The past 12 months have been fun, exciting and witnessed a massive increase in content. Overall, I am quite pleased with The Sharp Plays and continue to love doing it. However, I always feel there is room for improvement. So, I used February to look back on the year and review every bit of The Sharp Plays, inside and out. Thank you to all of you who submitted feedback last month. It helped me tremendously in my assessment and the development of my strategy moving forward. While it would be impossible to cover all the changes I have planned for the year, below are the broad strokes.
Looking back on the year, what was the biggest success and biggest failure? The biggest failure was clearly the last session of the Robin Hood Club. It lost over 19 units and got away from what made the Robin Hood Club great in the past. I listened to too many voices, assuming I should provide people the content they wanted. Further, I never wanted to be in the position of advising others how to bet. It’s a decision you should make for yourself. I will give you the information, but I have no business being involved in your finances… nor do I want to be. Ultimately, the failure fell to me for the decisions I made. At the end, I felt closing the Club and providing everyone an extensive content package in return was the best option. “Sometimes, there is no good option, only the least worst option, and you decide to take that option simply because anything else could be far worse.” – Skills for a Scientific Life by John R. Helliwell. I know I disappointed people and lost some good followers over how it all played out. The whole thing remains frustrating but I can’t go back in time, can only move forward. Forward we will move… taking the lessons learned to avoid repeating them in the future.
What was the biggest success? I was split between two items. One was the Top Sharp Consensus, especially for football. Using the action of the Top 10 bettors, across two global books, ended up being a solid angle. In football, the Premium Plays ended up with a 16-6 record for 72.7% winners (regular and postseason combined). Overall, the Top Sharp Consensus action was 34-16 for 68% over 50 plays (regular and postseason combined)! Those were some excellent plays and I look forward to the Premium Plays and the Top Sharp Consensus action during March Madness. The other choice for the top success spot was the Little John Protocol. The LJP is new which is what held it back from being easily the top choice. It arrived in early December. Still, I love what the Little John Protocol accomplishes. The LJP combines algorithm analysis with The Sharp Plays Index and sharp action to grade bets on a 1 to 5 scoring scale… in real-time! The performance of the LJP has been excellent with over 57% winners across all scores (1-5)! I also see a lot of potential for the Little John Protocol given all the angles you could assess within its scoring. For example, if a play is moving down close to post… do you fade it, buyout or pass? Then you have something like the Wild LJP Moves which are a good heads-up regarding late and aggressive sharp buying. It’s these types of angles, beyond just the LJP scores themselves, that have me excited for the future. I look forward to the LJP expanding as new angles present new opportunities!
What changes do I see for The Sharp Plays moving forward into 2020? As I headed into February break, I was exhausted! I usually am worn down after a long football season, but this year was far different. I never looked forward to a Super Bowl as much as I did this past one. Not because it was the Super Bowl but because it meant my break was here! I was finally at the finish line. When I sat back Monday after the Super Bowl, I realized how much I DRAMATICALLY expanded my workload related to Twitter/The Sharp Plays content. It’s something I knew I had done but did not realize the depth and breadth until I stepped back and looked at it. The workload expansion for The Sharp Plays over the past year was like gaining weight. One day you are 200 lbs and next thing you know you wake up to find yourself 300 lbs. You look back wondering where you gained all the weight. Not noticing because you gained it slowly, gradually. So slowly that you didn’t really notice it until it was almost crushing your body. Well, what I did with The Sharp Plays workload was a lot like gaining weight. It grew slowly so I didn’t feel any major change as the weeks and months passed. Until one day I woke up and realized a hobby had morphed into the equivalent of a full-time job!
