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The Though Kitchen - Dedicated to Stirring the Pot

Archive for August, 2009

hey NYC- we’re looking for your favorite artists and musicians

Posted by Gordon | August 31st, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized


I skipped last week because we had an internal conversation about the Thought Kitchen and how we wanted it to evolve over time to a more interactive dialogue with the public.  A forum for discussion, debate and feedback and still be accessible for Nau fans to comfortably participate.  We will work towards that end goal in the coming months and in the meantime, I thought what might be interesting would be to shift my weekly post to an open and evolving dialogue on Nau’s visit to the Big Apple this Fall.

In the coming weeks, I will provide the latest developments on the event along with questions that need to be solved. To start, we need a list of your favorite artists and musicians…local to NYC is always terrific but great art and music travels well so the broader the list the better.

this is my board: #1 in a series

Posted by admin | August 28th, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized, Who We Are

2We have been happily riding together since the summer of 2002. She was created by Manik Skateboards under their Wildlife Preservation Project. Her graphics depict an African Savanna complete with elephants and a scorching sun. She has many dings and cuts but I still think she is beautiful. Possibly even more beautiful because of the scars. Her Venture trucks have remained strong throughout the years………holding up through numerous soggy Oregon days. Her wheels are 62 Kryptonics and like little baby clouds they provide the smoothest ride possible. The bearings were given to me by a strange man from Eugene claiming they “came from a really fast computer”. While this is still a bit of a mystery to me, they have been rolling strong for the past 8 years! I like to take her on rides during my lunch break, blasting through the Pearl District like nobody’s business. When not in use she is the perfect foot rest at my work desk……my feet resting comfortably until our next lunchtime cruise.

sneak previews

Posted by Josie | August 21st, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized

We just launched our new Fall product line. The clouds were dark and the air was wet on my ride to work today. Dare I say it; there is a hint of fall in the air. What comes after the fall? Ski season, of course.

I thought August might be too early to watch ski movies until about 1:26 into the TGR flick. Hal came by my desk to ask me a question and stopped mid sentence- the two of us couldn’t take our eyes off the deep powder turns and face shots. For those of you also feeling withdrawal from the white stuff,  here are a few previews to help ease your pain.

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embedded by Embedded Video

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lessons for an optimist- what inspires YOU?

Posted by Gordon | August 18th, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized

090817_otggraphic1We have been doing a bit of soul searching lately discussing the accelerating evolution in responsible behavior and the growing importance of life meaning and balance.  We love this shift as it speaks directly to the core of the Nau brand.

At Nau, we like to think of our loyal fans as Artists, Athletes and Activists, a group of people that strives to create new and innovative paths to a better world.  People whose lives blur between the creative, active and cause related worlds.  Enjoying everyday and trying to make a difference along the way. (Many send us pictures of all this, which we love. We post them on flickr, and now have a great collection of snapshots from the real world, like those at the top of this post).

It makes us want to learn – and see – more. This month, we would love to hear from you…tell us who you are and what you love, give us a sense of what inspires you.

Lessons for an Optimist

Posted by Gordon | August 13th, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized

surfingIn the spirit of the Horny Toad “Invent a Sport” contest a while back, it should be recognized that our close friend and outstanding design/build partner Jean Pierre Veillet (Siteworks in Portland), is likely the inventor of one of the most enjoyable sports I have come across in my lifetime. This is the guy that helped us design and build our Lizard Lounge retail experiment in Portland and soon to be famous for another revolutionary project for Nau coming this Fall.

The only favor he has requested for the last two years is for me to come and boat surf on the river with him. And all I have done is politely declined with a host of work and time related excuses.

I finally agreed this weekend as I was extending my Portland stay with my wife for her birthday and assumed it would either be a form of wake boarding or water skiing. He kept claiming it was his invention and that no one else was doing it but again, not really thinking that much about it, all I was worried about was the possibility of swallowing too much of the Willamette River and getting sick (as I was repeatedly warned).

