Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things

Tag Archives: Nike+

We Got Ourselves A Game

Stumbled on to this late last night. Chilling and inspiring.

The theory of evolution claims that only the strong shall survive. Maybe so…maybe so…But the theory of competition says just because they’re the strong doesn’t mean they cant get their ass’s kicked. Thats right. See what every long shot, come from behind underdog will tell you is this. The other guy may in fact be the favorite, the odds maybe stacked against you, fair enough. But what the odds don’t know is this isn’t a math test. This is a completely different kind of test. One where PASSION has a funny way of trumping logic. So before you step up to the starting line, before the whistle blows, and the clock starts ticking. Just remember out here the results don’t always add up. No matter what the stats may say, and the experts may think, and the commentators may have predicted, when the race is on all bets are off. Don’t be surprised if someone decides to flip the script and take a pass on yelling uncle. And then suddenly as the old saying goes, WE GOT OURSELVES A GAME!

Brands As Brands Shouldn’t Be On Twitter

Brands aren’t people.  They never have been.  They never will be.  Nope.  Brands are color, typography, a photo, an icon, a product, a building, a cube, some letterhead, but not a person. Ironically though, people can be brands.  Michael Jordan is perhaps the best example.  The Jump Man 23 logo and product line is Michael Jordan and without him there would be no brand…because he is the brand.

The brands I get the most out of on twitter are the brands that aren’t coming across as brands.  They’re coming across as people.  You know, real people.  From Scott Monty to Frank Eliason there’s plenty of companies getting this right.  But, for every Tom at Fancast, there’s Pizzahut.  Some companies just don’t get it.  I don’t want to connect with you logo.  I want to connect with a real person.

Now I’m not saying your avatar/photo can’t be a logo.  I’m totally cool with that.  In fact I prefer it, because the people representing a brand can change, but the brand won’t.  But, the bio should indicate who is representing the brand on twitter.  Here’s an example of two brands using logos as avatars:

  1. Your direct line to the Pepsiverse. Currently serving: Ana and Rachel.
  2. Now You’re Eating

Hmm, do you want to connect with Ana and Rachel or “Now You’re Eating?”  Seriously, think about it.  Brands and brands on twitter will never make it, because people, despite their reliance on digital communication, want a personal and human touch.

2008 Top 10 Purchases

I spent way too much this year. I’ve bought some great things, and some less than smart things. As I looked back on my contribution to the economy and came up with the best purchases I made in 2008.

  1. BMW 328i – Really, do I need to say anymore? I traded in my 2002 BMW 530i for the 328i. It’s amazing similar in size they are. The new 3 series platform is so much larger than the previous platform generation. Given that I use the car, nearly every day, I’d say the ROI is fantastic.
  2. Tickle Me Elmo Live – Perhaps the best $60.00 I’ve ever spent. Cora loves the new Elmo. I’m amazed with how smart they’ve made these toys. It has a sensor in the doll that indicates when Elmo has fallen over. The sensor triggers Elmo to ask you to please stand him up. Are you kidding me?
  3. iPhone 3G – This is a funny purchase given I don’t actually own the 3G. My wife does. The reason this purchase made the list, is because looking at her iPhone 3G makes me feel really good about NOT upgrading. There just isn’t anything in the 3G that I wish the first generation had. Seriously. The 3G speeds aren’t legit and all the problems people have had with the 3G just reinforce my decision not to upgrade.
  4. Apple Macbook Pro 15″ – I’m typing this post on the Macbook Pro right now. It’s been reliable as hell. The battery life rocks. The screen is bright. And…I can run Vista on it.
  5. Apple TV – The Apple TV has changed the way I think about music and photos. Being able to sync all my music and photos and watch them on a 50 inch TV is just amazing. I wish my car had an Apple TV like device. It would make my life so much easier. Imagine driving into your garage and having the car sync automatically with the files in your house.
  6. Yard Machines 8HP – First time owner of a snow thrower. It’s worth it’s weight in gold. Why I never had one in the past is beyond. Talk about being stubborn and thinking shoveling was manly.
  7. Nike Hatphones – Why Nike discontinued this item is beyond me. It’s amazing. The Hatphones are a warm Nike Thermafit hat that has headphones embedded into the hat. This let’s you keep your ears warm and listen to music at the same time.
  8. Nike Lunar Trainer Shoes – Without a doubt the best running shoes I’ve ever owned. Light, durable, stylish, and they work with Nike+.
  9. Tivo HD – After having a Comcast DVR for about 3 months, we realized how much we missed Tivo. A quick trip to Circuit City took care of that longing. The Tivo interface is still the gold standard for DVRs.
  10. Nikon D700 – It’s Nikon. It’s digital. It’s full frame. It’s an SLR. It’s basically perfect. Image quality is amazing. I thought my D2Hs was great, but the D700 takes things to another level.
What did you buy this year that was worthwhile?

