Dharmesh Shah has OnStartups….

I’ve Got CarFreeBrad & I love it!

As a fan of Hubspot from a product/customer perspective, I’ve thought about Dharmesh’s founding story quite a few times, about how Hubspot got started partially out of his experience with his blog Onstartups while a student in Boston.  Recently, I got to hear him tell the story at Hubspots most recent conference(just before they went public) and realized why he’s been so successful and Hubspot is considered such a powerhouse.

The realization is nothing groundbreaking and not all that insightful.  A key driver for Hubspots steady success, growth and general positive vibe in all phases of the game comes from the authenticity of a few people who LOVE IT to their core!

You might ask, Who genuinely loves inbound marketing? I know I did.

Don’t get me wrong, I love what inbound marketing does for my business and the thousands, millions soon, of other businesses out there.  But I don’t feel strongly about all the various aspects of it and the struggles of how it was done before Hubspot and why the world should never go back to doing it that way ever again.

Early on when I heard Dharmesh tell his founding story, I was in a negative place in my entrepreneurial journey.  I had witnessed hundreds of startup pitches/stories and hadn’t really found my voice yet.  I had heard one too many times “you need to sell the story” and it had all started to feel forced and fake UNTIL I listened to Dharmesh tell his story.  My negative mindset(mind you this was years ago) didn’t allow me to embrace why, only allowed me to believe he was just better at selling the story than anyone I had heard.

It was over 3 years ago that Freight Farms was revealed publically for the first time via our Kickstarter campaign and as I look around the office with a dozen people working late into the evening on a random Wednesday, I understand what CarFreeBrad has meant to Freight Farms!

Carfreebrad.com has been a documented journey that keeps me accountable to the genuine reason Jon and I committed to spending so many hours doing something that no one fully understood in a parking lot so many years ago that has come to personify our passion in so many ways in Freight Farms.  It’s not as direct as Dharmesh’s progression and much harder to explain but it continues to give a glimpse into what was important to me 4+ years ago.  I was questioning the status quo, focused on sustainability and obsessed with the role that infrastructure plays in our most entrenched industries(energy,transport & food).

I started by testing all my own assumptions and ditched the car for a bike then one thing led to another…..Freight Farms.  Now this blog serves as a constant reminder of why I got into this crazy thing, why I love it and why I can’t ever stop!

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LAZY REPOST ALERT- SOMETHINGS HAVEN’T CHANGED(MUCH)

I made this video on October 19, 2011 while living in Worcester, MA.

It’s kinda’ sad how much of my rain routine hasn’t changed.  The one positive sign of learning, is my foot solution. I’ve iterated to something that “kinda” works unless it’s really coming down or I go thru a big puddle or ride for more that 20 minutes in a medium to light rain.

Not much, but progress!

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How much has changed in 3 years?

It’s refreshing to look back to a few years ago when I was surrounded by so many talented and passionate people who had come together, each with our own interpretation of making a positive impact on the world.

I don’t know if this video was ever made available or widespread but it’s a great short piece done by a few talented woman who are both now doing really cool work in Alaska & Haiti(the last I checked) to impact and change the world!

Thanks ALEX!

Posted in Bike commute, brad on a bike, Car Free, carfreebrad, carfreebrad.com, freight farms, Urban Bike | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

What Hell Is That……a dinosaur?

Sometimes in my carfree life journey, I wish my brain could just dump it all on the page because every time I try to write my fingers can’t keep up and it comes out as complete jibberish.  I’ve been having one of those weeks!

Although, I’m really excited some recent handlebar mods and eager to discuss seasonal transitions(ok, not eager but it’s the nicest way to say it), gear and struggles I’ve been unable to get it down on paper.  Inevitably, when I’m overly distracted, I begin to rationalize not writing b/c there’s not much of a point and what value does CarFreeBrad.com really provide.

Believe me when i say I was firmly in that space when this lil’ dinosaur looking MOFOTimehop.com popped up on my phone and reminded me of what’s important by taking me through a journey of creation, joy and love over the last 5 plus years in my life.  While some would argue I’ve done a lot over the last 5 years(thanks mom!), I’ve realized that we’re only at the beginning and I’m lucky to have discovered three great loves in that time.

  1. My soon to be wife(WOAH! So weird to say)
  2. Freight Farms(It is weird that I’m more comfortable saying that?)
  3. CarFreeBrad.com(who needs page views when you’ve got two wheels)

[Some one in the background yells “wrap it up Brad”]

So what does Timehop(an app I now think you should get) have to do with any of this? Well, Ferris Bueller taught us that “life moves pretty fast…….” I forget the rest but that’s the point.

