Yesterday marked my long ride ever, coming in at approximately 139 miles as a part of the Rapha Gentlemen’s Race. We headed out to the beach (Lincoln City) on Friday evening and stayed in a suite at the Inn at Spanish Head thanks to team president Jim who served as sugar daddy for the evening. [...]
Archive for April, 2009
Here’s a video that I threw together from footage from a helmet cam worn by a teammate recently. The race was the Tuesday Night Race at Portland International Raceway – the same race night I blogged about recently. The video gives you a bit of a sense as to what it’s like to be going fast right in the middle of a large group of riders.
EDIT: Here’s another similar (handlebar mounted) video from a different race that I had nothing to do with. It’s worth including because it showcases a really nice crash. Wait for the end to see why the camera-mounted rider got taken down seemingly by nothing.
The internet has a problem. It’s not broken, but it certainly is bloated to the point of overload. Seth Godin recently put forth his thoughts on the information overload available online. This overload is making it increasingly difficult for web users to find quality content without spending copious amounts of time looking for it. Enter social media. The question now is whether or not social media can stitch together the internet before it bursts at the seams, or whether it will simply delay the inevitable.
Jason Cohen just wrote one of the most compelling articles I’ve read on embracing social media. Find it here: Why you have to engage in social media, even if you don’t want to. One of the brilliant parts of the article points out the resemblance between embracing social media today and embracing web sites a decade ago. A static website today is becoming increasingly worthless without a social media presence to back it up. From a business standpoint, unless you’re ready to compete in the realm of social media, you’re going to have a lot of ad spending to do just to keep up.
So why social media? With the massive number of websites out there producing great content, the question increasingly coming to mind for internet users is: what do I look at? There’s not time to see it all, or even close to a majority. I installed a page view tracker on my browser several months ago to see how many pages I was viewing, and I surprised myself with a current average of 848 pages per day. I would guess that’s a fair bit more than your average internet user, and yet I barely skim the surface.
When I look at my primary channels into web surfing, they all relate to social media in some way. I’ve got 10-15 reliable professional blogs I stay up to date with (that are really more online magazines), and I use a blog reader to keep track of feeds from over 30 friends who blog. I get my news from Google News, an aggregator. I use Popurls, an aggregator of a number of social media sites that are themselves aggregators and social bookmarking sites. Facebook serves as a way to keep track of friends, and Twitter is my connection into what’s happening on the internet, including a variety of quality links from people I follow. Of those 848 pages per day, probably 500-600 of them come through one of the channels I just listed or some other form of social media. The rest is mostly job hunting and a few Google searches thrown in.
If I’m at all a typical internet power user, this is a pretty astonishing thing. No longer do I rely primarily on search engines to find view-worthy internet content. Instead, I’ve found a variety of social media channels that show me what’s worth viewing online. Social media has been an incredibly valuable tool for managing my internet usage. But what happens when the realm of social media itself becomes so bloated that it’s difficult to ascertain quality social media content (keep in mind that I’m already using content aggregators for sites that are themselves aggregators).
To answer the original question, I think social media has provided a cure for the internet, albeit a temporary one. It’s still a fairly new concept for most internet users, and will continue to grow rapidly in the near future. But I think eventually social media will fall prey to the same problem it set out to solve: too much content and too much noise.
So here’s an interesting thought:
There’s been some unrest surrounding the debate over net neutrality and the ability of internet service providers to regulate what users can access online. I’m personally a strong believer in net neutrality, but I have to wonder if there might actually be a market for packaged internet in the near future. People are worried that ISPs will sell packages of web sites that are viewable by users, with extra fees or blocked access to sites that aren’t a part of the package. Yet if the internet becomes so overloaded with content that it’s tough to filter it, this would almost provide a solution. Your average internet user might appreciate some “expert” hand-picking an internet line-up much the same way that cable TV comes prepackaged.
