Over the past couple of weeks, I have thought long and hard about writing this blog post. I have been in the tech industry (Internet) for the past 18 years, which honestly feels like an eternity. As you can imagine, there have been tremendous technological advances and huge competitive swings in pretty much every single business vertical. Through all of the .com bubbles, I have met some AMAZING people and have had the opportunity to build several fantastic teams.
Throughout the course of my career, I have worked with one particular individual that really stands above all others – John Foley.
I met John in 2002, during my first interview at Evite.com, and immediately knew there was something special about him. When I came into the picture, Ticketmaster had just acquired Evite and we were really trying to establish our own identity / brand and grow the user base. I know it seems strange but this is an era before Facebook, MySpace and even Friendster. Really hard to imagine, I know… Even though we were < 10 people total in the company, I learned and realized what it meant to be part of an amazing team led by an Inspirational Leader.
Fast forward, to 2010: My wife and I are happily married, our son just went into the military, and I am working at one of my favorite companies of all time – Electronic Arts (EA). However, my wife and I HATED Los Angeles. Let me repeat that again, we absolutely hated Los Angeles, so we started looking around at other opportunities / locations within EA. Just as we were deciding to move to Vancouver where I would take over a different division in EA, I received a call out of the blue from John stating that he just landed a President role at Barnes & Noble and Janice and I needed to move to New York City in the next 30 – 45 days. He wanted my help to rebuild the infrastructure / platform and team at BN.com. After a lot of deliberation with Janice and a scouting trip to NYC — I accepted the position and Janice and I moved to New York in 2010.
I was working for a very inspirational leader, running a team of 220 people in a completely chaotic city, and having the time of my life! I would not have had that experience if John did not pave the way and give me the opportunity.
So what makes John an inspirational leader?!?!? Without a doubt – HIS PASSION FOR PEOPLE. He really goes out of his way to relate to people on every level. It could be the CEO of Microsoft or the worker behind the counter of Togos – he treats EVERYONE the exact same. An incredible trait!
Then later in 2012, I met John in a little cafe in New York City (Grey Dog) and he went through a pretty rough PowerPoint presentation of his latest idea. It centered around spin bikes, technology, and competition. Now, 2 short years later, John has built the company Peloton (http://www.pelotoncycle.com), hired a world class team (fitness, technology, video, retail), and launched a flagship studio in New York City along with 8 retail locations spread throughout the entire country. Truly remarkable and inspirational.
Check out a video advertisement for Peloton Cycles – truly amazing!!
I sincerely want to thank John Foley for everything he has done for my family and for believing in that little JAVA developer back in 2002. For any great leader, there’s always a mentor giving the little extra needed push. I have learned so much from John and can’t even describe all of the opportunities he has given me. John is a true inspiration, fantastic mentor, and a great friend!
While Janice and I are bouncing around the world, I do hope John, Jill and the family will pay us a visit and stay on our boat. Just name the place and time, John, and you will always have an open invite!