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Old 02-14-2012, 01:42 PM   #51
Philip Mancini Jr.
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Re: Who has ownership of FGB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisbeth Darsh View Post
Philip, if that's how you feel I doubt there is much I can do to convince you otherwise. But I am HQ -- me and a bunch of hard-working, caring folks who do a lot of work you don't see. I'm okay with that. And I'm willing to bet there are quite a few affiliates who do see how much I care.

I wish you the best in your affiliate, Philip. I'm going to get back to working hard for the affiliates now, whether you believe that or not.
This might be one reason why people stay off the message boards. Comments being taken out of context. I never said HQ staff doesn't work hard. But it's clear that the motivation is to increase affiliates, not make them better. I'm not whining or saying that it's right or wrong, just calling it as I see it. I do get a bit cynical when HQ takes on a fight and turns it into a fight for the affiliates.

I'm also not making personal attacks and I don't feel like anyone is personally attacking me. Healthy communication should be confrontational from time to time, in my opinion. But I find it interesting that the comment taken out of context was the, HQ doesn't care comment. What about the observations that came before and after that? If I'm out of line, call me on it! I'm a big boy, I can take it.

I wouldn't be so invested in this organization if I wasn't completely sold out and passionate about CrossFit. I rarely hark back to the good ol times, but I will say that I was there in the beginning when Greg and Lauren were working out of 1000 sqft box in Soquel. I'm amazed at what has been accomplished in such a short time, but I'm also not going to wax poetically and ignore problems when I see them. A healthy organization would welcome such concerns, not marginalize them.
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Old 02-15-2012, 01:19 PM   #52
Donald Clarkson
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Re: Who has ownership of FGB?

Dale,

Thanks very much for the update. I appreciate you taking the time to bring us up to speed.

Don
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Old 02-16-2012, 12:06 AM   #53
Russell Berger
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Re: Who has ownership of FGB?

Philip,
I’m a little late to this conversation, but I’ve been following it and I’d like a chance to respond.

First, I don’t think anything you have expressed here really has much to do with Scott Zagarino or FGB. After reading through your posts it is pretty clear to me that you have a big chip on your shoulder about CrossFit HQ. This isn’t me trying to read your mind, I think you made it pretty clear with quotes like:

Quote:
“I've never received any assistance (rowers, judges, phone calls) from HQ, ever!!”


“I'm not defending anyone who resorts to threats, but HQ has done a fair bit of that on their own and driven out great people in the process. Not passing judgement, just calling it as I see it.”


“I'm also a bit skeptical that HQ is overly concerned about the success of my affiliate. HQ is concerned about creating affiliates, period. Again, not passing judgement, just calling it as I see it.”


“I just doubt HQ's motivations are solely to protect affiliates.”


“What has HQ done, specifically, to support affiliates? When we opened our box, we were one of about 2-3 in the area. Now there's at least 15-20. Just stating facts.”

You came into this discussion without much information on this FGB ordeal, and you have been pretty open about that. You’ve even stated that you would be willing to change your perspective on it if you had more “evidence” of CrossFit’s involvement in the FGB event. That’s fine too. What I want to call attention to is that your initial instinct is to side against HQ, not because you understand the details surrounding this case, but because of your self-admitted skepticism that HQ could ever be doing anything to help affiliates. Your presuppositions here (I am taking these directly from your posts) are that CFHQ is dishonest, bullying, and doesn’t care about your affiliate. Given this view, what other conclusion could you draw other than CFHQ is the big bad wolf coming to blow Zagarino’s house down?

Now let me give you another view of HQ, one that is shared by many. I am lucky enough to get to travel every single weekend, (and I have for years) as part of the HQ training department staff that conducts the CrossFit L1 courses for new CF trainers. I’ve been in hundreds of affiliates, trained thousands of L1 course participants, and personally instructed many of them who went on to open CF affiliates. Our commitment to setting these trainers up for success is second to none, and I have seen the quality and professionalism of our L1 course (as well as many other aspects of the CrossFit program) continually improve with time. If you went to your L1 prior to 2008, you would be seriously impressed at how we run the course now. Also, consider for the second the massive amount of work we undertook in internationally accrediting the L1. The hoops we were jumping through now to develop the Coaches certification are even more difficult. Do you remember the CrossFit Journal back in the day? Think of the massive improvements to that resource (which is virtually free).

Now ask yourself “why would CFHQ be constantly striving to improve its educational and certification-related products if it didn’t care about the quality and success of individual trainers and affiliates?” CF L1 courses were selling out long before I was on staff. HQ could have easily stopped educational improvement there if the goal was to simply maximize numbers of affiliates. Add to this the fact that we have implemented a test at the L1 is even more evidence that your opinion of HQ’s motives is simply irrational.

