Friday, March 12, 2010

Summer Project 199Hate

by Chris McGinty

Provided you read that as “nineteen ninety hate” and not “one ninety nine hate” the title sort of makes a false suggestion. You’re probably thinking I’m referring to 1998. It’s kind of like this thing I heard at a party recently. You say, “Spell ‘top’” and they all like “T-O-P” Then you say, “What does S-T-O-P spell then?” They say, “Stop.” Then you ask “What do you do at a green light?”

Perhaps you had to think about that a moment, and if so you see what that trick does. So let me explain what I mean by “nineteen ninety hate.”

Contests have been a part of the ATW history since Alpha… uh, that is Sniffles (sniff). The fact is that while the intent was to make a public access show, our first completed project was a piece that Miguel and I did called “Chris and Miguel: A Hate Story” circa 1994. That’s the explanation. Hope I was clear.

I’m not sure that there is really so much to say about this contest that isn’t dealt with in Miguel’s Show History for Sniffles (sniff) . April, May, and June 1994 and October 1994.

There are lessons that we learned from this endeavor, and should probably keep in mind today. Having a hard deadline pushed us to get things done. We either had the tape in the mail by June 15, 1994, or we weren’t in the contest. Sadly, we spend most of our lives without hard deadlines. And giving ourselves hard deadlines is kind of a moot point, because they’re probably more soft than anything.

What I remember about that time was a unified sense of purpose. We woke up and we tried to figure out what needed to be done for the project. We didn’t sit around worrying about whether or not we had people to play the different parts. We just had people to play the different parts, because we had to.

We’ve had this sort of sense of purpose at various points throughout our time as amateur videographers: Summer Project ’95, Episodes 1-6 of Sniffles (sniff), Season One ATW, and the first six days of shooting Season Two ATW. Our downfall is that it doesn’t turn on and turn off on occasion. Our downfall is that when it turns off, it turns off for a long time. Just look at the time span between what I listed above. It’s usually years. You don’t find too many success stories that read, “Well we kind of worked on it for two months then took about ten months off dabbling a little here and there, then worked for two months, then took a about a year off dabbling again, then got serious for six months, then got mad at each other for a bit, then half of us started working with someone else a few years later and did alright with it for a while and then just dabbled with things for a few years, and then got serious for six days, and then I don’t know what we did.”

5 comments :

  1. Can I just say you can't have your cake and eat it too.
    We (Miguel and I) are not the ONLY things standing in the way of your 'super-stardom'. Many a time I ask you what you got accomplished in the last week and you give the same 3 responses:
    1.) "I don't know what happened. Just a lot of shit and I didn't get anything done."
    2.) "I look up and the weeks over, I don't know where it went."
    3.) "I just felt like shit all week and didn't get much done but sleep."

    Always remember the door swings both ways my little over-sleeper.

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  2. That's some funny shit. Sorry but I did laugh at Nathan's comment.
    Ok, this has nothing to do with the above or anything else on this blog but I'm sure you've heard of the new banking regs about to go into affect? If you haven't read here.
    Consumers have become quite used to free checking over the last 15 years or so. the Fed's new overdraft regulations, scheduled to go into effect in July (new accounts) and August (existing) accounts this year will change the financial equation such that free checking is no longer viable.

    I'm skeptical. The potential impact of the Fed's overdraft regulation impact is greatly over-hyped.

    The Fed's overdraft regulation is very weak, especially in comparison to legislation proposed in the Senate and House. The main piece of the Fed's overdraft regulation is the requirement that consumers opt in to discretionary overdraft protection for point-of-sale (POS) debit and ATM transactions and prohibits discrimination against consumers who do not opt in. The rule does not affect check and ACH overdraft or NSF fees (there are various reasons for this, including, but not mentioned in the Federal Register notice, that the Fed did not have to coordinate with other bank regulators to regulate debit and ATM).

