Best 2020 Netflix Releases College Students should watch during Quarantine:

1. Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness

Joe Exotic was married to not one, but two men at the same time. Throughout the documentary, you get the sense that neither of these men are willing partners. It is revealed that much of the relationship with these two young men was fostered upon their drug addiction. Seeking a reliable source of shelter and narcotics, these men fell victim to Joe’s charismatic personality and infallible drug supply. Centering around Joe’s strange relationships with his employees, and an investor named Jeff Lowe, the entire saga of Joe Exotic is laid out in front of you. From his peculiar entrance into the world of Zoo Keeping, through a strange plot to kill his nemesis and rival Tiger Owner, to his current situation – prison. 

Carole Baskin, the owner of Big Cat Rescue, is introduced later in the series. She is the rival Tiger owner that Joe plotted to murder. She is purported to be an opponent of Joe Exotic, with the series delving into numerous legal and media battles the two had squared off in. Carole promotes herself to be a hero for Big Cats with an animal sanctuary designed to rehabilitate and rehome Tigers that have been kept in homes as pets or used in the entertainment realm. While these ideals on the surface seem to be legitimate, you come to find through the series that she has a facility that is similar if not inferior to Joe Exotic’s and is run much in the same way with Carole profiting from visitors and volunteers coming into the park. 

Along with the help of Jeff Lowe and his horrifying assistant/hitman Alan, Joe produces a plan to hire Alan to kill Carole Baskin. The ensuing misfortunes for Joe are dramatic and devastating. Alan runs off with the money given to him to carry out the plan, Jeff Lowe turns out to be an informant for the Feds, and Joe learns that he will need to leave the park immediately as Jeff discovers some financial deceptions that he has been practicing. Among this, Joe also loses one of his husbands to an accidental suicide that his employees say changed the course of his life. Joe also was exposed to have been posting to social media suggesting details of this plot, which ultimately led to the end for Joe Exotic. Getting into the entirety of the details surrounding the ins and outs of this case would take hundreds of pages. 

This is all summed up in a 10 part series that is well worth watching in an 11-hour, one sitting binge. I didn’t even touch on the third Tiger Owner profiled in the series; Doc Antel, who believes it or not even stranger than Joe or Carole. Along with multiple other characters that make this documentary super appealing, the subject matter alone is enough to make you question everything you know about Oklahoma, Love, and Tigers every 3 minutes during the episodes, and for the rest of your life afterward. 

2. Ozark: Season 3

This is a bit of a deviation from the other series on this list, but it’s just too good not to include. If you’re not already familiar with the first two seasons of the Netflix Original Ozarks, it is my recommendation that you stop everything immediately and spend the next 48 hours finishing them. You can come back to this article when you’re done and thank me because this is the best show on Netflix by far.

Centered around a Financial Advisor named Marty Byrde that has gotten tangled up in business dealings with the Cartel. After his partner is exposed by the Cartel and their Boss Del, to be stealing money from the operation by adjusting the weight of the trucks coming in with the Cartel’s exports, he is forced to move his family to the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and begin laundering even more money for his partners. Without being able to keep the secret from their children, Marty and his wife Wendy are tasked with rallying their family around the new reality of their situation. 

As one would expect, nothing goes according to plan for the Byrde’s as they begin their operations in the Ozarks. One after the other, Marty finds that the people closest to him are not always out for his best interests. Persistently through the show, he is let down by his employees and family in the highest-stakes situations that arise. Falling victim to the greed of a family of rednecks, the Langmores, Marty is forced to include members of the family in his operation – leaving him open to more problems down the road. 

Ruth Langmore is the oldest of the Langmore children and muscles her way to a position as Marty’s assistant and go-to employee. She becomes more of both an ally and an enemy as the episodes and seasons progress leaving you to wonder where her intentions and loyalties lie. Along with multiple other antagonists that come along during the series, Marty is tasked with handling these liabilities as they become real problems and start to affect not only his business dealings – but also his family’s safety. 

The tough decisions Marty is forced to make throughout the series set up a foundation for the third season to be extremely climactic. Every choice he makes comes back to influence him in some way or another. The third season ends with yet another new plotline that will leave you reeling and begging for the next season. Once you’ve gotten through with all three of the Ozark seasons, feel free to let me know how right I was.  

3. Killer Inside: The mind of Aaron Hernadez

Aaron Hernandez is one of the most polarizing figures from the NFL in recent years. The star wide receiver from the New England Patriots provided years of high-octane entertainment on the Football field and generated an enormous fan base that stretched across the planet. He was promoted as a hero in the Latin Community and was an active and vocal supporter for underprivileged Hispanic Communities around the United States. Many viewed him as one of the only truly successful Hispanic Players and athletes of his time. 

This Documentary series focuses on the later part of Hernandez’s life – from the time he was arrested on murder charges and when he ended his life in prison. The poignant series visits multiple serious and sensitive topics including that of Aaron’s sexuality. From the start of the series, you’re introduced to various figures from his past, including coaches, teammates, and friends. One of his seemingly closest friends reveals that he and Aaron had not only had a close friendship but also that they experimented with one another sexually and developed an intimate relationship with each other. This comes as a huge surprise in the Documentary and is followed up with multiple other sources expressing similar experiences and information about the subject. The Documentary series speculates that the potential breaking of this news was the driving factor of his suicide. 

Beyond the seriousness of the charges brought against Hernandez, the series also spends time highlighting the extent of his athletic abilities. From early in his life, Hernandez was extremely gifted in multiple sports. Teammates and coaches reminisce about past games and experiences with him fondly and express their extreme shock and confusion upon hearing the news about his legal troubles. 

Others in the series are more vocal about their distaste for Hernandez regarding these issues, many of them also being former coaches, friends, and teammates. A multitude of legal representatives including police, lawyers, and jury members are introduced as well and express the facts about the horrible crimes that he was accused of. 

These parallel storylines make this a series extremely compelling and leave you wondering exactly where you stand in terms of Aaron Hernandez. He is accused of gang-related murders, traced back to his early college and professional careers in Football. While he was making money playing sports, he was also involved in criminal activity on the side, leading him to be involved in multiple shootings and killings. The criminal case against him is laid out in the series, giving you a deep look inside the charges brought against him. It also offers an intimate look at his final days and family relationships in Prison. He struggles to be available and strong for his family, often breaking down over the phone with his Wife on the line, wishing things could be different. It is often met with hard reality from his Wife, letting him know that her life is just as badly destroyed as his and that it was entirely due to his actions. 

The end of the series highlights the legal situation that Hernandez was facing, as well as the financial troubles that his family now faced with him behind bars. Since he was playing for the Patriots up to the day before he was incarcerated, he still had a substantial amount of money left over on his contract. One of his final phone calls with his Wife detailed his plans to make sure that she would receive that money – no matter what. Some legal experts theorize that Hernandez took his own life in prison in an attempt to escape a legal verdict, and put pressure on the Patriots organization to honor his contract without being able to dismiss it due to legal issues. This turned out to be something that didn’t work out in this way at all. 

The series is truly heartbreaking, but also strangely inspiring. The tools that Hernandez naturally possessed were incredible and were an inspiration to millions around the world. His meteoric rise to success and dedication to his community and those within Hispanic communities is a story that will keep you rooting for the underdogs. The same story does a very good job of conveying the dangers of having too much. In the same way that he rose from obscurity, he fell from grace just as dramatically. This serves as a potential warning to those interested in getting involved in criminal activity with the hopes of making money. Even those with more money than you could possibly need to fall victim to the same traps. 

Watching this series, you’ll be left with a new perspective on what it means to be an athlete, a friend, a father, and a functioning member of society. 

4. How to Fix a Drug Scandal

How to Fix a Drug Scandal is another tough watch, but incredibly interesting and thought-provoking. The series follows two Forensic Research Chemists, Sonya Farak and Annie Dookhan, that are focused primarily on drug testing and identification within a government-controlled laboratory. Throughout the Documentary, you are introduced to both Chemists and are told of the ways in which their criminal actions impacted the cases and lives of thousands of individuals. 

Sonya Farak began her career as a Research Chemist after finding love with a friend and following her to a new town. After the relationship dissolved, she continued with her new career, eventually transferring to a lab in Amherst, Massachusetts. What no one realized during her 14-year career was that she was, in fact, a drug addict herself. With uninhibited access to Government Standards of substances like Cocaine, Methamphetamine, and LSD, she was able to feed her drug habit daily for years – going as far as to use drugs like LSD while in the Lab testing the drugs that would be used in criminal convictions. 

All of this spiraled out of control for her when she was found to be using drugs at work, and not only stealing Government Standards but also evidence that was being brought in to her for testing. She constantly stole Cocaine from the evidence that was sent to her, eventually moving to make her own Crack from the evidence. She was actually making Crack from confiscated Cocaine in the Laboratory that she was working in. In. The. Lab! She was finally caught when investigators found out how incredibly blatant her actions actually were. They found not only open and used Cocaine and Crack evidence, but also an actual Crack Pipe that she had made with lab equipment to smoke at work. The whole saga of Sonya is unbelievable and ultimately leads to a harsh reality that the people she helped put in prison for years, may have in fact not had the types or amounts of drugs that Sonya was reporting. Resulting in multiple convictions of decade-long sentences – including one criminal who was picked up for Cocaine, and Sonya reported that it was in fact Heroin. This result was from the day that she was testing Cocaine samples in the lab, on a day that she had taken LSD at work in the lab, and was completely incoherent when performing the tests on the Cocaine samples, that all came up positive for Heroin. Truly heartbreaking to watch. The results of her years of bad testing and drug use at work led to the dismissal of nearly 24,000 convictions from around 16,000 different cases. 

The other Chemist profiled in the series is Annie Dookhan. While the Documentary focuses much on the aspects of drug addiction when discussing Sonya Farak, the case against Annie Dookhan is much more sinister. The allegations against here had much wider-ranging and much more devastating impacts. It was estimated that her criminal actions affected up to 21,000 criminal cases that ended up being dismissed. 

She was found to be working in close relations with Criminal Prosecutors, often promising results for substances that they would send in. She would often say over email that she would work as hard as she could to get the results that they were looking for. It’s chilling to watch as they go into many of the worst cases she affected, including many that had devastating criminal consequences for potentially innocent people. She also used her position to try to get dates with Prosecutors on numerous occasions. Included in this storyline is one of the strangest actions by Dookhan overall. She posed as other people to try to convince Prosecutors to give her a chance to be in a relationship. It’s extremely bizarre and pretty uncomfortable to watch because Dookhan seems unfazed by all of these actions and allegations. 

This is an important watch because it goes to prove that without solid researchers, the accused in America are exposed to another form of injustice. The entire series you’ll be asking, ‘How does this possibly happen?’ By the end, you’ll be terrified to think of how easily these problems could come to exist, and that they may in fact already be happening all over the United States. 


A Guide to Chinese Web Fiction Market

Are you interested in the web fiction market? Do you wonder what the web fiction market looks like in one of the east world that has a very different culture than the U.S.? We will go through the Chinese web fiction in this guide, and after reading it you will have a basic understanding about the Chinese web fiction market. 

The Booming industry – Chinese web fiction market 

Let’s start from the very beginning, what is web fiction? Web fiction is the fiction written by ordinary writers and posted directly on the Internet . Some people also call it web novels. There are four main types of web fiction: webserial, fanfiction, web novel and webcomic. 

China has an emerging market with economic blooming. The web fiction market is one of the booming industries in China. Before the economic reforms, China did not have separate entertainment industries like music, film or web fiction. Regarding these kinds of industries as a system, it was the system of culture being created and supported by the state to serve the society. In socialist China, the whole purposes of the system of culture including music, literature and film were nothing but to reflect peoples’ lives while to create content that would uplift peoples’ spirit for constructing China through entertainment. It is not like North America and Western Europe where the markets for music, literature and film have long been established forming the individual industries for business players to compete for domination and pursue economic gains. 

