April Fundo and Welcome Recovery Week

On Saturday, I completed my April fundo (100 kilometer ride). This was my 3rd 100K ride of 2022 and my goal is to ride a fundo in at least 9 of the 12 months. I am now at 3/4 through April, so on track. I couldn’t round up any of the usual suspects so I headed out on the road on my own a little after 8am. I had to take my son Owen to a soccer game about 30 minutes away at 2, so I had a good window of 5+ hours to complete the ride, eat something and shower up.

Looking back on previous 100K rides, my moving time varied between 4:30 and 5:45, but my total time was more in the 5 to 6.5 hour range. Many of those rides had been organized rides with rest stops and friends, where we probably lingered a whole, especially late in the rides. So I set a goal to be back by 12:30, and knew that this meant I’d not be stopping much along the way. Also, I decided to do a relatively big climb, Old La Honda road, which is about 3.1 miles at 7.8% average gradient, about 1600 ft of climbing in around 30 minutes.

Well long story short, as shown below, I did the ride in 4:17 moving time, with just 12 minutes of “stopping”. That 12 minutes probably included at least half at lights, so really, I rode this with only 1 quick stop halfway through to peel a few layers and to fuel with some carbs.

This was a great day out, the weather was perfect, as it was nearly 70 degrees by the time I pulled in at 12:40 or so. And I felt pretty hungry but still fresh at the end of the ride. I am now 7 weeks into a 10 week training block to prepare for a 100 mile ride at the end of May, and felt like I could have gone another 37.2 if I needed to.

I am now in a “recovery week” where I am just doing some short rides and no real hard interval work. And I definitely feel like I need to recover after that effort. I slept like a log on Saturday night, had a nice easy spin on Sunday, a good gym session on Monday, and a nice ride chippy ride today (Tuesday). I feel like I am recovering from this effort faster and stronger than I can ever remember recovering from this hard of a ride. YEAH! And to top it off later that PM Owen had his first ever “Clean sheet” in goal, a 2-0 shut out win!

On the gear side, I am really liking the new Garmin 830 Edge computer, a great upgrade from my old trusty but rusty Lezyne Super GPS. The Garmin needs less screens, syncs better, and captures more data than the Lezyne did. Definitely worth the upgrade. I also just attached the Garmin Varia tail light/radar unit after my ride today, and “look forward” to being able to “see backward” on my next ride (Thanks again to John and Hema for the B-day gift!) . I’ll right up my thoughts on the Varia after a few weeks of using it. Stay tuned.

And look for me out on the roads, I’ll be yours,

The #OldManRolling

My Strength Training Routine

While I was at the gym, my very long time friend and now cycling confidante John N texted me and asked me, “do you use dumbells or what?, I want to add weight training to my routine”. I replied, “At the gym, I’ll write it up for you…”

So here’s my 2x/week Strength Training routine, I built this to be specific to cycling but also to add some additional “upper body” work for overall physical balance and strength.

  1. Warm Up
    • Hip stretches – I have bursitis in both hips, so I do a fairly long hip stretching routine prior to riding and lifting, on days I don’t do Yoga
  2. Core Work
    • Planks – Front and both sides. 3 set, 1 minute, 45 seconds and 30 sec. I do front, side, side for 1 min as first set
    • Spiderman push ups. 1 set of 20, both sides
    • Renegade rows, 1 set of 25, each side
  3. Squat Series
    • Weighted Pistol squats, 1 set of 20, each side
    • Weighted Bulgarian Split squats – 1 set of 20, each side
    • Kettleball 2 leg squat, 1 set of 25
  4. Upper Body
    • Dips weight assisted (working the weight to be less) 3 set of 15-20
    • Pull ups – Same weight assisted, 3 sets of 15-20
    • Bench press 3 set of 20, currently at 90 lbs (self spotting machine)
    • Military press – 3 sets of 20, currently at 40 lbs + bar

The entire workout takes about 50-60 minutes, and I feel great after. Anyone have any thoughts on this? Want to share other ideas? It’s hard to assess the impact of this work on my cycling performance, but I definitely know that since I added this in October of last year, my weight has gone up a bit, but I am sure it’s all lean mass, not fat, and my cycling feels stronger and I feel better. Love it!

