Go Fast and Go Further

The Tour de France is an 114-year-old bike race which showcases an epic proportion of human feat.

For over 21 days, riders ride a total of 3,500 Km on some of France’s harshest road. Every day, they travel an average of 150Km. Riders in the race climb mountains close enough to touch the clouds, then descend on them like madmen and sprint to the finish line with enough power to run your household heaters.

It is a race of human will, strength, and strategy.

I’ll let that sink in for a bit.

“But how does it work?”, My 18-year-old nephew asks as he gives me a confused look. He’s been staying with us for a few months now, studying English here in Sydney, and was interested in finding out what the fuss is about over the bike race that our family is intensely watching on tv every night (Down Under, remember).

How can people (riders) of the Tour de France last over 21 days, endure severe mental and physical pain, survive, and even triumph over it?

And how come you’ve never heard of any one athlete try the same feat on his own?

The secret?

I find myself searching for words to best describe to my nephew how the Tour de France works and its sheer epicness.

And I found these words are the most fitting to describe it.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go further, go together” — African proverb

It’s harder being alone. On your own, you get exposed to external influences that nature can throw at you. You get no rest, no protection, and you don’t travel as fast.

In a group, however, you are stronger, faster, and achieve more.

Take the Tour de France teams and its riders. At any given stage, a small number of riders will decide that they want to break away from the peloton (main group) and try to ride it out on their own in the hope that they can cross the end of the stage, first.

We’re breaking away, dudes! See you later!

A break-away will typically consist of riders from different teams. What’s interesting is as the break-away progresses, the riders will find themselves needing to work with each other even if they all belong to different teams.

They need to cooperate with each other because there is a long road ahead of them (150 kilometres or more in fact!). Together, they can protect each other from the wind resistance, go faster by setting each other’s riding pace and motivate each other to stay strong till the finish line.

It is an interesting concept. Working with others around you and even with your direct competitors to achieve a goal.

It makes me reflect on my nephew’s journey so far in learning the English language. Two months ago, my nephew arrived in Sydney from Japan. His grasp of English was not good at all, and he had very little confidence in speaking it.

Two months on and it’s as if he’s an entirely different person. Confidently speaking English but most of all no longer afraid to try and fail.

In the past, his attempts at mastering the English language has been to go at it alone. Read about the mechanics of it, talk to himself, and do speaking drills.

This time around, he had a team with him — consisting of me, our family members here in Australia, his English teachers, and classmates. We have surrounded him with support, friendship, and hands-on learning.

And man, what a difference a group makes in someone’s progress.

Building a team and working with a team is a vital lesson that applies in sports, life, and in business.

As founders of PilipinasHoops, my co-founder (and husband) Jack and I strive for growth every breathable time we have. We are learning that the challenge of growing a startup requires working with others and building a team that we can work with to face the harsh wind resistance ahead of us.

We are in a unique stage of our startup. There is no HR book or guideline written specifically for our situation. In my later entries, I will write how we went about selecting people to join our team. Did I mention that I have them join us, virtually working for free? (Ok, ok more on that for the next entry)

So here’s what we got, we invited two individuals (so far) who are genuinely passionate about our work and basketball. They share the same values of respect and wanting just good clean fun out of the game we love. They are hungry, young and creative who don’t mind getting their hands dirty. Most of all they know how to hustle, and they have initiative — all values that we live by.

One of our new team members sole focus is influencing and marketing PilipinasHoops to basketball fans and our target market. The other member is concentrating on interacting with our current fans and sharing his passion for basketball, news, and updates in the league. Growth to us means looking for new territories while strengthening our existing base.

Our team is ready, growing and ready to ride. Together we are slowly growing which is just about the most painful and a fun rollercoaster ride experience of our startup journey.

Today PilipinasHoops has 12k fans with 500 active players in our live contests. We are in it for the long haul (our very own Tour de France so to speak). So, for now, we are building our troops. We will keep sharpening our teamwork and beaver along.

Some fun facts:

  • Jack first wrote the code for PilipinasHoops on 26th of December 2015. Right after Christmas day!
  • When PilipinasHoops reached 20 players in its second month, we were so happy! Happy that people can see the value in our work. Small wins deserves a happy dance — always!
  • It is mine and Jack’s dream to one day follow around the Tour while driving around France.
  • There are no Filipinos in the Tour de France, so we go for all the Aussie riders and teams. We are both Filipino and Aussie at heart.
  • There’s have been only one Australian who has won the most coveted yellow jersey of the Tour — Cadel Evans with Team BMC in 2011. We did not miss any coverage of the Tour that year. We also did not sleep!
  • My nephew is of Filipino and Japanese descent (just in case you were wondering ;) )
  • There is only one awesome, most trusted, and addictive fantasy sports gaming platform for the PBA — that’s PilipinasHoops.com . Boom!

Hey! Thanks for reading! I’m Juliet Lara, I write about life, learning, tech, startups, and communication.

If you enjoyed reading this entry then please share the love by clicking that cute green heart button. They give me a boost to keep going :)

You can also holler at me about basketball, Tour de France, startup life and happy dance via twitter @julietlspeaks