Sunday, June 16, 2024


I woke up this morning in Madison, Connecticut (my oldest son's house) at exactly 5:40 AM. 

540. That was my Dad's number. 

He played that number '540' every day. For those of you who don't know, 'back in the day' playing the numbers here in North New Jersey was gambling. Not legal. Oh well, that's really not the point. The point is, that every day, like EVERY DAY my Dad would bet on 540. 

And it was not just $1 but like, a significant amount of money. Every day. I am thinking it was probably like $500 a week, on 540. I would have to ask my older sister if she knows how much, but was not a small amount of money. [ She thinks is was $40 a day, and $100 on payday ]. Back in the day, we were not rich - but Dad made really good money. Let's just say that we never wanted for anything, ever. 

I remember one day, maybe 1969 or so, the phone in the kitchen rang. I heard Mom answer and then give the phone to Dad. He screamed out "It hit!"  540 - his number - was the number for the day.

Because Dad was betting (way more) than $1 every (EVERY) day..... his jackpot for that day was.....let's just say it was big. Big Big. 

And, I remember my Mom telling Dad, "OK, Tony..... you just won back all of your money. And then some. Now please stop. No more gambling. 

And he did. That was it. That was the last time that he bet on 540. 

And then, around a week later.............. the kitchen phone rang again.

This time, Dad answered the phone himself. And I was in the kitchen, alone with Dad. And I saw his face. 540 hit again. His number, 540 was the winning number. 

I could hear the voice on the other side, I could hear the screams and the laughing. "You lucky son of a *, you hit again, you won again!" 

When Dad hung up, he realized that I overheard, and that I knew that his number, 540 was once again the winning number. And that is when he told me....

"Tommy, we did not win any money. I promised your Mother that we were done playing the numbers. So, I stopped. We did not win anything today. Now, you need to promise me that you will not say anything, not to anyone. Especially to your Mother." 

Dad knew that Mom would feel terrible. That she was the one that made him quit 'playing the numbers'. And that because he did not want to her to feel bad, she could never know that 540 came out again - without him. 

When I woke up this morning in Madison, Connecticut - for a second I did not know where I was. Ah, we're at Tommy's house. And I looked at my Fitbit watch, and it was exactly 5:40. 540 on Father's Day in my son's spare bedroom at his home. 

Wow, 5:40. That's Dad's number. I found myself instantly saying "Good Morning, Dad. Happy Father's Day." 

Dad was a good man. He had his vices, as we all do. He never did anything small, even when playing the numbers. Now that I am older I think about how much money he put down on 540 every (every) day..... and what that money would have done in the S&P 500. Imagine investing (I'm guessing $20 to $50) every day in the market in the 60s. And letting it compound. I think that 'playing the numbers' to him back in the 60s was his version of investing for the future - investing for his family. 

Today, in 2024, you can gamble online. You can be in a virtual casino in your smartphone. I am not sure if 'playing the numbers' is still a big thing but I think it is. Since when you win that way - you don't need to report it. It's a big secret. When you win in a casino, the IRS is your partner. When you win playing 'the numbers' no one knows anything about anything. 

So, on this Father's Day 2024 I am thinking about Dad, and his playing the numbers - and his quitting playing the numbers. And how we had that little secret how he won - a second time. 

And how now, at 63 years old, I can remember how strong Dad was to never say a word about 540 coming out a 2nd time in a week..... because he did not want Mom to feel bad. 

Oh, one more thing. I bought clams for the family yesterday. [ We were arguing about buying between 5 and 4 dozen clams. ] We're having an amazing Father's Day in Connecticut. My first Father's Day as a Grandpa. I just happened to look at the receipt from the Seafood store for the clams: $54.00 

Sunday, June 9, 2024

The New York Megalopolis

The New York Megalopolis, also known as the Northeast megalopolis or BosWash corridor, is a heavily urbanized region of the northeastern United States. It stretches from the northern suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts, to the southern suburbs of Washington, D.C. This region is notable for its high population density, economic significance, and cultural influence.

Key Characteristics of the New York Megalopolis:

Geographic Scope:  The megalopolis encompasses major cities including Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., along with their surrounding metropolitan areas.

Population:  It is one of the most densely populated regions in the United States, home to over 55 million people, accounting for a significant portion of the U.S. population.

Economic Importance:  The region is a major economic powerhouse, featuring some of the world’s leading financial markets, corporate headquarters, research institutions, and cultural centers. New York City, in particular, is a global financial hub.

