In this episode of the SLN Podcast, Mike Gugat speaks with his friend Pat Hitchins, Founder and CEO of FitRankings. Before FitRankings, Pat was the second employee at FloSports. Born and raised in the city of Chicago, Pat traded cold winters and Old Style Beer for sunshine and Hazy IPA’s from Central District Brewing in Austin. His claim to fame might very well be beating Lance Armstrong in a Beer Mile, but his superhero status lies with his two kids. Pat provides insights into the psychology of participation, the engagement of leaderboards, and the value of social capital.

Podcast Highlights

4:58 – Running helped Pat alleviate stress: “I started running like in 6th grade to alleviate some anxiety and even depression I had as a kid.”

8:59 – Empathy: “At the end of the day, I think it’s about empathy. Like whether you’re building a software product or trying to sell someone on an advertising campaign for Nike or Adidas, you have to ultimately put yourself in their shoes and understand like their experience and what drives them.“

14:13 – Cold calling created opportunities: “I just started calling cold, calling Saucony, Brooks, Nike Adidas, Mizuno, every brand I could think of.”

15:50 – Starting Flow Sports: “I was at FloSports and it was a hell of an experience. I still remember pitching, Jim Weber the CEO of Brooks, and Dave Larsen at the time in a boardroom standing there having come up with a number of ideas and just sweating because I knew if we didn’t close that deal literally the lights were going to turn off at FloSports.”

22:15 – Connecting data to causes we care about: “The reason I started FitRankings was because I wanted to be able to allow any person, regardless of their device, to connect their data, to the causes brands, experiences they care about.”

26:48 – Creating digital experiences natively: “I think what’s at danger for a lot of brands is that their only digital community is their Instagram page. No one has a reason to go to their website. They can look at products, they can purchase products, maybe read a blog post, but they’re not directly engaging with a brand. And I think wearables and some fitness apps present this opportunity to create these digital experiences natively on the brand’s website. And that’s part of our offering too, is you can easily embed our solution within your own native environment.”

33:10 – Events finding virtual solutions: “I think everyone’s trying to get through this and registration platforms have found an intermediate solution, but I think ultimately, registration platforms are going to go back to the business that they do best after the pandemic, which is taking registration.”

38:15 – There’s a lack of data for the body: “When you get in your car every day and drive, that car has hundreds of sensors to tell you everything from low tire pressure to when windshield wiper fluid is low, that’s your car. In your body, there are relatively no sensors that we’re using on a daily basis to monitor, which what you would consider maybe the most important equipment you have.”