Sunday Night Muda


I'm in Seattle, about a mile from the stadium where the Seahawks are playing the Saints tonight. I was tempted to get a ticket, but I should be working and I'm able to watch on TV (providing some background noise in a hotel room).

The NBC Sunday Night Football telecast was delayed by about 10 minutes when the overhead “cable cam” conked out and was stuck down on the field (or hanging just above). This is the camera that swoops around overhead, something that's been used the last few years. I wonder what the root cause of that failure was? Did they anticipate that problem and do a Failure Modes and Effects Analysis? Is there “standardized work” for how to respond to problems with the cable cam? It's not a problem that happens often, thankfully.

A second thing I was thinking of… from the overheard blimp shots, the baseball field next door (I won't mention the sponsor, that's what they want. Anyway, the lights were on at the ballpark. There's obviously no game going on tonight. Why light the place up? For marketing purposes? So they'll mention the name of the sponsor on TV?

I'm surprised that, in a city as environmentally conscious as Seattle is (Tully's has compostable coffee cups, for pete's sake — no, not for Peet's sake, that's another city), I'm surprised they would sit back and let the lights be on for no reason at [Insurance Company Name] Field.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. If the lights were on for marketing purposes, it may be a form of waste but it may also a clever way of guerilla marketing. I’d like to compare the costs between an ad placement to having the lights on, as well as what people noticed more.


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