How Steve Jobs helped reinvent the fitness industry
October 6, 2011
Categories: Equipment & Training
I actually had another blog written today, but the news of Steve Jobs passing pretty much trumped everything so I thought it would be appropriate to consider for a minute what kind of impact he might have had on YOUR business. And in thinking about this blog (As usual no real research was done but in this case I really didn’t have time) I was surprised how many different ways your facility was impacted.
First I have always maintained that Steve Jobs was the Bubble Yum/Doublemint/Chiclet/Hubba Bubba of technologist. Why yes I did just compare one of the greatest minds of our generation (and maybe of all time) to gum. Let me explain. He made it so that the stuff we buy and use, we use more of. He made it sticky. You no longer needed to understand software and hardware to be able to harness the power of technology. He took what lots of us wanted, POWERFUL technologies, combined in a simple interface and said use it. Use it a lot. The more you use the better your life will be.
And a lot of companies have followed this same principle. Maybe not to the same level of execution as Apple, but they are striving for it.
Apple’s impact on how customers use the gym is unparalled – from the 100’s of white earbuds along the treadmill line pumping inspiration on iTunes playlists titled “Workout Mix”, to the iPad kiosks we now use for self-service check-in, to iPhone check-in, and even customized Apps that Equinox, Golds, and many others offer for free to members.
But look at Apple’s impact on the design of our equipment.
I would take the example of treadmills. Treadmills are amazing because nothing really has changed in a treadmill in the last 30 years. Before every equipment maker breaks down my door let me explain. The best way people interface with a treadmill is one foot in front of the next and repeat over and over again…aka running. And for years the improvements were in the stuff your members don’t see. The power supplies, the decks, etc.
And nobody really gave it any real thought. It works, why change it.
But Steve Jobs made us reconsider all that. He made everything stickier by figuring out HOW else people could interact with the devices all around them better and more frequently so that people wanted to use these devices more. As he has said about Apple’s design, “Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer, that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
Steve Jobs made us think about what things would make us want to run in place for longer.
- It does matter what your treadmill looks like. Vibrant design and color have value beyond aesthetics. Have you seen a treadmill recently…they are works of art!
- Different people need different types of feedback to stay motivated. Not just how long or how far you ran but your heart rate, your speed, and your incline come to mind first. But now we add how you fared against yourself. Or how you did against your peers. Treadmills can talk to each other. Could you have imagined that just 10 years ago!
- You shouldn’t have to read something to use it. It should be intuitive. I remember the first few generations of treadmills that had all these new gadgets. You would get on, it would take 35 minutes (why yes I am being facetious) to set up the parameters for your run, and then off you went for 6 minutes. Now you step on, press one button and off you go. A child can figure it out.
And that’s just treadmills.
At Motionsoft, we have taken what Steve Jobs did for Apple and tried to bring it to this world, your world. And I don’t mean just that our software works on your iPhone, or iPad…which it does obviously. But we constantly think about how else can you use your software.
- What if every user could have their own interface
- What if getting started was really as simple as double clicking
- What if you can expect answer simply because you thought of a question
Lot’s of What If’s went into building MoSo. We questioned everything. Nothing was sacred, and nothing was untouchable. Every person in our company had a say. Every customer had a say. And it shows! We are proud of that!
Now for just a second look up and scan your surroundings. Look at all the things you have, and think back to the things they replaced 15 years ago. Think about how you used those things. And now think about how MANY more ways you use todays stuff. That’s Steve Jobs or as I like to think about him…Bazooka Steve.
Get, Keep, and Know your members with MoSo
October 6th, 2011 10:19 am