Eat my dust!

Posted by Alexandre Douzet

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June 26, 2013

Wow, what a week we just had at TheLadders!

Our native iOS mobile app went live on the App Store last week and was featured exclusively in TechCrunch on June 18th.

In just one week, the app has been downloaded more than 100,000 times, rising to the top ranks on the App Store and claiming the number-one spot in the “Free “and “Business” categories and joining the “Top 50 Apps” overall. It is a great achievement and testament to the hard work we put into developing our iOS app. Although dozens of career apps exist, none of them were built with the on-the-go job seeker in mind. We have designed a clean, intuitive interface to streamline the job-matching experience. As a result, our team was not surprised by the app’s first-week performance.

Last Thursday, I was in San Francisco to unveil the app at our San Francisco JobMobile event to TheLadders' employer community, which boasts more than 40,000 nationwide.

That same night, after the event, I boarded a plane at midnight from San Francisco International Airport and flew to Montreal, Canada, (via Detroit) and drove two hours on Friday to go to Mont-Tremblant in Quebec to participate this past Sunday in the Ironman 70.3 Executive Challenge.

The Ironman Executive challenge is a race within the race for C-level executives around the world. During our three days in Mont-Tremblant, we had the opportunity to meet several professional athletes such as fellow Frenchman and 2012 title winner Romain Guillaume and other 2012 winner Magali Tisseyre. Linsey Corbin, who won the Ironman Female pro title this past Sunday (ahead of Magali) also finished eighth in the Ironman World championship in Kona, Hawaii, in 2012.

During breakfast, I sat next to Magali and Lindsey and discovered that although they compete against each other during the race, they also train together during the year. Linsey claimed that her psychological advantage over Magali is that she gets into her opponent’s head by writing on the soles of her running sneakers: “Eat my dust.”

Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant was my fourth Ironman 70.3 race, but also my first within the Executive Challenge category. I was nervous about entering this competition as eight out of 10 competitors have previously qualified for the World Championship of full-distance Ironman in Kona.

For instance, Brian Weaver, the overall winner of this year’s challenge, finished the race in 4:29:39. Brian ranked 33 overall out of 2,500 racers, finishing three minutes behind Linsey and nine seconds ahead of Magali, who finished second in the pro-female category. Not bad for a CEO who races in Ironman races on the side for fun!

Despite a poor swim start, I worked my way up the ranks during the bike portion to complete the 56-mile bike ride in 2:48:49.

However, it came with a price. At mile 44 on the bike, I started to suffer from cramps, which returned during the first mile of the run at the bottom of the first hill. At that point, I was ready to give up and endure my first DNF (“Did Not Finish,” a designation given in a race, indicating that the competitor did not finish)when a friend of mine ran by and said: “Alex…walk!” So, I started walking. Eventually, I was able to run for another 1.5 miles, but the mighty cramps came back. I stopped and stretched, but nothing helped. Despite the cramps, I decided to resume my run. My strategy was simple: “Toughen up, Man!” I said to myself. The main source of motivation for my suffering was that I was in the lead for the PR challenge.

PR Challenge Slot  One (1) additional Ironman 70.3 World Championship slot will be awarded at each Ironman 70.3 XC Series Event in 2013 to the athlete with the Most Improved Personal Record.

I ended up running the 13.1 miles with cramps in 1:52:32 and finished in 5:31:40. I ranked fourth in the under-49 years of age category of the Executive Challenge and claimed the overall PR slot.

For the first time in my triathlete career, I will be competing among 1,800 athletes at the World Championship of Ironman 70.3 in Las Vegas on September 8, 2013, which is a qualification-only race. More than 60,000 athletes around the world compete each year for a coveted slot at the World Championship.

Over the past seven days, I've learned three valuable lessons:

    • As PayPal co-founder, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and hedge fund manager Peter Thiel said, “Sometimes, the last mover’s advantage matters more than the first mover’s.” Our native iOS app’s performance this week demonstrates that.
    • It is not because the little “evil” voice in your head is telling you to quit that it is actually acceptable to quit. I have met too many executives who do not have the mental discipline to “tough it up,” so they just surrender!
    • To anyone who wants to follow our lead in the native iOS mobile app world: Eat my dust!


Alexandre Douzet is the CEO and Co-founder of TheLadders, the premier mobile and online job-matching service for career-driven professionals. In this role, Alex is responsible for the company strategy, global business operations, and product development. Follow Alex on Twitter at @ADouzet.


Topics: #TheLaddersLife