the Yank app – available now
Back in March I wrote about my Startup Bus experience and about a prototype for an app called Yank that my team built on the bus. I’m happy to say that after doing our due diligence and a few weeks of testing and one update to fix some bugs, a solid release of the app is live and in the app store. For the moment, it is only available for iOS7 devices.
The idea for this personal safety app is simple – let the app run in the background of your phone while you are out on a run or walk listening to your music. If someone or something threatens you or compromises your safety in any way, simply yank the headphones out of your phone and your emergency contacts will receive texts and/or emails with your GPS location saying that you may be in trouble.
More features are already in the works so stay tuned. Please download the app and let us know what you think.
The Startup Bus event was filmed and the footage has been released as a docu series over the past 2 months on the COIN Youtube channel. Links to the episodes are below, with one more being released this week.
Episode 1: http://bit.ly/SBHHep1
Episode 2: http://bit.ly/SBHHep2
Episode 3: http://bit.ly/SBHHep3
Episode 4: http://bit.ly/SBHHep4
Episode 5: http://bit.ly/SBHHep5
Nothingman Triathlon v2.0
Three weeks ago I completed my second Nothingman (read about the first one from last year) – which is doing the full Ironman distance as a training day – a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run. “What? Why would any one do that?” “That’s insane” “Are you kidding me?” are the usual responses.
I suppose there are many reasons for doing this (see last year’s post), but for me it’s for no other reason than because I can. It’s more of a mental challenge for me than physical. It’s easy to quit when it doesn’t really matter. It’s easy to quit when there is no reason to be doing it. It’s easy to quit when there is no finish line and no spectators.
This idea of setting up personal challenges outside of a race environment is one I have been thinking about quite a bit lately. I first read about Jason Lester’s EPIC 5 challenge about 4 years ago. And most recently Scott Ragsdale took on the challenge of 7 Iron distance events in 7 consecutive days. Locally, we have a Dante’s bike ride, where riders try to cover 28,000 feet of climbing over 280 miles in one day.
This is what Nothingman is about – the distances and disciplines don’t matter. It’s about setting up a personal challenge for yourself and giving it the best you have got on that day.
My friends Chuck and Dan decided to take on the Nothingman with me this year. Chuck had never gone this far before and wanted to get a taste of it as he will be doing Ironman Mont Tremblant next year for his first one. Dan had recently completed Ironman Lake Placid (as did I) and… well, I’m not exactly sure why he wanted to take part in this.
The majority of the day was pretty uneventful. At 7AM the conditions were perfect for an out and back swim in Cazenovia Lake.
We took about a 45 minute transition to drive to Dan’s house and set up in his driveway.
We took our time on the bike and set a comfortable pace. My friend Craig came out to join us for 35 miles. And Dan’s 10 year old son joined us for the last 26 miles.
At about mile 100 I was stung in the face by a bee. I was OK for the rest of the day, but the next morning when I woke up, I looked like Sloth from Goonies.
The first 12 miles of the run were slow and we were beginning to fade. We were running a 2.25 mile loop so we would never be too far from transition. At about 8PM it began to rain – and a few minutes later it turned into a torrential downpour. It was freezing cold and we were wet and miserable. There was absolutely no reason to be out there – risking getting sick and/or injured. It was completely stupid. And I suggested we throw in the towel.
We decided to head in and wait it out. A check of the radar map showed we had at least an hour of bad weather to deal with. At this point there was discussion about whether or not we should continue. We took the opportunity to throw our clothes in the dryer and dry off. After an hour, the rain subsided a bit.
I decided I wanted to run the remaining 14 miles for no other reason than because I said I would. Armed with plastic bags as rain gear, we headed out shortly after 9PM – each of us at our own pace. I wanted to run as fast as I could and bang it out in 2 hours and be done.
It was a lonely 2 hours of running in the dark. Only part of the loop had streetlights. On the other parts I would shine my headlamp into the woods and see creepy eyes staring back at me.
With about 5 miles for to go for me, Dan pulled up next to me on a mountain bike and said he decided to call it quits – coming up 8 miles short. I asked him where Chuck was and he said he was still moving forward. Good. I really wanted him to finish this.
With less than a mile to go it started pouring again. As I caught up to Chuck, he turned around and decided to call it a day with 5k left for him – “I just don’t want to be out in the rain.”
