The Amazing Race > The Racers

TAR 2:Blake and Paige Mycoskie

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Doesn't seem to be a current Racers thread for them, and I needed one to pass along this interview with Blake published today in The Wall Street Journal.

And since the WSJ often sits behind a pay wall, here's the interview itself:

--- Quote ---Sole Man Blake Mycoskie
The TOMS Shoes founder on business, Buddhism and breakfast burritos

Although he's the founder of TOMS Shoes, the company that donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair sold, his name isn't Tom. Social entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie named his for-profit company after his original charitable inspiration, "Shoes for a Better Tomorrow," which eventually became "Tomorrow's Shoes," and then "TOMS." The Californian eschews traditional titles, referring to himself as "chief shoe giver"—a deserving moniker for someone who's donated over one million pairs in less than five years. More Indiana Jones than corporate CEO, he travels the globe on TOMS's "shoe drops," in which he and a team distribute footwear to kids in underprivileged areas in South Africa, Haiti, Rwanda, Cambodia and elsewhere. Back at home, he lives on a boat docked in Marina del Rey.

Mr. Mycoskie's twist on capitalism has drawn recognition from business and philanthropic luminaries including Bill Clinton and Bill Gates. Like Mr. Gates, he left college to develop his own business—a campus laundry service. Three more businesses followed before he took a trip to Argentina in 2006 and discovered the area's traditional Alpargata cloth slide-on. This shoe would became the prototype for the now-famous TOMS shoe, which has been featured in Vogue, Elle and W, and is sold everywhere from Neiman Marcus to Whole Foods.

Recently, TOMS expanded its one-for-one platform to include sunglasses. For each pair of shades purchased, TOMS will help restore the sight of a child through prescription glasses, medical care or surgery. Mr. Mycoskie is also taking his prescription for success to print with his new book, "Start Something That Matters" (Random House). We caught up with the 35-year-old by phone as he dashed between meetings in New York.

I credit my grandmother for my sense of style. She was known for wearing bright, outrageous things because it made people happy and she thought it made her more approachable. When you wear a brightly colored shirt or pants, it shows you don't take yourself too seriously and it puts everyone around you at ease.

I always have my journal with me. It was handmade by a guy at the San Telmo market in Buenos Aires. If you go there he can make you one. It's leather and bronze and I'm able to replace the paper when it runs out. It has a lion on the cover that I say is there to protect my thoughts.

Of all my travels, the one place I want to go back to is New Zealand. I was there when I competed on the "The Amazing Race" and it was the most breathtaking place I've ever seen. My girlfriend and I are planning on sailing from California to New Zealand next year.

The best headphones are Beats by Dr. Dre. Music is such an important part of my life. I take them everywhere.

My favorite song, at least in the last five years, is "Truth," by Balmorhea. I made a copy of it and sent it to everyone on my Christmas list last year.

I always travel with Bumble and Bumble dry shampoo. I often go places with no running water and when my hair gets greasy and I can't shower. It's my go-to.

My favorite hotel in the world is Estancia Vik in Uruguay. It's a colonial-style ranch that has polo, fly fishing, sailing and more. I love that local artists decorated the rooms and grounds.

I'm obsessed with Alpha Khaki pants from Dockers. They have a nice thickness and are the best-fitting pant I've ever had.

I have a collection of plaid pants and I love the ones made by Trovata. I wore them when I had the opportunity to visit the White House under both Presidents Bush and Obama.

I don't often wear suits, but when I do they are from Band of Outsiders. They also make my favorite shirts. I find their clothes have a terrific fit.

I make a great breakfast burrito using eggs, hash browns, avocado, cheese and veggie sausage.

My favorite restaurant is Gjelina in L.A. I love the truffle mushroom pizza.

For about seven years I've worn a simple black Swatch watch. It's dependable, waterproof and I think it is a nice understatement.

I moved onto my boat 4½ years ago because I wanted to live on the water in Los Angeles and, as a primary residence, a boat is relatively inexpensive. Plus, it allowed me to press the reset button and get rid of things I didn't need or want. She is a Jeanneau 53, named Satori, which is a Japanese Buddhist term for enlightenment.

The one thing I use the most, especially living on a boat, is my brightly colored Paul Smith striped robe. When I wake up in the morning, I go have coffee on the dock and do a lot of my morning calls in it.

My favorite sheets are by Sheex. They have amazing technology that helps with moisture and temperature control.

I try and sweat everyday even though I can't always get to the gym. I do a lot of running, which is a great way to see a city, and I try to bike to work. For strength training, especially if I'm in a hotel, I use TRX resistance training, which you can just lock onto any door. I wear Asics long distance running shoes.

I love my 1964 bright-red Ford F-100. Everything moves so fast with technology in my life now, so it's nice to wake up and get in a great old car.

Two of my favorite books are "Let My People Go Surfing," by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, and "Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us," by Seth Godin. I have every employee at TOMS read both books because they reflect the culture of our business. I believe that if you think of your community and customers as a tribe or movement, it creates a magic that's so important for the business.

The best road trip I've ever taken was the drive down Chile from Santiago to Patagonia. While passing the most pristine countryside and glaciers, I came across an old rusted sign on the road that read "reducir velocidad" ("slow down"). I pulled over and took a picture because I thought it really meant something prophetic. I made 700 copies of that picture and sent it to my friends and influential people that support TOMS. People still tell me that picture sits on their desks and reminds them to slow down and enjoy life.
—Edited from an interview by Kelsey Hubbard
--- End quote ---

I like Blake Mycoskie, but that interview is a bit "over the top." He is a walking product endorser. I did like his travel recommendations, which are about places rather than products.

Apskip, I think the mentioning of specific products has a lot to do with the questions he was asked by the WSJ writer. Given that it is the premiere business daily in the U.S., and that kind of question reflects their mindset under the News Corporation umbrella, it really isn't surprising.

After watching amazing race 2, i really have no respect for Blake and Paige.  They are so full of themselves.  They are constantly judging other people and lie to their face.  I understand it's a conpetition, but there are stand up ways to compete and are the weasel way to compete and they fall in the latter category for me. 

 :bigwelcome to RFF , Rainyathena!!


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