A Fireside Chat With Soul Cycle and CrossFit

Irving Ruan
Feb 5, 2017 · 5 min read
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The following is a transcript of a fireside chat with Soul Cycle and CrossFit. It took place next to a real, crackling fireplace at Blue Bottle Coffee in San Francisco and was moderated by Oprah Winfrey. Over tens of people attended. Complimentary Pressed Juicery “Greens 3” bottles were served to all attendees. A sales representative from Suja juices manned a separate booth near the entrance. Nobody tried their samples.

Oprah: Good evening, everyone! How’s everyone doing?

Oprah receives a standing ovation.

Oprah: We have the honor of two very special guests here with us tonight, Soul Cycle and CrossFit! (Applause) Soul Cycle, you need no introduction and we don’t need to spin one up for you. (Laughter) CrossFit, you look tough as nails, as usual. We definitely don’t want to cross you! (Laughter)

Soul Cycle: It’s great to be here, Oprah. The lighting is perfect.

CrossFit: I’m so pumped for this.

Oprah: Let’s first start with you, Soul Cycle. You’ve been in the fitness scene since 2006. How do you feel about being relatively new to an already crowded market?

Soul Cycle: I think being late can be an advantage. I looked at the market ten years ago and noticed something peculiar. Most fitness programs focused on high intensity workouts with traditional weights and the odd activity of planking. (Approving applause and nodding heads) I asked myself what I could change, and realized that dimming the lights and lighting candles would create a workout that people will actually enjoy. So far, people love it and candle sales have been higher than ever.

Oprah: Your demographic is mostly women. Have you considered changing your marketing to attract more men?

Soul Cycle: No.

Oprah: Okay…let’s move on to you, CrossFit. You’ve been around for a while. How do you explain your recent popularity in the past few years?

CrossFit: One second. Hold this stopwatch.

CrossFit hands a stopwatch to Oprah and starts doing push-ups, pistol squats, and lunges. All at the same time. The crowd goes wild.

CrossFit: How did I do?

Oprah: One minute, thirty-two seconds.

CrossFit: That’s a new personal record! (Applause) Well, Oprah, I think a lot of it has to do with the health craze of the last decade. People are becoming more health conscious and want more than just washboard abs. Google Trends revealed that “how to get toned and join a cult” keyword was increasing in search frequency, so I loaded up two forty-five pound plates to a squat rack and started brainstorming. On the verge of complete exhaustion and near-death experience after my non-stop fifteen minute workout, I had an epiphany. I would create a fitness program that emulates an actual near-death experience. Well, the rest is history and here I am.

Oprah: What a…touching story, thank you for sharing that.

Unprompted, CrossFit starts doing lunges again across the stage. The crowd applauds.

Oprah: Soul Cycle, what are some challenges that you foresee for yourself in the next few years?

Soul Cycle: Oprah, I’m glad you asked. I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently. You see, it costs $34 for people to come see me for forty-five minutes. That doesn’t include the $3 shoe rental. This is a steep price for many people and high barrier for entry. Starting next month, I’ll be introducing a new subscription plan that starts out at $1,500 per month, an additional $300 per new family member. (Roaring applause) We think that this more affordable payment model will tap into a huge slice of new customers.

Oprah: $1,500 per month is still very expensive to just ride a stationary bike with dimmed ligh —

Soul Cycle: I’m more than just a stationary bike, Oprah. I create a safe environment where people can feel they’re getting a good workout without feeling judged. The lights are dimmed, so if your skin is breaking out or if you’re just sweating a lot, it’s hard for others to see that. Have you seen my testimonials page?

Oprah: I have not. We will support you in conquering those challenges in the new year, Soul Cycle. Same question back to you, CrossFit.

CrossFit: Every year is tough. Life is tough. But I’m always pushing myself to be better.

Oprah: I’m happy to hear that, CrossFit, but that doesn’t answe —

CrossFit: When I was young, my mother would hold a stopwatch and time me in everything that I’d do. She constantly pushed me to beat my previous personal records. Making my bed, eating dinner, and even playing with my frien — ...(CrossFit sheds some tears, the audience goes silent. CrossFit immediately rehydrates with the complimentary Pressed Juicery)…my friends.

Oprah: Take your time, CrossFit. We’re here for you.

Oprah hugs CrossFit. CrossFit wipes away tears.

CrossFit: Thank you, Oprah. You really are as wonderful as they say you are. (CrossFit wipes away more tears) All I ever wanted was for people to accept me. I’m more than just a collection of really exhausting and life-threatening workouts. I’d like to think that I help people obtain a body that’s strong, chiseled, and sustained by drinking six Whey protein shakes per day.

Oprah: We know, CrossFit. We know.

CrossFit: Thank you for listening, it feels good to finally get that weight off my chest. (Laughter)

Oprah: We’re almost out of time, so we’ll wrap this up on a high note. Soul Cycle, what is one message you want our audience to walk away with?

Soul Cycle: If you create a service that involves candles and charge a steep price, people will come. There will always be folks out there that associate their sense of self-worth with how much they pay for something. (Applause)

Oprah: And you, CrossFit?

CrossFit: Always be working out. Life is too short otherwise. (Applause)

Oprah: Well, that concludes our first Fireside Chat series with yours truly. But, before we go…

The lights dim. Heartfelt instrumental music cues on.

Oprah: Everyone look under your seats!

The audience is shocked to find a new Schwinn PRO20 Indoor bicycle under each of their seats and two thirty-five pound kettlebells made from the hardened tears of deceased CrossFit athletes. The crowd goes wild.

Oprah: You get a bicycle! And you get a bicycle! And you get a bicycle!

People are crying from joy. The camera darts around to capture the grateful sentiment filling the room.

Oprah: Thank you all for coming! Next month, we will have the wonderful guests Under Armour and Lululemon with us. Until next time!

Oprah waves and walks off the stage. Soul Cycle lights two candles and, unprompted, CrossFit starts doing lunges again.

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