It's a “TRIBE.” Or is it a “Community?” (May Newsletter)

Let’s face it: all of us old time locals have a habit of referring to our place in the San Diego lifestyle spectrum as our “tribe.” The longer you have lived here, the more you become that; you were and are a pivotal and crucial Tribe member, put there to defend one and all from the “others!”

I have been thinking about this for some time so I went to our unofficial SDSI member, Merriam Webster, for some insights. Turns out a “tribe” is a group of persons having a common, character or interest. Yeah that's us… whether a cyclist, surfer, golfer, swimmer, walker, runner... or snowboarder, kiter, long boarder or now… a “foiler.” We throw up the collective wall (sound familiar), circle up the wagons and define ourselves by our activity. Good or bad are comments related ability, nothing more or less: i.e. “I am a (good; bad) short board folier.” Wow, really? Tribe for sure, summarized by activity.

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Well, what if we were a group of persons with common interests living together within a larger society… hmmm. Mr. Webster tells us that is the definition of COMMUNITY. And I think it is a more accurate definition of our sport, active and healthy living “tribe” here in San Diego. While it is easy to describe ourselves by our activity, in the tribal sense, it’s also possible to tell us a little about what we stand for: i.e “I am a dedicated surfer. I surf everyday there is surf. But last year I joined the 100 Waves in a Day movement and raised $1,000 for the Boys and Girls Club.” Community member all the way, categorized by activity within the tribe and the greater social structure, namely our Sport and Active Lifestyle community here in San Diego.

It’s no stretch to say that SDSI has plotted a similar path: we evolved from Action Sport Innovators (tribal for sure) to San Diego Sport Innovators (Community for sure). It took us a while to realize that we are involved with businesses that help make the San Diego Lifestyle so amazingly appealing. Every tribe is here. But collectively we have magnetized ourselves into a core dedicated in part to helping our individual business, while, at the same time, serving as a gateway for all the other companies who want to join the Community. No walls here!

As a reminder, our Mentor Community has donated 1600 hours per year toward graduating 82 companies, with a 87% successful track record… who have raised over $80 million in Capital and, BEST of ALL, 46% are led or founded by Women.

Our SDSI companies do WELL as tribalists and do GOOD as community members. “Awwww-sssooome”, as we say in the tribe. Thanks for helping make it happen!

-Bob

READ THE FULL MAY NEWSLETTER HERE

“Hey Sonny boy remember when we used to...” (April Newsletter)

...go to the store! Huh, what, go, as in actually go to a store?

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It sounds cruel and disrespectful to our retail partners but everyone now has a pretty firm grip on the reality of the Digital Revolution. I remember that “dot com thing” in the beginning, way back in 90’s, “way back” meaning 20 or 30 years ago. We laughed at it and many ensuing generations of tech evolution, and the nerd population that came along with it.

Never in my dreams did I think I would be a part of the 91 million “Prime” US Amazon users and I never would have forecast my shamefully selfish shopping habits. Last week I bought a car gas cap for my Jeep online… $7.00. I may have hit the very bottom of the lazy shopper pit. My buddy Nick here, bought an awesome E-bike, same story. And we like retail.

But technology is moving forward, no matter what my thoughts are about it. And because we are immersed in the convenience and benefits of the Amazon generation, most of us have not looked forward. But we should, because we are barely 1 mm into the Digital Revolution.

As an example, Amazon is a retailer…their mantra is best prices and fastest, often free, shipping. But they mostly buy, hold and sell merchandise. There are over 100 million users here in the USA. They are driving new buying habits, empowering the consumer and forcing change on brick and mortar retailers. They are also forcing change on Brands. In those good old days Brands competed for customers with product. Today it seems like Brands are competing with Brands to get their share of the ecomm pie. Maybe that's why so many previously unique Brand offerings now look homogenized and the same?