When I got back to our transition area, I was pissed. It seemed completely ridiculous to have to be out there that long in weather that wouldn’t cooperate. I was wet, cold, hungry, and tired. And it was 11:30pm, which means we had been going at it for 16+ hours.
I did not feel a sense of accomplishment or exhilaration this time around. But will I do it again next year? You bet.
Highway Hackathon Trailer
Earlier this year I wrote about my experience on the StartupBus. As I said, this year’s trip was being filmed by a production company. None of us really knew what was going to happen with the footage or where it was going to air. Recently, my team was contacted to sign releases and provide some creative from our project. We found out that the COIN network would be airing the footage as a docu-series on their Youtube channel. The series premieres on October 11, but here is the trailer.
I have no idea what kind of coverage my team will get, but since we made it to the finals, I assume we will get some decent exposure.
If you show up late, I will probably think you are an idiot
As a college professor, every summer I take time to review my course evaluations from students to consider what changes need to be made for the upcoming semester to give students a better learning experience. I’ve generally treat them like figure skating scores – throw out the really good ones, throw out the really bad ones, and see what the ones in the middle are really telling you.
I’ve been called a lot of things on these evaluations, but there is always at least one new thing that seems to take me by surprise. This time?
“This guy is way too strict about being on time. Boo.”
This stopped me in my tracks and I couldn’t help but shake my head.
I don’t understand what is “too strict” about being on time. You are either on time or you are not. When I start class you are either there or you are not.
- It’s simply unprofessional. No matter the context, showing up late shows you lack credibility and will give you a bad image. In professional environments, you run the risk of undermining your reputation. Being late may be a factor that holds you back from a raise or a promotion, and no colleague will want to work with you on a team project if perennial lateness is your thing.
- It shows you are unreliable. Being on time inspires a sense of trust and shows you are dependable. When you are late, people feel that they can’t trust you or rely on you. This impacts relationships and also impacts self-esteem. When you make a time commitment, stick to it.
- It shows you have no control and you are unorganized. You should have enough control over your life to plan accordingly to be on time. When you show up late you probably have an excuse, you want to blame other circumstances rather than yourself, or you just struggle with self-control.
- It is disrespectful, rude, and selfish. It shows that you do not value other people’s time. Getting somewhere on time shows that it’s important to you and that you’ve planned. Your time is not more valuable than everyone else’s. And showing up to a group meeting or class is distracting! Exercise some manners.
I’ve often wondered why I’m always the first one at the party. If I were to invite you over for dinner at 7PM, it’s because I want you there and will be ready for you at 7PM. Too often I hear “The invitation says 7, as long we are there by 7:30 we will be fine.” Wrong.
Who likes to rush around at the last minute anyways? Flying down the hall, breathing heavy, sweaty, and fumbling with notes is not the message you want to send. It causes stress and can set a bad tone for the remainder of the meeting or the day.
Yes, most people are over committed, over scheduled, and have many things going on. Some people are just bad at judging how long certain tasks will take (it’s called being a time optimist). But those are not excuses.
There are plenty of tactics you can try. Just please, get your sh*t together. Plan ahead. Be respectful. Be on time. It will only show you care, you are responsible, and it will even reduce stress. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with showing up early.
Racing For a Cause – Helping 2 Boys Become Athletes for the First Time
Over Labor Day weekend I had the privilege of racing the Skinnyman Triathlon in Skaneateles, NY as part of a team that towed, pulled, and pushed two boys over a sprint triathlon course. The twin 11 year old boys, Jack and Nolan, have Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).
Jack and Nolan could not have been more thrilled to be afforded this opportunity to compete. This day was not about the team behind them or raising money, it was all about the boys being able to be athletes for the first time in their lives and be part of the race with other triathletes.
Sponsored by Two Smiles One Hope Foundation and Athletes Serving Athletes, two teams of athletes towed Jack in Nolan on rafts for an 800 yard swim, pulled them on bikes over the 11 mile bike course, and pushed them in running strollers on the 3 mile run. They were joined by a team from Athletes Serving Athletes (ASA) who competed with Shane Lauer who also has Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
I became involved with Two Smiles One Hope three years ago when, as the co-race director for the Du the Lakes Duathlon, we were in search of a local charity to raise money for. Over the past three years we have been able to raise more than $15,000 for which the money goes to DMD research that makes a tangible difference.