As for the “poor quality” trainer / “protect my affiliate” argument, I get it. I’ve heard it before and talked in person with CF trainers about it, and while there may be certain truths within these claims, the interpretation of those truths, and more importantly what you want HQ to do about it is rarely black and white. Most of the time these conversations end up in the complaining affiliate wanting HQ to use its power to limit opportunities and choice for others. There are over 30 affiliates in 30 square miles of the city I grew up in and 99% of them are knocking out walls and starting waiting lists for new clients. In my opinion, this is just reason to believe the problem is in how you choose to interpret your situation rather than it being a reality.


Now you might still disagree with me on these points, and that is fine, but lets be really honest here and acknowledge that your skepticism on this FGB issues has little to do with the facts of the case and a lot more to do with your existing bias against HQ. If you look honestly at what Zagarino has tried to do to our affiliates, its obviously wrong. Admitting that doesn’t mean you have to like Lisbeth or me or anyone else.
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:08 AM   #54
Philip Mancini Jr.
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Re: Who has ownership of FGB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell Berger View Post
Philip,
I’m a little late to this conversation, but I’ve been following it and I’d like a chance to respond.

First, I don’t think anything you have expressed here really has much to do with Scott Zagarino or FGB. After reading through your posts it is pretty clear to me that you have a big chip on your shoulder about CrossFit HQ. This isn’t me trying to read your mind, I think you made it pretty clear with quotes like:




You came into this discussion without much information on this FGB ordeal, and you have been pretty open about that. You’ve even stated that you would be willing to change your perspective on it if you had more “evidence” of CrossFit’s involvement in the FGB event. That’s fine too. What I want to call attention to is that your initial instinct is to side against HQ, not because you understand the details surrounding this case, but because of your self-admitted skepticism that HQ could ever be doing anything to help affiliates. Your presuppositions here (I am taking these directly from your posts) are that CFHQ is dishonest, bullying, and doesn’t care about your affiliate. Given this view, what other conclusion could you draw other than CFHQ is the big bad wolf coming to blow Zagarino’s house down?

Now let me give you another view of HQ, one that is shared by many. I am lucky enough to get to travel every single weekend, (and I have for years) as part of the HQ training department staff that conducts the CrossFit L1 courses for new CF trainers. I’ve been in hundreds of affiliates, trained thousands of L1 course participants, and personally instructed many of them who went on to open CF affiliates. Our commitment to setting these trainers up for success is second to none, and I have seen the quality and professionalism of our L1 course (as well as many other aspects of the CrossFit program) continually improve with time. If you went to your L1 prior to 2008, you would be seriously impressed at how we run the course now. Also, consider for the second the massive amount of work we undertook in internationally accrediting the L1. The hoops we were jumping through now to develop the Coaches certification are even more difficult. Do you remember the CrossFit Journal back in the day? Think of the massive improvements to that resource (which is virtually free).

Now ask yourself “why would CFHQ be constantly striving to improve its educational and certification-related products if it didn’t care about the quality and success of individual trainers and affiliates?” CF L1 courses were selling out long before I was on staff. HQ could have easily stopped educational improvement there if the goal was to simply maximize numbers of affiliates. Add to this the fact that we have implemented a test at the L1 is even more evidence that your opinion of HQ’s motives is simply irrational.

As for the “poor quality” trainer / “protect my affiliate” argument, I get it. I’ve heard it before and talked in person with CF trainers about it, and while there may be certain truths within these claims, the interpretation of those truths, and more importantly what you want HQ to do about it is rarely black and white. Most of the time these conversations end up in the complaining affiliate wanting HQ to use its power to limit opportunities and choice for others. There are over 30 affiliates in 30 square miles of the city I grew up in and 99% of them are knocking out walls and starting waiting lists for new clients. In my opinion, this is just reason to believe the problem is in how you choose to interpret your situation rather than it being a reality.


Now you might still disagree with me on these points, and that is fine, but lets be really honest here and acknowledge that your skepticism on this FGB issues has little to do with the facts of the case and a lot more to do with your existing bias against HQ. If you look honestly at what Zagarino has tried to do to our affiliates, its obviously wrong. Admitting that doesn’t mean you have to like Lisbeth or me or anyone else.
Russell,

Thanks for taking the time to write a response. You're the first person who's ever accused me of having a chip on my shoulder about HQ. I also never said HQ was dishonest and take a little offense to that statement since dishonesty is just a nicer way of calling someone a liar, which is something I NEVER do unless I have specific knowledge of that. So I think that's a little out of line, but like me, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I also don't have personal feelings about people I don't know, you, Lisbeth, or Dale. My assumption is that you're all hardworking people, since I don't know otherwise. My comments and opinions were based around the FGB issue and HQ's motivation toward protecting affiliates. You didn't address the specifics of that, and maybe you can't for legal reasons. In my opinion, HQ doesn't communicate well with affiliates. My comments were based around that and the notion that the fight is a fight to protect affiliates.

