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Oliver Lee is out at Peloton.
Peloton introduces a new hashtag feature.
Peloton breaks another record for ride attendance…and then does it again.
This weekend is Homecoming-ish. This week’s Zoom call with be after John Foley’s talk.
Tonal has freshly redesigned app plus this is your LAST WEEK to enter to win a Tonal!
Chipotle has five new fitness-based bowls – one of which is from Cody.
Tunde did an arms workout with Women’s Health Magazine.
Engadget has an article about a new VR fitness program.
Crystal updates us on her FightCamp journey.
Alex Toussaint gets a nice write-up on MilitaryFamiles.com.
SNL had a Soul Cycle sketch.
New Celebrity Sightings – Martha Stewart, Mindy Grossman, and Diplo.
All this plus our interview with Amy Wallace!
Listen to the podcast here:
Oliver Lee No Longer With Peloton plus our interview with Amy Wallace
It’s been a fun week. Should I tell people about my new gig?
It’s happening. Go for it.
I get to run a morgue. It’s good times. I have a job.
We both have jobs and neither of us is sick yet. I feel like you’re working in a morgue dealing with COVID is not decreasing our chances.
I’m not anywhere near the bodies and stuff.
I don’t mean to be crass or anything about it. It’s a hugely serious thing and it’s super upsetting but if we don’t laugh, I don’t know what we’re going to do. I will just start crying if I think too hard about it. It’s already been that kind of day, so we’re going to laugh.
Where I work is owned by a county municipality, a very large one. It’s part of the thing to keep us busy since there’s not a lot going on in the world of concerts right now. They were like, “Why don’t you go take over the St. Louis Regional Dignified Transfer Center?” The whole staff are taking turns as site supervisors out there.
For the time being, that’s your new gig, two to three days a week. To add to the fun, it’s overnight.
I get to do at midnight to 8:00, just me and the national guard. Good times. Honestly, it’s not very demanding, but they need to have someone there. It’s my little part to help out. It keeps me gainfully employed in an industry that is quickly shedding people at the moment. I’ll take it. I thought it’s an interesting turn of events. We sometimes peel back the curtain and let people know what we got going on. Back to more real good times. What do you got in store for people?
There are a lot of news. Oliver Lee is gone. The rumors started a few days ago and I knew that it was true pretty quick. It’s official. We’ve got a very exciting new feature to talk all about, and talk about Peloton breaking some records. We’ve got some details on what’s coming up this weekend because it was supposed to be Homecoming and now it’s still kind of homecoming, but we’re already at home. It was like home for homecoming. We’ve got all kinds of stuff going on with the instructors that you are wanting to hear about. We also have a couple of celebrity sightings that we will check into as well.
Before we get to all that, shameless plugs, don’t forget we’re available on Apple Podcasts. While you’re there, be sure to subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode. You can also leave a review for us. We have a new review. This is from Gracy_Lu, “Great podcast for Peloton community. Love listening to you guys, you provide great information and you do it with humor. Thanks for keeping it light and fun, see you on the leaderboard. #CrazyGracy.”
I love the leaderboard name. Thank you so much for leaving a very kind view.
Also shameless plugs, Facebook.com/TheClipOut, while you’re there, like the page, join the group. We’ve had lots of people joining the group, a major influx of people.
I don’t know where you guys are coming from, but I love it.
There’s all of that. Let’s dig in.
Breaking news, Oliver Lee is no longer affiliated with Peloton. There have been all sorts of crazy rumors that just surfaced.
I’m trying to think of the right words for this. We recorded this already and we’re rerecording this because it has come to light that this was not for no reason. I want to point out that Peloton not only parted ways with Oliver, but immediately took down all of his content and went so far as to remove him from the Cardio cover.
Not only did they remove him from it, but there was a period of time where it was just black.
It was just black and there was no graphic at all.
It wasn’t like, “We need to replace this. Graphics team, make a new thing. When you get it done, swap it out.” They were like, “Take it down right now and then make the new thing.”
For those of you who have been following along, that is very unusual, unprecedented actually. To my knowledge, they have never gotten rid of an instructor and then turned around and immediately removed all content.
The rides might fall off over time as anybody’s rides would, since they’re no longer working there, they’re not creating new content. Over time, you get less and less of that maybe particular instructor in the catalog. We’ve never seen a good old-fashioned purge.
There are rumors that I have seen that apparently there was inappropriate content being sent to Instagram followers. Allegedly, that was unsolicited.
One would think that is true. I know that’s alleged and at this point, there’s no real way to prove whether or not those sorts of things were unsolicited. I would say that in today’s world, sending things like that within the context of a relationship is not uncommon, especially in the age of a quarantine. In New York State, in their health things, they literally tell people, “Try sexting.” The idea of someone sending a picture that was requested is not as scandalous.
Within the confines of a relationship that both people are in agreement with, whatevs, no judgment. Unsolicited takes it to an incredibly different place.
My point being that with the way the Peloton has reacted to this, that makes me feel like it must have been unsolicited because if not, they’re running the risk of having to get rid of probably every instructor employee that works.
At the very least, Peloton felt it was unsolicited. It’s also safe to say that there was no proof to the contrary. It is a shame. What a nice guy. I mean, I’m not saying these actions were nice, but clearly it was not his best moment.
Our personal reactions would lead us to believe that he would not send unsolicited.
I had nothing but great interactions with him and I would have not suspected. I feel sad, if this is true, that he would make such a really incredibly poor decision with such long lasting effects.
While we are laughing and being somewhat silly because I have a juvenile sense of humor, it’s not funny.
If you did not request those, that is not something that you would do, especially from somebody that you respect and are looking for instruction and advice. He’s in a position of power.
I hesitate to say power because it’s not like he’s your boss or something, but he’s on a pedestal in a way that just Joe Schmo is not.
Thank you for clearing that up. That is what I’m saying. It’s not just a random person. He was using a platform that he built over time and through Peloton, which was incredibly inappropriate, if this is correct. We’re just reporting what we have been told. I want to point out one other thing. We do not typically go into the personal lives of instructors to this degree. The only reason that we are is because you guys are going to hear about it. It’s out there. If I am in possession of it, the picture, I guarantee there are more people that are seeing this. That’s silly to not talk about the allegedness of it.
This is due to the fact that it is allegedly unsolicited and that makes it different.
There’s a line that was crossed.
That’s different than if someone sent a picture to someone they’re in a relationship with and somehow it leaked out.
I can’t imagine a set of circumstances where I would feel that would be grounds for discussion. This is different because that line is allegedly crossed.
If that was the situation, it would be neither grounds for discussion nor dismissal.
I can’t imagine a set of circumstances that Peloton would find out about a solicited agreed upon and make these choices. There you have it, guys.
It’s a weird situation for us because we try to avoid the more gossipy end of things, but this is a little different. When it’s unsolicited, that goes beyond gossip. We should say to clarify, it is allegedly unsolicited but all signs point to, “That’s most likely what occurred.”
I hope that all parties involved are mentally okay, healthy. Whoever received that picture and it was unsolicited, I hope they have talked to the appropriate people to being in an okay place. I don’t know what else to say.
I don’t either. It’s an awkward situation.
Let’s move on to the next topic.
In a regular week, this probably would have been our lead story, which is the new hashtag feature that Peloton is rolling out and it is now officially out.
It started coming out. It was like an early warning thing. Early users, not even a beta, people that signed up for homecoming, they were getting it.
Is that how people were selected?
No. That’s just the general consensus. I’ve seen zero proof of that other than that’s just what people keep saying.
I think I can prove to you that’s what occurred.
Did you get one too?
I got one.
There you go, because you do nothing else.
I was like, “Why would they select me?”
That was the thought that everybody who signed up for Homecoming got it. Because of that, anytime that you started a hashtag and somebody who had not gotten an invite latched onto your hashtag, it opened it up for them. The feature opened up pretty quickly, but now it’s officially rolled out. Everybody got the email. It’s officially done.
