Allbirds: The Modern Day Company

Allbirds is a New Zealand based casual-shoe company founded in 2014.

In my opinion, they are an example of the ultimate modern day (2018) company.

The Website

It all starts here.

White on white is tough, but you get the idea.
  • Minimal
  • Top-to-bottom scrolling
  • Lots of white space
  • Lots of images
  • Short blurbs of text
  • Clear call to actions

This website kicks ASS in conversion rates. Getting more information is super easy and the natural flow that a customer is supposed to take is baked into the website.

The Product

There are two key components to the product.

Simple and Stylish

Just like their website. There are a few color schemes to choose from, but they all emphasize the same idea. This is the 2018 shoe.

Quality

The shoe itself is built for COMFORT. Having just gotten a pair today, I can honestly say it’s noticeably more comfortable than any other shoe I’ve ever owned. For just $90, these are a deal.

Conclusion?

Allbirds is the epitome of a successful company in today’s fast-paced, customer-centric world. These are going to be everywhere.

 

Running Right

The last time I ran 11 miles was nearly 5 months ago. That’s also the last time I blogged optimistically about running. Literally the day after that post, my leg was killing me and I ran about 15 miles over the next 15 days and under-performed at the UC Twilight 3200m.

I ran 11 miles today. I’m going to write optimistically about running today despite the glaring similarities between five months ago and right now.


Training

Mileage has been mid 40s.

Like I said, I ran 11 miles today, starting at 7:15 and closing around 6:00, averaging about 6:45s.

I’ve also gotten to the track the past few weeks for the first time in a long time. Basic workouts like cruise miles (~5:40) and 400s / 200s (~73 & ~36).

These times aren’t impressive, but… that’s kind of the point.


Health

Why wouldn’t I wait until tomorrow to write this so I don’t look like a total dipshit if I’m hurt tomorrow? Because I learn from my mistakes!

Last time I went from 35 miles to 57 miles with doubles and hard workouts in two weeks knowing I was injury prone.

This time I’m progressing much slower / nicer and running easier (although I got carried away the last few miles of today’s long run).

Injury will not be the reason I suck this time around.


Goal

First, I’d like to get up to ~50 miles a week for a bit.

Then, Broad Street is 10 weeks from today.

I’ve never raced a 10 miler so I don’t have a great grasp on a time goal. However, I want to be in ~15:2X 5k shape by then (if all goes well), so if I extrapolate that out, I’d say sub 55:00 is a realistic / achievable goal.

Then, the Swat Last Chance meet is a week later, so I want to take a shot at a 5k PR.

With 10 weeks to go, I think I’m in a good place now; mentally, health-wise, fitness-wise, and am just generally optimistic about running.

Coming Soon: The First Ever Bansheemann7 Interview

Schlegel’s Bagel’s recently posted an interview with recent UC grad and UCXC member, Jamie Hartop.

If you know Jamie, you’ll enjoy reading his responses to Luke’s questions.

I can’t believe I’ve had a blog for 10 years and never once thought to do a god damn interview. I’m stealing this idea, Luke, so thank you.

Who could it be?!

My first guest has verbally committed, but I’ll keep them anonymous until it’s ready to post.

My questions will be a little different than Luke’s, as I’ve been listening to a lot of Pardon My Take the last few months which has really influenced the way I ask questions.

Stay tuned!

The New Weekend Routine

Saturday was rough. I felt shitty all day from the night before and around 5:30 PM I had a decision – go out or stay in?

Staying in was going to make me happier, so that’s what I did. No alcohol.

I was in bed by 11:30 and that was that.


I slept for 10 hours and cranked out a great long run.

But the biggest difference came at bed time.


The Sunday Scaries are real.

No point in time is worse than Sunday night. But that’s only true when you’re hungover!

I slept great last night and this morning I have ENERGY. I popped out of bed right when my alarm went off.

It’s only taken me 26 years, but I think the go-out-on-Friday-stay-in-on-Saturday routine might be the ultimate move.

One Year With Covy

Today marks the one year anniversary of me and Covy joining forces.

