This value I learned at Gympass. It was one of the company’s corporate values â€‹â€‹and, in my opinion, every platform must incorporate this value in its culture. I often came across CEOs and heads of platform products who claimed that they do everything for the customer, that the entire company is customer-centric. However, when I dive deeper in this topic, I end up discovering that the client they were referring to was just one of the actors of their platform and the others were treated only as “necessary evil”.
In the description of the value on the Gympass website it is written:
We make decisions that create value for our Gympass ecosystem and help us achieve our mission.
The ecosystem mindset example I will describe below is the implementation of the live classes product that Gympass created during the COVID-19 crisis.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we diversified – and digitized – our product portfolio in record time. We went from an offline product, access to gyms and studios, to 4 products, 3 of them totally digital, in less than a month:
Below I explain how we did it.
When I joined Gympass in mid-2018, one of the first things I did was to build a product vision. We had a very strong purpose: to defeat inactivity. However, to build a digital product, we need more than a purpose.
This vision guided the definition of the Gympass product development organization. As I commented in the chapter Team structure, we set up teams around each of the marketplace participants, in addition to a central team that worked in the payment flow collecting the payment from the companies and their employees, doing all the calculations, and determining the amount to be paid to each gym partner.
When I was building this product vision and discussing it with different people in the organization, it was easy to see many opportunities to expand that marketplace. There are a lot of new service categories that we could add to our marketplace:
There are 3 types of elements in a market:
These three elements are related as follows:
Given the dynamics above, we can expand a market as follows:
However, we had a lot to do with our main product at that time, so we didn’t have enough energy to focus on expanding our marketplace and left the plans in the drawer.
In October 2019, we reached a point where our product development team was well structured and working properly to address our challenges in our core product, so we decided to focus on expanding our marketplace.
We decided to work on an idea called â€œGympass end-user partnership hubâ€. The plan was to partner with wellness apps and provide them to our users.
This new idea had two main hypotheses that we needed to test:
To test our first hypothesis, we built a deck with the value proposition that we planned to deliver to the partners and talked to some potential partners. We presented the opportunity to 8 potential partners, of whom 6 showed interest and 4 decided to join our proof of concept. NEOU, a workout app, 8fit, a workout and nutrition app, Tecnonutri, a nutrition app and ZenApp a meditation app.
Okay, our first hypothesis was validated and we needed to validate the second hypothesis, the willingness to pay. Is our user willing to pay to access these applications through Gympass?
To test our second hypothesis, we built a simple form, where we described the product and asked for name, email and company. After the user provided this information, he was directed to a Paypal subscription page, where he had to provide his credit card details to subscribe to the service. The user would receive an email with the activation link for each application. There was no real product, no logged in area, just a form to test interest and an email with links to the applications.
Initially, we call it Gympass W, the W meaning wellness. We added a beta so that everyone could understand that it was not a finished product. Later, we renamed it to Gympass Wellness to make its value proposition clearer.
Our plan was to test this proof of concept with 5 corporate clients in the USA and 5 in Brazil, which would provide us with a potential user base of 15,000 employees. Our expectation was to have around 200 subscribers. We launched internally – eat your own dog food – on March 9, 2020 and had 66 subscribers from our 1,200 employees. Then came COVID-19.
When a company is hit by a crisis, it needs to look at these two perspectives:
Although product managers and product development teams play an important role in the former, their primary role is in the latter.
At Gympass we have 3 different clients and all of them deeply impacted by COVID-19:
We were able to adapt our Gympass Wellness pilot in record time to be offered to our entire user base, so that they can remain active, and also take care of their nutrition and their minds during these challenging times. With Gympass Wellness, we were able to address the problems and needs of users and our corporate customers during the crisis.
And here comes the ecosystem mentality. We must always look at all participants in our marketplace and ensure that everyone benefits from using it.
With Gympass Wellness, we were able to meet the needs of our corporate customers and their employees. But what about the gyms? When closed, they were losing revenue. Their customers no longer visited them, so regular gym users were likely to cancel their subscription, while those who used to go to gyms using Gympass did not go to the gym during the crisis, which would cause a loss of revenue for gyms as well. To help partner gyms cope with this very difficult situation, we decided and implemented 2 solutions in record time:
Live Classes provided a 1:N platform, which means that an instructor could provide physical activity guidance to N users. We soon realized that we could create another product in addition to Live Classes. Workout guidance 1:1, which could be made available in Gympass’ higher tier plans. Then we created our third digital product, Personal Trainers.
There, with this chapter we conclude the second part of the book, on Principles. Here we saw my personal leadership principles:
We also saw what corporate culture is, a set of ways shared by a group of people working together on how to solve problems and react to situations. We also saw the 5 values â€‹â€‹needed to create successful digital products:
Finally, we saw a set of four values â€‹â€‹that are in fact the core of the entire digital product development team. These are the values â€‹â€‹that make up the product culture, which is the set of behaviors of the digital product development teams that produce the best results:
In the next chapter we’ll start the third and final section of the book, about tools! \o/
Do you work with digital products? Do you want to know more about how to manage a digital product to increase its chances of success, solve its userâ€™s problems and achieve the company objectives? Check out my Digital Product Management bundle with my 3 books where I share what I learned during my almost 30 years of experience in creating and managing digital products: