The Business of Long-Distance Triathlon: A Follow-Up

Last August, I was thinking about the business of professional long-distance triathlon. As I was thinking, I created a chart.

The chart illustrates the challenge facing pro triathlon and its athletes: the sport has an incredibly small audience. Even smaller than other niche sports, like cycling. Even surfing. This makes it hard for pro long-distance triathlon and its athletes to attract and keep major sponsors. 

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Consumer Tech, Advertising + Commerce: State of the Union

As 2016 gets underway, for consumer tech, advertising and commerce — which, today, are joined at the hip — three things are clear:

1. It’s a Mobile-First World

Today, nearly half of the world’s adults have a smartphone. By 2020, that ratio will reach 80%. 

Mobile includes more than just smartphones. It covers tablets, watches, cars, desktops, laptops, and, with the introduction of Apple TV, televisions — any device that runs iOS or Android.

Going forward, products, brands, channels and publications looking to connect with consumers digitally must power their design and development strategies first and foremost with a mobile-mindset — a desktop-friendly website is just icing on the cake. 

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Periscope-Powered Commerce

Last Thursday morning, as Olivier Rousteing’s Balmain for H&M collection was crashing H&M’s website, I wondered—not for the first time: when—when!—is Periscope going to be commerce-enabled??

In 2015, shopping online is pretty much the same experience it was when commerce first hit the web in the 1990s. And it is essentially that same experience that has been migrated over to mobile. It's tired, and it's a hassle, with different backends and checkouts for every site, every platform. 

Periscope, on the other hand, is fun. I’ve written about this briefly, before: it serves up a great combination of behind-the-scenes access and impromptu, unscripted global conversations. It’s Snapchat, only better—it’s immediate, it's intimate.

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The Business of Long-Distance Triathlon: A Playbook for Growth

All in a Day’s Work: $30,000 vs. $3 million

At 6:40 a.m. on Sunday, July 5th, pro triathletes Jan Frodeno and Daniela Ryf toed the line of the shore of the Langener Waldsee in Germany. They were there to compete in Ironman Frankfurt—along with 65 other professional and 3,000 recreational triathletes from all over the world. Like the better-known Ironman World Championship, held each October, in Kona, Hawaii, the Frankfurt race was a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run.   

Frodeno crossed the line victorious 7 hours and 49 minutes later—a blistering pace. Ryf dominated in kind, taking the women’s field in 8 hours and 51 minutes. Both broke course records, on a day when temperatures hit the 100 degree mark, and 35% of the registered athletes did not finish the race.

For their efforts, Frodeno and Ryf each won $30,000. Runners up Sebastian Kienle and Julia Gajer collected $15,000 a piece. The prize purse for the race was $150,000, and the balance of the money—$60,000—was divvied up between the remaining top ten male and female pros.

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The Month of July 2015

The month of July, brought to you by the letter S: science and space, sports and sex. Summer.


Basic truth: at the beginning of July, I didn’t know that the sun is a star.

More truths: I didn’t know how many planets there are in the solar system. It goes without saying that I didn’t know their order—or how far apart they are from each other—or us.

I kind of knew that the earth rotates around the sun. Honestly, that was even shaky.

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The Month of June 2015


ICYMI, there was a shuffling of the guard at Twitter early this month. Dick Costello, out. Jack, in. The move was preceded by an 8,500 word missive from angel investor and Twitter-enthusiast Chris Sacca, detailing his views on what the company can and should be doing better in order to regain traction.

Buried in the pretty unconvincing laundry list of ideas (unconvincing only because it’s hard to see how incremental tweaks will fix Twitter’s core business at this point) was Sacca’s nod to the recently acquired live-streaming app, Periscope, “Periscope may prove to be the most important deal Twitter has ever done.” I completely agree.

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The Month of May 2015

After much time away, I am returning to my blog. When I was last writing, in 2011 and 2012, I was thinking about business model design, mostly. That’s always on my mind, so it will be a thread again—filtered through the lens of the industries and subjects that I find fun: finance and financial markets, media and technology, fashion, food and pro sports.

I’m setting the bar low, to start. I’ll write a post on the final Friday of each month, highlighting people, stories and events that captured my interest and attention during the month. And—perhaps—a longer article or two in between.

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