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Yes, you make good points, and I like your perspective on Mark Arnold.

I don't think how I define "advance" is what's pertinent. How the 7 define it is. And I suspect their definition centers more on placement than anything else, followed by financial stability, followed by creating, developing, and presenting new ways to spread access to the activity.

But I don't know for sure because, ######, THEY DON'T TELL US!

So, if each corps was asked in the meeting to stand up and verbally demonstrate what they each has done to "advance" the activity, in their own descriptions, what would they say?

With all due respect for advancing the activity. IMO the BoD currently needs to take more of a look at helping the activity survive. And survival of the activity includes more than 7 DCI corps. I'm concerned we'll be patting ourselves on the back on how far the activity has advanced and end up with a lot less corps to show it.

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The 990's clearly show that some corps seem perfectly comfortable doing the same things, with the same money, no growth, no advancement in placement for years on end.

Regarding "advancement in placement"....the G7 haven't advanced in competitive placement lately either.

Placement is largely a zero-sum game....you only advance at another corps' expense. So I sure hope some corps can tolerate being on either side of that equation.

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A discussion with a friend today made me step back and reflect on this thread and the week that has passed since the email came out.

As I look back over my own very passionate posts, the positions I've taken, the jabs I've freely thrown, I have to wonder...

What have we accomplished here? What positive contributions have we made that would prompt anyone to pay attention?

Worse, what negative commentary have we presented that, again, reinforces the perception that DCP is a snakepit?

Have we really contributed in a positivie, constructive way to the discourse surrounding this issue?

As we stand around with our pitchforks, looking at each other, I have to ask...

What have we accomplished here that counts towards a positive solution that keeps the activity together, united, and strong?

We have about a week before what will be, likely, the most important Janual meeting in DCI's history, second only to the original one.

Now that we all have our anger, disgust, resentment, resignation, and reactions aired like so much dirty laundry isn't it time we put our collective heads together to advance some positive solutions to keeping the activity from splintering?

I'm guilty, I admit it. But I'll help advance the positive side of our collective passion.

Will you?

I'm absolutely all for positive...

What DCI and several corps are currently experiencing are simply the effects of hanging on to a business model and structure much longer than feasible. They simply have not adapted and diversified at points in the past and are now suddenly feeling the hurt (sort of like the guy who doesn't stay on top of his health... adjusting his behavior as his body changes with age... and finally goes to the doctor once he's had a heart attack).

These are the facts. Indisputable. This is the real root of the problem.

It is said that definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting a different result. As such, to not try something different here, to not explore other possibilities would be insane.

So, what could be the solution here? Something MUST change... but, what? How? When?

As I have expressed in other posts here and there, one of the main flaws in the current structure of DCI is that it is monolithic, a solid slab where everything is connected, all is interdependent. This is as dangerous as it is ineffective.

The first real place to start here is how to thoughtfully separate various components of DCI operations to where they are interrelated, but not interdependent.

In short, DCI, as both a corporation and a concept, must become more flexible. To do this, it must be structured in a way that is much more adaptive, more distributed and become more agile in decision making and planning processes..

Starting with the very premise of operations. DCI, as corporation, seems to be operating in a structure and with processes that do not take full advantage of technologies and approaches (everything that can effectively be outsourced should be... it is rarely cheaper to do a diverse range of activities in house) that could allow it to be much more lean.

DCI should be primarily a virtual and distributed company. DCI should not hold or process any physical inventory of ANYTHING. This makes no sense, and is much more expensive than on demand production/fulfillment centers.

Again, thinking should be shifted from the cost of a production of inventory to the actual cost of sitting on inventory. While holding inventory from production runs improves margins, it ties up cash unnecessarily or causes need for a burden of credit. This cash freed up or eased burden of credit could allow more flexibility to invest in new revenue streams, increasing diversity, decreasing vulnerability.

The first step here, DCI needs to immediately, as in now, cease producing merchandise and stop producing DVD's. Distribution of content must become 100% digital.

Back in the late 90's, I put together a project "Crazy Dan's DCI Basement Blowout". The point was to move all of the inventory that DCI had been sitting on for years. We were clearing this stuff out, loads of this stuff.... for cents on the dollar of the original cost. Yet, DCI, had the production costs, warehousing costs, and depreciation in value of the stuff they had been sitting on for years. Not only was this cash tied up, it was cash that decreased in value. This is an important point, as the amount of money that was lost due to this, combined with opportunity cost of tying up cash (what other revenue streams could have been created with this money?) truly was crazy.