200 Miles Logged

Finally hit the 200 mile mark. It was a really cool run tonight. The weather was unseasonably warm; about 70 miles when I did the run. I decided to take Cora with me in the stroller, which slowed me down a little bit. However, I’ll gladly take the slow down in speed if it means I get to celebrate 200 miles with my daughter.

200 Miles
200 Miles

The message from the folks at Nike+ was a little unexpected. I got a certificate for knocking out 100 miles so I assumed there would be some type of message for 200 miles. Never did I think that the message would be telling me to shoot for 500 miles. If the training stays on course, I could hit 500 miles by March. We’ll see!

Your Consumers Don’t Want Simplicity

Ok, so that was clearly designed to get you to read this post.  However, there’s a lot of truth to that statement.  I’ve been around long enough to have heard agencies, clients, brand managers, keynote speakers, and the like spout how we need to simplify things for our consumers.  We need to treat them like children.  We need to follow the K.I.S.S. model of keep it simple stupid.  I was in a meeting last week where an idea was killed by the client because, “it’s just too complex and requires too much effort; we need to keep it simple.”

I whole-heartedly disagree.  What we aim for when we spout simplicity is convenience.  I’d like to take it a step further and say that what we really need to do is create value.  Yeah, I know, that sounds a little too preachy.  It sounds a bit too pompous, as if I’m trying to sound smart.  But, just walk a little further with me and let me share with you 4 great examples of how a company has made their consumers’ lives more complex, but in doing so succeeded.

  1. Nike+.  If you’ve used Nike+ you know what I’m talking about.  Let’s say you were a runner before Nike+ ever existed.  This is how simple running was; you picked out a pair of shoes, you grabbed some clothes, you looked at your watch, determined a distance or time, and ran.  Then you came back, stretched, took a shower, and kicked back.  Maybe you had a runner’s log and jotted down times or distance.  But, that’s pretty simple.  With Nike+ you needed to buy a special pair of Nike shoes, purchase a certain type of iPod, setup some playlists, establish an account at NikePlus.com, train your Nike+ chip, and deal with iPod crashes.  For some people they literally had to switch shoe allegiances, buy music on iTunes, and learn how to sync them all together.  Nike+ is a bitch of a tool to use.  It’s not simple.  Yet, it is wildly successful.
  2. Guitar Hero.  How popular is Guitar Hero?  Well it spawned 4 sequels, convinced a competitor to come forward, and got Gibson guitars to sue the game’s creator and the retailers.  But, think about this for a second, in order to really experience Guitar Hero, you needed a $250.00 game system (Wii, XBOX, Playstation), $60.00 for the game, and $75.00 for the guitar.  If you already had the system and wanted to buy the game, you still needed to drop $75.00 for a “special” controller, just to play 1 game.  So great, you have the game system, game, and controller, but now you needed to LEARN how to play the game and use the controller.  This isn’t exactly an easy task; if you’ve played Guitar Hero or watched others play it, you know exactly what I mean.
  3. Nintendo Wii.  Speak of the Wii, let’s talk about Nintendo’s amazing creation.  For years, decades even, video games have been centered around a joystick or controller.  The controller contains some buttons that you can press and a stick to control movement.  Really, the only evolution in the joystick has been the number of buttons you can press, the shape of the controller, and the number of sticks.  That all changed when Nintendo launched the Wii.  The Wii uses a special, never before seen, controller that includes built-in accelerometers and infrared to determine its position in 3D space. This essentially allows users to leverage physical movement as a means to control the game instead of buttons. Talk about a learning curve. And the learning curve, wasn’t just limited to adults, check out this video to see what happens when a baseball bat meets a TV.  There’s no doubt the Wii has been successful in spite of it being hard to come by in stores and revolutionary method for playing.
  4. Apple iPhone.  What you say?  I’m picking on Apple?  Yes, I am indeed.  Google “iphone difficult” and you’ll see a litany of comments, posts, and review talking about how difficult the iPhone is to use.  People are frustrated with the auto-spell-corrections, keyboard sensitivity, mail syncing-setup problems, etc., etc., etc.  People complained about the activation procedure, random lockups, and the list goes on.  Yet, despite all these frustrations, problems, and difficulties the iPhone accounts for 40% of Apple’s revenue.  The iPhone was sexy, unique, and positioned itself as 3 tools in 1: computer, iPod, and cell phone.  That is VALUE; that is convenience created from a difficult and complex product.

