This is a question I get often and as it is a key element, and a designed limitation to the AbridgeMe platform, it certainly warrants an explanation. So here it goes…
When our team set out to develop AbridgeMe at the beginning of 2014, our vision was clear in wanting to create the ‘go-to’ resource for finding a quick, opinion-free, “elevator pitch” style summary on any topic.
Our own frustrations with the existing resources and their lack of concise explanations motivated us to develop and build a community where contributors were challenged to write concisely and learners were guaranteed to get up to speed quickly.
The keyword that continued to define our vision being, quick.
While quick is a somewhat subjective term and can take many forms, for us the definition was simple — we were looking for the convergence of two key elements:
What we found from a knowledge seeker standpoint (and this probably isn’t earth shattering news to anyone), was that the shorter the explanation provided to them, and therefore the quicker they were able to get up to speed on a topic, the better. They also noted that their time was an incredibly valuable resource and if we could free up more of it (by delivering concise explanations), they were 100% on board.
When presented two well-explained summaries on a given topic, they almost always preferred the shorter explanation.
Fact: 8 seconds = current human attention span
With knowledge seekers looking to get up to speed as quick as possible, this left much of the leg work to those delivering the content — the contributors. We saw some incredibly good writers that had the unique ability to explain both straightforward (think September 11th Attacks) and somewhat complex topics (think Arab Spring) very simply and get people up to speed in often times under 75 words.
For those writers who either did not have the skill of short, articulate, explanation or more importantly did not have a good understanding themselves on the topic being explained, their explanations tended to drag on and on (200+ words) — this was something knowledge seekers could not stand. Get. To. The. Point. They’d stress. A response that certainly falls in line with the 8 second attentions spans noted in the fact above.
The challenge of course also revolves around the complexity of the topic at hand. This is why we ultimately decided to broaden the length to 100 words — roughly 4 to 5 sentences on average. Take for example String Theory, an incredibly complex Physics concept that is certainly very difficult to explain in 100 words or less. What this does (and is a by-product we intended to create) is for these highly complex type topics, it really requires somebody with deep subject matter expertise to explain it in a concise, yet informative enough way for knowledge seekers to understand.
Our goal all along has been to attract the world’s leading experts in these more complex fields to contribute their simple explanations and help the world understand them…Neil deGrasse Tyson if you’re reading this please reach out, String Theory is all yours.
While we certainly wouldn't disagree that our 100 word constraint is a bit more of an art than a science, we do truly hope to make the world a more knowledgeable place by bringing together those with the ability to deliver concise explanations and the millions of people around the world looking to maximize their free time and get up to speed quickly on any topic.
Sports figures are treated like celebrities, and even ‘gods’, for their greatness. Though with all of the attention they receive for their successes, it is perhaps just a fraction of the amount of hype and scrutiny they get for their faults.
The New England Patriots’ “Deflategate” scandal became the most recent controversy in a long, long history of sports scandals, prompting us to rank out our top 10 sports scandals of all-time.
While many of the events on our list didn't occur during the social media era, which arguably makes the scrutiny even worse, rest assured that these missteps had a profound negative impact on their careers, image, and wallets.
So without further ado, here is AbridgeMe’s top 10 sports scandals…
10. Pete Rose Banned from Baseball
Despite being the all-time leader in hits in Major League Baseball history, Pete Rose is currently not a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
In 1989 Rose was banished from the game for betting on the results of games around the league, including on his own Reds. Rose denied the allegations until 2004 when he finally admitted placing bets on the outcomes of games, but claims he never bet against the team he was managing.
9. Jerry Sandusky Child Sex Abuse
In 2011, it became public knowledge that at least eight boys had been molested by Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky and that several prominent members of the Penn State staff had covered up previous incidents of abuse in order to keep the scandal from breaking.
Sandusky was later convicted on October 9, 2012, of 45 criminal counts of sexually abusing boys and was sentenced to 30–60 years in prison.
8. Black Sox Scandal
During the 1919 World Series, eight players for the Chicago White Sox were caught losing games on purpose for the exchange of money.
