Big Engines

 Bikes, E-commerce, Gadgets  Comments Off on Big Engines
Dec 132012

The blur of today included a whole lot of marketing, signing off on some pretty interesting frame samples, IT development, and dinner with a manager at one of our distributors. In actuality, he’s considerably more than that, though. This particular manager also happens to be one of the smartest and best guys I know in the bike business. One of the advantages to my current work is that it’s pretty broad. We could be discussing purchase of a simple quantity of bike products one minute, a completely original concept for a business the next, and both are things we’re actually going to do. This guy’s a good fit for discussions like that.

Anyway, one reoccurring theme to the dinner–and the day in general–was authenticity. We’re a unique company with particular goals for customer service, fulfillment and IT, and one of the things that matters to us a great deal is content.

Yes, that same crap that’s all over the Internet. Content.

Both this distributor and my company happen to be big believers in content creation. I’d just read this article by Steve Rubel that drives the point home. Retailer or manufacturer, we’re all in the content business now. When Rubel suggests your company “adopt a newsroom mentality,” I couldn’t agree more. For me, it’s always gone back to that authenticity. Content creators have a story to tell.

Assuming the year 2013 happens at all (Mayan calendar ending and all), we’re going to see two key things:

  • the beginning of the 650b revolution
  • the rise of companies with Something to Say

Good content–unique content–matters, now more than ever. When I look at what’s distinguished that manager’s company, and what I hope distinguishes our companies, it’s content. Not just high-res images and lots of product copy, but personality that comes through the business. I left dinner tonight motivated to get back to telling stories about all the companies I represent, which is really what good marketing does.

Lots of stories to tell in 2013.

Tri Bike

 Bikes  Comments Off on Tri Bike
Dec 122012

This is how all triathletes look to me.

Should have a Danzig update soon, and maybe some news of other projects.

The Shot Across the Bowels

 E-commerce, Gadgets  Comments Off on The Shot Across the Bowels
Dec 112012

A lot of truly hairy shit went down yesterday in my life as a Bicyclentrepreneur or whatever, and frankly I’m still processing it all–and will be for a long time. It’s a small world after all, is all. A really weird-ass small world. All over for now, though. My basic sense of how the world works has almost returned to normal. Maybe some day I’ll be able to write about it here. This shit’s supposed to be cathartic and stuff, right?

But it wasn’t just my own little personal yesterday that was all jacked up. Both Facebook and Google were down today. Down as in non-functional.

I don’t know about you, but I was damn near ready to start throwing bricks through store windows and grabbing shit for the coming Mayan end times when I couldn’t access my Google docs this morning–until I realized everything worth looting pretty much required Google or Facebook. D’oh!

Let’s hope this day goes a little smoother, with fewer surprises all around, and way fewer pictures of self-immolating robots. Yesterday was all kinds of wrong.

Getting Real Amish

 Swine  Comments Off on Getting Real Amish
Dec 102012

When last I checked, the Amish considered photos a bit of a problem. Photos were an manifestation of worldly vanity that went against their rigorous adherence to humility.

I’ll admit be being slightly puzzled, then, at the Discovery Channel’s new series, Amish Mafia.

Yes, “Amish Mafia.”

Based on the previews, it would appear that there’s little humility on display in the show, which I guess isn’t unexpected. Having potentially exhausted viewers with the kind of professional narcissists that crave publicity and tend to be the only real export America has left, Reality TV sort of had nowhere else to turn but those who’d normally prefer to be left alone.

And so we have another Amish reality TV show. (Yes, another.)

It sort of makes sense, though, doesn’t it? The current emphasis on “getting real” all leads to this, the 21st Century soul-cleansing that is watching people who live without electricity behaving badly on your iPad.

Every now and again, don’t you get just the slightly feeling that the single most accurate documentation for this whole century is South Park?

Personally, I’m just looking forward the more educational programming from learning channels like Discovery. Somewhere right now there’s a TV executive with an 11:00am lunch meeting to listen to a pitch for Nun Cat Fight who’s trying to figure out if he can also make the high noon meeting for Buddhist Hit Men.