Day 1

Here are some things I’ve noticed:

  • He’s a total Beta. This didn’t become totally apparent until Melon was added to the mix. Now I witness Covy get his ass beat every night by a blind cat that’s half his size.
  • The biggest Alpha thing he does is not cover his shits. They smell awful and he doesn’t give a single fuck about it. He scratches the ground next to the litter box for a minute then walks away.
  • He knocks over all open water containers. He actually broke Rob’s computer by doing this which was hilarious.
  • He likes belly rubs more than any cat I’ve ever known. His mouth opens and his eyes cross slightly.
  • He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. Nothing he’s ever done has had malicious intent. A lover, not a fighter.

Rob thinks it’s funny to imagine me at like 35 with a family and kids and Covy still being around.

But actually. Linking up with Covy is one of the best decisions I’ve made (other than LASIK, LASIK was better).

I recommend cats (over dogs) to anyone capable.

AWOLNATION: Here Come the Runts Review

This post is exclusively for Imbemba (and maybe Mark), though if you like AWOL, read away.

Thoughts in Album Order

Here Come the Runts – The tempo changes keep you in and the drums absolutely tie the song together. A very good start to the album.

Passion – Not sure how this came to be a single. It’s grown on me a little, but I don’t like this song.

Sound Witness System – A weird continuation of Passion. Could’ve done without this, it just feels out of place.

Miracle Man – A pretty generic AWOL song. There are always two or three songs like this on all of his albums.

Handyman – Great song with the last half being especially strong. A welcome change from the three previous songs.

Jealous Buffoon – Catchy and upbeat. A little repetitive but it gets a thumbs up from me.

Seven Sticks of Dynamite – Slow, well written, and well composed. Just drums and guitar here.

A Little Luck and a Couple of Dogs – I’m not sure what the purpose of this song was other than Aaron to tell everyone he hates kids? Still good for a 30 second song.

Table for One – The verses may lull a bit but the chorus on this one is awesome.

My Molasses – This song played and I barely noticed. I actually like it, it’s just forgettable.

Cannonball – Another very “AWOL” song, like Miracle Man to me. Fine but not my favorite.

Tall, Tall Tale – The ‘traditional’ drums halfway save the song in my opinion.

The Buffoon – Hard to rate a song like this. Actually, no it’s not. It sucks.

Stop That Train – A heavy finish to the album that takes you five different places. Classic AWOL sound, solid execution.

Ranking the Songs

In my head, there are three definitive tiers, highlighted below.

  1. Handyman
  2. Here Come the Runts
  3. Table for One
  4. Seven Sticks of Dynamite
  5. Stop That Train
  6. Jealous Buffoon
  7. A Little Luck and a Couple of Dogs
  8. My Molasses
  9. Cannonball
  10. Tall Tall Tale
  11. Miracle Man
  12. Passion
  13. Sound Witness System
  14. The Buffoon

Overall

A good album with some hits and misses. I find myself liking his softer songs compared to harder songs and think he did a nice job incorporating “real” drums throughout.

I’ll be adding those top four to my playlist, but doesn’t change my opinion much of AWOL. Still a fan.

Thoughts, Brett?

‘Moral Flattening’ and Second Chances

The tweet below rings true to me.

Sometimes public perception feels so black and white. You’re either one of the good ones or one of the bad ones.

Aziz Ansari is a recent example that struck me. In my opinion, his career shouldn’t be ruined (not saying it is) because of the ‘sexual assault’ story that came out against him. Is it questionable behavior? Maybe. It’s hard to know when it’s he-said-she-said.

But similar to the tweet, he isn’t in the realm as Weinstein, Spacey, and more recently, Nassar, etc. even though the general public seems to lump everyone together. Hence, ‘moral flattening‘, a term I like.


This is where second chances come in.

I don’t think people like Larry Nassar deserve a second chance in life. Our justice system doesn’t either, and I think everyone is okay with that.

Then we get to people like Weinstein and Spacey. These two abused their power to take advantage of others sexually for decades. I wouldn’t say this is Nassar level, but it’s pretty bad. Personally, I don’t think they deserve a second chance in their industry, but do they deserve to be in prison forever? That’s hard for me to say.

Then there are levels below this, Ansari being one. The past few months have probably been a PR nightmare, but I think he deserves a second chance (assuming he ‘lost’ his first chance at all).


