The Pick and Roll has survived its first season, and is into its second – a remarkable achievement with so many ups and downs. More positives than negatives to be honest, and I’m still very much gratified and motivated by the guys who are committed to the cause, so to speak.
With the new season, I decided the NBA content has to very much go the same way as everything else. We have to cover our Aussies in the NBA, and it has to be done consistently. The site is about Aussies, and this is where the content direction has to be headed.
With that said, it’s back to walking the talk and not just spouting “we” statements without action, so I took up the job myself.
Aussies in the NBA is now a weekly feature by yours truly, and takes anything from 8-12 hours (or more!) of work. It includes:
- checking injury updates
- tabulating stat lines for the week
- finding entertaining social media posts to embed
- watching games (or at minimum, clips of FGA, assists and rebounds) to get a feel of how each player’s week went
- thoughts on each player’s performance
- working with Alistar, who’s been a lifesaver on the video end. He compiles a weekly Top 3 AITNBA highlight reel, and relevant clips to be embedded via gfycat
- generating GIFs on my own for sequences I want to talk about
- getting a decent screencap to use as the featured image
- scheduling and writing promotional posts on Twitter and Facebook (along with analysis to see what works better)
This is still very much a work in progress, and is seriously a huge energy vampire. It would have been much easier, had I chose to do a high level recap with stat lines and zero analysis. The idiot in me however, believes in presenting the best effort I can possibly give, and that means doing everything above.
Hopefully, this will help to boost the profile of the site further, and get our name out there. I’m confident in the originality/quality of the article, but it remains to be seen if everyone is keen on reading length discourses like how mine runs. Secondly, there is also the challenge of getting the article out to readers, which is a field of study in itself. If you have been reading it and think it’s great, I’d love a share or two. If not, let me know what could be improved.
Not forgetting of course, I have to get the newsletter up and running. That usually takes a night’s work – not horrible, but it’s yet another item that takes time away.
New season, new challenges. I’m also glad that we’re getting consistent ground coverage with Darrel this year, and also with Olgun’s presence in Chicago. Things to be thankful for.
The Pick and Roll’s Facebook page has gone through the roof over the course of less than two months. On 12 Jun 2014, it was at 16,205 likes. As of 27 Jul 2014, it was 27,100. We had gained approximately 11,000 likes, or a growth of 67% within 5 weeks. How crazy is that?
Disclaimer: We have never spent on advertising for Facebook likes.
The page growth has been staggering, seeing as we were 5,614 at site launch – this was late Sep 2013. It’s taken plenty of hard work via consistent posting and sharing to get the page up to the 5 digit mark, and then we hit a plateau right around mid-Apr 2014. I for one, thought that was going to be it for a while. And then the crazy thing happened, and you can see via the graph below, how meteoric the current spike has been.
The interesting thing about this phenomena however, is that it seems to be triggered by Facebook itself, more than any kind of paid advertising on our side.
How useful would likes be though, if your content doesn’t get out to them? I could very well boast of 27,000 as a portfolio, but if Facebook’s algorithm is restricting post visibility to say 2,000 for example, it wouldn’t be making much difference unless I paid to boost post visibility. I have tested Facebook ads before, and the general conclusion so far is that boosting works pretty well, with a high engagement rate and low cost. (More to come in another post if I can be bothered.)
More than the number of likes though, I’m more concerned with other metrics like keeping our overall fan composition dominantly Australian, being able to engage with them (post visibility, getting them responding to our content, making sure they like the stuff we post) and of course, reading our articles! At the end of the day, maintaining the quality of the product is more important than anything else. On Facebook, that means the entertainment value of the posts we put up, and making sure people see it, and like it enough to want to share it.
Not complaining about the wave of likes though! All aboard and moving on.
I like to think that spellcheck erodes our ability to write and spell. Without constant practice and use, this tool became an eventual crutch. Add the lazy misspellings the internet generates, and it’s turned into a veritable cesspool of awful mistakes that smack me in the nuts, at a pace that is all too frequent. Amazingly, these mistakes are not exempt, even in publications like newspapers, where I often expect the quality of writing to be much better.