    Approximately 50% of overdraft fees come from POS/debit and ATM transactions, according to the FDIC. So, at most 50% of overdraft revenue is implicated by the regulation. (Maybe there'd be some spillover effect to check/ACH overdraft revenue, but I don't see that as likely.)

    There's also no reason to believe that most consumers would not opt-in to overdraft protection. I don't know of any good data indicating what opt-in rates are likely to be, but I think they'd probably be high. Banks will control the solicitation of the opt-in, and will be able to make it look like the smart thing to do. In fact, banks can make opting in the smart thing to do because they are free to charge whatever type of NSF fees they want for denied transactions. With high NSF fees, accepting overdraft protection would be opting for the the lesser of two evils.

    Ultimately, it doesn't even matter if most consumers do not opt-in to overdraft protection; most overdraft revenue comes from a small subset of repeat overdrafters. It is the repeat overdrafters whose opt-in rate will be crucial. Those who routinely overdraft might be more inclined to opt-in because they have come to rely on the service. They might not like the fees, but their repeat behavior indicates that they'll tolerate them and perhaps even opt for them rather than have overdrafts denied.

    In short, I just don't see banks losing that much revenue as the result of the overdraft regulations. There will, of course, be some transaction costs for banks in doing the solicitations, but that shouldn't be a deal-breaker. The Fed's overdraft regulations stop well short of what is needed to make the overdraft market competitive, which is what is necessary to push down prices; how many consumers are going to move their accounts to another bank when they are confronted with the level of fees their current bank charges? There's a huge amount of lock-in with bank accounts.
    Bank of America as claiming that it has already lost $160M in overdraft revenue as the result of changes it has made in anticipation of the Fed's rule. I'm curious what this figure actually represents. What changes has BoA made to comply with the regulation? BoA certainly hasn't implemented a full opt-in system yet. I'm not sure what else they'd really have to do to comply. And if the Fed rule is costly, why would BoA want to implement it any sooner than necessary? - Kelly

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  3. Part Deux of new Banking Regs.

    I see three possible responses to the impact on the banking business model: (1) start charging fees for checking accounts to offset lost overdraft revenue, (2) bundle checking accounts with over services (like impossible to value, and likely worthless, ID theft protection) and charge for it, (3) go with an à la carte model, with free bare-bones checking, but charges for all add-ons.

    Some banks have already started adopting some of the other models without the regulatory impetus. Why not also bundle in hard-to-value services and charge for it?
    Even so, I don't see banks jumping to these models even if overdraft revenue were to take a sizable hit. These models have been possibilities for years, but banks still offered free checking even when overdraft revenue was considerably lower. In 2004, overdraft fees were $10.3 billion total, while for 2009, they're estimated to be as high as $38 billion. A regulation that at most would push overdraft revenue back 50% to about $19 billion isn't likely to cause banks to adopt business models they rejected when free checking + overdraft brought in $10.3 billion in overdraft fees.

    It's also important to mention a fourth possibility that is often forgotten in the regulatory discussion: regulation makes the marketplace more competitive, so banks just have to live with smaller profit margins.

    If merchant fees are reduced, consumer fees will go up and vice-versa. The possibility that bank, rather than consumer, surplus might be reduced rarely makes its way into the discussion, but it is the result that should attain in a competitive financial services marketplace.
    Don't get me wrong. I think the opt-in requirement is a good one--meaningful assent is an important part of contracts, and the opt-in moves towards overdraft credit extension from consumers. Overdraft fees are already disclosed in some fashion in the account opening disclosures, but that's buried in pages of fine print that nobody reads. I wonder, though, just how much a one-time opt-in, the setting for which is controlled by the bank, will affect consumer behavior...or bank revenue.
    -Kelly

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  4. See Chris, your blog posts are soooo deep that people feel the need to discuss the banking industry with you.
    I'm just upset that SPAM BOT 2000 didn't laugh at my comment.

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  5. No, its Spam Bot 2010. The guys from Spain did the SpamBot 2000 and they are now arrested.
    -K

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