From Jim Skelton’s Facebook page:

“Last week I posted that I would have an announcement coming soon. Well, today is part one of that announcement. I am retiring from TV! This is a decision long in the making, and was not made lightly. I begin a new chapter in my life, filled with opportunity and excitement. My family will be leaving Miami and relocating to Dallas Texas in April. I am currently on my way to the airport to meet my realtor in Dallas to begin the search for our new home.

I will not be on the air this weekend, but will be on the following weekend, and hope to enjoy my last few shows with all of you. To clarify, I am not leaving to go to another network, the next few shows will truly be my last ever on TV. I have enjoyed my 10+ years doing what I love, sharing my passion for watches with all of you. I’m fortunate to have made a connection with so many people, and gotten to know you and your families over the years. You’ve allowed me to do what I love, and invited me into your homes, and you’ll never know how truly grateful I am for that. It’s time now for me to share my other passions with the world, in a totally different venue, but one that everyone will have access to. In the coming weeks I will follow this up with the rest of the details, but I am still ironing everything out at this point. This time around I have the freedom to share everything about my upcoming adventures, without any silly contracts prohibiting me from disclosing details of where I’m going and what I’m doing. Thank You all so much for your support and I look forward to what lies ahead for myself and my family. Stick around, I hope to surprise you”
The much loved, and equally maligned, former host of the distant number three shopping network, ShopNBC, ShopHQ, Evine has called it quits and is leaving DirectTV channel 227 where he barks for SWI. Unlike ShopNBC, where he was fired, we’re not sure if he is the one calling the shots on this move or not. I’ve wondered what his baggage would mean to Clearlake Capital Group, the investment firm that bought SWI back in December of 2012. Without Lior to protect him and corporate wolves focused on profit and flying below the radar, what would happen with Jim? I’ll state that I have zero knowledge of his contract details, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Skelton was working for base, plus commission. With watchgeeks.net gone, how was Skelton marketing to anyone? His FB page revealed thousands of fans that always lamented their financial woes whenever he added product placements for his shows. He couldn’t have been selling much.  I’d hardly call his Strider watch collaboration with Android’s Wing Liang a success as the price was halved for a few months and he still hasn’t been able to move the total production of 500 units. My prediction: Jim Skelton makes a move into knives and tries to duplicate the success he had in TV horology with the apparent vacuum left by the exit of the Frost Cutlery guys.

watchgeeks.nyet

July 15, 2014

I’ve been peripherally following the milestones and hiccups in the world of TV horology and was aware that Invicta’s primary propaganda tool, watchgeeks.net, had been down for some time.

On a whim, I checked in today and saw this message from Invicta Watch Company CEO, Eyal Lalo:

20140715-092334-33814644.jpg

The explanation jumps right out at me:

“We were not supplied with the required codes necessary to serve the site and the existing content was blocked from our access.”

“In this past week, we then discovered, that the entire database had been intentionally erased this destroying the platform we worked so hard to diligently preserve for you to enjoy.”

The page auto-directs uses to Invicta’s Facebook page.

THIS statement seems to imply that someone maliciously took down watchgeeks and the inference to be made is that former Technical Brand Perception Manager, Michael Davis, would be the culprit. He was the administrator of the website and he publicly rage quit back in April.

In Davis’ Facebook post from June 21st, he makes mention of the neglect of the site:

“I tuned over the daily administration and maintenance of WatchGeeks to Invicta about a month ago when they would not come to terms with me over the ongoing work needed to keep it running. “

BUT interestingly, he seemed to still have enough access to state that “…(Invicta) have done absolutely no maintenance or work on the site (which is the reason why there is 3,000 membership requests sitting in queue that have not been processed).”

He went on to say that “…sooner or later that site will come crashing down.”

While I do think he’s a shithead, evidenced by his proclivity to use the ban hammer while at geeks and that threatening website directed at Koi over at watchlords; his malicious act of sabotaging watchgeeks?

Nope.

In reading through Davis’ Facebook posts, it’s clear that he just had enough of ShopHQ and Invicta.

Why?

Maybe because they send Invicta rep, and former model, Ryan Johnson to all of the remotes in sunny tropical locations while Davis stews in the Minnesota studio like Bumble the Yeti at 3:30am.

Was he tired of the constant attacks and references to his past? Maybe the guy that called in live to a Davis and Temple show and claimed he robbed bowling ally to support his Invicta addiction was the straw that broke the camels back.

