Posts for Tag: contracts

Zito pitches a gem

Are we seeing the 2002 Barry Zito?  It's hard to believe that he hasn't lost since August 2nd of last year!  Kudos to him for finally living up to that huge contract.  Ironically Zito's $18M a year average on his contract makes him only the 9th highest paid pitcher in 2012 (and likely to fall in 2013 when new contracts are announced).  Of course he stunk from 2007 to 2011 as one the highest paid pitchers in the league but it never seemed to be for lack of trying.  My hope is that he rewards the Giants faithful by resigning with them for a discount next year.  But then again, baseball is business and he's getting hot just in time for contract renegotiations.

Latte/Cappuccino art and why it's like a bowl with no brown M&M's

Just the other day, someone I know was giving me grief over where I buy my coffee.  The word "douche bag" was used at some point which is fine with me.  I've come to realize that some of the things I enjoy are also enjoyed by the "bags of douche".  Does that make me a douche bag?  Maybe, but that's a subject for another time.  Back to coffee, the fact that Blue Bottle baristas create a nice little piece of latte/cap art was pointed as a sign of ultimate douche-baggery.  But I think people miss the point of why the art is there.  It's not to heighten my enjoyment of the coffee.  It would taste exactly the same whether the art was there or not.  However, it is an indicator that the barista who took the time to learn how to make the art most likely also took the time to learn how to pull a good shot of espresso, steam milk properly, etc.  Most importantly, the fact that Blue Bottle is obsessive enough about coffee to have their baristas learn how to make art means they are also obsessive about the quality of the coffee they source, roast and serve.

It reminds me of the story regarding Van Halen and the infamous bowl of no brown M&M's.  The larger than life rockers were known for their eccentric rocker habits and even wrote into their contracts that one of the requirements the venue provider had to have was a bowl of M&M's in the dressing room with every brown M&M removed or the contract would be voided with full payment due to the band.  Crazy?  Well actually not really.  The band used the brown M&M's as an indicator of whether the venue provider actually read every detail of the contract.  If they failed to notice a small clause like that, what else would they have missed?  Security requirements?  Sufficient power for all the equipment?  Whether their stage could support the weight of the band's lighting equipment, etc?  And more often than not, if they went into the dressing room and saw a bowl of M&M's with the brown ones still included (or no bowl at all), there would also be something much more critical that was overlooked.  In one case, the floor collapsed because the venue provider didn't read the section that showed what Van Halen's stage equipment weighed and that they needed to sufficiently prepare their floor to support it.   

I'm not saying that every place that serves coffee with some art on the top is a great coffee place but based on experience, I've gotten far fewer bad cups of coffee from places that make their caps/lattes with the art versus places that don't.  As with all things, your mileage will vary but next time you see a barista hastily pour steamed milk into your espresso, ask yourself what else she hastily did when making your drink.

Did the Lakers just steal Ron Artest?

I cannot believe that Ron Artest just committed to the Lakers for 3 years and $18.6M or 5 years for $33.5M. Does anyone else think that Ron Artest is woefully underpaid? The above deals value him between $6.2M and $6.7M a year. Here's a list of other players making about that much:
Nazr Mohammed - $6M
Vladimir Radmanovic - $6M
Tim Thomas - $6M
Jerome James - $6.2M
Marquis Daniels - $6.8M
Dan Gadzuric - $6.2M
Luke Ridnour - $6.5M
Jared Jeffries - $6M
Chris Wilcox - $6.7M
Etan Thomas - $6.8M
Mike James - $6.2M
Marko Jaric - $6.5M
Darko Milicic - $7M
Brian Cardinal - $6.3M
Antonio Daniels - $6.2M
Earl Watson - $6.2M
In an interview with ESPN, Artest stated that he had earned a lot of money over his career and wasn't really going after the money any more. Still, I think given that he's the only player since 1999-2000 to average 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals per game and is probably the best wing defender today, someone should have given him a lot more.

Why "Whiners" are good

Jesus Diaz writes a rant over at Gizmodo re: iPhone 3G owners (currently in contract) who are pissed about not being able to get the new iPhone 3GS at the fully subsidized price. To summarize, he's calling us whiners and that we should suck it up. Here's why he's wrong.
To his point - Yes, we are in a contract we freely agreed to. Yes, the cost of the iPhone 3G was subsidized by AT&T so that we could get it at the lower price. Yes, businesses like AT&T need to make money, too. But "whining" is the market's way of telling companies like AT&T and Apple that we demand better. It's how innovation is born and how we are able to enjoy things like iPhones. AT&T should listen to its highly profitable and highly engaged customers who stick with its service despite it being subpar. Apple should listen to its loyal customers who line up to buy its products by putting pressure on AT&T or better yet, by NOT renewing its contract with AT&T and allowing all major GSM based service providers (T-Mobile and Verizon) to have access to the iPhone and thus force competition on price and service quality. Don't hate on the whiners because without us, you'd probably have to pay full price for the iPhone 3GS AND have a 2 year contract like when the original iPhone came out. Or worse still, we'd probably all be using Windows Mobile phones because no one "whined" enough and demanded a better solution.

Last Apple post today (I promise!) ... iPhone 3GS

My last post about Apple today ... saved the best for last. The coup de grace of today's Apple announcements is the new iPhone 3GS. Faster processor, more memory (RAM and Flash), better camera, video recording, voice control, etc. There are a ton of great online reviews so I won't launch into one of my own. Suffice it to say, it's a welcome upgrade to a great device that had some shortcomings. $199 for 16GB and $299 for 32GB.
Of more important note is the fact that current iPhone 3G owners will be screwed. Unlike the upgrade from the original iPhone to the iPhone 3G (could upgrade at the same price as new customers), current iPhone 3G owners who are only 1 year into their 2 year contract will NOT be able to buy the new iPhone 3GS at the subsidized prices I listed above. AT&T has graciously allowed these customer to pay an extra $200 (plus $18 upgrade fee) for their iPhone 3GS and then will renew their contracts for another 2 years. I've never seen a wireless company that cared so little about its customers. Don't they realize that people are willing to take their subpar wireless service in order to get the latest doodad? And on top of that, iPhone users outside of the US (non-AT&T carriers) will be getting MMS and tethering support immediately versus waiting another few months while AT&T gets its act together. The Apple-AT&T exclusivity contract is set to end in 2010 and there are talks of extending it till 2011. My hope is that this extension does not happen and we can finally regain the ability to choose our wireless carriers based on service. I guarantee a fair number of iPhone users will jump ship, myself included.