For this race, my leg was the run. A certain amount of nervousness surrounded the race because we had not had a chance to practice with the equipment. The running stroller did not provide as much resistance as I thought it would, but running the hilly course was certainly challenging at times. During the run the boys encouraged the other athletes and gave lots of high fives.
It was the most fun I have ever had at a race. The race directors were more than helpful in accommodating us, and the crowd and support from other athletes was so overwhelming at times that it gave me chills. The boys seem to be local celebrities!
I hope to be able to race with them again or help other athletes who need support in one way or another. Please read below about Two Smiles One Hope and Athletes Serving Athletes and make a donation!
Two Smiles One Hope Foundation is a nonprofit organization that raises money to support research for the treatment or cure of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. They aim to increase community awareness of this terminal disease and its affects on young boys. DMD is a fatal genetic neuromuscular disease that affects all muscles in the body. Children born with DMD (mostly boys) are usually diagnosed between the ages of 3 to 5 years of age. Most boys become non-ambulatory by the ages of 10 to 12 years and have a life expectancy in the 20’s.
Athletes Serving Athletes is a nonprofit that brings people together to experience the joy, excitement, and thrill of competition. ASA offers innovative training, supportive mentor relationships, and high quality endurance events for athletes living with disabilities.
It’s Not Called Extreme Day for Nothing
ON A QUEST FOR GLORY
IN A RACE AGAINST TIME
THERE’S ONLY ONE NAME FOR ADVENTURE…
This is one day of the year I look forward to more than Christmas. We pack up our cars and venture to Lake Placid leaving our day jobs and significant others behind for an epic day of adventure.
The planning is a year in the making. But the events are not revealed until the night before. This year, over the course of 11 hours we took on the following:
Segment 1 – 1.2 mile swim
Segment 2 – 4.7 mile run (climb 1,138ft)
Segment 3 – 1.2 mile paddle board (plus a relay race)
Segment 4 – 9.5 mile bike (climb 705ft)
Segment 4 – 3.7 mile canoe paddle
Segment 5 – 41.4 mile bike (included porting our bikes twice and climbing up whiteface mountain 5,131ft)
As one participant said, it’s a:
“…unique bunch of highly motivated, high school boys’ brains, trapped in aging, protesting, but still super fit bodies taking it to the limit.”
This year’s events were highlighted by a bike route blocked by a construction crew working on a bridge. Liability this liability that, they wouldn’t let us pass. And they wouldn’t accept our money. Instead of backtracking and adding 30 miles on to the ride, we ported our bikes by blazing our own path through the woods and across a river. It took us 1.5 hours to go .5 miles.
At the end of the day there is bragging. There are recounts of the day’s events. And there is beer drinking. We don’t know who the winners were, but we know who the losers were.
Evolution of a Logo
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of working with Client Server Technology Inc. (CST) – www.cstco.com – in Wallingford, CT on a re-branding project. I have had a working relationship with CST for the past 15 years – in fact, it started by me running Cat-5 network cable for them under buildings on client wiring and network jobs.
In an industry that can be seen as a commodity, CST separates itself from the competition with superb service and the personal relationships they form with their clients. To capitalize on this and localize their service/brand, Client Server Technology will now be – CST Wallingford.
Wallingford, CT is a relatively progressive city, and a high level of commerce takes place considering its size and location.
Eventually, they will use the domain names cstwallingford.com and cst-wallingford.com – the VP noted that it is much easier to give out over the phone versus spelling out – see ess tee see oh dot com.
Pre 1998 logo. Not designed by me. Why a triangle? It was designed in-house and I quote the VP – “I have no artistic talent and it was between that, a circle, and a square.” It also lacked anti-aliasing.
First logo re-design by me in 1998. I know – Bank Gothic – I was an amateur and it was a request by them.
New logo takes the emphasis off the triangle and introduces the word “Wallingford.” The font is a modified version of Trade Gothic.
Starting a Business on a Bus – My Startup Bus 2013 Recap
The premise is simple… and a bit crazy. Spend 3 days on a bus going to Austin, TX with people you don’t know to conceive and build a startup company. It’s not like I don’t have anything else going on and I can just pick up and leave at a moment’s notice, but for the second year in a row I found myself in a seat on the Startup Bus.
