Magical. Exotic. Breathtaking. We all know the adjectives. But on this, my fifth ride to the great desert state, my motive was completely different: it had a purpose. The mission was not simply to suck in the colourful, blazing bliss like my past solo rides through this sacred part of the world. This time I was out to prove a concept. That concept is Two Wheeled Expeditions, the company I have founded to convert my 20 years of adventure motorcycling for fun into adventure motorcycling as a business.
If twenty years in the enterprise software and management consulting business has taught me anything, it is that to prove a concept, you cannot simulate or theorize. You have to do it. When I was head of QA for the nerve-wracking, gut-wrenching cutover of Chevron’s old ERP system to their new, $500m SAP instance, we literally ran the two systems in parallel, a team of 800 consultants monitoring every process, until we were sure that every process, every data conversion and every interface worked as designed. Borrowing from that experience, we conducted a ‘beta’ ride of our adventure touring processes with a group of friends – ne’er do wells, one and all – to see where we were on target and where we got it totally wrong.
Let me say up front that conducting a beta test of an adventure ride through Rajasthan is a fuck ton more fun than simulating the production cutover of a system implemented to run the critical processes of a $150 billion company. Yes, we had sleepless nights on the road but those had more to do with the free flow of Monkey Shoulder than the mortal fear of a catastrophic system failure.
Not that trying to keep a bunch of India-nube / motorbike-nube knuckleheads out of a ditch wasn’t challenging: there was barely a moment when I was not playing first-aid scenarios through my head. But the experience provided to me as head of client experience for this new company had value that was incalculable. It gave us a constant barometer of what worked well and what didn’t along the dimensions of route, ride, pace, accommodations, food, etc; it taught me the value of flexibility and using the DJ-method of changing up your beats to adjust to the mood of the crowd; it showed me how giving clients the opportunity to test their limits or try something new is a critical part of the experience and, finally, it reminded me that every group of clients will bring its own dynamic and we, as leaders of the experience, need to be smart enough to re-tool our approach based on that dynamic. Sometimes your crew will include a total dick. Sometimes a wallflower. Both have to be catered to in a way that contributes to the successful outcome of the experience for the whole.
We also beta-tested a concept called ‘Experience Capture’, a process whereby we use professional photographers, videographers, drone pilots and post-production experts to capture the experience of the expedition in a way that brings friends and family along for the ride and provides our riders with a beautiful, indelible record of their adventure. The fact that our head of experience capture blew all of our minds with his images indicated to me that this aspect of our service was a success. Yes, we have some tweaking to do. But for our purposes and from the feedback of our guests, the concept has been proven and Two Wheeled Expeditions has been greenlighted for production rollout starting in early 2019.
Stay posted for the launch of our hyper-beautiful web site. It will contain all the info you need to know to join us on what may well be the most incredible experience of your lifetime.
Bookmark our website URL at Two Wheeled Expeditions (The site is currently under development but it will be a thing of beauty.)