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Badgers aren't real

Badgers aren't real

The speed and pace of news and flow of information in this modern age is rather like a continuous annoying schoolboy, repeatedly telling eager eyed innocent classmates that Santa doesn’t exist. Or the tooth fairy. Or Jesus. Or badgers.

Though the manufacturers of new products try to protect the brandnewthing 2015 with embargoes and threats, the internet is such that if SRAM were to make something out of butterfly wings on a Monday, someone would have pictures, and the tech pack online by Monday evening. It’s all out there.

This does a couple of things… firstly it makes you lust at the altar of desire of new stuff. Which is what the “business” bit of the cycle business is all about of course, but equally tugs at the very heart of my being, as one of the things that attracted us to do business the way we do was to have an honest, transparent and fair way of working, without making up ludicrous whizzbang claims and using smoke and mirrors to make up stuff to trick you the customer. Not that I’m saying people out there do that, but the number of different names you see for simple things like 6061 aluminum or Toray T700S carbon suggests that when we called our tubing DN6, we possibly were adding to the problem rather than making things easier.

I digress (and not for the first time).

Going back to my first point – If we look at how the flow of news has changed in the last, say, 10 years, I’m increasingly realising that the future for the bike industry isn’t the product that we have, it’s the delivery of that product to you the customers. So yeah - just as news has flowed from news papers and daily broadcasts to a continuous flow of tweets and flash updates, so the delivery of bicycle product to you customers smooths and changes from how it used to be - yearly visits to the bike shop (eeh, I were right about that saddle), to upgrades and flowing in of new models throughout the year. And at Planet X, with our brands, we have always worked on our own, independently from yearly cycles, just concentrating on making fantastic bikes when we’re ready and when they’re good to go.

News changes too, because you can now get your news from your own tailored sources, you can discuss the news with your buddies on interweb discussiony things. You can make the news by foolishly tweeting something awful at someone nice.

Other than the last point (my apologies, I’m rather high on Taiwanese cough syrup at the moment), the great democratizing thing about the internet and the industry we are working in is this pace of change that I speak of. Within our lean business model, even with our slightly expanding wasitlines means that for me, the most important thing for our future, and the future of cycling, is that we are in a position where we can communicate directly with you in a way no bike companies could in the past. Who could imagine a decade ago that you could tweet at your partner’s favourite band’s lead singer about the curry you’re going to have… and have a conversation with them (It happened, I can’t believe it), so by breaking down the walls of the distribution chain, you can talk to us, we can talk to you, and we’re both dealing directly with each other. Nobody in the way to confuse the message. It’s all us. So we live or die by our actions. Which is very liberating.

There can be a fraction of a moment when it doesn’t always feel very liberating when I’m (quite rightly) berated for my rash harsh, badly chosen words on an internet forum. It’s awful when our desire for production quality leads to delays and disappointment. It’s odd when our desire to run a 2.4in tyre with clearance in the back of a frame leads to people pointing fingers about our 5mm extra chainstay length… but it’s really really nice to be able to have those conversations. And those moments of pain are the ones that change us. Drive us. And I hope, make us different.

We listen. We talk. We change. We ride. We are on-one, from Planet X.

6 March 2014

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