Granted, I’m in no way arguing for this, but for the first time I actually see a potential market for this sort of internet with blinders. Now don’t get me started on the downsides to this approach…
There’s some confusion out there in the job world. Layoffs and shrinking budgets are placing more responsibility on individual employees, and that mentality is also being reflected in requirements for job postings. While some postings are doing a good job of staying within the realm of requirements that will result in a decent number of qualified candidates, many are stretching the limits to the point where about four people in the entire country match what the company hiring is looking for. The good news for the company? Two of those four people are out of work. The bad news? None of them will find your job posting without some luck.
Also interesting to note, there seems to be a skills inversion in the job market right now. You’d think more experienced positions would require a broader range of skills and experience than a more entry-level position. I’m finding that to not be the case. Here are two job postings that generally reflect the sort of postings I’m seeing in my job search:
Job 1: Marketing Director
- 10 years marketing experience
- proven team leader
- marketing strategy management
Other than lacking the 10 years experience required, this is the exactly the sort of thing my undergraduate business/marketing degree prepared me for. We had lots of team-based exercises, most classes focused on theory and strategy, and we were exposed to case studies in successful marketing efforts.
Job 2: Marketing Assistant
- 1-2 years marketing experience
- project management experience
- Experience working with clients and other stakeholders
- experience working as part of a team
- knowledge of web marketing
- MS Office/Adobe Creative Suite Knowledge
- Marketing Material Design Experience
- Knowledge of HTML and website management
- Knowledge of specific industry preferred
Yikes. This is the sort of thing I’m applying for. Lucky for me, I’ve dabbled in lots of different things and enjoy technology, the internet, and being creative and artistic from time to time. However, when you break this position down, it’s pretty demanding. The marketing experience relates to my degree pretty well. The degree was also helpful when it comes down to project management and teamwork. But Adobe Skills and design experience? That’s more up the alley of a graphic design/advertising major. And HTML? Computer science majors might be a better place to look. Finally, industry-specific experience can completely throw in another curveball. A position I recently applied for (and am hopefully still in the running for) preferred life sciences experience. That’s another major to throw in. So, your ideal candidate for this sort of position has only a couple years of experience, yet also quadruple-majored in four not-so related subjects.
What job #2 is really looking for (whether they know it or not) is a generalist. I’ve done a decent amount of messing around with HTML, am knowledgeable of Adobe Creative Suite, have a good eye for design, and I’ve got some good experience in things like coordination, planning, and marketing. But in this job market it’s tough to get your foot in the door when that experience doesn’t show up on a resume under the work experience section. That’s something I’ve worked on my resume a bit, but it could still be better. Unfortunately, my business degree itself doesn’t go very far in qualifying for these entry-level positions.
What I really need to do is GET one of these positions, so that I’ll have work experience in the multitude of things required of this sort of position. Once I’m in a work situation, I’m sure my business school principles will become incredibly valuable.
So, the takeaway:
If you’re looking for a job and you’re in school or recently graduated, first find something you’re passionate about and specialize in it. But then take it about 15 steps further and have hobbies, side-skills, and random passions unrelated to your degree. They’ll likely become far more valuable than you realize.
If you’re posting a job looking for an entry-level candidate, just remember that if you ask for a ton of different unrelated skills, you’re going to get a generalist rather than a specialist. Granted, that’s probably a good thing. At the same time, those skills you’re looking for can be learned, so I’d suggest boiling the main requirements down to 2-3 primary skills. From there, a positive attitude, willingness to learn, and intelligence will be much more valuable job skills than the dabbling your candidate may have done in underwater basket weaving while trying to find their way in the professional world.
I’ve been messing around in the last several months with search engine optimization in a bid to see if I could manage to dominate the page 1 search results for “Adam Edgerton” on Google. It finally happened today. I’ve been hovering around 7-9 results in the last few weeks, but today things worked out perfectly. It’ll probably be back to 9 or something tomorrow with how much Google results fluctuate, but still, mission accomplished!