It makes ZERO sense for a non-profit organization to hold inventory, as held/unsold inventory just decreases in value. A for-profit entity has various options to buffer or mitigate these decreases in value through various write downs. What I am getting at is that the actual vehicles that take in cash, other than donations, should be for profit entities to be able to have greater flexibility, particularly in the case of loss.

What should be considered is a split of activities, with a non-profit parent holding for-profit subsidiaries. Depending on the type of activity, an LLC held by the non-profit parent would also be tax exempt as LLC's are pass-through entities.

Hybrid Organizations: Not-For-Profit Organizations and Limited Liability Companies

My solution...

DCI parent organization remains the same (non-profit, same management team, etc.)

DCI establishes for-profit, subsidiaries... LLC for various activities (events, media, etc.), which are governed separate management and board of directors.

This breaking up of parts could also potentially solve the current crisis of governance in a more reasonable way.

Finally, DCI and individual corps need to stop pretending there is actually enough money in the drum corps activity to support really much of anything at all. Rather than fighting over this, there should be an aggressive and cooperative effort to create MANY NEW revenue streams that are entirely unconnected to the marching music activity or audience.

Edited by danielray
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I respect Surf, and Pacific Crest, and Mandarins. I think they each have demonstrated qualities of improvement - financially, show production-wise, fan-friendly, quietly growing their asset strength if even in the shadows. I respect Cascades for their determination to save an old, respected brand. I respect Oregon Crusaders for their willingness, in the face of a marginal balance sheet, to leap into WC.

But let's stand in the G7's shoes. Pio has done a good job of surviving, but what have they done to advance the activity? What about Blue Knights? Colts? All the others? Are they advancing the activity or are they better characterized as "marking time"?

For starters, you know that South African Field Band Foundation that BD staff visited this past fall? Pioneer has been supporting it for 15 years, sending staff there to teach or judge, and bringing kids halfway around the world to experience marching with a world-class corps.

BK and Colts do great things too....but rather than preach to the choir here, let me get back to your request for positive ideas. How about a mechanism to incentivize corps to do these things that promote the activity? Identify agenda items that promote growth in DCI's business plan, whatever they may be (hosting events, staging clinics to support DCI events, international outreach, traveling out of the way to fill a strategic need like the Western tour, etc.), and use the revenue sharing formula to reward those behaviors. Instead of paying corps for where they placed 37 years ago, pay them for what they do for DCI now.

Edited by audiodb
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I think part of the problem of DCP being perceived as a "snakepit" is that DCI have offered fans no official way to voice their opinions. There's no forum on the DCI website. Fans don't have a voice in any of the governance of the activity. The only survey I ever got from them was about DVD's and other formats for owning finals recordings. Given I don't buy finals recordings--and they didn't ask me why--I wasn't much help.

Granted, I don't think a similar forum on DCI.org would be any better, but at least we would feel our opinions are of interest.

Dci.org tried having comments once. They didn't care for how it turned out and got rid of it pretty quickly. Folks with lots of experience have offered to assist them before, but for whatever reason, they aren't interested. My personal opinion - I think they're satisfied right now with DCP filling this niche.

Mike

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Dci.org tried having comments once. They didn't care for how it turned out and got rid of it pretty quickly. Folks with lots of experience have offered to assist them before, but for whatever reason, they aren't interested. My personal opinion - I think they're satisfied right now with DCP filling this niche.

Mike

I remember those comment feeds. Didn't they enable that around the time when amplification was new and they added more electronics? Of course they wouldn't like it.

ESPN, MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA obviously don't care what people say on their comments, lol.

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It's obvious Hop in particular is frustrated with the lack of "advancement" in drum corps, but the only demand we have on the table is control of DCI based on placement. Unless we see some real visions for how to sustain and grow DCI on the table, all we can talk about is what we've heard. I'll pull a Jeff and hope that DCI doesn't turn its future over to the folks who led it into its current state.

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There is nothing we can say or do here to solve the issues. It's going to have to come from the directors of the DCI corps themselves.

They are probably discussing this as we speak. Somebody is going to ultimately be the goat in all this dialogue they'll be undertaking.

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Dci.org tried having comments once. They didn't care for how it turned out and got rid of it pretty quickly. Folks with lots of experience have offered to assist them before, but for whatever reason, they aren't interested. My personal opinion - I think they're satisfied right now with DCP filling this niche.

I personally find DCP to be a quite valuable resource and a great service to the activity. There's no need for DCI to reinvent that particular wheel, or to try to change spokes on it while it's moving.

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If the middle of the pack corps are fiscally prudent, dependable, and get kids on the field, aren't they advancing the activity, as opposed to overextending themselves for a shot at the top and disappearing. There has to be something honorable about participating for the sake of participating. And they should not be made out to be a burden on the G7

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