As a result of the scandal, all of the players on the White Sox were banned from the game for life (though were acquitted of any charges in court). The White Sox fittingly lost the series to the Reds.
7. Reggie Bush NCAA Sanctions
Prior to the 2006 NFL Draft, reports surfaced over whether Reggie Bush and his family had received gifts from the University of Southern California in violation of NCAA rules, which Bush denied.
Sports agent Lloyd Lake sued Bush and his family for not paying back $290,000 in gifts and cooperated with the NCAA during their own investigation. In June 2010, the NCAA announced sanctions against the university that included taking away their 2004–2005 championship trophy, and vacating all wins during that season.
Bush later voluntarily decided to forfeit his title as Heisman winner of 2005.
6. Kobe Bryant Rape Case
In the summer of 2003, Kobe Bryant was arrested by police officers of Eagle, Colorado while investigating a complaint filed by 19-year old hotel employee.
On June 30th, 2003, Bryant had checked into The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera prior to having knee surgery in Vail, Colorado. The alleged assault occurred the night before Bryant’s surgery. Bryant admitted to participating in adulterous acts, but insisted that the act was consensual and that no assault occurred.
The suit was settled out of court and Bryant’s image took a huge hit as he lost millions of dollars from former sponsors.
The Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, better know as BALCO, was an American company founded by Victor Conte. In 2003, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of California began investigating BALCO after U.S. sprint coach Trevor Graham anonymously sent a syringe containing the BALCO designer steroid Tetrahydrogestrinone to the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
After a seizure of BALCO facilities, officers found a list of athletes along with their dosage plans. Among the famous athletes on the list were: Barry Bonds, Bill Romanowski, Shane Mosley, and many others.
4. Tim Donaghy, the “Rogue Official”
On July 20, 2007, it was reported by the New York Post that the FBI had begun an investigation on NBA referees who were betting on the outcomes of the games they were officiating. As part of the investigation, referee Tim Donaghy was found to had placed thousands of dollars on games he called between 2005–2007.
The accusation sent shock waves through the NBA as fans were now unsure if the league was legitimate or not. As a result of his acts, Donaghy was sentenced to fifteen months in prison.
3. Michael Vick Dog Fighting
In April 2007, police searched the home of NFL quarterback Michael Vick and found evidence that Vick was deeply involved in a dog-fighting ring.
Vick’s initial response to the claims was that although he was the owner of the property where the fights were taking place, he rarely was present at the house and it was the activity of his family members.
Vick was suspended by the NFL and was ordered to pay back money to his former team, the Atlanta Falcons. He served 23 months in federal prison.
2. Tiger Woods Crashes
On November 27, 2009, Tiger Woods crashed his SVU into the curb, smashing into a fire hydrant. After intense media speculation over the events leading up to the crash, Woods insisted that it was a “private matter” and credited his wife for assisting him during the accident.
Shortly after, US Weekly released a voice mail message left by Woods to one of his mistresses. After the report, several women came forward publically that they were romantically involved with Woods.
Woods lost approximately $10 billion as a result of the incident. Woods and Elin Nordegren divorced on August 23, 2010.
1. Lance Armstrong Doping
Lance Armstrong’s abuse of performing enhancing drugs (PED’s) ultimately cost him his seven Tour De France titles. Prior to Armstrong admitting to his usage of PED’s he was subjected to allegations for most of his cycling career.
In June 2013, the US Anti-Doping Agency accused Armstrong of trafficking drugs as well as pressuring fellow riders to take them. Armstrong finally admitted taking PED’s in an interview with Oprah Winfey in 2013.
As a result, many of Armstrong’s sponsors dropped him - causing an estimated $75 million loss in just one day.
Honorable Mention. Mike Tyson Ear Bite
On June 28th, 1997, a boxing match took place between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, for the second time. Holyfield defeated Tyson in the first match up on November 9th, 1996.
The bout was stopped in the 3rd round after Tyson repeatedly bit both Holyfield’s ears and was disqualified as a result. Some of the bites were damaging enough to rip parts of Holyfield’s ear off.
Tyson was fined $3 million and his boxing license was stripped away from him (which was later restored on October 18th, 1998).
