52Posts (vol.1): Issue #2

© Robert Carlin

The difficult second album blog post. Well, I have decided already that the first of my posts was too long. Apart from anything else, it takes a long time to write a couple of thousand words. And apart from a couple of people, it is unlikely to be read. So I’m going to be more succinct from now on. Anyway, on to …


adidas and their PR efforts. This might be a coincidence but adidas seem to be having a very good time from a PR perspective. We have many magazines in the house that I always dive straight into as soon as they arrive. Amongst them are Wired UK and Monocle. Both of them this month have hefty pieces about adidas, focusing on the revival of the business through design and the technology they are using in footwear manufacture. Hats off to whoever is getting those pieces sold in to journalists.

China is leading but people want to be in the US and Europe. I love Professor Galloway and everything he produces at L2. I definitely advise you to sign up to his newsletters. In this video he talks to NYU professor Clay Shirky, author of Little Rice: Smartphones, Xiaomi, and the Chinese Dream about the differences between China and the US. Mainly from the point of view of business and particularly payment systems. What I found really interesting is when – about 16 minutes in to the video – they talk about Chinese students, studying in the US and wanting to stay there. Despite the fact that the majority of opportunities are probably in China. What is it about the US and Europe that means that bright, ambitious people from growing, optimistic, exciting economies (which the US and Europe do not have to the same degree) want to spend their lives there?


From hero to zero. And back again. I have been thinking a lot recently about whether I can get back to running the way I was four years ago (the year I ran my marathon PB). I had an idea to challenge myself with my own person ‘two-forty-something while I’m forty-something’ That idea has not quite gone away yet. I keep looking at 6’29” per mile (the pace for a 2:49:59 marathon) and thinking that looks pretty daunting. But then if it was easy, what would be the point.

I know that they key will be finding some consistency. At the moment my training is all over the shop – 5 runs one week and then 7 days of no exercise, followed by a weekend with 150km of cycling and then nothing again. I need to slowly work running back in, so that I am running 6 days per week. Then add in a couple of double days. Make three of the runs sessions and one of them a long run. Squeeze out a bit more speed and a bit more mileage. Et viola! We’ll see I guess.


Tour route revealed. ASO, the company behind the Tour de France, have announced the route for 2018. And Team Sky – with leader and 4x winner of the tour, Chris Froome – like it. Back is the iconic climb up Alp d’Huez (this BBC film is a brief little history of the climb, recognising its importance in the race over the years). Commentators are saying that despite being a relatively short Tour – a mere 3,329km – it will be one of the toughest. There is even a stage with 22km of pavé. Froome himself says that winning a fifth tour will be a big ask, but then what is new about that. And Cavendish – who is trying to match or exceed Merckx record of 34 stage wins (Cav is on 30 right now) has described the route as “brutal”. Let’s give the last word to race director Christian Prudhomme “We especially wanted to emphasise stage variety and the routes that may prove decisive, whilst combining legendary climbs with brand-new ascensions or ultra-dynamic formats, to provide a vision of modern and inspired cycling”. From 7 to 23 July next year. Personally I can’t wait.


Photoblock. One of the great things about living in London (which I will miss when we leave!) is the plethora cultural opportunities that exist. Take Photoblock for example. For a week the old Truman Brewery is filled with not one but five or six different photographic exhibitions. All for free. This week has been very busy and on Sunday I flew to Italy for three days on a business trip (few hours in Milan on Sunday for some street photography – I’ll take that!) That meant I only had a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon free. But that was enough time to get super-inspired by all the amazing work that people are doing. I love seeing other photographers’ work. It is really inspiring and educational. I especially love trying to work out why a particular photograph appeals to me and how the artist managed to create it. If you get a chance to visit Photoblock next year, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

And One Other Thing

Recent REI videos are next level. In case you don’t know, REI is an outdoor retailer in the US. Actually, scrap that – REI is probably the outdoor retailer in the US. Which almost certainly makes REI the outdoor retailer in the world. Happy to debate that.

What is really interesting is how REI is tackling some very, very important issues through videos they are creating. Two videos in particular have really grabbed my attention: this one about skier Caroline Gleich and this one about ultra runner Mirna Valerio. Both are pretty shocking and uplifting and thought provoking. Please take the time to watch them.

What I am really impressed with is the fact that a retailer is taking a stance about issues that it obviously believes are important. There is no need for REI to put itself in the firing line. No need to stick its neck out in this way. The team at REI could simply focus on creating beautiful content and no one would criticise them for that (indeed just doing that would, I would argue, put them in a very, very tiny minority of businesses that are creating content that people want to consume and share). But obviously doing something that could make a difference is obviously important to REI. Perhaps more important than selling more gear. I can’t be cynical about this – it is too well done and too important in the wider debate that needs to be had about body shaming, trolling and online bullying. Hats off to REI.

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