See ya in the Gym – Old Man Rolling

OLD MAN ROLLING – What’s this All About?

I’ve started this new blog category on my business site (that’s me in orange, second from right in photo), but do plan to make it it’s own thing! Here, I am hoping to chronicle my journey as a “later in life” cyclist, to share my story of the last two years when I have transformed my mind and body toward later in life fitness, health, and performance, to track my next goals, and to hopefully inspire a few others “older” athletes along the way. Some stats from the beginning of my journey in April of 2020

  • Weight – 178 pounds (if you don’t know, I am only 5′ 4″ so that’s kinda, as my kids used to say, “squishy”)
  • 4/19 to 4/20 Cycling mileage – 540 miles
  • Functional Threshold Power on bike – < 180 W (estimate)
  • FTP W/KG = 2.2
  • Best 2019 time on Old La Honda Climb – 35:16

Compare that to today:

  • Weight – 150 pounds
  • 4/21 to 4/22 Cycling mileage -5120 miles
  • Functional Threshold Power – 257 W (8 min interval test)
  • FTP W/KG = 3.78
  • Best 2022 time (so far) on Old La Honda Climb – 25:20

And yes, I am really super proud of these accomplishments, but I am only getting started and will in a bit share a few more goals along the way.

First, and I have a lot to say about all of these items on the list, here’s at the top level how I got this done, not in perfect order btw:

  1. I committed to riding 3 or more days every week rain or shine (I still haven’t bought that indoor trainer set up).
  2. I dived into learning about performance, started using training plans, and even had a coach
  3. I read Joe Friel’s Fast After 50, amazing eye opener (thanks Mark B for the recommendation!)
  4. I got a power meter, and incorporated Interval Power training into my workouts
  5. I changed (not a ton) my eating habits, especially “fueling” consciously before, during and after rides.
  6. I learned about things like functional over-reach, recovery and more (thanks TrainerRoad Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast)
  7. I added both Yoga (need more consistency still) and strength training into my fitness routine

There’s more, from gear to friends to clothing but these seven things were really at the crux of my improvement. Along the way, I had one bad crash (small fracture in elbow (lucky) and totalled bike, (no so lucky)) , had memorable rides with friends, replaced the road bike and bought a new gravel bike and still managed to run my consulting practice, coach and ref soccer and spend time with my amazing wife and kids and even take needed vacation and break weeks along the way. Lots of stories to tell, and lots of learnings to share.

Lastly, here are my current goals for 2022 –

  • Ride a 100K day 10 out of 12 months. (2 out 3 so far, hope to make it 3/4 this weekend)
  • Ride one organized 100 mile fundo or century ride
  • Break 24:30 on Old La Honda and 33:30 on Kings Mountain
  • Get better on gravel, get more gravel miles in, including Dirt Alpine local climb

AND my BIG DECADE GOAL – Be faster at 70 than I am at 60. Ambitious FOR SURE. Doable, we shall see. Regardless I hope it’s a great journey that you will join me on…

See you on the road,

Ken – AKA “Old Man Rolling”

The (Secret?) Power and Beauty of the #CategoryMeme

A client of mine recently launched their new Category initiative. They are both a technical and customer innovator in a hot, but crowded market, like pretty much all B2B technology innovators are. Their CEO views their #CategoryMeme as one of of their “Secret weapons” to winning in their market. The reception from customers, analysts and investors has surprised them, but honestly, not so much me.

Defining a defensible, meaningful and narrative driven category, creates a #CategoryMeme, an idea that sticks, replicates and spreads in the marketplace of ideas and products. This client has just started on their journey, but already is seeing the power of the #CategoryMeme.

Ideas are more powerful than technology, and #CategoryMemes are ideas that are built to Penetrate the market and create lasting market leadership. Ideas are best communicated through story, and the KJR #ViewpointStory, modeled after Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey, is the perfect story framework to carry your #CategoryMeme into the hearts and minds of buyers, investors and influencers.

