Professional amateurs

30 years ago, only 25,000 Americans finished a Marathon. In 2009, 467,000 finished it. 10 years ago, climbing the Mont Ventoux by bike was for the innovators. Now everybody asks “How many times did you clime it in one day?” 30,000 amateurs at the 20 Miles of Brussels, 20,000 amateurs at Tour of Flanders, 50,000 amateurs at the Dubai Marathon, 68,000 amateurs at the JP Morgan Race in Frankfurt, …

Open door: Individual amateurs are looking for mass events to do sports and have fun! In the back of their mind, they all want to be heroes, like Emil Zatopek.

Fabulous!!! Individuals have discovered that doing sports is good for them. That comparing their results with others is motivating them. Companies have discovered that they can use sport to coach people in their daily job. That healthy people perform better. That good causes can be linked to those events.

I wouldn’t call that a trend though. These events have crossed the chasm, convinced the early majority, and the late majority is now discovering it.

So, what’s next? In my opinion the most important trend in this area for the next years is: Collaborative Competition.

All the events mentioned above, focus on the individual. They focus on nurturing the ego.

When you look at the real world, it’s changing from an individualistic world, to a collaborative, community-driven world. A world were hyperconsumption is not done. Where ethics are high on the agenda. Where authenticity is back. A global world where people care about nature, not just their own short-term profit. A world where people start sharing again. Where new cooperative structures will see the light of day. Where family values make a difference. You get the picture right?

You don’t feel comfortable with that thought? Don’t worry and don’t be scared because it’s a good thing. It just hasn’t crossed the chasm yet and you are probably in the group of pragmatists or conservatives. Nothing wrong with that. It will take a few more years before it will hit you, but it’s inevitable.

Don’t believe me? Just look at what’s going on everywhere in the world at extremely rapid speed and think again…

How do you know if something crossed the chasm? I tend to use the general writing press or TV as a barometer. When they start to talk about it (first in a patronising tone and later more seriously), it means the late majority has discovered it.

So, in a few years from now, it will all be about doing sports with teams in a collaborative competition. Call me an early adopter surrounded by innovators. Until then, we are happy to welcome over 8,000 corporate people in teams on Hercules Trophies all over the world. You guys rock, you’ll change the world into a better place, because you are without any doubt innovators and early adopters! Kudos!!! CU soon!

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