In this episode, Chacho is joined by Luke Beard, the CEO and Founder of Exposure and Co-Founder of Any Distance. Together they discuss the importance of movement, overcoming depression, making running fun, and more.
Highlights from their conversation include:
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Automated transcription – may contain errors
Chacho Valadez 00:08
Hello, hello, everyone. Welcome to Running in Public. This is the weekly podcast that empowers you to build your running routine while also making strides in your career. I’m your host, Chacho Valadez, and this is my first ever podcast. I’m so so happy about it. In each episode, I sit down with a startup founder, operator, or leader to talk about their experience of running while they also build and run their companies. You’ll walk away feeling empowered to run your next mile while also making strides in your career. And honestly, we support any form of movement on the podcast that suits your lifestyle. So whether you like to run, walk, bike, or swim or whatever it might be, we’re all in this together. Running in Public is sponsored by Arlan Hamilton’s new recruiting and retention startup Runner, a really cool name, if I say so myself, and totally coincidental on both our parts. Are you an entrepreneur who wishes there was more time in the day? Have you ever said, “I wish I could clone myself?” Then Runner is for you. If you find yourself spending more time scheduling, researching, and fielding emails than talking to your customers, strategizing, and resting, Runner could be a game-changer for you. Get matched with fractional and temp to hire operations talent who want to work at your inclusive startup. Fast-growing, larger companies are using Runner to hire dozens of operations talent at a time. Runner is a head of recruiting’s best friend. Interested in learning more or becoming a runner yourself? Apply at hirerunner.co. That’s hire runner.co. Hello and welcome back to Running in Public everyone. I’m super excited to have Luke Beard here today. He’s the CEO and founder of Exposure and the co-founder of Any Distance. Exposure is a modern publishing platform for visual storytellers and it’s quite beautiful actually with what you can create on there. Then Any Distance, you can easily share your workouts through beautiful storytelling templates. I will say, these two products really embody Luke in the research that I’ve been doing. I think one of my favorite blog posts of his was when he went to the Nordics and took that train ride. That was beautiful storytelling through both words and pictures. So, Luke, I’m super happy to have you here.
Luke Beard 02:34
Thank you very much. It was a big surprise. I’m a big fan of what y’all are doing. I’m very excited to be here. Usual podcast stuff. Thank you very much. Appreciate it, yeah.
Chacho Valadez 02:43
Boiler plate podcast stuff, right. So yeah, I would love for you to tell us a little bit about yourself, a little bit about your life story in as much or little detail as you feel comfortable sharing.
Luke Beard 02:55
Sure. Much to most people’s surprise, I’m actually British from a little rural area called the Forest the Dean which is in Gloucestershire, so it’s in the southwest of the country. It’s actually a shire on paper, which is cool. It’s a beautiful place to grow up and live if you’re going to have a quiet, calm little life but anybody who has ambition, like, you stay there, you die there kind of thing. Not that I’m saying that they won’t leave. I guess I just dunked on everybody that still lives there, but you know what I mean. It’s a small, beautiful town and the community college I went to there had a small section on Photoshop and HTML and I really took to that because it was Photoshop and web design and the things I’d always been curious about but never had an inroad to. At this time, I was also very much into the music scene so I first started off in my creative career doing metal band artwork, so a lot of textures, a lot of posters, a lot of t-shirts, a lot of CD layouts, a lot of MySpace layouts. Did most of my baptism by fire for CSS in MySpace layouts, just centering stuff in absolute relative positioning. So I assumed I would end up in a relatively pedestrian gig at some point because I didn’t realize the internet was as powerful as it was at the time. Once I figured out that people wanted me to make websites for their bands, I was like, “Oh, this is really interesting.” There’s a bunch of nuance in between there, but effectively, I ended up at a local web design agency where I was tasked as a junior to put together websites for housing developments or mom and pop shops, small business stuff. It was my years in the trenches, I coined it as. It was a company called Magnetize. They’re still going. It taught me a lot from a customer facing perspective, like watching an agency as someone who doesn’t have to do the business decisions or operations. It’s like, oh, this is how business works on the internet. That was really cool, but there was a point where I was over it from a design perspective. I’m like, “I can’t do another housing development website.” I was like 22 at this point, 21, something like that. I’m 35 this year for some context. Then heavily investing my online community building into Twitter at the time because design Twitter lived there. It was a time of sharing tutorials. Really nobody knew what was going with Twitter, it was just a lot of fun. I remember distinctly having realization that people make Twitter. I didn’t realize that. That was a type of light bulb. It’s like, “Oh, these buttons I’m pressing and these forums I’m filling out, people work on this.” That was my first exposure to the idea of product design versus web design, so super curious about that. Started following the people that made Twitter, made other products, started (without knowing it) moving into the startup world. I didn’t know what startups were at that point so I just kept community building and talking on Twitter. Eventually, I ended up using a product called Desert Lee, which is a custodian and Swedish company. Their original product took your Facebook or LinkedIn and spat out a beautiful template resume. Some of the templates