Based on research, in 2016, the Chinese web fiction market reached 12 billion yuan (1.7billion USD), a year-on-year increase of 25%. The number of web fiction readers who read via websites reached 333 million, and the number of readers who read via mobile devices reached 304 million. 

The chart below describes the Chinese web fiction market size (numbers in Yi Yuan which is 100 million yuan/14 million USD) and the growth rate. 

2011 – 2018 Chinese web fiction market size (100 million yuan/14 million USD)

Source: Jianshu –

This is a golden age for Chinese web fiction market. From 2011 to 2016, the market size has grown rapidly from about 2.7 billion yuan to 12 billion yuan, with a five-year increase of 340%. This prosperity is a signal of potential profitability to companies. According to comprehensive reports filed annually by public companies who operate web fiction platforms such as YueWen, ZhangYue(iReader), and ZongHeng have gained profitability from the web fiction market in 2017. 

There are three Chinese web fiction companies that went public, and they conquered the whole market. There are five main channels of this market: the BAT factions, the reading platforms that allow individuals publishing their own fictions, the reading apps and the publishers that are shifting towards online reading.  

The BAT factions include Tencent’s Reading Group, Ali Literature, and Baidu Literature. The reading platforms include companies like Migu reading, Tianyi reading, Wo reading, and Tadu reading. The reading apps include companies such as ZhangYue Reading Technology and ZhongWen Online Reading. The publishers like Grinding Literature, Douban Reading, Dangdang Reading, and Jingdong Reading are transforming into digitalization from traditional paper book publishing and sales. Under the current trend of the online reading, the web fiction market will be further integrated, and of course more capital will enter. The outbreak of the web fiction market is coming soon.

There are many websites and apps providing Internet literature reading services. Qidian

(起点中文网,, Hongxiutianxiang (红袖添香,, and

Jinjiang Literature City (晋江文学城, are famous Internet literature

Websites that have lots of web fictions post on. Most of the websites are focused on Chinese indigeous readers, so they don’t have an English version, and most of them do not even have an English name. Along with the development of mobile reading, applications for mobile phones are more and more popular. Many websites have both website version and mobile application version. It’s also noteworthy that some websites and apps are focused on original works, while some provide both Internet literature works and digitized versions of published works; others only provide digitized versions of published works. Many of these famous websites or apps are now affiliated with Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent (BAT). Jinjiang Literature and iReader are two of the few ones that haven’t been acquired by BAT. 

How does the market works – start with Web Fiction Companies’ Value Chain

There are three main sectors in most web fiction company’s value chains: authors/writers, editors and readers. 


Data show that the number of authors of digital reading in China increased from 3.89 million in 2014 to 7.84 million in 2017, it doubled in four years.

The chart below is the number of Chinese web fiction authors from 2014 – 2017 (the numbers are in 10,000) 

X-axis: year Y-axis: number of web fiction authors (10,000)

Source from: Digital reading white book by The Chinese Academy of Industry Economy Research

The entry cost for online fiction is low, and authors can use the online platform to post their work, or they could sign a contract with the web fiction website platform so their fiction could only be posted on the contracted website. BBS, blogs, and web fiction platforms are the initial distribution channels. Later on, because of the developing technologies, the new media came out and apps on mobile devices became one of the channels. But web fiction authors’ income mostly comes from the web fiction industrial chain.


Web fiction editors’ job duties are reviewing authors’ drafts, reminding authors about the due dates, collecting feedback information to the authors. They also recommend high quality books that might be accepted by a large group of people to the marketing team. The marketing team would promote these recommended books by creating promotions, and put these books on top of their website so it’s easy for users to see, etc. The editors would also provide information about audience tastes to authors, so authors know more about what they should write in order to get more readers. 


Web novel readers are netizens who read web novels. Netizen is a portmanteau of the words Internet and citizen, meaning “net citizen.”  It describes people that are actively involved in online communities or the Internet in general.

Industrial Chain

Web novel consumers pay by chapter at a rate starting around 0.02 Chinese yuan per 1,000 words. The revenue is shared between the platform and author, with the cut enjoyed by the writer being dependent on the negotiated deal. However, the web novel industrial chain is how companies make money. These money come from a successful novel’s copyrights. Companies are willing to pay fortunes for tales with the potential to become films, TV or animation series, or video games. 

Here is an example of a web fiction turned into a TV show. 

Link: Trailer for Langya Bang (known in English as “Nirvana in Fire”, one of the most successful Chinese television dramas of recent years, it was a famous web novel then it was adapted to a TV show.) 

One example of web fiction author’s success

Author Zhang earned 122 million Chinese yuan in 2016 and 130 million yuan in 2015, primarily from selling the copyrights of his 15 web fiction series. Douluo Dalu (“Douluo Continent”), for example, was bought by Tencent Video. Tencent turned the story into an animated series.

Audience analysis of Chinese web fiction market – young people are the mainstream 

The Chinese millennials, young adults who were born after 1980s till early 2000s as ending birth years are the majority of Chinese web fiction readers and writers. The emergence of the Internet is basically synchronized, and millenials have more independent thinking than older generations. The millennials are seeking entertainment that matches their own tastes, and it includes novels. At the same time, they use the Internet as a platform to make a sound for themselves. They not only like reading, but also support their favorite authors through purchasing and subscribing to the books. These purchasing data are collected and used as guidance for web fiction authors. It became an interesting interaction between authors and readers. Therefore, the consumer behavior of the reader group itself also constitutes an important part of online literature research.

The number of web fiction readers increased significantly from 2016 to 2017. In 2016 there were 340 million PC users and mobile users with growth rates of 13.4%. In 2017, the PC users and mobile users reached 370 million with growth rates of 13.1%. 

Relevant data show that 59.8% of people read web fictions for the purpose of pastime,  entertainment and relieve stress; 57.84% of people enjoy the fantasy stories from the fictions and regard reading web fictions as spiritual consolations; 56.86% of people are surrounded by relatives and friends Influenced by friends and start reading popular web fictions; 45.1% of people are used to reading web fictions all year round and they just keep it as a habit; 8.82% of people have other purposes.

In China, people do not need to pay or spend money to be a web fiction reader. Web fiction consumers are people who spend money on web fictions like paying for subscriptions, downloading, etc. Young people under the age of 30 are considered as the major consumer group. All web fiction consumers are readers but not all readers are consumers.

The Charts below are the Age Distribution of Chinese Web Fiction Market in Dec, 2017, the yellow bar represents the consumers and the gray bar represents the reader. 

X-axis: age under 24 years old 25-30 years old 31-35 years old 36-40 years old 41 and older

Y-axis: percentage of people who made payments for online literature to compare with the whole market population

Content Analysis of Chinese Web Fiction Market

Web fictions that have vast amounts of consumers generally have the characteristics of easy-to-read, entertainment, and lifelization.

  1. Easy-to-read: The language of web fiction is concise and clear, easy to understand, and obvious spoken. Only a small portion of web fictions use techniques that require higher level education in order to understand, most of them use simple language, so people do not need to have high education on literature to understand it.
  2. Entertainment: Web fictions mostly are made for entertainment in order to satisfy readers’ aesthetic psychological needs. Readers get emotional support and vent through reading, and it brings fun to their lives. Correspondingly, the themes of web fiction are collectively expressed as: romantic stories, fantasy, myths and legends, kung fu, etc.
  3. Lifelization: The content of web fictions has the characteristics of lifelization. Lifelization refers to the contents that are close to people’s daily life. Most of the content comes from the life of the public. The author uses people’s daily life as resources to create stories. Romantic love is always an important theme of web fiction.

In the context of commodity economy and profit-oriented operations, the audience of web fiction has become popular, the content tends to be flat, and the operation has become more and more commercialized. 

Major Chinese Web Fiction genres

Just like western web fiction, Chinese web fictions have many different genres. The writing of web fiction is a service-oriented writing with an equal mentality. It is a process of creating dreams for readers. Web fiction authors are not required to follow the standards of literary theory in the old literature framework. What is pursued is to understand the target audience and write what the target audience wants to read. There are several kinds of themes that Chinese readers really like. We will introduce five most popular sectors of Chinese web fictions in the market: romance fictions, fantasy fictions, fanfictions, science fiction and martial arts fictions. 

Most of the romance fictions have a similar prototype: it has to reflect the relationship ideals of the general population. The hero, for instance, would be the head of a large, prominent family-owned corporation or a commander in an elite military unit. Almost all successful books have fairy-tale endings, the heroine marrying the handsome, rich and powerful husband, which is the hero of the book.

Fantasy fiction is the other dominant genre in Chinese web fiction. For most fantasy fiction, the most common type of plot would be an oppressed character who suddenly discovers a super­power, or an arte­fact with special prop­erties, and uses it to exact revenge on his enemies. “Most fantasy novels are essen­tially coming-of-age stories about the protagonist’s endeavours,” Gai Bo, from Peking University’s School of Journalism and Commu­nication, wrote in a bimonthly periodical produced by the University of Wuhan, the Publishing Journal in 2016. “Young readers can ease their frustration and discontent with life, and project their hopes and dreams on the characters, by identifying with them.” A reader from an interview about fantasy fictions said, “The novels are just for people to fantasise,” he says, “and the more they read, the more addicted they become, even though the novels will not change their conditions.” 

Fanfiction is a type of fiction written by fans where the author uses copyrighted characters, settings, or other intellectual properties from an original creator as a basis for their writing.The Chinese fanfiction ecosystem reflects its eclectic media diet: there are vibrant fan communities around movies, games, books, bands, and TV shows from Japan, Korea, the US, the UK, and China itself.

Chinese science fiction is a genre of literature that concerns itself with hypothetical future social and technological developments in the Sinosphere.

Chinese martial arts fiction, or Wuxia fiction is a genre of Chinese fiction concerning the adventures of martial artists in ancient China. Although wuxia is traditionally a form of fantasy literature, its popularity spread it to diverse art forms such as Chinese operas, cartoons, films, television series and video games. It also forms part of popular culture in many Chinese-speaking communities around the world. In some translations, the martial artists are referred to as a “swordsman” or “swordswoman” although they may not necessarily use a sword.

The next big step after getting popular – IP Development

As we discussed before, the web fiction industrial chain is how the companies and authors make fortune money. IP development is the comprehensive development of works, especially popular novels, to make movies, TV dramas, games and merchandising articles such as mugs, notebooks, and dolls about the works.  IP development is one of the main ways for the online literature industry to make money. 

Source: China Book & Digital Publishing Market Analysis –

Online Film in China provides a systematic overview of the changes in copyright protection in China. It describes an arduous process, from China’s desire initially to placate international trading partners under pressure from the US administration and international organisations, to the recent complex stance having domestic industries’ self-interests in mind in pursuing economic goals. Many readers may find it’s more comfortable to identify themselves with the position of people who expect the IP protection in China would follow suit that of the US. With the process unfolding, Chinese readers would eventually see sense for strong protection of IP. The Chinese government also is making efforts to improve the IP protection legal services and enforcement mechanisms providing not only regulations but also detailed guidelines to ensure the interests of the right holders are protected in the entertainment industry. 

Political Risk – the government plays the main role

There is one thing that authors need to pay attention to: the political risk. China is a country that has various constraints in almost every industry. Religion and politics are strictly forbidden which indicates that authors should not write contents that have negative descriptions about any religion groups nor politics. Explicit sexual contents are banned, but suggestive content and innuendo are encouraged because they attract eyeballs.