There are several more that come to mind, but in the interest of “space” I’ll spare you.  The interesting thing with the 4 above scenarios is that while each product isn’t simple, we’re willing to make investments in: time, money, and effort for them.  Why?  Because we derive value from them.  Value can be vague and it can certainly be unique to each individual.  However, it’s something we all crave.

What we don’t need is to treat our consumers with kid gloves.  They aren’t dumb.  We don’t need to treat them like 5 year olds.  In fact, our consumers are smart and want to make an effort.  They’re willing to invest time in learning and even willing to put up with buggy and sometimes problematic products.  Well they are, if we’re willing to make the investment in them.  That investment means providing them VALUE.

Finally Broke 20 Minutes

After running in NJ with my old high school coach and his current cross country team I was inspired. I realized that I needed to get back to seriously hardcore workouts that involved hills…lot’s of hills. I ran hills every day that week and things are paying off now that I’m back on flat land. Check out this latest run:

I finally broke 20 minutes again for a 5K; without a warmup. I finished the last mile at 6:17 and that was my fastest mile. Good times!

Nothing Like Youth To Make You Feel Old

I emailed by old coach, Ray Morris, to ask if I could swing by practice while I was in town.  He obliged and I hooked up with the Vernon Township Cross Country team on Monday, September 29, 2008.  Their workout consisted of a 15 minute warmup, a 20 minute cool down, and a 25 minute fartlek workout.  I worked with the men’s varsity team and held my own during the warmup and the first 7 minute fartlek.  But, from there I was spent.  The hills they have in NJ were something I hadn’t been encountering here in Minnesota.  For the most part, the land is fairly flat in and around the Minneapolis area.

Watching these kids run reminded me of how old I am.  They looked younger, acted younger, and clearly had way more energy than I did.  But, then again, they should be when you consider how much older I am.  I left the practice feeling invigorated and even more determined to reach my speed goals.  The runs I did following that practice were all hill based and it really paid off.  I knocked out the first mile of my 3 mile run last night in 6:05.  That’s roughly 40 seconds faster than I had been turning out miles.

I completely believe that you are only as old as you want to act and feel.  I feel young and I definitely act young.  Now, if I could just get my body to play along.

Nike Plus – So Close To 100 Miles

Imagine the shear frustration I had after syncing tonight’s run and seeing that I had accumulated 99.97 miles over my first 33 runs. 99.97! I don’t know whether I should be pissed at Nike+ for not pushing me to keep going toward 100 miles or if I should embrace it because it literally makes me want to go outside right now and run the .03 miles needed to reach 100 miles.


Nike Plus - 100 Miles
Nike Plus - 100 Miles