Sunday, March 19, 2023

FDU won? That's MADNESS!!!

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

The NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament, branded NCAA March Madness - or now just MARCH MADNESS is a single-elimination tournament played each spring in the USA, currently featuring 68 college basketball teams.

It has become extremely common in popular culture to predict the outcomes of each game, even among non-sports fans. It is estimated that up to 50 million Americans participate in a bracket pool contest every year. 

From the New York Times: "No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson, the shortest team in men's college basketball, took down top-seeded PURDUE and its magisterial 7-foot-4 big man Zach Edey on Friday, delivering a shocking NCAA tournament upset that epitomized the lore of the March Madness underdog."

And so, this Sunday Blog is all about......


An underdog is a person or group in a competition usually in sports and creative works, who is largely expected to lose. The party, team, or individual expected to win is called the favorite or top dog. In the case where the underdog wins, the outcome is an upset.

Rooting for the little guy is the American way. It's Horatio Alger and Rocky Balboa and the Miracle on Ice. You can Google: The Underdog Concept in Sports. 

Researchers have found evidence for a phenomenon called the "favorite-long-shot bias" at the horse track. In other words, bettors throw money at the underdogs and underbidding the favorites. There is also a bias labeled the "availability heuristic" where we make judgments about probability based on whatever data spring most easily comes to mind. The examples you remember are the ones that influence your beliefs. If you just watched a documentary about 9/11 you might think you're more likely to die in a terrorist attack than in a car accident. Well, you are not. 

Consider all the underdogs in our culture - from the Bible, from literature, and from every sports movie ever made. It's no accident that we Remember the Titans

OK, land the plane, Tom......

Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile.  Which wireless carrier is the underdog?

Zoom, BlueJeans, Webex, Adobe, GoTo, Teams. Meet. Which conferencing product is the underdog?

Researchers have found plenty of support for what seems like an obvious notion: In sports, we're drawn to a winner. Other factors - like where you live and who your friends are - can influence your choice of a favorite team. (Why else would you root for the Chicago Cubs?) 

And so, it is not BlueJeans, but BlueJeans by Verizon. It is not Teams, but Microsoft Teams. Not Meet but Google Meet. Why? Because Verizon is a Fortune 23 company and Microsoft is Fortune 21. Please don't confuse them with being an underdog, thank you very much. I have heard that AT&T is 13th on the Fortune 500 rankings, with revenues of $168 billion. Hey AT&T, what's up - no conferencing product? Hey Google, welcome to the party! 

We just had the Oscars. Underdogs won. Movies and actors that were not supposed to win - did so. And, with all the feels. Most of us have seen the pic of Harrison Ford and Oscar winner Ke Huy Quan hugging - it was way more than just a celebration of one movie's victory. It was an Underdog story. 

Speaking of Harrison Ford - ever hear of Star Wars? Underdog, big time. That movie almost never made it. It had an original budget of $11M and went $3M over budget due to multiple delays. The studio came ever so close to shutting it down. No Star Wars, no Harrison Ford. And I guess, no Mandalorian either. 

And so whether it is movies, or basketball games or conferencing products or smartphones or computers or......(the list is long) why do we buy what we buy? Are we making decisions with our heads or with our hearts? I went to PURDUE. Yeah but I live around 7 miles north of I have presented there many times. Ah yes, who does one root for... decisions, decisions. 

Underdogs are cool. Underdogs grab our hearts first, then our heads (and then our wallets). Underdogs make the memories that last a lifetime. 

"Yo Adrian, I did it"

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