Monday, May 26, 2014

2014 Bay Area Classic Video SF Gate

Top names in yo-yo circuit go for gold at S.F. championship

Top names in yo-yo circuit go for gold at S.F. championship

Updated 5:28 pm, Saturday, May 24, 2014
  • Matt Loeun (left), Tim Althoff, Ty Goldman and Ryan Gee practice their routines before the 2014 Bay Area Yo-Yo Championship. Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle
    Matt Loeun (left), Tim Althoff, Ty Goldman and Ryan Gee practice their routines before the 2014 Bay Area Yo-Yo Championship. Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle | Buy this photo

Star-struck kids clamored for autographs as they pointed at the stars.
Look, they said, in hushed tones. There'sJoseph HarrisMiguel CorreaTessa Piccillo.Paolo Bueno.
Uh, who?
Try some of the biggest names on the competitive yo-yo circuit, gathered at the Golden Gate Park band shell Saturday for the 2014 Bay Area Yo-Yo Championship.
It's one of the biggest regional yo-yo competitions in the country, with more than 100 competitors and a $1,500 cash prize for the winner of the competitive Division 1A.
And for those who think it's about walking the dog or rocking the baby with a 'round the world flourish, think again.
Yo-yos have come a long way since the early Duncan days.
With a ball bearing inside, modern yo-yos can spin indefinitely, allowing aficionados to perform string-twisting tricks, vision-blurring tricks.
Jordan Urabe, 10, traveled from Santa Cruz with family and friends to watch the competition and collect autographs of the yo-yo pros he has watched repeatedly on YouTube.
As he casually performed tricks with his yo-yo, he scoped out his future competition.
"At first I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life," Jordan said. "But ever since I started yo-yoing, I know what I want to do."
He wants to go pro.
"I've been yo-yoing for some time now," he said of his five months of experience. "I'm really looking forward to being a competitor."

Collectible autographs

And then his attention was diverted as Paolo Bueno walked by and Jordan asked for his autograph on his professional player card, something like a collectible baseball card.
"I get it a lot," said Paolo, 16, a YoYoFactory-sponsored professional who traveled from San Diego to compete. "This (competition) is considered really prestigious."
Across the country, about 3,000 to 5,000 players regularly compete, said Johnnie DelValle, one of the contest organizers.
A decade ago, the 27-year-old DelValle was among the very best of the best in the yo-yo world, and is still considered among the greatest ever in Division 1A, which requires competitors to do fast-paced string and looping tricks using one yo-yo.
DelValle started playing yo-yo in 1999, watching professional videos through dial-up Internet access.
"I've never stopped," he said.
He eventually became a regional, national and world champion, success he said just took time and practice.
And a hobby that led to a distinct lack of girlfriends in his teen years?
"How'd you know?" he said, laughing. "It's more of a business for me now."

'It's a rush'

For the 26-year-old Harris, it's still about competing, and frequently winning.
He's a three-time and current national champion in Division 2A and will head in August to the World Yo-Yo Contest, held in Prague.
"It's a rush," said Harris, of San Francisco, after competing Saturday morning in the 2A finals, which is limited to large looping tricks with two yo-yos, not to be confused with Division 3A, which requires string tricks using two yo-yos. All routines in each division are performed to music.

Getting in the swing

Tessa, 17, was among the few female contestants Saturday. The Castro Valley teen is sponsored by the YoYoJam company and also has her own player card. She competed in Division 1A.
Tessa started playing in 2009 after she found an old yo-yo.
"I went on YouTube and found it was this whole world," she said, adding she doesn't understand why more girls don't compete. "Anyone can do it."
Online: See video of the competition at
Jill Tucker is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

