Wednesday, May 26, 2010
If you haven't already, check out yesterday's post on Midwest Triathlon Life. Kovas talks about a feature on the Bigfoot Triathlon website that allows you to enter your bib number and watch an animation of your performance. It's basically an interactive Map My Run, and they are taking the viewing of your race results to a visual level.
When there is innovation going on, things tend to get interesting.
Let's use popular music as a example. Elvis and Chuck Berry invented rock and roll. When The Beach Boys released Pet Sounds in 1966, artists ranging from The Beatles to The Kinks answered by putting out some of their best work. The Ramones, The Clash, and The Sex Pistols turned music on it's head in the late '70's. And then in the early '90's Nirvana killed off the '80's hair metal bands that had become bloated and ridiculous with excess.
It would take a book (and it's already been written anyway) to examine why what happened in music did when it did. That said, it always comes down to a combination of two things - social conditions and business conditions.
I think multi-sport is in a similar position. But the circumstances are different, because I don't think innovation in the sport is being fueled by social or economic upheaval. Rather it's being fueled by passion.
Because I was swept up in the punk movement as a kid, my skepticism about certain things has never gone away. I am still wary of "big", as in big corporations, big media, and big box retailing. It's not about rebelling, at least not any more. It's just that I feel that a lower common denominator means less overall quality of product and/or experience. By the way, "big" and "successful" are mutually exclusive.
So it pleases me to see companies like Newton, Zoot, DeSoto, and Sugoi enjoy success by releasing high quality products while staying true to their roots. The same can be said about Road ID - it's one of those "why didn't I think of this?" products. They continue to improve their line. Have you seen the new interactive bracelets yet? Awesome.
I'm especially glad that a Nike or an Adidas has not made a move to dominate the sport. It's not that either company makes bad products, it's that they have the muscle to shove the products down our collective throats regardless of the quality. As the market sits now, you have to earn your place on the retail shelves. It's a competitive marketplace, where quality and innovation trumps marketing muscle. And the consumers are the winners.
As Kovas's post shows, it's happening at all level of the sport. And why shouldn't it? The cost of entry into innovation, especially on the online/interactive side, is low these days. All that's needed is an idea and the passion to see it through.
I'm not sure what the next "big thing" in our sport is but I am sure it's going to be awesome. I can't wait to see. I might have a few ideas of my own as well....