But my point is that Amazon is a mega retailer, but in India and China ecomm is a PLATFORM, a universe of all things internet, and a flat out way of life. In China alone there are 600 Million (600,000,000) daily users on Alibaba alone. This world in some manifestation will come here sooner or later…might be the one thing that keeps Jeff Bezos awake at night.

For our industry I can now see the globalization of the marketplace… imagine a product designed here in California (make that San Diego), with a prototype built here on a 3D printer, with a manufacturer who makes it just-in-time somewhere else in the world, far away, and sending that same product direct to the consumer via FedEx, let’s say in Finland….all within a week. And just to round it out, with all transactions paid in crypto currency.

Welcome to 2020…2 years hence. Can’t wait!
-Bob

READ THE FULL APRIL NEWSLETTER HERE

Amazon, Quo Vadis? (March Newsletter)

As all members of SDSI know, Amazon is a frequent topic in our business forum. You can imagine the comments…from unprintable to laudatory. The question remains unanswered: “is Amazon a Devil or Angel?”

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SDSI was among the first to poise the question 2 years ago in our very first Amazon workshop, presented then, as today, by Quiverr. Our local expert Ryan Mulvany pointed out to the crowd that “No Amazon strategy in indeed a strategy… for a train wreck. “ Three years later most all of us, retailer to brand managers, do in fact have a strategy. The choices are becoming more clear… sell direct, sell through 3rd parties or try the new Hybrid model by trying to do both. Many very successful brand managers have also taken the “no thank you” route and have actively, make that pro-actively, taken steps to make sure their brand does not appear in any Amazon portal.

All pretty good. As an industry, I think we have overcome the denial aspect and are slowly understanding that the consumer now is the ultimate brand manager. The advent and complete penetration of hand held devices has impacted the way we behave. Once upon a time Amazon was a gateway to lower prices. Now days it is often a gateway to convenience. Think about it… 20 minutes on the 5 to go 10 miles and 20 minutes back… or one click!

Yeah, I have to say Amazon is the little devil. I have made my choice. Its disruptive, annoying, unavoidable. But the big Devil is… technology. There is lots of good news about technology and one alarming thing: it does not care what you think about it, technology marches on with or without your endorsement.

The Industrial revolution is over.. completely. The digital revolution is about 1 minute old and it has completely changed our lives already. Want a glimpse of what could happen? Take this test:

What is the biggest economy in the world?
What is the 6th biggest economy in the world?
What is the 21st largest economy in the world?

Answer: USA, California, Alibaba! Make that, Nation, State and Platform!

We haven’t seen anything yet!
Bob

READ THE FULL NEWSLETTER HERE

It takes a... Rolodex? (Feb Newsletter)

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On an annual basis your dedicated team here at SDSI strategizes about SDSI… even though we do not produce a product or deliver a specific service, its harder than I ever thought possible. The reason is we are thinking about the value of an organization to... you! Our high level mission is simple: SDSI is a business development community that creates companies, jobs and commerce in the Sport and Active Lifestyle space.

At the practical level our mission is to connect. SDSI averages 110 active members per year. All in all, we represent many vertical business segments, all united by our love for San Diego and of course, the need to nurture our businesses.

That’s where it gets complicated as each member company most likely has a different expectation of the value they want from SDSI. We spend a large collective amount of energy assessing individual companies’ needs, and then try to activate our resources to help make it happen. When it clicks and we match purpose with result, everyone is happy.

Part of the strategy review is to see how we can become more efficient in terms of connecting the community. And the first step is to actually find out what SDSI activities really count! As a consequence we decided to add to our innate ability to guess by actually polling you! Do us a big favor and respond. The survey will arrive next week in your email.

So, what’s this Rolodex “thing.” Even in this digital age I think the word “Rolodex” is symbolic of connecting. One of the real differentiating factors that help make SDSI unique from other business organizations in town is the value of the SDSI collective Rolodex of contacts. We are not about exchanging business cards; we are ALL about the utilization of a data base that is completely relevant to our business space. There are 110 members. If each company executive shared 10 key business service contacts, you would have 1,100 core resources germane for our business space. That is a very powerful tool. And that's why we would like to hear from you!

