Meet the Beta Team!
Did you think this was all just a tease?
If you did, I wouldn’t blame you. This has been a long time coming. But I am glad to surprise you! The Beta Team is locked and loaded.
I hope our Beta Team shares their experience working with Method Seven Ultra Trail, whether they like our optics or not. I hope they are open and public about the development process because I think it’s pretty cool and I would love their help in sharing it. I hope they tell us when we f*ck up. I also hope they let us know when we are doing something right. All we want to do is to do good, and sometimes that takes trial and error. And while this team of Beta Testers are testing our lenses, we at Method Seven are also testing this strategy of enlisting enthusiastic community members to contribute to our quest in the highest quality product development. Has this ever been done before? I have never heard of anything like it! And it might flop. And if it does, I hope YOU and the team of Beta Testers will tell me why it flopped. But I really think this might be the start of something special.
So enough already! Here is a quick introduction, read in the order they responded to the Google Form, to our Beta Team, along with a quote from their application and why they chose to work with Method Seven!
Kelly Newlon, of RAD Boulder, is admittedly a long-time friend. But that was truly beside the point in picking these applications. Kelly is a valued and well-known community member whose public feedback carries weight. What she says ripples through the community, facilitating waves of thoughtful respect and feedback. Her answers to the application questions were throughout, and as an athlete and full-time professional chef who lives at altitude, high-functioning optics are a MUST for her. Her feedback on our Method Seven Ultra Trail eyewear will certainly go far. Welcome, Kelly!
Method Seven Ultra Trail also welcomes Camelia Mayfield, a professional athlete for Brooks with multiple top-ten finishes at the Western States 100. She is a consistent savage and I was honored to see her application come through. But, when reviewing applications, what struck me was not her many running accolades, but her frustration with finding good running sunglasses. One’s that perform in all conditions. That protects you under the beating sun and helps you see roots and rocks when bombing downhill. We don’t think they exist on the market yet. And like me, she needs them and so I know she will be an asset in helping us develop them. Welcome, Camelia!
Adler Edward, another Boulderite that I know and love (I promise this wasn’t on purpose!) also responded with enthusiasm and the very same frustrations I find with running eyewear. Why can’t we wear them bombing down technical downhill?! I loved this quote from Adler regarding his needs in eyewear. It spoke to me.
“Method Seven Ultra Trail’s mission to help people push their limits, whatever that might be is amazing. For me, the best part of mountain running is bombing technical downhill but I’m always taking sunglasses off for downhill descents. Shadows, in and out of trees, low light followed by direct sunshine with sunglasses was a no-go! Method Seven helping alleviate that problem and gave me a one stop pair of shades for all conditions — perfect. “
Kind of hilarious that these applications are reading the people I know first? Again, not on purpose! But knowing me is not a reason to disqualify a very worthy applicant for this opportunity. On that note, welcome Wookie Kim. His Youtube channel and website are awesome, thoughtful, and inspiring. I highly recommend checking on this blog on why Wookie runs. It’s relatable and funny and speaks truth to any runner’s relationship to pain and pleasure! But his feedback has already been invaluable. If you can’t already see why we chose Wookie, read this quote from his application and you might just get it.
“First, I'm intrigued by its ambitious vision: to perfect vision while running. I know how important eyewear is to running success, but nothing that currently exists meets all the varied demands of the sport of trail/ultra running. Second, I'm a fan of the process Method Seven is using to achieve its vision: genuine human- and performance-centered design that focuses (pun intended) on putting the technology in people's hands (or, rather, on their faces) for rigorous testing and feedback. Third, and relatedly, I'm excited by Method Seven Ultra Trail's emphasis on community-building.”
Emily Bilodeau AKA Chickpea was one of our winners of the Method Seven Trail Series hosted on Ultra Sign up. She has already been testing for us and has given valuable feedback, without us even asking it of her. Her website is titled Salt and Persistence and her motto reads “Every woman can be an endurance athlete. Some just need a little salt and persistence.” I got chills when I first read that! Woah. Excited to have you aboard, Chickpea! And thank you for your continued support as we grow and learn.
Jason Friedman is an ultra-runner, a coach and an environmentalist who is committed to building the trail and ultrarunning community, and pursuing outdoor adventures in a responsible and sustainable way. Yeah, we like that! I was on his podcast after this year's CCC and it was a blast! I also happen to know that he is a total gear nerd and will be a great addition to developing our optics! Woohoo! Welcome, Jay!
Leigh Gardner, another one of the early adopters of Method Seven Ultra Trail is a natural fit. Her energy and enthusiasm for the brands she represents is truly unmatched. She has a passion for trail running and shares that passion on social media with well-crafted and creative reels and photostories. Plus, being in the Pacific Northwest, she will be a tough cookie to crack in terms of developing eyewear that fits her needs! Leigh, you are infectious! Welcome.
Kenneth Pinckney, welcome! I am so excited to have you aboard. His passion for trail running and the community within are inspiring. He sees that their is a NEED for performance optics in trail running and he wants to be a part of it! Also, very appealing that he hosts a popular podcast featuring guests with Olympic finishes and people who are the best in their field or sport! Can’t wait to get to know you better, Kenneth!
Meredith Beaton, a race director and ultra-badass bassed out of the North East but spends a few months out of every year in Ecuador. Two very different climates primed for optics testing! If they can work in the winter months under the grey east coast skies AND in the think, hot jungle of Ecuador, then we are doing something right! What caught my attention with Mere was her thoughtful responses and her community presence as an RD. But after looking at her stylistic Instagram photos, I knew we would be able to work together for content and creative. Excited to develop some incredible shades with you, Mere!
We are lucky to introduce Erin Clark, a professional runner for HOKA and all around baddass. Even as a pro runner, she has never been involved in product development, and that is some bullshit. I love this application response from her.
“For me, I was inspired by Method Seven's commitment to working with athletes to make a high quality product that works the way athletes want it to. This stood out to me because I don't feel that I've ever gotten to have a voice in the development of a product. I'm excited to be able to work on a collaborative team and help create something that really meets athlete needs.”
Ruari, WELCOME! Yes. Ruari is a popular podcast host (tune in to see me SMOKE him in beer pong just fifteen minutes after puking across the finish line) and very talented trail runner. He is also one of the most creative people in trail running with a very strong community presence. How could we say no? Especially after he closed with this in his application.
“Plus, trail runners need and deserve the best possible eyewear on the trails where there’s little room for error. In the words of Big Sean. “If you don’t share my vision, then we can’t exchange contacts.”
Eric Senseman has a killer mustache and is a professional trail runner who knows the ins and outs of our data collection partner, PWR Lab. His long time goal of top ten at the Western States 100 has invaded him, but I am starting to think it was the eyewear? If he gets top ten at Western in the future, we’re not saying it’s us. But also, maybe?
And lastly, welcome Sandi Nypaver! A professional athlete, well-respected coach, spokesperson and a natural fit for Method Seven Ultra Trail. She has been sponsored by some of the leading sunglasses brands, so when she gives feedback, she knows what she is talking about. We are so lucky to have her!
You still there? Kudos to you! That is our Beta Team. Badass and equipt and just the best.