Alas, ’tis a tragic world we live in. Or I’m just too nitpicky.
Your / You’re
Wrong: “Your an idiot.”
Right: “You’re an idiot.”
Right: “Your uncle is an idiot for saying that – does he not understand the gravity of the situation?”
Their / There
Wrong: “Their was a fool in front of me.”
Right: “There was a fool in front of me.”
Right: “Their uncle was a fool who squandered his fortunes away, and died penniless.”
Must of / Must have
Wrong: “He must of left his brain at home.”
Right: “He must have left his brain at home.”
Right: (There is no right version.)
Rouge / Rogue
Wrong: “The operative has gone rouge, we must capture him as soon as we can.”
Right: “The operative has gone rogue, we must capture him as soon as we can.”
Right: “The operative paused to apply some rouge on her cheeks. Pleased with the effect, she smiled at her reflection, and turned away for an evening of subterfuge.”
Free rein / Free reign
Wrong: “The servant had free reign in the house, and did as he pleased.”
Right: “The servant had free rein in the house, and did as he pleased.”
Right: (There is no right version.)
Peek / Peak
Wrong: “He took a sneak peak at the lady in the shower.”
Right: “He took a sneak peek at the lady in the shower.”
Right: “He was at the peak of his life, enjoying the freedom of being an unfettered, healthy young soul who chose to do whatever he wanted.”
These are just common mistakes that continue to stab me in the eyes, every single time I see one. The list is definitely longer, but I’ll stop here.
Three broad categories, from excellent to horrible. Which category do you belong to? Be honest with yourself, go!
If I’m an employer, these are the people I want. Not content in merely doing their jobs, they constantly think of ways to make work easier. Not only for themselves, but for the people around them, and for the company as a whole. Some people might call them agitators, troublemakers for upsetting the peace, but it’s the movers and shakers like these, that help a company to grow organically in little ways, beyond the official policies that are being set down.
Most of us belong in this category. The executor can be trusted to carry out tasks independently within defined boundaries, without causing too many problems. Do what’s needed, get things sorted out, go home. The end. Just grinding away, yo! Ain’t got no time for complicated things.
Like how Bill Simmons would put it, this is the Keep Getting Dem Checks (KGDC) guy, except there seems to be no work involved. The kind of person we secretly envy, and at other times wonder at the value of their existence in the company. What the hell does this guy do at work, exactly? A lot of people probably have that same question.
Bear in mind, we all probably drift from category to category at different times of the year, depending on how we feel. If you’ve lost all interest in your job, it’s no surprise you’re turning into a KGDC guy while keeping a lookout for new opportunities. Learn to love your job and appreciate the positives, try and make things better. We could all use a little upside in our lives!
Guess what? I kept my promise made last year, and TOOK A DAY OFF! I’m amazing. 14 Jul 2015 is a Tuesday though, so I’m fcuked.
In a rather unusual departure from what a usual birthday should be, I took a day off. From the internet, the kids, and everyone else. It has been a bit of a grind recently. The daily commute, work, the ever expanding scope of The Pick and Roll that’s been taking a fair bit of time and energy, it was all eating away at my reserves. I needed to really get away from everything, and just do squat. No Facebook, no Twitter, no emails (hell yeah!) and no kids.
I ended up spending Sunday night alone over at a nice little apartment in the city. Crazy? I loved it.
I’d honestly be happy to live in a pad like this long-term if I was a bachelor. Nice and cosy, just the right amount of room for a single fellow.
- Caught a movie – 22 Jump Street’s hugely entertaining, and Grill’d had this promo with Hoyts that made it cheaper than buying the ticket by itself.
- Checked into the apartment, and coughed up the $150 bond (WTF?), to be refunded upon checkout.
- Idled around, caught a bit of TV (The First Sunday), and conked out for a couple of hours. Bliss.
- The bowels decided it was time to empty everything and anything, so that was shit. Literally. Not the best feeling, but beats constipation any day.
