The new Twisted Spoke launched yesterday afternoon and I’d just like to thank four people and thousands of people.
The new look is an off-the-rack template that was tweaked and perfected by Tim Howarth, a film student I found on craisglist. Tim looks like he’s a 16 year old California skater bum, has the business presence of a sharp 30 year old entrepreneur and the genius of a wordpress blog rockstar. I’m impressed on a daily basis and feel dumb, old and tired by comparison.
So first, thanks Tim. You’ve given me a new skin job that’s beautiful and chock full of features and possibilities I will soon take advantage off. Lance Armstrong wishes he could get a new, younger skin like this. Tim is now my guru and, other than my wife and kids, he is basically indispensable. If you’d like to look at his cool little production company, it’s Terrabang Studios.
The second person to thank is my long time, good friend and awesome designer Jim Mcdonough. Jim is in my humble opinion the funniest man alive and never fails to deliver the design goods. He also owns a winery which may explain part of my enthusiasm and flattery.
I gave him a day to come up with a basic logo design. He gave me four works of brilliance. One I chose for now and one I’ll have him perfect for later. Notice the design on the O letter, done like a cartoon dialogue bubble — literally a “I just spoke” line and a wheel in one. Thank-you Jim. Down the road there will be TS merchandise and Jim will probably put his stamp on a jersey and bib shorts.
Third, I’m indebted to Austin-based photographer Brent Humphreys for the Twisted Spoke masthead photo. In 2007, Brent covered the Tour de France and captured a side of the race you never see — not just the stars but the amazing fans all along the way. You can see those photos at his projectletour site. Our goal is to work with Brent on the Tour of California.
I’d also like to thank my paramedic, Aaron Shin, a designer at the visionary company IDEO in San Francisco. Aaron resuscitated my past history. In the transfer from free blogging platform to paid hosted site with my own domain name, I lost about 370 posts and 90% of my audience overnight.
Imagine the horror of building an audience over a years’ time, week by week, month by month, reader by reader and then, through some bizarre google glitch having it all disappear. I was shocked and profoundly depressed. Yes, readers were redirected to the new site but every previous post was a 404 file not found.
That’s where Aaron comes in. I mentioned the disaster and, having a music wordpress blog of his own, and being yet another young genius, he quickly noticed — and by that I mean in less than five minutes — what the problem was.
He changed one click box and in seconds all 375 posts were online. Business protocol and the fact that I was happily married prevented me from smothering him with kisses. I owe him a serious bottle of wine.
And finally, I’d just like to thank the thousands and thousands of readers in the last year who stopped in to read Twisted Spoke. It may perhaps seem that I’m a flip, cynical guy with a bent sense of humor but inside I’m just a gush-ball.
It’s a humbling experience to have people all over the world read something you wrote. Your comments, good or bad, mean a lot to me. I make mistakes and errors in judgement but my goal is always to entertain and add something different to a fantastic sport.
Now, I made the promise of podcasts and even video. I’ll go on record with future plans so there’s no back-tracking. Twisted Spoke will be covering the Tour of California live and in person. We’ll also be doing live podcast interviews during the Giro with a rider from Team Sky. That is gonna be insanely funny.
There will also be, gulp, advertising sometime soon down the road. It was my former life so here is something I can also promise. If it is ugly and stupid, it will not be here. If it is cool and creative and relevant and I personally respect the values of the company, it will make the cut.
Yes, I’d like to make small money on my addiction, but it will not foul the nest. Advertising should be a continuation of the experience and fit the content, not the other way around. You will never, ever see a banner ad for a cheap Mexican vacation in the Twisted Spoke header. That is obscenely wrong.
And finally, Twisted Spoke is going to France this year for the Tour. We just sold the house, debt gone, credit card empty and the possibilities are endless. Lance, Contador, Schleck and Twisted Spoke. Damn, that sounds good. Just typing the words makes me giddly.
Yeah, that’s a dream come true — at least for me. I can’t speak for Lance — although Bruyneel does follow us on twitter. So thanks to everyone but especially Tim, Jim and Aaron and all the readers out there in Googleland. I’d be lost and irrelevant without you.