Friday, October 29, 2010

Brands transending

The recent hubbub about the short lived Ironman Access program (see here for Jeff's writeup) got me thinking. No, not about if this was an example of greed gone wild or why WTC quickly killed this program but the idea of a commercial brand or corporate symbol meaning something to the public or members of the public beyond what it should mean. This is more than "liking" a brand or following a brand but I started thinking about passion for what a brand supposingly means (beyond profit for the corporate entity) and what would be an indication of true passion for a brand. Then I had an idea. Besides Ironman, which brands warrant enough passion for people to get the corporate logo or symbol tattooed somewhere on their body?

Full disclosure - I do not have any tattoos and I'm not really planning on getting one.

My first thought, after the M-dot was Harley Davidson. I think this example might be even more understood and accepted by society than WTC's M-Dot.

My second thought was the Olympics with the Olympic Rings. Are the Olympics a for profit enterprise? Ask Peter Uebberoth whose led and managed the first privately financed Olympic Games to a surplus of nearly $250 million in the 1984 games.

Other corporate brands that could fall into this category included Nike, Playboy, Disney and even Apple (see William H. Macy in Wild Hogs). I'm sure there are more and we all could add to this list.

But is it right? This is beyond loyalty. In some cases it is beyond believing the hype. As always, what may be OK to some may be over the top to others. Of course, it also made me wonder if they included a discount on a tattoo with the $1000 Ironman Access program would that have been enough to have to accepted by more "customers." I believe this story isn't over but I am interested in seeing where it goes.

PS: There are more interesting articles on this all around the blogosphere. I referenced Jeff's as one of the first I saw on this along with BDDs.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quote of the week.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Versatile Blogger Award

One Crazy Penguin tagged me with the Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks OCP! I've done some similar types of posts in the past but since it has been a while I decided to play along. So without further ado:

The rules are that I need to:

* Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award - Done!

* Share 7 things about yourself:

  1. I've lived within the confines of New York State for my whole life.
  2. My eyesight is poor and I wear glasses. I was never able to wear contacts comfortably since I have very dry eyes. I thought about LASIX but was afraid that I would wind up being the fail statistic and then found out dry eyes make most of the reputable doctors reject me as a candidate. I wear prescription goggles while swimming to see the clock and the wall (more important than the clock). As I age, though, my overall eyesight is improving. I now need bifocals to read the bike computer though. Sigh.
  3. I've never beaten my older daughter in a running race. She normally laughs at me at the start of the race and says "see ya." I've never raced against my younger daughter yet. She doesn't like to run but the opportunity to crush her old man might soon be too tempting for her to avoid a turkey trot show down. Bring it, girl!
  4. I know how to parallel park. This seems like a lost art these days. Perhaps this is related to number 1?
  5. I was always considered a poor writer while in school. Some people now think I write well. Don't know if I've improved as a writer or if standards have declined. Maybe a little of both.
  6. I typically have 2 BlackBerrys on me: one for work and one for nonwork. I tried an iPhone once and gave it back. I carry my non-work bberry in my right front pocket and my work one in my left front pocket. Some might say this is an issue. No need to judge.
  7. My wife always wanted me to learn to play tennis with her as that is her sport (she is good). I agreed to join a couples league with her that starts this weekend. It is possible that I might get banned from the tennis asylum as I might be the worst tennis player in history. I won't have my blackberrys with me while playing tennis.
  8. I know a lot of useless facts. One of my issues is the lack of useful facts.
  9. I don't follow directions well.

Now I'm supposed to pass this challenge/award forward. An interesting thing would be to tag the people who are new to following my blog so I can learn a little about you. Another would be for the long time followers to play along. I guess what this means is that this is a self select challenge: If you want to, go for it!

Thanks again OCP!

Quote of the week.

"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." -
Walt Disney

Friday, October 15, 2010

Back from Hong Kong

I spent the last week either in a plane going to Hong Kong, in Hong Kong itself, or on a plane flying home. This business trip included two 16 hour flights with a 12 hour timezone change. I don't know which is hitting me harder: the timezone change or the weather changing from temperature and humidity being in the upper 80s (with rain at times) in Hong Kong or arriving in New York with the temperature in the middle 50s. I'm pretty sure my body will adapt to the weather before the timezone. We'll see tonight at about 2 in the morning if I am staring at the ceiling or tomorrow when I try a work out.

I'll figure out tomorrow which type of workout but there will be a bike, a swim, a run/walk, and of course, a nap done over the course of the weekend. Most will be an easy intensity but I'm expecting the nap to be a "power" nap. In fact, I may even try more than one nap.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Quote of the week

"Desire is the key to motivation, but it's determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek" - Mario Andretti

Friday, October 8, 2010

Charm school

This week I attended "charm school."

What is charm school you ask? The mainstream doesn't really call what I attended charm school but refers to it as a much more socially acceptable name of "senior executive training" or "leadership training" or something pompous sounding like that. The non-mainstream probably calls it a boondoggle or perhaps "how to teach the boss how to not miss the papers when he has to go."

