Home Lance Armstrong on Politics, Ego, and Twitter at Web 2.0 Summit

Lance Armstrong on Politics, Ego, and Twitter at Web 2.0 Summit

Cancer survivor, seven-time Tour de France champion – with the potential for more now that he’s announced he’s coming out of retirement – and Internet entrepreneur Lance Armstrong took to the stage with John Battelle at TechWeb/O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 Summit on Wednesday. The topics ranged from Barack Obama and his new administration to Twitter to the power of ego, mind, and body.


The conversation with Armstrong turned – several times – to that of politics. Was Armstrong in line to be named the “Cancer Czar” for the President-elect? Would he consider running for office after his athletic career was over? Armstrong shrugged off the questions, saying that cycling was most prevalent on his mind, currently.


Battelle and Armstrong spent a good portion of the conversation discussing ego, mind, and body in terms of Armstrong’s success. In his opinion, mind greatly influences body and ego – good and motivational ego – has a great deal to do with that.

Clearly, no one thing helped Armstrong defeat cancer and win seven Tours, but it was more than just mental acuity. Or, as he stated when couching the need for a balance between the mental and physical: “A donkey will never win the Kentucky Derby.” No matter how much that donkey wants to win.

Well known for his competitive spirit, Lance shared some insight into the internal forces that drive him and why, ultimately, he feels that “Winning is living. Losing is dying.”


The conversation took a decidedly techie bent when Battelle mentioned that Armstrong had been twittering from his phone back stage. Armstrong admitted that even with his brief use – less than two weeks – he found the service interesting.

The Twitter talk even revealed some of Armstrong’s competitive side as he quipped that the “dude who runs the shoe store” had more followers than he did, referring to @Zappos, the Twitter account for Zappo’s CEO Tony Hsieh.

Entrepreneurial Spirit

Armstrong has started livestrong.org, a non-profit designed to “inspire and empower people affected by cancer.” And the efforts around that property helped drive him to found a for-profit company, livestrong.com, as well.

The .com organization focuses on any challenge facing health and healthy lifestyles, from smoking to obesity to disease, encouraging users to “Dare to change your life.” In Armstrong’s view, the ability to help people change their lives has the potential to reduce the number of health problems in the world today.

“If .com is successful enough,” he said. “.org will be out of business.”

A very charismatic and driven individual, Armstrong makes for an interesting interview. Battelle is clearly a fan and that lends a great chemistry to the conversation. Armstrong is among one of the most inspirational figures in modern sport – and that translates well into inspiring all of us.

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