below Manta is NOT enough to be within the range of Morgana Courts Danger. Goal: Casey and Manta, your own survival is priority number one here. Try to get yourself out of this situation alive! In order to do so, you must deactivate your own collar through the insertion of three chips placed around the facility, where labeled on the map. Free yourself and escape alive. That is your priority, and you are under no obligation to help anybody else if you have no desire to. Leaving the map for longer than five seconds without outright moving through the finish space marked on the map will result in the collars detonating, even if all three chips are inserted. Conqueror Worm, kill Casey and Manta by any means necessary. A player character will win if their score surpasses that of the Conqueror Worm’s, while receiving less will result in elimination. A tie will be regarded as normal. This match, thus, has special voting rules. Basically, there are four valid voting options in this: ‘Casey and Manta,’ ‘Manta and Worm,’ ‘Casey and Worm,’ and ‘Conqueror Worm,’ depending on if a voter believes that both players manage to escape, one of them is stopped by the killer, or both of them are. NPC Information: ‘Conqueror Worm’ Sheet (Plain Text Version) Additional Information: Unless noted otherwise, all doors are wooden. While there are several unique NPCs throughout the estate, functionally, all of them can generally be expected to act in the same way: they have 222 stats with irrelevant special skills, and generally speaking, do not want to die, and will act in accordance with things they believe to follow that end, though they are not particularly skilled in identifying traps on their own. Manta Malaise frightens them, however, so they may find they require a little more effort to convince people to follow them around than Casey would be able to. Born Bad (“1” on the map), a fellow Dastardly-looking villainous caricature and thus kindred spirit of theirs, is the sole initial exception. Violet Lange is bleeding and unconscious, and will in no capacity be able to assist, but still alive and should remain so as long as her particular injuries are not aggravated and the game does not take too agonizingly long. The killer has already forgotten about her. Through review of previous materials, the players do have sufficient information to correctly identify the user of Conqueror Worm, who is, in fact, a character who appeared in the previous Suburb match. They will be allotted one guess, accusation bolded, in the text of the strategy, to name the person. There is no penalty for an incorrect guess, but a correct guess will see ten bonus points awarded; to one side if only they guess it, while both receive five if both do. One hint: they were present at Match 8’s baseball game. The chips are extremely durable, but if they are rendered inaccessible or removed from the premises, a safety switch will force them to be treated as if they were simply activated and used; Worm isn’t interested in a game where victory or loss is impossible. The traps themselves will be revealed throughout the first segment of the killer’s strategy, and take up characters in as much, but the existence of these are an indisputable fact which the players must be wise to either avoid or work around. Though his durability and endurance are exceptional to the point where a fight would be immensely difficult, the killer also possesses a ‘master key’ which, if utilized, can be scanned against the collars to unlock them, unlock the front gate, and unlock any of the electronically-locked doors in the facility.
“No escape, huh? I didn’t want one anyway. That was never part of the plan.” You came here for a reason, even if you’re still trying to define what, exactly, that reason is to you. Whatever you think being a hero might mean in this situation, live up to the standard you define for yourself!
“The greatest threat to the peace of my heart isn’t Jotaro! It’s him! Josuke Higashikata!” This is an indubitably vexing situation into which you have been brought. While you abscond from this, make certain that you find clever ways to get back at that bastard who has entrapped you here!
“‘Misconceptions’ are the most terrifying things in the world… And the consequences are even worse if you’re overly confident that your abilities and talents are superior.” You’ve made an absolute deathtrap of your estate here, and it would be a damn shame for any of that to go to waste. The more of your traps successfully go off and seriously hurt someone, the higher your JoJolity rating will go!
Tips for goal-betting betting strategies. Football goal bets are particularly liked by gamblers, where successful gamblers often use an over/under betting strategy. Thus, you bet on a specific number of goals which will occur per match or you bet on whether there will be more or less goals than the number set. The only bankroll management strategy that you need in sports betting is the one that I discussed in point #3. You can’t beat sports betting through manipulating wagers – you can only win through skill and research. Some of these strategies can even ruin your bankroll, such as the Martingale when you go on a cold streak. Our tips and betting strategies are a quick and easy way to get started. Over 1.5 goals football betting strategy The Over 1.5 goals system is a far more reliable way to place bets than ordinary Over 2.5. The Over/Under 2.5 Strategy. Next to match betting, this is one of the most popular ways to make a bet on a football match. This is similar to the boxing betting strategy Over/Under. Statistically, the average number of goals scored in a match, in leagues all over the world, is 2.5. One goal difference – I like there to be a one goal difference between the teams. Psychologically this can make a big difference to the way players react. One goal is always very attainable whether there are 20 minutes or 2 minutes remaining. Home team losing/Cup game – These situations can create an urgency within a team to score. A rabid
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