One day I am posting Mr. Poison and some large betting action (2-4 tweets a day), next month I add in “known” bettors and some algorithms for baseball, then I add in other sports algorithms I use in my personal betting. Next, I start testing and posting new algorithms I am working on. Then I cover a guy named Mr. Freeze. I start to add in coverage of sports beyond just the major US sports by adding tennis and soccer (oh and some darts, cricket, KHL, futsal, billiards etc.). I start to cover other betting angles like “Pro’s v Joe’s”, sharp & public concentrations. Then the idea of following Late Sharp Money comes up. Hey what about a guaranteed selection as paid content… which when it loses you provide basically a daily service? Why not do a weekly newsletter? How about daily coverage of all major global and domestic sports betting markets? How about keeping a record of all the content posted on Twitter? Don’t forget it is good to reply to people’s questions on Twitter, so I did. Why not make yourself readily available for people via DM and email as well? What about developing a real-time system for information delivery? As you know I could go on and on. However, you get the point. It went from being a hobby to not just a full-time job. It ended up being a full-time job plus overtime! I found myself the past year getting back to DMs when out to dinners, posting Tweets while sitting at red lights and a lot more. It’s just too much. There is a happy medium between posting 1-2 items a day and literally being inseparable from Twitter, email and this website all hours of every day. My goal in February was to find that happy medium.
I will be the first to say, I got hooked on the excitement and energy of social media and my interactions with all of you. It was a lot of fun, almost like a drug. However, when you get caught up in that excitement, often it changes the product you put out. Instead of being you, you become part of the collective and are trying to fulfill everyone’s request for content. Wait, you want Turkish Basketball?? No problem, coming right up! A Grand Salami algorithm would be good… I have one! You want real-time access to the LJP and Top Sharp Consensus for the NFL Playoffs… done! It wasn’t all bad in that way, but it got me away from who I am and from the heart of what made The Sharp Plays. It became a flea market of information. Getting back to the core of The Sharp Plays and getting rid of the full-time job commitment were the key items for my February reassessment.
Taking the time away in February allowed me to play around with that time commitment. To see what works for me and still delivers what I feel is great content and a good experience for everyone… including myself. You probably noticed some days in February had 2-4 tweets, others almost the usual volume. In the final few days of February, tweet quantity was like what you were used to in January and before. In the process I was able to find a happy medium. A medium whereby I can post solid daily content covering all sports, but I don’t sell my soul to Twitter. So, here’s my plan…
#1 OVERALL CONTENT – When you sit at an information buffet, it can be easy to be overloaded with the content. I found myself, in many instances, putting out content that really was not worthwhile reporting. However, I covered it simply because people were asking for coverage. I think such content dilutes what I do. My goal is to get things back to the roots of where it all started. One of the most common bits of feedback I received from people was that there was simply too much content. I agree! Often, I get caught up in all the tweets that I get for coverage of some sport, league, or event. Instead of covering anything and everything, I will let the quality of content dictate what I post. For example, you can trust that I know there is Champions League on a given day. If I don’t post anything on Champions League, either there is nothing good to report OR I am not around to report it anyway.
When it comes to overloaded content, I don’t mean just sharp action or other market reporting but even my algorithms. Everyone loves an algorithm for everything. Sure, many of the algorithms are successful but sometimes you can cover too many angles. Moving forward I plan to just stick with my key algorithms (MLB totals, NCAABB totals, golf full tournament algorithm, etc.) throughout the year and avoiding posting all the different algorithms I am playing around with (UFC will become an active algorithm soon). Walt Disney had a quote that goes as follows… “I can never stand still. I must explore and experiment. I am never satisfied with my work. I resent the limitations of my own imagination.” It is with this sort of motivation that I create algorithms and develop new content. My desires and drive in that way will not stop. I am always looking for new ideas. However, sometimes the workings of a mad scientist running dozens of algorithms at any given time is not a good thing for an audience to try and follow. It comes off as organized chaos. So, I will always be playing with and adjusting algorithms in my workshop, testing new content ideas and angles, but I will minimize how many I cover regularly and publicly. If something looks promising, I will work it into the content or perhaps replace something that is under-performing.
I believe the new content plan will be one where you don’t notice much of a difference from before (yep, concentrations are back in March). However, the difference will be more on my side in a decrease in time I have to be connected to Twitter and the website to deliver it. For me, it’ll again be a hobby which I think is good for all parties involved! I am looking forward to an exciting year with the content and a much more consolidated, efficient and streamlined offering.