Web fiction authors should note why political risk existed and how to avoid it. In

Chinese culture, the contents of cultural creativity are regarded as “a common cultural

heritage” of the society. With socialist core ideology and collective culture norms, the public interest takes high priority.


Chinese web fiction is a huge market, the big companies like BAT are trying to gain market share as much as they can. There are two main types of platforms to deliver web fictions to readers: the web page views and the mobile application views. The majority of authors and readers of Chinese web fictions are millennials.  



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Gender Pay Gap in Sports

Gender Pay Gap

Surfing Competition Highlights Perennial Gender Pay Gap In South ...

The gender pay gap is evident in almost everything we do- athletics, jobs, home life, etc. But I want to touch on one aspect of the gender pay gap and that is sports. There is an obvious unequal pay in sports, particularly for female athletes who do not receive the same revenue as their male counterparts. Sports are sports, life isn’t perfect so we can’t expect sports to be perfect too, but I do expect sports to at least be fair. Athletes, especially at the professional level are so passionate giving everything they must what they do. It’s a job. Its how they get paid. Now the fancy cars, huge houses, multiyear contracts, and more can grab the medias attention but its typically the men showing off. Why don’t we see more female athletes?


What is the gender pay gap in sports?

The gender pay gap is the average difference between the remuneration for men and women who are playing a professional sport. Although there’s no proven way to calculate the difference, we do know that across the board women tend to earn less than men. For sports specifically women earned only 88 cents for every dollar their counterpart made. Every year, Forbes publishes a list of top 100 paid athletes in the world and for the first time in 8 years a female athlete did not make the list.

A main question surrounding this issue is, why? Why is there a gender pay gap? Men’s sports tend to be more popular. There’s no sexism there, its facts. Football is the most watched sport in the entire country. In January 2020 an article came out stating American football, baseball, and men’s basketball are the top three most watched sports. Because these three sports are the most watched, they bring in the most revenue which means they get the most money back for their work. The super bowl, the world series, and march madness bring in billions of revenues just by themselves. I don’t want to discredit women’s athletes; they work hard and deserve equal pay.

Wage differences means that one player earns more than another. They do exist!! In the sports world case, men make more than women. Wage inequality comes into play because this means when two individuals in a company do similar work at the same level of qualification yet are not paid equally. A prime example I can think of is soccer. There’s a men’s and women’s team for the united states, they practice the same number of hours, have the same chance to qualify for the world cup or the Olympics, they are driven by the same passion, yet men get paid more. What’s CRAZY about this sport is that the women’s side of the national soccer guard is statically proven to be so much better than the men’s side. The USWNT has made an appearance in 8/8 world cup tournaments and won 4/8 of them. While the men have won zero tournament, struggling to even qualify. Again, the women’s national team have made six appearances at the Olympics for soccer and have won four of those! The men? Zero. In 2016, the women generated $1.9 million more than the men but only about a quarter of that was given back to the women. They generate more revenue but are yet to be paid the same amount.

Where is sports is this pay gap happening?

There is different level of athletics; recreational activities when you’re younger, college athletics, and professional athletics. We tend to see the pay gap in two major areas- the college level and the professional level. These two bring to light very different forms of this discrimination. Title IX is the equal rights act for athletics. The education amendments of 1972 prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs receiving federal financial assistance. This law opened doors and removed barriers for girls and women while female athletics still have fewer teams, programs, scholarship’s, lower budgets than men, the Title IX has helped women grow tremendously for all levels.

College Athletics 

At the college level athletes do not get paid directly but they are given the chance to earn a scholarship. Also, male and female coaches are paid differently. The NCAA defines itself as “The national collegiate athletic association is a member-led organization dedicated to the well-being and lifelong success of college athletics.” There are 1,098 colleges and universities, 102 athletics conferences, and three NCAA division schools. I see this pay discrimination is coaches, athletes, and other staff. There a pay difference in university size, success, and gender. I cannot ignore the fact that bigger schools will inevitably get more money, that’s just how athletics works. But men’s and women’s sports at the same schools should be given an equal opportunity. We all know march madness is one of the biggest tournaments in college athletics, an article written by Melissa Anent shares her insight of the discrimination between men’s and women’s basketball.

“Women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma (Coach I) made $1.95 million in 2014-2015 while men’s basketball head coach Kevin Ollie (Coach II) made $2.8 million (Mussatto 2015). The gender pay is not only an issue in athletics; the gap exists throughout the marketplace and has persisted for many decades. Identifying the source of the pay gap is the first step in eliminating unjustifiable differences in any occupation.”

Top 50 Colleges for Athletics Programs in America - Humans of ...

Professional Sports 

The pay gap is most shocking in professional sports. Today, the richest male athlete is Alex Rodriguez with $350 million while the richest female athlete is Serena Williams with a net worth of $180 million. Serena Williams barely makes half of what Alex Rodriguez makes. In an article written by Michelle Kaufman, he shares that this gender pay gap is much bigger than we realize. He enlightens us that outside of tennis, the gap is unbelievable. For example, Jackie Young, the top pick in 2019 WNBA draft, will make around $53,500 base salary while Zion Williamson, top NBA draft, signed a four-year deal worth $44 million. The highest paid salary in the National women’s soccer league is $46,200. The highest salary for Major league soccer is $7.2 million. Yes, you read that right. Brooks Kopka, PGA golf champions, lists $9.51 million while Jin Young Ko, LPGA golfer, is the top earner for women’s only at $2.28. These are just some of many cases where women earn significantly less than men for competing in similar tournaments and activities.

“In terms of pay equity, the glass is certainly less than half full,” Kane said. “It’s not a difference in degree, it’s a difference in kind because it’s millions and millions and millions of dollars versus hundreds of thousands of dollars. That said, if you look at the long arc of women’s sports, the fact that they have professional leagues is something that has moved the needle. But men’s sports had an enormous head start culturally, socially and economically. Comparing women’s leagues to men’s is like comparing a start-up company to Apple or Microsoft.”

The Fight for Equal Pay in Women's Sports - Women's Sports Foundation

Who’s taking a stand?

Billie Jean King

In 1970 the first ever appeal was made by Billie Jean King, tennis ledged. After winning the tournament in Italy she was only paid $600 for taking the women’s title. The men’s winner was rewarded $3,500. In 1973, King threated to sit out of the U.S Open unless the prize money was equal to the men. It worked. This was a significant moment for her because at only the age of 12 Billie had experienced gender inequality. This was a long time coming for her, and very well deserved. In order of raising awareness for gender equality, Billie Jean King accepted a challenge to play a match against former number one ranked tennis play Bobby Riggs. He claimed the women’s game was so inferior to the men’s game that even someone as old as he was could beat the current top female. This match quickly became famously known as “battle of the sexes”. Billie Jean beat Bobby Riggs and earned the winner take all prize of $100,000.

1973 Flashback: Billie Jean King Wins Tennis' "Battle Of The Sexes ...

Megan Rapinoe and the USWNT

Star midfielder for the US Women’s National Team, Megan Rapinoe, is a very well-known advocate fighting against the pay gap. She has led the rest of the soccer team to stand up for what they do. All 28 players on the team- mind you, the greatest women’s soccer team in the world- filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against United States Soccer Federation. Even the men side of the federation stand behind the women’s team in this fight. The team and the USSF president are currently butting heads about how much their making. The soccer team is still going to war for what they believe. They even started a slogan “equal play, equal pay”. After the team won the recent World Cup championship in 2019, they chanted for equal paying rights. This team is fierce and blunt, not afraid to speech out. Megan Rapinoe said, “This is so much more than the money.” She wants to make an effect on the corporation and the world as a whole to step up. All in all, she wants to raise awareness about the beautiful game and how powerful it can be.

What can you do to be more aware?

Talk about it

Having an educated opinion about this controversy is important. If we aren’t talking about what’s going on and make it a conversation, it’ll just go away. Many athletes want to take a stand, but they can only do some much. It’s important to be involved and get to know this issue.

Base pay off hard work

Yes, lots of women are fighting for their fair share but it means very little if its just handed over to them. You must work hard for what you earn. And that’s true to everything we as humans do. We must put in the work, to get out the desire goal and prize from it.

Support other women

Similar to the real world and outside of sports, we as women must be each other’s biggest supporters. WE build each other up and WE got each other’s back. We must be in unity; greater numbers bring greater strength.

Do your best for future generations

What do you want this world to be like for your children and grandchildren? Do what you can today so they can have a better life in the future. They didn’t have it as good as we do now and that’s because our roll models growing up did everything, they could so we could have the luxuries of sports.

The Long Fight for Pay Equality in Sports - The New York Times

Work Cited



Industry leader

In the previous discussion board, I chose an exercise fitness application platform called “FitOn” for my 10x paper. It is not like every other fitness application out there on the market; FitOn has the widest range of classes including yoga, strengthening, stretching, and conditioning. This platform also features an online live streaming class delivery option. There are a variety of ways that this app can be used since all the classes are available for users to take on their own time, they can follow their custom workout plan, or they can choose live classes to take.

FitOn shares one of the most innovative ideas to combine both social media and fitness exercises. On FitOn, users can connect with their friends from their email groups, contact list, and Facebook friends. The app encourages people to connect with their friends and share a post after every workout to achieve users’ mental satisfaction. This is a great way for them to advertise their own platform without actually spending assets on buying ads. It uses human nature and psychology to incentivize people to use and spread its application. 

FitOn has a signature feature that gives themselves an advantage over other platforms on the internet. FitOn has resources to consult each individual user on their daily diet meal plan. Users can fill out a special survey that contains questions about their individual goals, body type, number of meals per day, and things they struggle with. The app provides great dietician recommendations to people who are in need.

The class system is also well-designed and organized compared to other options. Users are asked to answer a set of questions regarding their workout goals, and body status, and how much time they can dedicate to their workout program. According to the answers, the system will select workouts that meet the needs of each individual. The number of selected workouts is also depending on the user’s preference. Users can pick their favorite fitness coach and only take classes from that specific trainer if they would like. 

Financial Model

FitOn uses a similar revenue model as most of the other online software programs. Freemium is a business model that provides all users with a basic model and functions, and premium services for paid customers. Nowadays, cloud computing and storage is becoming more popular; the cost of running an online business has reduced drastically. Being able to rent cloud services from big carriers helped to reduce the business operational cost and infrastructure. The company operates on a small crowd of premium users to support all the services it provides for the larger group of people. 

Meal-Planning Feature

One of the many premium features is the meal-planning program that can help people eat more efficiently and nutritiously. They hire professional dietitians to create a personalized meal plan for individual users based on foods they struggle with, foods they enjoy, and their final goals according to the survey. The annual subscription fee is very much cheaper compared to professional dietitians and fitness trainers. It is one of the most money efficient ways to get access to fitness education and dietician advice.  

Social Media Presence 

From my research, they have two main online advertising platforms: Instagram and Facebook. On both of the social media platforms, FitOn Marketing team posts upcoming new events, new workouts, all-star fitness coaches, and healthy dishes. This is a great way to attract new customers by showing their unique features that differentiate them from the rest of the market. 

Target Audience 

After a reasonable amount of research and a focus group study, most of the FitOn audience consists of females in the age range from 18 to 35. FitOn is designed for people that don’t have access to a regular gym. Due to the COVID -19 and stay home policies, this is a great opportunity for FitOn to expand their market share. More and more people are stuck at home with no gym equipment; they are the best target audience for FitOn. This coronavirus is creating the biggest opportunity in the online fitness application industry. With a variety of their offerings from conditioning classes, stretching, and yoga to strengthening and dances, they perfectly target all body types and fitness goals. 