IT Staffing and the yo-yo effect

IT staffing and the yo-yo effect


IT staffing and the yo-yo effect

Posted by: Matt Rivera
IT staffing
After attending Interop Las Vegas 2012 I can tell you two things: People love yo-yos, and IT staffing is still a problem for many companies.
First, the fun part. One of our most popular giveaways at our booth was a Yoh yo-yo. Yes, one of the most basic toys, which originated as a weapon (thanks to colleague Vik Long for the trivia), never failed to make booth visitors smile. I can only imagine the hundreds of people that are in their offices right now with the door closed trying out the toy. (Please note: We are not responsible for any damage or injuries that might occur.)
But I also can’t help but think about the people we spoke to that are struggling to find IT talent right now. My co-workers and I had some fun comparing the yo-yo to IT staffing challenges. Here are a few of our yo-yo-based observations.
Momentum. Guiding a yo-yo down is the easy part because gravity is working for you. The up part is the problem. You have to yank up to get the yo-yo going, and it won’t come all the way back up unless you’ve generated some momentum. IT staffing is similar. If you are on the down slope and not reallyhiring, you’re not thinking about building momentum for when things pick up. Many companies are seeing this now. They suddenly have unmet needs for certain skills because they haven’t had the talent in months or even years. Even in slow areas you need to forecast your requirements and build hiring momentum now, before you have needs.
Going to sleep. The sleep trick is when the yo-yo reaches the bottom and just spins. It’s a neat trick but takes some effort to bring it back up. Some well-designed yo-yos will spin for a long time and still come back up. With most, however, if you wait too long, it just won’t make it back to the top. Likewise, if your IT staffing plan or resources are asleep, it’s time to revisit them. If you think you can just go back to the way things were or the resources you used to use (like stale job postings), you might find that you’re unable to reach the hiring peaks you once could. Many companies are now vying for the same IT skills (think mobility) and doing anything but sitting at the bottom and spinning. Wake up your IT staffing plans now.
Tricks vs. the basics. The basic up-and-down yo-yo movement is fun, but still not easy for some people. That said, many would admit that they’d like to perform a trick or two. We had the pleasure of meeting a yo-yo expert that wowed the crowd at Interop (albeit at another booth). The tricks were great to watch, but the majority of people probably needed some basic yo-yo instruction before learning any tricks. The same is true for IT staffing. While many companies are dabbling in social media recruiting, most organizations would benefit from looking at the basics of their IT staffing plan and their recruiting resources before spending time on social media. A good recruiting plan covers the basics, such as qualifying suppliers, focusing recruiting efforts on crucial skill areas, and measuring results. I think Yo-Yo Joe would agree that tricks always work better when you have the basics down.
So look to the yo-yo for inspiration when you think about your IT staffing plans. And if you need a physical reminder, leave a comment below with your email address, and we might just contact you and send you your very own Yoh yo-yo. (Supplies are limited.)

#Interop Goes YoYo

#Interop Goes YoYo

f5 claw InteropFrom the 'Yo Yo Network' files:
There is never a shortage of interesting things that show up on the show floor of a conference, Interop 2012 is no exception.
While there is no boxing ring with fighters this year (thnx Xirrus!), there were some interesting 'shenanigans' that vendors had to try and entice people.

F5 had THE CLAW as a way to grab your schwag, which was kinda neat. There are always the magician types, the hot cars and motorcycles. This year, vendor ExtraHop has the U.S. YoYo champion.

And yes, for the record it did get me stop at the ExtraHop booth.

Lucky for you dear reader, I also recorded it so you too can enjoy the intersection of the YoYo and enterprise IT.

 said on May 10, 2012 at 9:23 am

This guy is Joseph Harris. He also does this trick where he knocked a dime off an Interop attendee's ear with a yo-yo! You can check out a video of that on the ExtraHop YouTube channel:

Buskers: Better Than Booth Babes

Rikki Endsley

Buskers: Better Than Booth Babes

Whereas other Interop vendors recently blew bucks on booth babes, ExtraHop got props for entertaining attendees with hourly performances by national yo-yo champion Joseph Harris. Please tell me this is the future of IT events!

