Sunday, November 21, 2010

Have we talked about Seinfeld yet?

A while ago, Alan and his friend (and fellow econ teacher from Eastern Illinois University) Linda started using Seinfeld clips to illustrate various economic principles in class.  They eventually decided to present some of their ideas at conferences and maybe even in a paper.  So they starting "researching" Seinfeld.

(And yes, I always use air quotes when I talk about this "research.")

Alan was forced to buy all nine seasons of Seinfeld on dvd, and then sit on the couch and watch every stinkin' episode, taking notes on any scenes that illustrated (or even remotely sounded like) an economics principle.  Eventually, they put everything together in a website called The Economics of Seinfeld.  It's a nice set-up -- you can search by econ topic and then get a list of any Seinfeld storyline that addresses that issue. 

And then some magic started to happen.  Linda gave a talk about the economics of Seinfeld for a friend at a small college in Georgia, who posted the link on his blog, which got seen by some mildly important econ blog big-wig.

Well, before you could say "no soup for you," Alan and Linda's website was linked all over the internets.  And big name places too like the Wall Street Journal blog, the NYTimes blog, the Economist blog, the Atlantic blog, to name few.

Well then, people started calling including this random radio station in Connecticut, and some local television and newspaper places.

Lately (seriously, I have no idea how this all happened), CNBC did a little piece on the website.  And Alan and Linda were interviewed for an article in Businessweek.  Alan tells me that the article was mentioned on the cover of the latest edition. 

And in the midst of this 15 minutes of fame, the president of a literary agency in New York emailed Alan and Linda to ask if they had considered turning this into a book, and if not, could he visit with them about the possibility.  Um... yes please.

So.  Alan and Linda spent this past weekend working on a prospectus to send to Mr. President Agency Man who will help them polish it up and then shop it around to publishers for them.

Unfortunately for me, I still don't really like Seinfeld (*gasp* can I say that??) and I've been mocking this "research" project since the beginning, so I'm fairly certain that I will be cut out from the millions this book rakes in.  It's not too late for you, though!  Quick!  Send Alan an email nonchalantly asking if he's got any interesting research (don't use quotes around "research" -- that's been my fatal flaw), and then offer effusive praise when he mentions Seinfeld.  Tell him what a great idea that is and how much hard work (again, don't use quotes around "work") that must be.  (In fact, Alan mentioned to me today that he'll probably have to watch all nine seasons AGAIN now that they're working on this book thing.  Poor Alan.) 

You might even casually say that you saw something about that on CBNC and did he see that link?  "What?  It's YOUR link?  Oh my word, I had no idea."

Something like that.


Rhonda said...

Thank you for confirming that Shawn and I are not the only people on this earth who do not like Seinfeld. We really thought we might be. Oh, and yay for Alan! Sounds like a great opportunity!

The Hudson-Vadnais' said...

This is so wonderful! It's total confirmation that going with what works and what is really interesting and meaningful to you opens up the whole world. I love this--many congratulations to Alan!

The Hudson-Vadnais' said...

and PS--he also made it on at this url is a community blog that compiles the best of the best on the web with a lot of great discussion (I've been a member for some time). However, the discussion of his site sort of tangented, at times, in to a discussion of the show.