Matt Taylor is the CEO & Co-Founder at Tracksmith, an independent running company that celebrates the competitive spirit and crafts premium quality gear engineered for runners. Launched in 2013, Matt has raised over $6 million in funding from Lerer Hippeau, Index Ventures, and Everlane’s Michael Preysman.
In the modern interplay among community, content, and commerce, Tracksmith leads the pack, building out a brick-and-mortar Trackhouse in Boston and launching Hare A.C., an offline racing community. Prior to Tracksmith, Matt served as Head of Marketing at Puma and ran at Yale.
On his morning routine. I try to run early in the morning before things get too busy. My wife and I trade off who gets to run first, so depending on the order, I’ll either get out and do some miles on the trails by my house outside Boston or spend some time getting my kids up and ready for the day. Once the run is done and we’re all clean and fed, I walk my kids to school and then head to the office.
On building Tracksmith with purpose. It has to do a lot with my background as an athlete. I ran in high school and college and really connected with the sense of purpose that came from competing both for myself and as a member of a team. All the major running brands got their start with this focus on the core runner: someone who is actively training with specific goals in mind.
But over time they’ve moved away from towards a more generic fitness approach. I believe that runners deserve better and wanted to build a brand that spoke to the mindset of an amateur runner who embraces training and racing as part of their identity and lifestyle.
On his mission statement. "Enjoy the process." As a runner, you learn early to embrace delayed gratification. You have to love the day-to-day grind, while also understanding that no single workout or race defines you as an athlete. This point of view shapes my approach to brand building as well. I think a lot of brands now look for the “fast track” to success. My aim with Tracksmith has always been to build a strong foundation that will set us up for the long term. That means staying disciplined and embracing a steady burn.
On prioritizing deep work. As CEO I’m pulled in a lot of directions, which makes it hard to carve out time for real deep work and creativity. I’ve made it a goal this year to set aside time on my calendar for this kind of work at the beginning of the day, and have asked my colleagues to respect it the best they can. It’s really important to have the opportunity to focus on longer-term and strategic projects and to ideate without the distraction of emails, meetings or the small tasks that can eat up your day and mind space. It’s kind of like running - you get the most out of the sport when you make room to take it seriously and really commit.
On variable training. I’m a runner and have been since I was young. My focus and goals have changed, though, with time. In college, I raced cross country and track. After college, I dabbled in the marathon and longer distance running. Now I find that - with time at a premium - I prefer training for shorter distances. My focus right now is racing a fast mile on the track. I enjoy the training because it’s more varied. Think speed and strength work, combined with distance. It’s more engaging and better suited for a busy schedule.
On his sleep routine. I’ve been blessed with the ability to quickly fall asleep, so I haven’t put much time into a specific routine. I take a few minutes to write in a journal and try my best to read each night before turning out the lights. I don’t bring my phone into our bedroom, so that helps minimize distractions and staring at screens right before bed.
— Matt Taylor, CEO & Co-Founder at Tracksmith