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35: Using Tonal’s Social Features to Train Together with Mark Allen
- Tonal’s best sale of the year is here.
- Tons of new content – including:
- Coach Trace has a new Bodyweight Bootcamp.
- Coach Kendall has new boxing.
- Tonal is looking for feedback on their Social Zone.
- There are lots of Tonal Talks to catch up on.
- Tonal OTC member Eric Rosen is now a Tonal employee.
- Kate is going to be in L.A. if you want to hang out.
- Tonal Tips on untwisting your smart handles and pairing headphones.
- Tonal had well-wishes for some OTC members in the New York Marathon.
- The October Challenge winners have been announced.
All this plus our interview with Mark Allen!
Watch the episode here:
Listen to the podcast here:
Using Tonal’s Social Features to Train Together with Mark Allen
Before we dig into this, we should probably let people know, in case they care, we’re going to be in Boston over Thanksgiving weekend. We’re going to get together with some audience of the other show. If you read this one and not that one, and you live in Boston, reach out. We’d love to have you, too.
We love to meet you.
We won’t make you feel weird for being a Tonal person and I’m not a Peloton person because I’m a Tonal person, not Peloton people. It would just be me and you sitting there talking. We’ll ignore all the Peloton nerds and be the cool Tonal kids.
I would talk, too.
You could talk to the people that have Pelotons and Tonals.
Can I just have talked to any of them?
I’ll sit there and wave at you.
Try to keep it down. I’m hanging with my Tonal peeps. You can talk to me. It’s Thanksgiving. We’re kicking off the Christmas season, so let’s do it right.
We didn’t even say when it was.
I said it’s over Thanksgiving weekend, which is Saturday, November 27 at Fogo de Chão.
We’re not probably not saying it right. It’s a Brazilian steakhouse.
I apologize to any of our Portuguese-speaking audience if I slaughtered that. If you happen to read this because you’re interested in Tonal but haven’t pulled the trigger yet or if you have a friend who’s interested in Tonal and hasn’t pulled the trigger yet, their biggest sale of the year is going on now.
Until November 29th, you can get $250 off. You get it shipped in 1 to 3 weeks. This is the Black Friday sale. Do not miss it.
I do know that there are some people that they’re not sure until they read the blog and thank God, I get a feel because it’s an investment. If you’re worried about investment, here’s a way to save a little bit of cash. Beyond big savings. What do you have in store for people?
We got to talk about all the new content, the Tonal talks, there are new people hired that we need to address in a good way. That sounded ominous so I had to pull it back. There’s some stuff that we like to hit on in case you missed it. That’s about it.
Before we get to all that shameless plugs, don’t forget we’re available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcasts, wherever you find the podcast, you can find us. While you’re there, be sure and rate, review and follow us, so you never miss an episode. You can also find us on Facebook, Facebook.com/supersetpodcast, while you’re there, like the page and join the group. If you would like to watch these episodes, instead of reading them, you can do that on YouTube. Just go to YouTube.com/TheClipOut, which is the name of our other show. Everything lives under one umbrella. They’re all there in beautiful HD.
There’s a nice little playlist that’s dedicated to The Superset folks.
You don’t have to be bothered with the other stuff. If you don’t care about it, you can just binge The Superset. Anyway, there’s all that. Let’s dig in, shall we?
As always. There are tons of new content.
Much has dropped as usual. There was new strength, strong and smart with Coach Nicolette. There was a warmup and go with Coach Nicolette. Only eleven minutes full body. I love that. New meditation, which I think that you had to separate. It’s my fault. Some of them were duplicated but this mental warm-up and cool down with Coach Allison, you might think that is silly, not a big deal, just be dismissive of it. Don’t be. I had a really rough morning. I was not feeling it. I did this mental warmup with Coach Allison and killed my run. Thank you, Coach Allison.Finding new workouts to do and finding out how your friends are working out is exciting! Click To Tweet
There’s also a new Bootcamp, The Triple Threat Bootcamp with Coach Trace. I did this one, too. It really is a triple threat. Also, thought I was going to die by the end. It’s all bodyweight. This is great if you’re traveling. That’s perfect for people that are on the go over the holidays and it is a full-body workout in 32 minutes. You will crush it. New boxing, next level boxing with Coach Woody, another full-body workout in only 21 minutes. There is new mobility, the Pre-Run Mobility with Coach Jared. You cannot get enough pre-run mobility that’s fantastic.
