Copy cats

So a lot of people have been pointing us to TrivialMTB and being all “dude, he’s totally copying TEAM ROBOT.” Mr. Trivial himself even had to address this in a recent blog post.

On a certain level, if that’s what he wants to do, that’s his thing and I’m not going to step in and get butthurt. As Patrick said yesterday “no one nice reads our website,” so if he wants to turn all of his friends, acquaintances, and even random strangers into blood thirsty hyenas waiting for a moment of vulnerability and weakness, so they can tell you how dumb you are and how shitty your site is as they try to prove to you and themselves that they’re just as funny and witty as you are, then I’d tell him the water’s warm and there’s room for two.

But before I can even talk about whether or not Mr. Trivial is “copying” us, we have to talk about what it is we’re doing here at TEAM ROBOT. Now brace yourself, because I’m about to give away our whole secret formula for TEAM ROBOT. What are the 23 ingredients in Dr. Pepper? What makes McDonald’s French fries so good? What did Bugs Bunny put in Mke’s Secret Stuff in Space Jam? No one knows, but today you’re going to find out what made TEAM ROBOT into the legendary, life-changing, shining beacon of hope that it is.

I know, I know, it’s hard to put your finger on any one thing that makes us
so much more awesome than you and your team, but bear with me.


1. Find some thing, some truth, or some poorly hidden secret that someone or some company wants to ignore or keep secret, but that everybody sort of knows already.

2. Point that thing out.

3. That person or the people at that company get mad because we pointed out their dirty secret that was actually blatantly obvious. All the shitty people on the internet laugh, knowing that the person or company is now pissed and(or) miserable.

That’s pretty much it. Anyone can do it. The only limitation in the formula, and the only place where one site can differentiate itself from another is:

a) What kind of dirty secrets the writers on the site can dig up or discover, and

b) How well the writers can articulate their newfound insight or truth to the audience

So yeah, in a lot of ways, TrivialMTB is copying TEAM ROBOT: his formula is pretty much ours, and anyone pretending otherwise is tripping. But, I’ve got an even more disturbing truth for all you readers who’ve pinned your hopes and dreams on TEAM ROBOT as your hope and savior. Remember when you found out Lance was doping, and then sold your Trek? Or when you found out that Aaron Gwin actually thinks about things like money and contracts, and then you sold your Trek? Or when you found out Wade Bootes was actually Australian and didn’t love freedom and liberty, but didn’t sell your Trek because no 4x star has ever sold a bike to anyone ever and that’s not why you bought your Trek?

Even more than those earth-shattering realizations, this next discovery is going to blow your mind, crush your soul, and make you question everything you thought was true and holy. So before reading it you might want to start writing your craigslist ad for your Trek, because your TEAM ROBOT is going down in flames right now. Here we go:


It’s true, we did, and it gets worse than that. That’s not the only site we copied. We also copied Brotocross. And The Best Page in the Universe. And the Onion.

And we copied stand up comics, like Dave Chappelle. And Patrice O’Neal. And Robin Williams. And George Carlin. And Mitch Hedberg.

And we copied philosophers like Socrates. And Keynes. And Karl Marx. And Jesus Christ. And even my dad, if you want to call him a philosopher.

My Dad in his brief stint as a graphic novel character during his early twenties.
Hey, we all had to pay for college somehow.

Frankly, we copied even more sources than that. We’ve copied people, schools of thought, books, magazine articles, philosophies, ideas from my teachers and friends, we’ve stolen quotes, photos, graphs, and video clips. We actually are copying other people all the time. We’re not that smart, and we’re not that creative. Probably, if you were to meet any of us, you’d probably conclude we’re not like TEAM ROBOT at all.

Because that’s not really the point of writing TEAM ROBOT. We’re not pretending that we have the exclusive ownership of our ideas, or that our ideas are exclusively ours. I hope, if the stuff we say on TEAM ROBOT has any truth or value in it, that other people are taking that truth and repeating it and incorporating into their view of the world, or COPYING us, if you want to be so monolithic. So when TrivialMTB starts saying that Alex Rankin is awesome and that the Freeride Entertainment crew sucks at storytelling without condescending to their audience, do I feel threatened or somehow cheated? No, but when Alex Rankin posted a TrivialMTB link on his personal Facebook page, that did hurt my feelings. Alex, I’m sorry if I let you down at some point. It hurts when you ignore me.

One of the guys from Where the Trail Ends, doing the mental math on the paycheck vs. integrity question before hitting record on the same tired Kamloops segment for 13th year in a row.

Honestly, when I went to TrivialMTB for the first time, I ended up reading through all of his articles, because they’re pretty funny. In the end I concluded that he was way funnier and smarter than I am. For one thing, he’s never written anything as long as this crappy post, which has got to say something good about his talents. If I were smarter and funnier, I wouldn’t need to write a blog post as long as War and Peace to make my point.

