Interviewed By Jim McPartland - What Are Your Unopened Gifts ? Watch

I met Jim McPartland at IHRSA in 2010. He was a facilitator and consultant to Les Mills International and its founder Phillip Mills at the time. Little did I know he'd be interviewing me on his show just over a year later.

Jim struck me with his manner and curiosity; in a good way. Ironically, not long after meeting Jim, I would be working with Michael Bruno, who purchased Star Trac, an organization that Jim McPartland transformed over 16 years as a Shareholder and President. The world is a small place isn't it ?

"Mac", as he is called by some, is now a speaker and adviser to key players in the fitness, wellness and business world in general. I recommend him highly. He kindly sat down to have a chat with me about "unopened gifts" on his weekly radio - tv show which airs every Thursday at 5 pm PST (the interview is below). It was a fun interview.

Jim is pursuing the publishing of his first book about "unopened gifts". Watch the interview below to learn more and tell me, Bryan O'Rourke, what are the things in your life that you feel are unopened gifts ? Please share your views and tell me your thoughts on the interview. Thanks Jim McPartland for having me on. I look forward to working together more closely in the months and years ahead.


Technology's Impact on the Fitness Industry - IHRSA 2010

At IHRSA 2010 in San Diego last week I had the chance to share views with leaders on where the fitness industry is heading and how technology is at the forefront of its future. The presentation and my video recap are included below.

The presentation was broken into 4 key parts. The first section recaped the increasingly rapid exponential advancement of technologies and what the key trends specifically are, with examples of how those trends are starting to impact the business today. Next, was a review of the tranformation of business models which are being greatly impacted by lower communication and storage costs in addition to the ubiquity of the Internet which is increasingly shifting power to buyers away from sellers. A focus of this section was how bricks and mortar business models are all suffering from declines in margins as costs have surged and pricing power has diminished. Additionally the concept of the "long-tail" was shared. Third, was coverage of innovation, including the difference between sustaining and disruptive innovations. This section of the presentation addressed business model innovation and relied on key concepts of C.K. Prahalad and others. Finally, my predictions for the fitness industry were shared: non-facility competition will surge in the coming years; bricks and mortar fitness businesses will deliver new models that merge the digital and physical worlds for higher levels of customer service at lower costs; wellness will become increasingly mainstream as the "long tail" of the fitness industry; and the future of the extant industry in general will largely be dictated by its present leadership changing its mindset. As I pointed out, the top 10 vaccum tube companies did not participate in the transistor revolution.

Please review the presentation below and see my video recap. Thanks IHRSA for inviting me to contribute.


Social Media and the Fitness Industry - IHRSA 2010

Many health clubs struggle with how to use Social Media tools like Twitter to grow their business.  In particular, club facilities have a hard time finding people in their geographic area to tweet.  In less populated  areas the number of Twitter users is generally lower, making it more difficult to drive business.  Soon this will become less of an issue, as location based features are emerging in the near term on Facebook and Twitter.

At IHRSA this year, I'll be addressing trends in social media among other aspects of how technologies will impact industry business models. See more in the video below.

With Twitter use increasingly many bricks and mortar businesses, like health clubs, are beginning to realize its potential to help drive revenues.   Check out this interview with Restaurateur Joe Sorge of AJ Bombers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to learn about how Twitter has improved his business.

Joanne Burgess recently shared 3 applications to help bricks and mortar businesses utilize Twitter more effectively. Here are the findings from her recent post:

To build your local twitter following, investigate these 3 applications:


Twellow is the Twitter Yellow Pages.  As a brick and mortar, you can not only create a great profile for yourself or your business on Twellow, but if you click on the ‘Twellowhood’ tab at the top of the page, you will be able to create targeted searches within a specific geographic area.  Within Twellow, you can even follow people on Twitter and start to grow your network.

Helpful tip: When creating your own profile, make sure you click on ‘expanded bio’ and include all relevant info for your business and make sure you maximize your exposure in the categories section. You are allowed 10.  Make good use of them!


Nearbytweets allows you to search by location and by keyword. By keying in these two items, Nearbytweets will produce a stream of tweets from that and surrounding area that include that keyword.  This is great not only for finding new prospects, but as a business owner, this is great for reputation management.  You can really keep your ear to the ground and listen for any tweets that have to do with your brand and respond to them quickly.

Helpful tip:  Nearbytweets will allow you to save your locations and keywords to streamline the process. You will find this under the preferences tab.  Nearbytweets also allows you to click on any individual tweet to get more information or review an individual’s profile. You can then follow that person/organization from there.


Chirpcity is another app that will do location searches for you. It will bring up the image, username and individual tweets.  If you  click on their image, you will be taken to their page, where you can then review their profile and follow them if you so wish.

Helpful tip: If there is one particular tweet you are interested in, you can press ‘view tweet’.  This will take you to the individual’s profile page where that one tweet will be displayed and you can reply to or retweet that particular tweet right there. That’s a handy option. Saves you sifting through all their tweets.

There are other applications out there however, many have pitfalls.  Tweepsearch for example,  has a great concept in that it will bring up the person/organizations bio, and show you their followers, friends and updates, but they are sorely out of date.   It says my last recorded update was 4 months ago. Actually it was more like 2 hours ago and my friend/follower information is also incorrect.   So you will want to choose apps that are current and give you the most accurate information.

Gladwell to Speak at IHRSA - Check Out Video on Outliers

One of the most accomplished contemporary writers of recent times, Malcolm Gladwell, will keynote at IHRSA's annual convention in San Diego this year. The fitness industry trade group did well by its membership in having Malcolm speak. I am happy to be speaking at the upcoming event and even more delighted that Mr. Gladwell will be there sharing some of his unique views. Watch his interviews on CNN and CBS below as he explains some of his findings related to the book "Outliers".


Innovation in the Fitness & Wellness Industry

My upcoming presentation for the IHRSA event in San Deigo this March on the future of the fitness industry requires delivering some tough but exciting news for leadership. As with many industries, Fitness and Wellness requires significant innovation to reach its potential. Understanding the existing business is not nearly as important as understanding what the business of fitness and wellness will and can be. This requires huge shifts in thinking and an improved reliance on business process and IT that results in insights which help to service customers uniquely. Some convenient items related to this change are outlined in the book The New Age of Innovation. Watch the video below and read the top 5 things to keep in mind when evaluating your organization or industry in the context of innovation.

1. The consumer must be an integral part of co-creating an experience tailored to their needs;

2. All markets are experiencing the emerging centrality and empowerment of the individual;

3. Globalization and its 4 billion poor are undeniably central to the future both creatively and consumptively;

4. Talented people are essential to the innovation required to reach the potential the future offers;

5. Leadership must get their minds around business process and IT as central to strategic advantage.