were designed by designers I liked. I was like, “Oh, this is really interesting. It’s like a creative product but fun.” I used it, ended up chatting to the founders, specifically Daniel Jacobs, who I’m still friends with to this day. Just had twins. Great. We were Twitter pals. A lot of Twitter pals, a lot of Twitter acquaintances in my career. I owe everybody a lot for that. The other part of this silly story is that I was semi drunk on cheap white wine. I didn’t like have any. I was living in a shared room almost like a dorm. And I was like, Oh, I really I was like, just tweeted into the universe, like, hey, I really want to work on a product in America or Australia. I was like, I don’t know why I said Australia. In hindsight, this tweet is still around. I need to find it here. So I should have a handy link to this tweet here. We could pull it. But Tanja saw that I was like, oh, you should go to Silicon Valley was like, I mean, I don’t know what that is. So like, I do, like Google it. And obviously the Wikipedia page pops up. I’m like, oh, that’s where Google is. It’s where Facebook is where Apple is. I’m like, Yeah, do that sounds like a dream and has like, he’d see me sharing some, some design stuff here and there. And like, I think I got like a couple of DMS later, I was like, Whoa, I mean, we need a designer. Like, we’re just like trying to get into YC right now. And we’re living in like a shared house and in Palo Alto. And I was like, what, like, Is this a real thing? So like, a few more emails later, you know, I basically have like, hey, well, we’ll bring you to California for five weeks. And I was like, I’m living in Cheltenham, England at this point. And then No way. I’ve been at the country twice. So I got to my, I got to call my parents. And I was like, hey, these Estonian and Swedish strangers from the internet, want to fly me to California for five weeks to work on like, website, product app thing. And they’re like, sounds good. Like, they’re all goes wrong. Just come live on the couch. Like, you’ll be alright. So I quit my job. And well, actually, to their credit, I was like, I’m gonna go to this thing for five weeks. They’re like, I can’t promise you a lot of job, but good on you. Like see in five days. So if I when I watched the social network on the plane, I was like, this is exactly what it’s gonna be like. It? Well, it wasn’t obviously, because it’s like, but I mean, there’s, there’s nuances to the social network, which I can actually relate to, in some ways, but I mean, so such as a great movie. And so together, they pick me up from the airport. It’s like, you know, the sun is going down, over, like, SFO, you know, you land into the bay. And it’s just like ridiculous, like California, if you’ve never been, it just smells great. When you get off like we to get out the airport. And like, you’re just like, can’t quite understand the way the light is hitting everything. Because it’s like, I’ve never seen light like this before. And I remember they drove me to the Googleplex. And they were like, That’s Google. And I was like, What the hell is going on? I’m like a toddler in Silicon Valley. Just be like, Wow, oh, my God. Yeah. Yeah, just all these memories are, like, burned into my brain is like some of the most important things that happened to be my career, and bunch of hard working and going in and out five weeks later in a house while working together. And I ended up building homepages during their app. Like yeah, this is what I want to do. This is like a lot of fun. We get to the end of the five weeks, they’re like, hey, we’d love to keep working with you. We didn’t really have that much money, but it turned out it was like the same money. I was making my agency job and I was like, hell yeah, I’m just gonna do it. They gave me a Magic Mouse. Remember that was there like Thank you. I go home, I don’t wanna move to America because it’d be so scary. In hindsight, I should have probably gone sooner. End up working with them, they eventually run out of money. They like can’t pay you anymore. At this point, they have enough traction where I guess like I gained some like notoriety. People thought I was okay at what I did, so I ended up freelancing for a bunch people. I worked for Hipstamatic for like a year, Lucas and Ryan from Hipstamatic. I am literally in their Slack to this day and we still talk all the time. And they actually have filters. I worked at Hipstamatic for about a year doing all their web properties. I think hipstamatic.comm is still mostly my HTML, which is funny. If you go into the source code and look at the the main wrapper I think it says Snoop Dogg or something like that like because usually, the gag were like, the main rapper was just a rapper. His magic obviously is like the original filter app, that their actual processing engine is still to this day with the most advanced film effects engine on the iPhone. They were nice enough to let me have basically the SDK to put into Any Distance, which is crazy, because no one’s ever done that. No one else has the Hipstamatic processing engine in their app apart from Any Distance. It’s just like a really nice come around. Effectively 12 years later, I am still friends with them and still get to benefit from these things I worked on a decade ago. So I worked with them for a while. A lot of fun. In and out of San Francisco. Grew like a, “Oh, yeah, I think I got to go to California at some point.” I had been through 500 startups miserably to, which is a riot if you’ve ever been near 500 startups it is the the floor is a zoo. It’s a lot of fun, but only for like young and crazy. I feel like if I wouldn’t do it now I’m too calm. And I made, you know, some friends there. And I ended up freelancing for this company called Blue call. We’re doing hotel, take a hotel tonight, style platform for show tickets. So like last minute tickets to go. So that was a lot of fun. And I’ve been freelancing for them, their website, their app, doing show posters to so back to my graphic design music groups, which is actually there’s some like fun posters on my, on my Flickr, I think still from that from that time. And they were like, come come to come to San Francisco. Like just you know, you’ve been