BB: I'm tired already

Good Evening Teams,

Before I call it a night, I thought I’d tell you:
As staff arrived today, they told me that St Louis has greeters in the airport and most downtown hotels who are happy to advise teams as they explore the city. I also understand that St Louis has put up signs in the airports, at least one billboard on the highway and lamppost signs in the downtown. St Louis has really gone all out to make FIRST feel welcome.
The pits are set up and the pit administration crew tell me their preparations are on track. They want you to know they’re looking forward to seeing you tomorrow evening.
At last report all but two FRC robots are in the conference center. The last two are scheduled to arrive tomorrow.
The practice fields are complete.
The four competition fields are either complete or in final test mode.
Einstein is 80% set up.
I understand FIRST announced today that and his special guests will be performing on Friday night. I haven’t seen the announcement yet, but I imagine teams will have a variety of viewpoints about including a special show in the Championship schedule. I think Collin put it best during one of our staff discussions. This isn’t about FIRST celebrating This is and his friends celebrating the mission of FIRST and the amazing accomplishments of FIRST teams. We really are changing the culture when a famous performer interrupts his schedule to host a show in our honor. If this event is made into a television special, we will be able to get the FIRST message into homes across the country and around the world.

I’ll see you tomorrow


Bill says it best.
To all those who think the concert is a bad idea, what greater way to get the message out about FIRST, than to have Wii.I.Am lead the way.

This is about the smartest thing FIRST has ever done at CMP, despite the issues.

I agree with the concept, though think the execution left something to wish for. That being said, I’m psyched to go to the concert, and won’t mind the pit-fields 'cuz we’re on Galileo!


I doubt anyone is truly against the concert. Those of us who are upset seem to be upset solely because two fields have been relegated to the pits (with reduced/inferior seating) in favor of a concert.

If this wasn’t about FIRST celebrating, why would they give him twice the space that an FRC division needs? How else could you possibly take that?

my thoughts exactly, next year can we just have the mythbusters do something? i think they’d take up less space and would be much cooler. why couldn’t the black eyed peas just perform on Einstein? oh well… good thing i’m on drive team #notinthesmallstands

  1. How many students’ lives will be changed forever by seeing perform? (In person or on TV)

  2. How many students’ lives would be (and have been) changed forever by seeing/driving/cheering on the machine that they spent nearly 4 months designing, building, and perfecting perform on an actual NFL field in front of thousands of onlookers?

If one single student is robbed of #2 because of #1, then FIRST has its priorities inverted.

(Yes I know that every team will get the chance to be in the dome at some point, but not every team runs the same drive crew or has an ideal robot performance every match)

I’m not taking part in the championship this year, but I can definitely understand your feelings about this. I would be less than happy to play half my matches in the pit because of a concert, even if I really liked the music.

The issue however is more complex than musical taste and match exposure. it involves what FIRST wants and needs as a program.

I’m not sure how FIRST will handle this, but I think we can all agree that if they do it right, it might really give FIRST a boost and may end up really helping the program and lots of teams.

I wish there was a way to eat the cake and leave it whole, but even with the current state of affairs, we may yet look back at this as a good choice on behalf of FIRST.


I know that FIRST is saying that there is limited but available seating, but if even one kid misses this concert because they don’t have enough tickets then its a double insult to that child.

Picture being a kid on a large team that misses the chance to experience the Dome fully and then has to “sit out” because there are not enough tickets. This aspect is not thought out with every child in mind.

I would have to respectfully disagree with this.

I believe that the answer to #1 may be much larger than you think, when’s draw leads people to see what FRC is about and join a FIRST team.

FIRST’s mission and vision is about inspiring all (not just FIRST’ers) about science and technology.

Realize also that by doing this, you and your team/robot may well be on a nationally televised event that will have many more viewers by virtue of’s involvement. So while you may get less exposure in the dome, you may get more exposure to the public at large.

No doubt, it’s an inconvenience to a large degree for all participants, including us. But I’m sure FIRST would have preferred to avoid the situation if they could have, with discussions on how to best meet the needs of teams and run as smooth as a tournament despite the challenges.

I’m referring to the fact that FIRST will NEVER compete with mainstream music stars, movie stars, and sports figures. As Dean mentions over and over again, it’s not what’s celebrated in our culture, or even the world.
I see this as a clever way to get the word out to those that matter to our culture.

