Fitocracy was co-founded by Brian Wang and Richard Talens in 2010. Brian and Richard were self-described “out of shape gamers” who decided to get into health, fitness, and bodybuilding. They were inspired to build Fitocracy to change their lives and the lives of others.
History of Fitocracy
“In 2010 we decided we want to build a consumer fitness product. We saw a lot of what was emerging at the time, but we wanted to make the experience more motivating and addicting for users. The concept was that we wanted to draw on our background as geeks playing video games all day and turn fitness into a real life role-playing game. We wanted to emulate the idea of leveling up in real life. Every time you tracked a workout you would earn points and level up. You could take on more difficult quests, challenges, and earn badges. The whole nine yards. We figured that that would be a really exciting idea for people because a lot of folks want to improve themselves but often times they don’t know how or can’t stay consistent with it.”
“By the end of 2012 we were eight full-time people based in New York. Fitocracy has evolved beyond our initial idea of gamifying fitness into a full-blown social network where our users are immensely engaged. They’re treating Fitocracy as a primary social network and in many cases they’re substituting their time on Facebook and Twitter and using it on Fitocracy. This is the first time for many of them to have a targeted community of health and fitness that can support them and help them reach their goals. We’re seeing tons of people change their lives every single day.”
“Delight makes our employees feel that they are being recognized and rewarded and definitely has improved the overall experience and gotten people more excited.”
Recruiting Employees at Fitocracy
“One of the most critical parts of our recruiting has been identifying people who believe in the mission and the good that we’re doing with Fitocracy because we are building something that is creating real tangible value for people’s lives and their well-being. Not only in their health and how they feel, but also in their self image and confidence. It’s really important that the people that join us truly truly believe in that. Our strategy for finding those folks has in many cases been finding employees from our user base. Our Android developer was a long-time user and when we first spoke to him he said he was already level 25 and been using Fitocracy for a long-time. He really truly understood the product and the culture. Same thing with our Chief Product Officer. He had been using Fitocracy for a few months before we met and he was already a believer in the mission. It didn’t take very much to convince him to hop onboard. We try to optimize for people that want to live the product and apply that stuff to their own lives.”
How Fitocracy Promotes a Healthy Culture
“It just extends naturally from working on the product everyday and creating a culture inside the company that makes it normal to talk about how your training is going in the gym or how you’re eating. A lot of these topics seem to be abnormal for other people. Most days you’re not talking to your friends about how you’re eating or if you’re hitting your nutritional goals. But at Fitocracy, most of our company communication occurs inside our HipChat. Every day we’re talking about what are we’re eating, how we’re training, and we’ll also work out together pretty often. It just kind of feels cultish. People have started to use different vocabulary and view the world through a different lens.”
Why Fitocracy Uses Delight
“I decided to sign up for Delight and start using it at Fitocracy because I knew my guys were working day in and day out. They were really busting their butts to get stuff done and I really wanted to show them more appreciation beyond just a paycheck. Being able to offer non-cash perks that were relevant to their everyday interests and things they were interested in consuming was a really important thing for us to do beyond ordering snacks and soda for the office. For example, the Books credit was really awesome because immediately we saw some of our engineers says ‘hey, I’m picking up some books that I’ve really wanted to read, because they’re technical books and I’m trying to learn more.’ So right off the bat they were able to see that the company was offering not only perks that were not only fun to them, but also helping their career. Delight makes our employees feel that they are being recognized and rewarded and definitely has improved the overall experience and gotten people more excited. Beyond that, Delight makes it super simple to manage everything.”
How Employees Like Delight
“It’s been received really really positively. It’s the smallest thing that really at the end of the day doesn’t cost that much money, but has a big impact on employees. The Coffee, Books, and Music have been a big deal. Overall, the employees are really big fans of it and I’m going to continue to add more perks based on what they’re interested in. Ultimately it helps me make my job easier as it makes Fitocracy a better place to work.”
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