Max Gladwell

Entreprenurship and Adventure Sports

Max Gladwell header image 1

Commuting Machine: Cannondale SuperX Hi-MOD Black Inc.

July 19th, 2014 by Max Gladwell· No Comments

Cyclocross bikes provide maximum range and utility for those with little time to spare for keeping in shape

Working at a startup company demands a lot of time. We routinely work 60+ hours per week. In the first years of getting MomentFeed off the ground, I left no time for health and fitness. I’ve made a recovery since then. But if I could do it all over again, I’d buy a cyclocross bike and transform my daily commutes — the need to get from one place to another — into full-on fitness sessions.

2014-04-17 07.23.54-2

A cyclocross bike is designed for cyclocross racing. These are fast-paced circuit races with a combination of pavement, dirt, and obstacles. It’s effectively a combination of road riding, mountain biking, and running…with a bike on your shoulder, of course. Which is not so different from commuting back and forth to work in a city like Los Angeles, New York, or San Francisco.

The Cannondale SuperX Hi-MOD Black Inc. is one of the top cyclocross bikes available. If you’ve had a successful exit (a wealth-creation event), then this is the model for you because it costs more than $5,000 and weighs a svelte 18 pounds with pedals. Five Gs buys you a full carbon frame with disc brakes, top-of-the-line SRAM 11-speed drivetrain, and tubeless wheels. For those still working on that first exit, the entry-level SuperX 105 runs just over $2,000.

The big benefit of a cyclocross bike is its tremendous range. With road-style handlebars and narrow 700c wheels, it’s well suited to asphalt. But with knobby tires and more relaxed frame geometry, it can handle all but the roughest dirt roads. This range also means it is well suited to the urban jungle, where you have to dodge traffic, hop medians, and pretty much handle whatever rush hour has in store. On the West Side of Los Angeles aka Silicon Beach, we have trails that are easily accessible from Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, and Malibu. So adding a few recreational miles to a commute is always an option.

In test-riding the SuperX, though, I discovered it has potential to be that one bike — the one bike that does everything. If you bought a disc wheelset with road tires, it becomes a viable road bike. And if you beef up the tires and add lower gearing to the off-road wheelset, it can charge any dirt-road route with gusto. I logged just over 280 miles, and more than half of that was pure pavement with road tires.

As with any tool that provides maximum versatility, though, cyclocross bikes don’t excel any single discipline — road, off-road, or even commuting. In the next few posts, we’ll review dedicated road bikes, mountain bikes, and commuter bikes to see what you get when you make a narrow commitment. But if you want to work out on your way to work and have a ton of fun on the way home, wherever that happens to take you, you can’t go wrong with a cyclocross bike like the Cannondale SuperX.


It’s All Mental: On the Power of the Mind

May 6th, 2014 by Max Gladwell· No Comments

Whether building a startup company or getting faster on a bike, achieving goals is all about the application of mental energy

I achieved two major life goals over the past four years. Although they are closely related and even intertwined with one another, they are also completely different types of goals, one being intellectual and the other highly physical. And what I realized in hindsight is that there was one factor at the center of each that ultimately made them achievable.

First, I founded a technology company in 2010. I’d been exploring a few different models around the convergence of social, local, and mobile for about six months and arrived at the concept of MomentFeed, a platform to enable large brands to connect with consumers at the local level i.e. where more than 90% of commerce still takes place. I’d bring together Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, Google, and other channels into a complete solution that provided scale, efficiency, and tremendous value beyond any one individual channel. What resources did I have to embark on this ambitious endeavor? Very little. I needed capital — venture capital to be precise. I needed a product and engineers to build the product. I needed to partner with each of the channels. And, of course, I needed customers. I had none of these things when I incorporated the company in March of 2010. What did I have?

I had a vision. I could see clearly that smartphones would go from 19% adoption in the US to the dominant computing platform. I could see that new channels like Instagram and Snapchat would emerge from this. I could see that Facebook and Google would fundamentally become mobile companies. As a result, I could see what MomentFeed needed to be.

[

Backbone Trail to Will Rogers – Pacific Palisades

May 4th, 2014 by Max Gladwell· No Comments

Powered by the Santa Cruz Bronson Carbon

First Ride: Santa Cruz Bronson Carbon

April 26th, 2014 by Max Gladwell· No Comments


The Meaning of Entrepreneurship

April 24th, 2014 by Max Gladwell· 3 Comments

What the topic of entrepreneurship means for this particular conversation

Entrepreneurs are as varied as the types of businesses one can build. These can range from local restaurants to publicly traded technology conglomerates. They can be for-profit or nonprofit ventures. They can be corporations, LLCs, or sole proprietorships. Which is to say that entrepreneurship is a broad topic, and broad topics are tough to cover in any depth. So we’ll take this opportunity to narrow it down by describing the type of entrepreneurship we’ll explore.

As a working definition, we mean entrepreneurs starting businesses that warrant venture financing. This isn’t to say that an entrepreneur or business must take venture financing. But the types of businesses these entrepreneurs want to build and the opportunities they represent warrant it. By using venture capital as the threshold, it implies a number of things about both the businesses and the entrepreneurs.

About venture-backed businesses: Venture capitalists are looking for businesses that can quickly and efficiently scale to multi-billion-dollar IPOs. It’s as simple as that. Very few of them do, of course, but the potential must be there. This means that the business is doing something new — more than likely, something no one has done before. It means the business will be disrupting a large market or industry, which is why the economic opportunity is so great. It means that it can achieve scale in a very short period of time with relatively little capital. This is why software-based companies tend to dominate venture investment — because bits and bytes scale better than atoms.

Some great examples of these businesses include Uber, GoPro, and Amazon. Uber has completely disrupted the taxi and town car industry with a new model based on smartphones — a new model, we might add, that is being applied to every vertical imaginable and what’s becoming known as the “Uberization” of a category. Amazon started by revolutionizing online book sales and ended up changing the way we buy everything. And GoPro took on Sony, JVC, Canon, and the like by cracking the code on high-quality POV video capture. The latter is one of the premier companies at the nexus of entrepreneurship and adventure sports, having initially focused on surfing and eventually raising more than $200 million in funding on its way to an IPO.

About venture-backed entrepreneurs: At the risk of sounding cliché, these people want to change the world. Keep in mind, though, that this is more of a quantitative measure than a qualitative one. These people have a vision for the future and a unique ability to make it a reality. Indeed, they are a bit crazy. Crazy like Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk. What sets this type of entrepreneur apart from others is that their ideas are most often met with disbelief or rejection. This is because what they are proposing either doesn’t make any sense or is nearly impossible to pull off. Yet they are so passionate about the vision that the resistance to the idea just adds fuel to the fire.

[