I certainly hope you are right. A lot depends on the details of the execution of the television event. Even if done right, I still do have issues with the implementation, and the effect it has on the teams who are competiting.

Looking up the word, dope, after Kick Off to understand the meaning in the way it was used, was not a high point in my FIRST experience. I was hoping that role models like John Glenn were paving the way with engineers like Andy Baker leading the way. Musicians can help celebrate an event and bring their star power to it but that is not the same as leading the way.


That would be nice, except that literally can’t happen, since the public is not welcome for the performance.

The release from FIRST mentioned the production of a TV special, that would expose more people to the performance and then the competition and organization than opening the performance to the public would.

It is important to remember that celebrities are not just performers any more, they are also activists. Getting Will-I-Am and the Black-eyed Peas to nationals to put on a performance which is not just entertainment but also FIRST marketing it will expose and possibly (hopefully) attract more people to FIRST; at the same time it is exposing celebrities to a cause that could use their backing.

I have seen quite a few posters complain over the last couple of days about how FIRST is a robotics competition and in this case it is taking a back seat to a concert. Those same posters (some of the most respected on CD) would be quick to remind you other days that FIRST is not about the Robotics Competition, it is about the Inspiration. I want you to think about whether it is possible FIRST discussed this, knows what they are doing and are using this concert for the inspiration and recognition of science and technology.

And since the event wasn’t officially announced until so late (some teams were already traveling!), there’s no way for it to have brought anyone to FRC anyway. If FIRST can promise an encore next year, it might entice some students, I guess.

This post has a link to my facebook post of pictures in the dome. You can see just how much space is involved for the concert.

As long as I can remember people have been getting saucer eyes about FIRST TV specials and the like, and I can say, it usually doesn’t happen, and a lot of resources go in to those attempts. I think this is another ill-advised attempt at grabbing fleeting popularity in place of the true mission of FIRST. Who cares if we get a TV special out of this? It’s not going to be “Look how this great program changes the world, you should join it” its going to be “Look, a concert, and there happens to be robots or something in the background!”.

FIRST used to be about celebrating science and engineering, and not football players and rock stars, and while its not about the robot, its also not about seeing how much weight a rock star can toss around. Instead of trying to show kids that engineering can be a great lifestyle and fun and good for all, they’re just trying to show them “go for engineering and maybe you can hang out with a rock star”.

FIRST is compromising ideals left and right in the name of greater exposure, but what good is the exposure with the compromised ideals? There is a such a thing as too much growth. FIRST seemed to be having a pretty profound impact in the past, at a much smaller scale, and it seemed a lot more effective the diluted popularity contest we’re heading for.

Sorry, but I’m extremely disappointed in the leadership at FIRST this year, I think they lost sight of some very important things.

I don’t remember the exact quote, or the exact year, I think it was Woodie in 2006 at Kickoff, and it was something along the lines of:

‘Thousands of brain-hours are going to be spent in the next six weeks, and I doubt many, if any of them will be spent wondering what Paris Hilton is doing’ --Woodie(ish)

What happened to that program? I liked that one.

There is nothing inspiring about conforming to what society has deemed “popular”. It’s just pathetic. Instead of forging our own path, we’re told we should ride the coattails of those deemed “popular” for the sake of ease, and hope we get to accomplish something along the way. There is no recognition for the hard work of scientists and engineers when we trivialize them in this manner. Nothing about this is inspiring or recognizing.

I know I’m going to get it for this, but I feel how I feel,

There are events that have galas that precede them. They bring in VIPs, potential sponsors, people who can help sustain or promote the event or cause. The ones that I’m familiar with are separate from the actual event, itself.

This Championship event has rolled everything in together - the competitions, entertainment, and the potential to maximize that entertainment with specials. Perhaps the push back from some of us wouldn’t be so hard if it were separated. With the magical editing features available to those who work in film and media, mashing a gala event with the Championship event wouldn’t be that difficult. If huge entertainment events continue to be mashed with the competitions during the same time frame and using the same real estate, then we will continue to deal with compromise and with making difficult choices for the teams.

One of our students is there for today and tomorrow only - and the thing that she has been excited about was the opportunity to talk with folks at the MIT table about the opportunities that MIT offers and what the campus is like. She is seeing and doing a lot at the Championship event in St. Louis but that is a biggie for her. It makes me happy.