SBD/April 25, 2014/People and Pop Culture

Weekend Plans With Topps' Michael Bramlage: New Baby, EPL Matches, Home Cooking

Bramlage catches as much EPL action as he can on Sundays before hitting church
The already busy day-to-day schedule for Topps GM & VP/Digital MICHAEL BRAMLAGE has gotten even more hectic, as he and his wife just welcomed their first child, a baby girl, about three weeks ago. The newborn and the continuous monitoring of Topps’ three biggest apps -- Topps Kick, Topps Bunt and Topps Huddle -- have left Bramlage feeling very blessed but also very sleep deprived. He tends to work regularly on the weekends, which he says is a necessity for any tech company that offers digital content in real time, but Bramlage still finds time to enjoy the hustle and bustle of life in the Big Apple.

BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY: My wife and I, we lived in Seattle for about six years and moved to New York City in 2007. We live near Union Square and near Washington Square Park, which is where a lot of folks hang out and we like to stroll through there. The nice part about living in New York City is you’re always exposed to diversity. Friday night is usually dinner out and the one thing I will say as a knock on New York City is there’s no place to get good Mexican food here. Outside of that, the city makes it very difficult to pin down a specific restaurant or a specific type of cuisine because of the diversity. What we enjoy really is mixing it up and trying something new and different every weekend.

BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL: I tend to get up around 8:00am (on the weekends). I’m not an early riser naturally. A lot of what we do here at Topps requires creativity. When you’ve got a business that is based on content, it’s important to be creative and think about what’s coming next, what that next chase is going to be for the users of our apps. A lot of that creativity I think works best for me at night. So it’s a mix of being somewhat of a night owl that likes to use that time to be thoughtful, to be creative, but with the baby and with the demand of running an always-on portfolio of applications, I have to get up at a reasonable hour as well.

FAN LOYALTY: For me, the weekends really start with a strong cup of coffee, pouring over a lot of data that’s being kicked out from our services. Then I’m turning on the TV and watching a few of the early matches for the Barclays Premier League. I’ve been very happy with the coverage that NBC has provided for the Barclays Premier League. Our app Topps Kick is based on the Barclays Premier League, so it’s fun for me to sit there and watch but also have this great second-screen experience in conjunction with the match. I’m also a big baseball fan. I follow the Detroit Tigers religiously and I love the fact that I can use an app like MLB At Bat to follow the Tigers whether it’s a day game or a night game over the course of the weekend.

TOPPS CHEF: My wife and I enjoy cooking; It’s a good way to relax. We like trying new recipes and it’s a good way to sort of bond as well as decompress. So while we do eat out a fair amount, we both enjoy cooking. That’s something that we do, usually a Saturday night activity for us, where we can pick up groceries during the day and start preparing a meal earlier, around 5:00 or 6:00. We joke that we’re part of the early-bird-special crowd. But preparing and cooking a nice meal on Saturday night is a tradition that we have. I would say that’s probably the one slice of the weekend where my mind is totally diverted away from (work). If I had to pick a specialty, I would say fish. I’m very good at cooking salmon, so it’s usually fish with a few side dishes and lots of wine.

DAY OF REST: Sunday is the day where I try to sneak in as much Barclays Premier League soccer as I can in the morning, then we usually run off to church, then it’s running errands and trying to unwind early in the evening and get ready for the week. I don’t know that we have any specific rituals on Sunday evening. Usually, it’s trying to find some sort of distraction, something on TV, just to get the mind off of the upcoming week. I was a huge “BREAKING BAD” junkie from Day 1, from the first season. So now that that’s over it’s been difficult to turn my attention to something like “MAD MEN.” I used to be a religious watcher of AMC’s programming on Sunday night, but now that’s changed somewhat.
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