Nike+ – A Great Example of What Collaboration Can Accomplish

Today, I completed my longest run in about a year. Actually, it was my longest run since April 3rd, 2010 – when I ran 18.96km in 2 hours, 5 minutes and 29 seconds, at an average pace of 6 minutes and 37 seconds per kilometer.

How the heck do I know that? Well, I record my runs using the Nike+iPod sports kit, the ingenious collaboration between Nike and Apple that has benefited runners worldwide since its launch in 2006.

There are two main reasons why I marvel at Nike+:

1. An innovative product from a unique collaboration

I believe that over the coming years we are going to see more instances of companies – sometimes even competitors – joining forces in unique collaborations.  There are many potential benefits to be gained, including shared knowledge and data, shared resources, and opportunity to develop new and innovative products and services by leveraging and combining strengths.

2. It’s social and community-driven

The Nike+ experience extends well beyond the runs, thanks to a fantastic website and online community that has been cultivated. Not only can Nike+ users record and track runs using the website, they can share their experiences with runners worldwide while also benefiting from some rich content – including a training tips blog.

Recently, Nike+ also added a “Challenges” section, through which individual users can create running challenges and invite community members to participate. Sample challenges include “365 miles in 2011”, in which all participants are challenged to run 365 miles, and “Fastest 5km in 2011”. Each challenge includes a leader board, adding some incentive for participants to compete against one another.

Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow

Swing dancing at an event I was at in NYC.

Swing dancing at an event I was at in NYC.

Starting this weekend my Saturday nights will regain some normalcy, with the return of the Stomp it Off! swing dance at the Legion Auditorium on Commercial Drive, hosted by Jungle Swing Productions. Vancouver has a thriving swing dance community, which in a sense, just might be one of Vancouver’s best kept secrets. Swing dancing represents an absolutely fantastic opportunity to socialize in an open, fun and inclusive atmosphere, while also getting some exercise and letting loose on the dance floor.

For those of you who haven’t danced before, you might be surprised to know that most dancers in the community are in their twenties and thirties. Personally, I have made some great friends through dancing, friends who are very forgiving of me and my two left feet!

So, why should you consider dancing? Well, here are some benefits that come to mind.

Expand Your Social Circle

Swing dancing really is a great way to meet people. You don’t need to have any dance experience whatsoever, or have a partner to dance  with. There is a free drop-in lesson at the start of each dance, and you rotate around, giving you a chance to dance with everyone at the lesson. Coming on your own? No worries!  The atmosphere is very social, you will be asked to dance.

Learn Something New

Are you looking to pick up an new activity or hobby? Just a warning, swing dancing is very addictive!  The dance at the Legion is very beginner-friendly. Contrary to popular belief, you do no need to have experience before swing dancing. It is not a competition, it is an opportunity to have fun.  If you try it, and you like it, there are several great local companies that offer swing dancing lesson series. Consider checking out Rhythm City Productions.

An Inexpensive Night Out

Cover for the Stomp it Off! dance is only $10, or $8 for Jungle Swing members, and it includes a free drop-in lesson. I don’t know if you’ll find better value anywhere in the city.  Interested in going for a drink (or two) as well?  There is a bar downstairs, and a group of us often make the trek down at some point in the evening. There are also plenty of dining options on Commercial Drive, should you wish to grab a bite beforehand.

Listen to Great Music

Stomp it Off! brings in the best DJs in Vancouver, and there playlist is sure to keep you on the dance floor.  What’s more, very few weeks Stomp it Off! hosts a live band.

Keep Fit

Needless to say, swing dancing is also a great way to get some exercise. No, it’s not cross-fit or a Jane Fonda workout routine, but dancing is an excellent complement to a healthy and active lifestyle.

Saturday night’s dance runs from 9:00pm to 1:00pm at the Legion Auditorium at 2205 Commercial Drive, with a free drop-in lesson at 8:00pm. I hope to see you there!