-br

READ THE FULL NEWSLETTER HERE

It Takes a Community (January Newsletter)

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The most common question we get at SDSI is, “what does SDSI do?” It has always been a tough question. Originally we were focused on Action Sports; that proved to be too narrow. The result was the development of the now familiar acronym: SAL… "Sport and Active Lifestyle" companies. That was far more effective and included far more businesses. But…what do we do?

The answer was we are a business development group focused on the SAL space and we promote, well, our business interests. And our Springboard program helps accelerate young companies. It's a pretty good answer: in fact we spend a majority of our time providing educational and networking experiences to the membership in different ways. In our recent past we have enjoyed a wide range of activities, Guy Kawasaki to valuation and Amazon workshops. Our revenue came from memberships. We try hard to render value to each member. Our renewal rate is our pulse, and we are healthy by all measures.

But the circle was completed when our Industry Chairman John Sarkisian noted in his Holiday message that SDSI has created a business oriented healthy living community, where previously there wasn’t one. The very word “community” implies a greater collective interest and a recruitment of resources to achieve a greater good. But what do we do?

SDSI is a business development community that creates companies, jobs and commerce in the Sport and Active Lifestyle space. Our membership represents the 1200 SAL business in San Diego, all of whom play a role in the San Diego Lifestyle. Our collective economic activity ranks in the Billions of dollars in Commerce. Our Springboard program is an engine of creativity having now graduated 71 Companies, helped raise $76M in capital, and enjoy an 87% successful track record. Importantly, in this amazing Year of the Woman, 41% of our graduate companies are female founded or led.

And the Springboard Mentor community in this year will donate 1,600 hours of selfless dedication to helping young entrepreneurs achieve their dreams.

So that's what our community is and does. We are executives, individual companies, ideas, investors, San Diegans rallying around creativity, business energy, and giving. Not Bad!
Springboard Class 11 recruiting is underway. Direct your favorite young company to apply and watch the magic happen!
-bob

Read the rest of the newsletter HERE

Congrats Class 10 SDSI Springboard Graduates

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BodyFly
Portable, versatile, effective.  BodyFly Fitness brings new levels of portability to resistance workout machines, with consistent resistance for all ability levels, in a package small enough to fit in the overhead compartment of a airplane.  Started by a former NFL player and a military veteran, BodyFly is bringing hundreds of resistance exercises to small spaces from gyms, to aircraft carriers, to hotels.  Visit: bodyflyfitness.com

FuelSmart
FuelSmart is upgrading sports nutrition by combining workout data and body type to create on-demand sports nutrition that supports any fitness goal.  By using readily available workout tracker data and leading edge technology, FuelSmart will serve athletes custom built beverages through vending machines and home delivery to make one-size-fits-all sports nutrition a thing of the past.  Follow the progress at fuelsmart.fit

4LBU
4LBU stands for For Life Be You.  Founded by former NFL running back Prince Daniels Jr., 4LBU aims to bring mindfulness and meditation to athletes of all ages and levels, with an emphasis on at risk youth. Through books, coaching and camps, 4LBU spreads the message of how mindfulness improves all areas of life, sports performance included. The best athlete, is a mindful athlete. Visit princedanielsjr.com

Bold Brew
Bold Brew is the natural alternative to sugary energy drinks.  When founders Jack and Jake realized that their friends were turning to natural cold brew coffee to amp up before skating, snowboarding and other action sports, they realized they were on to something and Bold Brew was born.  A great tasting, affordable, all-natural energy drink, packaged in their signature tie-die print.  Bold Brew is currently on-sale throughout San Diego.  Find out more at Boldbrew.com

RevTek
RevTek relief is foam rolling 2.0.  With a proprietary stationary roller and easy to follow curriculum, RevTek is unlocking the power of self-massage for all ages and abilities.  Manage pain and perform better by releasing tight muscles with a roller that lets you better control body weight and pressure, and get to hard to reach spots.  Find out more at revtekroller.com

