CULTURE BLOG

ADVENTURE BY BIKE®

Blog Topic Brainstorm

Ok folks, we are once again asking for your help. Every time we've asked for help, you've come through for us. Thank you. Now, it's time for a Blog Brainstorm. Our goal for the blog has always been to interact with people. To date, we've always just done our own thing and posted what we want to post. Now, we are looking to hear what the readers would like us to blog about? How would you like us to use this blog?

Rules:

1) Comments and ideas need to be clean, positive and constructive.
2) This is a brainstorm, don't shoot down ideas. The more ideas the better.
3) No limit on suggestions as long as you meet rule #1 and rule #2.

Ok, here goes......I'll start. One reader had an idea that they'd like to know more about how we plan a product launch.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Boucher

Growing up as a Minnesota farm boy, I developed an appreciation and love for land and open space. This appreciation has fostered two passions, cycling and photography. Both of these passions provide freedom, encourage me to explore and foster creativity. More importantly though, my journey with a bike and a camera reminds me that the world is big and I am small.

COMMENTS (21)

 Jeff Kerkove |

In a winner take all battle royale using their own designed and manufac. chainrings as weapons…..who would come away with the win?  Employees of Salsa or the employees of Surly?

 Anonymous |

Maybe more “testamonials” from Salsa bike owners. Ride anecdotes and pictures of different set-ups would be great. With Salsa’s range of materials and frame sets it would be nice to compare experiences. There are all kinds of opinions online in regard to frame materials, geometry, ride quality etc… and half the time (or more) it is purely ill informed speculation or someone with a bone to pick over a preferred rig or material. It is often hard to get the wheat from the chaff, and a little reassurance from actual owners would help diffuse some of the boogey-myths floating around out there (i.e. scandium vs. steel vs. carbon vs. swiss cheese). I would really be curious if anyone out there is doing X with Y bike and how they like it.

 dicky |

More smack talk (obviously).<BR>You should be trying to scare your competition outta da bizness.<BR><BR>Your blog rates a 1 on the fjear scale the way it is now.

 Bobby |

But the answer to that one is obvious!  It’s a little known yet true fact that Jason B is actually a Ninja. (He even wears those split toed booty things instead of socks…says they’re more comfy.) As 22t rings highly resemble throwing stars it wouldn’t even be a fair fight…game over. Shinobi anyone?  The only chance Surly has is the notorious Dave Gray and thats only because he is so used to breaking various body parts that he probably has enough of a pain threshold to keep fighting till the bitter end. <BR><BR>Bobby<BR>Salsa Cycles

 joel |

I agree with Jason. I would like to hear eningeering post once in a while. See some of the returned/damaged products.<BR><BR>As far as topics go, I think Butcher does the best job interacting with the readers. There are a lot of times that I read the blog and wonder why the poster is allowed to blog (sorry Kid). <BR><BR>Also, it would be nice to limit the number of posts that we can reply…it seems like the same names replying all the time - same opinions.<BR><BR>Other topics:<BR>How does one get a job at Q? Why does the process take so long? Is that a sign of the company? What does it take to get an interview? Do you have to know someone to have an “in”. Just curious

 MG |

Jason M, I like your thoughts on the “Designer Notes” questions… and I agree that there’s a fine line that you walk between providing enough good stuff with the blog to engage readers, but not so much as to give away too much, or risk disappointing customers by creating unrealistic or premature expectations.  It’s a tough balance to get right, but it’s one that can pay off handsomely if done strategically and well.<BR><BR>I love hearing the “why?” behind a product’s genesis, and the “how?” behind its development.

 Jason |

I also agree that some product development stuff would be cool. Hell even if it’s in hindsight (probably better from a business point of view). How was the idea spawned? What made Salsa think they could do product “X” better than another company. <BR><BR>Maybe an occasional Q&A blog post with an engineer or designer? I know I enjoy(ed) reading the “design notes” on the site. What was the goal? What were some challenges? What failed?? Who came up with the idea? Brain storming, engineer, rider, racer or a collective of all of those?<BR><BR>I also think it might be cool to give the consumer a behind the scenes look at something like how a tough “warranty issue” is solved. “JRA” vs. Obvious “hucked off a bridge”. I think J.B. has touched on this in the past.<BR><BR>Lastly but NOT least. How ‘bout some love for the graphic designers and artists that come up with the graphics, jerseys, paint schemes etc.,? What are they inspired by and what is the process for say sublimating a jersey, etc., Many folks would find that interesting.<BR><BR>Lastly, love the blog, the interaction, etc., Keep on keepin’ on. And thanks! Look forward to 2008.<BR><BR>jm