I also never brought up the L1 certs. They are better than when I started and I've seen the quality improvement first hand. However, getting a L1 cert may make you a better trainer, but it doesn't prepare you to run an affiliate, nor was it designed to. Those are two separate issues that you're combining to make a point.

The L1 cert is second to many other programs that are specifically designed to help trainers open and run successful businesses. That's not a knock against the L1, but an acknowledgement that it takes more than a 2-day course to obtain the expertise necessary to address the complexities of movement, injuries, programming, marketing, and everything else that goes into running a box. It sounds like your home town is doing well with affiliates and I wasn't aware that they report their successes to HQ. I have doubts that their success revolved around the L1, but I'm not calling you a liar for saying that, I just think there's probably more to it. Calling me "irrational" because I failed to give the L1 proper credit is just a tactic to undermine my opinion. I'm also not "taking sides". I've never met Scott and know a lot more people on HQ staff who I have a great deal of respect for. I'm just providing my own personal opinion and perspective.

The CrossFit Journal is a great resource, but it wasn't improved or designed to help affiliates. It was improved to attract more customers, which is the point. I had a great conversation with Coach about the journal years ago where he explained the business model that would drive its success. The journal isn't "virtually free", the price is set to attract the most customers. The framework and format is designed to decrease overhead and increase the profit margin, just like any successful business. There may be articles that benefit L1 trainers and affiliates, but the CFJ isn't specifically designed for that purpose.

Finally, I also never said or asked HQ to "protect my affiliate". I simply stated that HQ is concerned about creating affiliates, period. I'm not "interpreting" my situation any specific way, nor am I sitting here bashing HQ for not doing more for me. HQ doesn't have any "complaints" from my affiliate regarding competition or the explosion of affiliates. My point was that HQ cares about creating affiliates and the numbers prove that.

Most of your comments centered around your perception that I had an issue with HQ. I don't. You didn't address any of the questions I asked revolving around the FGB event in June and the motivation for it (which is where this whole debate got started). Maybe you don't have specifics, that's fine, but turning my comments into a referendum on HQ isn't accurate.
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:53 AM   #55
Russell Berger
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Re: Who has ownership of FGB?

Phil,


Phil,
I’ll keep this quick and to the point.


I didn’t address any of your specific questions about the FGB issue becasue Dale and Russ Greene already have. There is enough information publicly available on this subject to draw a fair conclusion about Zagarino’s actions and in my opinion you have not offered anything new or insightful on this subject so I left it to them. The point of my post was to draw attention to your skepticism and question its origin.

- I won’t put words in your mouth but when HQ is telling you our position and you question the truth and motive of that position, I call that questioning HQ’s honesty. If there is another way to interpret this that's fine, but its not unreasonable for me to take that from what you said and I’m sure I’m not alone.

-I didn’t call you irrational, I called your opinion of HQ’s motives irrational. I think your argument that CrossFit HQ’s motives are all profit and number driven is invalid. You have given no justification for believing that HQ’s motives are profit driven other than your presuppositions about its business motives being profit-driven...leading in a circle.

The one exception to this is the quote from Greg glassman you provided, which Is completely accurate but fails to account for the fact that a successful businesses can care about profit, overhead, and business model and also care about quality of product, constituents, and customer satisfaction. In fact I would argue you can't have one without the other. Greg has been quoted numerous times as explaining that his intention from the beginning was not to chase money with marketing but to chase success with product quality and money followed.

- Finally you say that you don’t have an issue with HQ. If you don’t then you are either saying the quotes above don’t really reflect your opinions about HQ or you are completely at peace with a business acting in the ways you described, which I would not be... So unless I have missed a third option which is it?
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Old 02-16-2012, 11:44 AM   #56
Philip Mancini Jr.
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Re: Who has ownership of FGB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell Berger View Post
Phil,


Phil,
I’ll keep this quick and to the point.


I didn’t address any of your specific questions about the FGB issue becasue Dale and Russ Greene already have. There is enough information publicly available on this subject to draw a fair conclusion about Zagarino’s actions and in my opinion you have not offered anything new or insightful on this subject so I left it to them. The point of my post was to draw attention to your skepticism and question its origin.