Once FitOn has discovered its best/active customers’ demographic is from the 18 to 35 age range. They can spend more resources on marketing to specifically target new customers that will most likely pay for the premium services from social media and video advertisements. 

Existing Competitors

There are many competitors in the industry that offer a similar product line. 8fit, Blogilates, Fitbit Coach, and Fit radio are all very similar to FitOn to some degree. FitOn needs to stand out in the competition by implementing something its competitors are not doing. FitOn already reduced the subscription price to increase its competitiveness. Reducing the price is never a good marketing strategy for any organization. FitOn will have to find a solution either to upsell its product to more customers or work out its product development to increase customer retention. 


It is very hard for a business like FitOn to survive in the long term with no core competencies and advantages to help them stay in the market. The biggest weakness for FitOn is being mediocre; they have all the essential features of most of their competitors but nothing more. Innovation is needed to increase the longevity of this business. What FitOn needs to do is to differentiate themselves from the rest by implementing new classes, feature meal plans, workout music playlists, and audio podcasts. Anyone of the items listed above has the potential to become the brand product for FitOn. 

On top of a variety of classes offering in FitOn, I think they can come in with a specific workout each week. For example, FitOn can start a poll to ask their customer to pick one out of three special themes they should do for next week. Most of their customers could vote for a specific workout session for free, possibly including options like powerlifting, Crossfit, climbing, and warrior workouts. More specific workouts could target a totally new market of audiences; that is one of the best ways to expand the market share to fight the rest of its competitors. 

Customized diet plans are good for most people. Some people couldn’t be satisfied with general meal plans. To target those people with a more specific need will require FitOn to design more purpose-focused diet plans such as the keto diet, 5:2 diet, body for life diet, stillman diet, and South Beach diet. Offering these specific diets for a small price (e.g. $4 per month) to non-premium customers would be a way for them to differentiate themselves from the typical meal planning services offered by competitors. In this situation, premium users would get access to the specific diet service for a discounted price (e.g. $2 per month). This could both increase the number of premium users, because they would be interested in purchasing the full diet plan down the road, and non premium customers who only purchase the specific diet plans.

Creating multiple workout playlists could potentially increase the retention rate of existing customers. After a quick focus group with my friends and family, over 95% of the end-users are accessing the application through their smartphone. For most platform devices (iPhone), the system wouldn’t allow users to run both audios at the same time. So that means if a user is watching the workout video, they will have no access to their own music. That is one of the features FitOn can build on to maximize user satisfaction. 

The audio podcast is another great way to expand FitOn’s existing market by selling the application to more radio users. By expanding the current market and growing the customer base, the sales of premium subscription and specific meal plans will increase eventually. This move will be considered as a vertical integration to expand the potential market.  It will be one of the most efficient moves to reduce the risk in the existing market due to the overwhelming number of competitors. 

SWOT Analysis 

It is very beneficial for any business to do a SWOT analysis. The SWOT analysis is a strategic planning process to help the upper management to make necessary changes to an organization. In the SWOT analysis, FitOn will take a closer look at its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. In SWOT analysis, strengths and weaknesses are internal variables and opportunities, and threats are external variables. This is the first step to identify the organizations’ core competency. 

In this case, FitOn has a few advantages compared to traditional mainstream fitness organizations. It is portable so that users could take it on a trip; the only device that is required is a phone or computer and internet access. It is price friendly and user-convenient compared to a physical gym, especially after FitOn has reduced its subscription price by 50%. Compared to a physical location, users can utilize the application anywhere and anytime. It also provides more features compared to a traditional gym in terms of dietitian advice, free classes, and flexibility.

Although FitOn has many advantages compared to a physical gym in various aspects, it is not so different compared to all the similar applications that are also on the market right now. There are at least ten other applications that do the same thing or something similar. FitOn must figure out their core competency which could help them differentiate themselves from the rest.

COVID-19 provides an amazing opportunity for all online fitness application firms. This opportunity is created during this unique circumstance by people staying at their house for extended periods of time. Many people are into fitness training and physical conditioning and with COVID-19  impacting our daily life, there aren’t very many resources for people to get access to fitness equipment and personal trainers. Many reports indicate that the usage of online applications went through the roof; FitOn should seize this opportunity to expand its market share.

FitOn has a lot of rivals in the industry; it is considered a potential threat to them. In the online fitness industry, there aren’t very many boundaries to stop new competitors to enter the market. As my report mentioned previously, there are hundreds of other fitness applications on the market. There are some that have very similar functions just like FitOn, which puts them at a disadvantage at competing for more customer shares. 

Core Competency 

It is important for all organizations to establish their core competencies to improve their longevity and customer traction. This is not an easy task for FitOn to identify its core competency when there are over 10 other applications that do exactly the same thing. In my option, I think the most unique asset is their human resources. FitOn has one of the best quality trainers who live stream some of their best workouts; this gives users the opportunity to follow their favorite instructor step by step. I think it is necessary to pivot their marketing from random posts to organized event schedules and celebrity trainers.

Strategic DNA 

Strategic DNA is a concept of decision making that will help managers make every step of their business decisions according to the general organizational goal. There are five main components of it: 1) operational effectiveness, 2) positioning, 3) trade offs, 4) unique activities, 5) fit. Following the strategic DNA pathway will help a business to better identify their strengths and weaknesses. 

Operation effectiveness 

FitOn uses the same operational method as Spotify and many other more well-known organizations. Cloud computing and 5G technology are more available to us compared to the early 2000s. Operational overheads are reduced by a significant amount. With many providers in the market, there is no monopoly to spike up the price. More and more services are being offered by various organizations to customize the services for smaller businesses. It will reduce the overhead cost by moving entirely from the stationary mainframe to the cloud. Many service providers are offering cloud storage on-demand so businesses can rent as much data storage as they need. It will reduce the waste of operating costs and maintenance costs for a server locally. It will reduce the server idle time, server downtime, and the risk of a cyber breach. 


Positioning is one of the most important steps in strategic DNA. Different positioning focuses will attract different customer groups. There are three main positionings in theory: variety-based, needs-based, and access-based. I think FitOn is doing a great job of being the most variety-based online fitness app on the market. It provides a wide range of classes such as cardio, HIIT, strength, dance, yoga, and postnatal. A wide variety of classes can meet more customer’s needs. They can generate more potential customers from that perspective. It also has premium services to customize meal plans for individual users. 


FitOn has its own unique variety-based positioning and certainly has many trade-offs. Once an organization decides to position itself as more variety-based, they will lack other aspects such as more specific/detailed training sessions for athletes. Choosing to satisfy the general public will reduce traction on customers with more specific needs. For example, a basketball player who wants to increase its vertical jumping ability will find no luck on FitOn. 

Unique Activities

A unique feature that is only being offered on FitOn is it’s live streaming coaching sessions. This feature gives people extra motivation to get on the app and start working out. I noticed that FitOn hires a very professional filming group for streaming their classes. It brings top quality video and details for users to better follow their instructors. 


There are three steps to take towards a better fit of the organization. The first step is to keep consistency with what features FitOn has to offer right now,so they will not lose any existing customers by changing its core concept. The next step is to implement reinforcing activities to improve the useability of this application based on the feedback received from customers. The last step FitOn needs to take is to optimize on efforts. 

Generic strategy

I would consider FitOn to have a cost leadership generic strategy. FitOn has one of the most price-friendly programs on the entire internet. It offers an annual subscription service for only $19.99 (currently on sale), which is the cheapest out of all its competitors in my research. This will give them an upper hand in the competition to attract more new customers that are brand new and don’t want to spend a lot of money in their first attempt. 


The market competition is extremely high for FitOn to stay alive and growing. There are some necessary steps to take in order to keep this business in the game. I think it is most important to define its core competency, as that will help FitOn stand out in the market for target audiences. There is a need for FitOn to be more innovative and creative with their resources; having something that their competitors don’t will really help them to take an upper hand in the match.    

BMKT 440 Marketing Analytics 


Dr. Mario Schulzke

Jinglin Wu


Fishing the Delta


Landen Spencer

Marketing Analytics: 10x Content

Fish On! Sacramento Delta Fishing


     The California Delta or the San Joaquin River Delta is an expansive inland river system and estuary in Northern California spanning over 1,100 square miles and home to over 500,000 total residents. The Delta was formed by the raising of sea level following glaciation and river sediment building up creating small landmasses. Home to majority agriculture and farming, it has become a recreational haven. The California Delta is home to 100’s of different species and has made a name for itself as one of the best freshwater/brackish fishing destinations in and around the country. The California Delta holds over 100 marinas and boat launches, as well as 25 yacht clubs. The delta is home to over 500 plants an animal species which is one of the largest estuaries in western North America. It is home to approximately 22 different species of fish including multiple Pacific Salmon species, Black and Striped Bass, American Shad, and White Sturgeon. Over 2/3 of California Salmon pass through the Delta each year. The Delta is also home to multiple endangered species like the Delta Smelt and Tule Elk. Continuation of agricultural efforts and farming have affected the layout of levies as well as the habitat for many species. Due to the wide variety of inhabitants, Delta soil is considered some of the strongest and most fertile ground for farming. Eighty-five percent of the rice grown in the U.S. is from the Sacramento Delta valley, making it one of the largest rice economies around the world.

Fish Species:

·       Catfish (Bullhead, Channel, White)                       Yellow Perch

·       Crappie/Bluegill                                                      Steelhead     

·       Striped Bass                                                             Goldfish

·       White Sturgeon                                                        Delta Smelt

·       Trout                                                                        Mosquito Fish

·       Salmon (King/Coho)                                               Green Sturgeon

·       Black Bass                                                               Crayfish

·       American Shad                                                         Freshwater Shellfish


·       Mackerel                                                               Shrimp (Grass/Ghost)

·       Sardines                                                                 Bloodworms                                        

·       Squid                                                                     Crayfish

·       Plastics                                                                  Mudsuckers

·       Live Worms                                                          Minnows/Anchovies

Targeted Species:

The California Delta has become a recreationist and sports fishing dream. Home to over 22 different fish species, the Delta has become one of the country’s top sports fishing destinations. With its huge area spanning over 1,100 square miles, you’ll be provided with the privacy you want without losing your fishing spot. In addition to fishing alone, there are over 15 different outfitters in and around the delta happy to put you on fish. There are also over 50 bait shops surrounding the area where tackle and gear can be purchased. Store owners will be able to provide updated fishing reports on specific locations and bait to use. Below I’m going to breakdown several of my favorite species of fish that inhabit the Delta to provide you with a better understanding of the fish and how to be a successful angler. These are all great eating fish, so don’t be afraid of keeping some and providing a create a tasty meal for the family.