Okay, I am now a convert and this sport is not like anything I have ever seen. This is an 8 foot surfboard with the rider holding on to a ski rope that is 20 feet or so off the back with the boat traveling at 20ish miles an hour.  When is the last time you surfed a wave for 10-15 minutes? That is what this is about and while it was difficult to get the hang of standing up without any attachment to your surfboard, once you are up you can rip up and down the face of the wake wave like a pro … okay JP can but my wife Karen and I were respectable for first timers.

Get out and try it … you will not be disappointed! And remember, the movement was started off JP’s boat on the Columbia and Willamette rivers.

more bikes!

Posted by Alex | August 10th, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized

bike2Fresh from our cycling trip around The Netherlands, Rachael and I are realizing that we’ll have to re-adjust to riding back home.

Call it “bike culture shock.” After fourteen days spinning along dedicated bike paths, surrounded by a population for whom riding everywhere is just a matter of course, returning home meant breaking some new-and cherished-habits. Our helmets came out of closet. Our defensive posturing in traffic returned. And the streets of Portland, whose bike-friendly reputation we were happy to crow about just a few weeks ago, seemed to belong more in L.A. than the next great cycling metropolis.

On reflection, what quickly becomes clear is that while Portland has a vibrant bike culture, The Netherlands is a country in which bikes are just a part of the culture. And that distinction highlights real differences in how we approach buying bikes, riding bikes and building bike infrastructure.

Back home in Portland (and in some comments here on The Thought Kitchen), conversations about bicycling often revolve around the sport’s many sub-divisions: road vs. mountain, custom vs. mass produced, fixie vs. commuter. And while these cliques create a lot of texture for American cycling, they’re limiting in their conception of what cycling can be. What’s more, it can be intimidating when fitting in requires spandex or elbow pads, skinny jeans or a team jersey.

bike3In The Netherlands, where everybody rides, these subcultures do exist. But they’re swallowed up by the larger mass culture of the comfortable, understated steel bikes that serve one, utilitarian purpose: transportation. Sure, there are hipsters with short-billed caps and spandex-clad roadies on their race-fietsen. But take a stroll around the three-story bike-only parking garage outside Amsterdam’s central station, or pedal along with the rush-hour traffic in Maastricht, and you’ll see the markers of a bike culture that’s all-inclusive.

As communities search for solutions to their environmental, transportation and public health challenges, there’s a chance to begin reshaping our society and our infrastructure to give cycling more of an everyday role. Thinking this way requires recognizing that there’s room for all the different styles of riding we see on our streets-and many styles we don’t see yet. Fixies and cruisers, customs and mass-produced: we’ll need them all, along with upright steel bikes that your grandmother will love. More bikes means more riders, and that’s what will drive change.

Lessons for an Optimist- Zappos and Amazon Unite

Posted by Gordon | August 3rd, 2009 | Filed under Uncategorized

amazone zappos_logo_8309

The news of Zappos.com being acquired by Amazon was bigger than just another merger and acquisition.  It will have meaningful implications to the online consumer product business for years as it combines the two most successful pure plays to come out of the dot-com era.  It is also interesting because the brands and the business models they chose could not be more different in any way.

The question I keep asking and now pose to the audience as well…is this a good thing or a bad thing?

A bad thing:

  • Sad to see this independent and very unique culture become part of a public company…we can only hope Amazon understands the premium they paid is only justified if they don’t mess with what made Zappos special.
  • Even though these are extraordinary economic times, Tony and the Zappos ownership could easily be perceived as sell outs…giving away the vision they preached to the very competitor they targeted to outdo.
  • One less online competitor to keep the playing field fair.

A good thing:

  • A win for exceptional customer service…Zappos hallmark.
  • A win for modern company culture.  That makes us feel better…our happy hours, free form office space and dogs are not so crazy after all.
  • It demonstrates optimism that the economy will improve and that consumer spending on apparel and footwear in the online environment still has significant growth potential.

What do you think?  Good, bad or don’t really care…