- Trudged all the way to Kokoro Ramen, tried their tonkutsu shio ramen with fried chicken. Ramen’s not too bad, soup’s a little thick but feels more homemade (ie not premixed shit.)
- Bought some chow from Coles, walked back and watched some guys shooting hoops. Ended up playing 2on2 with two Chinese guys (big guy, little guy) and a Korean dude. My teammate (the Korean dude) was automatic from mid-range, and a deadly driver. Not to mention the fact that he was aggressive on D, and went over screens whenever I called them – great player. We killed the Chinese guys for two games straight, just from one single play: I set a screen, they switched on defense and he blew straight by the big guy for layups. They became smarter after that, and hedged really hard on the screen. It was a little slippery due to the drizzle though, so I didn’t bother playing slip screens. That being said, the little guy couldn’t really keep up with him, and my defender was helping really hard on defense, to the point of double teaming him.
- Lost count of the thousands of times I was wide open from mid-range, my usual sweet spot. I was shit from everywhere all night long on shooting though, the only shots I could make were bank shots apparently. So I got pissed in the end and just banked my remaining shots – the end. I couldn’t do much when I had the ball, as my Korean buddy was camping all the way out at the wing all the time and almost never made cuts. It was either shoot, or pass to him, or drive in (least palatable option due to wet ground.) We had a few good possessions where I cut across the paint from right to left, drawing my big guy away for an instant, and the Korean took the chance to drive straight in for an open righty layup. It’s something good players recognise, and I used to love doing this with Ambrose, back when he was still here. Never had to mention it to him, but he was always on the lookout for opportunities like that.
- The big guy who was defending me was making remarks to his teammate about me pushing him – he thought I didn’t speak Mandarin. Well, what can you do when the guy you’re guarding is twice your size? I wasn’t going to front him in the post all night long, too much effort for a lazy night. He was pretty good from long range though, I’ll give him that. Couldn’t be stuffed guarding him up close however, floor was too wet and I’d concede an open jumper over an easy layup. Result: we won, like 4 games to 3. Credit to the Korean teammate more than anything else though.
- Caught Snatch on DVD – such a brilliantly executed movie. Love the characters, the story flow, the way the movie was filmed.
- Went on to finish about half of The Bourne Identity before calling it a night. Rest, not movie marathon!
It was a bit of a shock when I woke up to darkness, a king-sized bed and total quiet outside of the alarm. Totally disoriented, and was groggily wondering where the f I was, and then I remembered.
The actual birthday was, normal. Had a haircut, dropped the coins off at the bank, checked out the new Emporium mall, and had a really good lunch and catch up with Cherie. Caught up on emails and the kids at home, and had dumplings for dinner with the family outside. No birthday cake, yep. MILESTONE!
What I learnt from this year’s birthday..
Just being able to lounge on a sofa, kick back and watch DVDs with no regard for anything and everything, is a real luxury. I need more of this. MOAR! I miss having my own private space.
And if you want a birthday cake and celebration and shite, make sure you put the details together yourself. As always, never trust other people to get the job done.
Also very thankful for my new job at CA. Every new role is always a journey of learning, and I’m glad to have an understanding manager, great colleagues and a peaceful environment that allows steady growth, in contrast to the pressure cooker environment that I’ve seen and heard about elsewhere.
On a sidenote, I found it ironic that the decision to found The Pick and Roll stemmed from immense frustration on not being able to write freely. I proceeded to create such an outlet, and then stopped writing anyway, because running the site took almost all of my time. I can only say, whoever’s up there controlling my destiny has a pretty twisted sense of humour.
More about The Pick and Roll. If only running a website was that easy! Register a domain, install a CMS and just write shit? Hardly.
- Think about the dozens of people who believe in the site, and have come on board as team members. The consistent, ceaseless effort taken in promoting content, and posting informative, entertaining content.
- The hundreds (or thousands) of people that read our articles, and get entertained by our social media feeds.
- Our first advertiser even!
- The technical challenges in keeping the site running (security, improving user experience for writers, improving UI for readers, loading speed, SEO, newsletter blah blah) is a study in itself, and managing relationships, even more so.
