Why Armstrong Should Admit to Doping

There are a couple of reasons as to why now, it would’ve been smarter for Armstrong to admit to doping. When looking at who Armstrong is as a name and being one the most vastly marketed athletes worldwide, there are countless issues that play into his current state of affairs. There are three arguments here, one he didn’t dope, two he doped, three he is a non-doping super athlete that beat his fellow doping cyclists in the Tour De France. Now that this USADA report is out in the open, we all understand somewhat what went on behind the scenes with the US Postal Service Team during the Tour. Looking at the team and the actuality that yes they are all throwing their teammate under the bus (Armstrong), one has to consider they are also throwing themselves under the bus as well. There are stringent penalties for admitting to doping and the USADA is sparing no expense in doling out the punishments.

Armstrong, a Testicular Cancer survivor and 7-time Tour De France winner, is universally the “world’s” athlete and sport hero.  He has enthused people around the world, Cancer survivors, cyclists, non-cyclists, friends and families of Cancer survivors, aspiring athletes, and anyone who heard his story as extraordinary and inspirational. By creating the Livestrong foundation, Armstrong amplified Cancer awareness and research globally and locally. The yellow bracelets donned by individuals who support the Livestrong foundation at one time were a thing of pride that they were a part of something bigger. It was a way for people to give back to the community in some form or fashion and support Cancer survivors or not. The next thing you knew, yellow was the theme for everything Livestrong-Armstrong-Tour De France-Cycling, and quickly became the  color associated with strength, courage and unbelievable  feats conquered…Livestrong…Live long.

After the derisive 200 page report came out against Armstrong, Nike his long time sponsor said they would stand beside Armstrong, but as the truth began to unfold and unravel, days later, Armstrong’s sponsors started dropping like flies. Nike retracted their statements, and adamantly pulled sponsorship, and stated  that Armstrong “misled Nike for more than a decade” followed by Radio Shack, TREK, Anheuser-Busch Inc., 24 Hour Fitness, GIRO and Honey Stinger.  All within hours of Armstrong, stepping down as chairman of the Livestrong Foundation. Very rapidly the incredible and miraculous world of Lance Armstrong came plummeting down. Grumblings about sponsors wanting to come after Armstrong for their millions of dollars in sponsorship money have become louder and louder. While  sponsors such as Oakley, Health Tech and Nissan are still standing by Armstrong amid the allegations waiting for a reaction from the UCI, (Union Cycliste Internationale). Even though the events revealed in the report are so scathing and insanely incriminating against Armstrong, the 7 time TDF winner still maintains his innocence. While the rest of the world wonders why?

In these situations when the evidence is so undeniable and teammates and cohorts are admitting to their own wrong doings while tagging Armstrong as the linchpin inciter, one has to speculate why doesn’t he just come clean? I mean in all fairness he lost most of his sponsorship money, his clout in the cycling community, his 7 yellow jerseys and his foundation. From a marketing standpoint and a personal standpoint, quite honestly  by coming clean, Armstrong might just have a chance to regain credibility within the community and start over. But when Claims from the Armstrong camp that he has been tested over 600 times and have now been deemed inaccurate as the report states he was tested a little over 160 times throughout his career the sincerity of Lance Armstrong becomes less and less. Teammates naming his as a “bully”, one who would stop at nothing to win, coerced his teammates into a doping regiment for them to strictly follow, and if they didn’t they were out of the club so to speak. The blood doping, the untested EPO, the testosterone/olive oil cocktail, the millions of dollars and email exchanges with Dr. Ferrari (the brains behind the scam), the 26+ affidavits from key witnesses including his teammates, all point the finger towards Armstrong’s guilt. Had he admitted to his wrong doing it is quite possible sponsors would eventually come back and give him a second go round, because the appeal of Armstrong is that strong and that favorable. In addition to the wounding account against him, just the sheer fact that he was disinclined to fight for his name, his titles, his achievements, his Olympic medal, makes him appear even guiltier than what the report could ever argue. I mean why not fight?! It’s not like this guy has been living under a rock and sitting in dark lit courtrooms fighting and just can’t take it anymore. He’s been living the high life, he’s a celebrity, dating famous musicians hanging out with high profile actors, appearing in TV ads for some of the largest most reputable companies in the business. So he has a conversation with his family and decides to not fight anymore? Really? This is the guy that beat Testicular Cancer, a Cancer that spread to his brain and lungs and won, yet the fight for his name is not worth the blood, sweat and tears he used to beat his own sickness and go on to win the Tour De France 7 times? Instead he is going to lose it all, he will more than likely lose his seven titles, will probably lose his bronze medal, all his sponsorship money, his credibility in the cycling community and his respect from his fans and supporters worldwide. Instead he is going to be labeled as a cheating, yellow bellied bully who scammed the world, and even though he might not have been alone, and everyone was doing it, it doesn’t matter, because he is the one that hasn’t come clean. We all watched him win those 7 tours and sat in disbelief, this guy who fought Cancer and won, and now we are going to sit and watch it all be taken away, without a fight, without a word…all I can say is what a damn shame!