Happy New Year (December Newsletter)

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What a great time of year; tons of Holiday cheer and positive energy, and capping it all, we live in San Diego, a place like no other place! Our town is symbolic of the healthy, balanced, and active lifestyle. We have universities and patent density. We have more millennials on a % than anywhere else. We revel in our diversity and openness. We have amazing geographic advantages with the weather, the Pacific to the west, eastern Desert and mountains, Mexico to our south, and the US Marine Corp guarding our northern border with Orange County. And we have sunny weather and a sunny populace, wow!
It’s no wonder that such an amazing lifestyle has produced so many brands that truly reflect San Diego’s Sport and healthy lifestyle industry. For your small SDSI staff, it's a privilege to represent our industry, to help young companies accelerate to their future, to play a role in developmental plans for our larger brands and to serve as a link to the high minded service providers who make things happen.
Immediately after this year’s Holiday party, John Sarkisian, our Industry Chairman, sent out a brief note that really sums up our mission. I’d like to share this with you and thank each of you for your support.

“Reflecting upon the holiday party last night it occurred to me that while we continue to strive to improve as an organization to provide value and resources to our members we should not forget the core value our organization brings to the SAL industry.
Conceived by Marco ten years ago, accelerated by the Bill Walton and lead by Bob Rief, Nick Roth, Renne Catalano-Gussman and Dana Rowley, SDSI has created a community where one did not exist before. To see so many young entrepreneurs in one place benefiting from this community of leaders and mentors should remind us all that simply having a place to turn to when you have put yourself out there with an idea and the hope of creating a business might be SDSI's greatest value of all.”


Happy New Year!

-bob

Read the rest of the newsletter here

Early Bird Pricing Ends Friday! Future of Sport Conference Jan 18

Future of Sport Conference

Thursday, January 18, 2018
UC San Diego

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Keep up or get left behind.  The future of sports is coming, are you going to be there?

What will the new generation of athletes, wear, buy, eat, watch, think?

Forces critical to the sports industry are emerging rapidly, leading to new opportunities — and creating blind spots. Facing an accelerating pace of change, it’s difficult to predict relevant business scenarios and to confidently deploy resources toward long-term plans.

SDSI presents: The Future of Sport Conference in partnership with Attention Span Media’s Sport Fwd Group.  The conference, taking place on January 18th, will feature talks and panels from expert futurists on topics such as Augmented/Virtual/Mixed Reality, Neurohacking, Sports fans in Gen Z, and Generation Remix: reaching the unreachables, and a keynote presentation by Guy Kawasaki!  This will be held at the amazing Qualcomm Innovation Lab at UCSD’s Atkinson Hall featuring a VR cave, 8k resolution video projector, and a 32 screen TV wall – the venue alone is worth the price of admission! Buy your tickets now at http://attentionfwd.com/sport-fwd-conference/ 

Who: SDSI and Attention Span Media
What: The Future of Sport Conference – addressing changes, opportunities and the rapidly evolving relationship between sports and technology.
When: Thursday, January 18th 2018
Where: Qualcomm Innovation Lab at UCSD’s Atkinson Hall
Why: Be ready for what’s to come and stay ahead of the trends.  Join us for the discussion on what the future of sport looks like from all angles, including participation, spectating, communication, nutrition, safety and more. 

http://attentionfwd.com/sport-fwd-conference/ 

Topics include:

 ➔ Generation Remix / Reaching the Unreachables  
 ➔ Rise of the Creator-Athlete
 ➔ Sports: The Global Superpower
 ➔ Mixed Reality: Augmented and Virtual Reality in Sports
 ➔ Training the Athlete of the Future
 ➔ The Remixed Athlete: CRISPR and Beyond
 ➔ Big Data: Quantum Leaps in Team Performance    

Email us if you have any questions. We hope to see you there!

