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Bryan O'Rourke's Posts On The Revolution

Saturday
Jul192014

Gold's Gym Convention Las Vegas 2014 - Power Of One

My friend and partner Robert Dyer and I headed out Sunday to Vegas for the 2014 Gold's Gym convention. What a blast it was. The theme of ONE was a great theme and we always enjoy seeing our friends,  colleagues and customers at the show.

With the departure of Jim Snow and the rise of Aaron Watkins to the post of President, there have been some changes in the organization, but not too many. I thought Aaron's talk on how important retention is to Gold's and the industry in general was on point. Gold's Gym continues to expand internationally and domestically via franchising as well as through company owned expansion . This is a testament to the ownership's intentions to continue growing the business which represents the most iconic gym brand in the world.

Eric Chester, the keynote speaker, was excellent. As an author of a number of best selling books that address generation WHY, work ethic, and creating a culture that breeds excellence, he shared many relevant thoughts on how to create an organization of people who will delight customers. This is particularly important for the health club business. You will want to check out his web site, get his books and if you can hire him for a talk I'd advise you to do it. His story and connectikon to the Gold's brand was very refreshing as well and in faact we had a nice talk by telephone after sharing some tweets.

The GGFA Roundtable on Social Media, which I participated in , was superb with Mike Epstein, Mary Zampetti, and Cindy. What a difference a few years makes in the world of social media. Listening to how professionals in the gym business are working their digital efforts as compared to a few years back reflects how so many are adopting new technologies. effectively.

We were happy to learn that Star Trac won vendor of the year award and we were delighted that several of our franchisee friends in the Gold's system won a number of awards as well including the Southern California Group and Bill Austin, Dave and Kim Kenyon, among others.

We always enjoy the Gold's show and were delighted to be there and look forward to next year.

About Bryan

Bryan O’Rourke is considered by many to be a thought leader on technology, health club and wellness trends. He has been quoted in global periodicals like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Inc. Magazine, and has been published in journals around the world on his views of how technology will create the dawn of a new era of opportunity for the health club and fitness industries. In addition to being an industry expert, Bryan is a technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He has spoken on a range of business and trend topics on four continents. As a contract executive and advisor, Bryan wears many hats, including working for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank, on ACE's Industry Advisory Panel and is CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To join FIT-C visit www.fit-c.org . To learn more contact Bryan here today .

Friday
Jul182014

Gold's Gym GGFA Regional Workshop Dallas Texas 2014

This past May we enjoyed another great regional GGFA workshop conducted by none other than Blair McHaney touching on strategy and effectively competing in the health club industry. This is very high quality education with practical takeaways. Blair does an excellent job and the event is very worthwhile and my partner Robert Dyer and I enjoyed seeing many of our friends from the GGFA , like Ginger Collins (I love it when she calls me "sugar" its a southern thing) as well as franchisees in the Gold's Gym System.

Check out the videos via links below from Sal Pellegrino , Robert Dyer and Linda Toth as they discuss all of the benefits of attending these great regional events. If you get a chance to attend the regionals this year or next please do. You'll be happy you did.

 


 

 

About Bryan

Bryan O’Rourke is considered by many to be a thought leader on technology, health club and wellness trends. He has been quoted in global periodicals like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Inc. Magazine, and has been published in journals around the world on his views of how technology will create the dawn of a new era of opportunity for the health club and fitness industries. In addition to being an industry expert, Bryan is a technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He has spoken on a range of business and trend topics on four continents. As a contract executive and advisor, Bryan wears many hats, including working for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank, on ACE's Industry Advisory Panel and is CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To join FIT-C visit www.fit-c.org . To learn more contact Bryan here today .

Wednesday
May072014

Technologies and New Business Models Are Reinventing Our Industry Before Our Eyes

The headlines tell a story that many leaders in the health club and fitness industry should be watching, closely. Weight Watchers just purchased Wello, a purely digital fitness delivery platform that offers one-on-one and group fitness training online. During a recent quarterly conference call, Weight Watcher’s CEO Jim Chambers had this to say:

“The competitive frame of the weight loss market continues to evolve as free apps and activity monitors generate significant consumer interest.” He went on to comment, “We have an ambitious technology vision. We will become a 21st-century technology organization, engineered for the digital era, whose innovative technology fundamentally improves the way people manage their weight, health and wellness. We will be agile service-oriented, data-driven, cloud-enabled and efficient. We will be a model for digital technology in the markets in which we compete and we will be a magnet for talented innovators both, inside and outside the company.”


