Category Archives: Computing

San Diego Comic Con … Tick, Tick, Tick 7/8/2008


(Thursday – DefCon 2).

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Filed under Advertising, Computing, Film, Internet, Marketing, Media, Retail, Toys, TV

San Diego Comic Con: Tickets Avail – Tick…Tick…Tick


Chart Reading 101:

4-Day Ticket SOLD OUT

Saturday Tickets SOLD OUT

If you’re planning on going Friday – you might want to hurry.

Not to get too technical but when the bar goes RED, you are out of luck. 🙂

Eventually, we will get around to doing a post on all the exclusives at the SD show but so far, we also have some mighty nice Mighty Muggs to show you – scroll down to the bottom.

If you live in the San Diego area and are on a tighter budget, you can also consider volunteering three hours of your time and you get in that day for free.

There is only online registration now so plan ahead if you think you might want to go … and now, of course, you have to decide on a specific day of days. Good luck! See ya there!

(Thanks for the heads up “D” on Friday going critical …)

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Filed under Advertising, Computing, Film, Gadgets, Internet, Marketing, Mattel Disney Pixar CARS, Media, Retail, Toys, TV

Pixar CARS 2 Tidbit Update & McQueen in the UK

Of course, we just found out McQueen has a cousin in Japan

Now it turns out McQueen is literally carrying the same DNA as another rabble rouser …

Yep, McQueen is built upon a 1978 Pontiac Trans Am …

As Jerry Reed sang in “Eastbound & Down” …


East bound and down, loaded up and truckin’,
we’re gonna do what they say can’t be done.
We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there.
I’m east bound, just watch ol’ “Bandit” run.

Ol’ Smokey’s got them ears on and he’s hot on your trail.
He aint gonna rest ’til you’re in jail.
So you got to dodge ‘im and you got to duck ‘im …

lm.jpg

So, now, you have no reason – should be easy to find a 1978 Pontiac Trans Am …

Then buy the Eddie Paul books (link to older post) and you’re SET!

eddiepaul.jpg

So, if you’re in the UK, check out the London Motor Show where McQueen, Sally & Mater will be dropping by.

AND some CARS 2 movie news via MTV News. John Lassetter says the script & story of CARS 2 is,”… still in early development.”

He says that is he is writing a part for Paul Newman (recent announcement that he has lung cancer).

Presumably the interview took place a few days before the passing of George Carlin.

So, for those who asked what is happening with the characters of Doc & Fillmore, that remains to be seen, generally, they will record the line readings about a year or more before the film is completed – with them going back and adding new lines when the script changes, of course … but with the film still 4 years away, presumably they won’t start recording the lines with actors until 2010?

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Filed under Advertising, CARS, Computing, Disney Pixar, Film, Marketing, Media, Retail, Toys, TV

Tiger Woods Apple Core – $36,000

Apparently the keyword in any auction is ‘APPLE.’

Wow, at this price, the guy could’ve gotten 18 Speedway of the South sets but hey, he’s got an Apple core … see, paying $1,500 for the Speedway set, not so crazy now, huh?

😉

Auction Link (sorry, closed in case you had $40k laying around and wanted an Apple core).

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Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: Mac iCar (The Apple Car)

© Disney/Pixar & Mattel Red Line Club

No, it is not scheduled to come out in the next two months.

Beyond that, who really knows?

My opinion is that it will be out at some future time.

The time doesn’t matter because whenever it comes out, Mattel will sell it by the bushels.

(A bushel of course, being 4 pecks … er, okay, how about 48 apples to a bushel as an Apple to apple comparison?  🙂  )

It is literally an ace up the sleeve … anytime they’ll need revenue for the CARS line, they can whip it out … er, roll it out.

There has always been some concerns that Mattel doesn’t have the right to issue the car or now that it’s been released, those theorists have now modified their fears that it was a limited one-shot deal.