What if you don’t run?
You could do it for any cardio activity. It would still work, Tom. There’s also a new recovery, Slower and Stronger with Coach Jared. New pilates, glutes, and inner thigh burnout with Coach Francis. Also, the new yoga Vinyasa for endurance with Coach Francis, that’s a full-body, 36-minute long.
It’s great that every week there are fifteen new things.
All of the new live workouts are on top of it.
It’s not technically new content but we don’t have a fancy sweeper for helper videos. There are helper videos.
I really feel like you should call these out because the thing is, especially when people are new, they don’t know what all the amazing things do that are on Tonal. We must share these with them. There are new explainer videos for all of the following topics, spotter, burnout, chains, smart flex, eccentric arm movement, content types, and smart accessories.
They’re very helpful. For instance, I was getting ready to do a workout and I was going to do a burnout. I went down there, I had on a denim jacket, I had drawn a Metallica logo on the back with Sharpie, I had a pack of Marlboro Lights. I was ready to go. I had a big comb in my back pocket, and then I found out that’s not what burnout means, which is a relief because I was like, “I don’t even smoke. This seems counterintuitive but if that’s what Tonal wants me to do.”
You feel like that’s what you needed to do.
I’m like, “I don’t feel my mobility will be best in the denim jacket. Plus, I would sweat a lot.”
Wet denim, it’s so gross.
I saw wet denim open for suicidal tendencies. They were so good.
Is that a real band named?
No. These videos I’m sure come in very handy.
They tell you how to use all of these different advanced modes like arm movement. That seems so obvious whenever use Tonal for a while. Remember the first time you walked up to the machine and you were like, “What are these things do? How do I move them?” This video walks you through how to move them, how to stow them etc.
I remember the first time I walked away from the machine and I immediately took a nap.
You did. I have never seen anybody do that. It was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. You did the beginner video, and then promptly laid down and took a nap. I have never seen that. I had to step over you to finish my workout.
It was part of your mobility exercise. It was the stretching.
Thanks for helping.
You are welcome.
Crystal wanted me to do a disclaimer about this segment too, in case any attorneys are reading. This is technically not a new feature but it’s about a feature and it’s how you can help Tonal with an existing feature. There are only so many sweepers we can afford.
We have to pay people to say fancy things. Here’s the deal. Tonal wanted to put out a survey to get some feedback about the social zone within the workout. For those of you, who’s had a chance to do the live workouts, there is a social zone and it’s across the top of your trainer and it’s how you interact with other members. If you see people you know, you can high-five them. If they get a PR, you can high-five them. That’s how you get shout outs, etc.
This whole survey is about that. It came out on November 3rd. I wanted to make sure people saw it because I don’t know how long the survey is going to be open but I want to make sure that we all get a chance to give our feedback because it’s a lovely feature. I love the way Tonal listens to our feedback and then mixed changes as necessary.
It’s your moment to be heard.
If you’re wondering, you can find that link either in The Superset group or you can find it on the official Tonal community. That is where you would be taking your survey.
There are a few Tonal talks.
Always Tonal talks.
It’s more of a recap of what’s out there or what will be out there soon.
I feel like they’re all amazing but some just stand out and I want to make sure people don’t miss them.
It’s like the one I was on.
That is exactly what I was thinking, except I was also thinking about this one that happened on November 3rd. It was The Science of Lasting Motivation with Dr. Michelle Segar. She went in-depth talking about how do you keep motivation lasting. It’s not something that pops up. You have to make that happen. It doesn’t just happen. It has to be cultivated. It has to be grown. If you missed it and you might be struggling with motivation, this is a perfect Tonal talk for you to read.
Also, there was one to help you gear up for the holidays.