Bonus balls. Just missed the cut.
SMU Football’s Death Penalty
Donald Sterling Banned From NBA
Duke Lacrosse Case
Pine Tar Incident
Manti Te’o Catfished
Want more? Check out #SportsScandals. Thanks to Ted Weinberg for his contributions to the AbridgeMe knowledge platform.
To get this sports knowledge (and much more) on demand, check out AbridgeMe Mobile on the App Store!
As 2014 comes to a close, the AbridgeMe editorial team has put together our list of the 10 most discussed topics of the year…in AbridgeMe style:
100 Words or Less + Opinion-free.
We hope you and your family have a Happy New Year and that you continue to be a part of ours in 2015 as we aim to be the ‘go-to’ resource for quick, fact-based, explanations on any topic. Enjoy!
What began with just a few cases in Guinea became (and continues to be) the deadliest outbreak of Ebola on record. The virus spread rapidly throughout West Africa, with almost 20,000 confirmed cases that claimed more than 7,500 lives.
The first person in the U.S. to be diagnosed with the disease, Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian citizen, died on October 8th in Dallas, TX. Two nurses who treated Duncan (Nina Pham and Amber Vinson) were also diagnosed with the disease and eventually released disease-free. Duncan’s death raised alarming concerns about the capacity of U.S. hospitals to effectively treat the disease.
Related: Ebola Fighters Named TIME Person of the Year
Michael Brown Shooting/Ferguson
Michael Brown was shot by police on August 9th in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown, an 18-year-old African-American male with no criminal record, was killed after being shot multiple times by a Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson. After a grand jury’s investigation into the shooting, on November 24th they decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson. Wilson resigned from the police force five days later.
Racial tensions erupted as protesters clashed with police for weeks after the shooting with the violence escalating again after the grand jury voted not to indict Wilson. View on AbridgeMe.com
It was a vicious year in Iraq and Syria, as the terrorist group referring to itself as the Islamic State, or ISIS, gained serious momentum as they captured territory throughout the region, while killing thousands. The group, led by Bakr al-Baghdadi, posted multiple barbaric videos online of beheadings (including two of American journalists).
On October 15th, the United States Government officially named its military involvement against ISIS in Syria and Iraq “Operation Inherent Resolve”. According to U.S leaders, the mission intends to reflect the deep commitment of the U.S. and partner nations to eliminate the terrorist group. View on AbridgeMe.com
The ongoing conflict in Ukraine began with massive protests in early 2014, which toppled the government of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. The protesters demanded closer EU ties, while Yanukovych had just signed a controversial new agreement with Russia. In response, Russian forces occupied and annexed the Crimean Peninsula, while pro-Russian separatists seized large portions of eastern Ukraine.
On December 18th, President Obama signed the Ukraine Freedom Support Act into law which aimed to deprive certain Russian state firms from Western financing and technology while also providing up to $350 million in military aid to Ukraine as it resists pro-Russia rebels. View on AbridgeMe.com
Children at the Border Crisis
The surge of unaccompanied children from Central America (mainly Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala) seeking entrance into the United States reached crisis level proportions throughout 2014 with tens of thousands of children crossing the US-Mexico border. Many of the kids had no parent/legal guardian available to provide care or physical custody and quickly overwhelmed local border patrols.
As there is no pre-existing legal or social structure to respond to the crisis, lawmakers are forced to seek new solutions to address the immigration issue — an area that will likely continue be a point of contention in U.S. politics. View on AbridgeMe.com
U.S. Midterm Elections
On November 4th, millions of Americans hit the polls to elect 36 senators, 36 governors and all 435 members of the House of Representatives. Republicans gained the needed 6 seats in the Senate in order to control the 100-member chamber (marking the first time since the 2006 election).