In my blog series that starts here, I explore the Penetrate, Replicate, Spread Framework for #CategoryMeme success. But the (not so secret) power and beauty of the right #CategoryMeme is perfectly summed up by my client like this…

“It’s going great, people hear us say ‘_______’ {Their #CategoryMeme} and they say yes, tell me more, how can I get one…”

And isn’t that a thing of #CategoryMeme beauty!

Spreading the #CategoryMeme – Enabling, Embedding and Incentivizing

Spreading your #categoryMeme is the third step in our Penetrate, Replicate, Spread framework, and takes off right where Replicate ends, with Enablement, then goes to Embedding and Incentivizing #CategoryMeme spread. We discussed enablement of #CategoryMeme replication in this previous post, and the great news, is the same principles apply when discussing Spreading. Here’s what we said;

Enablement – Once you’ve simplified it, create very sharable, very replicable assets and distribute them out broadly into the marketplace. Create a #CategoryMeme hashtag for your #CategoryMeme. Create a set of backlinks to a more detailed description. Create JPEG, AudioClips, Clipart, all showing and communicating the #CategoryMeme. AND VERY IMPORTANTLY, don’t just create them and share them, but let them fly into the world. Don’t trademark the #CategoryMeme or the artifacts, let the world own them!!! Share with customers, prospects, analysts, and YES EVEN COMPETITORS!!!

So we’ve done most of the work on Enablement, let’s move to Embedding and Incentivizing #CategoryMeme spread. On the topic of Embedding, we turn to our old friend Brodie writing on Meme spreading:

Some of the ways Mind Viruses encourage spreading are (by):

*Programming you with (another) meme like “get the word out before it’s too late” , pushing your “crises” and “window of opportunity” buttons

*Programming you a meme to the effect “teaching this to our children will help them”

* Programming you to evangelize the virus. Some synonyms for evangelize are …passing the favor on and enrollment

….Evangelism is the intentional spreading of memes.

Brodie, Virus of the Mind, Pages 145-146

If we want to create the conditions to encourage the spread of our #CategoryMeme, we need to embed urgency, cross adoption benefit, and membership memes into our #CategoryMeme. “Do it before it’s too late”, “The more who do it, the better it gets for all of us”, “Join the amazing club”, “A call to arms” are all examples of the types of Evangelizing Memes you can embed within your #CategoryMeme to encourage those already “infected with it” to Evangelize and spread it.

Lastly, we may want to Incentivize and catalyze spread through creating both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards for spreading the #CategoryMeme. Intrinsic incentives such as the well known (but not very Google discoverable) #culturalMeme in the Jewish Community that if you make 3 “shidduchim”, introductions that lead to marriages, you’ll go straight to olam habah (heaven) . A clear incentive for spreading the religious continuity meme of marriage and procreation. In a business context recognition within the community of practice can be a powerful intrinsic reward. This can be facilitated and encouraged by #CategoryMeme designers through referencing (willing) adopters, and by creating venues and opportunities for them to promote themselves in the context of #CategoryMeme adoption. Extrinsic rewards can include affiliate and referral fees, badges and club identifiers and other tangible assets. (NFTs anyone:)).

So to encourage the spread of our #CategoryMeme, Enable, Embed and Incentivize its spread through the tools of marketing; asset creation and sharing, media and publicity, psychology and incentives, and good old #cash.

In my upcoming final post of this series, I will summarize our Penetrate, Replicate, Spread #CategoryMeme success formula.

Reproducing the #CategoryMeme – Simplify, Enable and Reward Your Marketplace

In order for a #CategoryMeme to spread, the third step of our Penetrate, Replicate, Spread framework, first, it must replicate itself, and do so as Brodie says, “faithfully”. What does this mean? Our prospects and other market participants must be able to easily describe our category, in other words, to parrot our definition. There are three key steps to creating the market environment for #CategoryMeme replication. These are:

  • Simplification – Make it super easy to explain
  • Enablement – Providing the “pre-packaged” artifacts for market adoption
  • Reward – Create rewards for replicating the #CategoryMeme

Let’s take a quick look at each of these.

KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid! – Can you write a 1 sentence definition of the category? Can you provide a simple and clear metaphor for it? Can you sketch it clearing on the back of a napkin? Can you explain it to someone who is not part of your market?

Southwest – A New #CategoryMeme: the First Regional Discount Airline!

Enablement – Once you’ve simplified it, create very sharable, very replicable assets and distribute them out broadly into the marketplace. Create a #CategoryMeme hashtag for your #CategoryMeme. Create a set of backlinks to a more detailed description. Create JPEG, AudioClips, Clipart, all showing and communicating the #CategoryMeme. AND VERY IMPORTANTLY, don’t just create them and share them, but let them fly into the world. Don’t trademark the #CategoryMeme or the artifacts, let the world own them!!! Share with customers, prospects, analysts, and YES EVEN COMPETITORS!!!

Reward – Provide feedback to those who replicate (and spread) the #CategoryMeme. Connect with them, make them part of a club, a community of #CategoryMeme lovers.

As Reward bleeds into more structured programmatic work, we then enter the third phase of #CategoryMeme success, Spread, which I will explore in the next blog of this series.

Name It, Frame It and Spike It ! #CategoryMeme Penetration – Entering the Market’s Mind

In my last post, I discussed the 3 steps to Category Success, borrowing from the work of Richard Brodie. These steps were:

  1. Penetration – The Category must enter the mind of market participants
  2. Faithful Replication – The participants must be able to mirror and replicate the Category idea
  3. Spreading – The Category needs to spread efficiently and quickly from participant to participant

Let’s dive into Step 1 now in some more depth and examine the question, how do I get the category to enter the mind of market participants? Brodie suggest that Memes enter the mind through 3 typical paths – repetition, cognitive dissonance and trojan horse. For a #CategoryMemes, the equivalents are Repetition, Contrast and Problem. Let’s take a quick look at each of these and how they work together.

Repetition – Did I say that enough yet? – #CanYouHearMeNow?

Say it, say it again, and say it some more. Say what? – The category name. Once you name it, you keep repeating it. You get sick of saying it. You think you’ve said it enough. You have all your sales people repeat it. It’s in every tweet, every deck, every-thing! Then magically others start repeating. It becomes a market “earworm” and soon enough even your competitors start to repeat it too, and what a joy that is, they are building your lead!

Contrast – Framing the Difference#NameItThenFrameIt

Once you name it, over and over again, you’ve got to frame it. “Unlike X, #CategoryMeme does this…”, “While an X has these capabilities, a true #CategoryMeme has these…” or simply “A #CategoryMeme is different that this because…” Human brains need comparison points, and we have to set up the difference for them, or we risk getting lumped together with older or competitively owned categories.

Problem – Attaching Your #CategoryMemes – #SpikeProtein

You name it, you say it, you say it again, but does anyone pay attention. Pardon the analogy, but the #SpikeProtein of your #CategoryMeme is the customer problem. And not just any problem, but a “Capital P” problem. A strategic problem that the economic buyer cares about, a lot! And one that your category solution helps them solve, and transforms their success, both personally, and for the organization. (for more on this, see my post on The Problem with Problems) . If there one thing to get right, it’s this! Without a “Spike” you simply won’t attach your #CategoryMeme to your marketplace.

So in summary, to penetrate your #CategoryMeme into the market, use repetition and framing to explain to the market how your #CategoryMeme solves a big P problem and other older categories don’t. Do it again, then do it some more.

And check back here for the next two posts in this series on #CategoryMeme Faithful Repetition and Spreading.

Launching to Leading; Five Years Later and Still More Relevant Than Ever

When you write a business book, especially one where you set up the problem with market trends, you always worry that the trends you have identified are temporary or will end soon, making your books relevance plummet. To combat this, you really need to try to pick trends that you feel strongly will last at least a few years or more. And if you are really good, lucky, or a combination of the two, you’ve found trends that are not just timely, but will continue to accelerate for even longer.

