Mapping the Caring Genome.
Fitpath.me helping great coaches do more.
Thom Lamb is the Founder and CEO of Fitpath.me a marketplace and platform for wellness coaching. Fitpath provides a complete solution for coaches to better affect the habits and relation with current clients, as well as providing a new vertical path to as yet inaccessible consumers.
This will be one of many articles I write explaining the reasoning behind my decision to leave coaching and build a start up.
The first point I want to make is as our society evolves, without specific intervention we will continue to see lifestyle related illness as a massive problem. Technology is doing amazing things to improve our quality of life , but at the same time it can reduce our need to actually interact with other human beings. Remember when Facetime was a activity, not an app ?
On demand employment, remote workspaces, drones delivering your latest amazon prime purchase, so many trends in tech point to decreased human interactions.
Our daily routines are shifting, and less and less are we required to actually interact with other humans physically to fulfill our desires.
And this is the subtle, but quite real danger, that people are literally losing the skills to interact with other humans, and are instead becoming more comfortable with machines.
Another way to look at that, is to say that our human Operating systems are becoming more capable at interfacing with iOS 9 or Andriod than they are with another human.
Why is this a bad thing ?
Well other than the mental health and societal implications which are very real, but I won’t introduce for the purposes of this article, we are getting REALLY FAT.
Because with a decreased desire to interface with your physical reality comes a decreased level of activity, and since facebook has successfully educated you to log on the minute you feel lonely, you never end up leaving your condo.
I won’t bore you with the stats, except you wouldn’t be bored, because they are pretty damn terrifying.
Let’s just say if terrorism had one tenth the head count diabetes has, maybe the US defense budget would actually make sense.
And every year the impact of these illnesses increases.
In fact, we see in developing nations, that as tech proliferates, so do wellness related illnesses.
Start ups are supposed to save the world right ?
So the question is, how do we USE tech to solve a problem tech created.
I want to stop for a second to clarify I LOVE tech, and I’m not one of those horse and buggy driving Luddites that thinks life was better one hundred years ago.
I just think that we DO have to start thinking about how we leverage tech to address wellness.
To be fair we have tried there is about 100,000 fitness apps.
Couple sober facts.
Yes there are 100,000 fitness apps — I know.
Churn of users on fitness apps is on average about 90 % plus per month, like it’s just awful, and most of those apps are FREE.
The biggest problem with fitness apps, is that they start at workout number one.
We need to build one that starts at workout 0.
As in, actually getting people to do it.
Because despite what a popular shoe manufacturer thinks, simply telling people to isn’t working.
Why I build FitPath was to LEARN about HOW we actually get people that hate exercise to start working out.
One thing I learned after 12 years of coaching (following a decade in the Canada Army as a Combat Engineering Officer) is this.
Your ability to affect someones wellness is almost always predicated on their perception of how much you care.
Or written much more clearly.
“No one care’s how much you know until they know how much you care.” — Some really smart guy that isn’t Thom.
That’s the problem with apps, they can’t care. And humans ability to detect “personalization” as phony is at an all time high.
Also people are quantifying the wrong things. They are quantifying sets, reps, macros and calories. They should be isolating the micro-processes that lead to behaviour change, and the tactics that a coach uses to affect those.
We can’t synthesize caring, but we can help it scale.
So in order to affect wellness we need to introduce human operators aka Coaches.
So we brought together a group of great ones.
No, not Wayne Gretzky clones.
It might surprise you to learn that there is a rapidly increasing segment of coaches that deliver some or all of their services completely online. As in they never see their clients in the flesh.
There are some platforms that facilitate that, but they are all pretty terrible. See the workout 0 versus workout 1 argument above.
Unlike fitness apps, which are free and don’t work, a good coach has about a 30–40 % success rate, and people actually pay for their services.
I wanted to get data on this, figure out what best practices existed, and really challenge these coaches to innovate and figure out how we could leverage tech to scale what they do.
Then we started to apply tech and mechanical turk, and identify the rote procedures and tasks that these professionals wasted time on instead of delivering their services to consumers.
I’m not saying that professional coaches are the ONLY way tech could help, but it was really the only repeatable solution I could find. Sure, other things happen to help move people thru a wellness state. That being said, the easiest use case that affects consumer wellness to replicate was working with a great coach.
A close second was running into an ex that had gotten significantly hotter in the last ten years, but I wasn’t confident that there was any way we could scale that, baring some really exciting advances in holographs, big data and drones.
We are always looking for great coaches, and people that want to take the first step towards a healthier self. I’d love to hear from coaches or anyone that wants to discuss these ideas.