I think the site was deliberately left to rot. Maybe that mail I got back in 2010 about a supposed watchgeeks social network on ning really was a strategy and not a hoax?

Watchgeeks turned into a means to an end for Invicta. A place where dissent could be squashed through deliberate and calculated attacks on character and fellow members were whipped into a frenzy to belittle and run off ‘negative’ posters. It was used to marginalized and ostracize critics. It became a point of control. And the artifacts and proof posted by pissed off consumers could easily be deleted.

But times changed. Social media changed. What once was possible to control was not as people took to social media and messageboards and eviscerated Invicta for their poor quality and misrepresented products. Hardcore Invictards abandoned the brand and nearly all of the folks that used to routinely threaten and attack me on this blog were either kicked off of watchgeeks as they were no longer useful and disappeared or they have become vocal Invicta critics because they saw the light.

As new leadership takes the reins at ShopHQ, I wonder how much longer Invicta will air on the network. It’s the same product, over and over. How many different color combinations can you put on a Bolt and act excited about?

A new social media strategy may be exactly what Invicta needs to again become relevant in a genre crowded with the addition of micro brands. In killing off watchgeeks they can further distance themselves from all of the bad karma that geeks generated. In suggesting that it was taken down maliciously, they attempt to create animus toward Davis and his ‘solopreneur’ endeavors for the remaining diehards obsessed with post counts.

The death of watchgeeks could be the clean break and reboot that the Invicta watch company needs.

I think it’s too late.

//smt/

ValueVision Media quietly reported their 2nd Quarter results a little over a week ago an it seems that the apparent firing of Jim Skelton did not impact watch sales as ShopNBC brass noted that they improved.

“The Watch category benefitted from a more diverse product mix and achieved improved productivity per minute with attractive margins, as part of a strategically planned reduction in air-time.”

FANS of Skelton may point out that since he left, a lot of watches have been offered on 6 Value Pays. I’d agree that this helps sales but do not think the move is to entice Skelton’s fan base or as a response to a purchasing drop off by those most ardent of fans, something he suggested on his Facebook page. Rather, it is a response to the continued malaise that is the Not So Great Depression.

Even if you’re not a fan of the mostly Chinese made watches featured on ShopNBC, the network have made a point of expanding their offerings and most of these are within the 38 mm to 47 mm size range as opposed to the caricatures that have marked Invicta designs over the past few years. These new brands are also selling out while Invicta doesn’t seem to anymore. So it’s possible that the core consumer has changed.

With the reported return of Daniel Mink and Renato, it will be interesting to count the sell outs and compare them to the same, tired Invicta rehashed designs. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in Shop’s green room when he shares it with Invicta’s Technical Brand Manager and convicted felon, Michael “fuckin” Davis.

You’ll remember he used Watchgeeks.net to famously call into question the shady sales exercise of the Renato Tourbillon, suggesting that people cancel their orders, which conveniently coincided with Invicta Watch Company’s hinting around at their coming Chinese Tourby offering.

Maybe it’s just me, but Invicta’s continuing slide in quality of both workmanship and materials, coupled with tired and boring designs is reminiscent of Detroit in the late 70’s. Can the brand continue to be the Shop’s cash cow or will one of these new brands claim the crown?

IT has been widely speculated that Jim Skelton has some connection to the Imperious watch brand which, after many denials, was revealed to be a trademark of Invicta.

Part of what fueled the Skelton / Imperious connection were comments by Skelton himself regarding his design of watches, as well as his constant admonishment of people wanting to know who designed such ground breaking pieces as the X-Wing and Jailbreak. I remember him finally getting fed up with people hinting at his involvement on WGs and he said something to the affect of “…do you know who the designer of the Speedway? Does it matter?”

NOW after fire sales at ShopNBC, the only source for this brand that was going to “dominate it’s class”, and a very interesting post on Jim Skelton’s Facebook page from a May 24th inquiry regarding new models and the very future of Imperious.

Jim’s response:
“I don’t know how much longer you’ll see them. Last I knew, there was still new product in production, and production on these takes about 3-6 months due to the complexity, so I’d assume you’ll see one or mayyyybe two more rounds of them. What Shop will do now with recent changes though, I cannot predict. There were still one or two brand new models due out plus new variations of the current models (one for example was an automatic 3 hand X-Wing)”

Another posters asks if Skelton believes that the “brand” is going to fold.

Jim Skelton responded “I don’t think “fold” is the right word, but it is possible that they might stop offering them.”