So I will write it off to 20% prescience, 20% market feel and 60% good fortune that 5 years after publishing Launching to Leading trends I point to in the book are even bigger:

  • Information is (EVEN MORE ) Abundant
  • B2B Markets are (MORE) Crowded (than ever)
  • B2B Buyers are (MORE)independent, connected and in control

YET still too many B2B Companies get stuck in launch and never become the market leaders they should because they:

1) continue to hide information (about pricing, demos, etc…)
2) continue to compete on features
3) overvalue value, thinking the best ROI wins

Instead of following the proven path in the book of:
1) Creating a compelling, transformative Viewpoint story for the potential buyers of their offering and category
2) Identifying the UNIQUE value only they can deliver to those buyers
3) Demonstrating, not simply describing, that value during the entire buying EXPERIENCE

For the longer version, it’s just 99c for the Kindle version to celebrate – So get it today for the price of well 99c, and if you write a review, I’ll send you an autographed hard copy of the book!

May all of yours and your customers’ Hero’s Journey be transformative and amazing – Ken

I’ve Been Infected, Not with Covid, But with A Mind Virus- #CategoriesAreMemes #PassItOn ;)!

Before DancingCats, TidePods, BucketChallenges and other “memes” took over the internet, a branch of social science called Memetics was actually built around the idea of Memes. The term Meme was coined more than 40 years ago in the landmark book by Richard Dawkins “The Selfish Gene“. Dawkins defined a meme as “a unit of human cultural transmission analogous to the gene”, and sees the meme as information that replicates and is passed on. Further developed by others including Dennett in “From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds”, memetics, the study of cultural evolution via the passing of memes from host to host in a society has been bouncing around academic and pop culture circles for decades.

After reading Dennett, I started thinking about how the ideas of memetics applies to Product Category Design and Strategy for my clients. Some quick Google searching convinced me that this is unchartered territory and to a book called “Virus of the Mind – The New Science of the Meme” by Richard Brodie. In this often quirky and new agey book, Brodie offers some basic frameworks on how Memes, what he very pejoratively labels Mind Viruses, spread.

Judgement aside, Brodie’s work is quite interesting when you think of Category Design and Marketing strategies. Brodie says that Mind Viruses work in three phases – Penetration, Faithful Replication and Spreading. What a great roadmap this is to category success.

  1. Penetration – The Category must enter the mind of market participants
  2. Faithful Replication – The participants must be able to mirror and replicate the Category idea
  3. Spreading – The Category needs to spread efficiently and quickly from participant to participant

So, how do we design a Category Meme that can do all of these, in other words, how does the category enter, replicate and spread across the marketplace. That is the $64,000 dollar question, or in many B2B categories, more like the $6.4B dollar one.

I must admit, I am interested and very infected by this idea, but as Mind Viruses go, this is a pretty rich and exciting one to study! In the next series of posts, I will try to unravel the mysteries of Category Design and Success, and how Category Memetics can help us to succeed.

PS – How many Memes can you count in this short post? Let me know your count in the comments – hint, you definitely need at least 2 hands to count them!

Everything I Ever Learned About B2B Messaging…In One Picture!

Sometimes, you just have to net it out! After nearly 14 years as a GTM messaging advisor, this is one of those times. The other week, a client looked at my Messaging Hierarchy and asked, “what are the message deliverables out of this project?” a question I get a lot. And then I realized I had never mapped deliverables to my 4 M Model of “Method, Money, Magic, Mythos”. So I did it and here it is:

At each layer of the model, I’ve listed the core deliverables that any B2B product marketing team eventually needs to drive go to market success. Some, the the Viewpoint Story and the Value Messaging Palette are in my mind, first priority. If I do I great job with these, many of the rest are by-products and/or derivatives of these. And remember, we are still at the “scripting” level of work, we still have to make the Go To Market “Movies”. But remember, just like without a great script, the right audience focus, the right stage design, and the right costume and make-up designs, the movie will probably stink, without these foundational deliverables your demand gen, content marketing, website and other content will be weak, inconsistent and ineffective.

In future blogs I plan on discussing each layer in detail, it’s importance, the related foundational deliverables and their roles in driving customer facing deliverables. But for now, here you have it, everything I’ve ever learned in one model!