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Thoughts From Abbott’s Inbox Dec. 2nd, 2023

Hoping you all had a nice Thanksgiving, ate lots of turkey, and spent good time with family and friends.  Our long weekend was great, until my football teams took to their respective fields on Saturday and Sunday… we should’ve just finished the holiday weekend on Friday night.  


We’re going to refer to this edition of Thoughts From My Inbox as “The Vegas Special”.  Not because I have any affinity for the city (which, as far as I’m concerned is right up there with Orlando in terms of miserable places to be), but because I’m here at the moment AND happened to have two Nevada items for you this week.  So, feel free to scroll onward for clown motels, U2, Bigfoot, and more.  Enjoy!

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Faking It

I’ve had a subscription to Sports Illustrated since my 8th birthday, and have always remembered that it was Japanese baseball player Sadaharu Oh on the cover of my first issue. (Yes, I have a tendency to remember random and useless info, most of it regarding sports.)   Anyway, Sports Illustrated has been going downhill for awhile, especially now that it’s a monthly rather than weekly publication- more agendas, less sports.  So, I wasn’t completely surprised to see an article claiming that SI used AI generated content AND images of their “writers” in recent product reviews.  And that one reminded me of a piece I read last week about all the fake product reviews online and how they effect sales.  



Anybody here (other than Nancy) who is afraid of clowns? Well, if you’re not afraid of clowns, you can spend a night at Nevada’s World Famous Clown Motel (too bad we already had a room booked elsewhere for last night and tonight). If the clown collection isn’t enough to keep you up at night, the owners claim the hotel is haunted, not only by spirits of those buried in the cemetery next door, but by former residents, as well.


And while we’re on the topic of travel, the recent snow (which, sadly, is melting as we speak) has me ready for ski season.  If you need some ideas for winter travel, here’s a list of the best ski towns in the country.    


I’ve been in charge of sales and marketing for Ashton since 2014, and have a marketing background since before then.  My wife Nancy came onboard earlier this year to handle the marketing tasks for us, but I’m still involved in it so it’s always top of mind.  As we get bigger I know less and less, so it’s important that we have good partners who can point us in the right direction. 

We work with an awesome agency out of Minneapolis for web design and other creative work (one of the principals of which I go all the way back to high school with); we come up with ideas and throw them at our partners to make them happen. Recently, I’ve also become acquainted with Chief Outsiders (a fractional CMO firm and another high school connection).  If you don’t want to handle marketing internally, you should hit them up (and I’m happy to make an intro). They have the experience to help businesses quickly figure out how to accelerate growth; develop strategies, build organization and technical capabilities, and execute marketing and sales to create growth engines.   


A couple of interesting cybersecurity updates for you this week, including the fact that the US is under greater threat for chemical attacks due to poor cyber (and physical) security at chemical plants, General Electric was hacked and lots of classified data is now for sale (including weapons and AI info), and so was OwnCloud, which is data storage and sharing system used by one million companies.  


I’ll omit the believers’ names from this post so as not to embarrass them, but there are a couple of people here at Ashton who are confident that Bigfoot exists. That’s why this article about finding (trying to) Bigfoot in Texas jumped out at me.

MGM Hack

You’re probably well aware of the recent hacks against MGM and Caesars, and the fact that Caesars paid the $15M ransom, while MGM decided to pay the remediation (the FBI never suggests paying the ransom as it doesn’t guarantee return of data or protect against followup attacks).  It seems as though this hack began with a simple call to MGM’s outsourced IT help desk, and as the article referenced states, “IT service desks make a lot of sense as a target for social engineering attacks. The very nature of their job means that they have incredible access and power.”  That’s something that the Ashton team considers EVERY day. 

The Sphere

As mentioned above, we flew out to Las Vegas yesterday for tonight’s U2 show at The Sphere.  Not because I like Vegas, but because I’ve been a U2 fan since 1983 and going to Vegas is the only opportunity to see this iteration of the band (can’t really call it a ‘tour’ as it’s only one city).  I’ve avoided all the youtube clips of the new building so I can see it for myself.  But I have come across a few interesting news items on the arena.      

Nancy's Nuggets

I only have 26 teeth, and regularly remind Nancy that not one of them is filled.  Turns out that an Indian woman just set the world record by having 38 teeth in her mouth

Speaking of teeth, how many are there when an NHL game is underway? While I did see a clip from a few weeks ago of a player picking his teeth off the ice after a high stick to the mouth, I’ll leave that to you to find.  I do have a clip from a game this week where  all ten players on the ice were hit with misconduct penalties at the same time.  Haven’t seen that one before!


Have a great weekend.


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