 Smitty |

A lot of good comments above.  I’d like to say that I feel like I’ve been getting sucked into the brand (Salsa-fied?) since the blog got to be two-way.  And that’s a good thing.<BR><BR>A few comments I’d make, based on my years on the fringes of the industry.<BR><BR>I’ll repeat, making this communication two-way has been good.  I think Salsa could step that up.  I don’t think that “forums” are the way to go - too unwieldy.  But if you could get some more time from the programming team at Q, you could build out the website to offer some vanity pages for people to show their love for Salsa.  Show off the bikes that they spend so much money on, and expend blood, sweat and tears on.  Somehow make a “Salsa Owners Group” a real thing.<BR><BR>Regarding the use of the blog to get feedback on new product concepts:  This may be at odds with what Butcher just said, but I feel the need to say it.  The reason I say it is because I think consumers here are getting too expectant of seeing EVERYTHING that is going on behind the scenes.  I feel that if I were running a bike company, I would say “We will show no ride before its time.”  It is not necessary, nor even prudent, for the Salsa Honchos to tell us every detail of every new bike that you are working on.  You guys already know that, but I’d like to reinforce it, as a counterpoint to some of the comments above.  I’d like to remind the readers (particularly that second “anonymous” guy) that the company is in a competitive industry and it cannot give away all its secrets and/or competitive information.  If Salsa can find the fine line to walk between being totally transparent, and giving us a just peek behind the scenes, then you will continue to build brand interest.  You are doing a good job of this now, I just am trying to keep readers from expecting too much and being disappointed!  (Jeez, I sound more like a company mouthpiece than Butcher does!  What the heck?)<BR><BR>I think it is OK to tease us with new products, let us know that you are busy little bike builders, turning out cool new Pepper Bling.  But I think that it does a company more harm than good when it shows something that is 9 to 18 months away from production.  And the reason is because in this instant economy, we have all become used to obtaining our products immediately after we see them.  I think you best bet would be to show new stuff at Interbike, and for it to be made available by about the following Jan 1.  Interbike is not really the place to get feedback, IMO.<BR><BR>I’d also suggest that if you are looking for feedback on new ideas or concepts, Frostbike might be a better place to gather it, with your core dealer audience ushered into a secure backroom.  That way, they get to feel like rock stars, and you get valuable feedback from dudes who know a few things about fixing bikes, selling bikes, and riding bikes.<BR><BR>Obviously, if a new product is ready to hit the shelves in between Interbike and Frostbike, then I’d expect to hear about it here first.<BR><BR>Let me second some of the good ideas from other posts above: more posts about Salsa-sponsored events, teams & riders, Salsa dealer profiles, posts about the behind-the-scenes-day-to-day-drudgery at Salsa and Q, posts about the eco-happenings at Q (don’t assume all your readers here are aware of that stuff), and posts about Salsa’s mission and values.  <BR><BR>Rock on, Amigos.  And Thanks.

 Butcher |

Wow!  This is great stuff so far.  Keep it going.<BR><BR>Oh…anonymous just above.  Your questions sound a lot like what our owner would ask.  You’ve got a knack for asking tough questions.  Good job.  <BR><BR>One idea I’ve had is to find a product that we can actually go from start to finish on the blog.  Might not be a category breaker or big new secret, but it would be fun to go through the process here.

 Big John |

I think thus far I’ve seen some wonderful suggestions in prior post. Maybe we could see profiles of Salsa dealers and/or Salsa owner’s bikes as well? It’s always neat to see how other riders have their bikes built up. For instance Jason’s El Mariachi 1x9 with S&S couplers. I’d like to see more of that for sure!~

 Anonymous |

It would be nice to learn about:<BR><BR>What is Salsa’s mission statement?<BR><BR>What are Salsa’s core values?<BR><BR>What is Salsa’s value proposition?<BR><BR>How does Salsa differentiate itself vs. its nearest price-quality competitors (e.g.—Gunnar, LeMond, Soma, etc)?  Why would one choose Salsa instead of one of its nearest competitors?<BR><BR>How is Salsa different from other QBP brands?  Differences?  Similarities?  What makes Salsa stand out?<BR><BR>What kinds of bikes, components, accessories, frame materials, etc. does Salsa believe in? What kind does it not believe in?  Why?<BR><BR>What are the demographic characteristics of the typical Salsa buyer?<BR><BR>Besides putting out great bikes and products, what is Salsa doing to make the world a better place for riding?<BR><BR>What is Salsa’s business strategy for the next year?  Three years?  Five years?<BR><BR>How is today’s Salsa different from the Salsa acquired by QBP?<BR><BR>What is Salsa doing to expand its independent bicycle network?

