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  #31   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 02-02-2011, 12:05 PM
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Re: Thoughts on new US FIRST splash page?

Some of the questions/thoughts/concerns that I'm having:

How does this help the teams introduce others (schools, parents, sponsors) to FIRST?
a. the actual website isn't easy to locate so just sending the link makes me nervous.
b. is everything we, as mentors, have been promoting no longer cool because of the newest trend that's been dreamed up? Now, the trend is more status quo so does that mean that I want to promote status quo? Or, does it mean, oh - this is just the hook, pay it no mind, here's what we are really all about? Which leads to...
c. my elevator speech stinks so all this manipulation isn't going to help me be more succinct or genuine.
d. another day or two and I'll have used up the alphabet and then what?

Jane
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Unread 02-02-2011, 12:07 PM
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Re: Thoughts on new US FIRST splash page?

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Originally Posted by dlavery View Post
-dave


.
I just got more chills knowing that Dave is still reading Chief Delphi than I did seeing Will.i.am at kick-off.

We have all kinds of kids involved in FIRST. Some are science and technology heroes and others provide the music that we like to work to. I'm glad we have super stars of all types to help remind us that what we are doing here is important.
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Unread 02-02-2011, 12:17 PM
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Re: Thoughts on new US FIRST splash page?

As a person with several family members and friends in the intelligence community, and who has a security clearance himself (for work in quantum cryptography funded by the DoD, thank you very much), all I really think when I see will.i.am is *black rage*.

This is a man who equated the CIA with the KKK, the Bloods, and the Crips.

That he is affiliated with FIRST at all is irritating. That his approval of what we do is being trumpeted as if it matters even a little is aggravating.

It's great that will.i.am thinks FIRST is dope. It really is, because perhaps some kids will take a second look at FIRST and decide to become a part of it. One hopes that Paris Hilton would look at FIRST and say "That's Hot," to similar result.

But there is something terribly wrong with this organization, of all organizations, using an entertainer's approval as validation for its coolness.

If FIRST's "Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology" depends on borrowing "cool" from entertainers, then it's never going to be successful at changing the culture.
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Unread 02-02-2011, 12:23 PM
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Re: Thoughts on new US FIRST splash page?

They really should have written some use cases before they threw this out. Here's something they really need to consider.

Let's say a FRC student is talking with a teacher, Mr. Smith, about the FRC and after 5 minutes of conversion before class gives the teacher the URL to usfirst.org. During Mr. Smith's prep hour, he visits the site to find out more about FIRST. Right now the only thing Mr. Smith knows about FIRST is that it deals with science and technology and that high schoolers work with engineers to build robots.

Ok stop. Let's say he sees the current splash page.

He's probably thinking, "Wait, what? What does a rapper have to do with this? Did I get the wrong address? This is confusing."

I'm sure he'd figure it out, but the first impression of FIRST definitely wasn't a good one. The melodramatic tag line, "THIS IS THE MOST EXCITING THING! YOU GUYS ARE COOL!" is ridiculous. Now add the shoddy look and feel of the site, and FIRST's image just tanks.

Sorry, but this entire landing page is a huge leap backwards for FIRST. Maybe they should spend more time organizing and redesigning their current (main) site. That's a mess too.
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Unread 02-02-2011, 12:27 PM
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Re: Thoughts on new US FIRST splash page?

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Originally Posted by pfreivald View Post
As a person with several family members and friends in the intelligence community, and who has a security clearance himself (for work in quantum cryptography funded by the DoD, thank you very much), all I really think when I see will.i.am is *black rage*.

This is a man who equated the CIA with the KKK, the Bloods, and the Crips.

That he is affiliated with FIRST at all is irritating. That his approval of what we do is being trumpeted as if it matters even a little is aggravating.

It's great that will.i.am thinks FIRST is dope. It really is, because perhaps some kids will take a second look at FIRST and decide to become a part of it. One hopes that Paris Hilton would look at FIRST and say "That's Hot," to similar result.

But there is something terribly wrong with this organization, of all organizations, using an entertainer's approval as validation for its coolness.

If FIRST's "Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology" depends on borrowing "cool" from entertainers, then it's never going to be successful at changing the culture.
Wow, I didn't remember him ever saying these things. But I think you bring up some good points. What I've always wondered is why does FIRST always feel a need to pander to people who already aren't interested in becoming engineers? Are all of will.i.am's fans suddenly going to join your FIRST Robotics team? Do we want that? People who don't care about solving problems joining FIRST because their favorite artist endorses them?

