Pro Ski Coach going into Maintenance Mode

It’s a mantra among technology startups. If what you’re doing isn’t working, kill it. Take the lessons that you’ve learned, move on, get better, iterate, release, repeat.

I’ve been trying to grow a community at Pro Ski Coach for a few years now. For reasons beyond my control, it’s been wildly successful.

In other ways, it’s been a miserable failure.

PSC is one of the highest hit water ski related websites. Ofcourse, we all stand way back in second place to Water Ski Magazine, whose summer time traffic totals inbetween 15 and 25 thousand unique visitors per month.

While PSC can make a dent in those numbers, I just have a feeling it can’t grow any further than that.

Some skiers just don’t want coaching. Other skiers dont get to ski enough to be interested in coaching, or even talking directly about water skiing techinque or theory enough to join a website community based on that.

SO kill it. Fail.

Pro Ski Coach will stay up, I have the domain name reserved for the next 9 years or something rediculous, anyways.

But I’m not going to keep pouring my heart and soul into building it up, trying to make it into something that it will never be.

I’m turning my attention to develop a Social Network for Water Skiing and Wakeboarding. Hopefully we can execute on the wakeboard end… but we’ll see.

In just a few short days, we’ve already managed to attract enough new users to wetJacket to convince me that this is definitely the right way to go. The most satisfying part is that we’re growing again at a rate that we never have before, and most of these new members were never involved in PSC.

So I’ll keep working on it. Thanks for reading.

The Malibu Open: Water Skiing is Not a Sport

In 2005 the water ski world and the rest of the population of Earth who chose to pay any attention (for some reason) were entertained to hear that a rich self absorbed dentist orchestrated one of the greatest debauchles in the history of “professional sports”. He managed to cheat in a way that no other team or player has been able to do — A few pulleys and hand cranks later he was able to maniuplate the rules of the game for whomever he so chose. Skiers who have a combined total of hundreds of years of experience on the water saw the buoys move, blew the whistle, and “Buoygate” was in born.

Malibu backed off and shipped their event overseas, to France and eventually to nowhere.

After several years of work on a different thread, a Pro Slalom Event was scheduled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Malibu stepped up to the plate to foot about a third of the bill. The participants in the tournament picked up 1/6 of the tab. Other sponsors picked up the other half of the budget.

Apparently the only way to promote water skiing is to ski at night. This is illegal, uh, everywhere, but, hey, we’re not trying to set a good example or anything. We’re strictly into making up the rules as we go.

Why are we going 35.5 mph?

Because it’s dark.
Why are we skiing in the dark?
Cuz it looks way cooler man. Plus people are drunker.
What are the rules?
Working on that one still.
What are the conclusions?

Waterskiing is not a sport. It is a recreational activity. Some rare breeds decide to put the effort in like it is a sport. They are not paid. They are not on the a list at high class night clubs. They have other jobs. They can’t afford to buy a boat, OR they are independently wealthy OR they made life choices in order to become independently wealthy in order to water ski as if it was a professional sport, with all the sponsors, contracts, fans and ego cases that are found in basketball and baseball — even though no such fans, contracts or sponsors even exist. These people are mostly delusional, european, or both.

The US Olympic Ski Team’s sponsorship levels have fallen by 46% since 2002. People think that Water Skiing is in trouble because we don’t have a sponsor for the pro tour — DUA. Give it a few years and there will be no coporoate sponsorships. This is due to a variety of reasons, mostly economically and technologically. The bottom line is that sponsors realize that the value of those sponsor dollars has decreased significantly since the pre-internets era (PIE).

Milwaukee Water Skiing

I spent this last week in Milwaukee, where we were able to drop a ski boat in and do some waterskiing on Juneau Park Pond / Lagoon for the first time in the city’s history.

Wade Williams Water Skiing in Milwaukee
What a blast! The lake is perfect, as if someone designed it with skiing in mind. And the great downtown location will be sure to supply a great crowd for a pro event, scheduled for August 6-7, 2010.