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Fitness + Technology

Welcome to the Fitness + Technology Podcast for club owners, operators, and fitness professionals! This show is your #1 trusted resource for the accelerating world of fitness technology. Each week, we bring you an expert interview with a global influencer at the crossroads of fitness and technology. You’ll get the insights, tools, and inspiration you need to stay connected to the pulse of what matters most for your fitness business in the age of exponential technologies. This podcast is brought to you by the Fitness Industry Technology Council, who is mobilizing resources to drive the fitness industry forward, and representing leading companies and organizations to success through collaboration. This show is supported by Vedere Ventures, a boutique investment and advisory firm helping early mature and late stage enterprises succeed in a new era. Hosted by wellness influencer and founder of Wellness Force, Josh Trent.
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Apr 4, 2017

On episode 21 we're spotlighting a few exceptional conversations with some of the top influencers at the crossroads of fitness and technology, live after the FIT-C roundtable meeting during IHRSA 2017 in Los Angeles.

With the options and choices of club software systems on the rise, how do APIs and the ability for cross communication between platforms benefit the health club?

Be sure to stick around for our second half of the show with Josh Donovan from GIVE Fitness -->

In this first segment, were talking with fitness technology expert, Karl Etzel, about APIs (application program interfaces) and how they can help in both monetization and in serving the customer. For health club executives and owners, API functionality is an important topic to consider when purchasing technology systems. 

Karl Etzel is a Transformation Catalyst, Strategic Decision-Maker, and Technical Expert in fitness technology known for his entrepreneurial drive in developing vision and setting strategic direction in the face of fast-changing technology and market dynamics through effectively aligning products/channels/end-users. With a deep background in health and fitness, cloud services / PaaS, online marketing, and SMB enablement, Karl brings a strong professional expertise to the industry space around program management and product management roles. 

Karl is talking with us on the show about API's, or application program interfaces. Simply put, an application programming interface allows software systems to talk to one another. When you as a human being sit down to use a piece of software you use a user interface (UI), and when one piece of software wants to use another piece of software, they use an (API). 

Listen To Episode 021 As Karl Uncovers

  • How the open API can increase revenue for clubs through smart data sharing  
  • Why have APIs become so important in app and web service development
  • Who should know about APIs in the club and how does that relate to their fitness business
  • What are some common mistakes when planning APIs
  • The growing segments of APIs being used to create further developments of niche markets 
  • Why "Agile Development" and live beta testing are now standard practices
  • How API’s enable better business model innovation, which is one of the most powerful and sustainable competitive advantages
  • Why “owning the customer” looses in business vs. "serving the customer" 
  • Security threats and issues to watch for with APIs 
  • Using tethered CRM, POS, and ERP systems with APIs 
  • Understanding the best types of data sets that are commonly used with an API in clubs 
  • Karl's interest in the future of Cognitive Performance 

Top 3 Takeaways From The Show 

  • In the world of fitness tracking, we see many APIs, and there's now many different models emerging that will deliver even more value to the customer. The continued fracturing of the market and development of more niche models are exciting as the type of contextualized data that is being shared helps to monetize and serve customers in a progressive and powerful way.
  • As the market grows and as customers and consumers expect faster innovation that APIs will enable, one of the reasons people are resistant to opening APIs is because they don't want to "lose the customer they own" but the reality is that you don't own the customer, you serve the customer. The people who resist this idea of opening up is born out of a mentality of scarcity. What most people don't realize is how much revenue they can drive with an open API and a new mindset.
  • API’s enable better business model innovation, which is one of the most powerful and sustainable competitive advantages in all industries. APIs make it really easy to innovate and build things quickly. The old-school engineering model of software development is gone and agile development, two week release cycles, live beta testing and rapid iteration are now the norm. For the club owner, karl believes that you don't necessarily want to share your data outward, but you do want to share it among your own systems until you get to a certain scale where population data could make things interesting. The real key with API integrations is to understand your segment in entirety and have a clear picture of what problem you're trying to solve.

    Power Quotes From Karl

"For the club operator, the question you want to ask is, does your solution vendor have an API that makes it easier for me to integrate my system with other solutions? If you are a technology company executive, you should be thinking about how APIs plug into your business at the strategy level. APIs are not just a technical detail that you can leave to engineering." - Karl Etzel on the Fitness + Technology Podcast

"APIs make it really easy to innovate and build things quickly. The old-school engineering model of software development is gone and agile development, two week release cycles, live beta testing and rapid iteration are now the norm. For the club owner, you don't necessarily want to share your data outward, but you do want to share it among your own systems until you get to a certain scale where population data could make things interesting. The real key with API integrations is to understand your segment in entirety and have a clear picture of what problem you're trying to solve." - Karl Etzel on the Fitness + Technology Podcast

Resources Mentioned From Karl

Josh Donovan: Using Fitness Technology To Give 

In this featured segment we're talking with the Owner of GIVE Fitness in Atascadero, CA Josh Donovan about technology focused member sales and engagement approaches that are changing the way for-profit and nonprofit businesses interact in health and fitness. 

