The Tim Tebow Hype and Money Lessons

At any point in time, there are usually a few people, products, or just topics in general that simply generate a ton of buzz.  Lately, there has been a lot of hype over Tim Tebow, who you may know is a pro football quarterback who has been mentioned in the media quite a bit.  This is a celebrity who seems to generate opinions and commentary from many fans and media, regardless of their views.  As a personal finance enthusiast, I’ve managed to see this “Tebowmania” phenomenon and pull out a few personal finance lessons!

First off, this post isn’t about any kind of judgement on Tebow, or those who either like the hype or don’t like the hype. That’s outside the scope of personal finance and this blog. So, I won’t go there.  Rather, what caught my attention – and what I’ll discuss below – are 2 money lessons that I think we can take from the Tebow hype.

Where there’s hype, there’s opportunity

This came to mind as I just happened to randomly come across a link to a story on Deadspin, which was about someone’s attempt to make some money off Tebowmania.  Apparently, an ad was placed on Craigslist that offered for sale a set of 4 envelopes that were postmarked on the day Tebow was born – August 14, 1987. These envelopes seemingly have no actual direct connection with Tebow, other than having a postmark sharing that particular date.  The way it was described, one had a Florida postmark, another was West German, another Dutch, and the final one was from the U.K.  Again, they aren’t specific to the athlete – just postmarks from that particular date.

According to the article, the asking price was $90.

As I saw that, I thought “hey – that’s a real entrepreneurial, opportunistic move!”

Clearly, there’s hype, and it’s built up to the point where there’s a market for stuff like this. We’ve seen stuff like this before with products – beanie babies come to mind.  Random stuffed animals were sold for astronomical figures and become “collector’s items” to many people. This happened with Cabbage Patch dolls many years ago too. We’ve also seen this with tech stocks in the late 90’s, and real estate in the early 2000’s.  Some things just get red hot in popularity at certain times.

This reminds me of a story I read (or heard) a few years back, when gas prices shot up and people were concerned about prices potentially going up to astronomical levels. This increased interest in hybrid cars, and at that time where the buzz was around gas prices, some people were actually reselling used hybrids for a profit. That goes against conventional practices with cars, as they usually depreciate with use – and can do so quite quickly. But in that time of hype, some people capitalized by using these cars for a while and then selling them for more later. Pretty nifty, right?

If you ride the wave, you can profit from the hype!  The hype may not be long-lived, and items may end up crashing in value and popularity quite suddenly.  The wave doesn’t continue forever. However, while momentum picks up in the early to mid stages of it, you can jump on board and opportunistically make money!

The lesson: watch what’s trending, hustle, and you might find quick opportunistic money making situations!

Being Polite has high ROI

One thing I’ve noticed about Tebowmania is that no matter what people think of him, no matter how polarizing he might be, most people seem to acknowledge that he come across as being polite and well-mannered. He’s not foul-mouthed, surly, or getting in trouble like some other celebrities. That alone just has to help with popularity, right? There are other talented athletes out there who have been successful in their profession for years, but don’t seem to get this type of attention.  Taking this to fan attention, just look at the example I provided above on postmarked items that were reportedly per that story being hawked for $90.

The lesson: if you’re likable, you open more opportunities than if you aren’t likeable. Being pleasant and personable doesn’t cost much, but can offer good rewards for minimal investment. So, why not be pleasant!

My Questions for You:

Have you ever taken advantage of any hype or buzz, and profited from it? This could include collectibles, real estate, or just about anything that was riding a wave of great popularity at any point in time.

Do you also agree that just being likeable can open up many more opportunities for a person exhibiting that characteristic? Do you see it as a high ROI action that most of us could take?

 

Comments

  1. says

    A couple of days after I heard of “Tebowing” I looked to see if the domain was available but it was already gone. The site looks to be pretty popular. Whoever set it up knew how to take advantage of the hype.

  2. Squirrelers says

    krantcents – I agree. Best to do such things naturally. I think that’s why people like celebrities such as Tebow who really do appear to be genuine and likeable people, and natural.

  3. says

    That’s hilarious about the envelopes for sale but a smart move. I’m sure somebody out there will buy them! I really don’t have anything worth selling so I haven’t been able to earn extra dough creatively like the envelope guy. -Sydney

  4. says

    Of course following a trend too long will cost you. My son found this out recently when he tried to sell his old Pokemon cards on ebay. Too late. A life lesson.

    I think being a genuine person is attractive and being a decent person is valued in this world where corruption is all too common. I suppose some people made money from “Winning” and other Charlie Sheen-isms. You can’t say he was a nice person, and he lost quite a few of his longtime fans when he got too extreme.

  5. says

    About the best thing that can be said about any celebrity is the observation that “he’s a nice guy (or gal)”. That gets a lot of mileage and likeability points. Being surly and hard to work, or batsh!t crazy, detracts and leaves only talent, which only carries so far.

  6. says

    I jumped into pogs and scooters way after the hype. Always the last one to the party. As for the Tebow mania, reminds me of Charlie Sheen and people selling Winning and Tiger’s Blood stuff. Being nice does payoff because your network continues to grow.

    • Squirrelers says

      Buck – well, if you were late to the party on a few things it’s ok. That’s probably the case with many of us. Just a matter of getting adept and recognizing trends, perhaps :)

  7. says

    Interesting thoughts – I’ve always thought that if you wanted to get some quick money, hop on a hype machine. I had planned to get a bunch of copies of the NY times from obamas election day, but I forgot. I wanted to sell them, and later heard they were fetching a good price on ebay.

    • Squirrelers says

      Jeff – yes, there have been people that have made money on things that surge in popularity, it’s happened for years. I’ll bet we all have such stories about times we could have taken advantage of situation but didn’t for whatever reason. Maybe we can learn from such experiences, and recognize opportunities more quickly in the future!

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