White Sturgeon:

File:White Sturgeon - Acipenser tranmontanus Joseph R. Tomelleri ...White Sturgeon are native to the West coast of North America, where they may be found in coastal waters from Mexico to Alaska. Although occasionally found in the ocean, they primarily reside in large rivers and their associated estuaries, including the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in California. White Sturgeon are the largest freshwater fish in North America. There are historical records of fish as large as 18 ft, although it is now rare to encounter fish larger than 6.5 ft in Californian waters. The average White Sturgeon captured in the Delta in recent years is approximately 109 cm or roughly under 4 feet. White Sturgeon are long-lived. According to California Fish and Wildlife, the oldest fish on record was 103 years old at the time of capture, but most fish in the Delta are now believed to be less than 20 years old. Males may spawn every two years, whereas females spawn every 2-4 years. Adults migrate from the estuary into the river in winter, spawn from February to June, and return to the Delta after spawning. The primary spawning habitat of Sacramento-San Joaquin White Sturgeon is a short reach of the middle Sacramento River, making it vulnerable to climate change or habitat loss. Other factors that threaten White Sturgeon include contaminants from pollution and runoff and poaching and illegal fishing for meat and eggs. The California White Sturgeon is not listed on any state or federal list but is considered a species of concern. Due to where the fish is categorized, there are steep fishing regulations compared to other local species. The daily bag limit for White sturgeon is one per an angler a day, 3 per year. The fish must be between 40-60 inches fork length to keep. Any sturgeon over 68in fork length may not be removed from the water or it would be prosecuted for a criminal act. When it comes to catching these beasts, the bait must be specific. Ghost and grass shrimp are usually considered best, but sturgeon will also bite on shad minnows and crayfish. For tackle, A medium to a heavyweight rod with a sensitive tip and conventional baitcasting reel is probably most common, though many people use spinning reels. Use a 30 to 50-pound test line with wire leaders and single or double hooks and sliding sinker setup. They strike hard! When it comes to where and when, the best season to fish for them is usually from the beginning of winter when the water starts to get muddy and looks like chocolate syrup, until early summer.  When fishing on the Sacramento delta side, areas like Decker Islands entrance to Three miles Slough, off the old dairy farm, Rio Vista, Knights Landing, and the deep-water channel are all places you can frequently find sturgeon. San Pablo, Suisun Bays, and the Mothball Fleet are prime areas where the water turns brackish. When it comes to a specific location, I’ve had the best luck in water from 14 to 80 feet deep, usually deep holes are best. Always remember when fishing for White Sturgeon, barbless hooks are always mandatory.

Striped Bass:

File:Striped bass morone saxatilis fish.jpg - Wikimedia Commons Considered the delta’s most well-known sport fish, the Stripper is known for its hard fights and tasty meat. Originally introduced to the west coast in the late 1800s, the Striped bass has since flourished in the California Delta ecosystem. By the early 1900s, the striped bass was being caught in sufficient numbers that a commercial fishery began. The commercial fishery was later determined to be detrimental to the maintenance of a strong recreational sport fishery and 30 years later Striped Bass were classified as game fish ending all commercial fishing. Most Pacific stripers spend summers feeding on anchovies in the ocean along the Pacific Coast. Many wander along the coast from California to Oregon until spring when spawning brings them back to the delta and surrounding waterways. Along the California Coast, most stripers re-enter the San Francisco Bay in fall and winter and locations throughout the Bay and delta system. In spring the stripers head up the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers to spawn. They travel as much as 124 miles upstream in the Sacramento River and reach into the Feather River. In the California delta region, the water is majority brackish where the river and bay waters mix. Striped bass lingers there, adjusting to the difference in salinity before they transit up the rivers to spawn, and again when they return to the Bay. Due to Strippers being considered an invasive species, the introduction has been controversial due to the destruction of Delta Smelt and Salmon reproduction. When it comes to fishing for them, similar to sturgeon, Striped Bass enjoy smelly live fish like Anchovies, threadfin shad, and sardines. Other baits like bloodworms, grass and ghost shrimp, mudsuckers, sculpins, and crayfish are commonly used. When attaching the bait to the hook, use nylon thread (magic thread) to secure it to the hook. This decreases the chance of throwing off your bait during casting or smaller fish from eating it off of your hook. Anglers also use plastic tackle like 3 to 7-inch Rebels and Rapalas. The line should be moderately medium to heavy, anywhere from 10-30lbs test. The spring spawning run up the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers is probably the best season in the Delta, but the fall run is also a heavy producer of huge sized fish. The fall and spring run almost seem to collide, creating good fishing from September to June, and resident stripers are caught during the summer. Anywhere around the Delta, you can find Striped Bass located. Specific areas like the deep-water channel, Knights Landing and Rio Vista are all hot locations throughout the fishing year. Back sloughs located around Stockton and highway 12 are always money spots as well. The daily bag limit is 2 per day in possession with fish having to exceed 18inches.

Chinook Salmon:

Chinook salmon - Wikipedia  The Chinook Salmon, also known as King Salmon, is the largest species of pacific salmon. Chinook is anadromous fish native to the North Pacific Ocean and the river systems of western North America, ranging from California to Alaska. Salmon populations have been threatened in the area and some even reached the endangered species list. However, through state regulation, many of the populations have improved in recent years. There are several good salmon fisheries in the delta including the American River, Mokelumne River, and the Sacramento River. Chinook may spend anywhere from one to eight years in the ocean before returning to their home rivers to spawn. The salmon undergo radical changes as they prepare for spawning. Chinook Salmon lose the silvery blue they had as ocean fish, and their color darkens, sometimes with a radical change to red. Male salmon may form k9 like teeth and hook jaws during the change from salt to fresh water. Chinook spawns in larger and deeper waters than other salmon species and can be found on the spawning nest from September to December. The female salmon may lay her eggs in four to five nesting pockets. After laying eggs, females guard the nest against four to 25 days before dying, while males seek additional mates. When your fishing for them, the late fall run of king salmon in the delta is known for its huge king salmon, typically 40, 50, or 60 pounds and more. 70 pounds and up is entirely possible with the late fall run, with the California record reaching 88lbs. While the late fall run does not have as many fish as the earlier fall run, what it loses in quantity, it makes up for in quality. This is when the true trophy king salmon are most often caught. People have used a variety of different lures to catch these fish. I’ve had the best luck with Kwikfish size 14, something that is majority silver. I’ve also wrapped the lure with sardines with magic thread to add additional smells. I’ve also had good luck using spoons and spinners. Trolling around 3mps up or downstream is what you’re looking for. When these fish hit it’s like snagging a log. You can catch king salmon during the designated spring and fall season. The fall season holds better quality and quantity in fish. Areas from the Mothball Fleet to Discovery Park can be hot for salmon fishing. Try Rio Vista or the Clarksburg Flats, this is where I’ve had the best luck over the past few years. Tackle can be medium, 15-25lbs test line is average when it comes to salmon fishing in the delta. No metal liter is required when targeting King Salmon. The Delta tends to be shallow in most areas, so trolling anywhere from 10-20 feet in depth is preferred. Once you find a school, you may just have the best 30 minutes of fishing you’ve ever had.


Catfish (Channel, White, Bullhead):

Channel catfish  The California Delta is known for its Catfish. Nearly any slough or river system holds vast quantities of these fish. Due to the vast quantity of them, Catfish don’t have a daily bag limit or size limit. So, you can keep all fish you may bag, anytime in the year. Summer is the peak season for catfish in the region. Preparation is vital to success so have a 15-20-pound test line with sliding weights, anywhere from 2-4oz to combat the current. As far as bait goes, there’s a long list of things that work, but they may also attract other fish as well, like striped bass. The best baits for catfish include anchovies, bloodworms, chicken liver, clams, dough baits, nightcrawlers, sardines, stink baits, and turkey livers. The best areas to look for catfish vary in depth from 3 to twenty feet with the deeper waters more productive in the winter. Some example areas include 3mile Slough, 7mile Slough, Middle River, Miner Sloughs, Old River, and Sherman Lake. The best strategy is to try a spot for around 30 minutes and then move on to another nearby area. If you find that your bait keeps falling off or smaller fish have removed it from the hook repeatedly, use nylon magic thread to secure the bait to hook. Fishing for any of the 3 catfish species is very relaxing. Kick back in a lounge chair and have a beer. This is bait fishing, its slow but the upside is HUGE!


Delta Smelt:

File:Hypomesus transpacificus.jpg - Wikimedia Commons  For our last fish, I chose the Delta Smelt. The Delta Smelt is an endangered slender-bodied smelt, about 2 to 3 inches long. This is not a sports fish, but I felt it was important to educate anglers on how severe the situation the Delta Smelt is facing. Because of its one-year lifecycle, it is very susceptible to changes in the environmental conditions of its native habitat. Scientists monitor the Delta Smelt population closely because they are a good indicator of the overall health of the Delta ecosystem. The Delta Smelt is an important part of the food chain that many other species rely upon. If the Delta Smelt becomes extinct, this may create a snowball effect for other species. Other popular fish species populations may decline along with it. Efforts to protect the endangered fish from further decline have focused on limiting or modifying the large-scale pumping activities of state and federal water projects like the Delta Tunnel Project. Which will dramatically change over 100 square miles of Delta habitat if passed through the state. The delta smelt is preyed upon by larger fish, especially striped and largemouth bassHistorically, delta smelt was relatively abundant in the upper Sacramento-San Joaquin Estuary, with populations declining dramatically in the 1980s. They were listed as threatened by both federal and state governments in 1993. Delta smelt are threatened with extinction due to altercations to their ecosystem, including urbanization, non-native species, contaminants, and the creation of levees around the California Delta. California Fish and Wildlife has increased efforts to save the Delta Smelt from extinction. Periodic fish counts, farm-raised Smelts, and frequent fish surveys have all been implemented for over 15 years. All California Delta anglers should without hesitation contact California Fish, Wildlife, and Parks if Delta Smelt are found with information on size and location.


Wtitten By: Landen Spencer


Fitness In Missoula MT

Finding Fitness in Missoula Montana


So you are coming to Missoula, MT or you have lived here for a while or in the surrounding area and you want to get more active, or continue being so.

Many of us think that fitness is an all or nothing thing.  We think that if you don’t make the time, all the time, that its something that can’t be achieved.  We top it all off with the thought and personification of the type of people that dedicate their time to fitness and we see ourselves as not that type of person so we become discouraged and decide to shy away from it.

What if I were to tell you that there is a place for every type of person with every type of goal.   There are places right in your very own community that are tailored specifically for what you have in mind. You would most likely say that I’m crazy and this is just some sort of fantasy. You would say that there aren’t that many people like you and definitely not into the types of fitness or athletics that you’re thinking about!!

Well I’m here today to tell you that its not some fantasy, that right here in your local community there are places that are ideal for what your goals and abilities are. That with just a little bit of looking you can find something perfect for you.



When you start looking for businesses that might be a part of this physical fitness industry it can be a daunting task, as it’s not really apparent what each one has to offer, let alone know what you’re really interested in.  This combined with the foreshadowing thoughts of not finding what you’re looking for in the first place causes many of us to quit before we’ve even started!

So we do what everyone does, we judge a book by its cover and then end up not doing anything anyways.  We then follow up with the thought that there isn’t anything around me that fits me or my personality, or my goal, or my level.  Finally, we just don’t do anything.

So how do we get past this?  How do we find what’s right for us and get started? We get online, and hopefully we find a guide like this one for our local community and begin the path towards a healthy lifestyle.

Missoula, MT is a great place and as every great place goes, we have many options here for fitness.  Ranging from large everybody Gyms, to the Outdoors to niche facilities that cater to certain types of fitness, Missoula has an option for your goal, lifestyle and individual pursuit.  The issues arise with what is available and where do I go?

Hopefully, this video breaks it down for you and helps in finding what is right for you!!



So….you’ve watched the video….now what?

Well now we have some choices, we have some ideas that we want to pursue and we have a starting off point. The basics! The questions is…..what do we do with this information?

Fitness is of course a life long journey and part of that journey is finding people that you want to be around when you take part in it or for some us the perfect alone time to get away from it all.

The video, while not all encompassing is that start to your journey, or a continuation there-in.  We all forget sometimes the options that are around us and only think of the things that we have tried in the past which more often than not confines us and creates limitations to what we are thinking or going after.  The purpose of this video was to undo those limitations and get your mind thinking again of ways to improve yourself through fitness in the Missoula Community.

I know without a doubt that many of us do not find a lot of these options appealing, but I also know that there is at the very least one that we are already interested in or one that we have tried before and would go back to.



Some important questions will need to be answered once a decision has been made to follow your fitness goal.  A big one, and one that many of us are concerned with is financial.  How much does it cost to be a part of my new-found group and can I even afford it?