We should probably take this moment to say, please add #TheClipOut.
We hope we make your top ten. If you’re an audience, we should be on your top ten.
It’s like presets on a car radio. Aall the radio stations, they want to be your P1. They wanted to be the first button on your radio.
I get that there are lots of competitions. When we have a Clip Out ride, I hope you move us to P1 for that ride or that run or that yoga class.
I think this is a really nifty little feature.
I think it is too, although I have already seen people complaining.
It’s not Peloton if somebody is not complaining.
It’s not life if somebody is not complaining. The interesting thing is I only saw the positives. I’m a pretty negative person, so I always find that really weird whenever I only see the positive.
I had to point out the negatives.
I’m like, “This is going to be great because everybody gets a ride together and it’s going to be awesome.” Then Tom said, “When people start using it for political purposes or if people start using it to complain about things to Peloton like bring back Oliver Lee.” It’ll be interesting to see will Peloton censor those? If they don’t sensor those, what happens? “Is it a useful tool?” People have been asking that. I think that the reason this was put out a week before Homecoming is because it is in conjunction with other things happening this weekend that were being rolled out.
I also think that they’re probably not going to censor it too terribly much.
Based on how the OPP rules, I’m going to agree with that.
They’re fairly hands off on the OPP sometimes to their detriment. I also get that it’s going to be a full-time job trying to make people be nice to each other. My guess is unless it’s just flat out offensive or hateful, they’re probably going to let it happen.
The other thing is that there are some people that have been concerned about like, “Let’s say I use this leaderboard tag, can I not see the other people I follow?” Let’s say that you followed Run, Lift & Live with John Mills, and you were magically on this leaderboard that you were exercising. I was also on, but I was using The Clip Out. Would we not see each other even though we follow each other? Would we not see each other because we’re using two different hashtags? That’s the big “concern.” It seems like you see both because you can change your leaderboard at any given moment to be like, “I am now following the people who follow me. I want to see those. I want to see who’s in my city. I want to see who are in my age group. I want to see who’s following this hashtag.”
You can flip back and forth. It’s not static like you’ve chosen it for a ride and it can never change on that ride. It can change. That was the big like, “Is this even helpful?” I think this is going to be great for all those times when somebody’s celebrating a milestone. If I ever get to 1,000, everybody can hop on and we could have a ride and you’d be like, “Crystal is 1,000.” Or Tom, if you ever took a ride, just so you know, they’re crowdsourcing hashtags for you to pressure you to ride. That’s really fun. That’s where I think this all originated was all these people used to do all these big celebration rides and stuff like that, and we all would gather together. I don’t think it happens as much anymore. It used to be that everybody would ride those rides.
It probably still happens, it’s just the definition of a big group hurdles a lot higher to clear now.
There are a lot more splinters out there. I think it’s great and it’s fascinating to see all the different groups and how they are growing and in which order they grow. I don’t know if you want to get into today or not, but it’s fascinating.
If you have some information, that’s interesting. What are some of the ones that are really taken off?
Interestingly, #PelotonMoms is the top contender at the moment, 14,717 Peloton Moms. We have next the #BooCrew, 12,925, that’s Cody Rigsby’s group. Then we have the Peloton featured tag, #TogetherWeGoFar. That one is at 12,316. We do a really big drop. The next one is #PowerZonePack at 8,784 and then #SweaxyAF at 7,374. Then another pretty big drop down to #OnePeloton on 6,010. Then #SweatWithSwagger, 4,466. Should I keep going?
If there’s anything interesting, just scan for something that’s interesting or unusual or unexpected.
There are a lot of weird ones in here. I say weird, I just don’t know what some of them means. That’s why they’re weird, they’re unfamiliar, not picking on anybody’s specific hashtag. I find it interesting that the more generic Peloton inclusive hashtags are not included. I find that fascinating because it’s more about separating yourselves into these tribes. There are many of the tribes that are used here. I think that these tribes are going to be what comes up this weekend with this new feature they’re talking about. I think it’s going to be that whole community thing and how you’re going to be able to go in a waiting room and start together. I think this links to that.
You think that maybe you have a hashtag for whatever your special ride or run is, then you use that to congregate maybe?
I think it’s going to have something to do with that. I don’t know if that’s how it’s going to look or not. That’s just my prediction is that it’s linked in some way. Peloton Digital is not representing, they only have 447 members. That’s interesting because I know there’s a huge amount of Peloton Digital users. That’s fascinating.
Does it work the same within the app ecosystem? Is it maybe not as enticing in that environment as it is on the Bike?
A lot of times, you might have the divide between like if you’re an avid user, you’re on all these things all the time. You’re really connected in the groups and you are a strong Peloton fan. Some of the Digital users are like that. I think there is a huge segment of Digital users that are like, “It’s an exercise program. I don’t need Peloton specifically.” Because of that, their numbers might look different than some of the other tribes because they don’t feel as strongly about the product. The only way that they would see it is if they got their email, they checked their email. If you get on your bike, you see it right away. If you use the app, I don’t know how often people use the app. If they’re using it every couple of days, it’s going to delay things. Those are all just guesses. There could be other reasons.
We’ll have to keep an eye on that. I know there’s also a trending, which we didn’t get to because it’s more just a snapshot in time. We thought we’d start with just popular. That’s an interesting thing to maybe watch throughout the week to see what bubbles up and what doesn’t. Also don’t forget to use #TheClipOut. On a regular week, this would have been the top story of the week. It’s a very busy week. Peloton broke yet another attendance record.
There were a couple articles written about it. This one was on CNBC. The first class back that Robin did that was on the Bike had 23,000 people on it, maybe it was 24,000. After this article came out, there was a ride over the weekend, which had over 28,000 people on it. Even after this article broke the record, there was another record broken over the weekend. It’s crazy. People clearly miss these live rides, even if they’re from home, even if the sound isn’t perfect, people don’t care.
I think it’s cool that they’re doing it from home. It’s a little low-fi, but it’s to be expected and forgiven because of the current situation. This isn’t what they’re selling you long-term. This is the making accommodations and unprecedented situation that nobody could plan for.
It’s great and it’s a good example of, “Stay home.” Before they had even decided to do these classes at home, they were sending equipment home to the instructors to stay fit, so that they’re able to continue to do their job, not like, “Stay fit or fired.” They stay fit and I think that’s great. I think everything that they are doing is awesome.
On a regular week, this would have been the top story of the week. This would have been Homecoming weekend. We would be in New York.
I’m super sad about it because besides Christmas, it’s my favorite week of the year. Life changes. All kinds of details were released. Here’s what we know. I’m going to reverse the order a little bit. We know that there are going to be special features that will be announced. We don’t know what it is, but we know that they will be announced. Rumor is that when John Foley does his talk, which is one of the other big things we now know, that will be on May 2nd at 3:00 PM Eastern. We think that’s when the big announcements will be made. Rumors have included that this will be the moment where we find out when the Rower will be released. This will be the moment when we hear all about the community features. I have another theory of what this talk will bring. It’s not a happy one, so I’m not going to say it. There are going to be special rides all weekend. There are going to be a Encore rides. They’re bringing back some rides that people have rated extremely highly. Those will be available this weekend. When John Foley does his talk on Sunday, Jenn Sherman will be there with him as well.
We should probably use this time to talk about our Zoom call. Qe’ve been doing Zoom calls just to keep people talking and hanging out, since we can’t hang out in real life. We’re going to do our Zoom call this week following the John Foley call, so we can all talk about whatever the big announcements were.
The Sunday event is 3:00 PM Eastern. That’s when John Foley will do his talk. Just to give him enough time and give everybody a moment to breathe, we’re going to do it right after that with a little bit of a window. We’re going to do 5:00 PM Eastern time, so that’ll be 4:00 PM Central.
We’ll create an event on our Clip Out Facebook page, Facebook.com/TheClipOut, and you can go and a RSVP to that just so you have a a little digital reminder.