Josh is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and 13-year fitness industry professional who years ago was looking for a way to use his experience and understanding of the fitness industry to “create a different type of fitness product” with a focus on using technology. After meeting Matt Holguin, the founder of Working to Give (WTG), a for-profit company with a singular purpose-driven business model, together, Donovan and Holguin created WTG’s Fitness Division and in 2013, launched GIVE Fitness.

With Working To Give, 50% of its profits are reinvested in the firm to sustain growth, and the other 50% is contributed to the local community. Since its opening, the GIVE Fitness club has acquired over 3,000 members and donated more than $50,000 to Atascadero-area initiatives. A member of the Fitness Industry Technology Council, Josh Donovan believes it’s important for the industry to integrate technology into the prospect and member experience to truly connect with consumers to understand them at their deepest needs and desires.

Listen To Episode 021 As Josh Uncovers

  • What Josh has learned over the past three years when it comes to understanding what technologies help club operations the absolute most.
  • Why GIVE Fitness is a "cashless environment" with no membership staff or sales team and why all sales are integrated through the website.
  • How to use technology to change the way for-profit businesses and nonprofit businesses interact
  • How to sustain nonprofit efforts combined with profitable health clubs in the fitness industry
  • Why being fluid and flexible when creating a culture in your health club is paramount
  • Why using social media in real time is a powerful tool for transparency and trust ability
  • Understanding the GIVE Fitness mission: “To exceed member expectations at every opportunity with fitness facilities that are maintained, affordable, accessible and safe.”
  • Why giving members something they truly can belong to will increase revenue and lower attrition
  • With the obesity epidemic in our country, why the GIVE Fitness ownership deemed it imperative to open up the market in order to make fitness more accessible and affordable to the community of Atascadero.
  • On a larger scale, why GIVE Fitness has established a vision to “Transform the fitness industry by becoming pillars in the communities in which we conduct business. We will do this by generously donating 50% of our profits to programs that strengthen personal character, create value in people and provide opportunities for personal growth.”

Top 3 Takeaways From The Show 

  • Josh believes that you don't use people to get things, you use the things to help people. It's important to understand what your members want and what your members need. The first step when selecting and in using any piece of technology is to have a grasp on who you're serving and why they want you to serve them. 
  • Josh and his business partner Matt are demonstrating that it is possible and profitable to have both a non-profit and for-profit business model using technology to thrive in our ever-changing fitness space. By providing an accessible fitness center for real people to come in, and driving sales through a cashless environment, this outside the box thinking has produced great results for GIVE Fitness.
  • With transparency in business for both nonprofits and for profit companies, in working together they must have a focus on communicating to staff that with all the technology devices out there, how do they use them to really help members? Because this entire process, in the end, is all about the member experience.

Power Quotes From Josh

"The heart of our business at GIVE Fitness is giving. We give 50% of our profits back to the community where we do business, so in order for that to happen we have to be a profitable fitness center first. Hitting member expectations and exceeding them becomes paramount because that has to happen before we have any funds to give. The obesity epidemic is real and it's something that I'm really passionate about. This is why I want to provide an accessible fitness center for people to better their lives, add years to their lives, and truly participate." - Josh Donovan on the Fitness + Technology Podcast

"In using new technologies, we had the unique opportunity in starting from the ground up to be intentional around creating our culture and to have it be something very specific. We all live in a world that's real time, so if I post something on Facebook about the gym and then post something about my personal life, our members don't see any differentiation around that." - Josh Donovan on the Fitness + Technology Podcast

Resources Mentioned From Josh

Support This Podcast

Thanks To Our Outstanding Sponsors

  • Bryan O’Rourke and his family of companies including Vedere VenturesIntegerus Advisors, and many more. If you are looking for unmatched guidance, capital, insights or a great speaker or facilitator, Bryan and his partners are the go to resource for your organization. To learn more visit bryankorourke.com

  • The Fitness Industry Technology Council, your non-profit resource for reliable technology information supported by forward looking brands who are seeking to drive increased technology adoption in the fitness industry. Make a difference and join FIT-C at fittechcouncil.org today

  • Check out Bryan and his partner Robert Dyer's recent book "9 Partnership Principles: A Story of Life Lessons" which is available now on Amazon.com

021 #IHRSA2017 LIVE: The Importance of APIs, Using Fitness Technology To Give     

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