1. My Website
2. My Blog
3. Linkedin Directory with my profile listed at top
4. My Linkedin Profile
5. My Facebook Profile
6. My Twitter
7. My Business Card 2
8. My Resume on Scribd
9. My Flickr Photostream
10. My OBRA racing results
Bonus: My Google Profile at the bottom
A dog and his frisbee. What more could you ask for?
I raced my bike at Portland International Raceway for the first time last night.
There’s a Tuesday night series that runs from April all the way through August. It’s a completely different type of racing than many road races or criteriums. Since it’s on a closed track, it’s completely open roads that are the equivalent of 2-5 lanes wide depending on the section of the course. The pavement is as smooth as it comes, and the corners are all gradual enough that you never have to slow going into them. This makes for an incredibly fast, fun race.
Having 80 degree weather in April resulting in more than 100 people showing up in your field makes things even more interesting. It was the largest field I’ve ever raced in, and having that many people on an open road makes it hard to get to the front of the race, and harder to stay there. My plan was to go and check the race out and get in a good workout without worrying about my overall placing, and I did just that. I attacked off the front of the race on my own several times, sprinted a couple times, chased down one break, and overall got in some nice interval training while maintaining a high intensity level the entire race. I went for the first two of three hot spots and just missed out on both. I attacked the field with a quarter of a lap to go and tried to go solo, but got reeled in with about 200 yards to go. The second one a teammate had gone solo off the front and was going to be pulled back in, so I decided to sprint for it. I probably went a hair early and had the lead until about 100 meters to go when someone came around me on the left at a pace I couldn’t catch.
Our race was 12 two mile laps, and we finished in about 52 minutes. That’s about a 26 – 27MPH average, which is easily the fastest race I’ve ever been in. In the last lap I was feeling good about moving to the front and the pace was high with things strung out at the front. Then with less than half a lap to go, the pace slowed and everyone bunched up at the front. I never found a good way to get myself un-boxed, and didn’t have a chance to contest the sprint. I rolled in right in the middle of the pack to take 40th of 102. Fun times!
EDIT: Here’s a good shot of me sardined right in the middle front of the field.
This weekend I headed down to Southern Oregon to race Table Rock Road Race. I went down with teammate Pat and his brother and brother’s wife. We left early Saturday morning in order to have time to preride a lap of the course. Saturday’s weather was great, with highs in the 70s and sun. We rode an easy lap of the course and then rode the 15 or so miles back to the campground we stayed at. We rented a Yurt at Valley of the Rogue State Park, which worked out nicely. Pat made some excellent yam gnocchi and chicken for dinner, and I made some oats for breakfast this morning. The race itself was just under 50 miles, about 18 miles a lap times 2.5 laps. There were two major climbs – a longer, gradual climb and then a very steep 1K finishing climb.
Here’s my race reprt as posted on the Team Oregon forum:
I spent a good chunk of the afternoon frustrated with myself, but without any good reason to be. I rode a good race, but it’s the first time this year I haven’t met or exceeded my own expectations for a race.
I was a big player in the entire race right until about 200 to go. In the first lap after the easiest cruise ever for the first several miles, Pat and I drilled it at the front up the first climb and put some serious hurt on much of the field, but unfortunately things mostly stayed together. Pat’s bad luck continued in the second lap when he got caught up behind a crash and was unable to chase back on. I had the closest near-miss I’ve ever had with that same crash as I was directly behind the two teammates that took each other out and missed bikes on the ground by inches.
On the finishing climb with one lap to go I attacked hard with Ryan from Veloce as we’d planned ahead of time, and we probably put 30 seconds on the field in less than two minutes. After a fast descent we got into a nice rhythm averaging probably 25 or so, and figured we had a shot. We’d hoped to have one or two more guys go with us, but instead the stronger guys in the field who should have gone with us knew just how much of a threat we were and managed to chase us down in probably 5-6 miles.
I spent the second to last climb in recovery mode trying to rest up after getting caught in the break, and I got a really nice second wind about halfway up the climb. I think it was about this point that everyone was getting tired and the already incredibly sketchy riding (one of the worst 4/5 fields I’ve been in) got even worse. I tried to not let that get to me, but it definitely psyched me out a bit and made me realize just how eager I am to be a 3.