When compared to other high profile individuals such as Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, Roger Clemens,  Marion Jones an Olympic Gold Athlete at the 2000 Sydney Olympics when investigated by the USADA because of allegations of using EPO lied under oath and testified that she did not dope. Only later admitting her own guilt, forfeited her medals and spent 6 months in jail and “accepted a two-year suspension from track and field competition issued by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, and announced her retirement from track and field on October 5, 2007.[3]  She broke down in tears during the press conference as she tearfully apologized, saying “…with a great amount of shame…I stand before you and tell you that I have betrayed your trust…and you have the right to be angry with me… I have let my country down and I have let myself down.”[21] ”  Trust me, as disappointed as individuals were about Marion Jones, I think overall, people can heal and tried to understand as they regained respect for her having the courage to admit to what she did wrong.  It doesn’t make it right what any of these people did, but it certainly helps the people who admired, respected and supported them to understand the other side of things. Now, everything that Armstrong stood for, is about to evaporate. All the people that believed in him around the world and back now have an awful taste in their mouth and honestly I don’t blame them for not wanting to believe in him. Even if the USADA is wrong and this report is completely contrived, at the very least, Armstrong owes the public the truth. The universal incredible athlete, who fought Testicular Cancer and won, gave up the fight for his own name and titles and ultimately turned his back on everyone. It’s sad to think that someone that has inspired so many, could so quickly fall from grace and show us all how much of a fighter he never was.  If he was pressured into this, if he wasn’t the ring leader, then just say so. Even if everyone was doing it, (doping) at that time, then so be it, he was the better athlete but at least admit that you were doing what everyone else was doing and clear your name. There is a certain amount of time for someone to admit their wrongdoing, after that time is expired, everyone moves on, disappointed, but they move on but things will never be the same for the sport, the fans and the athletes that deceived us all.

*Since this blog was published, Armstrong has since been stripped of his 7 TDF Titles, the UCI did not appeal the USADA Report regarding the doping allegations against Armstrong. They are still considering demanding the reward money for the 7 Tour Titles Armstrong fraudulently claimed. In addition to this, Oakley has pulled sponsorship from Armstrong, following the UCI’s support of the USADA Doping Report.

Have an Event to Promote, Don’t Forget to Invite Social Media

The self-effacing beginnings of any business are scarcely forgettable and always inevitable. 10 years ago, small business owners were just starting to catch onto the Social Media obsession, but at that time, no one really understood the muscle of SM. Utilizing Social Media as a marketing tool, was just starting to present itself as an economical benefit to business owners wanting to develop a web presence.

Yet, here we are 2012 now living in a world where if you are not using Social Media to promote your business large or small, you will quickly be left in the dust of the expeditious techno-savvy rat race called Social Media Marketing.

Why did businesses undervalue Social Media?

In the initial stages, SM was a quasi-meeting place for single people looking to break into the social world through their fingertips. You could connect and interact with people from around the world, friends you haven’t seen in ages, people you just met, people you don’t know, people you want to meet. It was a way for people to connect to all types of people and/or friends.

Initially, the idea of SM or Social Networking wasn’t developed for the reputable business world. Employers didn’t know how to bring this to the forefront and use it for their day-to-day marketing structure they just looked at it as a dating venue. Partly, this was true, but soon, Social Media became a marketing tool for everything! And before long, as the demand for SM became more and more imperative, developing companies like Facebook went from creating a platform for people connecting to people to people connecting to everything! Sky’s the limit. Original SM sites like Friendster and Myspace soon became a distant memory. They didn’t hop on the Social Networking bandwagon quick enough to make a name for themselves other than “the” way for people to connect to people and music. Quickly, other SM sites started popping up, Twitter, WordPress, YouTube, Linkedin, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, all bringing to the table a distinctive initiative with a common significance; socially connecting people, professionally and personally. In addition to that, businesses started to see the light. So to answer the question why businesses undervalued Social Media? It’s because the opinion was so strong that it was just a way for people to meet people, hence the value was not implicit, yet. Now, it is imperative to implement Social Media into your business/marketing plans and in most cases, hire someone to manage your social media marketing/SEO. I know it might seem excess, but in all actuality it is clearly the future, and let me tell you, the future looks bright!

The explosion of Social Media over the past 3 years, even though it’s been around for over a decade, has become overpoweringly evident that this is the fashion of the future. There has never been a way, since the Internet and because of the Internet, for people to connect to people, businesses, news feeds, groups, common causes, foundations and world news on a minute-by-minute basis. We are so connected by the fabric of Social Media, we have made ourselves one huge cyber linked family and for good reason.

Social Media has become necessity over fashion purely because it simplifies the brainchild of organic communication and marketing. Mass mailing marketing efforts has become a thing of the past. Even though we check our mailbox and we see those post cards for a coupon for 1/2 off at our favorite restaurant, the idea of checking our inbox/social media sites, gives us an undeviating and immediate daily connection to the outside and inside world. Now we can elect or not elect to see or interact with the things that are meaningful to us. We choose our level of interaction and this is why we have pushed the digital age of communication and marketing to an extreme measure; and this is why Social Media is so vital.