working for a while coming up. So like, just shows all the time. Had a great time. And then they were like, do you want to work for us? I was like, absolutely. So flew back to England, packed my life into my mum’s giant pink suitcase because I don’t have a giant suitcase, broke with a girlfriend broke a lease on an apartment, turned my life into, you know, not much stuff. I hopped on a plane uncovering that was in hindsight, one of the most risky things I think I’ve ever done. Because no visa, like figured out I was just like, I’m gonna do it. Like, I, I don’t know, as you get older, you become more risk sensitive, I guess. But like if it was those with to think back on that decision. Now. I’m like, I was actually out of my goddamn mind. Like what was like doing. But I guess it also speaks to my privilege. As a you know. I mean, it’s my privilege as a white guy who can just fly into America and like, be like, I’m here like, hey, sure, yeah, and my my upbringing, the support from my family, like I understand live in Kansas. So I land real cool for a little bit. Doesn’t work out, like just doesn’t fit. I’m like, Oh, crap, like, what have I done? I end up building a friendship with called beggar, who was a forest fame if you remember that community back in the day. He had just moved to San Francisco to work at a company called Ellapath, a startup studio/Darwinian experiments/some sort of circus. It was it was weird. It was basically hire a bunch of creative people give them the resources they want, with very loose guidelines. Eventually, they will build something that has value and the company can take returns on that. This is where I built Exposure. So I landed l pass. They also buy me a five d mark three is like a join on gift because they’re like, “Hey, you like photography,” and Im like, “Yeah, I think I do,” and that sparks the whole Exposure journey, like without that happening, possibly my life would have gone a very different way. We build Exposure as a beta. It goes well. We have people paying for the beta. We’re like, Oh, this is working. Cool. Let’s keep going. Launch it publicly. Again, people keep paying. We’ve never paid to acquire customers. It’s all been organic growth. When you have an inherently viral product with your logo on it, people see it and want it, the engine’s built in, which is really interesting. I’m also not a great marketer. Like hands down, not a great marketer, so I suppose we keep going. We keep building. Eventually Elpath changes a bunch of its own positioning so we actually spin the company out, incorporate it: sort of Labs Inc. We raised a small round, which was like, like, I should check that box of my tech career that I brought around San Francisco for three or four weeks raising VC wars for said, Yeah, which was like, a hilarious experience, because I kinda didn’t know what I was doing. And I we have had some very gracious investors over the years. That little span of weeks where I got to ride my bike and be late to hang out with Dave Morin, because my bike got a flat tire and things like that. It’s like, just showing up like sweaty, I’m like, What am I doing? In hindsight, I’m amazed it worked. It was an experience and we got a lot. The group of investors are still on the cap table. I’m just so thankful and grateful for their support over the years, because Exposure is coming up on like, eight years old, this year, nine years old. It’s like trucking. So we spent some money, keep working, keep iterating, very much product driven people. No real marketing, again. It keeps growing. We keep working on it. Eventually, me and Paul go separate ways through various co-founder interpersonal stuff. He has a baby, great. I actually Paul called last week and met his kid, it was great. We kind of got our founder divorce law. It was not pretty or nice, but we work it out. I take the company, I buy him out, I buy allopath out, I focus on turning Exposure into a very small surface area because over the years it just got unruly from microservices to operations. When you’re given all the reins, you’re kind of like, “Oh, I can make this much easier,” so for the past four years, Exposure has been an exercise in product iteration of the stuff that’s always been missing and really working on which is increasing prices. We never increaseed prices right up until a year and a half ago and people were like, “Well, okay. This is great.” Exposure has shaken out to be a small/big business. It still has plenty of potential plenty of levers to pull. But right now it’s in a very comfortable sustainable state for the type of product it is. These type of photo heavy file heavy products can really get unruly, like, you can kill yourself with storage alone if you’re not smart about it. It’s gonna move into its next chapter of life this year. There’s a lot of things I want to work on, but at the same time, during all this, COVID happens. Everything changes per se. Exposure actually, weathers it really well, considering. I think we gave out about $10,000 in COVID relief in terms of canceling people’s payments, like “Don’t worry about it. We’re good.” Churin has been worse this year than it was at the height of when scary things were happening and the economy was truly tanking. It’s been very curious to watch. So my attitude changes towards what I’m working on and I’ve mostly turned inward and be like, “You know what, I’m gonna start walking everywhere and listening to a lot of podcasts about things that I’m mostly curious about.” So this is where Any Distance starts because after walking two hours a day for three or four months, a lot of weight drops off me, like almost 30 pounds just falls off just from walking. Walking is the best man. I think I’d mostly pandemic-stressed a bunch of weight on through drinking and just self soothing and whatever people were doing to cover themselves because that was just a very odd time. Nobody knows what to do, so I listen to every podcast I can find about the Apollo program and all the other stuff I’m curious about. Weight falls off. I’m like, “Maybe I should run a bit?” I’ve always had friends, my friends at call especially (my friend Carl), who’ve always been like— they make it look cool. I’m like, “Is running cool