The Six Innovations of CrossFit


ou know you are on to something when people simultaneously hate and adore what you are doing. A prominent Boston Globe columnist once wrote about a band, “[They] are not merely awful; I would consider it sacrilegious to say anything less than that they are god awful.”1

A year later the Beatles sold out Shae Stadium.

Apple has legions of fanboys, but plenty of people believe their computers are nothing but overpriced and stylized pieces of plastic. People get tattoos of their favorite football teams on their arm, but more and more refuse to allow their children to play. CrossFit fits this description. For those that don’t know, CrossFit is a new group fitness regime. Fast Company explained:

The heart of CrossFit is the Workout of the Day (WOD), a common workout begun at hourly intervals throughout the day by cohorts of gym members. All exercises are functional in nature, cherry picking movements from gymnastics, Olympic lifting, army obstacle courses, triathlon training, and calisthenics, designed to prepare athletes for whatever real-world obstacles they may encounter, from police pursuits to lifting newborn twins.

People who love CrossFit really can’t stop talking about the benefits, while the critics can’t stop talking about the risks. I’m guilty of the first. I’ve been doing CrossFit for about 16-months and I often find myself annoying friends with stories about my workouts. In that way, CrossFit is like fantasy football: No one wants to hear about it unless they are involved. But yet, there is an entire online industry both deriding and proselytizing the fitness regime. People go ‘undercover’ to investigate the phenomenon, while others enroll their kids in classes. It has been called dangerous. It has been called a cult. But I think that most apt description is innovative.

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How Growth Hacking Saved “Newsweek”

After a 14 month absence Newsweek returned to print with a splash. The 91 year old publication reported the identity of the creator of BitCoin, a new and somewhat controversial currency used by millions. The article sent shockwaves through the Internet, and propelled the alleged founder, Satoshi Nakamoto, and Newsweek to the forefront of the news cycle.

This is a far cry from seven months ago when Newsweek’s publisher left it for dead. “I wish I hadn’t bought Newsweek,” a disappointed Barry Diller told BusinessWeek, “it was a mistake.” Diller bought the publication in 2010 for $1 (He also assumed all existing liabilities) and promptly hired star editor Tina Brown to turn it around. The first thing she did was to drive the publication straight into a wall. In August 2013 Diller sold the company to IBT Media for a small sum.

In just seven months IBT Media tripled Newsweek’s online readership and felt confident enough to start the printing presses again. How did they do it?

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Mangini’s Mess – Or How Not to Manage

As a defensive assistant Eric Mangini won three Super Bowls with Bill Belichek’s New England Patriots. In 2006 he became the youngest Head Coach in the NFL. By 2013 he has a reputation for being an incredible asshole–and this article does nothing to dispell the notion. In fact, it reads a how to run a poor organization handbook. Micromanagement was ripe. Players became assets.

Nate Jackson played over half a decade in the NFL, and after 5 years with the Denver Broncos he signed with the Cleveland Browns and the recently hired Eric Mangini. He walked into an organization defined by mistrust and micromanagement. Over the course of 2 seasons Mangini complied a .313 winning percentage. He was prompty fired. “Being a head football coach is not about being a strategic genius,” Jackson wrote. “Every coach in the NFL knows football strategy. It’s about leading a group of grown men toward a tangible goal and treating them with the respect their sacrifice deserves.”

Jackson then details how and what went wrong.

Source: Nate Jackson – Cleveland Scene