The answer to that is entirely up to you.  We all have things that we are willing to spend money on, and we all have things that we prioritize financially.  SO, the big question is: How much are you willing to commit to this?

The answer will quite often surprise you.

If money is not an option, then follow your every whim and desire, do what makes you happy and try everything!!! Unfortunately, money is usually a driving factor.  Fortunately, here in Missoula, MT there are options that can fit any price point and any fitness desire.

Personally, my favorite and one that costs $0 is Outside.  In the video, Blue Mountain is mentioned, which is just one of many outdoor hiking/running/mountain biking/ and horse-riding trails available.  This option costs no money and provides you with your choice of environment as well as the option to bring a long any pets that might enjoy the outside as well.

But, fortunately this list has many different choices and depending on the mood you find yourself in you should be able to choose something within these categories that meets your needs.



All in all, fitness comes down to you.  Missoula, MT has a myriad of options that can facilitate anyone.  The big and difficult thoughts come down to you and what you would like to try. What do you want and what are you willing to do to be a part of it?  These are the questions that you’re going to have to answer.

So what you do now is up to you. Do you get active in your community, do you get healthy, do you find something that increases your well-being?  Or, do you go back to the slow, boring day-to-day that keeps you bogged down.

We all know the choice is up to us… lets make the choice, choose fitness and find your spot in Missoula!!



If you would like to know more here are links to some of the sites mentioned in the video:

Good luck and hope to see you out there!!


Horse Care in Montana

By: Desiree Altmaier

Living in Montana while taking care of horses isn’t easy. Lucky for you, here is the ultimate horse care guide for living under the Big Sky. There are many different elements to horse care in Montana that you will always have to consider, such as the ever-changing weather, feed and water, shelter, hoof care and last but not least grooming. These elements will help you succeed in caring for your horses in Montana. We will go through each element in a detailed manner that will be explained throughout the different seasons that Montana brings us. So please, join me on this journey of caring for the amazing animals, we call horses, under the Big Sky.

Mission Mountains behind an old barn

Feed & Water

          In Montana, the amount of hay you feed your horse depends on your type of pasture situation. Whether you have pastures for your horses to graze or they have to strictly be on a hay diet due to the lack of pasture grass your horse facility has. Horses need access to water all year around.

Spring: This time of year, the green grass starts to grow and the sunshine arrives, Along with the newly grown grass, brings on the need for grazing muzzles for your four legged friends who loves the grass a little too much.

  • Dangers of Spring Grass- Horses love the fresh green grass but that means that the grass is high in sugar and starch. There are many different health concerns but the biggest is Laminitis (founder) it is the disease that causes the laminae in the horse’s hoof to be inflamed and damaged which then leads to instability of the coffin bone, it is extremely painful for the horse to walk. It’s always a safe option to slowly ease your horses on to the green grass and make sure they are used to the grass so they have a better chance of not foundering. For more information, check out Spring Grass Safety.

    Rio enjoying the fresh spring grass
  • Grazing Muzzles- For those horses who are food motivated, it’s always a good idea to think about investing in a grazing muzzle. Grazing muzzles keep your horse from overgrazing which means that it slows them down on their grass intake. I use grazing muzzles on my horses that are on the heavier side during spring and summer months, they do great in their grazing muzzles. It is important for the horse owner to relieve them of their muzzle everyday so that they can get a break form them. I typically put the muzzle on during the night when they are on pasture and then let them have a break during the day time when its hot out. For more information about grazing muzzles, check out Horse Grazing Muzzle FAQs.

Summer: During the hot weather of the summer months in Montana, the green sugary grass starts to go into dormancy after the weather starts to get hotter and the days are longer. Summer grass isn’t as potent to a horse’s health, but horse owners will still need to watch their horse’s health throughout the summer days.

  • Water- Just like any other animal in the summer, water is a huge need to keep them hydrated during the hot days. Horses need access to water throughout the day.

Fall: While the leaves change, the weather starts to get colder and therefore (depending on your pasture situation) you will need to think about increasing the feed that you give your four- legged friends and increasing your hay supply for the winter.

  • Increase Hay Amount- As the days grow colder in Montana, it’s always a good idea to make sure your horse is getting all of the nutrients and feed they need to get ready for winter.
  • Hay Supply- The late summer and early fall is the time horse owners need to stockpile their hay for winter feeding. Again, it always depends on what your horse facility provides (as far as pasture grass), typically, horse owners get enough hay of what they fed the last winter and a couple extra bales just in case it’s a harsh winter to come. My family and I get our hay in late August or early September, we get the second cut of hay in square bales from a local rancher.

Winter: The Montana winters will get pretty nasty so always monitor the hay and water consumption of your horse (especially when the temperature drastically drops). Hay will help your horse’s body temperature to stay up and water intake for the horse will help the body stay healthy.

  • Feeding- It is very important to watch your horse closely due to the many health conditions that can surface if your horse isn’t getting enough food. Another great idea is to make sure your hay is well covered and snow/rain can’t, quite literally “weather it away”.

    Weston enjoying the winter snow
  • Water Intake- Water tanks, trough etc. are bound to be frozen in Montana’s early mornings, if you don’t have a heated waterer then I would highly recommend investing in a water trough heater to make sure your horse’s water isn’t frozen in the morning or day time. For more tips, visit Keeping Water Troughs Thawed With or Without a Heater. Feeding hay on the beautiful white snow is always a great way for a horses to get extra water in their bodies. There is also a trick to feed them salt in their grain or hay, so then they will drink more water and will stay healthy through the winter.



Harley James enjoying his dinner in his barn

        Providing shelter for your horse is a great way to keep them comfortable during the harshest weather conditions that Montana will throw at you. If you don’t have the means to provide your horse with a nice shelter to get out of the wind/snow, think about investing in a nice blanket if your horse needs that extra comfort to stay warm. If you feel under the blanket and you can feel a damp/wetness then the horse is too hot and the blanket needs to be removed.

Spring: Montana tends to favor winter over any of the other seasons, but spring is always right around the corner. The weather still has its winter vibes that will shoot down some snow here and there but mostly rain. Providing shelter for your horse is necessary and removing the horse’s blanket during the day is a must.

  • Shelter- Shelter for horses are always a plus so that they have a place that they can get away from the wet and muddiness of spring. If horses are in deep mud most of their day and nowhere to get dry, it can cause a couple of health problems like thrush, tender feet, lose shoes, soften the hooves, unnormal hoof growth etc. Horses need a good solid, ground to get away from the spring weather, shavings are always a plus during the muddy times so that the horses can roll, take naps etc comfortably. For more information about the importance of horses having access to dry areas, check out HERE’S THE DIRT ON MUDDY PADDOCKS AND HORSE HEALTH.
  • Blanketing- If your horse needs to be blanketed but the days are getting warmer, it would be a good day to start taking the blanket off during the day but then putting the blanket back on the horse during the night.

Summer: It’s always a good idea to give your horse shelter that will let them have a break from the sun’s rays. This will protect them from the sun and the summer insects.

  • Montana Sun- Horses having access to shelter during the summer will protect them from the harsh summer sun and be able to take a break from it as well.
  • Insects- Flies especially will bug your horses throughout the heat of summer.
    Harley James wearing his purple fly blanket

    Shelter/shade tend to protect the horses from the flies because the flies think it’s too cold in the shade. If you aren’t able to provide shelter for your horses to get away from the insects, investing in a fly blanket is always a good option whenever you notice the insects are biting/ bugging your horses.

Fall: In Montana the rainy season can cause a common skin condition called Rain Rot, it can occur where the rain hits the horse’s body, mainly on the head, neck and back. Rain Rot looks/ feels like crusty scabs, the horse’s immune system will get rid of them on its own. But, can re-appear if the problem of no shelter stays the same. For more information about Rain Rot, check out How to Get Rid of Rain Rot.

Winter:  When the harsh Montana wind and snow begin, it’s best for your horse to have a place where they can comfortably get out of the wind or snow. Your horse may need the extra warmth from a blanket due to the lack of body weight or an illness occurs during a cold Montana winter.

  • Shelter- All your horse needs is a place to get out of the wind, a stall in a barn or a simple run in shelter will do the trick. This will help your horse stay warm and healthy. I always like to give my horses a nice clean bed, whether it’s shavings or straw, just somewhere they can either lay down in or roll in comfortably.
  • Blanketing your Horse- A lot of horse owners have varying ideas about whether or not to blanket their horse during the cold winter of Montana. If you do plan to blanket your horse during cold temps, be sure that they are comfortable in them and that they aren’t too hot. If you feel under the blanket, if they are just warm under there then you are good to go. But if they’re sweating, then it is too hot and you need to take the blanket off. Blankets are essential for horses that are thin, sick, recently clipped or been moved to a colder climate would have trouble staying warm. Remember that when blanketing a horse for long periods of time, the horse’s body will get used to it and not produce enough hair it needs to stay warm without a blanket. A lot of other horse owners prefer not to blanket their horses so that they will produce their own warmth and will then be prepared for other weather to come along.

If you would like more tips and tricks to grooming your horse check out this video done by Jeffers, How to Groom a Horse

Hoof Care

Caring for your horse’s hooves are very important all year around. Hoof care is very important to your horse’s health, especially living In Montana with the ever-changing weather conditions.

Spring: Caring for your horse’s hooves due to growth is constant during the springtime because of the extended daylight hours and the wet ground that can cause a couple different problems.

  • Increased hoof growth– Due to the length of each day, there is an increasingly more light that can help your horse’s hooves grow faster than usual. You may need to have your farrier visit a couple weeks earlier than your normal 6 to 8 week appointments.
  • Rainy spring + horse hooves = Hoof rot– it’s a perfect combination. Hoof rot is also called thrush, this causes black discharge that is very smelly due to the frog and surrounding areas that are infected. If thrush occurs, it is wise to clean, and pick the hoof often and can be medicated if need be. For more information on thrush, check out Thrush.

Summer: The ground can become very hard and tough during the hot summer months under the Big Sky. Horse owners need to be conscientious about dry hooves and those pesky rocks that can poke your horse’s hooves and cause multiple problems.

  • Dry hooves- Chips and cracks can be the cause of your horse’s hooves to be dry or the cornet band could be injured. The cracks tend to run along the tubules of the hoof. Trimming the hoof to rebalance the hoof is always a great remedy for hoof cracks and chips.
  • Stone bruises & abscesses- These nasty bruises occur when a horse steps on a sharp rock and can bruise the sole of the hoof. A bruised hoof can sometimes lead to an abscess, which is a pocket of puss in the horse’s hoof tissue. For more information, check out Why Hoof Bruises Happen.

Fall: As the cold mornings grow fonder in Montana, horse owners need to start thinking of the removal of the horse’s shoes since winter is just around the corner.

  • Removal of shoes- When October or November roll around, it’s time to take off your horse’s shoes before the winter snow flies. If you are a performance horse owner, you will need to get a specific type of shoe that has a pad on the bottom of the shoe. For horses that aren’t going to be ridden too much during the winter, going barefoot for your horse will make it easier for the horse to maneuver around in the snow and ice.

Winter: Horses hooves grow at a slower speed as during the warmer months, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a visit from your favorite Montana farrier every 6-8 weeks. It’s ideal to have your horse go barefoot throughout the winter so that they can maneuver the snow and ice naturally. But again, if you are a performance horse owner who rides your horse daily in the arena during the winter, you may have to have a specific shoe for your horse. Cleaning out the hoof is very important to your horse, this will get the dirt, feces, ice/snow that compacted etc., will relieve your horse from being too uncomfortable. For more information, check out Winter Hoof Care.


       Montana’s weather is always changing and so does the type of grooming styles. Grooming your horse is very important to their skin and overall health. Grooming also gives you and your horse that extra bonding time that is much deserved. Always remember to brush your horse before and after you ride under the big Montana sky.