On the finishing climb I chased down an early attack that I probably shouldn’t have, and I hit the bottom of the really steep section at a much higher heart rate than I should have. The hard uphill sprint started with about 250 to go, and for some reason my climbing legs that had been awesome all day simply wouldn’t go, and I dropped backwards in a hurry. Took about 20th.
After finishing I had fairly sharp pain on the outside of my knee near my LCL. I’d felt it a hair while climbing in the last lap, and I’m wondering if that’s part of the reason I didn’t have what I wanted to for the sprint. It’s just sore now, but I need to figure out what caused it.
I’m just going to blame it all on the fact that this is the first race this year where I haven’t eaten eggs beforehand. Try again next week.
I’m tired of riding in the 4s not only because of the sketchyness, but because of the general lack of tactical racing. Most 4 races there aren’t nearly enough attacks, and everyone chases everything. Breaks rarely stick, and you can almost guarentee a pack finish. If you play the odds, your best bet is to sit in the pack and do no work the entire race until the sprint at the end. Thats what many riders do to place well, and it’s also a really boring way to race. I like being at the front attacking, chasing, making people hurt, and generally being involved in some actual racing. If I’d sat in and done no work today and cruised around like most of the finishing field, I probably would have placed better at the end. I also would have been bored. I suppose that’s what it might take to get my 3 upgrade – some boring racing to get another good result or two.
I know, I know – build a bridge and get over it already, right?
I spent much of the day running one massive errand – delivering flyers promoting the Monday night race series coming up at PIR starting in May to bike shops scattered across the city. I was doing it for the race organizer, who also happens to be the president of my cycling team. I set off with a list of 21 bike shops in every part of the city, and ended up taking about 5 hours to do the entire loop of 57 or so miles. Not bad considering all the traffic lights, stop signs, and stop time at each shop. Here’s the loop:
I started out headed Northeast towards Forest park. Springville road is a nice long climb up to the park, and then I took Springville road that turns into a trail into the park. I had heard there were some decent gravel trails that could be managed by road bike, but Springville isn’t really one of them. It turns into a steep downhill mountain bike trail that would have been slightly technical on a mountain bike, and was insane on a road bike. It was muddy, which made things even more interesting. I survived my way down it without ever stopping or even unclipping, but I rode the brakes the whole way down.
Then I took a wrong turn on Leif Erickson when I should have continued on Springville, and wound up at Germantown Road, so really I should have just taken Germantown in the first place. Regardless, it was fun to explore Forest Park. It’s beautiful and really peaceful. Plus, I got some great practice for Eugene Roubaix. Too bad I’m not racing it this year. Here’s a view (through a plastic bag covering my phone) of Leif Erickson:
After finishing the windy, fun descent of Germantown, I crossed the St. Johns bridge (cool bridge!) into St. Johns. I made my first bike shop stop there, and then headed over through North Portland into NE, stopping at various points along the way. From Northeast I cut across towards the Rose Quarter for a couple stops, then into Southeast. I headed as far south as Sellwood, then took the riverside bke bath (more like bike freeway) back to downtown.
After marveling at how close the downtown bike shops are to each other compared to the rest, I picked a particularly steep road to go up into the West Hills in SW Portland. (12th to 16th to Washington – probably 20-25% grades at times). From there the rest of the ride featured a really nice downhill run into Beaverton, where I distributed the rest of the flyers before returning home.
Before the trip, I wasn’t particularly concerned about riding in a big city that I’m only slightly familiar with, but I was curious how stressful it might be with traffic. Turned out to be a non-issue. Part of it is that I’m very used to riding with traffic, but biking in Portland is exceedingly easy. I now have a good understanding why it’s one of the best cities for biking in the country. Bike lanes everywhere, lots of wide roads, and designated bike routes that you can’t possibly miss even if you weren’t looking for them. I used my iPhone and general sense of direction to navigate between stops, but finding good roads to get between A and B was a breeze. People seem to think that biking downtown is best left to crazy bike messengers, but that was probably one of the easiest parts – you can keep up with traffic!