Hmm. It is widely believed that Skelton has some skin in the Invicperious game. ShopNBC fires him and now they are not going to offer any new models and ShopNBC is systematically blowing them out.

Draw your own conclusions.

IN an interesting move, ShopNBC has tapped Bill McGrath as VP of Quality Assurance, a 20 year veteran who most recently served as Vice President Global Sourcing Operations and Finance at QVC. In the first paragraph of the press release, they mention their Anywhere initiative, which includes ShopNBC”s presence on social media sites as well as their iPhone app and website. Upon first reading, it sounds as if Mr. McGrath is going to lead this project. But if you read it closely, you’ll see that this is not the case. When you read through the press release, Mike Murray, ShopNBC Senior Vice President of Operations detail Mr. McGrath’s various duties while at QVC:

“Bill brings a wealth of product quality experience and supply chain expertise — from vendor manufacturing through custom consumer packaging — that spans all our product categories and beyond. His commitment to excellence and building strong partnerships will benefit our vendors, product offerings, and customers. We look forward to his impact on our efforts to continue lowering transactional costs while improving the customer experience.”

This seems like a bait and switch; McGrath’s expertise is the supply chain continuum and the quality of products down to the packaging. A quick Google search of “Invicta QC issue” yields 156,000 returns and if you read some of the comments here as well as around the various watch messageboards, poor quality control seems to be inseparable from the ShopNBC / Invicta experience. I’ve also read quite a few complaints of Renato quality issues.

This move comes on the heels of ShopNBC’s dismissal of two popular hosts, Charla Rines and Mike Davidson.

UPDATE 01/19/2009: Something interesting is occuring over at watchgeeks.net – dissent! The vocal complaints from customers center around the Subaqua Noma III Ocean Quest and a design flaw involving screws that easily crossthread and break and while Jim Skelton (In Cognito) himself has weighed in with a rather terse and forcefull response, the debate rages on. It is comical to read him defend what is a bad design while the watch has been crossthreaded live on the air more than once. It’s really telling to see senior posters atempt ro intimidate and silence this debate as Mr. Skelton partially owns the watchgeeks forum along with Technical Brabd Manager Michael Davis. This is the coming of the perfect storm I alluded to in my blog, Jim Skelton Out at ShopNBC. The blurred lines between Invicta, Skelton and ShopNBC are on display for anyone to see if they create an account on the now password only site. One wonders what Mr. McGrath’s response would be to Mr. Skelton’s less than humble reply?

I have been transitioning from Myspace to Facebook and WordPress for the past few months. I flirted with Twitter but the mobile interface sucks ass. And I have to admit, when one tries to microblog, the result is never good; even with the genius I possess. 

I am not quite sure when Myspace got old. I liked that I was able to have one location for blogs, video links and photos. But as time wore on there was a marked decrease in activity in both items posted by my friends and ‘friends’ as well as my output. Part of this was my losing interest in producing anything because of a feedback lack, I wasn’t looking for approval but I did want suggestions – critiques of my writing as well as topic suggestions. 

I eventually realized that even if I couldn’t write or if the videos blew, people still looked. I figured, “Hey, I have their attention, maybe I should try to keep it toward some end…” But the end never came. I just had an online box full of peoples’ public lives like so many ideas, notions and reasons that fill garages, junk drawers and closets. This had become just more clutter in my virtual life. 

On November 30th, 2008, I wrote a blog on Myspace entilted: webdesign for the scrapbook set and after that the logins got far and few between. 

I had set up a Facebook account over the summer and never really logged into it, instead using it to send people to Myspace. But as I began to use Facebook more, it felt like a better fit as it is geared toward individual networking as opposed to a community; the exact opposite of Myspace.

I found a ton of people that never appeared in any Google search (or Yahoo search back in the day) let alone Myspace search and I really noticed a lot of activity, carrying on multiple conversations that other people can get in on appeals to me. 

I set up my wordpress account on December 16, 2008 and reposted about 19 of my blogs that originally appeared on myspace.com/falafelandhamas. I added the url to my about me at Facebook and while I do not get nearly the traffic I did for a Myspace blog, I really cannot say I care. I’ll readily admit that a lot of Myspace is about trying to get stuff out there to see what might come out of it, no different than publishing a zine back in the day to get action from Factsheet5 and MRR reviews. But now, it is way too easy and there is way too much out there. 

I choose meaningful conversation and relationships to some drive for something more.

Fuck it – I’ll be 37 in February. It ain’t gonna happen.