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Recently wrote my first post for Tier10. Check it out here.

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It’s Fun to Believe - Virginia Tech vs. Alabama

Are we stubborn for thinking we are going to beat Alabama? Of course. But we are Virginia Tech. We believe we can win every game. That’s what makes college football so great.

When last season ended and I remembered what game we had eight months later, I was nervous. Alabama was well on their way to winning another national championship, and we had just finished 7-6 in the ACC. Yeah, I was nervous, but there was that bone inside of me that believed everything would fall in line perfectly during the offseason and we would become the Hokies everyone dreams of. You know, the team with a new and improved Logan Thomas; a deadly secondary led by Antone Exum; and a backfield led by an explosive redshirt senior, Tony Gregory.

Eight months later and we are a very different Virginia Tech team. Not the kind of different that would make that bone in my body more confident, but the kind that makes it laugh. The amount of players that have left our team this offseason due to personal reasons or injuries is unbelievable. I was trying to come up with a number the other day and couldn’t find a place that had every one of them listed together, so I figured I’d give it my best shot.

  • Jarontay Jones – Quit
  • Davion Tookes – Quit
  • Adam Taraschke – Quit
  • Michael Homes – Kicked off team
  • Kevin Asante – Kicked off team
  • Donaldven Manning – Transferred
  • Brooks Abbott – Transferred
  • Ryan Malleck – Done for season (medical reasons)
  • Ronny Vandyke – Done for season (medical reasons)
  • Jake Goins – Done for season (medical reasons)
  • Riley Beiro – Done for season (medical reasons)
  • Nick Acree – Done for career (medical reasons)
  • Tony Gregory – Done for career (medical reasons)
  • Michael Cole -Done for career (medical reasons)
  • Joel Caleb – Suspended for first game
  • Mark Shuman – Injured (6 weeks)
  • Antone Exum – Injured (? weeks)
  • J.C. Coleman – Injured (? weeks)
  • Mark Irick – Injured (? weeks)
  • Corey Marshall – Temporarily stepped away from team
  • Drew Harris – Didn’t pass NCAA Clearinghouse
  • Holland Fisher – Didn’t pass NCAA Clearinghouse
  • Cequan Jefferson – Didn’t pass NCAA Clearinghouse
  • D.J. Reid – Didn’t pass NCAA Clearinghouse

I did my best. I’m sure there are more (and will be more), but that’s 24 players that should have been on the team when we play beat Alabama. That’s the reason 38% of our team playing against the back-to-back national champion are freshmen. That’s the reason we are starting a freshman walk-on at fullback. That’s the reason our backfield went from too many players to too little.

All injuries and attrition aside, we’ve got to believe. This is college football.
It’s fun to believe.

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Facebook Adding “Contributors” to Photo Albums

Facebook announced today that they are rolling out a new feature which allows multiple users to upload photos to the same album. The person who creates the album will be allowed to add up to 50 contributors and each contributor can add up to 200 photos. Finally, I am in support of a new feature from Facebook. I actually think this move is brilliant, as it focuses on increasing group engagement in everyone’s favorite way to browse the website, through photos. It’s a fairly minor addition that I don’t think anyone saw coming, because I don’t know if anyone thought they really needed it.

A couple ways I can see this feature being utilized:

- Family members adding pictures from reunions or vacations

- College roommates (especially overly enthusiastic freshmen)

How will you use this feature?

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Moving from Wells Fargo to something more Simple

Simple celebrated the first anniversary of their official launch a week ago, and on their special day they announced that they are now seeing over $1 billion in annualized transactions. That may not seem like a large number when you hear figures from big banks like Wells Fargo claiming $1.4 trillion in assets, but Simple has less than 50 employees and only 40,000 card holders (with tens of thousands awaiting an invite). The Portland-based startup’s goal is to replace your old banking ways with modern and mobile technologies. A lot of people have been voicing their concerns with Simple saying they don’t trust such a small “bank” with their money, but in reality, Simple isn’t doing any of the “banking”. Simple puts your money in an FDIC-insured bank, and then gives you a pleasant way to monitor your spending. Their website and mobile apps are stunning and intuitive, and have necessary features that big banks simply don’t provide.

The reasons I’m making the switch to Simple:

1. They care. The reason they are only at 40,000 card holders right now is because they want every single one of their customers to be taken care of. You get the experience of talking to a real person, and their customer service representatives will never transfer you to anyone else. Inside of the mobile app there is a chat that looks like a text message thread where you can ask banking-related questions or simply say hello.

2. No fees. They don’t charge any sneaky banking fees- not for account maintenance, carrying a low balance, or even for overdrafting.

3. Goal creation. Simple allows you to set goals for the future, assign amounts to those goals, and they take the correct amount of money over a period of time out of your Safe-to-Spend amount to meet the goal. For example- I can make a goal called “Trip to Blacksburg” for October 15th with an amount of $150. Every day until then (unless I pause the goal) it will take a few dollars out of my Safe-to-Spend account and put it in that fund. Without even trying (or noticing), by October 15th I will have $150 saved and put aside. 

4. It’s safe. I have more control over the security of my Simple card than I do a big bank card. Anytime there is a transaction on my card it will send a push notification to my iPhone. If you leave your card at a bar or have misplaced it, there is a button on the mobile app and on their website that you can press to freeze the funds. If you find your card you can reinstate it with one click.

5. ATM availability. They spent a lot of time building the largest fee-free ATM network in America. There is also a map in the mobile app that displays all nearby ATMs with a pin.

6. Their CEO, Josh Reich, sounds just like Jony Ive… and that makes me happy.

I’ve got 4 invites left if anyone would like one. Just shoot me a message.