It’s too easy to forget what has happened and recognize all that HAS happened!  Timehop is that lil reminder to pick my head up and acknowledge that there is a past and it’s not 100% about forward progress every second of every day! If I had to make it an equation, it’s drive and learning over fun and love.

Boom!

Posted in Bike commute, Car Free, freight farms, Urban Bike | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I have my license and ride my bike by choice!

There, I said it!  There’s been a rash of discussion/comments in my sphere of consciousness insinuating that only people with multiple DUI’s ride bikes to get arouherman-on-the-kids-bikend.

Maybe it’s a chip on my shoulder from my days of biking in Worcester.  I have to be honest, almost every time I stopped at the liquor store on my way across town back then, the bike rack was always pressed for space.  It’s a tragic fact of life that a grown man riding a pink childs bike will always stick out and make it seem that there are more DUI riders on the streets than really exist.

Fortunately, these days biking has pressed on and (dare I say it) gone mainstream. The fact that it’s so common now has me conflicted about how to address this issue.  I’m going to have to ruminate on this one for a bit as it seems to be parlaying into another concept that has been rattling around my head as I struggle categorize the most dangerous vehicles on the road.

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World CarFree Day- Repost

A Word From CarFree Brad

September 22 is World Car Free Day, and in celebration we’ve enlisted Freight Farms co-founder, Brad McNamara, to give us some insight into his decision to become car free, and his experiences over the past few years!

I’ve been living “Carfree” since February 2011. I still remember the first day when my mom met me at the Subaru dealership on Rt.9 in Framingham after I turned in my vehicle and I needed a ride to campus at Clark University in Worcester, MA. She dropped me off outside the library and I immediately realized what I just done to my life!

The most common and pressing question I get is “Why did you do this?” and the beauty of keeping a blog during this journey is to have a window into my mind during each step of the way. This is a blessing and a curse because I can’t BS and rewrite history to make myself feel better, look better and/or seem cool.

 


WHY DID I DO THIS?

I’d like to let April 2011 Brad answer that question from a post on carfreebrad.com.

“Truth is, I don’t know and that is kind of the point of this whole experiment.  I didn’t start this with a point to prove or goal to meet.  I can’t say exactly what I hope to gain from all this or where it might take me.  I don’t know if it will open doors for me or slam them in my face.

I’ve been getting the question, “So you don’t use cars at all?” more often than I had expected.  The answer is, I have nothing against cars. They serve a very distinct and good purpose in my life and I embrace that.  My mission is very simple, to live my life without a car and using other forms as my first mode of transport to see how my life is changed and document my struggles good, bad or indifferent.  My entire life has been so car-centric, I want to see if I can shift to a new modus operandi.  I can’t say I’ll never own a car again but at this point, I can say that my life is possible without it!

The way I see it, if an MBA student with every intention of making obscene amounts of money someday, likes khakis and a sweater vest (argyle is best) and constantly makes fun of patchouli (even though I don’t really what it is) can take a step to being part of the solution, anything is possible.


NO SERIOUSLY, WHY?

“I love driving! Always have, always will.  I’ve grown up as many people have, with a car.  A car is just part of me, it never seemed to be a choice to me.

So why would someone dependent on having a car realize it is a choice and then choose to go without. I made this choice for many reasons, and to be honest, none of them are noble, brave, or even for a greater good.  In fact, most of them are just plain selfish.

I try not to be, but find that I plan and run my life according to logic and reason (most of the time) and this major life change is no different.

Reasons

  1. Lease is up

  2. Clark & multiple degrees are EXPENSIVE.

  3. Insurance is expensive.

  4. Gas is expensive

  5. I own a bike (2 actually) and consider myself to be able bodied.

  6. I live on campus and/or within 3 miles.

  7. Electric cars are the new black.

  8. To prove that I can live without it.

  9. Put my money where my mouth is.

  10. I got it in my head that someone like me couldn’t, shouldn’t, wouldn’t give up his car.”

Those that know me well may not be surprised to find out I made this choice because it is a sound financial decision.  But most importantly, it flies in the face of who I am. I never like to be self-righteous and rarely like to be serious so I try to let me actions speak for me.

FOUR YEARS LATER- No Regrets!

The last four years haven’t been all roses and rainbows.  Off the top of my head, I’ve been hit by two cars, put my hand through the side of one taillight, broken 3 bikes, had at least a dozen lights stolen from my bike and fallen around 5 times on my own accord.