Neuro Hacking? CRISPR? Enhanced Reality? [November Newsletter]

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As a child of the 60’s, believe me when I say “enhanced reality” was an entirely different thing than it is in the 21st Century! Think about sports 10 years from now and your viewing habits… taking your joy stick to view any angle you like… into the huddle, fly over the linebacker… feel the crunch of those 350 pound super men down in the trenches. By the way, these athletes may have had their DNA fine-tuned for the NFL through CRISPR therapies. And they will surely be neuro hacked to optimize the brain-body relationship.

Home Computer… what’s that? Any child under 2 years old today will never see one. Television… nope. Maybe you, but surely your kids, will take in all sports, and most education through VR enhanced mobile devices… live stream it, pinch it off or send it to your 90 inch screen. Having vision challenges in all of this… glasses will disappear, replaced by an AR system that tracks your eye movement and focal point.

The Future is here, ready or not. So carve out a day and join us January 18th for the Future of Sports event at the Qualcomm Innovation Lab at UCSD. The tickets are available here. We can promise you that when you emerge from a visit to The Innovation Lab VR cave, your vision about the Future will be different, really different. The technology of the Future is here right now and we are happy to present it to you on Jan 18. Time for Change!
Bob

Read the rest of the SDSI Newsletter here

Future of Sport Conference - Jan 18th

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Future of Sport Conference
Thursday, Jan 18 2018
UC San Diego - Qualcomm Innovation Lab

SDSI is thrilled to announce our biggest undertaking yet: our Future of Sport Conference in partnership with Attention Span Media’s Sport Fwd Group.  This full day conference, taking place on January 18th,  will feature talks and panels from expert futurists on topics such as Augmented/Virtual/Mixed Reality, Neurohacking, Sports fans in Gen Z, and Generation Remix: reaching the unreachables, kicked off by a keynote presentation by Guy Kawasaki!  

This will be held at the amazing Qualcomm Innovation Lab at UCSD’s Atkinson Hall featuring a VR cave, 8k resolution video projector, and a 32 screen TV wall – the venue alone is worth the price of admission! 

Early bird tickets start at just $119 (VIP tickets also available) so make sure you request your inviite today before prices increase December 2nd!

Learn more about the event and request an invite at http://attentionfwd.com/sport-fwd-conference/ 

Topics include:

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October? Oh No! (and Oct Newsletter)

October brings Halloween, but that's not the only frightening event that happens this month: 2018 budgets everywhere are being finalized. All those “trends” we clairvoyant few perceived last spring are being converted into forecasts, also known as “promises,” monetized and added to 2018 budgets.

I can’t help the process much, but you can help us. “How,” I hope you said?  The answer is simple: Don’t forget to include your SDSI membership to your 2018 budget!

Just in case your Board, CEO or more likely CFO wonder what we do and why SDSI is worthy of your time and money, let me list a few reminders:
1.      SDSI is a 501C3, Not for Profit and dues are fully deductible for corporations and individuals
2.      SDSI is really a job generator: we help birth and accelerate companies (70 in the Springboard program alone.)
3.      SDSI graduate companies in Springboard have an 87% success record!
4.      41% of our graduate companies are led by women.
5.      SDSI mentors will donate, gratis, 1,600 hours this year - all to help others succeed.

My point of view is that SDSI is worthy of your time and money. Of course, we hope you share that vision; your support really makes a difference.

From a more tactical point of view, we also collaborate in accelerating businesses within our 110 member roster. Executive education is a reality when Guy Kawasaski speaks to our group… or Jeff Kearl… or our friend Beaver Theodosakis. Our General membership comes with amazing networking and a working series of events called the Founder’s Tool Box, things every young CEO/Founder should know. Our collective Rolodex is focused on our industry and nothing else. We are not a business card exchange club. We are about sharing resources, discussing issues and challenges that mean something in our space.

Remember that we as an economic engine rank right behind Ship Building in town. There are 37,000 people employed in our industry here. We rack up collective sales estimated to be in excess of $4 Billion dollars annually. Best of all, our businesses are focused on Sports, Active and healthy lifestyles. Our products are the San Diego Lifestyle.