Capturing the Senate gives Republicans complete control of both chambers of Congress — representing a major political shift and potentially complicating President Obama’s last two years in office. This result will give the GOP more leverage in trying to set the nation’s political agenda leading up to the 2016 presidential election. View on AbridgeMe.com
Malaysia Airlines Flights MH370 & MH17
Flight 370, carrying 239 passengers and crew, disappeared during a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8th. After a several months-long air and sea hunt, searchers have failed to turn up any sign of the missing aircraft as the cause still remains a mystery. View on AbridgeMe.com
Just four months later, on July 17th, another Malaysia Airlines plane, Flight 17, carrying 298 people, was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing all passengers aboard. Ukraine and U.S. officials blamed separatist fighters backed by Russia for downing the aircraft. View on AbridgeMe.com
Ray Rice Domestic Violence Scandal
On February 15th, NFL running back Ray Rice and then-fiancee Janay Palmer were arrested for assault in Atlantic City, NJ. The website TMZ first revealed the graphic footage of Rice dragging an unconscious Palmer out of a casino elevator. Rice was indicted with third-degree assault on March 27th. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Rice two games for the incident — a move that was strongly questioned.
On September 8th, TMZ released additional footage of Rice assaulting Palmer, which resulted in him being suspended from the NFL indefinitely. Rice was reinstated into the NFL on November 28th after winning his appeal. View on AbridgeMe.com
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Between June and September of 2014, people around the globe shared more than 17 million Ice Bucket Challenge videos on Facebook to raise awareness for ALS, commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The movement of dumping a bucket of ice-cold water over your head to raise awareness for the disease went viral around the world with people, celebrities, athletes, and politicians posting videos of themselves online and on TV participating in the event. According to alsa.org, the movement was a tremendous success as it not only raised awareness, but also received $115 million in donations to fight the disease. View on AbridgeMe.com
What is ALS? Get up to speed here
Sony Pictures Hacked
When Sony Pictures employees signed into their company’s network on November 24th they were greeted with an image of a skeleton and a message that said, “Hacked by #GOP” (GOP referring to “Guardians of Peace”). Along with leaking of multiple unreleased films online, the hackers allegedly stole more than 25 gigabytes of sensitive data on tens of thousands of Sony employees, including Social Security numbers, medical and salary information. The FBI announced (on Dec. 19th) that North Korea was behind the attack as a way to retaliate against the movie “The Interview”, a film about assassinating Kim Jong-Un. View on AbridgeMe.com
…And a few more topics that shaped 2014:
Donald Sterling Banned from NBA
South Korean Ferry Disaster
Malala Yousafzai Becomes Youngest Nobel Prize Winner
Adrian Peterson Child Abuse Scandal
Hong Kong Protests, Umbrella Movement
For those of you like me that have trouble keeping straight the different red wine varieties out there (especially after a few glasses), AbridgeMe contributor, and resident sommelier (wine expert for the layman), Art Tongkao-on explains the most popular reds and what to pair with them, in AbridgeMe style.
He’ll walk you through from the lightest to the boldest, getting you quickly up to speed and ready for the next time your rolling down the wine aisles of Trader Joe’s.
Note: If you’re forgetful, or drunk while reading this, you may want to download AbridgeMe Mobile on the App Store and get this wine knowledge (and much more) on demand.
Pinot Noir is the prized red wine grape of Burgundy, France (where it was exclusively grown for years) that has now been adopted in wine regions all over the world including: Germany, Italy, Chile, South Africa, Australia, California, Oregon and New Zealand. The skin of the Pinot Noir grape is thin, making it rather difficult for wine production.
The taste profile of Pinot is light to medium body with a fragrance resembling black cherry, raspberry, or plum.
The smooth, easy to drink nature of Pinot Noir allows it to pair well with white meats like fish, veal, pork and chicken.
Merlot, a thinner-skinned dark blue grape, has its origins in the Bordeaux region of France. Used as both a blending agent (mainly in Cabernet Sauvignon and Cab Franc) and a standalone variety, Merlot grapes can withstand strong heat, allowing them to grow successfully around the world.
Typical flavors of this medium-bodied wine include plum, cherry, blackberry, spice, and raspberry.
With easy tannins and a considerably soft/smooth finish, Merlot pairs well with grilled meats, meaty fish (salmon/tuna), and more bitter flavors like fennel, eggplant, broccoli, raw onions, garlic.