First, that makes no sense logically. Unless there’s some huge falling out between Apple & Pixar, that fear makes very little sense. Is Apple very protective of its imagery and logo, of course – so is any corporation these days because dilution of trademark is well, dilution of trademark …

But in this case, Pixar & Apple could not be more closely tied together and in some senses, even more so than 99% of corporations. In fact, in most corporations, you find it easier to deal with an outside 3rd partner than another department because at least with a outside partner, everyone understands their motive is profit and branding while with two internal departments, the fear is you might make the other guy look good and he takes your job someday (or becomes your boss) … in the case of Apple & Pixar, John Lassetter can pick up the phone to Steve Jobs and vice versa to resolve any issues with one phone call – not many companies have two heads who actually work together as well. So, Apple & Steve Jobs knows that John Lassetter & Pixar is not going to place the Apple logo on a garbage barge … of course, Apple will want to review the design but if John Lassetter & Pixar signs off to Mattel, they will accept it as if their brother vouched for it.

Apple certainly isn’t going to need the licensing money from selling a Piston Cup racer but again, because of the close relationship – they trust Pixar much more than any two corporations can.

So, where does this lead us. Now, I have not look at this particular contract so I cannot say 100% anything but generally, when you agree to license your logo for a film property and for ancillary merchandise, you agree to license for a certain amount of time and with certain provisions for approval. In the case where the “film role” is a car, it’s natural that the merchandising include a facsimile diecast car … anything outside of this “role,” will require new approvals – for instance, if they decided they wanted to make an Apple Car playset (which does not appear in the film), they would need additional approval but the car will be included in the general merchandising rights. With that said, there are obvious sign-offs for approval for each appearance. For instance, Apple probably wouldn’t approve a “wrecked” version of the Apple car.

Conversely, Mattel realizes this car is not only wanted by the CARS collector but also by  Mac fans so there’s no real point in selling it as a single carded car when Mattel can make so much more selling it separately … (maybe not $250 as its going for on eBay) but certainly more than $3.59 … bottom line, Mattel could bundle a sealed box of 18 of just Dale Jr.’s & the Apple car and the store shelves would be stripped bare … so my prediction is that we won’t see the Apple CAR in another form until at least 2009 and it’ll be in some special format – why not, it’s clear people will pay anywhere from $40 to $75 for this car without a moment’s hesitation (at $250, the hesitation is a bit longer 🙂  ).

But when will it be out is another question. We still have 4 long years before the next movie comes out – this car is worth its weight in gold to Mattel. They can release on tax day in a recession and make serious money with it. Imagine it bundled with a Pit Crew and a trailer? $99? $149?  AND it will sell out. So, there are hundred of CARS we’re still willing to buy so my prediction is it will be out but not just yet …

(With that said, look for an update to this chart in the next day or so 🙂  ).

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Filed under Advertising, Apple, Apple Mac, Computing, Film, Internet, Marketing, Mattel Disney Pixar CARS, Media, Retail, TV

Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: Motor Speedway of the South? Bring $1,350, Yep, $1,350 USD

FOR THE LATEST CARS & Piston Cup Info, be sure and visit our new site, TakeFiveADay.com – Simply click on the text link or the logo above. Thanks!

Motor Speedway of the South? Bring $299, $500, $750, $850, $1,100, Yep, $1,350 USD. $1,100? That was so like yesterday … get with the times!

Man, I guess they were right about the dollar not being worth anything, why I remember when $1,100 would buy more than 36 CARS, a display case & a track … but hey, I guess I’m just a old geezer who think $1,100 is real money … I guess I’ll have to take another 3″ off my bed and sleep just a little lower to the ground … damn nasty 300%+ inflation … and man, it’s a short click from $500 to $1,100.

Or today where $1,350 is the new benchmark … that MOPPY guy was not to be denied going from $911 to $1,305 in a little over 6 hours … where $1,280 of your money is NO FREAKIN’ GOOD here … bring $1,350 (with shipping) or don’t come at all, DUDE!