So please remember to add us to the 2018 Budget and help us make it a great year!

Read the full Newsletter HERE

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Learning through Listening (September Newsletter)

In these modern times, could it be that we are far too focused on ourselves…be it personal or professional…and have lost all ability or inclination to actually listen accurately?

It never really occurred to me until I got involved with the on boarding program for Sophomores entering the CSU San Marcos business school. Their challenge is simple: start training up very young college students for the task of actually finding work. The facts are stark: the average HR person spends 7 seconds reading a resume. 84% of all jobs are found through networking!  If that’s the case, step 1 is developing a network!

I am reminded of the Beatles point of view about the business day…”woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head…” That's the musical version of how many of us start our day; we get to work and focus on the immediate and in many cases, 8 hours later, head for home. It's a closed world.

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Last week at our General Membership meeting we decided to test our own net working skills. We organized into 5 person teams and interviewed each other. What we discovered is that there is a lot to learn in a focused conversation…like “how to listen. Lesson 1 is ‘It’s not about you” when you are actively listening! Lesson 2 is there is a lot to learn from other execs in our space.”

Lesson 3 was really telling: the collective “rolodex” of 110 members, all in the Sport and Athletic Lifestyle industry is really powerful. Let’s suppose we each have 40 active contacts (way low) and we multiply that times the 110 companies: 4,400 relevant contacts, all associated in one way or the other to our collective business space. And it’s easy to access them… come to a meeting and listen and learn!

Hope to see you soon…keep on learning!

View full newsletter here

Small is the New Big

From NPD.com

In a recent blog post, The Future Looks PUNY, I outlined that many of the success stories amidst today’s retail malaise have centered on the ideas of Premium, Unique, New and Young (PUNY). These niche concepts fall under a broader, overarching theme: in the words of Seth Godin, “Small is the New Big.”

Across the retail landscape, from food to fashion, we see examples of PUNY. Small craft brewers, in their aggregate, are taking considerable share from the mass mega-brands. NPD published news recently on the growth of micro-restaurant chains and their impact to the future of the restaurant business.

In outerwear, we see that smaller brands are taking chunks of share from the larger established brands. Consumers are still buying fleece and puffer jackets; they just want a “unique” logo on the front.

We could even argue that some of Adidas’ recent U.S. success was due to the fact that Adidas was in many ways a “new” and “small” brand in the U.S. In 2015, at the low point of their history, Adidas had only 4 percent share of the footwear market; since then, Adidas has nearly tripled its share.

Read the rest of the post here

Are you doing your part to help Build, Start or Support Small Businesses? (SDSI Newsletter 8/31/17)

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You know, in these uncertain times, when facts are conflated with opinion, not much is “for sure.”  But one thing is: small businesses drive the economy.  It’s particularly relevant when you look at our Sport and Athletic Lifestyle space. It’s true we have some relatively large businesses in the group like Vans or GoPro, but we also have ping pong companies, small golf brands, nutrition companies and many others. In fact, our Springboard program itself has accelerated or helped birth over 70 companies in our space, and created almost 500 new jobs. We are in the process of development of an industry census of sorts, but our 3 year old research pegs the local SAL economy at 37,000 jobs, over $2 Billion in revenue… and growing.  Our local cycling industry measured out at $547 Million annually; most all are small businesses with less than 30 employees.

Our friend Sully Sullivan points out that our space in the local economy is one of the few that connects with San Diegans every day…Mom’s buying soccer shoes, wet suits, athletic balls…you name it. So we count in the local economy.