In the face of these facts, I’ve never regretted the decision.  I’ve had more than a few days (most mentioned above) in which I cursed bikes, biking and my stupidity for choosing to do this to myself. The longer I’ve been living my life “CarFree”, the more I confident I am in my decision all those years ago.  I could write some prolonged description of the all the things that this life choice has done for me but that’s not really my style and I’d much prefer to point out what I think it has done for others.

  1. Safety- I’ve had more than one car driving friend tell me that they used to “hate bikers” and wish they could just hit them…until they learned that I could be that biker! Now they just go about their business and secretly hate the biker but give them some space and try to coexist.

  1. Awareness- Biking IS an option. It often comes up in conversations with friends, family and colleagues and I always enjoy preaching the benefits of only having two wheels…and I feel a sense of joy when someone I know trades in their car keys for a bike lock.

  1. Community- I’ve only known one person so far that didn’t have fond memories of riding their bike as a kid. Everyone else I’ve ever met immediately relates to that original sense of freedom that your first bike gives you. The biking community has grown significantly over the past few years, and even though we may choose this mode of transportation for different reasons there is an overarching sense of comradery that in incredibly refreshing. Also by traveling via bike, I get to familiarize myself with parts of the city I didn’t know existed. I’ve ridden through streets and parts of town I would have never considered before. In many ways, I feel connected to these areas in the same way many of us feel forever connected to the neighborhoods we grew up exploring as children.


WHY YOU SHOULD TRY IT

It’s easier than ever in many communities to get started without much effort.  In the Boston area, the growth of bike sharing programs like Hubway makes is really easy for anyone to try biking without any pressure.  Pick a nice day when the weather behaves and start small.  There are stations all over the city so you can ride for 1 block or 1 hour.

Give it a try, embrace that freeing feeling of being on two wheels and before you know it you’ll be getting an annual pass or finding yourself looking at bikes online during lunch!

For more information about how to get involved with the Massachusetts Clean Air Challenge, visit their website!

Posted in Bike commute, brad on a bike, Car Free, carfreebrad, carfreebrad.com, freight farms, Urban Bike | Leave a comment

Long Time Coming…keep waiting!

In my last post(months ago), I hinted that my Carfree life and work was about to go to the next level.  That was a very true statement that I’ll be elaborating on soon(I sorta’ promise) but for now you’ll just have to trust me.

It’s not that I’ve lost my inspiration to write posts on a regular basis but 100% of my focus has been on Freight Farms.  It’s what I’ve internally refer to as a “life sprint” where I focus like crazy, get a TON accomplished but recognize that it’s not sustainable for the long haul.

With that, I’m ready to bring a lil balance back to my life.  If you’re expecting grad school level attention to blog posts, DON’T!  But get ready for a more regular dose of the unique perspective, humor and atrocious spelling/grammer that is the CarFreeBrad blog!Tour Team Car

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Might be on a new level….

The CarFreeBrad journey may have just reached a whole different level of awesome with the convergence of life, biking and Freight Farms.

I’ll be happy to conclude this post when details reveal themselves. Stay tuned…….

Posted in Bike commute, brad on a bike, Car Free, carfreebrad, carfreebrad.com, freight farms, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What’s an acceptable “ThankYou”?

As soon as the weather turned this year I began to look for better places to store my bike while at home.

We have less than 500 square feet of usable space in the apt and while she is endlessly understanding, the GF couldn’t love a bike(especially one covered in water/ice/snow/mud) taking up valuable space.

Our building has a garage as the first floor and although we don’t have a spot in it, we can access it to take out trash etc.

With this, I found a little slice of space along a wall and began to park my bike there. I knew it wasn’t “my space ” but it was open and appeared to have been for some time.

Contrary to what I would have expected, the rightful owner if that space.
A) Noticed
B) Left me a very nice note around the holidays. Letting me know the space is deeded to him but he doesn’t use it and I’m welcome to continue using it.

It might seem small but I really do appreciate his generosity and understanding. I’d like to find a nice way to say thank you that fits my budget and isn’t creepy(keep in kind we’ve never met and have only interacted via his note taped to my seat).

20140103-164457.jpg

THANKS RICK!

Posted in Bike commute, brad on a bike, Car Free, carfreebrad, carfreebrad.com, Urban Bike | Tagged | 2 Comments

2013 in review- Not Bad for 6 mths!

 

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,400 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in Bike commute, brad on a bike, Car Free, carfreebrad, carfreebrad.com, freight farms, masschallenge, techstars, Urban Bike | Leave a comment
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