- I’ve learnt so much about tempering the way I say things, and this has been in no small part thanks to Terry’s constant reminders.
- Thanks once again, to Steve for being such a stellar hand at keeping the Aussie hoops section running without help. I can only say, I wish I was half as competent as he is right now, back when I was his age.
- Damian too, for being a ceaseless champion of the college cause, and keeping things lively.
- Our stalwart writers. Fantastic guys like Josh H and Josh L, prolific and capable people, folks I’m very pleased to be working with. The newer guys like Craig, Travis, Mika, Josh P, and of course Olgun, our U17 specialist who’s emerged from his pseudonym and is still rapidly growing from day to day. It’s my dream to one day, have everyone grow and be independent authors, but that goal is still some ways away. Onwards!
- Editors like Darrel, who’s handled the panel topics with a deft touch, and is looking to have fun with media access in the coming days. Clifton, who has kept up with his job on vetting potential writers and executed with precision.
On to thoughts about the past year. I guess the biggest lifechanger so far, has to be the birth of our little boy. Having a child is a blessing, and two? I call it being infinitely lucky. Another journey full of challenges in the years ahead. I can never fully express the level of appreciation I have for my mum on being around to help. Without her, things at home would come to a screeching halt.
Something that’s not often obvious, is the fact that my life with V is more often than not, a smoothly running stream. We seldom argue, and it’s only at times when I hear about arguments that happen with other couples, that I realise, and once again reaffirm my initial decision to be with her eight years ago. She allows me the space I need to grow into my own person, and peace of mind to focus on my other passions. For that alone, I’m very thankful.
Not forgetting the mother. Her cheerful demeanour and unselfish willingness to help out in every facet of the household from cooking, laundry to the kids, has been an immense boon, I honestly don’t know how we would’ve coped without her. Reckon I’ve got the easiest going mother in the world, and that in itself makes for a world of difference in easing things up at home.
How thankful should one be for having a sibling? Granted it was a biological process that was largely out of my control, but I’m glad that Stan’s been around all these years. For being the kind, understanding soul that he is, and for always doing the little things without complaint. Always the first to put his hand up, and just get the work done – that’s how he’s like. There’s nothing like family, and it’s hard to convey in a few words, how much I appreciate him helping with everything. But thank you.
Also, happy to still be able to able to keep in touch with some of my friends. Having the little boy around has meant much lesser dinners outside and catch up sessions, but I do what I can. Thanks to everyone for understanding, and still reaching out to say hi every now and then, be it via Facebook, WhatsApp etc. Thank you! This includes people like LH, Estee, Alvin among many others.
I reckon the best surprise I’ve had the past year, was the unexpected visit from NZ and MS last month. They literally bought tickets down to Melbourne, pretended “a friend” of theirs was coming by to pass over presents for the kids, and then promptly showed up at my office door, while sending texts in a nonchalant manner until I realised from the messages that they were quite literally, staring at my back. I can be quite dense at times. Love you guys for popping by! Thank you.
Deepest thanks to LS as well, who’s never forgotten about my birthday ever, and I’m looking forward to the gift, no matter what it may be! Much love for always keeping me in your mind all these years.
Not forgetting of course, my best mentor and buddy ZM, who’s always a ready listening ear and at the same time, a fellow ranter at the twisted world we work in ;) I can say with total honesty that he’s been the greatest influence on my life as far as work ethics go, and that my perspectives would have been much changed, had he not picked “that guy” at the job fair in Tampines a long time ago.
Two other shitty milestones, lifetime firsts. My first ever traffic violation! An illegal left turn into a road that I vaguely remembered was illegal during certain hours, and getting flagged by cops. Well, at least I wasn’t alone. Also, my first accident with a car. Stupidly backed into someone else’s parked car in a lot. It was a rainy day, I let go of the brake while in reverse, and it went BOOM! straight into someone’s driver door. Went in and found the driver, owned up et cetera, looking to get hit with a hefty bill. Having a conscience and doing the right thing is an expensive act.