now?” that’s what I was gonna like. I never really understood the culture but now like, you know, like, so attracts me for doing it. So like on reading or doing and I’m like, so like little brands and stuff. Like, it’s curious, it fits my like repertoire of like, I like to have the silly fun stuff with trying to do something. So I get a real pair of running shoes, like buy a pair of running shoes. And I’m like Oh, like no wonder running his sock for all the time I was running in garbage shoes and thinking it’d be fine and right with the cardio buildup of walking for many months, like it was I felt good. I felt great. And during this time kicked into like working, not working tracking with Strava. Like, running is very cyclical: you do it more, you get better. You want to get better, you do more. Once you’re on it, it’s easy. Flightless bird. So that led me down the Strava route. I was like, “What are people using these days?” I was like, “I don’t want to touch Nike Run Club. It’s like two brands parallel.” I think it’s a very interesting platform in many ways, but Strava spoke to me in the stats of being able to like see linear growth really cool works. So started tracking that. And being the overshare I am the visual person that is power is basically my entire creative personality, and like, Oh, I’m gonna, like, take photos every time and like, share them and use travel share tools and things like that. And they were not what I wanted simple is that, like, I hate the idea of max. And like, nobody needs to see where I’m running. But like, I’d like to do the abstraction of the root. Like, that’s fascinating. I think the fact that just made it Strava shares were like, two three aspect ratio. And I’m like, but the no screen is this anymore. Like, as a big Instagram Stories person, and I have benefited greatly from investing in the monster that is Instagram. I was like, Why? Or there’s also this. I want to visualize and celebrate that I’m working on this. And people were I was getting good feedback from people being like, thanks for sharing runs. Yeah. I was like, Okay, I’m not like I’m in a position to do something. So I started manually mocking up things, like literally in Sketch like drawing my little roots and things of that. So I like start playing random ideas. Like maybe this isn’t as hard as I think it is. A couple of weeks after I started noodling on this I met Dan Collins, who’s my co founder, 23 year old genius, Georgia Tech dropout. I love him dearly. I was just with him last night. And I got into it through Stephen keel who’s like a, we’re actually one of our Exposure interns. We’ve had one intern ever, and Nikhil have it happened to be a an interview, introduce to my friend, Dan, who’s just like, hey, like, my friend, Dan builds apps, he seems like you’re vibe, like he’s just wanting to hang out or like, absolutely. So, you know, go get coffee, just up the street. And, you know, we hit it off. It’s like, speak, speak the same language. It’s like, very warm. And we ended with like, Hey, man, if you ever want to build something, like, let me know, I was like, Okay, I know that I have it in my back pocket, but I think I’m actually working. I actually think I gave it like, three or four days before I pulled it out. Because like, I don’t want to be overeager because, like, new new peer friend, right. I don’t think he knows that story. Eventually I throw the mock ups on Twitter. I was like, Hey, would anybody use this? Like, I think it’s really interesting. Like, I personally want this to exist. A lot of people said, Yeah, this looks great. Can I use it? You know, I think the tweet is at like 400,000 impressions at this point is something I it, you know, go back to it. It’s about a year old at this point, actually, just over and was like Dan, like, the public has spoken. I think we should build this silly thing. I have all the designs I literally have like version, not not a fully 1.0 But like most of the way there sure. And he’s so capable and shoot and like his intuition for transitions and all the stuff that I wasn’t thinking about is just like mind boggling to me like to work with an engineer that is lives inside the cracks in between the idea and he’s able to like fill those in with not just like connecting tissue but like beautiful tissue. So I handed him sketch I think like a day later he was like, here’s the nuts and bolts like here’s the basics and I was like good god it exists so it’s and we were just like to product people wanting something to exist there’s no like agenda was like well maybe make some money. Before we incorporated the company, we had a scrappy, like, I think we found a video game revenue sharing agreement on one of those legal sites just in case something happened. Worst case that we end up in a founder situation, but yeah, we got our name scribbled down or something. That was about a year ago. We iterated listened. We built a small but like impassion little community again, no marketing. People want to share it. People see it people want it learned a lot about the market in general of activity tracking fitness sharing your identity as someone who participates in casual fit as to pro fitness, like, it’s just been great to watch, honestly. We’ve had users all over the world. We just have to add Moscow achievement model because I didn’t even realize that there’s runners in Moscow that use it. There’s also people in Israel. It’s mind boggling to me still to this day that I can be so thrilled with launching something. It’s like, I’ve been working on the internet for 20 years or something and I’m still like, “Yeah, starting stuff rules.”
Chacho Valadez 25:30
Oh, yeah, absolutely. I agree. That’s how I feel about this podcast. It’s like, “Oh my word, this is a lot of fun.” I know when I saw the product for the first time because I use Strava as well and I don’t like sharing the maps of where I run because I’m a very private person and so I just didn’t share runs on my I can’t share these bronze. And then when I saw Any Distance, I’m like, Oh, this makes so much sense. This is what I’ve been looking for. Plus, the sharing options on Strava aren’t that great anyways, to be honest.
Luke Beard 26:05
I know they’re working on them.