This is another one Tonal Talk, Happy and Healthy Holidays. This one takes place on November 10th. Make sure you don’t miss it. In case you don’t get to hear it live. Don’t worry because Kate posts all of these, so you can go find it out on the official Tonal community. This is a great way to find out ways to stay focused or not stay focused but be okay with the fact that you’re not staying focused. Sometimes things just pull us away. Life is busy. You can’t always do all the things during the holidays. 2021 is going to be weird.
Especially as we’re going back to doing regular things in a modified fashion. It’ll be interesting to see.
Now we have all those family members that may not agree with us, whatever side you might be on. It got real crazy folks. Listen to Coach Natalie and prepare, so you can have happy and healthy holidays. This was a post that was about The Science of Lasting Motivation that we mentioned. I wanted to bring it to everybody’s attention because it’s from one of our coaches, Coach Pablo. He posted this about how he struggles with motivation. Even though Tonal is in his home, even though it takes the tedious work out of it, it’s not always easy to be motivated. I just loved that he was so real about the fact that, not every moment is like rah-rah even for our coaches.
Even for people that do it professionally.
That’s empowering. That’s a reality check for the rest of us. I feel like people need to hear it.
I concur wholeheartedly.
A Tonal community member has been promoted to an employee.
How cool is that? Eric Rosen started his new job at Tonal. He is a Senior Software and Content Program Manager. Kate posted that they are excited to have his passion and enthusiasm on the Tonal team. Welcome to Tonal. I love that. Congrats, Eric. That’s awesome. They got the whole family there in the picture. Kate, if you’re reading, we should have Eric on the show.Follow people who are focused on their fitness goals and see what they're doing as well, because it's a great way to discover new stuff. Click To Tweet
She’s like, “Let him work long enough to know something.”
If you live in the LA area and would like to hang out with Kate, you are in luck.
I’m jealous because Kate is heading to LA. She’s been living in the desert for three months while having work done on her house. She is looking forward to hanging out with some people in LA. I’m okay. I’ll be all right.
We should be clear because in her post she says, “LA friends,” but she doesn’t do L.A. She does capital L and A. Don’t fly to Louisiana to hang out with Kate because she will not be there. She will be in Los Angeles.
She did say that she is hoping to recreate these experiences across the country until she can get to meet all 23,647 of us.
Kate’s world tour.
That would be amazing. Kate, you can stay at our house. When you do a drive-by of St. Louis.
Drive-by is what St. Louis does best.
It’s true. We’re on all the lists always.
Tonal had some tips for you in the Tonal community, which is nice to refresh every once in a while. If you’re a longtime Tonal user, these are things you might already know. As new people come into the fold, they need to know things like this.
Like your twisted smart handles. I’ll tell you what, I know how to untwist them. Every once in a while, I’m like, “How do I do this again?”
I’ve seen this video. I still can’t figure out how to untwist them. I’m like, “I turn it this way or this way.”
You just flipped and it’s fixed.
All I know is every time I do it, I must do it the exact opposite way because I make them worse. I’ve stopped trying. It’s like laundry. I’m only going to make it worse.
It is convenient because somehow I was doing laundry for years before you came around but now that you’re here, I will screw up laundry.
That’s a real convenient. Anyway, if you’re not sure and your smart handled straps have gotten twisted and you’re like, “I have to take this whole thing apart and fix it. It’s not working.” It’s not that hard. You don’t need to take it apart. Don’t do that. Watch this video untwist them. You feel so much better.
Unless you’re like me, I’m simpler than the video. They also have tips on how to pair Bluetooth, headphones and speakers to your Tonal.
I love this because you can actually Bluetooth, most wireless headphones, and speakers so you can stream all the Tonal audio right into your preferred audio device. This is great because if you have a tonal in a room, some people have them in their bedroom or their kitchen, their dining room area, it’s not always convenient to be able to have the audio playing because other people are around. It’s great to have the option to put them into your headphones, and then you can hear, and you can still do your thing. Still do your whole workout. It’s very easy.
Maybe you want to crank it and you like the speaker on your fancy Sonos or something you can do that, instead of the speaker that’s built into the Tonal.
It’s very easy to follow these directions. It’s six steps and basically, it’s just clicking things, so anybody can do it, even me.
We had some Tonal community members participating in the New York City Marathon.