Transportation Network:  The megalopolis is well-connected by an extensive transportation network, including major highways like Interstate 95, a dense rail network (notably Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor), and several major airports (e.g., JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, Logan, and Dulles).

Cultural and Educational Institutions:  The region hosts numerous prestigious universities (e.g., Harvard, MIT, Columbia, Princeton) and cultural landmarks (e.g., the Smithsonian museums, Broadway, the Metropolitan Museum of Art).

The concept of a 'megalopolis' was popularized by geographer Jean Gottmann in the 1960s, who identified this interconnected urban region as a distinct geographic and socio-economic entity. The New York Megalopolis continues to be a vital area in terms of both national and international importance.

When I took over running the (New York Distance Learning Association) it was in the heart of the New York Megalopolis. And, it was bankrupt. As a Non-Profit, it lived on donations from corporations. And during the last recession, donations dried up. No money, sorry. 

My old company, would attend the DLA events, because we sold audio conferencing, web conferencing, cameras, etc. - we (me) sold all the stuff that made Distance Learning possible. So, as a good salesman should I would attend all of the DLA meetings and events (target rich environment). When NYDLA went bankrupt, I was the only one to raise my hand to take over running the dying community. What did I have to lose...right? 

AND THEN along came RUTGERS, who sponsored us (i.e. they gave us money) and same RUTGERS - The State University of New Jersey who brought with them their 500K+ Living Alumni. So, almost over night I went from saying "I can't pay the website hosting invoice!" to "I think we're going to be OK!" I was in the right place at the right time, eh? 

Other than Zoom, I don't think that any entity could have grown bigger and faster during a pandemic than THE DISTANCE LEARNING ASSOCIATION

Ah, but during COVID many were saying that New York was - dead. Many in the media were saying that New York City was never coming back. It was during this 'pandemic panic' time that became servicing all of NORTH AMERICA. I was running away from the dying New York Brand...... ah, or was I? 

The North American Distance Learning Association HQ was going to remain in NYC. The Big Apple. The Center of the Known Universe, right? There would be no New York Megalopolis if there is no Metropolis

Today, the Distance Learning Association (DLA) is GLOBAL. And we are - our #1 sponsor. Yes, we love many others - we love all of the other telecom and technology providers. We work deeply with GoTo and Microsoft and Webex and the rest. And Logitech and Lenovo and HP/Poly and....and...and... 

But just as how Zoom became a verb during COVID, the 'DLA' also became a brand

And the NEW YORK BRAND is powerful. The New York brand is GLOBAL

"Hey guys, I see people reading the New York Times in LA. But I never see anyone reading the LA Times in New York." It's NEW YORK! The Big Apple! Wall Street, Times Square, Broadway! NEW YORK NEW YORK - the city so nice they named it twice! 

The 55M+ living, learning, working, playing, teaching, training, coaching, mentoring in the New York Megalopolis. 

Zoom just opened an AMAZING Experience Center in London. I'll post some pics of the launch event on the page later this week. 

THIS MONTH we have over 100K+ DLA members attending NYDLA SPONSORED EVENTS - LIVE - around the world. InfoComm in Las Vegas. COLLISION in Toronto. Propelify in Hoboken, New Jersey (across the river from NYC). And there is ALWAYS something interesting going on at Javits Center in New York City - like every single day. 

Want some inside baseball? My strategy for years has been to sponsor all events at the sponsorship level necessary to access the entire attendee list of the LIVE events, and then follow up, FOLLOW up, FOLLOW UP via tools like Dotdigital. This is one of the reasons why the (now global) DLA shall be at 10M+ members by 2025. To make money from 'events' it's not about ROI or ROAS, it's all about ROR: Return on RELATIONSHIPS. 

I admit, there is nothing better than a live event. The energy, the people, the food. So, 100K+ will attend events LIVE this month alone (June). Ah but 10X that number will attend all or part of these events virtually, because all Distance Learning Association sponsored events..... are hybrid events.... they are all....

The new Zoom Experience Center: London

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Howdy, Partner!

"Howdy, partner!" is an informal greeting often associated with the American West, particularly the cowboy culture.

"Howdy" is a colloquial contraction of "How do you do?" and means "Hello."

"Partner" is a friendly term that can mean "friend" or "companion."

Together, "Howdy, partner!" is a warm and friendly way to say hello, often evoking a sense of camaraderie and the spirit of the Old West.

A partner is someone who shares or is associated with another person in some type of relationship or activity. The term can apply in various contexts:

Business Partner: An individual or entity that shares ownership and responsibilities in a business venture.