But then today my eyes were opened. The truth hit me. I saw the light, and I understood. TrivialMTB is not TEAM ROBOT:

Remember the secret formula? If you don’t, here’s a quick review: find someone’s flaws, point them out, make them pissed. Well then I read Mr. Trivial’s take on the new TLD A1 helmet today. First of all, that is about as far from TEAM ROBOT’s formula as possible. Our news cycle is about 2-3 weeks behind anything that’s buzzing on the internet, and I still haven’t gotten around to doing a Norway race report, and that was, like, four months ago.
But anyway, Mr. Trivial thought he was calling TLD out when he said the helmet looked gaudy and their marketing campaign was over the top. And here’s where Mr. Trivial and TEAM ROBOT part ways: that’s not a secret. That’s not even funny. I don’t think anyone is surprised to hear that TLD’s new helmet is gaudy and their marketing campaign is over the top. The guys at TLD would probably agree with that statement, and the product designer is probably back at the studio nodding his head emphatically. “Gaudy and over the Top” might as well be the companies mission statement. Now that I mention it, GOTT TLD makes for a pretty good acronym, you’re welcome Troy. Call me.
Here’s a challenge: go to the TLD site, and find the clothes that aren’t over the top, gaudy, and loud.
Oh, wait, you can’t. They don’t exist. And don’t tell me that “the enduro MX kits are kind of low key,” because enduro MX kits are really getting sold to visor-down hicks that drive 89 CR125s in circles in shooting pits or pull extended quad wheelies down fire roads, and you have to stoop to their mouth breathing backwoods level to sell anything to them.
I’m surprised Enduro MX kits don’t come with a free set of truck nuts.
TLD is supposed to be over the top. Look at their slogan: for the world’s fastest racers. Their shit is supposed to be loud as hell, distinctive, and you should be able to pick out a guy wearing TLD clothes or helmets from a few ridge lines over. I’m not 100% positive, but I think you can pick it out from space. 
No one has ever looked at someone in TLD gear and wondered, “is that the new kit from Shift?”

Let’s review the three mainstay graphic components of Troy’s designs: flames, lightning bolts, and gigantic eyeballs. Nope, not seeing anything low profile there. This year they made an all black kit, and an all white kit, but even then the whole point was WOW LOOK AT THAT GUY HE’S SO BADASS HE DOENS’T EVEN NEED GRAPHICS OR COLORS HE’S CONTENT TO JUST HAVE THE ABSENCE OF LIGHT OR ALL THE COLORS OF LIGHT VISIBLE AT ONCE ON HIS JERSEY RESULTING IN THE APPEARANCE OF BLACK OR WHITE. Okay, maybe when you’re in an all-caps yelling frenzy you’re not going to take the time to walk through the technicalities of white and black on the light spectrum, but that’s how I roll.
Massive FG to look NFG
When you say “the new TLD stuff is loud and over the top,” that’s like saying the new Lambo looked a little ostentatious. Yeah, mission accomplished, sport. Oh, and you said the overhyped helmet preview video clip was overhyped. Cool, who cares? 
TLD is one of those companies that, in my book, gets a pass on all that. They have so carefully built their brand around being the ostentatious racer boy #1 Ricky Bobby of the MTB world that I don’t worry about them overhyping their new products or riders, I’m worried when they don’t. Sam Hill, Steve Smith, Steve Peat, NaPalm, and an endless list of guys were built into heroes and legends because TLD ran ads, made kits, sponsored movies, and built a persona that made them look like complete badasses. No one has ever looked at a Canuckian Freehucker in a Dakine kit and thought, “wow, girls will tear my clothes off if I become that guy because he makes my dad look like a pussy.”

Most clothing companies in the mountain bike world try to make you look like a high school dropout stoner listening to Primus with his bros, building shitty trails in BFE British Columbia, but TLD makes you look fast when you’re sitting still.
Making heroes look like legends. Making legends look like gods. Probably making your slow ass look a little faster, too.
So congratulations, Mr. Trivial, you have a website, and it even gets read by some people. From this day on, everything you ever say will be criticized by people who are dumber than you, by people who are smarter than you, and mostly by people who do not have your best interests in heart.
Welcome to the club.
And by the way, if you think I’m just sucking up to TLD here, you’re absolutely right. You 100% nailed it. I’ve been paying full retail like a chump for TLD stuff since I started racing, because I suck at riding bikes and I need whatever help I can get to not look like a total Joey. Okay, okay, I’ve gotten a shop deal a couple times, but the point is, TLD can mail me free stuff anytime. If all I have to do is just talk about how sweet it looks on my stupid blog, I’m totally willing to sell whatever shred of dignity I have left. Maybe I could even offer them some “product testing.” So Troy, baby, I’m here whenever you’re ready. Let’s talk.

4 thoughts on “Copy cats

  1. The funniest thing in all of this, is the use of the word 'marketing campaign'…hahaha

    We don't have any 'campaign'. I invited some mag dudes out to our laguna shop, told them how we made the damn thing, Troy told em how rad the graphic process is, showed some tech, safety stuff, we went for a ride, I took some horrific photos that didnt even come out, we had tacos and everyone went home. Then we put together a press release the day of the 'launch' and had our in house video guy masa, whip up a video. There it is, the guy behind the curtain telling you about our campaign…it parallels apple, motorola, nike, adidas, gatorade, etc!

    We put all our time and money into RnD and design and our athletes, not hocus pocus bullshit, but I am glad you guys think so!

  2. You just violated the number one rule of satirical blogging! That post was way too long. I'd read a book and actually learn something if I wanted to use that kind of attention span. The blogosphere is supposed to enable ADD not treat it. My God.

    HB! Did they/he/she/it(robot?) get sued out of existence or what? That was the best mtb Internet at the time.

    Keep up the evil deeds.

  3. Great post, as always. But you know I'm stronger on stage-right, so next time please use the other photo.

  4. I am butt hurt my site wasn't mentioned as being copied. I started this MTB blogging gossip bullshit, 'when you were in diapers!' haha. I will live, if I made it through everyone saying we blew it by making a couple hundred gold helmets, I can live knowing you never heard of stiksandstones. [smiley face]

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