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good choices

In good business on December 2, 2010 at 7:12 am

My son is in the first grade. He likes to teach random lessons (see bucket bully). Last night he gave one of his best lectures. As I was yammering on about a business meeting, superhero son appears and says…

“Dad! I know what you can say at your meeting. We gotta agree everybody. And make good choices.”

Heroes and Superfreaks

In good business, sketches, what the? on November 18, 2010 at 6:55 am

Last week on my way to the cafeteria I was irritated by the guy in front of me. He was pokey and I had a meeting. First he couldn’t figure out which tray to take, then he couldn’t pull the fork out of the bin. I wished he’d hurry up or get out of the way.

I fetched my usual eggs, bacon, fruit, milk and went to the cashier. She had a nose ring and some brilliant tattoos. Her look was way unusual for my conservative organization. I call her “Super Freak” for the rest of this post.

My mood immediately shifted with Super Freak. We started to banter back and forth. There was some brief discussion about cycling. It turns out she commutes to work. Suddenly, I became the jerk in a suit holding back the line.

My total came to $4.03. I had only a $10 bill. The line of suits behind me started to get restless as she reached in her pocket searching for 3 pennies. I told her not necessary but she insisted, “3 pennies is nothing, dude.” She completely changed my perspective and made my day.

Last week, Darryl @lovingthebike posted the blog “I need a Hero.” I didn’t have an answer for his post last week and I’m still not sure I have a hero, but people like Super Freak are probably the closest thing.

We need more people outside the control limits.

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*Mr. @lovingthebike is the kindest dude on twitter and writes some brilliant cycling posts. He’ll make you think about issues surrounding the bike… culture, art, family, etc. You can chat with professor @lovingthebike tonight at #bikeschool – he’s moderating.

chef Al

In good business on October 24, 2010 at 12:31 am

Dear Chula Vista Resort,

Our family has been coming to your resort for a few years now. Every since our oldest boy was tall enough to do the slides we started looking online for the best indoor waterpark deals.

The first time we stayed with you, our son met chef Al while eating breakfast at the buffet. They immediately bonded. He was the very first person to teach our son the “knuckles” greeting.

Since that stay, every time we mention a trip, our son asks if we can go see chef Al. So while there are a few options in the area we have decided to stick with Chula Vista to see chef Al.

Good service is not always easy to find. Remarkable service is about as rare as an albino buffalo. So when somebody like chef Al goes out of his way to be remarkable – on every encounter – I’m compelled to tell as many people about it as I can.

Thanks for another great trip. Please share with chef Al… he’s REMARKABLE!

chaotic collisions

In good business, seth school, what the? on October 4, 2010 at 11:51 am

This is not a race report. I still have to figure out what happened on the course this weekend. It’s possible I never will. All I have on the matter so far is this 140 character summary.

So here’s another story.

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Chaotic collisions (or last week on twitter). A friend recommended I follow another friend, who had a link to this excellent TED video: Where ideas come from

Then I received a vexing tweet so I closed twitter and read more blog entries… where I found Holstee’s website and manifesto:

Chaotic collisions are everywhere. Mix, mash, create, destroy, repeat. Make it a great week, friends… let’s make a ruckus.

holsteins, zappos, etc.

In cycling, good business, running, seth school on September 8, 2010 at 11:19 am

[estimated read time: 45 seconds]

Some miscellany to report…

I’ve been riding my singlespeed 29er more lately. There are some fun cow paths nearby to explore and I’ve been taking advantage of the bulls being out of the pasture. I took this picture of a local Holstein cow — curious creatures.

Zappos. I ordered some new shoes and am completely amazed by their customer service. Have you seen their core values? Really something I tell you… even fun and weird. Go here –> Zappos Family Core Values

Values. Something about the change of season that makes you think about values, philosophy, strategy, etc. Seems a good time for re-engineering, re-imagining, re-something.

Running. I’ve been doing alot of it lately. September and October are perfect for this – love the crunchy leaves under feet.

Push-ups. I’m  starting to do some and my pecs hurt.

When rubber meets road.

In cycling, good business on July 30, 2010 at 8:39 pm

Earlier this week I received an email from a reader. I’ll call him the Michelin man. He thanked me for sharing the Dr. Seuss poem on bikerly blog and asked if I would be interested in a Michelin bike partnership opportunity. I didn’t know how to respond since I’ve only considered this blog a means to improve writing skills and tell some short stories about biking, running, tree fort adventures and the like. Getting the word out about good bike products is important, but I wasn’t sure if this was bikerly blog’s thing.

The thing is, my Subaru is over a decade old and among other stuff like brakes, it needs new tires by Winter. With the cost of tires and other related maintenance, I wonder if the $1,500+ would be money well spent. And then there is the uneasy feeling about supporting oil, the angst stepping into a hot box after work, etc. etc. I’ve been trying to commute more on my bike with the hopes of replacing the Subaru with an extracycle or similar cargo bike.