#2 MY COMMENTARY – You may have noticed my new feature called “Today’s Notes” that I post to Twitter. I think this is a great way to let you know any important news and updates as well as any plans for the day ahead. People have said they enjoyed the “Today’s Notes” in the Robin Hood Club. The “Today’s Notes” on Twitter will allow me to do something similar. I can recap the previous day’s action, discuss market trends, how I view the markets and what I will be looking to bet on. While I do not advise you to bet what I bet, my goal is to give you perspective on how I view the day ahead.
#3 MESSAGES (Emails & Direct Messages) – I appreciate all of you following what I do. You give me a reason to do it! The problem is, I don’t have support staff. It’s just me. I do have an answering service that handles basic support for any paid content and cleans my inbox for me. The service then leaves any legitimate feedback or advanced questions in a folder for me to address. I wish I could reply quickly to everyone who messages but it has gotten to the point of not being possible. During my break in February, I realized I don’t need to reply in short order to everyone. The past month I turned my Twitter notifications off, I checked my DM’s and emails only once every 2-3 days and the world did not end. LOL! All of you survived without me. Moving forward I will dedicate a slot of time each day (maybe once in the morning or maybe a half session in the morning and a half session in he afternoon each day) to respond to messages. However, anything not covered in that time for that day will be moved to the next day and so on. Any paid content support will still be handled expeditiously by either myself or the answering service.
My message policy change was long overdue and beyond a necessity. The past year if someone DM’ed I would have the urge to get back right away. Well, when you get 50-100 DMs a day and each of those DMs result in an average of 2 replies, I find myself reading 150-300 messages and then sending 100-200 replies of my own. It’s a lot of time involved in reading 200+ messages and then writing 200+ replies… EACH AND EVERY DAY! Yes, it is around the clock! I am not even talking about emails yet either. Something in me has the desire to always clear my messages and thereby get back to people right away. It’s how I always handled my personal business, so I brought it to The Sharp Plays. It’s something I forced myself to break from in February. I went from being tied at the hip to Twitter and swarmed with messages to having more time than I knew what to do with. LOL! It was excellent! It also made me realize that 80-85% of the time I was spending on The Sharp Plays each day was simply spent dealing with all the messages. I do welcome your messages and always want to hear feedback. Just know, my replies won’t be immediate, but I will reply… eventually! I do have to take my life and time back a little from what I… all too quickly… gave up to Twitter.
When it comes to Tweet replies… I get tweeted to or replied to for different content and questions each day. It is not notification friendly for me to respond individually to all the requests that come in. If you have an individual question, shoot me an email. If you rather comment on Twitter or tag me in a tweet, rest assured I saw your tweet and will happily post anything related to your request that I feel is worthwhile to report. If I don’t report anything… there was probably nothing worthwhile to report or I wasn’t around to report it anyway. So, no offense if I don’t respond to each individual message. I know a lot of people have notifications set for my Twitter account. As I said, too many replies or random tweets by me are not notification friendly. I will only reply publicly to your comments if the response would be beneficial to others who follow. Otherwise, in the interest of not blowing up the phones for those who have notifications set, I will not reply. Be sure to check the website as a lot of the answers to questions posed are covered on the website. Again, it’s nothing personal, it’s just an effort to avoid 30-50+ messages a day blowing up everyone’s phone.
#4 Technology Expansion – Over the past year, new technology options have allowed for some very exciting developments. Everything from the real-time system for the LJP and the Top Sharp Consensus counts to the text alerts. The success of the technology has me looking into many options for further expansion. Utilizing technology also helps me achieve my goal of freeing up my time but still delivering quality content. So, look for technological expansions as the year moves along. I am always looking at new features and the evolution of old features! In February, the tech company I use put in the foundations for easy expansion within the web code and the server. It will help me quickly deploy new features in the future. Stay tuned!
Regarding text alerts, text delivery is still not 100% due to cell providers blocking messages here and there. Text alerts are closer to 100%, by a lot, compared to email though. In February I located two text providers and have been playing with their software. I will not have a solution ready for the March Madness Bonanza (details on the Bonanza will be available tomorrow) but I do expect to have a solution during the baseball season.
#5 Clean Website Format – As the content expanded this past year, the website was simply built out to cover that content. I would have new content and just add a new page or throw it on an existing web page. By expanding the website in this way as the content expanded, the layout lost a clean and simple format. The website ended up having a lot of information all cobbled together. In February, I was able to clean up all the pages, combine pages and remove the unnecessary or repetitive content. It is my hope the website will now be straightforward and provide you with easier access to all the pertinent information.