Yesterdays’ bidding blow by blow …

There were actually THREE people willing to pay $1,000 – t***7 who thought his hidden max bid of $1k would surely carry the day, the e***e guy who jumped in thinking his $50 extra would buy him the set but nope, you needed another $26 USD + shipping …

Mama said Knock You Out.

What recession are people talking about again? It’s all great here at the Billionaire’s CARS Club … Well, I’m off to crush my Apple car and have an Crushed-Appletini – would you like yours stirred or shaken?

We now have at least 3 people who have bid $1k for this set and have nothing to show for it except carpal tunnel … and as “BMW” points out, another auction is at $1k so we’ll have a few more crying into their spilled caviar …

Now, maybe I’m not the right guy who should tell people how to spend $1k of their hard earned money (gold leaf chocolate is nice after my shift at The Dollar Tree).

But maybe this might be a more er, uplifting way to go … $30 buys you a meal for 70 kids or $100 for clean water for 40 people … Or buy an African family a starter farm & sustanance … (a cow, 2 goats, 5 chickens and a cockerel) for $50. Or 40 chickens for $60

Just remember, there’s no point to bidding $1,280 for 36-CARS if you lose! You must bid to win – come on, people, just type that 2 first and be done with it and hey, why not type the 3 first … how many people can say they own a $3,000 dollar set of CARS – not many – be the first! Be the first! Be the first! (just make sure you get the Apple CAR).

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Filed under Advertising, Checklist, collecting, Computing, Film, Gadgets, Internet, Marketing, Mattel Disney Pixar CARS, Media, Retail, Toys, TV

Disney Pixar CARS: Peterson Museum CARS Exhibit Photos

When in LA, you can also check out the Pixar CARS Exhibit at the Petersen Auto Museum … “remclsydney” was kind enough to send us pics of his recent visit to LA and the exhibit …

Too bad, you can’t pick up one of these in the gift shop. Though the airline might just charge you more than $15 to carry this on your flight home 🙂

I think there are a couple “extra” stickers on McQueen!

Just make sure you visit Disneyland and the museum on different days … don’t want to confuse the kids 🙂

Original Press Release & Post.

Follow-up Post with Directions & Other Places of Interest.

And of course, if you just want to Photoshop eyes on your CAR or build your own McQueen – check out this post. I expect pictures of your Chevy Malibu changed into McQueen! ;- )

Thanks again, “remclsydney.”

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Mattel Disney Pixar CARS – Still 100% SELLOUT on eBay (with 11 minutes to spare!)

The Motor Speedway of the South Piston Cup race set continues to roll like a real life Katamari Damacy – and like the game, now at this level, it is just rollin’ & sucking in people right and left and no matter how you struggle, you are in the big ball and there is no getting out 🙂

Yep, after a week and over 60 auctions of the actual set itself – 100% compliance.

That’s right – EVERY full set that has been listed has sold. EVERY SINGLE ONE!

Something like 65 for 65!

Resistence is futile.

We had the closest call today a couple hours ago. One auction went down to 11 minutes left on a one day BUY-IT-NOW auction before someone somewhere went AHHHHHHH!!!!! and then went click-click-click-click BUY IT NOW! BUY IT NOW! BUY IT NOW! (okay, maybe that’s just how I shop on eBay ;- ) )

With 11-minutes to spare … we’re still “perfect.”

The next BUY IT NOW auction with no bidding opportunity is at $750 in 3 days with all the auctions ending before that – all seemingly meeting reserve – so, we are probably a good three days or another 6 auctions before we might face the next test. Of course, anyone can step in and click BUY IT NOW between now and then to move the bar further away but it looks like we can pretty much safety say, Motor Speedway of the South – eBay 100% sellout – in May 2008.

Or at the end of May – something like 70 for 70 and presuming a selling price of around $650 – that’s about $45,000 worth of this set on top of the $300,000 Mattel received on the 20th or about $350,000 in retail sales for less than 2 weeks. I think even Warren Buffet would like those numbers.