While we’re on the note, we had so much participation this last week and it was so fun. The one downside was there were so many people that we didn’t get very far into a conversation. It was all about introduction. We’re going to completely scrap that. We’re going to do a completely different thing. What we’re going to do is have you guys all put in your information like in the chat box as soon as you get there. Then we’re going to jump right into conversation, so that way we’re using the time to actually connect, which was our whole plan. Sorry, I didn’t know how to pivot last week because I didn’t want to not include people. There were people that hadn’t had a chance to say anything and I felt bad.
You didn’t realize how many people were on the call. You were like, “Ten people are in.” I’m like, “There are another 40 or 50 people.” At that point you don’t want to be like, “Everybody else doesn’t get to introduce themselves.” Also the big personalities can dominate and we don’t want people to feel like it’s the cool kids club and they don’t get the talk. These are getting larger and so we need to figure out new ways to navigate these bigger crowds, which is great but it is some growing pains. If you felt left out, we do apologize.
We’re going to keep it short and sweet from an intro standpoint. You’re going to type it in and then we are going to jump right into completely dissecting everything that happens in John Foley’s talk. That’s going to be the focus this week and we’ll have some fun with that. We look forward to seeing you there, Sunday 5:00 PM Eastern.
In some non-Peloton related news but maybe Peloton adjacent, we talked about Tonal quite a bit. Tonal has a newly redesigned app.
Tom, it’s beautiful. It shows everything that I could possibly want on the home screen. It shows how far I’ve come with volume because every time you do a workout, it tells you how many pounds you’ve lifted, that kind of volume. That is in the screen, but it also tells you what program you’ve done and what your strength score is and how that has improved. My strength score has improved 92% since November. That’s a lot. I was super impressed by that. That’s crazy.
I was going to say, the clock is ticking if you want to enter our Tonal contest. This is the last week.
You have an entire week to enter. You’ll have from 05/01 to 05/08 but that’s it.
This is week eight, and this is it. You can make them worth different points. This week, I’m going to make the final question worth 100 entries. If you go to TheClipOut.com/Tonal, you can register right there. You can enter right there. They’ll ask you a question and it’s relatively simple and you can either listen to a past podcast or look it up on their website. There are all sorts of different ways to enter. You can get extra entries, whether it’s going to their Facebook page or checking out Crystal on Instagram, all sorts of stuff like that to get you more chances to win. This is your last chance to win a Tonal.
Do not come to me and tell me that it’s too hard. I’m happy to help you. If it’s too hard, then you don’t deserve the free thing. Come on.
We try to make it as easy as possible.
I am happy to help anybody who’s stuck. I get that not everybody interprets the question in the way that it is intended. I have no problem helping people with that.We are all doing our best to be positive during these times. Click To Tweet
Sometimes it’s been rough for me to create because I plug into the different answers that will be allowed. One week it was in pounds and it was like lb, lbs, lbs., pounds, pd. I had to have fifteen different ways that you could theoretically answer the question.
If you get stuck, reach out. By all means, I will help you, but do not complain that it is too hard. If you don’t want to work that hard for the free thing, that’s cool, that’s on you.
Anyway, that’s TheClipOut.com/Tonal for your last chance to win a free Tonal.
I’m going to be so nervous to announce this.
That’s why I’m glad we’ve got Gleam doing it for us. We’re not drawing a name or pick it. It does it all for us. It’s out of our hands. There’s an article about Cody in QSR magazine. Do we know what that is?
No clue. It’s not about the magazine. That’s not why I did this. I just did it for people to have context of what it was. They sent me these images of it. I wanted people to be able to read about it, so I went to go find an article. I have no idea what this is. It’s some kind of a food thing.
What they did is they found all these wellness influencers to create a special bowl. Cody Rigsby is one of them. It’s so exciting. He was right in the kickoff. This was a brand new thing.
The Cody Rigsby Salad: Supergreens lettuce, light brown rice, double chicken, fajita veggies, fresh tomato salsa, tomatillo-green chili, salsa and guac.
It sounds really good. I would totally have that salad. That sounds yummy. I think it’s really cool though. For one of the Peloton instructors to be in the very first thing that they do is awesome. People have been raving about it all day. Thank you to everyone who brought this to my attention. I love that you guys send me this stuff and it is awesome.
While we’re talking about Peloton and Peloton instructors appearing in other places, a women’s health magazine had a Tunde do an arms workout live.
This was really cool. She went on there and did an arms workout. I guess everybody’s recognizing her for her amazing arms. She got to do another one live and it was awesome.
Engadget.com talks about a supernatural VR workout app.
It’s a new workout and it’s called Supernatural and it’s only available on Oculus Quest. What’s fascinating is that you work out in your home, but you have these VR goggles on. In this particular one, there are these bubbles that fly at you and you have to hit them. You have to have an open space because the balls are coming at you from all directions. You have to hit them really hard according to this article. You can’t just move your arm to knock it. If you do and you make contact, it would just knock it out of the way. You actually have to break the ball and that’s when you actually get points for it. Because you’re exerting so much energy, that’s where you’re actually getting this workout. You’re using a lot of power behind each of your moves. It’s a pretty intense workout. They were talking about how this is such a great way to freshen up your at-home workout. I thought how funny because there are so many options for your at-home workout right now.
I can’t help but wonder, when is Peloton going to get in the VR game? That would be really cool. It’s like you’re riding and I don’t think that’s going to work with the running so much. That seems like a bad idea. The riding, that would be really cool to be able to ride in neat places. The woman who wrote it was talking about how great the backgrounds were. She felt like she was really in these places because that’s what the VR does. She made it sound like a cool experience. I was intrigued. I thought it was an interesting spin on an at-home workout. I also can’t help but wonder, when are we going to start seeing the Pelotons of the world get into this?
When I saw it was like a supernatural thing, I thought it was like instructors who were dead. It was like Jack Lalanne and Vic Tanny coming back.
That’s an interesting take on it.
That’s so much fun. I actually did a short workout, because all you need is a short workout with that thing, and the cardio is just insane. You use every single muscle in your body and I love it. I can’t help how much I love it. I feel accomplished when I’m done. I feel like I just beat something up and that’s good.
I know there are times when you want to hit something and now you have something that’s appropriate for you to hit.
It’s also such a great workout. I can’t believe how strong my core is getting from doing the workouts between that and using Tonal to supplement with the strength. My core is going to be so much stronger in a few months. It’s going to be crazy.
Are you still doing the Prospect Path?
Yes, I am. Part of what you do in the Prospect Path is you get to know each of the instructors. They have a video. You watch a video and then that introduces them and then you actually do an exercise video with them. You do one of their classes right after that. It’s been a great way to get to know the instructors. I’m still winding my way through that.
If you’d like to check out FightCamp, you can do that by going to JoinFightCamp.com.
If you do buy one, don’t forget to tell them that you found out about it at The Clip Out. At the end of your purchase, there’s a survey.
Alex Toussaint was mentioned in MilitaryFamilies.com.
It was a great article that gave so much background on Alex. I feel like Alex is one of the instructors we don’t know a ton about. We’ve never been lucky enough to interview him. I don’t know of a time he’s been on a podcast in general, so it’s not like you can just go and find out tons about him. He doesn’t go on and on about himself on social media. I’m not saying that he’s not present on social media, but he doesn’t say a lot of personal things like, “This is what I’m doing today.” He doesn’t narrate his own life.
Some people share in different ways.
He will talk about things that are super important to him, like his dad and things that remind him of other things that happened in his life. He brings it all together in a nice package of, “This is what it meant to me.” That’s how he chooses to share. This particular article talks about his background and when he started and where he started. He used to be a janitor at a spin studio and then started teaching and then came to Peloton. It happened over three years. He went to military school in Missouri, so we have that link to Alex Toussaint. I don’t want to ruin it because I really want you guys to read this article. It’s a great way to get to know him. It’s a great article to read.