Harley James, all groomed & ready for a ride

Spring: Grooming a horse during the spring time can be a huge chore, the horse is beginning to get a new coat, so their winter hair starts to shed off. Horses also tend to roll, and a lot of times they roll in very muddy spots, this turns into brushing dried mud off of the horse’s body.

Shedding coat- You will need to have the right grooming tools, such as a shedding blade, body brush, mane and tail brush, and a soft brush. The shedding brush is to get the excess hair that is currently shedding off and then you will want to go back and use your soft brush to clean up what the shedding brushes left behind. If you are dealing with dried mud on your horse, I typically use the shedding blade to basically scrape the mud off and then use the soft brush to get excess dandruff or dirt off as well.

Rufus laying in his clean shavings so he doesn’t get muddy

Summer: Grooming is pretty straight forward during the summer for horses, they are always slick and when it’s not wet out they stay very nice. You’ll want to consider using a type of insect repellent to keep the flies, ticks and other nasties away from your horse. I typically use UltraShield EX Fly Spray, it’s a great product that protects your horse from over 70 different insects, the repellent lasts for about 17 days. You will need to reapply the repellent whenever it rains or when you notice that the insects are bugging your four- legged friends. If you are interested in this type of fly spray, check it out at UltraShield EX Fly Spray.

Fall: As the weather starts to get cold, it is time to stop shaving/clipping your horse so that the horse’s body can naturally grow their hair out to protect them from the cold weather. There are many different ways to clip your horse during the fall/winter months that will protect your horse from the hash elements and is able to dry off after they are ridden. For more information about body clipping, visit About Horse Body Clipping.

Winter: Horses will grow a coat that protects them from the Montana cold. The types of grooming methods depend on what kind of horse person you are. A lot of performance horse owners who have to train throughout the winter to get ready for the sporting season will clip their horse.

Fritzie & Domino showing off their fluffy winter coat
  • Body Clipping- Clipping a horse during the winter will help the horse’s sweat dry faster after the horse is ridden. Especially since their furry coat is to keep heat in. A lot of people only clip the sides or backs of the horses to keep them warm when not training but can be cooled off easily when done. If you do clip your horse during the cold months, you will most likely need to blanket the horse so that they can combat the cold.
  • Grooming- Always a plus to your horse, no matter what, grooming shouldn’t stop just because you aren’t riding as often. Picking your horses hooves are a need be during the winter due to all the feces and dirt that is packed in the hoof because it is packed with snow. Brushing, combing, you name it will give you a reason to get out of the horse and hangout with your furry friends.

I hope that this Horse Care guide for Montana will help you and your four-hooved friend maneuver through the different Montana seasons and the crazy weather it presents.

Happy Trails!

Fundamentals of Skiing

Hudson Smith

10x Guide


Fundamentals of Skiing

This guide is all about the fundamentals of skiing. There are so many fun times to be had while skiing, whether it’s with friends, family, or others, it’s always a great time when you are out on the mountain. Skiing is a great sport that almost anybody can do and it’s a great activity for everyone who wants to stay active. Skiing has always been an important activity for my family and I hope that this guide will help people who want to try skiing for the first time gain a basic understanding of what they need to do it and how to do it.

Step 1: Equipment needed for Skiing

The equipment that is needed for skiing includes a winter jacket, snow pants, gloves, a helmet or hat, goggles, skis that fit, boots that fit, and ski poles that are the right length for your height.

Step 2: How to put on your boots and skis



So, what you want to do first is unbuckle the boot and then pull the tongue forward just like you would with a shoe. You want to make sure that your sock is pulled up all the way because if it’s not and it’s all mangled, then you may lose circulation to your feet and we don’t want that. When you go to buckle them, make sure that they are snug but not too snug, you want them to be comfortable. Once you have your boots on, it’s time to put on your skis. When putting on your skis, make sure that you find a flat spot in the snow because it makes putting them on way easier. In the right picture above, you are going to put you toe in the binding first, once you have your toe placed, then you are going to place your heal in the back part of the binding (Green is the binding) until your boot clicks in. Then you make your way to the chair lift.

Step 3: How to Get on and off the chair Lift

Once you get to the chair lift, you’re probably going to have to wait in line a little bit, which is annoying especially if it’s a nice day, then everyone is out. But, while you’re in line, make sure that nothing on your body is loose so that you don’t hurt yourself or get caught on the chair when you’re trying to get off. Once it’s your turn to get on the chair, there is usually a line in the snow that you ski up to and wait for your chair to swing around. Once you get to the line, make sure to look back at the chair swinging around so that you aren’t surprised and don’t get hurt. When the chair gets to you, then sit like you would normally and let it take you to the top. Make sure that you are sitting with your back against the back rest because strange things have happened, and people have fallen off the chair. Another thing to do while you’re on the chair is to look up at the view, there are some of the best views when you are on the mountain. After looking at the views, you’re getting closer to dismount the chair you are going to place your ski tips up (Just like the family in the second photo above). Once the chair hits the landing spot then you can get up and give you self a little push off but be careful not to run into your fellow skiers that are getting off with you.

Step 4: How to Move when you are on flat ground or small inclines

There are a couple ways to get yourself moving when you aren’t on a ski run/down slope. The first movement is called the “duck movement”. The picture on the left gives you a good idea of how to do this. You are going to dig the tips on the inside of your ski, lean forward a little bit and sway yourself back and forth like you are waddling like a duck. The use of your poles also helps you balance and create momentum while performing this technique. The Duck technique is useful when you are trying to get up to the chair lift, flat surfaces, and or small inclines.

The other way in which you can maneuver is the side step technique. This technique is usually performed when you are on the ski run and you lost a pole, or a personal item and you have to go back up hill to get it. So, in order to do this, you are going to want to face sideways on the run (just like the guy in the picture to the right) and dig your ski tips into the hill and step up.

Step 5: How to start and stop while on a ski run  

When it comes to learning how to ski, knowing how to start and stop while skiing is the first thing that you will need to know how to do. When you go to start, you want to keep you skis parallel (French fry position), this will allow you to glide across the snow and get you on your way. When it comes to stopping, there are two different techniques that you can use. The first approach is called the “pizza or pizza slice” and in order to do the pizza, you are going point your ski tips as much as you need to in order to come to a stop. This stop is mostly used by beginner skiers because it is the easiest technique to do. The other way is called the “hockey stop” (pictured above on the right) which will allow you to stop on a dime. In order to do this, you are going to turn your hips, balance your weight to the uphill side and dig the side of your skis into the into the snow (kind of like when a hockey player digs their blades into the ice).

Step 6: Learning how turn downhill

I like these two pictures because there are a couple of different ways that you can ski down the hill. For beginners, I would suggest the turn approach because if you take the no turn approach you are more likely to go to fast and loose control. The first picture explains turning down the hill really well, say you are going to your left and you want to make a turn right, you will want to turn with your weight on the downhill ski. In other words, put your weight on your right leg and adjust your body while going through the turn. This process would be the same if you were going to your right, but opposite leg (downhill/left leg).

Step 7: Mountain signage

When it comes to being a beginner, you need to be aware of the signage that is on the mountain. Every mountain is different and therefore the signage will be slightly different. European and Japanese mountains have the same concept as North America when it comes to describing how difficult the run is (diagram on the left) but they may be different colors and or shapes. The reason that this is important to know is that you don’t want to be a new skier and end up going down a double black diamond (Expert only) because you could lose control and get hurt or struggle down the run, which is no fun.

It can be hard to get the hang of things when you are first starting out. I started skiing when I was four, which helped me get the hang of things faster. But, if you start later on in life, it can be frustrating and seem like the worst sport ever. Don’t get discouraged, start out on the easy runs, work your way up and to where you feel comfortable challenging yourself to do harder runs. Everyone has to start somewhere.

Step 8: Skiing rules

When you are skiing, there are some unspoken rules that skiers follow when we are out on the hill. So, here’s a little list of rules to abide by:

  1. The skier in front of you has the right away. Make sure your paying attention so you don’t run into them.
  2. Stop somewhere practical. When you are on the ski run, a lot of people stop to take a break. Make sure that there is no one behind you or close to you when you stop because it could cause a wreck. Thrust me, I have done that a couple times. The result isn’t too fun.
  3. Don’t stand on people’s ski while in line for the chair lift. You’ll get a couple death glares if you do.
  4. Help out other skiers. If a skier in front of you on the chair lift loses a ski right after they get on, make sure and grab and give it to them at the top. Or if someone is hurt on the ski run, make sure that they are ok.
  5. When you go to “hockey stop” like I mentioned before, make sure to stop below your fellow skiers so you don’t spray them with snow. Unless it’s your parents and you can get away with it like I do, but if you’re on a first date or don’t know the people very well, that won’t get you any brownie points.
  6. Have fun. This isn’t really a rule but it’s my rule. If you give skiing a chance, you will have so much fun and enjoy every minute of it.

Step 9: What to do after the skiing day is over

      When it comes time to put your skis and ski poles up for the day, it’s time to head into the lodge for the “after party”.  Many mountains have bars inside all of their lodges, which makes for a fun time after a long day on the ski hill. You never know who you are going to see, for example my family when on a ski trip last year and we saw Clint Eastwood which was awesome. (I tried to act natural, but I couldn’t help but stare)

Depending on what mountain you go to, sometimes the lodges have bands, and everyone goes out and dances. So, maybe you had a hard first day on the hill, but you could make up for it by cutting a rug on the dance floor. That would be something to consider. Overall, it is a great way to end the day and maybe get some tips and or cool stories from someone who knows how to ski.

I hope that this guide is helpful to any first-time skiers and that you enjoyed it as well. Skiing can be a struggle to get the hang of at first, but it’s just like riding a bike once you get the hang of it.  It has always been something that my family has bonded over and maybe one day you and or your family will enjoy in the future. Go out there and just let loose and have some fun and I hope to see you all on the mountain!




A Guide to Content Marketing for Small Schools

Let’s face it. As a small, nonprofit school, sometime you barely have the money to replace tables when they break. You definitely don’t have the money to pay for extensive print advertising or radio campaigns. But you also need to attract new families each and every year in order for the school to stay afloat. Content marketing may be the solution.

Content marketing defined

Content marketing is the process of creating high-quality, valuable content to attract, inform, and engage your target audiences while also promoting your business/organization. Content marketing is about getting to know your prospective audience, their dreams, their challenges, their personalities, and creating content that actually benefits them in some way. This is about more than just creating an appealing or engaging advertisement.

Why does this matter for small schools?

For schools, this can and should look like developing engaging content in order to attract more prospective families, increase alumni engagement, deepen relationships with current families, etc. By providing constituents (e.g. enrolled families, alumni, donors, prospective students, etc.) with relevant content, schools are able to position themselves as experts in their field and, in turn, drive traffic to their websites and increase admissions.

This form of marketing generates nearly three times as many leads at only one-third of the cost of more traditional marketing efforts such as printed advertisements (The Power of Visual Content). For a small, nonprofit school, content marketing can be a game changer.

Below, we outline the steps of effective content marketing and share some examples of schools who utilize this strategy with incredible results.

Strategy: SMART goals, personas, and content mapping

“Communications and marketing directors are strategic leaders who support heads of school and leadership teams with messaging and positioning to advance the mission of their schools.”

– Joanne Mamenta, National Association of Independent Schools

STEP ONE: Set your goals

Your goals should align with the overall mission and vision of your school. If you are a nonprofit and have a Strategic Plan in place, make sure your goals align with this as well.

These goals should be S.M.A.R.T. goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Setting goals that are unattainable or unmeasurable does not set you up for success in the creation of your content marketing strategy.

