Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Brainstormer looking to move into Philadelphia? Get ready for corporate homogeny! YAY!!!

Fresh on the heels of the National Trivia Association attack on the Wikipedia presence of many of this city's quiz hosts, I had a strange exchange yesterday with one Liam in San Francisco from Brainstormer which bodes ill.

I received an email from the fellow which said, "Nice blog, how many quizzes do you do/week?" and nothing else. If you're paying any attention whatever to the content of this blog it's evident I'm doing two right now. It's fairly hard not to notice that if you're actually interested and have basic reading comprehension. This lack of attention to what I do, yet still making the contact, raised a flag that the guy wanted something, and not necessarily to my advantage.

I replied with a brief answer and commented on a quiz I'd played in SF a number of years ago. In the next two-line email, Liam asked me how much I charge local bars for doing quizzes. Can a guy get a little more foreplay here at least? Naturally I'm not just going to share that kind of private info with a stranger who is likely looking to be competition.

Checking out the site, Brainstormer is a prepackaged quiz with pre-fab questions and unnecessarily complex laminated materials (pre-printed with advertising!) intended for pre-fab bar fun or "Corporate Teambuilding." The former sounds like Trivial Pursuit without the board, and the thought of playing a quiz with coworkers during the day and no alcohol in sight sounds about as much fun to me as what it actually is... a meeting. Worse, the Brainstormer "History of the Pub Quiz" completely writes Philadelphia out of the picture, as if it never happened here at all!

I have no idea what their questions are like, but I would have low expectations. The subject isn't even approached on the site. The quizproctors, as I'll call them, see the questions for the first time when you do. Good luck arguing a point in that format.

Brainstormer also provides a solitary SMS cell phone based game (with advertising!) in case you have no friends, and also hires people out to push bad beer and cheap booze promos. That graphic on this post is directly from their site. I doubt the yuppie model was in the room when the text was pasted into the phone.

In my final email to Liam, I said the following:

"... Are you looking to move into the Philadelphia area? It's not every day that someone who I can only size up as potential competition contacts me for personal business info & I say "Hey, sure, here it is! No questions asked!"

If you have additional work for me via a local venue who contacted you, that's great, ask me outright, we might work something out. If you're looking to expand here with a prepackaged quiz (which is a major mistake in this area as people have been writing their own quizzes here for 14 years, people are serious about playing, about their quizmasters, and wouldn't take to anything that comes off like a chain...), I'm disinclined to help you out.

It'd be nice if one aspect of American life could not be Starbucks or McDonald's. If you've been reading my blog then you already know I've had a bit of a battle with a Jersey-based tool passing himself off as the "National Trivia Association."
So there you have it. At this point Brainstormer is only in Erie in this state according to their site. That's still too close as far as I'm concerned. Really now, is it necessary to turn every aspect of American culture into homogenized corporate crap? Why do I post this stuff? Because this is a business and I think the people who support it with their time and money deserve some degree of transparency.
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Anonymous said...

The negativity and paranoia has become oh so tiresome---yawn!

QuizMasterChris said...

The two interesting things about this comment: it's negative and anonymous (what's the matter - paranoid?). Do as I say and not as I do..?