Yony Feng is exactly what you’d imagine when thinking of a whiz kid software engineer. After earning both his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Computer Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, he quickly moved to the heart of Silicon Valley. In high demand for his masterful computer skills, Yony served in top positions for both Cisco and Skype as he continued to hone his craft. This top-notch engineer is curious, articulate, and whip-smart.
With his highly coveted talents being courted by the top technology powerhouses in the Valley, why the heck did he upend his family, relocate to New York, and take a gig at a fitness bike company? Well, Peloton ain’t no ordinary fitness company. In fact, calling it a fitness company is like calling Apple a phone company.
Part stationary bike manufacturer, part content producer, part tech company, Peloton is hacking home fitness. With Yony leading the charge as Chief Technology Officer, they are poised to become the “Netflix of Fitness,” delighting customers, building a rocking company and making society healthier.
“Going to a spinning class is a fantastic experience,” Yony told me. “But these classes are expensive, rarely convenient, and not available in many parts of the world. Home fitness bikes may function well, but the shared experience is lost with traditional alternatives.”
Yony and his team set out to replicate the energizing experience of a live class that interacts with both the instructor and fellow cyclers. Peloton offers a premium stationary bike for home use that has a gorgeous built in screen. The bike and accompanying technology are connected to the cloud, allowing riders to participate in dozens of live classes each day. Riders are sweating along with the instructor in real time while seeing how they stack up to fellow cyclists in an interactive leaderboard. Compare your performance across the world, or limit your competitive set by age, gender, or geography. If you don’t see a live class that fits the bill, you can choose from over 4,000 pre-recorded rides. The high-definition content streams to your screen, while your bike updates itself automatically. Adjustments such as level, tension, and resistance change as you ride, all controlled by the software.
I spoke with a Peloton customer who exhibited cult-like fervor for his machine. “I get an incredible experience, just like at class,” he beams. “But it costs less, saves me time, and I get to do my workouts on my own terms.” This loyalty is echoed in the company’s growth, experiencing a 5X boost in revenue from 2014 to 2015 and forecasting to triple sales in 2016. Peloton has sold over 40,000 bikes to date, shipping to each of the 50 states and 22 countries. They’ve raised over $120 million of venture capital and are well positioned to be the breakaway leader in a whole new category of home fitness and content delivery.
To achieve such remarkable success, Yoni is constantly tinkering. He explained that high-volume, rapid experimentation is their secret ingredient, which has led them to develop products that make customers fall in love.
“We conduct tons of experiments to improve the riding experience,” Yony tells me. “We carefully study how our suite of products, technology, and content make our customers feel. In order to have riders truly feel like they are in class, we are constantly fine-tuning the experience. We test dozens of seating options, handle bar styles, and pedal choices. We test sound, lighting, and music. We bring in riders to our New York Studio and experiment with tiny fluctuations, such as the angle of the screen, to improve the overall experience.”
Peloton is poised to transform the fitness industry through an obsession around customer experience, a commitment to pushing technical boundaries, and a non-stop barrage of experimentation. Thankfully, these approaches are transferable to you, regardless of your field or craft. Learn from the innovative methods of Peloton, and you’ll soon be pedaling along to your own victory.