07 December 2012

Keeping the streak alive

I have this really weird ability: It seems that no matter what happens, no matter how hard I apply myself -- or don't -- I just can't make it past 3 years in a job. A couple of stints have been noticeably shorter, and one lasted 6 months longer (though it was over before it was over), but by and large, the mantra of my professional career has been three-and-out, thankyouverymuch and don't let the door hit you as it closes. It's not personal, I'm not bitter -- it's just the way it has worked out.

I thought Cane Creek would be different. I was looking forward to some longevity. But here I am, at 2 years and 51 weeks -- just one week short of my 3 years -- and everything's changing. I really thought I had a chance to make this my longest job ever, provided I make it to May 13, 2013, one day after my 40th birthday -- that would make my stint exactly 3 years, 6 months, and 1 day.

It's not gonna' happen.

Instead, starting more or less immediately, I'm taking on a whole new set of challenges. Well, not "whole new," not exactly. But different. Strange. More broad. Bigger.

How big?

Big.

Like, Leonardo DiCaprio big.

"Whole world" big.

Big enough that I have to start using abbreviations in polite company ... and in my email signature.

It's been brewing for a while: I am taking on responsibility for every Cane Creek product we sell that doesn't already come on your bike. From my beloved Pony Shop in Evanston to the guy in his pajamas calling for headset help to the massive warehouses in Germany to the street-corner shop in Surrey or Melbourne or Tokyo or Moscow, it's now my job to watch over the worldwide wheels of commerce and keep them moving smoothly.

I guess it's more or less official: I am in the process of becoming the Director of Global Aftermarket Sales and Customer Service for Cane Creek Cycling Components.

That's a bit of a mouthful. And one hell of a legacy.

For those of you not familiar, Cane Creek is an icon in the bicycle world. Rock Shox got its commercial start on a fixture we still use to this day, one that sits not 50 feet from my office. The threadless headsets we championed and marketed revolutionized modern bicycle design and paved the way for suspension forks as we know them. More recently, our adaptation of rear suspension design from motorsports is rewriting what's possible -- and along with that, necessitating a whole new approach to customer service and education.

But for those of you who are familiar, you know the bicycle industry tends to chew up and spit out its icons. For whatever reason -- passion, enthusiasm, luck -- bikes have thus far bucked many of the trends of the rest of the global economy, and the very public failures have tended to be pretty obvious internal combustion vs. outside market forces. However, that is changing rapidly, inexorably -- on a worldwide scale, selling bicycles and bicycle parts will be radically different in the next decade. None of us are quite sure what's coming, but we're seeing the trends begin to solidify -- calling them "good" and "bad" would be disingenuous: Our industry is pivoting on the buying habits of the modern consumer, and only those who can adapt will survive.

And now, that's my responsibility.

All of it.

Gulp.

The great news is, we have a fantastic team that's come together here, and we're unecumbered by the past. We're doing it right, we're doing it quick, we're doing it smart -- I haven't been this excited to come to work every day in a long, long time; really, since the best days of Legacy over a decade ago. We don't have bread days here, but maybe we can make that happen soon.

So three years it is. Time for another change.

Bring it on.

4 comments:

Jason Leonard said...

Congrats Chris!

TheMutt said...

Great news, Chris! Good luck on the new gig

Josh Boggs said...

Congratulations on the promotion, Chris! Got high expectations for you, per the usual.

Steve Courtright said...

Well, you know, the cream rises to the top. Cheers.