STEP TWO: Determine your target audience

Your currently enrolled families are the key to figuring out your target audience. Who are your currently enrolled families? What are their demographics? Their wants and needs? Behavior patterns? Compile this information. You can even survey current families to help inform this process (e.g. Why did you choose this school? Which activities are you most involved in and why?).

Use the information you gather to create different “personas” of prospective families. Everything you create should be grounded in these personas. Your content should meaningful to them and addresses their main questions and interests.

STEP THREE: Content mapping

Inventory all of the content your school already creates. Looking back at your listed personas, who does each piece of content appeal to? Which mediums were used to distribute this content? Where can you improve and which personas are lacking consistent content? This inventory, along with your goals and personas, will be the backbone of your content marketing.

Creating and distributing your content

You have your SMART goals, you have your family personas, and you have your content map. Now what? Think back to your content map and create content to fill in the gaps. Could you start a school blog focused on providing desired information to one of your family personas? Could currently enrolled families contribute to the blog? What about alumni? Do you have social media accounts? Do you use photos? Videos? Both? Have you considered creating a school podcast? Could you create some sort of downloadable guide for prospective families if they sign up for the newsletter?

There are countless options for the creation and distribution of content. Whatever you choose, make sure it is grounded in your overall strategy. Do not create random content and distribute it haphazardly. Make sure all of your content is targeted towards one of the personas from your strategy and link everything back to your school website! Once again, sticking to a solid content marketing strategy will set you up for success.

Use metrics and analytics to measure success

Look back at your goals. Your measurements should be based on the SMART goals you set when developing your content marketing strategy. Look at the metrics and/or analytics tied to your content. Look at enrollment numbers over a long period of time. Track increases in your newsletter subscription. Survey incoming families to see how they heard about the school.

If your strategy didn’t work, reassess. If one type of content brought results better than your set goal, continue down that path. Remember, you are supposed to be creating content that is relevant and engaging. Reflection is a key part of content marketing. The numbers matter.

Examples of successful school content marketing

Now that we’ve outlined the process of creating and implementing content marketing successfully as a small school, let’s look at some incredible examples from real schools.

Providence Country Day School’s “Raising Great Kids” blog

The Providence Country Day School’s blog was created to share inspiration, ideas, and stories to help parents navigate the “messy process” of parenting. Posts include how to communicate with children, help them balance athletics and academics, how to help them build resilience, etc. The blog is valuable to families because it helps answer questions they have about their children.

Stuart Country Day School’s #LeadLikeAGirl Conference

A conference does not seem like marketing content at first glance. But the #LeadLikeAGirl conference was created to drive brand awareness for the Stuart Country Day School, an all-girls school in Princeton, New Jersey, and focuses on sharing the school’s values of women’s leadership. This FREE conference has gained national attention, regularly sells out, and has a waitlist of more than 200. Now the school uses the #LeadLikeAGirl theme across all of their marketing initiatives.

Hilltop Children’s Center’s Institute Blog

Hilltop Children’s Center in Seattle, Washington, has established themselves as a leader in the pedagogy of Reggio Emilia. Although they are only a small school, they created their own “institute” to teach other educators and families about the philosophy behind their approach to early childhood education. Their blog is now read all over the world and frequently distributed among early childhood circles. They are known as experts in the field because of the content they produce!

Mercy Academy’s “Prepare for real life” campaign

“You’re not a princess. Prepare for real life.”

“Don’t wait for a prince. Prepare for real life.”

“Life’s not a fairy tale. Prepare for real life.”

Mercy Academy, an all-girl high school in Louisville, Kentucky, took the idea of fairy tales and gave it a new twist in the creation of their “Prepare for real life” campaign. The message behind their content resonated so well with the public that the campaign received national media coverage.

For more detailed information on content marketing, check out the following resources:

Practical Content Strategy & Marketing

Content Marketing Institute

Content Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide

Jocelyn Catterson grew up in a small town in the mountains of Colorado. Her childhood was full of barefoot wandering, fort building, mudpie making, and camping. These days, she loves to collect edible plants, backpack with her husband and two dogs, and nurture her childlike curiosity of the natural world.

Trade Show Marketing for Beginners

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Image result for trade show marketing

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a couple of trade shows. I work in sales and trade shows are an excellent opportunity to create leads that will hopefully lead to sales.  It’s also a great way to see how other businesses operate.  My employer (a travel agency) hosted a show that was targeted specifically for travel.  The other show was hosted by the Knoxville (Tennessee) Chamber of Commerce and typically includes over 100 local businesses.  Unfortunately, the show that was being handled by the chamber of commerce had been cancelled because of the coronavirus. So I’m going to use the information from past shows and other sources for this document.  

I’ve tried to lay out this information out in three easy steps…before…during…and after. 

Once you have made the decision to attend a trade show there are a few things you and your organization need to do before the actual show.  

Before the show

The first thing you need to do is prepare.  You should start as early as possible.  Get your team together, decide how many people need to be there and what will their responsibilities be?  You don’t want a bunch of people in the booth just milling about with nothing to do. Make sure to create and order any brochures you may need for the booth.  It’s also very important that everyone who will be representing the company has enough business cards, there are not many things worse than running out of business cards at a trade show.  Also, think about your table and space. This might be the most important aspect of your show. What kind of props or decorations should you have? Do you just have a table or do you have a big booth? What kind of give-aways or promotional items does your organization want to have?  Trade shows can be a big expense for your company so you want to make sure that your team prepares early to ensure that you have a successful show.

 The show that my employer hosted a couple weeks ago was specifically for travel.  It was hosted in the ballroom of a hotel so space was a little limited. We had all the major travel vendors in attendance, i.e., Royal Caribbean, Viking, Trafalgar, etc, about twenty five in all.  Everyone had a nice big table with electricity so they could have slideshows, music, or lights, but the vendor couldn’t put up any awnings or things hanging from the ceiling.  The tables were 8 feet long by 2.5 feet wide. The vendor could pretty much decorate or display however they wanted as long as it didn’t interfere with the trade show traffic or other vendors.  All the travel vendors had the same size space.  Also, during our travel show we had a separate area where the various travel vendors were giving presentations and having question and answer sessions.



The trade show hosted by the chamber is held in a much bigger space but had a lot more rules.  Businesses can choose what kind of booth they want. An organization could choose between a “standard” or “premium” booth.  The standard booth included one standard size table, 2 chairs, 1 6×3 foot sign placed next to the table, no electricity and no wifi. The premium booth would get you the same table and chairs as with a standard booth but also the ability to have a backdrop, freestanding props, and electricity.





Next your team needs to set goals.  What are you trying to accomplish with the trade show?  Will your team be trying to make actual sales or just network?  If you’ll be selling you’ll need a dedicated space for that, a table and chairs, maybe a space that is a little more private.  Keep that in mind because you’ll only have so much space to work with.  

At my employers travel trade show we had most of a whole floor at a hotel.  There was a specific room where the travel vendors set up their tables and then a separate area for the travel agents to sit down with attendees to discuss travel options and actually make sales.  Both the vendor area and sales area were comfortable and inviting.


At the chamber trade show my company focuses on networking and letting other attendees know about all of the services that we provide.  We focus on the sales when we are back in the office. During this show we’ll have a couple people stationed at the booth while the others go out into the exhibit space and network.  Then after a little while we’ll switch and let our other colleagues go have some fun networking. That seems to be what the other attendees focus on as well, making connections, networking, and having fun.  


During the show 

Now it’s the big day! Make sure to get a good night’s sleep the night before, you’ll need it.  Get to the show early to make sure that everything is set up correctly and if not you’ll have some time to fix any issues that may arise.  

How does the booth look?  Take a step back and look at it from the attendees point of view, it should be warm and inviting yet also unique.  First impressions are everything!  Attendees should be able to see your booth from afar and it should be memorable. There will probably be hundreds of booths and yours needs to stand out.  During the show don’t forget to keep the booth well-kept.  Make sure that any stock stays maintained, that everything looks neat and tidy and that there isn’t any trash anywhere. Make sure to have some cool promotional items and giveaways.  These can be small items that will help attendees remember who you are.  And also advertise for you! I thought this article had some good ideas for trade show merch, something other than paper fans and ink pens,

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I think that one thing that goes unmentioned a lot of the time are the people who are manning the booth.  The people in the booth should be personable and friendly, they should be able to speak to other people and not stand around with their arms crossed.  Your team members should make sure to make eye contact and speak with visitors.  Be courteous and polite and thank them for visiting. Yes, getting a good night’s sleep is very important. It is also important to stay hydrated and away from the alcohol. Many trade shows give out drink tickets but I think it’s a good idea for employees to stay away from those.  Yes, our team members should have fun at a trade show but they are also there to work. I’ve seen too many people take advantage of those free drinks and make a fool not only of themselves but also of their company and that is a huge liability.   Will your team have a dress code?  Many companies nowadays have branded apparel.  It’s a cheap and easy way to market your company and also look professional.  This is the case with my company, any event we attend we must wear branded apparel.  Remember your team is the face of your organization.  I found the following article about trade show booth etiquette to be really informative and helpful

Lastly…have fun!  If you are having fun and engaging with other attendees you will show how fun your company is, “Hey, come over here and have fun with us!” No one wants to go into a boring booth and talk to boring people.   Again, don’t forget to post on social media.  Take pictures of your team and the attendees who visit your booth and post them with the trade show hashtag.  Show your followers all of the fun you are having, show them some of the things that are going on in your booth and also at the show, engage with your social media.Image result for trade show fun


After the show

You made it! You had a successful show and now it’s time to debrief.  Get your team together and discuss the show. What were the strengths?  What were the weaknesses? How can your team improve to have a better show next year?  When my team and I debriefed after our travel show this year we came up with a few things that worked really well and some that didn’t.  We really liked the area where the agents set up their space to meet with clients, it was inviting and made the attendees feel comfortable.  We had some confusion when attendees arrived, however.  They were to register before the show and then check in when they arrived.  The check in table was in an out of the way place which led to attendees wandering around and looking lost.  Not really a good impression.  

Think back to what your goals were and measure your results, think about your ROI.  Did they include making sales? If so, was that goal accomplished?  If your team was at the show last year how do this years results compare to last year? Was the goal to network and generate leads? How did that go?  Our travel show was actually very successful considering what is currently going on in the world.  During the four hours that the event was going on we had nearly 300 attendees, made 25 future appointments, and made 6 on the spot bookings.  This is a little down from last year, because of the virus issue, but we knew that going in and were prepared for it. 

Also, in the debriefing I like to discuss things such as the table and promotional items.  Was the table laid out in an effective way? Was there something that was inhibiting or getting in the way?  Could there be something we didn’t have this year that we can use next year?  How were the promotional items received?  Was there something that was a big hit and something else that fell flat?  If so, you’ll want to note that for when you are ordering items for the next trade show.  You don’t want to end up with a 1000 paper fans when it 10 degrees outside.

Lastly, follow up with the people you met, make phone calls and send thank you notes.  I recommend doing this in the first week after the show. In the past at the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce show my team tries to get a business card from every business who is present.  When we get back to the office we split the cards between us and start making connections and building relationships.  Many people either wait too long to follow up or don’t even follow up at all.  Following up is a huge opportunity to build a relationship and hopefully turn a lead into a sale. Also, don’t forget to post on social media. Post a thank you and maybe tag some of the people and organizations that you networked with.  

Trade shows can be very important for your company, it can be one of the best ways to make a deal. It is a great way to meet new people and hopefully build your business.  Your companies success at the trade show can be measured by how much effort you put into it.  Trade shows are big investment and important to your business.  Make it worth it.

Authored by Shannon Gibson