Sunday, June 24

Memo to Phil Steele

Phil - before I get going with this, I want to say a few things. First off, I have no major problems with the info in your preview magazine. It's incredibly long and incredibly in-depth, which is a huge help for me. The two-page preview for each team is incredibly in-depth, and it's nice to have a plethora of info available for all teams. By the same token, it's nice to see a ton of different rankings (both for the team and the individual). There's a good amount of them.

However - and I say this nicely - it would be awesome if you backed down on the self-promotion a bit. For example, one of your lists talks about the teams most likely to improve between this year and last. The page of text describing this list only talks about the most improved teams from the last seven years, though, not the current season. I know that you have a good record of prediction over the last few years; I've heard it from both professional evaluators and amateur prognosticators. That's great, don't get me wrong.

It's precisely because I know of your track record that I don't need for you to tell me your track record. I know you're good at what you do; I don't need me to tell you that you're good at it. For example, on that page I was talking about, instead of mentioning your past history with the list, talk about why these teams are likely to improve. (If you want to talk about your past success, I'm okay with that too - but just don't make it the entire article.) If you're talking about surprise teams, why are you picking them? It doesn't help me learn why you're picking them when you talk about how a team you picked to surprise 3 years ago was indeed a massive national surprise. That just tells me you're good at figuring these things out - but I already knew that.

If you want to self-promote, that's fine - but please moderate it a bit. I'm spending money on your product because you're good at what you do; you don't need to sell me on the product I already bought. (By the same token, selling the regional previews? No problem with those - I haven't bought them yet.) I'll decide if I'm going to buy your preview next year based on the information contained in this year's, not by the sales pitch. If you promote - which you should do - promote to people that haven't bought it yet.

Again, it's a good product. I just think that it could be better if the self-promotion could be cut back a bit. Thanks.