Chacho Valadez 26:06
Luke Beard 26:07
I’ve since talk to my little backchannels there and I know that right, it makes total sense like that the the end of the wrap up they did was like, Well, yeah, that was great. So I’m happy to pay just for that. But also like we can do the same thing now. With with more ridiculous style. Yes. The I think safety has been like a really interesting conversation during all of this, like we’ve we’ve seen, like, especially within like tagging us when an Instagram like out of the blue where the when there’s like a post about safety and running like, you know, there’s been some horror, there’s been some heinous crimes happen in the past year of like, people running and in, I think, in England, just when I was home for a bit, I think, again, I’m sorry if I’m wrecking the story for anybody, but like, either a woman was assaulted or killed on a run. If you are going to talk about yourself running, you want to feel safe. The conversations we have seen is like, oh, use Any Distance because it’s an abstracted map like it is what it’s the information I want to share on my terms versus a billboard for a company like, right? Because Because sure, the Nike Run Club RunKeeper they are realistically billboards for that specific platform. And when we talk about Any Distance, we are really talking about like it’s any distance for anybody intrinsically. It is a personal experience, and any exercise, too. We don’t support all exercises yet, but that is coming.
Chacho Valadez 27:29
Okay, cool. I know the way it’s set up, like if you were on a walk, for example, you could share that.
Luke Beard 27:35
Yep, yep. So daily steps. Well, right now we support like a handful of things. It’s like running both virtual and, and physical cycling. Same thing like instinct, your peloton if you want canoeing, which I think I added specifically for my friend Steve, who’s invested. Snowboarding. Snowboarding is a hoot because like they make when it’s snowboarding season, like especially my my cousin Molly uses it. And like the roots are just insane. Because you go up and back down the mountain. So Right. digitalization is like bonkers. You haven’t had a we haven’t had a 3d one yet, since we introduced that. So I’m actually curious. Hello, hello, look, while I’m walking natively, and then daily steps. But you know, in the future riding, swimming, riding the two wheelchair activities that the apple currently supports the basics of everything Apple fitness supports right now. So is weightlifting, core strength, etc. So Any Distance is, while the name suggests that it’s like distance based activities only, it’s kind of a wink and a nod to like going the distance like you can go that distance in anything you’re doing. But as your as a casual fitness person or a, like serious person or like somewhere in the middle. If you want to talk about it. Like this is a good tool for that. But I appreciate you checking out.
Chacho Valadez 28:51
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And I’m definitely going to be using it this year. It’s hard to run right now because I’m in Michigan. Oh, boy. And so like, I’ve had some slips on ice for the past few years. Oh, like, I’m not doing that. Look after yourself. That’s not Yeah. No, not at all. It’s really cool what you’re building and part of the reason why I was so excited to talk to you. What would you say is the reason that you run?
Luke Beard 29:19
It used to be for my mental… Well, it still is very much a mental well being for me life. I had my first bout of like, real depression last year, which was a brand new experience for me, like, I now have so much more emotional empathy for anybody that has ever been depressed. And running really helped me through that as a consistent line of, I guess, ways to look in and time for myself. But yeah, it’s always it’s always been like a log off moments to a degree even though like I’m physically more like the watch. Like you’re actually very online when you run if you’re going to track anything because like you’re covered in sand. But the relationship I have with technology is not entirely healthy. Like I refer to myself as like, extremely online. Because, like people DM me and they’re like, when did you sleep? I’m just like, I’m just always online, it’s fine. It’s my life my stake, right? And to, to confront that with the how it feels to be not online, when you’re running is actually like, very freeing. And there’s a lot of surrender in that. And I think it’s, it’s hard for people to look after themselves, especially right now. So like the physicality of it, like my body has changed my, like, I feel the best I’ve ever felt. In general.