SNL, should we just call it SN? It’s not really live anymore, which is interesting because it originally was called Saturday Night. There was another show that started at the same time called Saturday Night Live on ABC, which was hosted by Howard Cosell and featured Bill Murray. It only lasted eighteen episodes and it got canceled. At that point, they had already established that it was called SNL. That’s why they say, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night.” It’s technically the name of the show, Saturday Night. That’s why they don’t say, “It’s Saturday Night Live.”
I have always wondered that.
There’s a piece of trivia that you didn’t know you wanted to know. They’ve had the cast recording segments at home. This past week was the second week that they’ve done like that. It seems like they’re getting more adept at it. They had a segment making fun of SoulCycle trying to do classes from home. I did watch it. It was pretty funny.
Tell me all about it because I didn’t get to watch it.
We’ve seen them do the SoulCycle instructors before but it was more edited together than last week’s stuff. If you think about it, with all the skillsets that they have at SNL, they’ve never really had to do a quick edit type of comedy, because they’re writing long form sketches. I felt like the pacing was a lot better. At least in this particular sketch, there was also a lot less of them waiting for a laugh that never came because there was no audience. It would bounce back and forth between all the different people as they’re doing their versions of instructors. I think my favorite one is, I don’t know what the performer’s name was, but she was talking about her catchphrase was, “Eat, pray, pray.” She’s like, “That’s right. I’m hot and religious. It’s a trap.” I thought it was a good one. If you want to check it out, it’s up on YouTube. A couple of quick celebrity sightings before we get to the end here. Martha Stewart has a Peloton and a Tonal.
That’s so cool. I have something in common with Martha Stewart.
We also discovered that Weight Watchers CEO, Mindy Grossman, has a Peloton. It seems fitting.
She works out and she’s eating well. It’s a good combo.
Finally, Diplo has a Peloton. He’s a DJ. He worked with MIA on Paper Planes. They won a Grammy me for that. He’s done a lot of other stuff too. He’s in some group with that Mark Ronson. Apparently, he has a Peloton as well. There you go.
Joining us is Amy Wallace. Amy, how’s it going?
It’s going well for sheltering in place.
It’s a whole new world.
It’s weird. I’m a writer, so I spend most of my days at home anyway, but this is completely different. My husband is working in the other room but we’re both here, which has changed the rhythm a little bit.
What does he do?
He owns a small investment company and he has twelve people who work with him. We live in Los Angeles, where everybody has been told to head home. That’s where we’re all at and everybody is sheltering in place. We had a cocktail party with friends on Skype. Everybody’s doing their best to be creative, but it’s a weird mood as I’m sure you’re feeling too.
We live in a Red State and they’re obstinate, so we’re still tongue kissing at the grocery store.
Despite the fact that our county told us to stay home, we’re both considered essential employees, so we get to keep going to work.
As scary as that is for us, all I can think about is your husband and how scary must be in investment.
He’s a positive person, but it’s been a tough bumpy road. We’re doing our best to be positive, which is the perfect TF for the topic.
Speaking of that, how did you originally find Peloton?
I’ve done SoulCycle classes every once in a while. The friends of mine who are devotees are always in the best shape of anyone I had ever seen. I was admiring that, but I could never make myself go. When I realized that there was a way to do it in your house and have it there, I’ve already admitted that I’m often in my house which might make you think that I would want to get out of my house, which I do. I do go and work out at a gym with a trainer who I’ve worked with for many years, but I needed more cardio and I was intrigued. I’m a new member. I know one of the questions you want to ask me is how I came up with my leaderboard name. It’s such a lame leaderboard name because I didn’t quite understand that other people are going to see or read it. I was hoping that Robin Arzón would someday scream my name. It’s just my initials. It’s boring.
Here’s the good news. You can change it anytime you want.
I joined a bunch of Peloton Facebook groups and posted it because I thought this is a community that will like this. People are like, “What’s your leaderboard name?” I was like, “Sorry. It’s boring.” They’re like, “You can change it.” I’m having anxiety about what the perfect one should be.
Crystal struggled with the same thing. She had a different one before. Hers is Clip Out Crystal, which seems obvious.
I didn’t start there.
Until we had the show, I was like, “You should change it to Clip Out Crystal,” and then she did and then, the rest is history. It’s like how The Silver Beetles became The Beatles.
If I change it now that I have all of six friends or whatever they’re called, will they still be my friends or if I will change my name, I have to start all over?
No, they come with you. The only thing is they may not recognize you. You want to tell those six people or however many friends you have following you that’s what you did, so that when they see you on their leaderboard, they’re not like, “Who is that? I don’t know that I was friends with that person.”
“Who’s that Sexy Mama 12,000?” or whatever.
You might pick up a whole line of new followers.True in all walks of life, you've got to pick people to work with. Don't work with assholes. Click To Tweet
That’s the goal.
Be careful what you wish for. It’s great though because you can change it. Since you’re new to Peloton, I will tell you a story that Tom and I know about because we’ve been in the community for a long time. A long time ago, there used to be something like what everybody would do when you’re celebrating a milestone. It’s a tradition and everyone you were riding with would change their leaderboard name temporarily to your leaderboard name to be like, “Hi, so and so.” They can cheer you on. The thing is that one time, somebody did that and they lost their leaderboard name. Somebody snagged it while they were on the ride. If you’re going to change it, have a plan and then you either create an entirely new profile for it or immediately change it back. You have to be all in once you decide that’s your name.
That’s good advice.
I’m going to jump around a little bit here. We’ve got to tell everybody about this article that you wrote all about a class that you took with Robin, which as far as I could tell, was the first class at the new studio. I would like to know what inspired you to write about that?
A lot of the quotes are from Robin in that piece and this is a piece everybody knows that ran on Medium.com, which is a platform that allows everybody to write but there are several different channels. I wrote for what’s called GEN, which focuses on culture and politics. I proposed to my editor that I was a new Peloton subscriber and I was struck by the lead instructor, Robin’s positivity. We’re all in lockdown, although technically we’re not in lockdown, but it feels like we are. I had started going back in time and riding but also watching even when I wasn’t riding her earlier rides. There was so much in what she was saying, even before Coronavirus was a thing, that was completely applicable to where we are. I proposed to him that I would do a sampler mashup in her voice idea. That’s what we started. That was the idea of the piece, which is titled How Peloton’s Head Coach Is Powering Me Through the Pandemic.
That was the initial thing, then I got in touch with Peloton and I was asking them like, “Can I get some sales numbers from you because?” I’ve been seeing on Twitter that people were joking about the revenge of the Peloton Wife. I’m sure you may have even done an episode about it. Everybody was like, “It’s awful. She got that for Christmas.” I got mine for Christmas and I’m thrilled that I did. People have been on Twitter saying, “It wasn’t such an insensitive gift. We don’t kill for exercise bikes in our home.” I got in touch with Peloton and I’m like, “Can you tell me your sales numbers? Have they gone up?” They’re like, “No, we can’t because we’re a private company. Sorry, but we are free. We’ve made all of our programming free for the next few months.” I saw a different way of going about the story. It’s still the same idea. What I’m encouraging people to do is get on their laptops, sign onto Peloton, and Robin will help you, whether you get on a bike or not. She’s positive, can do and has overcome her struggles.
That was the joke of the piece even though I do ride with her. You didn’t even have to ride with her. You didn’t have to have any equipment that was expensive. You could listen to her voice and look at her face. I joke that her smile is bigger than her head. I always thought with Peloton’s trainers would be physically inspiring. I do understand since I work out with a trainer in a gym normally, although I don’t do that since all the gyms are closed. I understand the psychic that you can do it stuff out of a boy’s feedback. What I wasn’t fully prepared for with the Peloton experience, and I didn’t get until I started doing it, was the community part of it. When you’re locked down in your house or apartment, in my case, you are hungry for that. I might have not scoffed at that, but I might have been like, “I only want the exercise.” Now, I am completely into this. Even though I only have six followers or whatever they call it, I don’t want to lose any of them except for my lame name. If you told me I was going to lose them, I wouldn’t want to.