Romantic Partner: A person with whom one shares a romantic relationship, such as a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or significant other.

Dance Partner: Someone with whom one performs a dance routine.

Sports Partner: A teammate in a sport, often used in activities like doubles tennis.

Crime Partner: Someone who collaborates in committing a crime, often referred to as a partner in crime.

General Usage: A companion or associate in any activity or endeavor.

In the context of "Howdy, partner!" the term "partner" is used in a friendly and informal way, often implying camaraderie and equal footing. Let's focus on that one today.

THIS MONTH (June) we expect 44K+ to attend InfoComm in Las Vegas. We also expect 40K+ to attend COLLISION in Toronto. In a few days here in NYC, we expect 6,013 to attend a Verizon 5G event at Radio City Music Hall. Verizon spent the necessary money to rent RCMH on June 5th. As a Verizon 'partner' we were asked to help promote their event. Hence the Verizon 5G Event placement on page 1 / slide 1 on 

Gotta be a good partner, right? 

A Partner Program in business is a strategic initiative where a company collaborates with other businesses, individuals, or organizations to expand its reach, enhance its offerings, and create mutual benefits. Here are some types of partner programs:

Affiliate Program: Partners promote a company's products or services and earn a commission for sales generated through their referrals.

Reseller Program: Partners purchase products or services from a company at a discount and resell them to end customers, often adding value through additional services or support.

Referral Program: Partners refer potential customers to a company and receive a reward or commission for successful conversions.

Technology Partner Program:Partners integrate their technology or services with the company's offerings to create a combined solution that enhances value for customers.

Strategic Alliance: Long-term partnerships where companies collaborate on specific projects or initiatives, sharing resources, expertise, and risks.

I have a cool little 'Partner' story..... ready?

A few years ago, Verizon approached the DLA (Distance Learning Association) to offer the BlueJeans by Verizon video conferencing service to our entire community. We said yes. Duh. 

We became a partner - then Verizon made us a Tier 1 Partner - then we became a Tier 1 ELITE Partner. Until we were not...

On August 31, 2023 we were notified that Verizon decided to retire the BlueJeans by Verizon services. What made this a little crazy, is the fact that just a few weeks earlier, we launched a massive marketing campaign to contact all 174K+ DLA Schools in North America - offering (all of them) BlueJeans by Verizon. 

That's One Hundred and Seventy Four Thousand zero spam, 100% opt-in emails to the decision makers of Schools, across North America. Ooops. Ah, did I say BlueJeans? Ah, we meant Zoom! We want you all to!!! 

Partner Programs are crucial for businesses seeking to grow their market presence, enhance their product or service offerings, and build strong, collaborative relationships with other entities. I have spent my entire career in 'Partner Programs' operating as a partner, an agent, a Master Agent, a reseller, a VAR, a private label reseller - you name it. Before I took over running the I ran 

Companies like Verizon (or Zoom, or Microsoft, or Amazon, or Cisco, or...) know the value of Partner Programs. Ah, but let's face it - they really don't want PARTNERS - they want CUSTOMERS. But they (the big companies) have figured out that people do business with PEOPLE. People do business with people that they like, and with people that they trust

When Verizon first approached us, asking us to sell BlueJeans to 'the world' they said to me during our first strategy meeting: "Well, Tom, your brand is better than our brand...."

And, I almost fell out of my chair..... 

"For BlueJeans, Tom. Specifically for BlueJeans by Verizon - you - the Distance Learning Association - your 'brand' is better than the Verizon brand, for marketing purposes." 

You know something? They were right. Verizon was right about branding. That was a major epiphany for me. It's not about ROI, or even ROAS (Return on Advertising Spend). It's all about ROR: Return on RELATIONSHIPS. You know, partnerships

AND SO.....THIS month.... 44K+ will attend InfoComm. 40K+ will attend COLLISION in Toronto. 6K+ will attend Propelify on the Hudson River in Hoboken, NJ. And there will be a smattering of events in NYC, all in the month of June. 100K+ people attending LIVE events in total, to be conservative. 

And, the NYDLA ( now NADLA - all of North America ) will be attending (checks notes...) all of them to say... to all 100K+ of them.....

"Howdy, Partner!" 

Tip of the Hat to my friend and DLA member Marty Neumeier..... the "Wizard of Brands" 

Also This: Similar to BlueJeans, WorkPlace by Meta has retired 
and so - we are now telling THE WORLD