Jeniffer Buyers, Chris Bannon classic, Matt Badger and Eric Castro.
I thought you were going to skip him because he wasn’t clickable.
Yes, he was not clickable but I did see his name there. All of them were participating in the New York City Marathon on Sunday. I hope everyone had a great run. I hope it went the way that you wanted it to. I can’t wait to hear all the results. I want to see this posted in the official Tonal community.
Also, Coach Natalie had a special message for members of the XXL Tonal community.
She is doing a live chat on November 9th at 5:00 PM Pacific time. It is in, like you said, the XXL community. She is going to be chatting with Coach Pablo as well. They’re going to be discussing how fitness encouragement can hit differently for the XXL community. What a great topic.
There are a lot of times people think that they’re trying to be helpful or motivating and it just comes out awful.
It’s hard to simultaneously be thoughtful of every single person and how it could possibly hit them. I love that they are talking about this.
The winners from the October challenge have been announced.
This was the Bingo board if you remember. There were several winners, they were randomly selected so as did Kate. They’ve got a $100 to the gear shop. Like a little credit code. We had Rachel Remington, Scott McDonald, Heather Ahmed, Sharon King Thompson, Shantelle James Carter, Armand Croom, Selena Andrea, David Leonard, Arun Kumar, and Don Carter, congrats to all of you for completing your Tonal Bingo board and being lucky enough to be selected winners. That’s awesome.
Finally, one more tip that I should have included in the tip portion but I didn’t. Who doesn’t like a surprise tip?
Each Tonal membership includes unlimited household accounts, and Kate talks you through how to add or remove an account on the trainer so that everybody in your family can have an account. You never know when somebody’s going to want to pop down there and try it out. Maybe do a class or two, or like Tom, hide for a year under somebody else’s account, you never know. It happens. It’s just as easy to remove them.
Are you going to remove me?
Not you, just in general.
When you come out of the Tonal closet and finally use your real name, you can get rid of your Mr. X Tonal account or Brian, too.
There have been a lot of changes with Tonal in the social aspect. They were kind enough to give us access to Mark Allen who’s here to explain it all to us. He is the Director of Product Management for Growth, Analytics and Membership.
What exactly inspired the social changes? You can go into what they are.
Part of it is that we have a very vibrant Facebook community group that is super inspiring, full of great stories, good questions, and people connecting with each other. We wanted to bring some of that experience to Tonal itself. There’s not a lot of things I miss about going to the gym, but one thing I do miss is seeing people that I recognize going, “I’m on my way in. I’m on my way out.” Giving them a high-five or seeing what they’re up to, bragging about the far and few between achievements I have there. Being able to have that interaction with people. Tonal is great. I have a lot of achievements. I have numbers and workouts that I want to share with people. This is a way to start bringing that element to Tonal itself.
Let’s see if I can rename what they are. On the app, you can follow each other. That’s one of the big changes. You can see in the feed, what other people have done with their workouts, and then you can emote on it. You can say you liked it or loved it. It’s strong. You’re giving feedback and encouragement to people. You can do that same thing on the trainer. If I remember correctly, there’s a little scrolling newsfeed on your trainer that shows everybody that you’re following.
You got it right.Seeing people in the Tonal community and the stuff that they're doing is impressive and humbling. Click To Tweet
What goes into that change? How does that even come to fruition? Is that months of work? It’s probably not like, “Let’s add this. Start a little program.”
There was a lot of work that went into it. There’s a great team that worked on it. Designers, engineers, product people, everybody in the company helped out. The challenge wasn’t necessarily so much a technical challenge, there was a big design challenge. We wanted to design the right experience for users because there are tons of examples of social networking online. We didn’t want to bring Facebook onto Tonal because that would be a bummer in a lot of ways.
We wanted to find what’s the right experience for you when you’re standing in front of your Tonal about to work out, or you just finished your workout, or when you’re in the mobile app, and how do people want to interact with each other in a Tonal context. There was a lot of thought and research and experimentation that went into that.
I remember the day that it came out, Kate posted, “Here’s a challenge for everybody. Let’s try to get 15,000 followers.” It was supposed to be within 24 hours. An hour later, she was like, “You got it.”