Cabernet Franc is a black, thin-skinned, French wine grape common to the Bordeaux region of France, though now grown throughout the world. It is predominately grown to be a blending agent with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in the Bordeaux style, but is also used as a sole wine grape.
A lighter and less acidic wine than its cousin Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc presents flavors of bell pepper, violet, raspberry, cherry, and cedar.
With fine tannins, peppery accents and a medium body, Cab Franc pairs well with roasted chicken, pork, roasted or grilled, beef, lamb, veal and cheese.
Malbec has its origins in the French Bordeaux region, though today Argentina leads production with over 75% of all the acres of Malbec in the world. The Malbec grape is bold, yet thin-skinned, which requires a substantial amount of sun and heat to mature.
Typical flavors of this full-bodied wine include: Black cherry, Spice, Pomegranate, Plum, Raspberry, Blackberry, Blueberry.
Possessing medium levels of tannins and acidity, the easy to drink nature of Malbec makes it pair well with beef, veal, chicken, pork, sausage, braised or stewed dishes, spicy cuisine, cured meats and dry cheeses.
Zinfandel is a black-skinned grape that has its roots in the vineyards of California. While all the other major wine varieties are tied historically to Europe, Zinfandel established its own tradition in California and has become known as America’s “Heritage” wine.
Though considered a lighter-bodied red wine, Zin’s high acidity levels and moderate tannin’s deliver a more bold taste with notes of cherry, plum, raspberry, blueberry and black pepper.
Considered one of the sweeter red wines, Zinfandel pairs well with grilled meats (including pork, beef, lamb, and venison), pizza, and pasta.
Cabernet Sauvignon, often referred to as “the king of red grapes”, is considered by many to be the most important grape variety due to its ability to grow worldwide in a wide range of climates and regions (including France, Italy, Chile, California, South Africa and Spain).
The taste profile of Cab tends to be full-bodied wines with high tannins (a natural preservative), a noticeable acidity, and dark fruit flavors and savory tastes from black pepper to bell pepper.
The classic pairing with Cabernet is lamb, though it goes well with almost any meat — pork, beef, venison, even rabbit.
Syrah, also known as Shiraz in Australia, is responsible for some of the darkest, most full-bodied red wines in the world. While Syrah grapes are planted all over the world, more Syrah is planted in France, than in any other country. The Syrah grape itself is thick-skinned and very dark (almost black).
Typical flavors include blackberries, black cherries, flowers, plums, spice, chocolate, licorice, blueberry, pepper and truffles.
This full-bodied wine pairs well with all types of grilled, roasted or smoked meat dishes like; duck, beef, veal, sausage and chicken dishes.
Referred to as “the king of wines, the wine of kings”, Barolo is considered one of Italy’s finest red wines. It is produced entirely from Nebbiolo grapes that are grown on the hills in Northern Italy (in the Piedmont Region).
Delivering an infamous ‘tar and roses’ aroma, Barolo offers full flavors, a bright ruby color, firm tannins, and high levels of acidity/alcohol.
Barolo pairs well with dishes that have strong flavors including traditional Italian meals, beef, lamb, veal, and venison.
Want to learn more? Check out other wines explained on AbridgeMe here!
This was a guest blog post on the was originally posted on Prsuit.com. You can find the post here
Similar to many entrepreneurs/aspiring entrepreneurs, I often dream up what I think is a “game changing” business idea.....Google it....then disappointingly find out that there are 10-plus variations of what I just thought of already in the market - many of which have taken my “genius” idea and gone even further with it than I could ever conceptualize. This falls in line with the phrase, “There’s an app for that!”, because more than likely there probably already is. Though, at the beginning of this year something different happened.
I was unassumingly searching online for a brief, unbiased explanation of a fairly complex topic to email to my girlfriend so she could better understand what I did at work – perhaps putting some context to my longer hours at the time. You see, I worked in Finance Technology, she was in Nursing, and explaining the complicated financial regulatory overhaul “Dodd-Frank” easily and effectively was becoming rather difficult. To my dismay regarding this ‘simple’ online task, I found nothing - all of the resources out there had their problems: biased content, lengthy articles, inaccurate information, advertising overload, etc. none had delivered a well-written, concise, fact-based explanation for anyone to easily comprehend (here’s the Wikipedia page for reference).
