DC Rainmaker

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This is The Girl, writing to you for the DC Rainmaker weekly newsletter. Currently sitting here in rainy Paris, I thought, “What else is there to do on a rainy day?”... well actually I can think of a lot of things I’d like to do, but Ray sorta gave me the “WTF” last night! Haha Can you tell we are past the honeymoon phase?! So, on with the newsletter! If you’re new here, you can catch up with newsletter archives here , and if you’re still looking for reading material after the DCR portion of this newsletter, keep scrolling down to see what’s going on in the Maker household!

Since we last hung out here in the email world, Ray has been a solidly busy guy. He’s been pretty much all over the place in his DCR drivable mancave, otherwise known as an RV. The RV trip was mostly a means of saving time and money at Eurobike, but since the week prior and the few weeks after Eurobike seem to be the busiest of the year, I granted him permission to leave many days ahead of the kick off of Eurobike and a few days after the show so he could get some “alone time” in with the products he has his hands on. Realistically, his time is better spent in the mountains where he can really put to the test all the gadgetry you people want to read about. Such alone time also affords Ray a few “free nights” of daddy-duties, and he literally burns the midnight oil on the laptop.  

What exactly was he working on anyways? Well the list is long, so I don’t want to go crazy here. But there was an epic ride in the Swiss Alps, to which Ray actually interrupted his ride to have a beer with a couple of fellow Washingtonians (guys from Washington State). Said ride also included epic drone pics. On the gadgetry side of things he gave up in-depth reviews on the Power2Max NG Eco, Fitbit’s Ionic Smartwatch, Garmin Edge 1030, Elite Direto Trainer, and Favero’s Assioma Power Meter. There was also a bunch of first looks and hands on different products. Literally there has been smoke coming from the man’s finger tips as he is treading water to keep up with all the sports goodness this month!

If you’re reading this newsletter like “OM freaking G” I don’t have time to read all of these posts, then pop over to the DC Rainmaker YouTube channel and check out the shorter versions. Often there are video versions of all of the reviews (or test clips that belong in the review) that should get the point across regarding a given product. Currently the Wahoo Climb video and Wattbike’s Atom stationary bike video are kicking up a ton of conversation and are good places to start watching videos!

That’s all the gadgetry chat that I can put up with today. Now on with the more interesting part of the newsletter, “In Depth Thoughts from The Girl”. If you have some time left keep scrolling down to the best part of the newsletter
image Initial Thoughts: Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular connectivity
image Favero Assioma Power Meter In-Depth Review
image Quick Tour: The 2017 DCR Eurobike RV
image Elite Direto Trainer In-Depth Review
image An awesome ride in the Swiss Alps

In Depth Thoughts from The Girl

Oh hey there. Thanks for scrolling down for a quick glance into my world! Since the past few weeks, and the foreseeable 3 weeks of my life are going to be crammed packed with the Ray run-around of in depth reviews and first looks, I thought you might enjoy a bit of the behind the scenes of what it takes to crank out one of those posts. I feel like every time Ray clicks “post” on any given review someone inevitably leaves a comment along the lines of “Thanks for the review, buuuuuut I’m STILL WAITING on you to review the… blah blah blah”. Sigh.

Whereas you have to understand every time Ray clicks “post” on any given review, I usually get to take a deep breath, give him a high five, and there is usually a general feeling of relief and completion in our house. This is because, while you can see that there are many many manyyyyy pages of text, pictures, videos, etc. in each post, there are also equally as many moments of “oh F---“, hours of testing, photos and retaking of photos, shooting video, writing, writing emails back and forth to the developers, and did I mention moments of “oh F---“?.

Still with me? So like I said, I thought you might be interested in knowing a rough blueprint to how most posts make it from our mailbox to your computer screen!

Any product that comes through the doors of the DCR office likely starts off with an email. A poke of sorts that there is a new product or new company getting Ray’s attention. If they are new to the Ray world they might not understand the world of NDA’s, embargo dates, and generally the terms under which Ray works. Thus the company or PR person might be a little sheepish to let him actually have and hold the product in his hands. Trust me, this is funny, it’s like the first time I ever hired a babysitter and had to hand my babe over to another person to care for, feed, and put to bed. It took a little coaxing, I left a long list of quirks about my kid, and about 15 different ways to get ahold of me if there were any questions, concerns, abnormality, and god forbid emergencies!

Sometimes new companies are like this with their products; like new moms. Companies that seem like old hands in this game like Garmin, Polar, Wahoo, and Suunto are (generally) fairly efficient with getting the product into Ray’s hands. Most of the people in charge of getting stuff to Ray have at least three different street mailing addresses for us depending on where in the world Ray is going to be, and then alllllll of the different door codes and mailing quirks to Paris. Sometimes he didn’t even know something was coming until it shows up on our door step…. Which brings up the next event in in-depth-reviewing.

When a product shows up on our door step (or doesn’t) how do we actually get it? See back in the glory days when we also ran the bakery 7 days a week, we literally had a person from 7am until 7pm available to sign for a package. Especially those packages we didn’t even know were coming. Whereas now we don’t have the bakery running daily, and Ray is often out of the country (or at least out of the office running, biking, swimming, taking videos or pictures, etc.). So when the delivery guy shows up sees the lights off… said package goes into the French system of hell to try to get it back.

We tried to remedy this by changing the mailing address to our apartment, but that backfired. Often times if the package is too big, like a trainer or Wattbike, the delivery guy literally opens the back of his truck, sees the package, sees we are not on the first floor, and just writes a post-it note saying “Sorry we missed you, please come to the depot for pick up”… The only person I will give 100% credit to is our UPS guy (who has since be rotated onto a different route) who used to know us so well, that if nobody was at the DCR Studio, he would then just try our apartment building!

That was A+ for effort!

The other means of getting products to us, as a way of avoiding the French mailing system (YES, it really is that bad!), some companies literally just pay someone to scooter through Paris, drive across boarders, fly internationally, meet us on vacation somewhere, or use a carrier pigeon. Seriously, there have been some super creative ways companies have “made it work” to get something to Ray on a certain schedule. While this is sometimes entertaining, it can also be crazy stressful on us on the receiving end. We have literally changed vacation travel dates, cancelled appointments, waited for long periods of time on door steps, and even paid university students to sit and wait for the pesky DHL guy to try to fake a delivery attempt. I feel like this has the potential of a really bad Seth Rogan or Vince Vaghn movie? Dude Where’s My Car… turned “Dude Where’s My Package?” 

Wow, this section of the newsletter is getting too long for one installment! I’m going to leave you there on that cliff hanger, reminiscing over terrible comedy films. Next time I’ll cover all of the comedic moments of Ray actually taking photos and videos of products that either do or don’t make the cut for reviews! Inclusive of how many products have been lost, broken, or run over by vehicles in the process.

I’ve said too much! Until next time,

~The Girl

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