Kate and I had talked about that even the day before. We were trying to figure out what the right number is because we had no idea because this is all brand new on Tonal. With social networks, you have network effects. One person can follow hundreds or thousands of people. Initially, we set at 10,000. “Is 10,000 way too high? What if nobody uses this and we’re embarrassed by it?” We thought, “Let’s be aggressive and go for 15,0001.” Within 24 hours, we had tripled it. It was a good kind of problem that you love having.
There are all sorts of different ways you can react to people’s workouts. It’s pre-programmed. It’s great because it weeds out jerks.
There’s no negative response.
That’s been accomplished. Here’s what I think you should do. You should have it translated based on the music that they’re listening to. If you say, “Good job,” and they’re listening to a country playlist, instead of getting a “Good job,” they’ll get a “Yee-haw.” If they’re listening to an ’80s, then they’ll get like, “Bitching.” That’s a free idea for Tonal. You can take that back to the office and pretend it’s yours. You’ll be the Super Director of Growth, Management, Product stuff.
That sounds like a programming nightmare that you came up with there, Tom.
I’m an idea guy. The people in programming make it happen. That’s their job.
How did you land on what those reactions would be, though? I feel like that had to have been a discussion.
It was quite a few. We tried a bunch. We started off with maybe one reaction that worked for everything. You got to be a little more expressive than one. What would that one reaction be? In this set, we covered the entire spectrum of human communication. These five reactions are different levels of encouragement, enthusiasm, or exclamation. It gives people a little bit of a chance to customize it.
My favorites are you’re on fire and the strength one. I feel people get me when they send me the little arm guy and the little fire. I’m like, “I’m on a fiery streak. This is awesome.”
My default is the clap. I like that one a lot to applaud people. If I see people have 4 of the 5, I’ll get that fifth one for them because it’s satisfying.
It is, to collect the whole set. I feel like I need to start doing that. That’s a good point.
Another free idea. On April 1st, 2021, you should be able to go in and make somebody’s weight heavier. Sneak in and everything goes up 10 pounds. I can tell by your stunned silence, you are amazed at what a machine I am.
You made him speechless, Tom.
I thought you’re going to go in a different direction. I will save that idea for April 1st, 2021.
Do we get to know how long you’ve been working on it?
We’ve been talking about it for a long time. Almost as soon as Tonal was launched there is like, “I want to be able to share my workouts with the people I’m working out with.” We needed to wait a little bit until Tonal was at a place where we had enough people using it to make it feel like a vibrant community. It’s been in the works a long time. Now it was ready.
That makes a lot of sense. What kind of response are you guys seeing from the community?
It’s been much bigger than we expected it. We thought people would like it. I know when we were testing it internally before we released it, I loved it. I was using it all the time, not just because I was working on it, but because it was motivating. I was finding new workouts to do, finding how my friends were working out, which was pretty exciting. The response we’ve seen since launch has been great. People are using it to find new programs and workouts that they hadn’t known about before.
We had two people find each other who were neighbors. They found each other through the social features. They realized, “You have a Tonal?” It was in Kate’s Facebook posts. When she posted the challenge, there were people posting their usernames. They’re like, “Follow me at my username.” Two people had posted and they recognized that they were Facebook friends.
You bring up a good point. I feel like when I see that feed and it pops up on my phone, I start going through it and I’m like, “Who did what today?” I’m very surprised to see the variety of workouts that people do first thing in the morning like yoga flows and meditation at night. You get a much better idea of the depth of people’s workout routines instead of when they chose before to post, because if you’re working out three times a day, then you feel like, “Maybe I don’t need to post all of my workouts on Facebook.”
That is a great example. I have done a bigger breadth of workouts. I usually do the standard set of stuff I know that I like, but seeing other people that I look up to and knows what they’re doing like if they’re doing a meditation workout then maybe I’ll try that one. It’s a great way to discover new things that you might not have been recommended otherwise.
I totally agree with that. It’s funny because I made Tom sign up for it. I followed him and then other people started following him because they found him through my followers. He was like, “Why are all these people following me?” He thought that they had found him some other way, but it was through me.