I'm fine with will.i.am promoting FIRST, but having him be the face of the sport seems like it might backfire.
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Unread 02-02-2011, 12:29 PM
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Re: Thoughts on new US FIRST splash page?

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Originally Posted by dlavery View Post
Will.i.am says "You guys are cool!"

We have always known that.

It is nice that the rest of the world is beginning to catch up with us.

It is admirable that a large, visible celebrity like Will.i.am sought out Dean and FIRST and asked "how can I get involved and help?" (and it is important to note that he came to FIRST, FIRST did not seek him out), and he can help put a very visible light on what we are doing. However, in the process FIRST has to be careful that the fundamental message of the organization - celebrating science and technology and the practitioners thereof - is not lost in the glare of the limelight. Unfortunately, this new web page starts off in that direction.

-dave


.
It is encouraging, at least, to know that will.i.am came to FIRST.

Quote:
As a person with several family members and friends in the intelligence community, and who has a security clearance himself (for work in quantum cryptography funded by the DoD, thank you very much), all I really think when I see will.i.am is *black rage*.
Whoa. :/
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Unread 02-02-2011, 12:36 PM
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Re: Thoughts on new US FIRST splash page?

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Originally Posted by GGCO View Post
Wow, I didn't remember him ever saying these things.
"Overseas, yeah, we try to stop terrorism
But we still got terrorists here livin'
In the USA, the big CIA
The Bloods and The Crips and the KKK"

--Where is the Love (The Black Eyed Peas)

Source: Lyrics.com, or every freaking radio in the country.
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Unread 02-02-2011, 12:42 PM
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Re: Thoughts on new US FIRST splash page?

I see a reoccurring theme of individuals treating FIRST as though it is a Final Club for the STEM community, in which members look condescendingly down on non STEM individuals. The FIRST movement to attract non STEM members is an honorable one. If it wasn't for the business people most innovations would never be realized. The people who bring the innovations to light are just as important as those who develop them.

As to Will.I.Am, anyone who gives away full college scholarships to multiple FIRST members should be praised. This contribution was not laughable but incredible. Many would invest their money in other places, but he gave to FIRST. I think that we should appreciate what the man is doing for our community.

In the words of Max Bemis:
"When you walk by a group of quote-unquote normal people
You chuckle to yourself patting yourself on the back as you scoff
It's the same superiority complex
Shared by the high school jocks who made your life a living hell"
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Unread 02-02-2011, 12:44 PM
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Re: Thoughts on new US FIRST splash page?

Dean said at Kick Off that members of the entertainment industry can shine a spotlight on FIRST. That's great if used wisely. Light can be reflected and that is the part that I'm concerned about.

There are several languages involved in communicating about FIRST:
1. the FIRST lingo/speak
2. the technical language that plays a key role
3. the language of the rules for the game and the awards

Those are 3 that I can think of quickly and those are enough to make a visitor's eye glaze over without trying to interpret the light that is being shone on the program by the entertainment industry or the politicians.

There has to be a filter of some sort and I don't want to be it. There's enough to filter without having to explain what dope means in this trend. If FIRST has decided to use this entertainer as a face of the program, then help us out with how that is going to impact and what we are supposed to do with it. It's easy to make a connection to Mythbusters and to President Obama's commentary about recognizing science and technology. This one is a little harder. If FIRST wants to highlight entertainers so they can spotlight FIRST - that's FIRST's job. Find a way for the teams to work around that or with it in a positive manner without creating a mess or a breakdown in communication.

Jane
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Unread 02-02-2011, 12:50 PM
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Re: Thoughts on new US FIRST splash page?

And - The thing that makes me wryly grin the most while reading this discussion, is that I have absolutely no clue who Will-I-Am is or what his music/rapping sounds like.

To me he was just an oddly quiet and oddly dressed part of kick-off.

If Albert Einstein were part of an FRC kick-off, I suspect that he too would have been oddly quiet and oddly dressed, but I would have recognized him (and been able to admire his accomplishments).

Then again, I'm already one of the converted; no need to preach to me, except to do a little maintenance now and then.

Either I need to start looking forward to getting that Senior citizen's discount in another 13 years, or Will-I-Am isn't all that famous. I'll bet he hasn't even been featured in a Glee episode yet.

Time to get back to work now.