#6 Teasers & Parlays – A surprisingly controversial topic is that of teasers & parlays. There are those out there who despise parlays & other exotic bets with a passion! Then there are those who love them. I am in the “love them” camp. I feel when used properly exotics can be a +EV bet and help you leverage your action. Parlay & teaser coverage was a common feedback request in the messages I received in January. So yes, it is something I will post when I feel the moment is right.
#7 Trading Information – I was shocked by the response I got to my tweet on algorithm coverage of the financial markets. The tweet received the most likes out of anything I posted EVER on Twitter. So yes, I will be doing trading coverage. Given this new area of content only recently came up, I have not laid out a full plan yet. However, a plan is in the works and should be posted within the next week or two. I will announce on Twitter, post an article to the website and send the information to my mailing list when it is ready. On break I thought… I have done extensive algorithm design work for the financial services industry… why not see if there is interest in the content. A service I did algorithm work for always used to post financial market coverage and it was well received. I thought I would see how my audience felt. Well, I posted the tweet about covering the markets from an algorithmic standpoint and was overwhelmed with the response! So, it’ll be coming soon!
During February I checked out dozens upon dozens of accounts on Gambling Twitter. There are plenty of people out there who provide betting information. What I noticed however is they give a fraction of the of information I provide. Either they provided only 2-3 tweets a day of content (and no accompanying website) or they cover one or two sports simply with their handicapped selections, nothing more. Over the past year I have provided information on everything from darts and cricket to all your major global sports leagues. From the NFL and NBA down to the KHL (Russian hockey league) or Euroleague Basketball. If there is someone on Twitter doing what I do and at the level, quantity and breadth that I do it, I have yet to find them or anyone even close to it.
For some reason however, despite all the information, money and time I put into The Sharp Plays, the fact I sell information, typically once a week, is somehow controversial. It’s the Internet though and it is Twitter. I have said it before, I could give every one of my followers $1000 and there would be those “unique” souls out there who’d bitch that I didn’t give them $2000! Paid content unfortunately is a necessary evil. The expansion of content and technology all comes at a price. The nice part about the paid content is it comprises less than 5% of all my content and nobody is required to purchase. I always say, if you like what I do, give it a purchase. Your purchase supports continued content, the further evolution of The Sharp Plays as well as things important to me! Your support for things important to me is what motivates me to show my appreciation by putting in the time & effort to provide the best content (free & pay) that I am able.
My goal during the break was to create a plan to simplify and minimize the paid content. What will the paid content be? Most weeks I’ll take just one bit of content that is provided free six days a week and make it paid content one day a week. Thereby you should only be purchasing the paid content if you made money when that same content was provided free either that week or in previous weeks. If you don’t want to take part in the paid content, no big deal, you only miss one play. Paid content will fall into two categories… Robin Hood Selections and the Top Sharp Consensus. What will Robin Hood Selections be moving forward? Robin Hood Selections could be “known” bettor action, algorithm plays, the Top LJP Play of the Day, the Wild LJP Move of the Day or something yet to be discovered. During football season, the paid content will be the Top Sharp Consensus and one purchase will cover both Saturday’s and Sunday’s access to the information.
The purpose of paid content is simple. You will now see the following on any pages offering paid content…
1) Paid content carries a win probability of 56%, long term (a 7.85% ROI). Standard math would tell you if you are winning 56% of the time, you are also losing 44% of the time. If you need or are expecting something that carries a win probability/expectation of 85-100%, this is not for you… DO NOT BUY!!!
2) This week’s paid content is content that was provided free the rest of the week. IF YOU HAVE NOT PROFITED FROM THIS CONTENT, WHEN IT WAS POSTED FOR FREE ON TWITTER… DON’T BUY THIS PLAY! Today’s paid content is not intended to be a stand-alone purchase but rather used as a “gratuity” or “thank you” based on your success when this content was provided for free. If you are purchasing for any other reason… DO NOT BUY!!!