 Anonymous |

First of all, I want to commend Salsa on the great product it’s launching.  <BR><BR>I think it’s great Salsa is, through its blog, using the power of the internet (or the Wisdom of Crowds, as James Surowiecki would put it) to become a better, more responsive brand that designs product and puts it out the way its clients want it.  <BR><BR>That said, I also like it when Salsa does ‘its own thing’ and surprises customers.  For instance, I would’ve never thought of setting up my Mariachi with a 1 X 9, but Salsa showed me that this set up can be a great compromise between the inflexible simplicity of a 1 X 1, and the complex flexibility of a 3 X 9.<BR><BR>As far as blog topics, I personally would like to see more posts on things (designs, materials, etc) Salsa is experimenting with or considering.  <BR><BR>I’d also like to see more postings on bicycle-related events Salsa is sponsoring throughout the country, on bicycle-related non-profit or charitable groups Salsa supports,  and on how Salsa is trying to become a more socially responsible brand and adopt more sustainable business practices.  <BR><BR>I enjoy the occasional posting about the trip someone at Salsa took, or the bike ride someone at Salsa did, but it requires a great pen (or keyboard) to make these kinds of postings worth reading.  Otherwise, they can at times seem more like selfish diary entries with little value for the reader.<BR><BR>Finally, I’d also like to see postings that are not always business related.  I understand bicycles are a business, but for the consumer bicycles are also art and poetry.  I appreciate Salsa’s blog is not like others I read that can seem a bit adolescent at times, but I also think it’s good to have a little levity and variety.  For example, in lieu of posting about how Salsa’s profits rose in double digits for the most recent quarter, or on how someone broke a dozen bones while riding drunk on their El Santo, Salsa might post on a great work of bicycle art (sculpture, photograph, painting, etc) it purchased for its offices—and post a picture of the work of art.  Or Salsa might post about a charitable bicycle group it contributes to that helps underprivileged urban kids get bikes and go on fun bike rides or trips that get them out of their blighted environment.  <BR><BR>Again, I commend Salsa on its product—especially on its move towards more complete bike offerings—and on its efforts to make its blog more democratic.  I also like that Salsa is asking tough questions, and challenging its customers’, as well as its own assumptions about what kind of product Salsa should create and what kind of brand it should be (e.g.—I enjoyed reading Salsa’s posts about full-carbon frames).<BR><BR>On the other hand, I am ambivalent about Salsa’s foray into low-end steel (which devalues the brand, in my own opinion), and on some designs that are not particularly creative or special in some way Does the world truly need yet another CrMo singlespeed road bike, even if it’s one beautifully and impeccably designed by Salsa and among the best in the market?  This is not always an easy question to answer.<BR><BR>I hope we’ll see more high-end steel and scandium complete offerings from Salsa in the near future, as well as the innovative designs that improbably mix tradition with high tech that Salsa has been known for in the past.

 Bentforkz | Team Bikeman |

I’m First.<BR><BR>It would be very cool to know about Salsa’s stance on being eco-friendly.  Also - how can we all, as avid outdoor enthusiasts, help to spread the the Salsa brand love to others we meet on the trails?

 Guitar Ted |

Well, first off, I have to say that the opening up of the blog to us to comment and the asking of our opinions is HUGE. Take a look around at other “traditional” company blogs and you won’t find many that do what Salsa is already doing with this blog. So a big thank you for the way it is already.<BR><BR>To me, a blog is about communication. A great blog “speaks” and it “listens”. I think Salsa is doing pretty well at both. I wonder if the blog might be used a bit more to speak about the “Salsa culture” and company ideals a bit more. I know about Salsa’s past, it’s present, but maybe we could get some musings on it’s future direction. (I think you’ve been hinting around at this anyway)The ideals concerning “green” business practices, the stories about sourcing components, how you choose paint, weird inside industry stuff like that might be kind of fun to hear about here. <BR><BR>But really, we’re looking at adding more icing to an already pretty dang tasty cake. This blog is an outstanding example for other companies this size and bigger to follow. That’s my take.<BR><BR>Again, thanks Salsa Crew, and keep up the great work.

 Andrew |

I’d like to be able to follow my next bike or frame through the entire development and production process.  I know this may be a little much to ask, but maybe a little more info than just an announcement and a short monthly blurb on the status.  Like Guitar Ted said a little look inside the decision process.  <BR><BR>I’m holding up on purchasing any components for the next frame I’m going to buy (from salsa) because I don’t know anything about the frame (when it will be available, suspension characteristics, color??)  But yeah… It would be nice to hear about how the frame I want is progressing or even how frames I might not want are progressing.  <BR><BR>-Palek

Adam | February 25th, 2011

I am not sure if this question has been asked yet, but do you do tours of your facility and do you have a showroom at your office/factory in Bloomington.  I am a local guy from Minnetonka and am somehow just learning about the Salsa brand.  I just put a deposit down on a new 2011 El Mariachi and couldn’t be more excited to hit the trails in a month or so!  I’d really like to get involved in the Salsa culture and provide any suggestions or insights I have.  One initial suggestion would be to improve the branded apparel offering.  I would love to see more branded t-shirts and a hoodie or two.  There is a lot of potential to “get the word out” when people see unique and stylish branded casual wear.  You can always include a tag line that espouses the virtues of the brand, such as “green manufacturing” or in this market, “locally grown fresh salsa”, stuff like that.  Let’s chat!

RideFatbikes | September 17th, 2011

I’m a fan of Salsa bikes (I ride a Mukluk) and of your blog.  In the spirit of brainstorming, how about featuring (on a weekly or monthly basis) a Salsa rider who is not linked to the brand in any way other than owning/appreciating Salsa bikes.  Obviously Salsa riders are commuters, racers, tourers, adventurers, athletes, weekend rider, etc. 

How about a showcase or feature story identifying how someone is using his/her Salsa bike, what race/ride they entered, created, sponsored, and what makes Salsa their ride of choice.

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Dave Lovestrong | October 16th, 2012

Its always good to simply post ideas for new R&D. I would love it if your already great dropouts could separate to accommodate a belt drive.

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