Chacho Valadez 30:43
I have took problems on runs and figured them out. The most silly story being our cat got out last year moto who is honestly the worst. He’s very cute, just terrible cat. And he’s not like a come to you, cat. He’s like, Well, he won’t go near you unless he wants to go near you. So he gets out. We think he’s gone forever. We cry like so hard. We think he’s gone. Turns out he has gone 30 feet and is currently under the house next door. Like oh, I went to put posters. That’s awful, awful, terrible experience. Oh, quarter. He’s so small, too. And it was like raining. So dad. And then I get a call from a neighbor. I’m like, I think he’s under our house. And I’m like, Yep, there he is. But he’s not gonna come near us. Right. So we try for like, days like raccoon trap food. I trap other people’s cats during this time. Like our neighbor across the street I have. I have their cat in a cage. And like, I’m sorry, OD. But so like, we get this point, we’re just like, incredibly frustrated. And I’m like, we’ll figure this out. Screw this and go for a run. So I probably in my pocket may have guns, go for a run, and come back and figure it out that I like I I’m not like a great problem solver in many ways. But that day like it all clicks because I guess I had that like, rhythmic meditation in your time that running permits me. So yep, come back. I’m not gonna go into the sorry, how about the cat, but I had once I back we got the cat in 15 minutes. We had spent days trying to get this little piece of shit. I know. I tell him every day I saved your life because you had died into the house. He doesn’t appreciate it. Weird. There’s been some really like interesting moments where, like, not only has it been personally beneficial, professionally beneficial, but like community beneficial, like I have met a lot of really great people. It’s the since now I am starting to travel a little bit. It’s been like a really great way to like explore new places. Like that sounds really cheesy. But like, running around London was like the best experience. Like I just I’ve never seen it that way it like gives you such an interesting perspective when you give yourself that modality of like, Oh, I’m just gonna like, this is one of the things I do now. And most the time it’s like, thanks to Twitter and Instagram. I’m like, hey, we want to go run. someone’s like, yeah, absolutely. Let’s go. Let’s go. Yeah, like, I’ve never run with our count. I’ve never, I’ve met the Exposure Council. Is that Greg like one time, and I’m going to New York tomorrow. And he’s like, Let’s go for a run. I was like, Sure, man. That’s great. Yeah, so there’s that part, again, as well as the actual house component. Like, I’m not particularly competitive guys. So I don’t like I don’t like want to do, I don’t want to do marathons that hard unless like a bunch of people want to where it’s like an exotic one, like I applied for the Berlin Wall and things like that. But most of the time, like, it’s just like a place for me. And when it’s not, it’s like a place to chat and log off, I guess in many ways. I’m still parsing what it means to me in many ways. And I think it’s it’s now developing because it’s now part of my life is that personal brand has changed, like people consider me photographer runner, a tech guy in that order these days, which is, which is fine, which is great. But it’s a it’s a peculiar one to bring into your professional life. And now Any Distance is gaining a lot of momentum per day. Like literally, I’m just I can see a text from Dan was talking about conversions. So we’re, we’re looks like we’re onto something. And that is baked into my identity and my passions, and it’s just like, Okay, now what is what is running gonna mean to me when it is potentially going to be my next big thing. So I have to keep it I have to be very sensitive and meaningful about like my relationship with it. Maybe I’m going too deep. And I was like, Hey, I’m just like going for a ride but thanks. So So pulling it apart, still unpacking it anyways, considering it’s been a big year. Instead, it got me through depression, and it got me through the pandemic and now is potentially going to bring a lot of opportunity and exciting stuff. Thanks for sharing, and we’ll be right back with a quick word from our sponsor. Hey, thanks for listening to this episode. Don’t forget to check out our sponsor, hirerunner.co for all your fractional and temp-to-hire operations talent needs. Now let’s get back into the show. Hey, everyone, welcome back. One of the things you mentioned with starting to run is actually it being a way to battle depression, and that’s the reason I started running as well because I had a terrible bout of depression a few years ago and running was really that way to spend time with myself, get moving, do something repetitive, listen to books or podcasts or music, whatever I felt at the time, and it was really, really helpful. And so thanks for your vulnerability in sharing that.
Luke Beard 35:41
Absolutely. I’m very glad to hear what sounds like you’re recovering or through it at this point.
Chacho Valadez 35:49
Luke Beard 35:50
Right, but again, as someone who had been near people that had depression, it’s very, very hard to relate to depression if you’ve never had it, in my opinion. I truly don’t recognize the person I remember being during that period of time is like three or four months, and I’m on antidepressants now. And like I will eventually not be but again, running was a big component of that, of that of working through it. So yeah, I agree. There’s a lot of benefits to physical activity, obviously. It kind of gets lumped into that “eat your veggies” type stuff. It’s very hard to quantify real day to day benefits, especially when it’s also— We were having this session in the day, it’s like, to be semi serious about running or enjoy it on like, really practical level, you have to commit quite a lot of time to it. And it also it’s like a big, like privilege signifier, because I think about the same way as disposable income, like disposable time is not nothing like like if you if you can go running three miles every three days, that’s still like, two to three hours maybe, right in a fat family or job like, you know, again, like glaring quivers, I just like can run as long as I want. Yeah, like, it all like works together and it’s one of the things we want to tackle with Any Distance is empowering people to get their head around benefits of things like that. It’s gonna be like part of our programming and discovery and guided experience when we do get to there. But it is, yeah, it’s just, it’s just difficult to get into it. But once you’re in, and you have the habit, you like, this is just the thing I do now. And it becomes it becomes exciting, it becomes like, is it cyclical in getting better, like when you feel good, it benefits impacts other parts of your life. But again, I’m really glad you’re okay.