I went way down the rabbit hole of Robin Arzón. Not only has she written a book already about running called Shut Up and Run, but in her book, she tells the story which has been in other profiles of her. It’s about when she was twenty-something and she was in college at NYU. She was out one night and it was a nighttime experience. The bar that she was in, a crazy guy came in with weapons and a machete and took the entire bar hostage and doused them all with lighter fluid. He had a lighter and took them all hostage. At some point, when he was negotiating with police, who’s the person that he grabbed to use as a human shield? Robin Arzón. He was threatening her with a gun with a lighter because she was doused in lighter fluid. You can’t make this up. It’s like, “What?” She survived that and she’s the person I’m looking at who’s been positive beyond my wildest dreams, even before Coronavirus. She’s always positive, “You can do it. Learn from it and grow from it and all of that stuff.” She has been through that experience. She was a corporate lawyer for seven years, which I’m not going to compare to being taken hostage, but it sounds difficult. A few years ago, she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. The woman isn’t messing around. To look at her, you would think, “It’s easy to be positive to look like you.” In fact, she’s had some stuff to deal with and the woman glows with positivity. My piece was an ode to Robin. That was the deal. Pointing out how even before Coronavirus, some of the stuff she said helps us during Coronavirus. It will help you and they concede.
I’m picking up on that maybe Robin is your favorite instructor?
I will admit. I have to admit that I’m as lame in the teacher department as I am in the leaderboard game department. I have tried a couple of other teachers. I like Emma Lovewell. I was going to do one with another teacher who was going to do a ‘90s hip hop. I got an email from an editor, so I didn’t do it. I’m still completely learning the landscape. I found the one lady that I love and I’m stuck to her so far.
That’s the way it is with Peloton. You go 1 of 2 ways right out of the gate and then you flip flop usually in a few months. You either do exactly what you did where you latch on to somebody immediately and then after a while, you start branching out and test out the waters with some of the other instructors. Or you can’t find anybody that you immediately gel with, so you try all of the instructors before you find 2 or 3 that you love. There are usually 4 to 5 that you enjoy, but there’s a core group of whatever. Based on the fact that you like Robin, I’m going to guess that you also would like Ally Love because there’s a curve, people who love Robin also love Ally.
I want to ask you, given my preferences, can you recognize who am I choosing out for Peloton?
She can. She’s like a human Facebook quiz like, “Which Peloton instructor are you?” She’ll take your data points.
When I was doing Emma Lovewell, I was like, “I like her. She’s pretty too. She’s really fit. This is great music. She’s not doing exactly like Robin would though.” I was like, “Get over Robin and just enjoy the moment.” I can’t get over Robin yet. I’m into her.
I don’t think you should rush it. You should enjoy that as long as it feels right and when it’s time, you’ll naturally start edging out to other instructors because it’s different for everybody that length of time. If you’re finding what you need there, there are thousands of Robin rides, so enjoy them.
One of the points I made in the piece is like, “She’s been teaching for six straight years, so there’s a lot of material. If you need to get your Robin on, there are lots to choose from.”
Later, when you do feel like you’re ready to branch out, then I would encourage you to try each instructor even if it’s short rides. Try each of them a couple of times because it’s different once you find the one that you gel with immediately. The rest of them never quite stack up to the first one that you fell in love with. You’ve got to try it out a couple of times before you decide.
Who was your initial love?
She has the same. She picks a favorite.
I feel so guilty about the other instructors. Everybody has probably guessed who reads this regularly that Jenn Sherman is the one who roped me in. I don’t care what day I’m having, that woman can make me smile. It’s completely different from Robin but I get the same emotion that you get when you take a Robin ride. Jenn Sherman knows everybody riding in her front row. She knows every name on the leaderboard. She remembers them. She remembers their stories. I feel seen by her in a way that some of the other instructors don’t. Robin is amazing. She’s one of the most interesting and badass people in the world, but I don’t think that we have a connection in the same way I feel like I have a connection with Jenn Sherman.
I’m sure they’re smart about this. We’re all different and we all want different things in our trainers. I tend to like somebody who’s yelling at me a little bit like, “Get out of bed earlier.” I’m like, “Okay.”
There are times that Robin is the only person that can scratch that itch for me. I have a Tread too. Before the New York City Marathon, she had a class that was like, “If you ran in the New York City Marathon, this is what it would be like.” It was supposed to be your last run as you were tapering, getting ready for the actual marathon. It was motivating. The way that she described it, I felt like I was there. By the end of it, I was like, “I’m going to sign up for the marathon.” I didn’t, but I had this moment of like, “I could do that.” She has that way of bringing it out of people, so I agree with you. There are all these different instructors and they have all these different traits. It’s fascinating because Jess King is like a party on the bike. She’s all about dance, movement and being free. That speaks to some people. The same with Cody Rigsby. He’s more in that freedom of like, “Let it go. We’re on the bike to have fun.” You have Matt Wilpers and Christine D’Ercole on the other end who are super focused on the training. They’re focused on like, “Here are the numbers. We’re going to be on this specific path today.” There are days that I need that too. That’s why eventually, you should try all of them, but I still say stick with Robin until you’re done.
Until I’m done with her and I want to move on. The other great fact about Robin that I can’t even almost believe, but it’s been recorded so I’m going to believe it, is that she ran five marathons over five consecutive days. That’s crazy.
She has talked about that.
She should seek professional help.
Except she seems to enjoy it so much that it wasn’t awful for her. That’s a lot of mileage.
I want to love any exercise that much, but I’m not there. I’m not going to lie. I like movement, but not enough to do that. Were you active before you got the Peloton or were you doing whatever you felt like you should do? How did that work?
I’m active and diligent. I haven’t had this relationship with my gym trainer for years. Because I ride from home, I value the structure that those sessions give me. If I make an appointment, I keep that. I’ve been doing that three times a week on good weeks. I tried to do cardio and I don’t do enough of it like a normal human.
I was the opposite. I love cardio. It is easy for me. Doing strength does not come easy to me, so good for you for doing it the other way around because you’ll live longer. It’s proven.
I don’t understand that weight-bearing exercise thing. I remember going to PT because I hurt myself skiing. I was 38 at the time and he said, “What exercises did you do to get ready to go skiing?” I was like, “I run sometimes.” He was like, “What weight-bearing exercises do you do?” I was like, “Isn’t running weight-bearing? I weigh something and I have weight.” He’s like, “No.” He rolled his eyes at me like, “Are you insane? You went out and hurdled your body down a mountain with snow on it with no preparation.” I said, “I’ve skied before but it has been six months or something since last ski.” He was like, “You need to be doing crunches and squats.” My ignorance was thrown in my face about what conditioning was.
Most people do it the way you did it. You see skiing as like not relaxing, but it’s a sport you do on vacation.
Gravity does all the work. It’s controlled falling.
I know it’s hard work. There’s a lot of strain that goes with it, but I don’t think people think of it like, “I’m going to go skiing in a couple of months. I better prep.” I’d never heard people say that.
I thought, “I wasn’t a great skier, but I know how to ski, so I don’t need to prepare.” I’ve tried to be active always, but I’ve been on that Peloton bike every day and it feels great. I’m a convert, for sure.
I tell Tom all the time that if I didn’t have the ability to exercise in this house, I would be in real trouble because it does keep me sane. It’s the one time a day that my brain shuts off, so it’s important.
I also tell her all the time that if she didn’t have that in this house, she would be insane.
Having somebody around that knows you. It sounds like you get to know each other well.
How did you get into writing? How did you fall into all that?
In college, I interned at different places, and I was a shy person. In high school, we moved a lot, so I was always the new kid. Something about the idea of, if you have an assignment to go interview somebody, then it’s not just you having to be brave and go meet someone. It’s like, “You have an assignment. It’s not you. It’s the assignment.”
