Commentary

Commentary, Outdoor Recreation / 28.07.2009

[caption id="attachment_505" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Summit of Ensign Peak "]Summit of Ensign Peak [/caption] With a few hours to kill before my flight back to Madison from Salt Lake City I ran to the top of Ensign Peak. That is to say that I climbed to the summit as quickly as I could. I did a fair amount of walking as I scrambled up the warm asphalt and dirt trails. I’m still nursing a bum hip that’s gone from dislocated to merely damn sore. I continue to heal. But there with a panoramic view of the city below I had an opportunity to reflect back on the week’s event and declare to myself that this was the best Outdoor Retailer Summer Market ever! -- A bold statement to be sure, so I’ll qualify. Having attended OR every year since 1992 at this most recent summer market the excitement and enthusiasm for our business of outdoor recreation in my opinion has never been higher. Despite dire economic circumstances retailers and manufacturers set themselves to the task of productive commerce. They seemed to encourage one another to embrace the opportunities found in an active population eager to engage the natural world through sport and play. -- “This was a great show,” said Ira Watchel owner of Champaign Surplus in Champaign, Illinois. “Most of the vendors we deal with seemed to put their egos aside this year and were serious about helping us to improve our business.” And Brenda Mohr, a buyer at the Alpine Shop in St. Louis said she enjoyed the sense of community she felt this year. “By the time we got here, most of our buy was already done,” Mohr said. “We’re here and we brought our new managers to experience more of what the outdoor industry has to offer. It’s not the products. It’s the people.”
Commentary, Outdoor Recreation / 20.07.2009

[caption id="attachment_492" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009 "]Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009 [/caption] It’s that time of year again. The Outdoor Retailer Summer Market kicks off this morning with the Open Air Demo in Ogden, Utah. Then starting tomorrow and through the next four days about 30,000 exhibitors, retailers, outfitters, service providers and environmental activists will gather in Salt Lake City to share our common passion for all things outdoors. Held twice each year, winter and summer, OR is like a combination of Christmas and a class union. Everywhere you look there’re bright and shiny new toys to play with and old friends you haven’t seen in way too long. It’s also a meeting of some of the brightest minds tasked with the creation of practical products and systems to allow people to lead an active sustainable lifestyle.
Bikes, Commentary, Cycling, Madison, Outdoor Recreation / 19.07.2009

[caption id="attachment_484" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Team Joy Trip post Ride For Boys & Girls Club"]TeamJoyTrip[/caption] So far our Bike For Boys & Girls Club team has raised $1,375. With a more than a month of fundraising still to go we’re well on track to reach our goal of $3,500. On Saturday July 18th 14 of my cycling friends and I road our bikes 50 miles around the Madison area to help promote programs that engage disadvantaged young people in our community. And though we’ve ridden this familiar route dozens of times for our own enjoyment there was something truly special about doing it this time for such a worthy cause. --
Commentary, Fashion / 09.07.2009

[caption id="attachment_405" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="Outdoor Reps Association Summer Fashion Show"][/caption] Even if you're an environmentalist, fashion matters. Technical garments made sustainably allow us to encounter the natural world in comfort, grace and style. This series of photographs was taken during a fashion show at the Outdoor Reps Association Summer Market in Madison, Wisconsin. The models are all volunteers and passionate about their active lifestyles. Visit Flickr! for the complete array of photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nwsr8th/sets/72157621090335831/...

Commentary / 07.06.2009

justin-timberlake-dick-in-a-box-2-8-07-thumb-300x400 I’d been feeling inadequate. In my wanderings through the twitterverse it had become clear to me that I just didn’t measure up.  Out there were tweeters far more potent than I am with big followings. I had twitter envy. Tweeters with followings of 22,000 or more were making time with huge audiences of twitterotti. And all those tweetile enhancement posts just made me feel all the more self-conscious and insecure. “Want to grow your following? We can help.” “Grow your following and extend your reach. It’s easy.” “Like to have a bigger following every morning when you get up? Let us show you the way.” They say the first step in finding a solution is realizing that you have a problem. “My name is James. And I have a small following.” Hey, tweetile dysfunction is nothing to laugh at. Your ability to tweet effectively defines who you are in the world of online media. Earlier this week I approached a major product manufacturer in the hopes that they might sponsor my blog. When the director of public relations asked, “So how big is your following?” I immediately changed the subject too embarrassed to answer. “It’s OK,” she said. “It happens to everyone?” The size of your following ultimately determines whether or not people will take you seriously. Your following is crucial if you expect more people to view and pass along your messages. It was obvious to me that if I was going be an engaging and compelling producer of new media I had to invest in tweetile augmentation.