Chacho Valadez 37:54
I appreciate it. Thanks so much. And that’s part of the ethos of the podcast, honestly, is that it’s really that knot. I know, we’re specifically talking about running, but we’re trying to get people to move in general. And I’m so glad you’re brought up walking, and then using walking then not even with the intention to start running, but just to walk and then starting to run. And I’ve had people reach out and saying that they’ve done like squats while listening to the podcast and like just any sort of movement. And I know like my wife has a chronic Lyme disease. She walks and she’s starting to walk a lot more, but like she couldn’t run like it would be debilitating to her body. And so I’m very sensitive to other people’s journeys, especially while building this audience and I really love that intentionality that you mentioned that you’re building into Any Distance where it’s like, yeah, it is a privilege to go out for 30 minutes or an hour long run three days a week or even or more. And I guess I hadn’t really thought of it when it comes to like that time privilege. I’m really glad that you mentioned
Luke Beard 38:57
Yeah, I can’t imagine how difficult must be to live with that disease but yeah, what like any just is impart a celebration of your ability to do anything and making sure that’s an inclusive experience is progressively on our mind like said we’re adding wheelchair activities way late in the day I wish we’d done it from from the offset right but yeah, walking is it’s I think that what Apple are doing specifically with time to walk and then now time to run has has it’s a very important aspect of moving that people don’t consider exercise in many ways like but I do like the TikTok silliness of like going for a silly little walk my silly little mental health. So good. So good, but so Right. Like, I’m going for a run from my silly little metal health. Supporting people and giving people like an incentive to get in that habit, it’s like that’s an atomic habits thing, right like incentivizing people with a great experience of rewards and things like that for like, get people out there and that’s why like Any Distance has like a collectible metals like it’s a Scooby Snack it’s like a dopamine hit. Even if you walk two miles you still get the— Well, you get the one mile badge because you walked a mile, but if you walk five miles, you get the five mile medal and it gives you confetti and it claps and does all the cool stuff. We have so many plans for these feel good, silly, fun moments because so many of these experiences for people that are trying to get exercise are not fun. Like Strava’s not fun.
Chacho Valadez 40:37
Yeah, unless you are serious about the data, but even so it’s— It’s impersonal. It doesn’t feel like you because everything looks the same. People are expressing themselves left, right, and center through TikTok or Instagram or Snapchat, whatever they’re doing. The camera phone has like fundamentally changed the way people consider chronologically documenting their life. To just throw on like a very abstract metric layer of here’s how your activity was like, plus a photo plus filter, it was Hipstamatic. Like, spin the route around I know just like make it your own like and then then the having that it’s like, it is something to celebrate, like getting on that walk is a hoot.
Luke Beard 41:28
This has been a big week for thinking for Any Distance because we’re making money, we’re in business, we prove that it currently works. And now we’re like, okay, truly, what can we do with this in the next five years? Every plan sounds like the best plan right now. We’re in that we’re in that very exciting brain crackle phase where like, oh, wouldn’t it be cool if ___? Wouldn’t it be bop? Unfortunately, everybody I tell is like, yeah, that’s great. Which is like, it’s not good for productivity, because like now, everything, but the way, but what you’re saying is absolutely on point. It’s like there, there are many shades. And it’s a big spectrum of like, what you consider fitness or activity or, like how you look after yourself. So like, it should be celebrated no matter what you do, in many ways, but yeah, so.
Chacho Valadez 42:21
Yeah, so last question here, before we get into the this quickfire round is how, like, how does running affect your work?
Luke Beard 42:30
Problem solving, like I said, like I’ve done a lot of my best product design work, after I banged my head against the problem for a while going for a run, come back, done it in an hour. Like it’s just like a really nice wash, like brainwash the effect like workwise, like, I mean, outside of like the sheer influence, it’s out of like potential, potentially my career now, it has exposed me to a whole different market. So it’s like, it’s been influential from like, learning all about, like, the, where this where the casual to professional athletic market is. And also Yeah, it just brings me new peers, like, you know, just like people now, like, I think so it’s like, I’ve grown that part of my network, which I would typically not. So I can definitely say that it’s benefited me greatly, because like, I have a bunch of people who were like, you just, you know, we’re both a run remember, I had a chat with head of head of corporate development for someone very interesting about and he just can’t say which is silly, because it’s very cool. But we were both wearing tracks and stuff. And we were just like, ah, Isn’t this cool? Like that, that is cool. Like, I feel like that is truly part of my work where like I can now relate about different thing to people that care about it. So me is like operator, Luke for any of the companies are ever gone or any of my own projects. He does require a lot of meeting people getting to know them, you know, like it’s beneficial when you can be interested in something as so widespread as physical activity running specifically like I think running is like a very like frequency illusion thing. Like when you buy a Honda Civic, you realize everybody drives a Honda Civic, when you run with it, and when you run you Don’t you realize how many people are running like it is you can go anywhere, any city, find yourself, the river, the track by the canal, an actual running track, just pumping the pavement, like you’ll see the you’ll you’ll see these people and same with cycling, like as soon as like, soon as you get pushed, like even if you’re just like singlespeed to get around the city, you realize how many people are likely. So I think from a work perspective, it’s benefited that greatly because, again, just really relating to people is really handy. When you have to do
Chacho Valadez 44:41
Yeah, it’s such a cool way to get to know people. So much emphasis in the tech world is on your experience and how smart you are on certain top business topics and so it’s a nice way to have a stress free conversation almost.
Luke Beard 45:00
Yeah, we’re all people. Sure, we all have these brain sacks, but we also have these blood bags under us just flopping around. You should be thinking about it. It’s an easy topic to get into. People want to talk to me about it way more than they’ve ever want to talk to me about photography or technology, which I am all about. DM me about running. I love it. Let’s chat.