There’s a pre-determining topic.
I kept going. I started working at newspapers and worked at it for many years. I wanted to learn how to be a magazine writer and write longer, so then I started writing magazine pieces. That led to being approached to ghostwrite a book, although my name was on it. Technically, it wasn’t a ghost experience. I co-wrote the book of one of the founders of Pixar, the animation company. Ed Catmull is his name and he wrote a book called Creativity, Inc. with me. That turned out well and sold a lot of copies. I’m finishing a different book, but another ghostwriting situation of the former CEO of General Electric, as far as it can be from Pixar. People who want to write their books and have a lot of ideas and either don’t have the time to do it or don’t know exactly how they would write a whole chapter of a book or whatever, hire people like me and there are lots of us.
I have a quick question about ghostwriting. Sometimes, the ghostwriter’s name ends up on the cover and sometimes it doesn’t. I’m curious, what goes into that decision? Does that mean the ghostwriter get paid more or less if their name is on the cover? Are they like, “We’ll pay you with accolades, your name is on the cover?” I’m always curious as to how that gets wrestled out.
It’s interesting. I don’t think anybody gets paid more or less to have their name on or off. It’s moved into a tradition. I am telling you this anecdotally from reading books. The tradition seems to be if the ghostwriter’s name is on the cover and it often isn’t with high profile people like Michelle Obama, the woman who she worked with, her name is Donna. It wouldn’t make sense because it’s Michelle Obama’s face on the cover. To have another name would clutter it up graphically. What typically happens is if you flip to the back and look in the acknowledgments, one of the first people thanked is generally the writer who she’s worked with. That’s true of Phil Knight’s book Shoe Dog. The person who wrote the book is not on the cover, but he’s prominently thanked in the acknowledgments. It’s become a tradition on how the credit is given. For those of us who do the ghostwriting job or the collaborative writing job, if you want to say it that way which is probably more accurate, the only people we need to know are the people who are going to hire the next one. We don’t need the average book buyer.
Everybody knows. The agents know. It’s not like it’s a nice skin off our nose if our name is on or off. That’s what I’ve come to figure out in my vast experience during these two books. It doesn’t matter whether your name is on or off. Particularly, if you’re writing a book that’s called something like My Life by J. Schmo. It looks weird to have it be like, “By Joe Schmo and Amy Schmo.” There’s only one life that’s been written about, but that’s changed over time. It used to be that either the ghostwriter wasn’t mentioned at all ever anywhere or their name was on. There’s this compromise now that has seemed to become the norm.
In those situations, do they give you anecdotes and then you shape them? Do you try to maintain their voice? Where does that line live?
I can only speak to my process. I interview the person a lot. I transcribe it, so I know I have the way they talk, as well as the stories. I report around them with their permission or usually with them getting in touch with the people. For me, if there’s a story I like, I talk to four other people who know the story, so I can tell it in the richest way. I report it out around them. If there’s a particular anecdote that we’re describing, there are more voices feeding into that story than the person whose name is on the book. It’s an intensive process. There’s a lot of collaboration going back and forth to make sure that the person you’re working with feels like it’s there and it’s sounding like them. There are a lot of conversations like, “I wouldn’t say it this way or I would never use that phrase,” and then you change it because it is their voice. It’s intimate. It’s a personal exercise because it’s their book, so they have to feel comfortable and proud of it, and they’re comfortable putting their name on it.
How long is that process typically?
Both of the ones I’ve worked on have taken a couple of years. It’s lengthy.
I picture it as like there’s a whole bunch of upfront interviews and then you go back and touch base as you develop. If that’s off base, let me know.
In the beginning, you’re like, “Let’s talk about everything,” and then I go away and I try to piece it together. I’m like, “I know I need to talk about this other thing because I don’t think I asked you about it enough.” It’s an evolution, but in the beginning, you wait. There’s a lot of long interviews.
Cast the net wide to figure out what’s going to be interesting.
How many hours do you think that you spend with those initial interviews?
Usually, when you’re interviewing somebody else, both of you have a lot going on. I work in the IT industry and I think about how hard it is to schedule those meetings. I’m trying to picture scheduling these long conversations that have these in-depth and probably sometimes emotional toll that it takes on you that sometimes you might want to be like, “I don’t want to talk about this anymore. This is exhausting.”
In my experience, this has only been learned by doing it, not by being smart going out of the gate. After about three hours, people start to babble. They’re like, “I can’t summon my memories for you anymore.” Even if you’re doing a couple of days in a row, you don’t do it all day long because your brain is going to drip out your ear by the end of it. It’s a process. When I say hundreds of hours, we did a series of three-hour conversations, so it wasn’t back-to-back.
You didn’t spend two weeks locked in a room.
It is a process. I’ve heard stories from other people who do this work. Sometimes, it’s terrifying and it makes your heart hurt on the stories of where they start off on the assignment, and what they discover is that the person they’re doing it with thinks, “I’m going to talk to you for an hour and you’re going to write a book in your voice.” They’re like, “I need 100 times that much time or ten times that much time,” or whatever to get started. The person’s like, “I’m busy, so go write that book.” For all those readers out there, who might want to write a book with a collaborative writer, even though you’re not the one slaving over the computer all the time. You need to be willing to spend a lot of time with the person.
That’s the advice that I give when I have interviews with people who are like, “I’m considering several writers. What advice would you give me?” I’d say, “Whoever you hire to do this, you need to like them or feel comfortable in their presence. You’re going to be not only spending a lot of time with them, but they’re going to be asking you a lot of nosy questions. To make the statements in the book feel authentic, we have to dig in, so you’ve got to like the person who’s going to be asking you.” When you say it was a stressful time, I’m going to say, “Are you fighting with your wife? Were you eating too much? Were you having trouble sleeping?” I’m going to be pushing it. You better enjoy the process of talking to the person if you can or don’t do it.
As you were describing the process, I was like, “I feel sorry for the ghostwriter that gets involved in that and then turns out the dude is a jerk.”
I’ve heard some horror stories.
“You’re married to a jerk. What are you going to do?”
I’ve heard even more horror stories of people who cancel their books in the middle of it because they don’t like the process and then the writers don’t get paid with all the time.
They wouldn’t get paid no matter what situation?
She’s saying that the time is gone. If you spent six months on it and now that it’s gone, you can’t get that six months back.
I had one bad story that made my stomach hurt. The person had put a lot of time into it. They’ve been writing it. They weren’t just doing the interviews. They were in the middle of writing and then the person said, “I don’t want to do this book after all.” It’s awful. You’ve got to hopefully pick people to work with. This is true in all walks of life. I have friends and our mantra is, “Don’t work with assholes.” That’s like, “If you can afford it, then work with people you like. If you can avoid working with people you don’t like, don’t work with them.” Not everybody can make that choice, but it’s a good watchword if you can try it.
You said you were a magazine writer and you did that for a long time. How does that work in the age of the internet and print publications struggling so much?
Print publications are struggling and everybody’s trying to have an online presence. The publication, although I wrote the Robin Arzón’s piece digitally on Medium, it’s called GEN. It’s attempting to be an online magazine and it’s pulling it off, but then you’ve got to get advertising revenue there as well or subscription revenue. It’s all a monetization question like in any digital disruption situation. I wrote for many years for GQ. I was on contract for GQ and I still will write for them, but they’ve changed that they don’t have contracts anymore. There’s a lot of morphing of the business in terms of how people are going about making cobbling together their living. It’s funny that we’re all in our homes in California, but I do something that I can do from my house. I prefer to go out into the world to report my stories and have to sit here, but I’m fortunate. Many people either are at home and aren’t getting any income at all or are having to go out because their job has to be done out in the world and risking getting sick. I’m not complaining. I feel lucky that I can still eke out a living without leaving my house. Of course, we’re all hoping this is temporary. My business is going through a lot of transition. That’s for sure. That’s part of why I’m doing the books because I’m using my toolbox in a lot of different ways. That’s my goal.
