Or how to squeeze as much Park City mountain biking as possible into four days
How do you organize a family vacation that balances the needs of two young children, a spouse who wants to relax at the pool and spa of a luxury resort, and yours truly, who wants to ride as much singletrack as possible? The answer is twofold: start with Park City, Utah, and end up at the Montage Deer Valley.
Very few summer destinations offer as much range as Park City. The year-round mountain resorts of Deer Valley and Park City Mountain Resort feature robust programs for kids including day camps, alpine coasters, and a variety of adventurous activities. The Montage Deer Valley is built into the slopes of the ski resort, high above Park City’s historic downtown district. With five restaurants, two pools, a renowned spa, and daily Paintbox kids program (ages 5 – 12), it’s an ideal basecamp for this family’s summer getaway. Most importantly for me, it’s at the center of a 450-mile singletrack network (and counting), for which the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) has bestowed its highest Gold rating.
For the first leg of our vacation, we spend a few days in Zion National Park. Our family tradition is to visit one National Park per year, and Zion is conveniently on the way from Los Angeles to Park City. This left me with four days in which to do as much riding as possible in Park City. The following itinerary amounts to a marathon of dirt, gravity, and suffering.
Deer Valley Resort is one of the more posh ski destinations. In many ways it’s the Gstaad of the United States i.e. the choice of European royalty when taking US ski holiday. The mountain biking crowd at Deer Valley in the summer is quite different. Let’s just say we’re slightly less polished. Among the first to embrace lift-served mountain biking and trail building, Deer Valley has made significant investments over the past couple years to update its 70-mile trail system. In 2015, the resort debuted Tidal Wave, a purpose-built “flow” trail. Designed by Gravity Logic, the company that built its reputation with Whistler’s world-renowned bike park, Tidal Wave is built for speed and air. It features more than a dozen table-top jumps, which can be aired or rolled, and every turn has a high berm to maintain your momentum or flow. It’s the mountain biking equivalent of a rollercoaster. Tidal Wave is rated intermediate (blue). For the 2016 season, Deer Valley is opening a beginner flow trail (green) called Holy Roller, also designed by Gravity Logic.
To keep pace with surging demand for online video, publishers, agencies, and brands will need to build and embrace the social video stack
Software may be eating the world, but video is feasting on the attention of today’s consumers. Snapchat recently announced it generates 10 billion video views per day, growing by two billion in as many months. According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, online video consumption will grow by more than 300 percent over the next four years. Which means that by 2020, video will account for 80 to 90 percent of all online traffic.
What this means for publishers, agencies, and brands of all sizes is that production of social video must either keep pace with consumer demand or else risk becoming irrelevant and ultimately invisible.
The challenge is a lack of resources and infrastructure to scale social video production. In the coming era, though, this needs to become a core competency for editorial and marketing teams. Digital video as a discipline needs to be internalized. Simultaneously, these teams will need to steadily increase the quality and shareability of their social content in order to cut through the noise and reach audiences with any efficiency.
Of course, software is doing its best to eat the world of video production. This past year has seen the rise of a new technology and services stack to address many of the challenges of scaling social video.
Here are five discrete layers in the social video stack:
Problem: The most challenging and time-consuming aspect of video marketing is editing. It can also be very expensive.
Solution: A platform and marketplace dedicated to connecting video creators with professional editors at disruptive rates.
Layer: This is the editing layer in the video stack. VidMob provides access to 4,000+ qualified video editors and a suite of tools that make it possible to scale high-quality video production for companies of all sizes. Through the company’s mobile app, you’ll upload raw video and photo assets to a Project and include direction such as music choices, copy, and logos. When you submit it, editors immediately respond with bids as low as $25 depending on the scope. When a bid is accepted, VidMob becomes a workflow tool. You’ll receive drafts through the app, where you can provide feedback to the editor and receive subsequent versions. Once you accept the final version, it can be downloaded to your phone and published directly to Facebook and YouTube. The company’s roadmap includes an enterprise dashboard to support broader collaboration.
I spend a disproportionate amount of my income on recreational gear. I’m a cycling enthusiast and thrive on the performance enhancements one gets from new bike gear. It’s mostly incremental, but you also get the occasional breakthrough. Either way, new gear motivates me to ride more often and to push my limits. Because I’m also a capitalist and demand a return on my investment.
That said, I don’t always make great buying decisions. My hit rate is about 80 percent, which I’ve come to accept. These failures are cast aside, never to be seen again. The rest of my purchases fall on a spectrum of good to great. The top 10 percent is used on a daily or weekly basis. These items are my de facto “Gear of the Year” picks. This is the first in a series of my greatest gear hits for 2016.
Is this really a cycling jersey? For sure. Club Ride bridges the fashion-function divide, which means clothing that performs as well as it looks and vice versa. The Bolt is a constant in my bike-commuting rotation. The RideDryWear fabric is breathable, quick drying, and UV protective. Beneath the buttons is full zipper to block wind, and there are vents in the pits for the hottest days. With a Merino wool Rapha base layer, you max out the temperature range, and it transitions seamlessly to casual offices.
