Negative Split turned 6 months last week and we thought it was time to introduce the man behind the square brackets and the green line.
Jared interviews Javier Garcia; an international consultant specialising in strategy and supply chain that has worked for a variety of large corporations and public institutions in the past nine years, a sports freak -an amateur Triathlete and a retired footballer, and above all, a /very Spanish/ family guy.
He, together with a very talented team, is working hard to turn ambition into reality in the world of bicycle carbon wheels, starting right here in Auckland, New Zealand.
Throughout this interview, Jared uncovers the inspiration behind the wheels and an unfiltered version of Javier.
Jared: What was your inspiration for starting NS Carbon?
Seeing Victor Del Corral taking the win at Ironman Nice 2016 was my 'I have to start doing this' moment. As a triathlon beginner I soon learned about carbon when I was looking for my first road bike, and not long after getting that I was looking for carbon wheels. It was the photos of the pro's riding their bikes on Instagram that caught my eye - I remember thinking 'those are some nice looking wheels'.
I was slightly (or massively) shocked when I first saw how much those wheels would cost - some wheelsets were, and still are, close to the price of a carbon frameset, and sometimes be close to the cost of a full bike! That didn't make any sense to me.
As a customer I felt the price of carbon wheels was substantially inflated, and there wasn't much clarity about what carbon wheels were really for - why would someone benefit from getting flash carbon wheels over the ones that came with their bike? And how do the wheels command that price?
I'd say that that was the trigger (or inspiration) behind Negative Split. The value for money for most wheelsets out there just doesn't add up!
In today's world, business owners should have the courage to be transparent and ensure that customers understand what they're buying, and what the main drivers for a specific pricepoint are. The days of
The value for money for most wheelsets out there just doesn't add up!
Jared: Why did you start it?
To name a few reasons; being a disappointed customer, seeing an opportunity to do things differently, having a passion for sports, wanting to get my own thing going.
And ultimately, I saw an opportunity to innovate, make a few changes, bring pricing closer to the masses, and offer alternative ways to learn, test and experience carbon wheels. 'Democratising' carbon wheels is perhaps the world I'm looking for here.
Jared: What is success to you?
Success to me is my family's success. It's them being their very best versions, and making the world a much better place by doing so. My mission is to make that happen - I don't know if I'm successful, but my family would sure tell me!
And ultimately, I saw an opportunity to innovate, make a change, and create a platform to help athletes pursue their careers.
Jared: Is a business like yours something that you have to continually work on, or does it come easy (and why for either)?
Definitely not easy.
Turning Negative Split into a sustainable enterprise will require full time dedication and heaps of sacrifice. I feel the media often portrays being an entrepreneur with something cool to do and always puts the spotlight on the ones that have massively succeeded -reality can't be further from that. There are countless sleepless nights that would go into the tiniest win. It's perseverance, patience and constantly believing you can do this what will keep getting closer to succeed.
We operate in a market where the power of marketing is fundamental, and you need to invest in your reputation and credibility. The competition is intense, and innovation is key. it's like being an athlete, you need to reach the top of your game and stay there if you want to have a chance. It's a very thin line - so it definitely doesn't come easy!
We've introduced an extremely fast product relative to the competition, at a fraction of the cost of most carbon wheelsets. We're connecting with customers like no one else. By offering the option of hiring wheels and testing their aerodynamics before buying, we're putting transparency first - we're all about the best service we can offer our customers.
We're also connecting customers with our elite athletes, so that they can get advice and feedback directly from the people who can push our products the most.
Everything we do at Negative Split is a result of wanting to put the customer at the center. There's much more coming and we're super excited!
We've introduced an extremely fast product relative to the competition, at a fraction of the cost of most carbon wheelsets.
Jared: You're a pretty successful sportsman as well, how do you find time to combine family life, work, and training?
Well thanks, that means something from someone that runs sub 1:20 half marathons!
It's quite tough. It requires a robust plan and lots of sacrifice - we've all got 24 hours in a day, and really it all comes down to sacrificing sleep and/or family & friends' time. You have to find the sweet spot, the balance that works for you and those around you.
It's also fundamental that every second of training is worth it - wasting time comes at a high price! You need a good plan, from setting your targets and aligning your training towards hitting your goals, to consistently executing the plan. Creating a solid training plan at a very granular level can be quite challenging, find someone in the sport who can help you!
Also, be careful and don't overtrain -it will only lead to injury!
Jared: Do you prefer to train with people or by yourself - and why?
I prefer training with others, but end up doing a lot of training by myself. Ultimately, we're inspired by people, and inspiration is the best training fuel you can find. If possible, surround yourself with your heroes! They will propel your forward.
However, I think triathlon has a lonely side as well. Not everyone wants to join you when you're running 10km's at 5am! And that's ok, you get used to (and enjoy) it.
Jared: What's the best work-life tip you've got for someone looking to get into sport who also struggles with not having enough time?
Make it a priority. Treat it as such. Allocate time to that priority. Learn to say 'I can't do X, I'm training at that time'. Don't feel sorry for it, commit and own your decisions.
Ultimately, we're inspired by people, and inspiration is the best training fuel you can find. If possible, surround yourself with your heroes! They will propel your forward.
Jared: What's the best tip you've got for someone looking to start triathlon (or any sport)?
Enjoy the journey! Triathlon is an endurance sport, you can't do an Ironman with a few weeks of training. You need to build a strong base and grow it incrementally, letting your body adjust as you evolve.
Jared: What's the next big event for you?
Not sure about the exact event yet, but I'll be trying to get an NZ Age Group qualifying slot next season for Sprint distance tri's - and maybe the Standard distance too! It's going to be fun.
Jared: Do you have any tips for dealing with injuries/stress/lack of sleep?
Injuries - don't rush. Built it up gradually and stretch.
Stress - break down your problems into smaller problems and tackle those down, one by one. Don't be afraid to ask for help, leverage the ones around you. Sometimes things can be easier when seen from a different perspective.
Lack of sleep - improve the quality of your sleep, for example no phone time before bed. And take weekend naps!
Jared: As always, thank you for your time Javier. You've definitely changed the NZ triathlon landscape, and I'm excited to be a part of that journey for the future!
If you are interested in learning about triathlon from a triathlete, visit jaredhartshorn.com for more.