For CARS, it’s 2006 again – what economic problems? What inflation? What credit problem?

How many other items are 70 for 70 – nevermind about $650 for an average selling price?

(There was one set of the individual CARS only (no box) that didn’t meet reserve at $730+ but that’s an oddity – also some individual CARS with BUY IT NOW pricing set a prices a bit too high and didn’t sell but if you have the complete kit with the CARS – you can do no wrong – from $600 to $800, we’ll take it!)

So, we’ll see in three days if CARS Motor Speedway of the South can stay at 100% …

This thing is still SMOKIN’, SIZZLIN’ and BLAZIN’!

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Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: Motor Speedway of South – Gather ‘Round Kids, Here’s your eBay MBA Story …

As a marketing guy, people’s behaviors, crowd behavior and mobs fascinate me – and of course, the Motor Speedway of the South has turned out to be more fascinating than most – you can go all the way back when the rumors starting percolating, then the unauthorized photo leaks and then of course, the rumors on releases, on pricing and on production numbers. Frankly, it was all fun – the guessing, the anticipation and the buzz it generated … but ultimately, no matter how much you try and get all the info out there – there’s always one in every crowd as posted on the HW Collector’s Club forum on May 21st … “Did these go on sale?”

Um, yeah.

So, now of course, we enter the phase known as the “secondary market.” While they could turn up live in person at toy shows and such, the easiest way to sell is of course, eBay.

Personally, I have nothing against eBay – sure I’m as annoyed as the next guy when I can’t find what I want but eBay has hundreds … but it’s hard to rail against supply, demand the whole free enterprise thing. If no one is buying, the listings go away … for instance, there’s not a lot of listings for toilet paper … 🙂 so it must be something enticing if others want it. So, you can draw your own conclusions. Just as if you found a Blu Ray McQueen for a dollar, there are literally billions of people who would question why you spend $1 for a toy, so not everyone stands where you, or I stands …

On that note, I present to you the Motor Speedway of the South One Week later.

On May 20, 2008 – from 9:00 AM to 11:25 AM, the Motor Speedway of the South was at the Hot Wheels Collectors Club for $341.85

This is presuming three additional things:

You just signed at the RL Club to buy this item (which includes $29.90 for the membership.

You are not paying for expedited or Canadian shipping (an extra $5 to $15.00).

And you do not live in Wisconsin or Texas – where you have to pay another $20 dollars in taxes.

(Also note – the time is my time zone here n the West Coast US – that’s much less important than that it was a sellout in 2 hours and 25 minutes. It actually took a few more minutes to sell out but it can take 1-3 minutes to navigate through the menus and every once in a while, people have items in the cart and when they reach the final SUBMIT, it becomes sold out – which probably happen to a few people who got on at 11:28 …)

In theory, if you’re a ‘power seller’ of diecasts, you could prorate the membership costs since almost everything on the RLC is in limited supply and easy to resell, let’s divide that membership cost to 8 items across 2008 so instead of adding $29.90 to the MSoS set, let’s just add $3.75 and rounding up slightly, let’s just call it $316.00 out the door and on your doorstep. Presume that your time is NOT money and your time spent making the listing is not money but however, eBay fees and Paypal fees are … let’s just say 10% for both … meaning your final out of your door cost is @$347.26 ($316 + @10% for fees).

So, what is a righteous price to sell it for?

So, on May 20, 2008 – between 9:00 AM to 11:25 AM, the Motor Speedway of the South was at the Hot Wheels Collectors Club for $341.85 for those who joined just to own a set.

For those who bought a set on eBay between 9:00 and 11:25 (my time), the average selling price was $451.98 (including shipping).

These are the average prices for all sets sold that closed on a particular day or time period.

