Dear Affiliates, CFHQ and the CrossFit Community,
Unless you've been sleeping under a rock or accidentally disabled your Twitter and Facebook accounts, you've probably heard that Anthos Capital is attempting to purchase a stake in CrossFit. To the untrained eye this may appear to be an innocuous development. However, for those of us that remember the initial reaction to news of the Reebok partnership, it was immediately evident that this was a big deal from the start.
Never before has an outside investment group been allowed to own even a sliver of this great company, and now we have a former Goldman Sachs derivatives trader vying to purchase the “50% ownership” stake of Lauren Glassman, the soon to be ex-wife of Coach. To understand what I believe to be the future of the company if Anthos is allowed to own a stake, you need to look no further than Bryan Kelly, the man whom Anthos has positioned to spearhead this venture.
Bryan Kelly, according to his LinkedIn page, boasts a pre-Anthos resume' that peaks with his role as a derivatives trader for Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs is one of the companies "credited" with the collapse of the United States economy by profiteering at the expense of the American public. They have been called "bankers who have brought the global economy to its knees"- but you might remember them as the guys who needed a federal bail out, then used it to give themselves Christmas bonuses. The words "deceptive" and "immoral" are ones used by a U.S. Senator in describing the company and its practices.
Bryan should be embarrassed, not proud, to have worked for this company.
According to a former VP from Goldman Sachs, who was also a derivatives trader and in fact is also an alumni from the same university as Mr. Kelly, writing in an OP/ED piece for The NY Times, sacrificing the best interests of the client to make more money for the company is exactly what the corporate culture of Goldman Sachs is about:
- "I have always taken a lot of pride in advising my clients to do what I believe is right for them, even if it means less money for the firm. This view is becoming increasingly unpopular at Goldman Sachs...."
- What are three quick ways to become a leader? a) Execute on the firm’s “axes,” which is Goldman-speak for persuading your clients to invest in the stocks or other products that we are trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profit. b) “Hunt Elephants.” In English: get your clients — some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren’t — to trade whatever will bring the biggest profit to Goldman...
In essence Bryan Kelly, who has already made his living trading exotic investments that brought the financial world to the brink of failure and devastated untold numbers of lives and businesses, is now poised to bring his "talents" to this great company and community.
This community is so strong and so powerful on so many levels that it cannot be allowed to fail, which is exactly what it would do under the guidance and direction of Anthos Captial.
There is nothing more to say about Lauren Glassman other than I think that she is obviously a greedy, vindictive, spiteful woman looking to cash in on someone else’s dream... oh, and she is horrible at reading cue cards before a camera and seeming genuine.
Recently, all affiliates were sent back-to-back emails by Lauren and Bryan in an attempt to address the fears, concerns, and supposed falsehoods that have been circulating regarding this matter. At best these emails and the attached YouTube video were patronizing. Quite frankly I do not know who in the community gives a flying f$%& about Bryan Kelly’s various CrossFit benchmark times or PR’s. This does not make me feel like he is one of us; it makes me question his intellect and common sense, not to mention his honesty.
What I want to know is why he is so determined to own a stake in a company that already loathes him. I have no interest in his CrossFit goals. I want to know whether it was his idea or Lauren’s to video their conversation a la CrossFit’s widespread use of videos for disseminating information. This did not make them seem sincere, it made them look absolutely ridiculous. They looked uncomfortable, they failed to produce valuable or insightful conversation and they proved that if your heart is not in it then you come across as shallow and out of touch.
Bryan Kelly cannot suggest that he cares deeply about this community as he lacks any and all ties. Although he supposedly did CrossFit at some point, he no longer does so at an affiliate. Generally, when you care about a community, you care enough to become (and remain) a part of it.
He has no emotional investment in what this community means, he merely sees dollar signs. If there is no interest in owning a controlling interest in CrossFit, then there should be no interest at all. We want owners that are fully vested and stand to lose everything if the community falters, not owners that can sell out at anytime for any reason. Perhaps Anthos currently has a patient supportive philosophy in their investment approach, but that means nothing in the long run; without a full commitment this philosophy could change overnight (if it suited their bottom line).
While Anthos supposedly believes in the natural growth prospects of CrossFit and Lauren believes Bryan can help take CrossFit to the next level, why would he do so? If he has no control then how will he guide this process? What insight does he have that the rest of us lack? It would appear that CrossFit has done well (all by ourselves), and quite frankly we do not need an investor telling us how to make us healthier or wealthier.
Plain and simple: Anthos is not wanted on the Board of Directors, at HQ, or even as an affiliate owner. Some of us would prefer that they not even be allowed to train at their local affiliate.
Why won't Anthos simply buy Lauren’s affiliate in Arizona and pay her the $20 million? Why? Because it would be a stupid investment, and not worth $20 million. Guess what? Pay $20 million for 50% of CrossFit and you will find yourself holding a very expensive pile of nothing. This community will never follow Anthos like they follow Coach - and if he moves on, so too will 4,000 plus affiliates - in which case Anthos will have proven what we already know (which is that they are fools).
Anthos: Quite frankly you are not wanted, go away.
Why do people, especially other allegedly passionate CrossFitters, think the rest of us are just big dumb (and gullible) animals? After all, it is our individual and collective intellect that led each of us to find a unique strength and conditioning program and subsequent community that is far superior to the rest for developing a comprehensive fitness. Apparently Lauren Glassman and Bryan Kelly did not get the memo, or maybe they missed the YouTube video (while they were trying to make one of their own), but we will not be fooled by their antics and deceptive words and we will fight them to the end.
Yes, divorce is an ugly process (we all remember what happened to the Los Angeles Dodgers), but a matter such as this needs to be handled in a way that the actions of one cannot destroy the hopes, dreams and potential livelihood of millions of others.
Crossfit The Rack