This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Test 3. The opinions and text are all mine.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Test 3. The opinions and text are all mine.
One of the fascinating things about being a human being on this planet is getting a sneak peek at what goes on in other people’s brains. My friend Paul is an aerospace engineer who builds satellites, makes fractal pancakes, and has a beachfront condo in his brain where all the cool numbers hang out when on vacation from calculating how to diverting some meteor on collision course with Coney Island.
I wrote a post last year about my first half ironman and included some stats about my times for each segment. I thought it would be interesting to share his analysis of exactly how fast (or in this case, slow) I really am:
Your swim was 1.2 miles and you did that in 42 minutes or 0.7 hours; therefore you swam at 1.7 mph.
Your bike was 56 miles and you did that in “just under 4 hours”; therefore you biked at 14 mph
Your run was 13.1 miles and you did that in 3 hours, 50 minutes or 3.83 hours, which is 3.42 mph
Apparently, the South American Tiger Beetle and I would have become good friends and the only competitor I can mock with confidence is the swimming sea turtle.
The discussion about whether or not to pay influencers and bloggers who create sponsored content has been going on for years. Some marketers believe that, like journalists, bloggers should not be paid for covering product news and its simply part of what they do to bring valuable content to their readers. I never quite understood this approach. If a blogger has a meaningful, loyal following of readers who represent a valuable target audience for a brand, that brand should pay for access to that audience. It would be like T-Mobile or Chipotle (both Tour De France team sponsors) asking racers to wear their shirts for free. Bloggers and those with influencial followings on their blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any other social network should be compensated for their ability to create valuable, relevant content.
This post is part of a test of our new TapInfluence influencer marketing platform. Thrilled to be seeing the company’s vision come to life!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of TapInfluence. The opinions and text are all mine.
When my son was little, my life was so consumed with the basics – carrying him, teaching him, feeding him, and just making sure he made it around sharp corners and ledges without killing himself. It was hard to imagine him grown up. But now he’s a teenager, with a driver’s license and a job, and I wonder where all the years went. I cherish every single moment of his childhood, even the hard ones, and am so proud of the young man he has become.
I have a very similar feeling about my company, TapInfluence, a cloud-based software platform that automates influencer marketing. My business partner, Rustin, and I started the company four years ago as BlogFrog and recently changed the name to TapInfluence to better reflect the idea that influencers aren’t just bloggers anymore. They include people with key audiences on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and other social networks.
When we both quit our jobs to start the company in 2009, we didn’t have an office, investors or customers – just a great idea and a passion for growing it into something big. I look back on the last four years and can’t believe how much things have changed. The company has grown to 40 employees, we have over 75 enterprise brand clients, and we’ve paid out over $1 million to bloggers and influencers who create awesome content online. Here’s a nostalgic walk thru the past four years. I’m so proud of our team!
I have given birth to one child and helped launch at least 5 start-ups. I might have a few illegitimate start-ups out there that I don’t know about but we’ll save that for another post. I had a blinding moment of delusion recently with my current start-up where I experienced the exact same feeling I did as the mother of a toddler. It was a day where one microscopic sign of progress overshadowed months of endless challenge, preparation, and self-sacrifice. How can that be?! How can the joy of one tiny hint of improvement elicit a feeling so out of proportion to the work that led up to it?
Then it hit me. The absurd number of ways that running a start-up is like having a baby. Here are my top thirteen:
I distinctly remember the day my son came home from elementary school one afternoon talking about how several of the kids in his class had iPhones. I was stunned. What does an elementary school kid need with an iPhone? He was jealous and bummed because he wanted one, too. It got me thinking about where we lived and how little diversity there was. Boulder is a beautiful, health-minded, pet-loving, educated and conscious city but it’s not necessarily a melting pot of diversity when it comes to ethnicity or income level.
I started to worry that he might take for granted all the things that were basics to us (like his Gameboy, three meals a day, electricity, a car to get him places) but might be luxury for someone who had much less. I wanted him to be grateful for the things he had and have compassion and generosity for those with less. So instead of lecturing him, I decided to show him firsthand that there were kids in the world who were happy and joyful with far less.
Around that time, I had the opportunity to join a service tour with a Burmese monk (long story) to visit Myanmar and support orphanage efforts there. I took Noah with me so he could see for himself that many children live very different lives.
The trip was 12 days and we spent time in Tokyo, Bangkok, Rangoon, and rode for hours on a bus down dirt roads to remote villages in Myanmar. We were invited into homes where the average pay was $9/month and mostly went for rice. Many children didn’t attend school because they had to work in the rice fields.
We visited orphanages where abandoned children were taken in by Catholic nuns (infant girls, the elderly, and those with physical or mental disabilities are sometimes abandoned by their families). Many of the children had never seen a boy with bond hair and they wanted to touch him or have their pictures taken with him. He got to see how they still lived with joy and wonder, even though they had no material belongings or much of a future.
By the end of the trip, Noah had put aside his Gameboy and learned origami from the Japanese women on the bus who knew no English and gave him back rubs. He eventually stopped poking me and learned to enjoy simply looking out the window of the bus and taking it all in. He still remembers the orphans he met and how, even with so little, they still wanted to give to others.
To this day, he says its the best trip he’s ever had and wants to go back. I know for sure those kids touched his heart and he taught him things about compassion, gratefulness and generosity in ways I never could.
This holiday season build a box with your family to teach kindness, compassion, and generosity.
BlogFrog will match the first 200 boxes that are built. Pledge your commitment below to build a box today on Facebook or Twitter!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Operation Christmas Child. The opinions and text are all mine.
