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Startups that combine exercise and social media
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Hi STers,

I am convinced to take the road less travelled. Speaking to many of my family and close friends have also encouraged me to take this leap of faith. I am prepared to risk, give everything up, quit my corporate job, and do something that I love - something that combines tech/social media with sport. Ideally, I want to motivate every human being out there to get hooked on the exercise endorphin high; to do to exercise what Google did to search. I'm aware that is a bold statement, but it makes it no less than my dream. I have always admired the people who were crazy enough to quit their corporate jobs to do something crazy that they believe in, now I'm ready to join the ranks.

Does anyone out there know people in these startups that are dealing with these ideas? I know mapmyride (Map my Fitness), Endomondo, Map My Tracks and Tribesports are some of the pioneers in this field. Or even some of the more popular ones like Garmin, Polar or Nike+. Does anyone have any leads on them? I have a couple of Linkedin connections but they are all 3rd degree and beyond, making referrals pretty unlikely. I would really appreciate any help I can get.

I did alot of thinking and have come up with close to 100 ideas on how to make existing platforms better, enhancing them via social media or gamification or intrinsic/extrinsic rewards. Ideally, I'm looking for a startup, or even just an internship. I'm willing to relocate to anywhere in the world. Several of my previous posts indicated a wanting to do something different, and I believe I have finally found the direction and the courage to take this next step.

Anyone? I'd be really appreciative of any help I can get. I know ST is a really helpful community :)


P.S. I figured I should probably talk a little about what I bring to the table. I'm natively fluent in both English and Chinese, and have been educated in America and Asia. I'm also very well in tune with the endurance sports user communities in multiple countries in Asia, which might be useful if the company is thinking of expanding into Asia, which is a huge and upcoming market. In addition, I am passionate and love triathlons and all things sport, and am always willing to learn. I have also had a startup attempt with bicycles. I might not be the fastest triathlete out there, but I don't think you need to be the fastest out there to run a successful startup for a good cause.
Last edited by: nick2u: Dec 7, 11 10:50
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Re: Startups that combine exercise and social media [nick2u] [ In reply to ]
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there are start ups out there but you will be working on the promise of stock options, aka no pay for about a year. The best bet is to start it yourself.

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Re: Startups that combine exercise and social media [nick2u] [ In reply to ]
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My random thoughts from someone who had the same idea last year as you do.

This is tough. There are so few companies doing this and so many applicants they don't know what to do with them. Every runner with a Twitter account is convinced they are an expert in social media.

You don't say where you live or what your educational background is.

My advice is to become an expert in whatever you want to do first. Become the go-to guy for online exercise advice. I dentify what is currently missing. Start a great blog. Tweet things of value. Get your name out there.Observe and learn from people who are already successful doing this. If you are using any of the products you mention, become the informal expert. If there are forums, join them and become the person people come to with questions. It will take a while but if you have the right personality and stratgey it can be done.

You need to consciously create your personal brand.

For example, look at www.dcrainmaker.com. He started doing gear reviews a couple years back for fun. He put a lot of work into each one because he loved doing it and eventually developed a big following. Now companies send him stuff to review. He works in high tech but I have no doubt that he could get hired by Garmin or another such company in a hearbeat if he wanted to. It took him a long time to get there though.

He has a great personal brand. Funny, smart, honest, approachable and thorough. He doesn't do anything to compromise that brand. He likely didn't set out to create a personal brand but it evolved and he is probably conscious of it now.

Companies are starting to realize social media shouldn't be left up to the intern who has a lot of friends on Facebook. There is a lot of marketing strategy involved if it is to be done right. You need that marketing background. I don't know if you have it but if not, get it. Take courses in college. If you are already working, take night classes. Read everything you can get your hands on.

Start with anything by Brian Solis. Seth Godin is also great to learn marketing and general business workings. Read Mashable, Engadget and TechCrunch.

May cities have social media clubs. If yours does, join it. I made amazing contacts through mine in Seattle. I finally found work through a friend but keep in touch with the club because I want to be sure I know of anything interesting that comes along.

Cultivate your relationships with your links in LinkedIn. Get back in touch. Buy them coffee. Ask for an intro to the next person in the chain. Get to know them, buy them coffee. After your are comfortable, as them for an intro to the next person in the chain. People know what LinkedIn is for. They key is to make that person feel like you are truely interested in learning more about them and how You can help Them.

I'm kind of all over the place here. There is a ton to learn and I don't pretend to be an expert but I do read a lot and am steeped in the social media scene. I know the people who know the experts :-)

I'll jot down more thoughts as they come to me.

Jen - @ultragrrl

"In order to keep a true perspective on one's importance, everyone should have a dog that worships him and a cat that will ignore him." - Dereke Bruce
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Re: Startups that combine exercise and social media [JenSw] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you for the comments and advice. Jen I sent you a message :)
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Re: Startups that combine exercise and social media [nick2u] [ In reply to ]
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read techcrunch daily, assuming you don't right now. fitness companies are hot on there the last few months.

here's a few ideas of companies.

runkeeper. they recently announced $10MM in funding. i'd assume they're using it to hire people, that's usually what techy companies raise money for.

look into keas. it's a fitness based business that's raised $16.5MM to date, and uses large companies as it's client.

also try fitocracy. i use it daily and know that they have a "jobs" tab on every page. i've never looked, but i assume they need help. i don't know they're funding situation.

how to get the job? here's what i've done in the past, successfully.
1. learn where these companies are, geographically. then decide with your own common sense if the company has a good possibility of coming to fruition.
2. learn what VC's are investing in this space, read their respective blogs, watch/listen to their podcasts and become an expert on them. a lot of times they have more influence over the company's expansion than the c-level people or founders.
3. learn what the VC's expect from the company, besides a 10x and above exit, and figure out how you can add to the likelihood of that specific goal happening.
4. network like your existence depends on it. ever read the tipping point? know the paul revere story? figure out who the connectors are and make them work for you.
5. get in touch with the ceo, founder, etc. and tell them what they're missing and how you can fill that void. you do need to be somewhat polite about it, though.

lastly, read this article. hopefully you know foursquare, and have heard of tristan walker. if not, read up, and why he has made the company so valuable.

good luck, PM me if you need any help networking in one place or another. i may be able to help.
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Re: Startups that combine exercise and social media [mjl] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks a lot dude, I'll get in touch with you soon, have been insanely busy recently...
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Re: Startups that combine exercise and social media [nick2u] [ In reply to ]
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Good luck with your new career choice. I'm in a similar (not identical) situation as you.

I agree with Jen sentiments and most of the other ideas.

Here's my two cents, just start doing what you love to do. Why not start to try and implement those ideas you have. If they are good ideas, sooner or later, people will start to notice. Those companies will start to notice.

You don't need to have another company hire you to do what you love. I understand that you want to make a living doing what you love, but at first you may have to stick with your current job and then make that transition.
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Re: Startups that combine exercise and social media [nick2u] [ In reply to ]
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love this cmpany.

Swim. Bike. Run. Tacos. Not always in that order.
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