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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Spockmarket 2006 G4TV

Since I’m walking down Star Trek Memory Lane, I wanted to bring up G4TV.  Not long after they went national, they started showing the original Star Trek episodes. The episodes were uncut, with the commercial breaks where they belonged, in the correct order of airing, and the prints were cleaned up.

It was beautiful to see.  I watched as many as I could. I even watched episodes I normally avoided like Turnabout Intruder and The Cloud Miners

Seemed other people watched too. They re-aired the shows and this time they tricked it up. They added a news feed and stock ticker to the screen. The events on the news feed and the markets conditions were based on what was happening on the show.

The market was called the ‘Spock Market’ and the chairman was iLan Greenspock.  Corny as hell. They allowed the fans to buy and trade stocks. The market was live and ran 24 hours a day. Most of the activity occurred during the airing of the shows on G4TV.

I was not interested.

I was watching G4 a lot. They advertised the hell out of it. I wasn’t interested in the distractions this created on the screen.

Then I heard about the market crash. My ears perked. It occurred with the airing of one of the most famous/iconic episodes: City on the Edge of Forever. Logical. So I started watching the second airing. I was intrigued.  I created an account and dabbled.

There were about 30,000 people playing. Some played aggressively and some played passively.  I joined the message board and tried to get the lay of the land. The people doing the best were fans like me, they knew the episodes. The players struggling were the ones that were watching Star Trek for the first time.

Even after the market crash, I was ranked at the bottom. As I started ‘playing’ instead of dabbling, my ranking rose. As my ego got involved, I start playing the markets on both the East Coast and West Coast feed.  Since I didn’t get the West Coast feed, I was playing blind. However, I knew the episodes very well. As I a true geek, I sat at my computer and didn’t really watch the episode.  I just listened. I made notes when big moves occurred.  Then, as the West Coast aired, I watched the market activity and I could correlate that with the events in the episode and take the appropriate action. Consider that just a variation of the ‘theater of the mind’ concept.

I started to gain ground on the leaders.  On Saturdays, G4 would show several episodes in a row. My Saturdays were dedicated to G4 and the 6 hours of Start Trek (that is 3 hours for each Coast) they aired. My live narrowed to the Spock Market. I turned down opportunities to hang out with friends. I turned down free tickets to baseball games.  I was very boring to be around; all I talked about was the Spock Market. I checked the market during work and made trades. I was living the Spock Market.

I moved into the top 10%.

Encouraged by my success, I spent more time on the message boards and making minor trades when the shows weren’t airing.  I continued to gain ground.  I entered the top 100. Then the top 50. My rank was in the top 20 when I went to San Diego ComicCon. That week was my market crash. I tumbled. I had no access to the computer or the market for 5 days. One of those days was Saturday and it’s 6 hours of heavy trading.

I returned from SDCC in horrible shape and the game was close to ending.

I continue to play the market. I was racing against time. I was gaining back my ranking but only a few episodes were left. Climbing the ranks was harder as everyone was putting in the time. Everyone was a seasoned veteran.  

With a week left I broke the top 100. When the season and market ended I had finished 65th.

I could now relax. I had tons of free time. I connected with friends again. My wife started seeing me again and wondered why she ever missed me.

The big payoff for the hundreds of hours invested in this endeavor was the nice letter from Mr Greenspock and his autograph… and oh yeah, the blue foam Vulcan hand salute.


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