Now, businesses are taking in the concept of Social Media and embracing the importance of this massive marketing tool. Recently, I threw a PR event for a potential client – mind you this was a pro bono event trying to create business and exposure for their competitive market of the mobile food industry. Basically, we tested the waters to see how the impressive powers of Social Media would handle this event. I created the flyers and posted them on my Facebook and all Social Media sites personal and business pages; my business partner, girlfriend, the musician playing in the event, and the venue itself all did the same. Within hours we received a mass response of over 300 replies. The event itself was a success; we had close to 160 people attend. I couldn’t have asked for a better turnout that cost us very little to market and advertise. Thanks to Social Media we were able to sponsor the event and connect to a new client base and thank the existing one.

Bottom line is this, if you are not using Social Media to promote your business then you are missing out on the easiest and most profound way to connect with your consumers. It’s like missing the biggest networking cocktail party of the year, all year long, everyday! It is the universal way to promote your brand and/or business with your fingertips. The only thing that Social Media costs you literally, is your time. If you don’t have time to promote your business with Social Media, then find someone that can do it for you. But know this, in order for Social Media to be 100% effective you have to connect with your consumers on a regular daily basis. It pushes up your search opportunities on the Google web crawlers and gives you the search engine boost you’ve been looking for. Don’t underestimate the power of Social Media; think about it, there are over 1 Billion Facebook users, 465 million Twitter accounts, 30% of Twitter users have an income over $100,000 and 4 out of 5 internet users visit social networks and blogs, just to name a few of the powerful statistics of Social Media!

Graphic Designer Turned Dental Assistant Finds Niche Market in Dentistry

I’ve been a graphic designer for years, in Dentistry. I somehow ended up in Dentistry and was able to apply my marketing and computer skills in this industry. Never in a million years did I suspect that my career would have such a fortuitous opportunity as it has working in the Dental Field. I say this partly because I never had any interest in the medical field, but when push came to shove and I needed a job, I was willing to take whatever came my way.

My first dental job was for a small practice in Mt. Pleasant, MI. As you can imagine my incapability to find a job as a GD in such a small college town in Michigan left me desperate. The Dental practice I worked for was small but the owner was young, smart and willing to teach someone with no experience in Dentistry what is was to be a stellar advanced assistant. As time led on, I was able to implement my computer skills in the practice as they were preparing for the computer age of dentistry. Mind you, this is 1997. As a trade off, I acquired a skill set unimaginable to me and in return, I was able to help my boss quickly implement an electronic ends to a means by converting his practice to a computer driven situation. This was the way of the future, little did we know at the time, this technology would become the driving force of progressive dentistry as we know it today.

Being that as it may, a GD is accustomed to using Apple products, as they are the most efficient and graphically unique products for what we do. Unfortunately, given that dental technology is based around Windows products, I was stuck. However, that didn’t mean that I was incapable of using GD software, it just meant that I was stuck using it on a Windows based machine, which meant more time and a learning curve that I quite honestly didn’t want to deal with, but I had no choice.

I was able to get my hands a copy of Pagemaker and in return was able to create some marketing pieces for my boss, brochures, CID, newsletters etc… This was my breakout into the Dental Field as a tehno guru, marketing specialist and Dental Assistant. Strange combination I know, but it actually became a unique niche, one that would later lead to one of the most successful career moves I have ever made. I didn’t have a Mac to work with but it was probably best because I was able to make it work with a PC and it gave me an invaluable skill that to this day still benefits me. Crossover knowledge is paramount in this fast moving world. I might have taken a bite of the poison Apple now, but I still have a strong understanding of PC’s and Microsoft products and in dentistry this is valuable knowledge.

Consequently, after a year at my first dental job, I found it vital to research my options and settled on Austin as the most suitable city to re-locate to. Given my new skill set, I was able to swiftly pick up a job as an assistant.  As a result, every dental job since then I have been able to amplify my adeptness as an advanced dental assistant and implement my marketing/graphic designing expertise into these positions. Each job has brought more responsibilities, more opportunity to further myself from the clinical world and bring me closer to the creative world of Dental Marketing. As a benefit, Dentists like to keep things in house as much as possible when it comes to advertising/marketing. It keeps their costs low and it gives them the personal edge on the market, however, these are unique opportunities to have a staff member that not only understands Dentistry but also knows how to market the practice as well. Win win.

In the end, we sometimes wonder how we ended up where we did, but maybe its more like, serendipitously things happen as they should. Who would’ve thought a Graphic Designer, turned Dental Assistant would later have a more than successful career in Dentistry doing just that. Never underestimate the power of the unknown and possibility. I’m glad I didn’t…

Since 1997, I found a way out of the dental chair and back into my realm of GD and Marketing as a Social Media Marketing Coordinator for an Advanced General Dentist. With the demand of Social Media as a Marketing tool in SEO, I have once again found another niche in Dentistry and all those years of assisting chair side have finally paid off. Because of that Advanced Dental knowledge, not only has it given me an arsenal of knowledge when it comes to implementing SEO, but it has given me the opportunity to do what I was meant to do, finally!