You can help. Pass the word along about the amazing Springboard program. Its easy to do, just direct people to the website… it’s all there. If you would like to really lend your experience and time, we welcome experienced people into the Springboard mentoring program. There are not many things you can do in your business life that can bring the pleasure of helping a young entrepreneur succeed.  This year our Mentors will donate over 1600 hours to help others succeed. How awesome is that!

bob

FULL NEWSLETTER AVAILABLE HERE

Airborne Advisory Board Meeting Recap

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Wow! What an absolutely amazing meeting. To all who attended, THANKS! And to those who were tied up that afternoon with your businesses, be assured we respect your attentiveness to the mission, but OMG, you missed an event!  Seeing Ricky James flying up the 60 foot tunnel was amazing…for that matter watching 12 of our more intrepid members step up for 2 flights was amazing in and of itself. Our 2 lady flyers, Kaitlyn and Aubrey zoom around…they might be the over all best tube aviators at SDSI..naturals. Our own Nick managed to bore in for a low speed non injury crash, but what’s new, its not his first crash!  To be fair, somewhat fair, he zoomed to the top on his next flight and made it back to earth intact! Here are the links to all the fun: Airborne Photos, SDSI Photos, Airborne Video…send it on to friends. My 5 year old grandchild saw the video and asked my daughter “can Grandad really fly?’’ I hope she answered yes..what a claim!

Airborne SD is located across the street from Tailgate Park by Petco. Its is really a state of the art facility with meeting room, restaurant, showers, etc. Tristan Hampson, our host, has 8000 hours of tube flying; his competence made all of this possible. If you ever wanted to craft a team Building event for your business, I have 2 suggestions: Airborne SD, and Mesa Rim Climbing. In both cases the events themselves are something ALL millennial and younger generations are interested in…so just being there is more than ½ the battle. But seeing everyone be nervous, kinda close up ranks, see who would go first..those are moments that build trust and connections..then to fly or climb..priceless!  For onboarding newbies or just team building, nothing better!

‘best,
Bob

"End of an Era?" SDSI Newsletter 7/27/17

Has 2017 marked the beginning of the rise of the small brand….or the end of the big brand? In the not too distant past the primary strength of the big brand was distribution. The bigger the better, after all you just poured product into the funnel, and bingo! it was available widely. By the way, this applies to many, many product categories. Its not something restricted to our world of consumer products.

But lately the larger brands have not been the motor for the economy. Instead of creating jobs, its actually reducing them. The retail clerk community is hard hit with over 80,000 jobs lost last year. The opposite side of the coin has the rise of small brands. Alibaba’s Jack Ma is predicting the rise of the small brand. He calls them the 30/30 Businesses: under 30 employees, led by a CEO under 30. That old distribution network…brick and mortar, warehouses, huge, bulky and inefficient supply chains are now viewed by many as simply mill stones, guaranteed to sink the weary swimmer. In its place lies the internet in all of its connectivity. Alibaba’s Ma sees that old hard scape distribution replaced by a platform that levels the global playing field, enabling an Alibaba vendor to deliver to a customer anywhere in the world within 72 hours…without owning a warehouse or a forklift!  By 2020!

It is indeed mind boggling, but I definitely buy into the concept that the young small businesses will be the driver of the future economy. That’s good news for SDSI, because we are a business development group focused for the most part on small businesses. Our Springboard program has helped jump start 70 companies..they have raised over $50 Million in capital and have an unbelievable 87% survival rate. Did you know there are over 34,000 people working in our space in San Diego? Most are employed by small healthy businesses. Yeah, baby, small is beautiful!

br

READ FULL NEWSLETTER HERE

China in your Brand’s Future? Are you sure?

This week I had the opportunity to join Bryan Pate from ElliptiGo and represent SDSI at the Alibaba Gateway 17 Summit in Detroit.  As many members know we have had an ongoing conversation with Alibaba, but this was my first chance to attend a “how to sell in China” symposium centered on actually selling into the China market, as opposed to just talking about it. I jotted down a few items to call to your attention:

