I watched a short video in the week about why people flock to buy Apple products when the they are technically no different from the competition. Indeed, the companies who compete in those same market areas, Samsung, Dell and Microsoft to name but three, may make claim that based purely on the technical specification, their products are superior.

If you haven’t seen the video, it’s here: https://www.facebook.com/deltaprotective/videos/10157890106040640/

So why do people choose Apple?

Inspired by what I’d just seen, I then spent two or three days out on the road asking myself how that way of thinking could make a difference in LifeCycleForNeuroblastoma. And with the seed planted firmly in my mind, gnawing away at me, I set out to seek more material from the author of the idea, Simon Sinek. Here’s a second, shorter video that’s even more empowering than the first:


The answer to the Apple question is explained more simply in the second film. It’s not what you’re doing that’s important; it’s not how you’re doing it that’s important: it’s why you’re doing it. That’s the key driver: that’s the question that Apple posed to the unsuspecting public when they launched the Mac. That’s the key question that they asked the public when they launched the iPhone. They knew that their products were technically no different from the competition; it’s just that they tapped into the idea of why people would choose their offering. All along, that has been the difference.

All of that got me thinking hard about LCFN…

The What has been out front since day one: it’s emblazoned on the flag: 1 Man, 4 Years, 25,000 miles. But now that’s over, it means nothing. That goal, that objective, that tiny wee speck of light at the end of a long dark tunnel that took three years to transcend: it’s history. It no longer has meaning.

The How was also out there for all to see: an old bloke on a bike who cycled to and from work five days a week, forty miles a day, got punctures, fell off from time to time but just kept going. While it was happening, it attracted what might best be called a following, but maybe some of that was morbid curiosity waiting for me to fail. Believe me, that was never going to happen.

The missing ingredient out front was Why, even though I thought I had it cracked, and even though it kind of featured in the blog from time to time. The Why is 99% to do with you, reading this. The other 1% comes from me for making you aware of it.

Try this: the rebranding of LifeCycleForNeuroblastoma going into 2017…

  • Did you know that there’s a global movement of people who are trying to spread awareness of an aggressive form of childhood cancer?
  • Did you know that if your child, or the child of someone that you know, is diagnosed with neuroblastoma, that there are people out there who you can talk to, people who will counsel you through the difficult days that lie ahead?
  • Did you know that there are organisations who can help fund the treatment that your child may require?
  • Did you know that the people who follow LCFN do so because they care?
  • Does that sound like the type of place you’d like to hang out, in case you or someone you know ever needed it for real?

Doesn’t that sound so much better than bloke attempts to ride round the world while going to work? I freely admit that I got it the wrong way round for three years, but hey, 775 people following the adventure on Facebook can’t be all wrong.

So what happens now?

Well 775 followers is roughly what we had a year ago. So in terms of reach, nothing much has changed. The blog has grown in terms of views, and it remains a key piece in the jigsaw in terms of keeping the story on the edge. In 2014, the blog attracted 3003 views; in 2015 that rose to 3439 and in 2016, with just this final blog, and one day to go, the number of views is up again to 4246. It’s not great but it remains a step in the right direction.

There are four key metrics that define whether LCFN is actually working and making a difference:

  • How many followers the group has on Facebook (how many people we reach)
  • How many views the weekly blog gets (how many people we reach)
  • How many riders we engage on the global ride to a million miles on Strava (how many people we reach)
  • How much money, individually and collectively, we raise to support the kids (indirectly, how many people we reach by way of support)

Those are the key drivers. Those are the things that this global bike ride is going to be measured against. And see for number four: I challenge our friends in Australia to set up their own LCFN support network to help families over there. The fact that I can post a Facebook link in the UK and get a like from Australia ten seconds later tells me that we’re on the same page. The only ingredient that’s missing, that we can all take forward in 2017, is why do I want to be part of this family next year?

I would ask every one of you reading this to go back a few paragraphs and read again those four bullet points on the rebranding of LCFN. Who do you know with kids? Ask those four questions of your friends. LCFN is like insurance. You sure as hell hope you’ll never need it, but it’s there 24×7 if you do. It’s a resource. It’s a place to get educated. It’s a place to share ideas. It’s just a place to hang out that just might make a difference to you and you, your family and your friends. And just like the stubborn old guy that started it all off, it shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

I’m a proactive kind of a guy. I get up in the morning and actively look forward to the things I’m gonna knock on the head that day. A year ago today, I was a week away from completing 25 years service at the place I worked, and I could see my way through to retirement in 2018. Then they decided that my contribution wasn’t valuable anymore so along with 116 others, I picked up my pencils, all dressed up in the name of corporate restructuring. Ten months down the road, I’m working in disease detection and auditing, using many of those same skills that were deemed irrelevant nine months ago, and I’ve never been more inspired or motivated. Retirement? Wossat?

I started the year on 21,182 miles, and had eyes on the 25000th mile being in Eileidh’s home town in May. Because of injuries suffered in a crash in Fenbruary, that didn’t happen and the finish got rescheduled to coincide with the release of Amelie’s CD featuring Puddles as the marque track. Tomorrow, I’ll end the year on something close to 27,573. That’s 6,391 miles in the calendar year, way down on last year because I only venture out once a day these days. But the number of days that I’ve been out, 231, is more than ever before. Last year it was restricted to 190 after my hernia op, and the year before that it was 225, virtually a full house for a Monday to Friday working week. If I hadn’t lost ten weeks to injury this year, I could have been looking at 300 days on the road: that’s next year’s target…

I see a lot of people on Social Media describing 2016 as an awful year. Why, because some celebs died? Excuse me, but people die all the time: our own government has been responsible for thousands of deaths, both at home and abroad, by its policies. You are the person that you make yourself. Focus on doing good things, by helping others instead of fighting them, then we can all make a contribution to the world being a better place. That’s the message to take into the new year.

It’s not what

It’s not even how…

It’s why.

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