- I won’t put words in your mouth but when HQ is telling you our position and you question the truth and motive of that position, I call that questioning HQ’s honesty. If there is another way to interpret this that's fine, but its not unreasonable for me to take that from what you said and I’m sure I’m not alone.

-I didn’t call you irrational, I called your opinion of HQ’s motives irrational. I think your argument that CrossFit HQ’s motives are all profit and number driven is invalid. You have given no justification for believing that HQ’s motives are profit driven other than your presuppositions about its business motives being profit-driven...leading in a circle.

The one exception to this is the quote from Greg glassman you provided, which Is completely accurate but fails to account for the fact that a successful businesses can care about profit, overhead, and business model and also care about quality of product, constituents, and customer satisfaction. In fact I would argue you can't have one without the other. Greg has been quoted numerous times as explaining that his intention from the beginning was not to chase money with marketing but to chase success with product quality and money followed.

- Finally you say that you don’t have an issue with HQ. If you don’t then you are either saying the quotes above don’t really reflect your opinions about HQ or you are completely at peace with a business acting in the ways you described, which I would not be... So unless I have missed a third option which is it?
Russell,

We could go back and forth all day. I don't think you can have an explosion of affiliates and still expect the quality to remain high. The L1 certs are much better and the coaches I've seen teaching them are excellent. But an L1 cert, in an of itself, isn't enough to start an affiliate. Is that a problem for HQ to solve? Who knows? And like I said before, the sheer number of L1 certs demonstrates the profit motive. And I never said there was anything wrong with that.

Getting back to the FGB issue. If Scott did something wrong, he should have been handled back in 2005 or 2006. How was he able to trademark the name if HQ was so involved from the beginning? There's gotta be more to the story. Now a significant number of affiliates are left wondering who's in the right, and it's not reasonable to expect affiliates to pick sides when the event has been promoted by Sportsgrants for the past several years.

Just my opinion.
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Old 02-16-2012, 01:03 PM   #57
Russell Berger
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Re: Who has ownership of FGB?

Phil,
-If you are implying that the growth of Affiliates (individual trainers and entrepreneurs) is evidence of an uncaring numbers-driven business model for HQ, then you are right about going in circles. Unless you’ve got anything to justify your opinions other than your opinions, this is pointless. It’s ok, I went to public school too.

-Scott Threatened affiliates this year, not in 2005. He made us aware of his ethics this year, hence FGB became an issue this year.

-You can register a trademark online. It would take little effort for me to go out and register “Fran” without having to ask permission of CrossFit.

-If an affiliate wants to side with Zagarino because the event has been associated with him for the last few years, great. I hope the majority of them have the sense and moral character to do what’s right and not what’s familiar.
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:45 PM   #58
Brian R Smith
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Re: Who has ownership of FGB?

The only complaint I have is the CFHQ event is not donating to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

This Foundation means a lot to me and the veteran members of my affiliate. We will not support the September event. All money raised at my affiliate will be split and a check will be sent directly to the warrior foundation and St. Judes. I don't want money coming out of our box to go into a lawyers pocket.

My point is that everyone on this thread is missing the point. We do a silly little workout to raise money for some great causes. The money raised is just a small dent to what is really needed to make a difference.
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Old 02-23-2012, 04:45 PM   #59
Russell Greene
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Re: Who has ownership of FGB?

Brian,

I share your concern for the SOWF and I applaud you for raising money for it.

The issue here, is that Sportsgrants does not want you to be able to use FGB to raise money for charity on your own. In fact, they have sent cease and desist notices to affiliates for doing what you're doing.

CrossFit, on the other hand, will allow your affiliate to use whatever CrossFit workout you choose to support whatever cause you choose.
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:52 PM   #60
Tom McFarlane
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Re: Who has ownership of FGB?

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Originally Posted by Brian R Smith View Post
The only complaint I have is the CFHQ event is not donating to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

This Foundation means a lot to me and the veteran members of my affiliate. We will not support the September event. All money raised at my affiliate will be split and a check will be sent directly to the warrior foundation and St. Judes. I don't want money coming out of our box to go into a lawyers pocket.

My point is that everyone on this thread is missing the point. We do a silly little workout to raise money for some great causes. The money raised is just a small dent to what is really needed to make a difference.


The charity is the point, not some p****** match between HQ and Sportsgrants. If Sportsgrants can run a good event that raises a lot of money, we should all get behind that. If HQ can do the same, we should all get behind that as well.
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