Remember what it was like to live in an analog world, when we so easily understood so much more than we do now?
Holmes dropped out of Stanford and started her company at age 19 – an enterprise entirely based on a secret technology that would allow hundreds of blood tests to be conducted using a single drop of blood – a technological healthcare triumph that, if it were true, would have saved billions of dollars in healthcare costs and untold amount of pain.
It wasn’t true.
Instead, it cost billions of dollars in investment and a significant amount of pain as the scam unraveled.
The podcast is highly entertaining, with a narrative that has become way too familiar: a product comes along that isn’t really what it seems to be, it attracts tremendous amounts of attention, affection, money and resources, and then it pops, like the bubble that it is, taking everything with it.
On a similar or larger scale, we had the savings & loan crisis, Bernie Madoff, the dotcom bubble, Enron and the housing crisis – and those are only the ones from the last 30 years! Humanity, and especially American humanity, keeps falling for emperors with no clothes, throwing our money at things we really don’t understand based on an irrational fear of missing out on riches.
That unicorn tech firm with the proprietary technology that’s going to “change the world” continues to attract billions in capital. It doesn’t seem to matter that it is a veritable black box of information, but investors still put money in it, all while forgetting the many lessons we should have already learned, including that of Theranos, which was literally a black box.
We are seeking investors for the Tour of America, but functionally, all we really are is a sports event. We are as transparent as a wheel with spokes – an elite multi-stage women’s cycling race that aspires to become the women’s counterpart to the Tour de France.
We have talented, motivated, experienced people who believe in this vision and are ready to make it work. The Tour of America is not going to blow windfalls of billions into people’s pockets upon going public (if it ever does), but we have traced out a clear path to profitability with a viable business model – an approach that, if it follows the ascent of other sports properties with humble beginnings, could become very lucrative in the years ahead.
This is why we call it a journey: nothing is ever certain and we are not going to claim it is by overwhelming our investors with pomp, circumstance and a black box. Instead, we will highlight, as we have, the fact that cycling is something that a quarter of all humanity – about 2 billion people – takes part in. Most importantly, we will use this annual event to raise awareness and drive progress toward solving the world’s greatest problem – global gender inequality.
We make our case that gender inequality is the world’s biggest problem simply because we will be unable to solve every other problem in the world until we fully unleash the brainpower of the other half of our population, many of whom are currently being oppressed or discriminated against in many parts of the world.
While in America, this issue is about pay inequality, the #MeToo Movement and other forms of gender discrimination, in other parts of the world, it is about allowing girls and women to go to school, drive a car and be free from physical abuse, rape, oppression and death that is a consequence of simply being female.
The Tour of America will call attention to gender inequality not just by putting on one unforgettable bike race, but by using it as a very broad communications platform and source of inspiration to girls and women around the world. From the perspective of our stakeholders – our investors, sponsors, broadcasters, athletes and their fans – our value proposition is as simple as it gets: a bike race with a universal social impact.
Call it radical analog-ism in an age of digital consumption. We have no black box, no proprietary technology and no mystery to solve. Our investors will be our partners because they share our desire to leave a legacy: an annual event that celebrates women in a way that inspires the next generation, that calls attention to injustice where it is happening, and that puts on a great cycling competition.
It’s been awhile, but we suspect it might be nice to remember what an analog world looks like – to remember and relive when we were more deeply engaged in the rich experiences of direct human interaction and physical activity.
We think it involves a lot of bike riding.