It was this lack of clear cut and concise explanations, and the hope to solve that problem, that ultimately led me to create the AbridgeME knowledge platform. My entire career leading up to this point revolved around solving complex problems and delivering technological and operational solutions. This problem however was a bit different (in a good way!), it was neither complex nor highly technical…the solution was simple, build a user generated content platform that the world’s professional and amateur writers alike can explain subjects related to their own expertise in always in 100 words or less. The constraint of 100 words fell in line with the famous Einstein quote “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” – which I believe is a key concept in learning and life in general.
While I really thought I had a great business idea on my hands, I needed to validate it with the general population (that would utilize AbridgeME to get up to speed on topics) as well as experts and writers that would contribute to the knowledge base of the platform. So what I did was quickly develop a basic landing website that explained the overall premise and had a way for visitors to sign up, send comments, and learn more about the to be developed platform. I also posted this simple infographic which provided a visual explanation of my goals with AbridgeME.
The feedback I got was highly positive; I was receiving comments and support from all around the world to build this type of resource. One piece of feedback, coming in all the way from Eastern Europe, really resonated with me as I had not even thought about how AbridgeME could be beneficial in this way:
“What a wonderful idea! AbridgeME will be especially helpful to people whom English is their 2nd or 3rd language!”
With the idea validated, it was time to bring AbridgeME to life. While I had a background in consulting and product development, I myself was not an expert programmer. My vision was to develop the crowdsourced website as well as a simple iOS app where users could quickly reference any explanations in the website’s database. I briefly shopped the concept of AbridgeME around to outside investors, but ultimately decided to fund the initial project myself and not waste time on the investor circuit. With myself leading the vision and product design, I was confident a contracted development team could bring AbridgeME to fruition.
With any side-project, especially one of this size, I knew this would mean late night and early morning working sessions to balance both my “real job” and developing the AbridgeME platform. This was a bit of a challenge at first, but I eventually changed around my routine (both at night and in the morning) to devote uninterrupted/focused time to the project – I believe this is key for anyone attempting to build a company while working a full-time job.
As we kicked off the development process, I also began actively reaching out to subject matter experts in various areas to get them to start helping build the initial knowledge base of AbridgeME. What I did not want to happen was to spend 6+ months developing a product, bring it to market, and there is no useful content available for users to take in. I got pretty bold and reached out to everyone from Steven Hawking (did speak with his protégé) to Neil Degrasse Tyson (no response :/). In the end, I was able to bring on some awesome writers from across the globe and am excited to say that we launched our open beta last month with over 500 topics summarized and ready to access. Most notably we had the world’s leading expert on Child Welfare at UPenn contribute her explanations on the Impact of the Sandusky Scandal and the current Child Migrant Crisis.
Within one week of our beta launch, we were covered by both Betalist and Erlibird – two of the most coveted technology early adopter websites. This was great in getting initial users to the platform to test and provide actionable feedback on the sites functionality and layout. Additionally, I had been in contact with my alma mater, Texas Tech University, and they wrote a great piece that explained my vision and goals with AbridgeME. The positive early press was another important validation and also helped greatly in driving both general site visitors and bringing on new contributing writers.
Where we stand now – just 1 month into the launch of AbridgeME.com - the AbridgeME story is still in its infancy. Other than continuing to actively develop our technology, our big challenge/push right now is reaching out to experts across the globe in various fields and getting them excited to contribute their knowledge to the platform.
I truly believe over time AbridgeME will become the household name for delivering quick, fact-based explanations on any topic. At the very least, I know the next person trying to explain Dodd-Frank to his girlfriend won’t have the original dilemma I had...
I have learned quite a bit in my professional career since graduating from college, but the last 6 months developing AbridgeME has taught me more about myself and my mindset to succeed than all of that time combined. Entrepreneurship requires a level of focus, ambition, and resourcefulness that a 9-5 job just does not bring to the table. I am excited as to what the future holds for AbridgeME, but am enjoying every step of the journey as I know each hiccup and road block I encounter is just part of growing into a successful Entrepreneur.