Clearly Weight Watchers is addressing the huge market it serves with as many as 70% of US adults being over weight. They are also attempting to service those customers in the most convenient ways possible given the rise of technologies that enable this. This is the new era. Its not just Weight Watchers taking bold innovative moves in wellness through acquisition, so is Wallgreens with their new theranos testing labs and wellness tour, Fitocracy with their 2 million online participants, and RetroFit with their online coaching solution that includes Wi-Fi scales. There are many other examples of these new era business models and the 2013 $330 million wearable market in combination with over 80% of households having smartphones and a 100 Billion apps downloaded so far means there will be even more innovation. You don’t have to be Nostradamus to understand what's here and what’s coming; a wave of new competition set to serve and explosion of customers.

During my recent interview with Dr. Michael Mantell on Health & Fitness Technology (click to listen) we explored how the industry has entered a new era. I compared the impact of the MP3 format on the music industry to what is happening today in the wellness business. While record companies cried over the disruption of their business models, the fact is that the amount of music purchased and the number of live music events attended from 2000-2010 tripled around the world following the advent of digital music. This happened because technology released the constraints of bricks and mortar distribution, enabling a much larger audience to be served in many new ways. The same thing is happening in fitness and wellness today as the brands I’ve shared along with many others are enabling new markets to be reached more effectively and less expensively.

Some health club industry leaders will claim that nothing can replace human interactions, so clubs and trainers can’t be threatened by these new business models. I’d have to disagree. It is true that there is no replacement for human beings, but technology is enabling business models to do things in ways that humans on their own can not at scale. Many of the most successful brands will blend human interaction with technology tools to create even higher levels of service whereby trainers can support hundreds of clients with a combination of digital and physical delivery.  Therefore, very forward thinking bricks and mortar club brands are closlely evaluating the customer experience and considering how things like networked fitness, mobile technology and other digital tools can be integrated into their business models while other new purely digital startups and brands will jump into the space because the barriers to entry in the digital world are some much lower. Just like Weight Watchers, the path to innovation must be kept in mind as the industry enters the 21st century and as we have entered a new era of fitness and wellness.

So what do you think ? Have we entered the new era ? Are new business models going to revolutionize fitness and wellness, growing the market and delivering services in new innovative ways ? Let me know and thanks for reading.

About Bryan

Bryan O’Rourke is considered by many to be a thought leader on technology, health club and wellness trends. He has been quoted in global periodicals like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Inc. Magazine, and has been published in journals around the world on his views of how technology will create the dawn of a new era of opportunity for the health club and fitness industries. In addition to being an industry expert, Bryan is a technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He has spoken on a range of business and trend topics on four continents. As a contract executive and advisor, Bryan wears many hats, including working for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank, on ACE's Industry Advisory Panel and is CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To join FIT-C visit www.fit-c.org . To learn more contact Bryan here today .

Wednesday
Mar192014

IHRSA 2014 And How Gary Vaynerchuk’s Message Was The Most Relevant Part Of The Show

If you read my posts and content you might know the street kred I give Gary Vaynerchuk. When I saw IHRSA 2014 included him as a Keynote Friday morning and that I’d get to have some more private interaction with him afterwards, I was stoked. In the end IHRSA 2014 was the best ever for many reasons but mostly Gary's talk which met all of my expectations.

Here are some of Gary’s quotes from his keynote and private talk afterwards (by the way you can gain access to private sessions at IHRSA by being a part of the Industry Leadership Council or ILC. Its well worth joining. To learn more about the benefits of ILC visit here ) at IHRSA 2014:

You better be a media company first because your ability to just advertise is disappearing fast.

Anytime someone says “our data shows” and they are on the wrong side of history its over (referring to how Blockbuster declined to acquire Netflix for $50 Million, more on that story here  ).

When the Blockbuster executives explained why they didn’t want to acquire Netflix they used a variety of “facts” including that customers wanted a Blockbuster “experience”. They believed people liked running into their neighbors at the store and they wanted to purchase popcorn to take home. When I want a movie I want to lay naked in bed and hit a button. (Hearing the description “experience” must have been eery for at least a few health club industry players who use the term as their mantra).

The fastest way to go out of business is to be romantic about the business you are in.

Innovation does not give a crap about you or me.

At least 25% of what you are doing in marketing is dumb crap (referring to marketing in the health club industry and in other industries as well).

Being sorry is sometimes more powerful than the crime.

Health clubs are massively vulnerable to innovation.

Somewhere out there someone is working on an Uber for trainers. Its only a matter of time until it hits the market.

One of the most interesting moments was in the beginning of the keynote when Gary asked who in the crowd knew him. Not many people raised their hands. Given Gary’s views and celebrity I wonder what that might imply.