Chacho Valadez 45:28
Yeah, and I appreciate you responding to my DM. So we’ll get into this quick fire round here. So answers I guess one minute or less, and we’ll get this going. So when was the last time you had to stop your car and turn around for a photo?
Luke Beard 45:43
I don’t have a driving license and don’t drive a car. My spouse unit does when was the last time oh no, actually no, this doesn’t make her stuff for I think it’s on the way back from Savannah. We stopped like a just like an old market that like an old wood factory or something. But I slept on my bike all the time. Like so. So yeah, so that out for bike was like doing stress it’s a quick fire because I often stopped for like vintage cars and things like that. Oh, there was a there was a Porsche 911 I have no idea about it. What year it was, but it was just it was like black with gold trim. I was like, “Have to take a photo of that.” And my camera also.
Chacho Valadez 46:21
What was your dream job as a kid?
Luke Beard 46:23
Chacho Valadez 46:24
That’s really cool. Do you want to add more context?
Luke Beard 46:30
So I’m like a big space nut, like space histogram, space progress and after, after learning about where the rules based programs come from? I actually think my cup child staff wanted to be a test pilot, not a fighter pilot guy. I think that’s actually like the X program, things like that. Like I think that’s where my brain is a kid who’s going but he didn’t know what the X program. Well, sure. That’s by Tesla versus that fighter pilot.
Chacho Valadez 46:51
Got it. That’s fun. Fill in the blank: Running is blank.
Luke Beard 46:57
Chacho Valadez 46:59
Love it. If you had to listen to one song on repeat for an hour long run, what would it be?
Luke Beard 47:07
Can I say two options?
Chacho Valadez 47:09
Luke Beard 47:13
Remind myself my name. There’s this one called “Torch.” I have a song called “Healer,” which is like really short too, which is really silly. I think it’s like a minute and a half long. But if you listen to on repeat it blends together. It’s like really rocky like punchy riff and it’s just like, yeah, you feel like you’re on top of the world when you’re when you’re running today in my opinion, it’s also the song I want to license when we do the Any Distance commercial. Like, yeah, I have a oh, I envisioned this video spot like 30 times in my head and it’s always the same song. And then the other one is queen of this stone age. I just forget the name of it. I think it’s the real song for the death as like a weird, wonky intro but again, like similar like punchy guitar riff like short really fast.
Chacho Valadez 48:04
Fun. That’s great. Are you a dip your toe in the pool first or jump right in cannonball style? Hmm. No, it depends on the pool. Man. I grew up I my dad actually built pools as a kid. That was Oh, cool. Fact. Yeah, like he that’s funny. I think you know, Richard, Richard Branson’s pool are really nice. But I grew up around swimming. So like I would always just jump in say, I’m big, big water. Maybe it would be nice to if I can swim more swam in the ocean a lot last summer. Absolutely. Then last one here is what’s your favorite thing about yourself and why?
Luke Beard 48:37
You can’t ask someone who has a hard imposter syndrome that question. As of late, the ability to look in. I consider my work on myself and confronting a lot of very hard, challenging things, figuring out why I am who I am. And I think having that momentum has made me want to make other people not make other people but like I am spilling the gospel of like, your only obligation is to yourself, and you should respect that. Obviously, yeah, ever. My therapist likes to say everybody’s only doing the best they can at any given moment for them. I was like, You know what leading into that with AD being mindful and gentle is a lot of good things. So I think I’m getting pretty good at that. Yeah, it helps greatly to not lose your mind.
Chacho Valadez 49:24
Listen, I struggle with a lot of the same stuff. So I relate a lot. So yeah, appreciate. Appreciate it.
Luke Beard 49:29
Keep working on it, buddy.
Chacho Valadez 49:30
Yeah. So where can people follow on your journey?
Luke Beard 49:33
I’m very Google-ble, so just Google Luke Beard. It’s @lukebeard pretty much everywhere. If you want to give exposure, try for your visual storytelling needs. That’s exposure cut. Happy to give you a discount. Just drop me a DM on any platform, like I said, extremely online. And he just says a distance is live in the App Store. 2.0 went quietly out last week. Maybe by the time this comes out. We would have done some shouting about it. The Yeah, that’s on the app store or Any Distance Club interview. In the URL, and then we’re at Any Distance annoyingly on Instagram, Any Distance club on Twitter. Anybody working on Twitter wants to help me with my trademark to get at Sure. Any Distance to dead handle, please. Yeah, and you can email me yo, Luca. So if you just want to chat, though, yeah, that’s it. Thank you, man. This has been wonderful.
Chacho Valadez 50:18
Yeah, it’s been a great conversation. Thanks so much for joining.
Luke Beard 50:21
Chacho Valadez 50:22
Thanks so much for listening to this episode. I really hope you enjoyed it. If you have a chance, please leave us a review and let us know what you liked about the show, and if you want to follow along with future episodes, go to your favorite podcast platform and hit the subscribe button, or you can also go to runninginpublic.co where we’ll be updating the website regularly. I’ll catch you on the flippety flip.