To get on the Startup Bus you have to first be invited by someone else who has already been invited. Once invited you fill out an application telling why you think you should be on the bus – the application is a blank canvas – be as creative as you need to be. After that comes interviews with the bus conductors (this year there were 7 buses in total). And you may or may not be asked to complete a task/produce work before getting the final decision.
I wasn’t anxious to do it again, but this year one of the buses would be a “master’s” bus – just for alumni, with different rules. I was also told that a pilot for a TV show would be filmed on the master’s bus. I thought it would be a fun opportunity to get on the bus again and be part of this. Last year I pitched an idea and had helping building it – this year I wanted to jump on a team and help someone else who already had the idea and vision.
With the filming being set up our departure was delayed over an hour. Some of us already started sharing ideas and tried to get a feel for who we might want to work with. One of the first things that happens on the bus (Ray, our conductor instructed us to call them motor coaches not buses. His company provided many of the buses for this event) is everyone gets to introduce themselves, sell their skills, and then pitch an idea if they have one.
The next thing that happens is we are given time to form teams around the ideas/businesses we would like to work on. I decide to work with two guys that I talked to before we got on the bus – Dave and Stu. Stu pitched this idea for a personal safety app called Yaank, where when you yank the headphones out of your smartphone, the app sends text and emails to your emergency contacts informing them that you may be in trouble. We’ve got the back end development covered by Dave, and the planning and design by myself and Stu. We are short on a native app developer. We decide that we want to be competitive, since it IS a competition, but we will take time to sleep if given the chance.
We were informed that over the course of the three days we would need to cut the 7 teams on the bus down to 2. I wont say too much about how that happened because it will be revealed on film – eventually. The level of uncertainty, confusion, and stress in this process was very high.
But a few interesting things happened on the bus. After 15+ hours on the bus the first day we pulled into a water park at 2AM in Knoxville, TN. We begged them to open up just one water slide for us but it didn’t happen.
On the second day we stopped at a rest area somewhere in Alabama. A “wayward traveler” asked if he could hitch a ride. He auditioned for us by playing his guitar and we voted to take him with us to New Orleans, our next stop.
The next day in New Orleans we formed an impromptu choir around a street performer playing a saxaphone and sang a rendition of “Oh when the saints…” We prefaced it by telling the crowd we were competitive singers and had been practicing for months. You can imagine the look on their faces when we absolutely SUCKED it.
We made a harlem shake video. We lost power on the bus about 7862 times. We lost internet access 2546203 times. Not the greatest conditions for working.
On the third day we arrived in San Antonio where we were hosted by Rackspace for 2 days – a great sponsor that definitely rolled out the red carpet for us. Here we worked on our app and pitch. We ended up bartering services with another group – I did some design work for them and one of their developers did some app development for us. We also used elance – another sponsor this year – for app development.
At Rackspace there was a series of tech and marketing pitches each of the groups had to do which helped solidify the final two groups which would compete in the finals against the other buses. We had a working app and I was excited when Yaank was chosen to be one of the teams in the finals.
The finals were to be an event at Rackspace’s location at the SXSW conference. We spent the last day of the competition writing a script for our pitch, practicing, refining, practicing, and rewriting and refining on the spot.
The final pitch was probably one of the most stressful and intense public speaking things I have ever had to do – a small presentation stage, a live crowd standing basically right on top of you, untested technology, cameras, lights, and some well-respected judges in the startup world.
The full pitch is below. We were told ahead of time that we had 5 mins to present and 5 mins for questions. As soon as I stepped on stage they decided to cut them down to 4 mins. F*ck. Even as fast as I talked, I still got cut off at the end. We did not win, but here is the feedback we got from the judges.
- Love the idea, it’s important, don’t understand how you will charge for this, need a woman on your team.
- Dave McClure said “You want to prevent sexual assault, but your name is Yaank?” Considering he normally curses people out, I consider this a win. We expected that this comment was coming.
- Our market is too small and we don’t have the right team, need someone with a marketing background.
- Robert Scoble said “It’s too negative. I wish there was a way to associate something positive with the yanking.”
All of these could have been addressed, but just like that we were out of time and it was over.