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Unread 02-02-2011, 12:51 PM
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Re: Thoughts on new US FIRST splash page?

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Originally Posted by GGCO View Post
What I've always wondered is why does FIRST always feel a need to pander to people who already aren't interested in becoming engineers? Are all of will.i.am's fans suddenly going to join your FIRST Robotics team? Do we want that? People who don't care about solving problems joining FIRST because their favorite artist endorses them?
The reason FIRST "panders" to people who aren't interested in engineering is because there is a massive shortage of engineers in North America. Even more concerning, is that there is an even larger shortage of people who want to be engineers. To solve this problem we need to excite as many people about engineering very quickly. Having someone with as much mainstream appeal as will.i.am is a great strategy to draw large amounts of attention to a program that has been relatively hidden to the masses.
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Last edited by Karthik : 02-02-2011 at 12:52 PM. Reason: Already answered
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Unread 02-02-2011, 01:00 PM
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Re: Thoughts on new US FIRST splash page?

Perhaps FIRST has once again gotten frustrated with the pace of change. I wasn't around, but didn't FIRST go through a similar celebrity phase in the early 2000s? When I was a rookie (2004), it was "every FRC graduate should start a team at their college", then we moved into getting government officials involved around 2008 (?) and know we seem to be back at celebrities.

I don't like the splash page, but I didn't like the new logo or the new website when they arrived either. I'm no graphics guy, but to me it doesn't mesh well with the rest of the FIRST site. I think it looks rather "gimmicky" as compared to the rest of the very professional FIRST website.

Dave brings up a very good point. I think it's hard to find celebrities that are mainstream enough to get the kind of widespread "currently non-FIRST" attention that HQ wants while retaining that FIRST "celebrate technology" vibe. In my humble opinion, we don't want celebrities that say "what you kids do blows my mind!", we want people that say "what you guys do is awesome!" Any movie stars with engineering degrees out there? We've already had the Google guys, but why not use the Mythbusters, astronauts, or someone like Elon Musk?

At some point, you've got to pick a target audience. It's not possible to appeal to everyone, so can we start with the kids who like cool stuff (cars, planes, etc.) and convert them first?
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Unread 02-02-2011, 01:03 PM
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Re: Thoughts on new US FIRST splash page?

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Originally Posted by Karthik View Post
The reason FIRST "panders" to people who aren't interested in engineering is because there is a massive shortage of engineers in North America. Even more concerning, is that there is an even larger shortage of people who want to be engineers. To solve this problem we need to excite as many people about engineering very quickly. Having someone with as much mainstream appeal as will.i.am is a great strategy to draw large amounts of attention to a program that has been relatively hidden to the masses.
I don't know if I'd agree with that statement. As I've looked over the statistics of how many engineers there are in North America, it looks like the number has remained relatively consistent. Also, the numbers of engineers in other countries like China and India are skewed and inaccurate. I've seen FIRST officials throw these around, so maybe that's where you're getting your information from.

Now we may need more tech-savvy workers in the (near) future, but you need to realize that engineers are an odd breed. Really we are. We work with other people to solve really challenging problems. That's pretty amazing when you think about it.

My concern is that we get a bunch of people interested in engineering, sell them on the idea that engineering is a glamorous and fantastic career, and then they end up hating it and instead of quitting become a terrible engineer. This kind of thinking gets us in trouble in other areas down the road.

For example, when people say, "We need more [INSERT MINORITY HERE] to be engineers!" I always ask, "Why? Don't we just need good engineers? I could care less what their skin color, gender, or sexual preference happens to be."
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Unread 02-02-2011, 01:10 PM
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Re: Thoughts on new US FIRST splash page?

I had to play the video a few times to make sure I saw Woodie. I am still looking for Dave.

The video tells me nothing about FIRST. I don't understand the focus, or perhaps I can't bring myself to understand the focus of the video.

FIRST is not a party. It is the most important activity a high school age student can do. It can be a lot of fun, but it's a serious undertaking. I find the message in the video off-topic. Perhaps the message has changed and no one told us.
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Unread 02-02-2011, 01:12 PM
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Re: Thoughts on new US FIRST splash page?

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Originally Posted by JohnBoucher View Post
The video tells me nothing about FIRST. I don't understand the focus, or perhaps I can't bring myself to understand the focus of the video.
This is what really needs to be kept in mind, perhaps we should send a letter to FIRST. (email about to be sent)
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