Podium Clarification (it is free, and always has been)
I just got back from East Van, where I had a chance to talk with a few folks from Cascadia for the first time since moving out here last year. There's one misconception about Podium I'd like to clear up:
I've never charged anyone to use Podium. Podium is free and always has been. If someone has told you it isn't free - well, they aren't me so how would they know?
I have put 1000s of hours into the building and supporting of this service. This is a gigantic project, and it has required fairly sophisticated skills that I have been developing for more than a decade. It takes on the most complex problem that organizers face, and has helped more than 40 tourneys now... I'd be stupid not to try and get some return on this investment of my energy and time, just like a hardware store wouldn't give you free wood for boards and a framebuilder wouldn't give you a free bike with nothing in return.
To get a return, I've attempted to leverage the attention of fans interested in following the tournaments - not charge organizers or players. Folks like Fixcraft, Northern Standard, NAH, Fleet Velo and Jinxy have happily supported my efforts in exchange for exposure on the Podium follow page - some with polo gear, and some with cash. But honestly, it hasn't even come close to a reasonable ROI. I couldn't even buy a plane ticket to Worlds with all the money I've made from the entire history of Podium (since 2008). Yet I've never said no to a tournament, and most don't even have a sponsor.
When I went to my first polo tourney, the bracketing was done on a piece of cardboard with scribbles and scratched out names all over the place. I wrote some software when we held our first tourney in COMO, and short while later anyone could schedule a 60+ team tourney with just a few clicks, and fans could follow the bracket in real time anywhere in the world. This was not inevitable.
I shouldn't have to justify myself trying to make money off of my labor, but for some reason I feel forced to...
tldr: Podium has always been free, but I think it is worth a little more than that :)
Also, thanks to those of you who shared kind words this weekend and in the past. Hearing that you enjoy Podium is truly encouraging! That's what keeps me working hard. (Can't wait for you to see the bench format stuff!)