Over the course of three days you become so obsessed with your idea and what you are working on. What you are doing is the most important thing in the world. Nothing else exists outside of the small workspace you had on the bus. When it finally ends, you don’t know what to do with yourself. There is a sense of relief, but also disappointment.
It takes days to decompress (and catch up on sleep) after something like this. I’m really glad I decided to take on the challenge again. It’s things like this that inspire you and make you realize how much you are really capable of. Most importantly, I am completely humbled by the talented people on the bus. Would I do it again? I’m going to hold out for the Startup Boat.
The Final Pitch
As an avid runner and running coach, I have many friends who are runners. Last year my friend Anna was out for a run by herself and was sexually assaulted – an extremely unfortunate situation that I wouldn’t wish upon anybody. Anna wasn’t alone – this happened to 244, 000 women last year. 2700 of those being females on college campuses – that’s 7 incidents PER DAY – that’s scary.
At the time, my friend Anna didn’t have a good way to alert anyone that she was in a a dangerous situation. This is where our app comes in.
Introducing Yaank – a personal safety alert system that uses what you already own – your headphones and your smartphone.
Here’s why Anna and all of my runner friends love it – it’s simple and intuitive. You launch the app – arm it – and let it run in the background. When you feel like you are in a dangerous situation or feel threatened… you simply YAANK the headphones out of the phone. Within seconds her emergency contacts are notified by text and email.
When you yank the headphones first there is a countdown so you can cancel the alert sequence – yanking the headphones out could happen accidentally – or you might forget that the app is running. The phone also vibrates and beeps – again to notify you that the sequence has been initiated.
The texts and emails contain a link to a page that shows your location on a map and the time of the incident. All of these features are configurable in the app settings.
One important thing to note is that the alert sequence triggers are scheduled immediately in the cloud – this was done because an attacker may take the phone and smash it – we want to be sure that the message goes out every single time.
This idea is unique and we have already started the patent process. And the market is huge. For example:
Anyone who leads an active lifestyle – runners, joggers, triathletes – 15 million people finished a running race last year in the US alone.
Colleges and universities – There are 4500 higher education institutions in the US where safety is top of mind and they can benefit from our product. Here we will license our platform or offer an SDK to implement in their existing app. Bakersfield College set a precedent by removing their blue light system to be replaced by an app.
Those are just two examples, you are probably already thinking of other markets where this technology could be applied.
I mentioned SDK – a recent survey showed that 70% of runners listen to music while running. We have identified 25 apps that can benefit from using our SDK by implementing our functionality and this would increase our distribution.
How do we make money? It’s simple. We charge for premium features, a subscription service to a 24/7 call center, and per incident fees.
I am Adam, I have a passion for endurance sports and good design. This is Dave, the genius behind the backend of our app. And Stu – a phd student who loves to solve problems. He thought of the idea while running on the treadmill – if you yank a cable on a treadmill for safety, why can’t you do the same thing with your phone?
We are team Yaank and we are making my friend Anna and everyone else safer.
Apps and Tris
This month two great things have kicked off that I have been lucky enough to help organize and be a part of.
The Student App Design Competition
After my experience on the Startup Bus last year, I really wanted to bring some part of that back to Ithaca College and create a similar experience for students. For the past few months I have been working with a few colleagues to plan and organize Ithaca’s first student app design competition. It will be loosely modeled after the Startup Bus competition in that students pitch ideas and form interdisciplinary teams to build a working app over the course of 9 weeks. Here is a short article about it from our student newspaper: Students to compete in developing apps
30 students showed up to the kick-off meeting and 11 teams (over 50 students) will be moving forward and building apps. The final judging will take place on April 12th and cash prizes will be awarded to the top 3 teams. The apps will be judged by local professionals and IC alumni.
Winter Triathlon Training Program
Last fall as I was preparing for the Ultraman World Championships, I was approached by a Mary Lou Corcoran Physical Therapy in Syracuse to plan and organize a winter triathlon training program that would run for 8-10 weeks this winter. I jumped at the opportunity as I enjoy working with other athletes and sharing my training knowledge. The facilities and PTs are nothing short of amazing here.