Charm school was, in reality, an in-depth psychological testing of yours truly to see how I would tend to react under stress along with training around methods to act as a better leader of a high performance team. These tests were reviewed one on one with a shrink wannabe and small group of other senior managers (aka peers) from around the globe. There will be follow up sessions at 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months to see if any of this training sticks.

The good part of this charm school was that my firm decided I was worthy of this investment. This training was held off site at a country estate so we wouldn't be interrupted with the crisis of the day. I was able to find out some things about myself but nothing was a huge surprise. The best part of this training was the establishment of relationships with some very smart people that I now have the opportunity to cultivate.

The bad part is that this "estate environment" was over the top. The food was plentiful and rich so nothing was on my diet. The icing on the proverbial cake was the scotch tasting seminar that I just had to go to as a team building exercise one night. I recommend this type of "tasting" to anyone who has the opportunity. Even if it doesn't build teams well and isn't on most exercise plans nor diets, it is worth a chance to see if it does. I think that I'll try to make the 1 month training follow up to concentrate on single malts rather than blends.

Don't worry, charm school didn't teach me how to solve "round peg/square hole" problem so I still have that going for me.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Quote of the week

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." - Wayne Gretzkey

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The 2011 Race Calendar

Next year, in contrast to previous years where I've pre-registered for a whole season of events, I've decided to "plan on not planning" my 2011 event calendar. Due to injuries, I spent a lot of money on race entry fees on events where I wasn't able to compete this year. This is troublesome on a variety of reasons so I've decided to scale back and just sign up in advance for only a few important events. Others might be added but only as advised by my coach, BikeMike.

I still hope to do in 2011 what I'm considering as my Highlander Ironman (there can be only one). Based on conversations with a variety of medical folks, there will come a time in the not too distant future when I won't be able to race longer distance triathlons. I'm not there yet but the general theme is that the more I train long, especially running, the sooner that inability will happen. If that doesn't happen, great (yes, doctors have been wrong before), but I'm planning on my iron career to be one and done at best. Which one is still open for debate but I'm feeling now the best event for my success is IMFL in November, not IMLP or some of the other options. This'll probably mean being online when registration opens hoping to get through or paying the freight of a community slot.

I have the ability to register early for St Anthony's Olympic triathlon on May 1 in St. Petersburg, Florida since I deferred in 2010. I've done this race a couple of times already and enjoy it a lot. I'm going to sign up but haven't decided if I'm going to do it on my own or with Team in Training. I might do a cycle event with TNT instead but this is one of those BikeMike decisions.

Many of my friends are shooting for Rev3 Quassy in June and I'd like to do this race too. I haven't done it before but have heard good things about it (I've also heard it is hard but that could be a good thing too). My wife is a big supporter of the concept of the Rev3 races and luckily I don't have to sign up way in advance. I'll decide on Half vs. Oly later based on how my training goes. My wife wouldn't mind if I did Rev3 Cedar Point as my late season half iron distance (it is near her sister's home) but we have even more time to decide on that one.

I'll still go to Placid to cheer on the faithful and make that a training weekend.Other races, like sprint triathlons, camps like FiremanIronman and/or bike events, will be sprinkled in later by BikeMike as part of official training.

Official training, by the way, resumes November 1.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Some things you need to learn cannot be taught

I recently was reading a book (yes, an old school book made of paper) and one of the themes of this book can be paraphrased as the title of this post: somethings you need to learn cannot be taught. This book had to do with music lessons and the balance (or imbalance) between technique, interpretation, and artistry. I "got it" as it relates to music and thought it would be interesting to see how this concept applied to the world of sports, the ones that I try to participate in particular.

Great idea, Joe, but then my mind went blank.

In the meantime, my daughter was having a hard time with her athletic expectations. Her first cross country race of the year, although it was a PR for her, didn't go the way she had planned and hoped. She went out too fast, suffered near the end and was devastated. She did the same thing, but even worse, on her second race but the difference was that she had one of her slowest times ever at that distance. When I spoke to her after the race she realized that she was more concerned with everyone else and she said "I need to run my own race." The awareness of this concept, although she has been told this again and again, became a eureka moment for her.

The other thing she needed to "learn" was proper pacing. Again, no matter how often she was told that she was going out too fast, it didn't stick. Fortunately, she tried going out a little slower and ran a very strong race in her third meet, setting a huge PR (second fastest 9th grade girl in her school ever), being really strong at the end, and passing people to gain points for her team.

Two things that she needed to learn, pacing and running your own race, I believe are really hard to learn except by paying your dues. They aren't something that can be taught effectively but they are some of the keys required for success.

Then I started thinking of more. Finding the exact balance between too hard and too easy is a continuous challenge for most athletes and another thing for the list. Knowing the difference between hurting and being injured can make the cut. Self awareness while racing to be able to adapt can be added too. I sure there are many more and I wish I had a list of these things so that I could teach them or be taught but, then again, that probably wouldn't matter so much since they can't be taught.

But they need to be learned. Got any to add?

Rock on.