May 20, 2008

$341.85 – HWC 9-11:25 AM
$451.98 – eBay 9-11:25 AM
$483.98 – eBay 11:26 AM to 11:59 PM

May 21, 2008

$502.24 – eBay 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM

May 22, 2008

$507.50 – eBay 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM

May 23, 2008

$595.75 – eBay 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM

May 24, 2008

$602.50 – eBay 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM

May 25, 2008*

$665.33 – eBay 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM

May 26, 2008**

$766.06 – eBay 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM

May 27, 2008

$706.98 -eBay 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM

* Indicates the first actual bidding auctions closed (not BUY IT NOW).

** US Holiday.

Blue is the price of $340 – what you would’ve paid and orange is the selling price starting within the RL still selling window.

There have been 53 auctions that have closed, 48 were auctions that closed due to BUY IT NOW, BUY IT NOW was the only option or BEST OFFER was accepted – after 1 week, only 5 have been actual auctions. But because there were so many BUY IT NOW sets offered, it’s impossible to say with any certainty what effect it had on the actual auctions other than taking away some buyers – the bottom line is that the few actual bidding auctions that closed on the days with all the multitude of other BUY IT NOW transactions closing were neither the highest nor lowest price of that day.

Presumably, sellers were leery of someone sneaking off with a bargain so BUY IT NOW prices were set high and kept moving higher (since the above pricing pricing pattern reflects 95% BUY IT NOW pricing) … for instance, the first seller sold off six sets. He accepted the first bid of $365 on May 20 before the HW Club had finished selling – on May 23, he sold off his last one for $500.

Another seller (wisely?) waited until May 22 after he received his shipment to start selling – his pricing on the three sets sold went from a BUY IT NOW pricing of $490 to $649 to $759 in three days and these ALL SOLD – the last one in just over an hour from the eBay listing … So, while he did beat the early listings, in this & other cases, the setting of a BUY IT NOW pricing early on the first week meant some sellers left money on the table as the first and only actual auction (a 5-day auction) on May 20 went for $611 5-days later for an average of over $140 more than the BUY IT NOW pricing of May 20 or as a percentage – about 27% not garnered.

Of course, even if people are not math whizzes, they can sense the spin of the roulette table as now the split is 80% auctions and BUY IT NOW pricing is now set (on May 27) in the $800-$1,500 range. Now, there are enough ‘players’ who are bidding to assure that the maximum pricing is reached instead of arbitrarily trying to guess the direction of the market with BUY IT NOW especially when it is moving this fast?

How fast?

Here’s your ROI (return on investment)

This is presuming you are buying to sell – so your outlay is @$347.26 as a ‘power seller’ who is pro-rating your RLC membership buy paying eBay & PayPal fees (just so everyone can play, if you’re not planning on selling and just signed up to buy, your outlay of $341.85 is just about 2% difference from these numbers).

ROI After 2 Hours?

30%

After 12.5 Hours

39.37%

On May 21 (end of day)

44.63%

May 22

46.16%

May 23

72%

May 24

74%

May 25

92%

May 26

121%

May 27

104%

Yea, it’s like it’s 2001 and I’m buying a dot.com stock. Except of course … like any stock, when do you sell and when do you buy?

(and note, this is the cumulative return from Day 1 to each day not price growth each & everyday on top of the previous day … that would just be ridiculous 🙂 )

Sure, if you’re a robot, something you bought is now worth 104% of what you paid a week ago, do you sell? But what is its REPLACEMENT VALUE?

That no one can say, because even “investment-grade” choices – in theory – such as stocks – its pricing is supposed to reflect underlying value and future earnings value – it is still just a guess even though everyone is dressed in nice suits … (Bear Stearn went from $100+ to being sold for $2 in a matter of months … and that’s the investment industry valuing itself!) … or the most famous case of Webvan being worth more than American Airlines for a period. I doubt if you assembled their entire fleet of delivery vans, it was worth the value of one 747 but hey, the market is crazy … well, every market is crazy or can be – and certainly at different periods in time. Does this set have value? Sure? 36 X $4 + a track + a cover = $174? Limited, add another $20 or add $125? Or add $401? Or really, is Leak Less really worth $4 on the open market? Where she spins, nobody knows …