I would think that’s probably a longer form. I would think a magazine article is a much shorter period of time to have a job as opposed to a book. Is that accurate?
Yes. I’ve had magazine pieces I’ve worked off and on for more than a year, but that’s rare. Particularly, when I used to interview a lot of famous people for GQ, I did a lot of different kinds of stories like crime stories. I also interviewed famous people and those are what journalists would call quick hits in the sense that you go, you interview them and you interview people who know them. You talk to the director of the movie. You talk to somebody about the album. You write the story, so you do it in a contained space. Either other stories like the one crime story I worked on, it was one of my stories for GQ, was all about smash and grab robbers run into jewelry stores or watch stores with sledgehammers and smashed the cases, grabbed the merchandiser, and ran back out within a minute. There was a ring in Southern California that were targeting all kinds of watch stores but particularly, they want the Rolexes. I started off reporting the story, but I had to wait for the trials to happen from all the guys. I followed the trials and then at the end, I wrote the story because I knew what had happened. That took a long time, but I wasn’t working on it the entire time. It took off and on for almost two years. You’ve got to have a mixture of quicker and longer things if you’re going to piece together a career.
When you’re working on a story that long, does the publication say like, “We’re interested in this. You’re going to get paid. Let’s follow it through the end?” Or are you crossing your fingers and rolling the dice?
If you’re a complete and total freelancer, if you’ve gone to the publication, they say they’re interested, but you don’t get paid until it runs. In that case, I was on contract with GQ. All that meant was they contracted with me for a year for a certain number of words and they had agreed that I would write a certain number of words for them in that year. They paid me down in the weeds of realness of life. They paid me first of the month for twelve months, presuming that I was going to make that amount of words, which I always did. I was on contract with them for eight years. The nice thing for freelancers about that is it gives you regular money as you’re waiting until the end. They trust you and they know you’re going to make your numbers, so you get paid regularly instead of later.If you can afford it, then work with people you like. If you can avoid working with people you don't like, don't work with them. Click To Tweet
You must be patient. I can’t imagine going through the process that you do because I’m too impatient for any of the things that you’re talking about. It’s great, but I don’t have a brain for it.
That’s part of the reason that it’s fun to write for an online magazine. I work on things that tend to take more than two years, but I also work on things that take two days. When I got the idea about Robin Arzón, I was moved to write it at the moment. I completely immersed myself in a lot of her programming and transcribed little bits of it that I liked and things that I thought it spoke to the moment. I wrote it and the other edited it. It was out in the world and it was born, so that’s satisfying. The way to stay patient is to be patient in one project that you’re working on, but have other ones that you’re also working on that give you a little bit more immediate satisfaction and feedback. We’re up to 12,000 people reading that piece, which is satisfying. It’s not a viral sensation. It was super popular in the Peloton community and some other people were like, “What? Who is she?” Among the people who were already converts, I got a lot of nice notes from people on Facebook of like, “This is exactly how I feel. This has been helpful to me. Thank you for writing this at some depth that I felt.” I’m getting that feedback and that helps me in my little hole that I’m in. It’s nice to be in a community with those people and hear that something I worked hard on even if only for a couple of days resonates with people. That helps.
I feel like you feel like this is weird stuff, but this is fascinating. I’ve never known how this end of things works.
Tom and I read a lot, both articles and books. We’re geeking out over all of the ins and outs.
In hamburgers, this is how the sausage gets made.
It’s something that the average person doesn’t even think about.
Tom used to work in the radio industry and now he works in the concert industry. He will tell me these things all the time about radio that I had no idea or concerts where I just show up and watch the music. I have no idea how many concerts almost don’t happen. It’s fascinating.
It’s the personality that comes close a lot.
Another one of my gigs was, I was an editor at Los Angeles magazine that’s like the city magazine. The editor-in-chief was a good friend of mine and had an idea. It’s all to this point where she was like, “In the front of the magazine, every month, we’re going to put ten things we shouldn’t tell you about this month’s issue.” It was all inside how the sausage was made kind of stuff. It’s like, “Number of times we had to call this person before they answered the question.” That’s the best example. Every month in the front of the book, as we called it, there was a column and people loved it. We thought it was weird, irritating, dumb details, but people were like, “I never knew that word or for the cover, you had models? How did that work?” It was a great idea of hers that we all executed every month. Every month right before we close the issue, there would be a call for things that would go into the column where people will be like, “I’ve got a good one.” Readers loved it. You’ll think this is boring, grinding minutiae of how we get the magazine out every month but people were into it. I understand that I’m into it when I’m learning about someone else’s, it’s just for my own.
Given your profession, I would hope. It’s weird. It’s like, “Yeah,” then you started Pixar, “Whatever.”
You’re a genius. The Pixar guy, Ed Catmull, whose book I wrote, won a Turing prize, which is like a Genius Grant. He’s a computer programmer, so he invented 3D computer animation, but not alone.
Is the Turing prize related to the Turing Test?
I believe so. It’s Alan Turing. There’s a movie about him. I should know more about him, but he was a genius coder.
The Turing Test was like if you can create a computer program that can present itself so organically that people don’t realize they’re interacting with a computer program. I thought that’s what that was. I’m a nerd, but not off that much. I’m not 100% sure.
It sounds like it would be for the same guy because it’s a computer genius that gets a reward. I’d never heard of the prize, to be honest with you. Of course, it was in the newspaper that he won. Another Pixar founder had won one and I was like, “Ed, you’re a genius. I knew that.
Sometimes, it’s weird talking with people at that level. I interviewed Pete Docter once, who directed Up and Monsters, Inc.
You’ve got to put in a level I get.
He also wrote Inside Out, and directed it for the five emotions.
He was great but sometimes you’re like, “These guys are on a different plane.”
I may be getting this wrong, but I’ve heard Pete Docter has a tree that grows through his house. His bedroom is in a tree or something. He created their home where he, his wife and their kids live in this wackadoodle house. He’s also 6’8″. He’s a huge, tall person.
Everybody’s taller than me, so I didn’t notice.
For Ed’s book, I got to talk to a lot of the directors, Brad Bird, who did The Incredibles and Andrew Stanton, who did A Bug’s Life, Finding Dory and Finding Nemo. I get to talk to a lot of those guys and they’re smart and creative. That’s the fun of what I do. I get to talk to a lot of cool people about what they do. It sounds like that’s what turns you on about doing the show. You get to call people up and ask them questions. It’s fun.
We talked about Peloton but sometimes, we go off on other tangents because it’s interesting to see the different types of people that are Peloton lovers.
Whenever you pull it back in to focus, it’s all of these different people in the community who are all drawn to the same type of thing. The same things that you were saying about Robin. There are many other people that love Peloton for the same reason, but we all got there in a different way. I find that fascinating, how we all are wired the same but different.
When I first heard about Peloton, I’m like, “There’s a screen in your house, then it’s going to stream. It’s a recorded content, but it’s going to stream.” I didn’t buy that there would be a community in that. To me, it was like watching Netflix. I don’t feel like there is a community of people watching Netflix, but I’m getting it now.
It’s weird because Tom and I have talked about this a number of times. I’m an introverted person. You may not know that because I’m doing this show, but I am. I hated going to the gym and I hated interacting with other people because I was self-conscious. It’s funny that years later, I talk to people all the time about it and I love talking to them about it and I love exercising. I talk to people more than I ever did before. That’s crazy.
Most people get it specifically so they don’t have to go be around other people. It has the exact opposite result.
We all got this bike that we couldn’t wait to have in our homes and yet, once a year, we all go to New York, get in a big party and hang out. It’s crazy.
Tell me about that. What are you talking about?