Raised on a farm, I’ve seen many Michelin and they’ve been great performing tires. And, I’m a big fan of companies that use social media strategy for good (vs evil). I thought, here’s a company that is trying to get the word out about bike tires – which is a good thing. I did some research and based on comments at LovingTheBike.com their bike tires are solid, like my experience with the farm tires. Long story short, I’ve decided to buy replacement Michelin City Pilot tires for my Raleigh 29er, some fenders and pursue the idea of being car free. In this aspect I’m partnering with Michelin to get the word out about biking… when given the chance to buy bike tires or car tires, go by bike.

PS – if mountain biking is your deal and the chance of winning a Giant mountain bike makes you happy, you have until July 31 to enter here.

In search of the endless xtracycle.

In cycling, good business on July 8, 2010 at 12:45 am

Approximate read time: 60 seconds

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Friends, I need an xtracycle. I first learned of these bikes from Cassi (aka @morebikes). If you haven’t seen her blog, do yourself a favor  and go there right now to read her daily adventures and see the big dummy.

I’ve searched craigslist/ebay but apparently everyone likes to keep their xtracycles and I figure if WordPress can sneak google ads on my blog, I may as well do some advertising myself.

Can you help me locate an xtracycle freeradical kit for my Bianchi mountain bike? It has been waiting patiently under the porch for this very moment 🙂 See below for an example of what we are going for (via BikeImages)

(photo via BikeImage)

and more via the Xtracycle Flickr. Thanks!

Independence, Freedom and the Lizard Brain.

In cycling, good business, seth school on July 4, 2010 at 6:26 pm

This 4th of July is a rainy one. Perfect for a bike ride, blog post and thoughts on freedom. I come from a family of farmers – the first in my family to be employed by someone else. My dad, his dad, my dad’s dad’s dad… never reported to a supervisor or experienced an annual peer review.

This was the thought on my mind this morning. I’m explaining another potential business plan to my wife. She’s reading People magazine. One kid is sleeping in the crib. The other on the computer upstairs. I ramble on…

Bike shop with a xtracycle, cargo bike/trailer niche and also a place to get a good coffee, soup and a sandwich. A community hub for bike enthusiasts… maybe even rent out a bike stand for people who want to do it themselves but don’t have all the tools… an eclectic place with soul. Used bikes, single speeds, fixies, (mountain bikes perhaps) or a custom design shop where we sit down with customers, design to meet their specific needs and build.

I continue to yammer about cool businesses I’ve discovered like Sweetpea Bicycles, Surly, xtracycle, Bike Trailer Shop, and Peace Coffee. Alot of uh-huhs from my wife… I dream alot, she knows this better than any.

The business plan needed some work so I decided no better place than on the bike. About 15 minutes into my normal loop the clouds started to unload. Wet. But I love riding in the rain so I decided to pedal on and try a new route.

Along the route I came across this property for sale. The note on the window said it was winterized… seemingly vacated for some time. The house was nothing special but what appealed to me was the shop space and the fact it was positioned right across from a local elementary school – a place that the local bike club uses for regular bike ride start/end points. Trails are nearby and connected to just about everywhere.

Could this be future corporate headquarters for Bikerly Bikes?

The property needed some work but I envisoned employee campfires, beer drinking while wrenching on the job and all kinds of crazy fun stuff (not pictured is a great basketball court) Real bikerly stuff.

Then in the backyard I find the perfect hideout, slash castle, slash bunker, slash whatever my son can dream of… the place seems to have it all.

The thing I wonder about is this… remembering the days on the farm, we would be out doing chores on Independence Day while my friends were at the lake. There was always work to do, holidays no exception. And, raising livestock was not my dream. It was bonafide work and it stunk.

What about owning a bike shop? What would happen with my bike passion if I ended up doing more wrenching than riding? How would it impact the family? Could being an independent owner of a business actually end in less freedom or is this just the lizard brain talking again?

How do you define success?

In good business on June 5, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Yesterday we lost the greatest coach ever. John Wooden (coach) led UCLA to record wins unmatched in the world of basketball. He coached the basketball team at UCLA for 27 years with an overall won/lost record of 620 – 147. His teams won ten NCAA championships, and went undefeated through four different complete seasons — 1963-64, 1966-67, 1971-72, and 1972-73.

Coach was a teacher with some important lessons. This 17 minute TED video highlights his teachings. In the video, coach provides his definition of success, cites poetry and shares lessons learned while raised on a farm. The lessons are simple yet profound. Never try to be better than someone else. Always learn from others. Do not focus energy on things outside your control. Be on time. Never be late. Always be neat and clean. Never criticize a teammate. Not one word of profanity. Ever.

You may have seen coach’s pyramid of success before. This image (via http://www.coachjohnwooden.com) provides an alternative to the Merriam-Webster definition of success and 12 lessons on leadership.

Question: How do you define success?