Aliens think we’re boring.

Here’s a neat little YouTube video about the Andromeda Galaxy, the nearest galaxy to our own Milky Way:

Our solar system is located in a smaller arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, an average size galaxy with about 500 million stars. Our neighboring Andromeda Galaxy is twice as large, some scientists estimate that there are more than a trillion stars there.

We orbit an average star, in an average galaxy. Our technology isn’t even good enough to send a human to Jupiter yet. We tend to overestimate our importance, but what if civilizations like ours are pretty common? 500 million stars in this galaxy, a trillion more over in Andromeda… with BILLIONS of additional galaxies out there?

Even a hostile and bloodthirsty race of aliens that loves to kill for sport would have to sort through millions of stars to find us… then sort through all the planets circling each star. Finding our planet, in our solar system, in our galaxy is like finding one grain of sand on a beach that stretches a thousand miles.

Of course, in human history we have become less violent as we’ve become more educated and advanced. It takes learning and cooperation among many individuals to develop civilization and technology. This means that advanced societies will probably become LESS violent over time, not more so.

Any race that is overtly violent would probably destroy itself soon after the discovery of atomic weapons, and long before they can master space travel. Even today humans are at risk of a nuclear war that decimates our planet, hopefully we’ll move past this stage and make it to a era when atomic weapons are no longer needed.

Any aliens that have mastered interstellar travel will be pretty bored by our current technology. Nothing new at this planet, we haven’t even figured out how to cure cancer, or how to travel through wormholes.

The laws of mathematics, physics, and chemistry are the same in the rest of the universe. Aliens probably know all about radio waves, atomic weapons, genetics, and all the other cool stuff we’ve discovered over the last 10,000 years.

Interstellar aliens won’t need our raw materials or resources, with billions of stars in each galaxy there are countless planets out there with every resource imaginable. Why stop at Earth and mess with humans when countless other uninhabited planets are available to exploit at will?

We began broadcasting radio signals about 80 years ago, those signals would have traveled outward in a sphere 160 light years across. In a galaxy that’s 100,000 light years in diameter 160 light years is tiny. Even if some aliens have detected us they can watch our broadcast signals for a few days and see that we’re still not that advanced.

Most of the TV signals hurtling through space right now celebrate the stupidity of humans; the Simpsons, All in the Family, any sitcom from the 1980’s…

There is probably another way to broadcast a radio signal (and travel through space) using quantum mechanics, wormholes and extra-dimensionality. Perhaps this will allow us to communicate across far greater galactic distances with no lag in time. The current technology is too slow, even traveling at the speed of light the nearest star is 2.5 years from our planet.

Until then? Aliens probably don’t know we exist, but even if they do we’re still pretty backward and boring.

Until we develop better technology we remain the hillbillies of the universe.

Ben Alexander

February . 2017

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Pitch it.

I’ve been pitching restaurants on the idea of hiring a balloon artist since 2003.

This past Wednesday I was working with one of our newer Regional Partners just south of Tampa Bay, we were pitching restaurants in Bradenton and Sarasota. We landed 5 new clients, and then we had lunch. It was a great day, with lovely weather to boot.

The young man I was working with started as a 16 year old entertainer on the Tampa team, when he moved to Sarasota to attend college he approached me about growing the region there. He’s doing well; I went down there to teach him, hang out, and encourage him to grow a larger region.

After 13 years of landing new clients all over the place I feel like pitching is automatic and easy on a subconscious level. You could wake me up at 2AM, place me in front of the GM of a restaurant and I could get started without thinking about it. All business owners have to get good at the pitch, and the best way to do this is sheer repetition.

Balloon Distractions does not have a single competitor who has been pitching as long, as hard, or as frequently as we have. Me and my team have pitched restaurants THOUSANDS of times, and in that process we’ve learned a ton about what works and what doesn’t.

My most infamous pitch was in front of the investors on Shark Tank. That was very different from pitching restaurants, when I pitch a restaurant I’m talking to one person, with the simple goal of landing a tryout in that store.

The “sharks” were all talking to me at once, it was even more chaotic than the (edited) clip actually shows. If you’ve never seen the segment there’s a link at the top of this page.

Pitching investors is not the same as pitching clients. Investors have more at stake, a client can cancel your service if they don’t like you, an investor is married to your business, at least until they get their money back. If your enterprise crashes and burns your investor might lose everything they’ve put in.

After 13 years in business I’m still out there pitching. Even here in Tampa Bay, where you might think we’ve pitched every restaurant… there are new General Managers being promoted every month, new restaurants being built, new opportunities if you keep your eyes open.

Last night I went out to fill a booking at a restaurant that’s been a weekly client since 2003! I don’t even remember pitching the place, but I know they were one of our first clients when I started Balloon Distractions.

If you own a business I would encourage you to get out there and start pitching. Do it so many times that you become unconsciously competent at it.

Ben Alexander

February 17 . 2017