I also got a good feel for North, NE, and SE Portland, areas where I haven’t spent much time. They’re all really nice areas, and I reconfirmed the fact that I’d like to live in pretty much any part of Portland. North or Northeast are probably even better than I thought for biking, because the ride out of town across the St. Johns Bridge is fairly quick, and then you’ve got access to all kinds of open roads.
All in all, lots of fun exploring and getting a good workout in at the same time.
Here’s the list of shops I stopped by:
Weir’s Cyclery – 8247 N. Lombard, Portland
Revolver Bikes – 6509-11 N Interstate Ave, Portland
Cascade Cycling – 122 N Killingsworth St, Portland
Upper Echelon Fitness – 4829 NE Martin Luther King Blvd, Portland
Community Cycling Center – 1700 NE Alberta, Portland
Bike Gallery Hollywood – 5329 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland
Cyclepath – 2436 NE. MLK Jr. Blvd, Portland
Metropolis Cycle Repair – 2249 N Williams Ave, Portland
Bicycle Repair Collective – 4438 SE Belmont St, Portland
Joe Bike – 3953 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland
Veloce Bicycle – 3202 SE hawthorne, Portland
A Better Cycle – 2324 SE Division, Portland
Seven Corners Cycle – 3218 SE 21st Ave, Portland
Sellwood Cycle Repair – 7639 SE Milwaukie Ave, Portland
Bike ‘n Hike – 400 S.E. Grand Ave, Portland
Bike Central Co-op – 220 SW 1st Ave, Portland
Veloshop – 211 SW 9th Avenue, Portland
Bike Gallery Downtown – 1001 SW 10th Ave, Portland
Bike ‘n Hike Beaverton – 10120 S.W. Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy, Beaverton
Bike Gallery Beaverton – 12345 SW Canyon Road, Beaverton
Performance Bike Beaverton – 3850 SW Hall Blvd, Beaverton
I’ve changed up the look of the blog a bit. A lot. I was never unhappy with the old one, but I’m much happier with this one. I’m still making some adjustments and modifications, so don’t be surprised if things are slightly out of whack for the next couple days. If you’ve got any feedback, feel free to let me know!
I realized that with all the time I’ve spent job hunting, I can probably do a lot more than I am to help out other job hunters. Here’s a start:
So, if you’re a job hunter, particularly in the Portland area, this could be of some help to you.
Here’s my entire list of bookmarked sites for online job hunting:
I hit many of these daily, but if you’re job hunting the ones you can’t afford to miss are:
Craigslist for the regions you’re looking at. Take the time to browse all job listings in addition to the types you’re looking for. Many jobs are poorly categorized or could be in multiple categories but only listed in one.
Linkedin Advanced search. I run two searches: one for all new positions in the Portland area, and one for entry-level experience positions across the country.
Indeed.com aggregates nearly all of the major job boards including Monster and Careerbuilder. Powerful search tools.
And the newest and often most interesting: Twitter Job Search allows you to search all tweets for location and job title. It’s as open-ended as Twitter itself.
Additionally, look for other Twitter sources. I follow @pdxjobs and several of the subcategories such as @pdxmarketingjob.
Next up, I have a list of Portland companies whose corporate websites I check at least once a week. It grows as I find more companies in Portland I’d like to work for. Many companies I’m a fan of I’ve stumbled across and never realized they were Portland-based until I checked their contact info.
And along those same lines, I have another list of other companies I’d like to work for spread across the country. I check their corporate sites for new postings as I have time, which usually ends up being every other week or so. This list is probably a hundred companies long at this point, so I check a few at a time.
Keeping lists such as this has been invaluable since many companies are skipping posting their positions on job boards completely in favor of only posting on their website and having people come looking for them.
All this, and (depending on your field) you can expect to find a couple quality postings to apply for per day.