  • Alibaba is a market place, it is NOT Amazon. “baba” holds no inventory.
  • Alibaba is a platform, an extraordinary one, that provides all the services needed to import, sell and collect in China
  • Their market penetration is hard to believe:
  1. there are 350,000,000 (350 million) new middle class citizens in China: average income $11,000 to $38,000
  2. there are 500,000,000 Alibaba users (yes, ½ Billion)
  3. average transaction per user: 27
  4. 270,000 are daily users, averaging several hours per user
  5. there are 1.1 Million people delivering Alibaba packages daily
  6. Alibaba ranks 21 in the world economies… ahead for instance of the total GNP of Argentina. The ‘baba goal; be the 5th largest economy worldwide within 10 years. Dom’t think so? On the Alibaba “Singles Day this year they clocked $17.8 Billion US $ in 24 hours…bigger than our Cyber Monday by far.
  • China is transitioning from an export country to an import country…remember, their middle class exceeds the size of our total population
  • Forecast: I personally believe that we are on the advent of the rise of the SMALL business.  Let’s face it… big brands have had their run. The disruptive market forces, the arrival of the digital revolution and greying of management have made big global brands slow to react, dinosaurs with legacy retail networks in a digital world.  The entrepreneurial world is dominated by under 30 year old players.  Their focus is the future. They are the nimble businesses…and access to world markets make the small business equal to the big business, maybe better!  Let me go out on a limb: 3 years from now we will see world wide deliveries direct to consumer within 72 hours... no matter where the order is from, no matter where the inventory is housed!

Can China be in your brand future? It can, but its not going to be easy. We will have a general membership meeting about the “how to” very soon. But in the meantime, challenge yourself to think about the possibility of China. For all young entrepreneurs, take heart in knowing that a mega opportunity is coming to the world, sooner than expected!

bob

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Press Release: Applications Open for SDSI Springboard Business Accelerator Program

Applications Open for SDSI Springboard Business Accelerator Program
-SoCal’s only business accelerator dedicated to Sports and Active Lifestyle business-
Solana Beach, Calif. June 19, 2017 – San Diego Sport Innovators (SDSI), the non-profit business development organization for the Sports and Active Lifestyle (SAL) industry, is now accepting applications to its acclaimed business accelerator program, SDSI Springboard, sponsored by K2 Insurance Services.

SDSI Springboard is a 20-week intensive, mentor-led program that proves the power of collaboration, as successful executives and seasoned entrepreneurs - from companies like Callaway Golf, Road Runner Sports, Active.com, Competitor Group - give time and expertise to help growing companies reach success, right here in San Diego. 

“We are most proud of our successes,” says Bill Walton, SDSI Executive Chairman. “Over the years, 87% of our Springboard graduates are still in business, we have helped to build 70 different companies, those companies have raised more than $50 million in business-building capital and have create nearly 450 real jobs - jobs that are the bedrock foundation of our community.”

SDSI Springboard is open to SAL companies of all sizes who are facing significant milestones like: launching a new product, starting a new business, shifting their business model, preparing to raise capital or working through a significant growth phase.

“The SDSI Springboard program has given COR the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the industry,” said 2015 Graduate, Andy Gossett, Founder COR Surf. “Having the opportunity to learn from experts in marketing, finance and entrepreneurship has resulted in growth in COR's sales and given me the ability to pitch my company to investors with confidence.

Those interested can apply for free at http://sdsportinnovators.org/springboard/ through July 31. SDSI Membership is required upon acceptance into the program. To learn more about becoming a mentor, industry executives can contact Renne Catalano Gussman at renne@sdsportinnovators.com.


About SDSI  
SDSI is a nonprofit business development organization focused on the Sport and Active Lifestyle (SAL) industry. Working with Executive Chairman and NBA great Bill Walton, our 105-company membership represents the “San Diego Lifestyle” and includes leading sports and technology brands, nutrition and yoga, surf, skate, cycling, golf and retail, as well as some of San Diego’s bests service companies. We focus on relevant and actionable C-level content that benefits our member companies. SDSI’s award winning SDSI Springboard business accelerator program features a 20-week mentor-led curriculum whose 70 graduates have raised $51.4 million, have created 441 Jobs and have an 87% success record. For more information, visit www.SDSportInnovators.com.