NASCAR, NCAA Tourney, planes, trains and automobiles…and Michelle Pfeifer.

March 18, 2007

Building a successful technology company in the midst of the Silicon Prairie (Iowa) isn’t as hard as you might think. It gets tough when you need to travel and then if you’re flying to Dallas, Minneapolis, Denver, St. Louis or Chicago, it is really pretty easy…one plane. Venture beyond those hubs and it gets a little dicey. So, in my eleventh year of this journey, with nearly 2 million miles flown and over a thousand hotel nights, I thought I had surely seen it all.

Yesterday the entire U.S. was impacted by weather issues in the northeast. McTitan’s and my little jaunt to Pebble Beach was certainly no exception.

It all started after two plane changes (one in Denver and one in San Francisco) and a yet another mechanical delay. Realizing that we were now delayed in SFO for the next 8 hours, McTitan headed to the bar adjacent our gate eager catch some NCAA basketball. I headed to the men’s room. Over in the bar I noticed a woman wearing enormous sunglasses and a cowboy hat pulled down very low. Having traveled to the Monterey peninsula several times, I know it is not uncommon to have big stars on the planes, small planes. I decided it must be Michelle Pfeifer.

As I came out of the rest room, I noticed that McTitan had taken the only empty table which, ironically, was next to Michelle. The only problem was that now there were five police officers in a circle around Ms. Pfeifer and McTitan. I couldn’t help but wonder what did McTitan do? What was all the commotion about? I hovered in the background waiting for McTitan to be escorted out of the building.    

Immediately I noticed a few things: First, McTitan was an innocent bystander. Second, Michelle Pfeifer was not Michelle Pfeifer. Oh well. After assessing that it wouldn’t hurt me to be associated with McTitan, I joined him at the table and now I was surrounded by five SFO police officers. McTitan goes on to explain that the guy who was now being detained wasn’t happy about what was on the television. I looked up and noticed a soccer game and could easily understand. Why wouldn’t they have the NCAA tourney on?

Turns out this poor guy asked, not to have the tourney put on, but NASCAR. NASCAR? You bet. NASCAR is extremely popular throughout the U.S. It isn’t just a sport of the southeast. While in the minority in the SFO airport, this guy is actually part of a worldwide majority. NASCAR and NASCAR related programming is some of the most recorded and watched by TitanTV members. So passionate are NASCAR fans that on the first Saturday of the NCAA tourney, one man decided to take on a nation. Only it turned out to be England… The real problem was that the bar even had on soccer at all. That got me to thinking… In the not too distant future NASCAR-guy will take NASCAR with him. He’ll watch it on his mobile phone or his laptop. Screens capable of personalization will pop up everywhere. Perhaps we’ll even carry our own set-top box in our pocket. Perhaps that set-top will wirelessly connect to a screen near us. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps…. Stay tuned.