The goal was to create a program that would be different from all the others in the area in that the athletes would get to work directly with the PTs and get individualized athletic assessments to enhance performance, reduce risk of injury, and improve overall wellness. I will be working with athletes of all levels over the next 2 months doing spin classes, swim stroke assessment, a running clinic, and at the end we will be holding our own indoor, timed triathlon.
Disintermediation and Why Some Professors Should Be Scared
I recently spoke at the International Conference on Technology, Knowledge & Society in Vancouver and talked about higher education branding strategies on social media platforms. One of the other discussions I took part in was about the topic of disintermediation. This is a topic I have been interested in since I discovered the Internet.
Disintermediation is the removal of intermediaries in a supply chain, or simply – the removal of the middle man. Expedia and Hotwire killed travel agents. Amazon disintermediated bookstores. And to some extent Amazon and other online retailers disintermediated big box electronic stores – Circuit City is out and Best Buy is on the ropes. Netflix killed Blockbuster and Hollywood Video.
Last month Redbox released its Redbox Instant service – for $8 a month you get unlimited streaming AND 4 credits for rentals at the kiosks. Movies are also available for sale on the site as digital downloads. All are also accessible by smartphone and tablet apps. This could be a real threat to Netflix and a killer service.
I recently put my house on the market and when I mentioned “for sale by owner” to my agent she did everything in her power to convince me it was a bad idea. Internet transparency (fsbo.com and trulia.com) is letting home buyers view real estate listings on their own which can reduce the search and buying costs of home buying.
Another killer service I came across is Onlive.com – streaming video games. Traditionally, video gamers are required to choose a platform – Xbox, Playstation, personal computer, etc. But with this service, you don’t need a console. Or even a computer. Onlive runs the hardware and servers on their end, you connect with your tablet, smart phone, computer, or through a small box/controller connected to your TV. Essentially this means that you can play an xbox game on your iPad. This is great, and I wish I had time to play video games.
In the past 20 years, the Internet has played a big part in disintermediation, but not to the extent that most expected. With some industries like online grocery, it has been tougher to change consumer. Maybe some retailers provide essential experiences that can’t be replicated or enhanced virtually?
What is next? I am interested in higher education and their branding process (and also how they lose brand equity). Online course services like coursera.com are gaining popularity, but the drawback is that none of them are accredited (i.e. they aren’t offered for credits you can’t transfer them to another institution).
Straighterline.com, however, is different. Straighterline offers self-paced courses priced by using a subscription type model (you can pay on a month to month basis, or for a semester, or for a full year). There are no professors that teach the courses, but rather “facilitators” who are available for help and guidance. I would assume that they pay professors to design and create the course material upfront and then turn the actual instruction over to someone else.
Most of the courses are your 100 level, intro courses. Straighterline is not accredited, but they have “agreements” with partner institutions – 2 year institutions and other online universities – so you can transfer your credits. They currently have agreements with about two dozen of these institutions. How do the partner agreements work? I have no idea, but perhaps Staighterline hires their professors to design the courses.
Picture this: A student enrolls at Straighterline for $899 a year and takes 30 credits of courses. They then transfer them to a partner institution (which is accredited), and THEN transfer them from there to a four year institution. It’s a hop, skip, and jump, but for $899 a student could theoretically have 30 credits, or one full year of college, covered. Sign me up!
The CEO, Burck Smith, is not a professor or former professor. He never worked in academia. He is simply trying to prove that if technology is used appropriately, it should result in lower prices. Prices for education have risen faster than inflation and this has become a serious concern for many higher education institutions.
Do lower prices and accessibility mean a disintermediation of college professors? Services like Straighterline could take a chunk out of a university’s bottom line. These intro level courses are their bread and butter – where most universities get high enrollments and make their money. I believe this is something that the next generation of professors will have to deal with.
If this situation plays out, I do think that professors who teach higher level courses and courses with more specialized topics, will be in higher demand. And perhaps in the position to be compensated better. Professors may be more like migrant workers – moving from institution to institution for short amounts of time working for whoever brings the best offer to the table.
How important is the course format and professor teaching the course to student outcomes? At a time when higher education has become increasingly competitive and commoditized, this is one more reason for academic institutions to really think about their brand and differentiate themselves. With students and parents being price sensitive and looking to maximize value, they are acting more and more like “consumers.”
Yes, prestigious institutions will flourish for centuries, but if others are not careful, could they be forced to close their doors?