By Rikki Endsley on Fri, 05/11/12 - 6:46pm.
Years ago I worked for a large company that hired "booth babes" to "help" us run our booth at LinuxWorld in New York. These hired models sat on stools and gossiped with each other as I and another editor — also a woman — talked to attendees and gave out free copies of our magazine. What a waste of money those models turned out to be. Thankfully, I've never been stuck (wo)manning a booth with one since then. Maybe there's a time and place for models at expo halls, but I assure you that it's not at IT-related events.
If you want more bang for your buck — and why wouldn't you? — take notes from ExtraHop Networks. In his Beyond Booth Babes at Interop article (which includes a great video interview with ExtraHop staff), Matt Heusser gives thumbs down to vendors who go the booth babe route in an effort to attract attendees.
"My objection today is not a PC one," Heusser explains. "My hobby horse is not getting more women in tech (though I think that is noble), but instead that 'because it works' is lazy. Should we do something silly, ridiculous, inappropriate, and insulting just because it works?"
Women are clearly the minority on almost any — perhaps, all — IT event expo floors. Still, those of us who are there won't be drawn to your booth because you hired a model. I'd argue that few (if any) men are drawn to booths because of attractive women on display, either. Ideally, your product or service is sexy enough on its own. If not, maybe you can throw in some food, booze, shiny giveaways, prizedrawings, or Guitar Hero.
Don't get me wrong — I like a free beer and pretzel as much as the next lady. But I doubt I'll remember who handed out which snack or hosted the Wii Bowling. Throw in a yo yo champ? I'm not going to forget it.
Brilliant, ExtraHop! Truly brilliant. Working it into your marketing message? Even better: "Because the ExtraHop system will help you spend less time sifting through packet dumps and more time practicing yo-yo tricks like walking the dog!"
"We get tons of crowds for his show, people hang out and get a demo afterwards," says Briana Pettigrew, Marketing Manager at ExtraHop Networks. "It's been really fun." (And no ears were harmedin the yo-yo tricks.)
Heusser agrees and writes, "Way to go, Extrahop. You actually thought about how to deliver something to reach the audience in a way that was professional, meaningful, fun, and I could take pictures and tell my family without feeling … icky."
My hometown has a Busker Fest every August, and we all look forward to it each year. I suspect you'd get some complaints for hiring MamaLou Strongwoman (but they wouldn't come from me). Throw in a clown, on the other hand, and I'll be the first to throw a fit. And don't even talk to me about mimes.
What about a juggler who uses motherboards and tablets? Or a Rubik's cube champ? How about some card tricks? I'd even settle for some decent balloon animals or the gold-painted people who just stand there like statues, for crying out loud. But please, no clowns or mimes.

Besting the Booth Babe Trade Show Strategy

Besting the Booth Babe Trade Show Strategy

As you would expect from any major tech trade show, last week’s Interop event in Las Vegas generated quite a bit of buzz around new announcements, technologyinnovations and partnerships. But, one thing I didn’t expect to see so much coverage around was the continued use of “Booth Babes.” While booth babes are getting increasingly negative exposure, several of March’s clients who were in attendance at Interop this year found creative ways around this tactic – and to great effect!
For those unfamiliar with the term, booth babes are essentially spokesmodels that companies hire to augment their staff at high-traffic events in order to draw in a crowd. Usually very young and attractive women, booth babes have gotten a lot of negative attention in the past few years for dressing too provocatively and being nothing more than a distraction at these predominately male-attended IT events. And, this year, Interop was no exception.
Journalist Shamus McGillicuddy of TechTarget’s notes, “the companies that hire [booth babes] do a grave disservice to the industry… I lose a lot of respect for companies who rely on them.”
Indeed, this is how many trade show attendees and other journalists feel, especially the successful, tech-savvy women who are typically outnumbered 10 to 1 at events like Interop. McGillicuddy even says that he refuses “to stop at any booth that features these women.” So, while companies may be able to collect a few more leads as a result of their alluring spokesmodels, it could hinder their press exposure as booth babes are a clear deterrent for a growing percentage of trade show attendees, including respected journalists like McGillicuddy.
While booth babes may cast a negative light over companies choosing to employ them, March’s clients CloudSigma and ExtraHop Networks found creative ways around this tactic at this year’s Interop Las Vegas event. Instead of booth babes, CloudSigma brought on a Spock look-a-like (who was 6’ 8”!) to help attract attendees to its booth, which generated a lot of buzz at the event and on social sites like Twitter, even putting it in the running for the “best Interop booth” prize.
Similarly, ExtraHop employed Yo Yo Joe, the U.S. national yo-yo champion, to draw attention to its booth with impressive yo-yo routines set to music and various tricks, including knocking a dime off an attendee’s ear! Coupled with an ExtraHop-branded yo-yo giveaway, ExtraHop attracted a large crowd at the show and got significant recognition from attendees and press alike.
These impressive trade show tactics were not only infinitely more respectable than hiring booth babes, but were far more successful in attracting crowds and generating buzz. As an industry, we can only hope that such creative tactics as Spock and Yo Yo Joe will be the future of technology trade shows. Our hats go off to companies like our clients CloudSigma and ExtraHop for spearheading this movement.