I am talking about Peloton’s Homecoming, which they have once a year. In 2020, it’s canceled because of Coronavirus. Normally, it is the first weekend of May. They invite everybody to buy tickets and there’s a limited amount. In 2020, it seems to be right around 3,000 people and that’s how many it was in 2019. You all go to New York, you get to hang out, take classes together, go to giant parties together, and meet the instructors like it’s Disney World. People line up and take pictures with them all day. It’s fabulous. It is by far, besides Christmas, my favorite weekend of the year.
How many times have you gone?
2020 would have been our fourth time.
That’s fantastic. I love it.
It’s a blast.
Is there a hotel that they blocked off for such a thing, so everybody’s staying in the same place or is everybody on their own to find where they stay?
There is a huge mixture of everything but in 2020, they had two hotels picked out. It was the Crowne Plaza and then EVEN. Both of them were a couple of blocks from the new studio. Then you could take one of those blocks and get one of those rooms or you could go off and get your own. There are people that do Airbnb. They think that’s way better. There are all kinds of different ways that people do it. There are tons of people that live in New York that go. They have easy access all the time, not that I’m bitter and jealous. It’s fabulous.
I’m admitting that I’m a total newbie but I’m like, “I see there are people in the studio with her,” but they’re not. I’m like, “She seems to notice people. She’s standing in the front row.” I’m figuring it out piece by piece.
You would have no need to know any of that. You haven’t gotten to that point, but at some point, you’ll be in New York for some other reason or you’ll go there for that. You’ll pop into the studio out of curiosity and then that will be a whole other addiction.
There are 149 other episodes of this that you can educate yourself.
What is Peloton’s relationship to the show? Are they into it? Have you gotten feedback from Peloton? Do they know about it?
They know and they are supportive. They don’t do anything “special” for us, which we like to point out to people because some people think that we get all kinds of deals and stuff, but we don’t. We got to interview John Foley a couple of years ago at the actual Homecoming event, which was cool. In 2019, they had a booth to set up for us. We had people who listened to the podcast stop by and we did mini-interviews all day. They find ways to work us into what they’re doing.
We’re not sponsored by them.
I got that since it was your own thing. It’s a different situation, but they were super friendly and responsive to me. I told them I was going to write about my love affair with Robin. It wasn’t a hostile approach but still, they couldn’t have been more helpful, which I appreciate because I was on a deadline. It was good.
We were nervous when we first started about how they would react to our existence.
They’ve been nothing but kind and open arms about the whole thing. We got to go in and do an actual walkthrough of the old headquarter building, which was cool and that was neat. That was probably one of my favorite moments that we’ve ever had with Peloton. Employees have stopped us to tell us that they read the blog because that’s how they know what’s going on with everything.
There’s so much that goes on. As it grows, it gets compartmentalized that they’re like, “There’s a newsletter for what happened this week with our company. We almost have to read to know what’s up.” That’s flattering.
How many people follow it every week?
Over the course of a month, we get between 40,000 and 50,000 downloads.
It’s doing okay.
It’s grown a lot and it’s fun. I feel like we could travel once the travel ban is lifted anywhere in the world and have people that I feel like we know from the show and the Peloton community. I love that and I feel like that’s special.
We went to Alaska one time and hung out with a follower. I had lost my reading glasses and she took me to the grocery store so I could buy another pair.
That’s how they roll. That’s how the community goes.
I know you alluded to your leaderboard name. Did you say what it was?
Although I’m open to suggestions, it’s AmyWH because I’m Amy Wallace and then my married name is Harvey. I’m Amy Wallace Harvey. I know that’s lame, but I’m going to get it creative, I just can’t.
I feel like it needs to be like The Great Writer Amy.
I can’t. What’s reminding me of is when I turned 40, I have a friend who I’ve known since we were about six years old. My oldest friend and I decided we were going to get tattoos when we turned 40. She turned 40 six months earlier than I did. She knew exactly what she was going to get. She got fleur-de-lis and a stylized Irish that’s right on her back. It is perfect because her mother loved Irish. All this meaning is perfect. It was graphic and symmetrical. It was fantastic. She got it. I held her hand and then it came to my turn and I couldn’t figure out what to do. I couldn’t find the single perfect image that sums me up in one graphic way, so I never did it. This is the same angst I’m feeling. I couldn’t find the perfect leaderboard name and I don’t know what it is, so I leave that to you. Maybe you can help me with that since you guys are veterans.
I don’t know if I can help you with that but I have a suggestion for your tattoo. You’re going to think I’m joking, but I’m dead serious. You should get a question mark because you interview people for a living and you don’t know what to get.
Isn’t it a wishy-washy and bad? I don’t know.
It would be bad if you never did anything with any of it, but you’re making a living out of it, so you get to own it. We’re over here asking questions for free.
Nobody pays us to ask questions.
Compared to you, I look at style at night. I’ll take that under advisement.
The only problem is somebody might think you’re the Riddler.
I was going to say, is there a Batman character? I was like, “Which one is it?”
They’re going to see you at the pool and be like, “She came here to poison Gotham’s water supply. I can’t trust this lady.” Don’t change your leaderboard name yet and maybe a bunch of people will follow AmyWH.
She’s in need of help because she’s new and awkward.
Amy, I am following you.
I would, except I don’t. I’m lazy and glorified.
Let me get straight. You are part of this show, but you don’t Peloton?
Why is that?
Why am I part of this show or why don’t I Peloton?
I get why you’re part of the show because you’re charming and I’m loving you.
I’m an attention whore, you can say.
What’s going on with not using the equipment that is already in your house?
He hates exercise.
I hate sweating.
You’ve heard all of us talk about it. Doesn’t that intrigue you? Doesn’t it make you want to try it? Have you tried it?
He’s never even sat on the bike.
Why would I? It’s not mine.
This is what I deal with.
It’s not the first time I’m dealing with something like this, but I’m fascinated. You even have a Treadmill in your house. You could do the Bike and do the Treadmill.
He’s never walked on it.
I stood at it once.
You stood. You didn’t walk.
You were like, “It’s squishy.” I was like, “I’ll stand on the squishy,” and I was like, “That’s squishy.” That was it.
“That’s enough for me. Thanks.” That’s sausage-making of your marriage, which is what I came here for.
It’s like this 99.9% of the time.
You should tell everybody where they can find you if you’d like to be found or anything else you would like people to know.
We’ve already outed my lame name, so if they are Peloton people, they can find me that way. I have a website for all my work. Once you go down that rabbit hole or have a lot of time on their hands because they’re stuck in their house and want something to read, you can look me up at www.Amy-Wallace.com.
You have so much stuff out there. I pulled it up and I was like, “Tom, are you seeing this?
We were like, “This lady’s never going to email us back.”
“Can you believe it?”
The next thing you know, there she is.
I was like, “There’s an upside to quarantine.”
I feel like we need to get ahold of a lot of people who are bored.
Thank you for taking the time out of your self-quarantine to join us. We appreciate it.
This has been great.
It’s been delightful. Thank you.
Also, thank you for putting up with all of our long-winded questions about your bookmaking. That was fascinating.
I don’t know who’s going to want to read that, but maybe there are lots of people. I don’t usually talk about it.
Most people don’t. You explained a lot of things that people have probably never heard before. That in and of itself should be interesting.
I hope that it is and I’m glad to make the time for you guys. I appreciate it all.
Thanks so much.
That brings this one to a close. What pray tell do you have in store for people next week?
We have another great treat like we do every week. We are going to be talking to Gina Harney. You might remember a few weeks ago we talked about an article that was on a blog called Fitnessista. Gina Harney is the writer of this blog. She has this amazing website and we get to hear all about her journey and how much she loves Peloton. It’s going to be really cool.
Until then, where can people find you?
You can find me on Twitter, @RogerQBert or on Facebook at Facebook.com/TomOKeefe. You can find the show online at Facebook.com/TheClipOut. While you’re there, like the page, join the group. When you’re on your Bike or Tread, don’t forget to use #TheClipOut, and your new little hashtag service thing. That’s it for this one. Thanks for tuning in. Until next time, keep pedaling and running.
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