Back to Singapore in December for Christmas, and that was it. 56 friends. 51 sessions. 21 days. Friends, family, food and catching up on the good old books at home.
Not the best performance to date, I’ll have to do better.
Abysmal would be a nice word to start this off. There was a stretch when I played twice a week on average, but the play has always been inconsistent. In terms of personal growth, there hasn’t been much improvement. I’m slowly regressing to being jump shot happy more than anything else, which in term stems from a basic principle: make the defender pay for leaving you open. It’s only when the threat is established, that everything else goes.
Hoping for better ball time in the year ahead, but with sleep in short supply the way it is, I’m not optimistic.
Sometimes, it’s difficult to feel the gradual, and subtle changes that the self goes through in the course of a year. If I had to make a list though, it’ll be:
- Patience in talking to people, and
- Not having the patience in wasting time, but trying to get things done as quickly as possible. Or sorting out people’s problems in a similar manner. The rule of thumb is something like, “how can I solve your problem in the most efficient and time-saving way possible, so that you can go away ASAP and let me do my stuff?”
- Slowing down pace of consuming content. I’ve always been a gamer who waited for the price to drop before getting them, and the same went for movies, electronics etc. Don’t see this trend changing anytime soon.
FG: A pair of new earrings! Just what I needed, have been wearing the same pair (her Christmas present) for a few years now.
FG: (It took me a while to notice that she’d actually painstakingly coloured the front of this card by hand, shit. Love this girl to bits for that extra bit of effort. Like seriously, who does this kind of thing nowadays? She’s hands down, the best giver of presents I’ll ever know.)
To My Dearest Fren, Kein!
Bought this in Taiwan like eons ago… Finally remembered to use it. Haha. Hope you find it unique.
Hope this card & present reaches you in time. Well what else can I say… It’s Just amazing to have a friend like you in my life. Best thing that ever happened. You know how much I treasure our friendship yeah
Promise to try & find time to go over next year ok! Hee
Have a Beautiful Birthday!
Stan: (Over the hill, over the hill, and wheeeeeeeee rushing down the other way!)
Thanks for being a great support in my life always. Happy Birthday and I hope things stay peaceful always. A quiet life is a peaceful life! May life continue to bless you with a smooth road ahead.
*Screen captures because I couldn’t replicate emojis in text
Adri: Happy birthday in adv to july boys ;)
CL: Happy Birthday Kein!!! May all your wishes be fulfilled!! And enjoy ur day with your loved ones!!
Peiru: Happy birthday, Kein!!!
Andrew: Happy birthday kein!
Jasmine: Happy birthday it guy:))) whats on?
NZ: Happy Birthday mate! Have a good one!
Bill: Happy birthday man, have a good one bro
Clifton: Happy birthday bro. Have a great one and see you soon!
SJ jie: Hi di, Happy Birthday! Have fun! May you have many joyful days and stay healthy!
Lester: Hello boss. Happy birthday! Sorry a bit late. Just woke up. Heh.
HJ: Happy Birthday! :)
LK: Happy Birthday Bro! hope u had a blast. =)
Steve: Btw happy birthday to the keinmiester. Hope your family spoils you, and you enjoy the day :D
Jim: Yes yes, many happy returns Kein! Hope you knock their socks off in the next year!
Huijia: Happy birthday Kein! May all ur dreams cm true!
Wing: happy birthday kein
Alistar: Happy Birthday man hope you enjoy the day! You going to the wizards with pierce? Haha ;)
Facebook wall posts
Terry: Happy birthday if I don’t speak to you beforehand.
Justin: A big Happy Birthday to @kein, my Brother from another Mother.
Francis: Happy birthday K :)
ahlong: Happy 33rd.. you know it’s coming, thus revel the day and toast the achievements of yesteryear.. live long and prosper.
Here’s to another great year of continued good health, DSL (dog shit luck, it means something in Chinese) and continued life improvement. Hoping for life to get bigger and better as the years continue to go by, and for more fond memories in the days to come. May this ride continue for a while more, because I’m not ready to get off just yet.