Beyond Booth Babes at Interop

Unchartered Waters « Considering Conferences - IIWhat happens in Vegas Part I » MAY 11 2012 10:21AM GMT

 Beyond Booth Babes at Interop
 Posted by: Matt Heusser Interop, IT, extrahop 36 tweets retweet

LAS VEGAS, NV - With a few hundred booths at interop this year, it’s no surprise that some vendors would augment their staff with temporary employees designed to draw the attention of the crowd.

Given that IT is something like 90% male, it isn’t a huge surprise that many of these are female.

However, I have to say, it was a pretty big personal surprise to me how some of them were dressed. 

Mini-skirts with fishnet stockings, tight racing outfits (with the zipper half-way down), and midriff-baring leather biker tank-tops. I can’t make this up, and I wasn’t the only person to notice.

When I initially saw this, I was more than a little shocked. The journalist in me took over, and I took a few pictures for the blog, to talk about how horrible it all is.

I have honestly never felt dirty as a journalist. Until today.

I don’t need to publish those pictures; if you want to see them, you can go Google “Booth Babe Interop” yourself and see plenty.

More than don’t need to publish, it would be a sort of exploitation to publish them; I’d be ‘outraged’ yet using the pictures to generate clicks, and I think my readers deserve better.

Why the Babes, Race Cars and Motor Bikes

Apparently because they work. No, really, seriously, having attractive females and race cars seems to draw people into the booth, so the vendor can scan a badge, and, to some extent, scanning a badge is a numbers game that leads to sales.

It’s sad, and it encourages the sort of objectivism of women that leads to the brogramming mentality, which makes it harder for women to enter the workforce, which leads to all male conferences, and all-male attendees will pay attention to … you get it.

My objection today is not a PC one. My hobby horse is not getting more women in tech (though I think that is noble), but instead that “because it works” is lazy. Should we do something silly, ridiculous, inappropriate, and insulting just because it works?

In January, I was in times square, and a guy handed me a flier for a strip club. I looked him in the eye, and said “You can do something better with your life than this.” His reply boiled down to something like “Hey man, it pays the bills.”

A Better Way

Instead of pandering with pictures, please allow me to tell you a story about a company that is doing it one better: ExtraHop, a company that provides tools for application performance management and monitoring. Like everyone else, Extrahop realized that they needed to do something different, to get people to at least listen to the pitch, so they hired a national champion yo-yo player to do tricks and demos in an appropriate way.

That was worth seeing, and I caught it on film:

Way to go, Extrahop. You actually thought about how to deliver something to reach the audience in a way that was professional, meaningful, fun, and I could take pictures and tell my family without feeling … icky. 

Let’s all find out Extrahops, and celebrate them.

Better yet: Let’s go make the world a better place ourselves, with this as an example.