 Bikes, E-commerce, Uncategorized  Comments Off on Disruption
Dec 072012

As weeks go, I’d just as soon forget this last one ever happened.

This is true for any number of reasons, not the least of which is losing Dave Brubeck. Personally, though, this past week reaffirmed my suspicions that I’m officially working my ass into the ground again–a bit of a known problem for me. Also, it confirmed that I’m a disruptive motherfucker.

I’d like to think I’ve passed into the acceptance phase of life wherein I quietly realize shit’s always going to annoy the hell out of me and that the majority of men are content to lead lives of what used to be quiet desperation, but these days turns out to be pretty loud, shrill and annoying desperation.

I’d like to think that, but apparently, I can’t. I don’t like leaving things alone.

If there’s a productive outlet for this sort of thing, it’s making things that are different. Companies, bicycles, whatever. But I can think of a lot of unproductive outlets that’d be a hell of a lot more fun. For better or more likely worse, I’m pretty sure I’m operating in 5/4 time, but I promise it’s not just to be complicated. It’s because it sounds better to me.


 Bikes  Comments Off on Droning
Dec 062012

I took today off from Canootervalve to build a drone that can follow my kids to school. I did all this under an assumed name and pretending to be a guy in Vermont, because I was a little embarrassed to admit that I hate walking outside so much that I built a drone to follow my kid to school.

There’s a good chance I’ll be taking tomorrow off, too, so I can build a drone that goes to work for me.

Dec 052012

Cable stops are roughed in.

  • 27.5/650b wheel size
  • 160mm rear travel
  • head tube ready for an Angleset
  • PF30 BB with ISCG05
  • modular dropouts with axle options
  • way oversize bearings and pivot axles
  • patented insert-badass-buzzword rear suspension system that really smart friends of mine think might actually work pretty damn well

Let’s build a bike.


 Bikes  Comments Off on Acronymonious
Dec 042012

Another very long day, so I’ll just leave you with this shot of the most recent revision of the prototype. Getting closer to torch time.

I’d better come up with some slick marketing acronym for that suspension system soon. Always tough when it’s something you actually spent endless hours developing yourself. Easier when you’re just making up stuff and have no idea how the thing works.

Making the Monster

 Bikes  Comments Off on Making the Monster
Dec 032012

Five years ago I wanted to make a bicycle–not just a regular bicycle, but one of those complicated bikes with shocks and stuff that lets you go stupid fast through ugly terrain but pedals without bobbing up and down. I don’t know what caused it, but I grew up riding motorcycles and then ended up being around the bike industry during the birth of mountain bikes and the rise of something we’re still calling “full-suspension” frames. Then I ended up selling and riding most of the best ones available. I got ideas.

Back then, I had a certain preconceived notion about what that process would be like. Mostly, I was worried I’d have to move to California and start wearing my cap flat-brim style. What I couldn’t have imagined at the time was living in Vancouver, Washington and working and seeing my work moving toward prototype stage, all while holding down two other jobs.

I find self-analysis pieces about “life throwing you curveballs” and shit not just unpleasant to read, but genuinely unbearable, so I’ll spare both of us that. Suffice to say, work hard enough to make something happen, and it probably will. So much can change between now and then, though, that if you’re not careful, you might not even notice.

Despite being busy with a whole lot of other projects, the bike I’m taking to prototype stage is my baby. It’s the thing I let myself think about once I’ve done everything else I needed to do. It’s the thing I couldn’t not do. Put me on a desert island, and I’d draw pictures of revised pivot points in the sand.

I can’t help it.

What I’m trying to remind myself at this point, though, is to enjoy the process. Maybe the design I’ve created will work well and maybe it’ll require a lot of additional work and refinement. But just being able to create it matters. I may be taking some time off the blog to dedicate to the bike, but as always, here’s where I’ll be updating anyone interested in the development process.