This takes hoodies to another level. Kitsbow is committed to making mountain bikers look more subtle and stylish without sacrificing performance. This blended Merino-wool hoodie is a flagship piece. It’s ergonomically designed for cycling with a snug, tapered fit so it’s not flapping in the breeze. Polyester panels on the sides and sleeves provide breathability and extra stretch. And when you get to the office, it just looks like a very high-end startup uniform. With some choice base layers, it can handle the coldest of LA mornings.
Learning to program a Snapchat channel from the best brands and influencers in the business
Forget 90% of what you’ve learned in social media marketing. It doesn’t apply to Snapchat. There are no likes, comments or hashtags. Virality is a foreign concept. So are links and URLs. The app known for ephemeral messaging and a massive Millennial audience has evolved beyond the web and beyond social media to become the first mobile media network — with a huge emphasis on media. In this sense, Snapchat has as much in common with Time Warner and DirecTV as it does with Facebook and YouTube. Which is to say it’s in a class of its own.
This means we’re collectively figuring out Snapchat as we go along. No one has the answer, and that creates opportunities. Brands and agencies with rigid ideas about how it’s supposed to work are destined to fail. Just as we need to embrace the simplicity of the UI, we also need to be humble in approaching Snapchat as a marketing channel. The best thing we can do at this stage is to watch, test, and learn.
This has its own set of challenges because Snapchat doesn’t make watching, testing, and learning easy. Not only is it difficult to find people and brands to follow, the content (a Snapchat Story) disappears on a rolling 24-hour schedule. Having combed the internet for the best influencers and brands. Having spent countless hours watching Snapchat Stories, the following are 11 different approaches (in no particular order) to building and programming a Snapchat channel:
Shonduras: Shaun McBride aka Shonduras has a long history of online marketing and community building. He’s a skateboarder, snowboarder, entrepreneur, artist, and cereal lover. McBride got started early on Snapchat and did pioneering work with brands like Disney and Taco Bell. He’s highly engaged with his Snapchat followers and enables them to participate in his Snapchat show. But he also has regular segments such as Theme Songs with Strangers, Free Stuff Fridays, and Seconds with Shonduras. My personal favorite is Will it Shred?, where he tries to skateboard or snowboard with random objects such as an open sign or ironing board.
Key to Success: Interaction with followers and making them part of the story
Harris Markowitz: Markowitz discovered Snapchat while working at Twitter, so he had the right context to realize how powerful this new medium could be. As one of two people on this list nominated for “Snapchatter of the Year” by the Shorty Awards, he’s best known for creating stop-motion video animations with Post-it notes and stuffed animals. Though he also mixes it up with comedic sketches and Q&A sessions. Markowitz’s personal success on Snapchat lead to the launch of a Snapchat-focused production company known as A Cereal Production. Markowitz recently revealed (via Snapchat, of course) that Zillow is one his charter clients.
Key to Success: Expanding the creative range of the medium through stop-motion storytelling
Amanda Cerny: The self-proclaimed “Queen of Snapchat” is also huge on Instagram, where she has nearly 4 million followers. It’s difficult to know how many followers one has on Snapchat, but Cerny’s audience is estimated at well north of two million. Her style is a mix of comedy sketches with fellow Snapchat, Instagram, and Vine stars including King Bach (see below) balanced with a lens into the young Hollywood lifestyle. Her general vibe is relatable-yet-charismatic-LA-actress-model, which is a rare breed. Cerny is known to partner with brands as an Instagram and Snapchat influencer. This is an essential component to any Snapchat strategy, as brands need to rely on those who have an audience in order to quickly build their own.
Key to Success: Seamlessly exporting her Instagram following and content flavor to this new medium
Building long-term partnerships with big brands seldom start with the CMO
“If only I could get to the CMO,” thinks just about every purveyor of marketing technology and services. “They’d see how unique and valuable my [insert buzzword] solution is, and all barriers to a deal would be removed.”
It doesn’t matter what side of the table you’re on. There are more than enough false assumptions in this statement to fill the room. I’ve heard this countless times from entrepreneurs and sales reps. They believe CMOs of big brands are all powerful. That they command marketing to happen from ivory towers and direct legions of directors, managers, and agencies to execute accordingly. The reality is much more nuanced and, dare I say, political.
The CMO is essentially the CEO of the marketing organization. Like a CEO, the job boils down to three things: set the strategy and vision, put the resources in place to execute it, and get out of the way. Resources are budget and people, whether internal or external. The challenge for those who want to sell into this marketing organization is that they don’t understand the people or the part about the CMO getting out of the way.
Let’s start with the optimal way to sell marketing solutions into large brands (from my experience). I refer to this as the “champion-to-hero” approach. The first step is to meet with a person within the marketing organization who can become a champion of your solution. This person could be at any level. The ket qualities of a capable champion are twofold: they are driven to advance within the company, and they have direct access to decision makers who can authorize a deal i.e. sign a check.