3) I could charge for all the content I provide free daily… I don’t. Instead I prefer to do things this way. I provide over 95% of my content for free. If you like all the free content and want to reciprocate, you pay on the back end by purchasing the paid content when I have it available. Your support allows me to expand the content & technology I utilize and to support things important to me. In return, I hope not just what you are purchasing today, but all the content I provide helps to support things important in your life!
If these terms ARE NOT good for you, DO NOT BUY!!! If you are good with these terms, thank you very much for your support!
I have also added a support link to the website. I was always against gratuities just because it seemed cheesy and I prefer to give you something extra for your support. However, in the feedback leading up to February I was surprised how many people have said they don’t really want to buy plays but just want to show their thanks from time to time and in their chosen amount. So, if you feel this way, there is now a support link on the website’s menu. Thank you for the support! The minimum is $5 and there is no maximum. Although, I would say if you would like to support more than $1M, please let me know and I can arrange for a cash pickup. LOL!
I think the above plan will simplify & minimize the paid content. Instead of multiple bits of paid content going on at the same time, multiple things to purchase at the same time, there will only ever be one bit of paid content active and available for purchase at any given time… and usually only one purchase necessary to take part in the paid content for that week.
Also, people had asked for a monthly subscription. A monthly subscription meaning you make one purchase and get access to the paid content for the whole month. The option will now be available. You can now purchase all the paid content for a calendar month in one payment and using one password to access. The monthly price will be the purchase price each week multiplied by the number of weekends in that month, minus a 10% discount. So, if I plan to have one paid selection every Sunday in April… the monthly purchase price would be $25 multiplied by four Sundays in April. Such an equation gives a total price of $100, subtract a 10% discount and the monthly price for April would be $90. What happens if one weekend I do not have a play? The package will just be extended for a week into the next month and until the expected number of selections calculated for that monthly price have been achieved.
With any of the above, obviously everything is subject to change. Once a plan gets enacted there can always be unexpected issues or reasons a change is necessary. However, I feel the combined plan above will provide for a great structure and excellent content for 2020! I believe the changes above will allow me to free up 85%+ of the time I previously spent on The Sharp Plays while allowing me to deliver plenty of quality content and even expand content into new areas like the financials. I believe the minimization of the paid content will be a welcome change. Overall, I am excited to see how it all plays out. I’d appreciate your feedback along the way and again, thank you for your support!
Over the next year there will be successes and failures. My goal is to make sure that, like this past year, the successes far outweigh the failures! When something does fail, I will look to make changes. The first product under the Little John name was a failure but that failure paved the way for the Little John Protocol. The Little John Protocol has been a tremendous success that has far outweighed the failure of the previous Little John iteration. You must always be prepared to change course and evolve. As Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent but the one most responsive to change.”
Overall, while I saw a lot of things that went right over the past year, I saw some things that went wrong or that could use changing too. I found myself attached to The Sharp Plays by an umbilical which I could not disconnect from. It ended up creating a situation whereby I literally took on a full-time job plus overtime each day as I sourced and posted information to Twitter and the website, responded to people’s requests quickly and answered all DM’s and emails throughout the day as they came in. It left my head spinning, me exhausted and all of you overwhelmed by the information. While the idea of “cleaning up” the content might have you concerned, I would direct you to this time last year. During March Madness I had 5-6 tweets a day and we all did QUITE WELL, if you recall, on March Madness!!! Less can be more and the core of The Sharp Plays is why we are all here… it won’t hurt to get back to it! If you are reading this and stopped following at some point, I hope you will give myself and the content another chance! I would like to think you won’t be disappointed. My goal for the strategy moving forward is to minimize the paid content, maximize the free content, use my time effectively and deliver a quality product.
It was a fun and profitable 2019! I look forward to an even better year for 2020! Thank you for being a part of this with me and giving me a reason to do it! It is now time to get to work! I invite you to check out the cleaned and updated website. I will cover the March Madness Bonanza information tomorrow in a separate post and mailing. The Robin Hood Members page will also open tomorrow. Keep an eye on Twitter for this information! I will let you know when the Robin Hood Members page is active again (same password).
Again, thank you for your time and for following!
Good luck in your action!
~ The Sharp Plays