What Gary Vaynerchuk shared were the facts of a new world, the one we live in, and that's what made his talk most relevant.  As a man who has invested in 75 startups, including Uber and Twitter, among others, he knows what he is talking about, and therefore his insights are quite relevant. There is NO doubt that the health club industry is going through the beginning of a massive revolution involving tremendous disruption, many industries are. I’ve said before that some independent club operators could be compared to independent record store owners in the 1980’s before the advent of technology completely turned the music industry on its head. Some might find that a negative outlook, but I don’t and here’s why.

One of Gary Vee's contemporaries is Malcolm Gladwell, whose recent speech at The Health Care Interoperability Summit earlier this month started off with this:

“But I’m only going to spend a little time talking about healthcare proper – both because I think it’s often more useful to approach some of these issues from an angle by looking at the world outside of the one you’re engaged in – and secondly because I have a rule that I never talk about something my audience knows more about than I do.”

A week before IHRSA Malcolm was addressing issues in the health care arena and his quote is right, it takes an outside view to see what is happening and both he and Vaynerchuk were doing just that in their respective lectures. Gladwell went on to share historic perspectives on everything from McLean’s revolution of the shipping industry to the advent of MP3 as an operability standard for music and how that revolutionized the industry. In each case Gladwell identified that it’s the combined interoperability that has the truly disruptive and exponential effect. The underlying component technology isn’t always a new invention – or exponentially disruptive. (Read more about his speech here on Forbes ). That's why perhaps its sometimes hard to see it coming.

Malcolm’s most relevant point during his speech was that despite the carnage that disruption brings, there is always a silver lining in the end. An example he used was Music stores, a dominate part of the retail landscape (and music experience) that disappeared entirely within about 5 years. By un-tethering music from a rigid distribution model around proprietary formats, music enjoyment and sales exploded. From 2000 to 2010, growth in live performances and album sales both tripled.

I think Gary Vaynerchuk and Malcolm Gladwell were discussing the same views from slightly different angles. Ironically, Gladwell was highlighting how the health care industry needs to work on Interoperability standards, and the same need exists for fitness as well. And to Gary’s point, some group is working on an Uber disruptor today that will , among other innovations, revolutionize the fitness space. The risks are so tremendous to the industry now, yet few are aware of just how threatening it is and while that risk exists for most present players massive opportunities are there for the right ideas . In the end however, this will enable the health and fitness industry to expand exponentially, creating more ways to impact people’s quality of life.

If Vaynerchuk and Gladwell are both sharing similar views about the present and near future for health and fitness you better prepare for what is to come. Disruption is here. Is your business preparing for it ?

What did you think about Gary's speech at IHRSA 2014 ? I'd love to hear your views.

About Bryan

Bryan O’Rourke is considered by many to be a thought leader on technology, health club and wellness trends. He has been quoted in global periodicals like the Wall Street Journal, and has been published in journals around the world on his views of how technology will create the dawn of a new era of opportunity for the health club and fitness industries. In addition to being an industry expert, Bryan is a technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He has spoken on a range of business and trend topics on four continents. As a contract executive and advisor, Bryan wears many hats, including working for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank, on ACE's Industry Advisory Panel and is CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To join FIT-C visit www.fit-c.org . To learn more contact Bryan here today .

Thursday
Mar062014

IHRSA 2014 - A Busy Schedule In San Diego. Hope To See You There

This year IHRSA 2014 will be one of the best ever. I am particulary delighted to be speaking at the Medical Wellness Association forum, sharing views with the leaders of IHRSA Federations from around the world, conducting a technology roundtable with some great industry experts and sharing views on mobile technologies and their impact.

One really special aspect of the event will be Gary Vaynerchuk's talk on Friday morning. If you are attending IHRSA this year, do not miss it. I've included Gary's video discussing health clubs and how social media and consumer change are impacting the industry. You might find it very amusing and insightful.

Hope to see you at IHRSA this year. Watch these videos on my two main presentations on Thursday and Friday at 1:30 pm. Hope to see you there.

About Bryan

Bryan O’Rourke is considered by many to be a thought leader on technology, health club, consumer and wellness trends. He has been quoted in periodicals like the Wall Street Journal, and has been published in journals around the world on his views of how technology will create the dawn of a new era of opportunity for the health club and fitness industries. In addition to being an industry expert, Bryan is a keynote speaker, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several companies. He has spoken on a range of business and trend topics on four continents. As a contract executive and advisor, Bryan wears many hats, including working for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 750 facilities in the US. He serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank, sites on ACE's Industry Advisory Panel and is CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To join FIT-C visit www.fit-c.org . To learn more contact Bryan here