Another example, non-acting / sexual assault related, is Johnny Manziel. Manziel has famously flamed out over the past few years from football phenom to arrogant party boy who blew his career with drinking and drugs.

I listened to the Pardon My Take interview with Manziel today, and when you hear him speak now, you feel for the guy. He’s not like Larry Nassar or Harvey Weinstein. Some will be quick to judge and say:

“He had every opportunity not to blow it, why should I feel bad for him?

He was thrust into the spotlight so quickly with so many people trying to take advantage of him as he rose to stardom. That’s an extremely difficult situation to handle properly as a 20 year old.

He made bad decisions and burned a lot of bridges, and he acknowledges that now, but I don’t think society should turn their back on him forever. He’s ‘paid his dues‘, and if he works his ass off to get back into football shape, I’d like to see a team take a chance on him.


What’s my point?

For the rest of our lives, we’re going to see stories come out against famous people that we’ve never met. Some will be true and heinous, some will be true and unfortunate, and some won’t be true at all.

But every case and person should be tried (in your head) differently. It’s not black and white. We can’t afford to lump everyone into two groups.

Everything is situational and everything needs context. God forbid you or someone you know goes viral for yelling at their Uber driver or freaking out over mac and cheese. These are undoubtedly bad moments and they deserve what they had coming, but most people deserve a second chance, that’s all.

Lane Johnson’s PMT Comment

Lane Johnson said this on Pardon My Take this week.

“I’d much rather have fun and win a Super Bowl than be miserable and win five Super Bowls.”

Lane Johnson doesn’t know how he’d feel if he won five Super Bowls the ‘Patriot way‘, so I don’t buy what he says, but I immediately thought of my personal equivalent.

I ran for Ursinus. Haverford was the Patriots of our conference. Running was (is) everything for them. They don’t drink, they don’t take shortcuts, and they run a shitload. They turn marginal talent into sub 15:00 5,000m runners all the time and they win every god damn conference championship.

Ursinus was a bit different. Running wasn’t the end-all-be-all for most. We drank every weekend. We tried hard, but we knew Haverford was on a different level.

I ask myself; would I have been happier if I went to Haverford (I wouldn’t have been accepted), sacrificed some of my partying, ran 14:30 in the 5k, and won conferences (that’s very optimistic)?

It’s easy for me to say NO! I had a blast in college! Sure, I didn’t run as fast as I probably could have, but I don’t think I’d trade the memories just to run faster.

But I recognize that, had I gone to Haverford, I’d look at the Ursinus team I was on and think “Man, these guys are just wasting their time and talent. Partying is overrated.”, and likely say that I wouldn’t trade my race times for a few drunken weekends.

So what’s my conclusion? Whatever you do is probably what you’re happiest doing.

Go Birds

I’ll try to keep this short, but want to post since I haven’t in a week.

It’s Wednesday night and I’m still hungover from Sunday.

That was the greatest game of my life, all sports, all everything.

The Philly Special was the single greatest play I’ve ever seen all things considered.

Nick Foles is the greatest QB in franchise history?

The Eagles winning the Super Bowl was the second happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life.

The city and the people are as happy as I’ve ever seen them.

Success breeds success. Now that this cloud is sort of lifted from the sports in this city, I think we’ll see a string of success from our teams, beginning with the Sixers this year.

I’ll be attending the parade tomorrow. To those who can’t get off, I’m sorry. To those who can, I probably won’t see you among the sea of 3 million other people.

Betting the Super Bowl

There are two thought processes for betting this game as an Eagles fan.

1. Would I pay $X for the Eagles to win the Super Bowl?

The easy answer is yes, I would. I could bet $1,000 on the Patriots moneyline (which would pay $526 profit if they won). If the Pats win, I win $526. And if they lose, obviously I lose $1,000, but the Eagles win the fucking SUPER BOWL.


2. Should I double down on my happiness and bet on the Eagles?

The other option is betting the Eagles and guaranteeing an ultimate high or an ultimate low. Eagles win AND I get $1,650 (Eagles ML pays +165) OR Eagles lose and I lose $1,000.


It almost doesn’t matter which bet I actually think is going to win.

I’m leaning towards betting the Eagles and just going all in for it. Why hedge my happiness? Philly fans are used to the ultimate heartbreak.

Plus, I actually think the Eagles will win.