It’s been 6 days and I’m still tired from the Boulder Ironman 70.3, my longest triathlon distance so far. The race is the third in the Annual Boulder Tri Series which includes a sprint distance in June (Boulder Sprint Tri), an Olympic distance in July (Boulder Peak Tri) and a half ironman distance in August. The race is 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run.
I was inspired to sign up by my friend Lindsay Brust, who blogged about her training and race last year at Reaching For Ironman. Started doing sprint triathlons last year, did two Olympic distances this year for training, and was following a plan I found online. With each race, I kept thinking “well, I could go a little farther than that”.
Once you get to be a few days away from a race that long, there really isn’t any type of training you can squeeze in that the last minute that will help. The biggest things you can influence by then are nutrition, sleep, and hydration. So I tried to go to bed by 9:00pm the few days before, eat three solid meals of quality food each day, and drink lots of water. To help with dehydration on race day, I avoid salt in the 48 hours before a long race too (a tip from running expert and former Olympian Jeff Galloway).
Saturday was all about prepping. Had my biked checked out by Full Cycle in Boulder, stocked up on Clif Bars, Shot Bloks, and Gu, and calculated how much water I’d need to drink each hour. I also packed a turkey sandwich. I don’t know how endurance athletes survive on just GU and energy drinks for 4 to 6 hours because my body wants real food. So I packed the turkey sandwich as my reward half-way thru the bike ride.
My swim heat started at 7:11am, which was fantastic because my age group (45+) usually starts almost an hour later. It meant less time in the heat later in the afternoon. The swim was relaxing and frankly, didn’t seem 1.2 miles long. I was happy with my 42 minute time because my fastest mile time in training was 39 minutes and this was almost a quarter mile longer.
Since I knew it was going to be an 8-hour race, I took my time in transition. I dried my feet off, went to the bathroom, ate, and put on my heart rate monitor so I could make accurate adjustments for the heat. I even stopped for a picture (thanks, Dave!).
The bike ride was lovely. It was only about 8am so still cool and I had done this route several times so I was comfortable with the course. I’m a slow-and-steady racer so I usually find my groove on the right side of the road and let people pass. Drafting is not allowed and you have 15 seconds to pass someone or you can get a time penalty. My butt started getting sore about 2 hours into the ride but went away after about hour 3. I paid attention to the time, alternated water and Accelerade, and had my last solid food – my sandwich. That was THE best turkey sandwich I have ever eaten! Completed the bike leg in just less than 4 hours.
The run is my weakest part. I’m not fast but I can go slow forever. By now it was just around noon and starting to get warm. At transition, I put on my hat, reapplied sunscreen, and grabbed my fuel belt. Even though they hand out lots of GU and gel shots at the water stations, I don’t like to experiment during a race so I carry my own. It’s just not worth risking the stomach distress and blowing a race I’ve been working so hard for so I don’t mind carrying a few extra items. The first hour and a half of the run wasn’t bad. I felt better than I thought I would and my fuel and hydration was working. Then the heat really hit me. My heart rate started spiking into the 170s so I would slow down or walk until it went back down. I try to keep my heart rate between 145-155 for a long race. Because of the heat, my heart rate was in that zone just walking. It was hard to stay cool but the ice cold sponges they gave out at the aid stations really helped. I drank water every few minutes and ate one Shot Blok every 2 miles. I didn’t even want to know what the temperature was so I didn’t ask (it was 93). I just kept my eyes on the dirt path, kept checking my heart rate, and plugged along. I walked most of the last few miles because I just couldn’t run any more, especially on the small hills. FINALLY, I could see the finish line tents in the distance and I got loopy knowing I would finish.
Dave was at the finish line and was a sight for sore eyes. As soon as I crossed the finish line and hugged him, I broke down and cried. I hadn’t realized I was holding it in but seeing him made all the emotion and mental struggle come loose. I was so relieved to be done and proud that I finished.
I am not a very good vacation-taker but time away from work is important. We need it to re-charge, calibrate our senses, and reconnect with those loved ones who have been unconditionally cheering for us on the sidelines of our work, patiently waiting their turn. Last week I went back to my roots and spent a glorious week in my hometown on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I grew up on the Chesapeake Bay with memories of crabbing, fishing, sailing, waiting tables at Harris Crab House, and sitting on the end of the pier in the back yard just staring at the water. I did a lot of that last week.
Family vacations don’t have the reputation for being relaxing, healing, or heck, even very fun. But this one was a blast. Twenty four of us came in from all over the country including siblings, spouses, grand kids, cousins, aunts and uncles. My parents are in their late seventies and early eighties so it was heartwarming to have so many of us in one place, all getting along and catching up.
We taught the younger ones how to bait crab traps, put a worm on a fish hook, how to use a dip net to scoop a crab up from behind a dangling chicken neck , and how to treasure the flavor of a sauteed softshell crab. The older kids got to jet ski, kayak and learn a bit of history during a tour of the Naval Academy. When it rained, we all packed into the living room and watched classic movies from our childhood like The Pink Panther (the original with Peter Sellers) and Its a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.
I wouldn’t have changed one single thing, except to make it longer!
A fundamental guiding principal at BlogFrog is the notion of teamwork. So when Caitie Ramsburg, our Director of Client Services, put out the challenge to run the annual Bolder Boulder 10K as a team, a handful of troopers showed up. Not only did they agree to run 6.1 miles through Boulder’s residential neighborhoods and up the notorious climb into Folsom Stadium, they all agreed to do it………wearing green sparkly skirts.
In the group picture (left to right): Rustin Banks, Jody Dey, Holly Hamann, Keely Nolan (top), Danielle Buckley, Caitie Ramsburg, Molly Theda.
Congratulations to the team on completing the first annual BlogFrog Bolder Boulder. Hang on to those sparkly skirts ’cause your going to need them next year!