53 auctions plus the 24 going on now … so maybe 8% of the available stock … though technically, I have not gotten mine and I presume others have not also. (I’m guessing 900-950 were sold, 50-100 held back for Mattel & Pixar?) – will that churn hold true because while 53 were available in week one, and 24 are now available in week 2, how many will week three bring to the marketplace? It will matter how pricing is – there are some who will be willing to give it up if prices hold a 100+% return on their money … at whar price are you willing to sell? Now? When and if it hits $1,000? Will there be panic when offers drop to a few a week so that $1,500 set looks tempting? Of course, like the 2006 Factory Set, if the set sells for $1,500, you can bet listings will shoot up the weeks after until equilibrium pricing is met again … will that be where we are today? Around $700 with shipping?

Right now, the cheapest BUY IT NOW offer is $720 with shipping … and has been “live” for about three hours. Most of the $720 range BUY IT NOW’s from the last few days have sold within @3 hours of listings, the $750+ BUY IT NOW’s tend to be up for close to 24 hours before someone decides – enough is enough 🙂 MUST OWN! So, the next couple hours should tell if @$700 is the new “comfort” range.

Other amusing facts:

Quickest auction from post to sale – a BUY IT NOW for $725.00 – the listing lasted a whole 15-minutes.

The slowest BUY IT NOW took 3 days for a sale but that’s presumably because he only accepts MO so you have to buy escrow insurance from eBay … you did buy escrow insurance, right? 🙂

2 of the first 4 auctions had a bid option and a BUY IT NOW OPTION … one got to $300 before someone pulled the $499 BUY IT NOW trigger and the other one got to $360 before someone said the suspense is killing me, I’ll take it at $499.99.

Only 5 of the first 53 available sold in the under $500 range with the first one, the cheapest at $400 with the next one selling for $434 an hour later. The most expensive one sold while you still had a shot of buying one at the RLC? $519.00. The last under $500 one sold at around 12:48 on the May 21st (or about 25 hours).

$835.00 is the most expensive one sold so far – a BUY IT NOW.

On Memorial Day, with the exception of the most expensive one sold so far – the other 7 which sold for an average of $756 dollars all sold from listing to BUY IT NOW in an average of 1 hour and 38 minutes.

Free shipping, photos, in hand seems to matter very little for pricing.

There only seems to be one buyer who snapped up three auctions willy-nilly in the last few days. They seem to a power seller so I presume they might be turning it around but hard to figure how much profit they can squeeze after paying about $750 per set … I did not notice any other multiple buyers.

Most sellers were either power sellers with an eBay store or most with a thousand or more feedbacks – only a couple with less than 200 feedbacks … one seller with the lowest ranking I’d seen in a while – 90% 😦 … um, good luck there!

So, while I will stop tracking the day-to-day price swings and try to do weekly, it has certainly been interesting so far.

If you participated in selling or buying in the after market and want to share your story, drop me an email and I promise not to reveal your name or email (mail us at metroxing (at) gmail.com. Thanks!

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Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Workplace Innovation

Gigaom sums up a McKinsey Quarterly feature on Brad Bird’s management style & thoughts at Pixar.

Steve Jobs hired him, says Bird, because after three successes (Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, and Toy Story 2) he was worried Pixar might struggle to stay innovative. Jobs told him: “The only thing we’re afraid of is complacency—feeling like we have it all figured out,”“…We want you to come shake things up.” Bird explains to McKinsey how he did it — and why, for “imagination-based companies to succeed in the long run, making money can’t be the focus.”

The summary is available at GigaOM.

If you prefer to read the original article with interactive features, follow this McKinsey Quarter link – registration required (free).

For fans of Pixar, there is a great documentary airing on Starz this month, THE PIXAR STORY.

The producer of the film also worked on this official book published a year ago, “To Infinity and Beyond!: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios.”

There is also a new book I just bought but haven’t read yet, “The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company.”

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