It’s not like it’s hard to find me. My leaderboard name is Tom O’Keefe. I’m not being super secretive. Since I finally changed my name from my son’s name, people don’t know I was doing it because I was being secretive.
He didn’t know how to change it after a long time. It was that for a long time.
Even after I came out and started telling people, I was like, “I don’t know how to change it. This is too much work.” I would always start and then I’d be like, “This is too difficult,” then I would stop. So far I’m following two people.
I hope I’m one of them.
It’s you and Kate.
What’s your leader board name Mark?
Do you like the Tron movies?
I do but that was not the connection that I had made.
I am curious, if it wasn’t Tron the movies, where did Marktron come from?
I like the rap group OutKast and André 3000 sounds like an awesome future robot. I’m like, “Marktron is close.” It’s a generic username I’ve used on the internet for decades.
Whenever Tom first got his fixed, I made him Tonal Tom and he did not like that. He immediately changed it.
I changed it because I thought it sounded like I work for Tonal. I felt like I was overstating my Tonal-ness by claiming to be Tonal Tom. I felt like that was a bridge too far. I didn’t want to overstate it. I tried to just do Tom, but someone already beat me to it.
My biggest regret is I had access to this feature before a launch because I was working on it. I did not grab Mark.
Why didn’t you grab Mark?
I don’t know, it was an oversight. Somebody has it. It’s good for them.
Do you think that in the future we will see evolutions of the social features that are out there?Working in the health and fitness space is super fulfilling. Being able to build products that help people improve their lives is a lot of fun. Click To Tweet
Absolutely. This is just the first step. The reaction that people had to this launch was great and people want to be able to do a lot more. We’re working on that stuff. There are going to be a lot more coming in the near future.
Any sneak previews?
We don’t want to get into any specifics.
You want to surprise people. Maybe a little hint in a direction.
We are very excited about letting people comment on each other’s posts and leave comments on their own workouts and do things like uploading your profile photo, and things like that. Those are all in the works.
What has been the most surprising part of all of this process?
Honestly, I’m shocked at how strong people are. Seeing individual people’s workouts and their results blows my mind. I obviously work with a lot of strong people who’ve been using Tonal for a couple of years. I get that. Seeing people in the community and the stuff that they’re doing is impressive. I love seeing people’s journeys over long periods of time. Even individual workouts that I have done and I can compare them to is very humbling for me.
I could always justify whenever I was on Peloton in the first generation of the bike because everybody had a little bit of a different calibration. I can’t justify that with Tonal. That is what it is. All those people doing 10,000-pound workouts, that’s not me. I’m not that strong yet.
Is that easy to spot the new hires at Tonal? They’re not jacked yet.
The easiest way to spot a new hire at Tonal is that everybody gets super excited and does like eight workouts in four days and they get sore. That eagerness happens to everybody.
What was the biggest challenge in getting all this situated and set up?
The biggest challenge is finding the right balance of sharing versus privacy. That’s something we were concerned about. People’s workout time is sacred to them. It’s something that is personal. We didn’t want to start blasting it all over the internet. That’s not something they wanted. We did a lot of user testing, user interviews, and prototyping to help figure out what that right balance was. What we ended up with is you have a lot of control over what you share.
When you make a public profile, you can hide or show any of those items. If you don’t want to show the days of the week you workout, you can hide your calendar. If you don’t want to show your strength score, you can hide that. The same with locations. All of that stuff can be customized to whatever you’re comfortable sharing. Even to the point where you can choose to share workouts or not. If you don’t want people seeing that you’re doing specific workouts, those can be hidden.
I’m glad you brought that up, especially since I had made the comment about Tom’s leaderboard name. I don’t want people to think that they don’t have control over that. We’re pretty open, so we leave everything out there. There are a lot of people that it’s sacred to them. They don’t want people to know all of their information. Are there other factors like that that maybe aren’t obvious to people and they’re not going in and changing all the settings? Is there anything else like that, that maybe people haven’t dug into?
I don’t think so. We set it so you have to choose to turn these features on. They’re off by default. If you don’t give it any thought, you don’t know they exist, you’re not going to accidentally be opted into them. When you’d go to turn them on, we’re walking you through each step. We ask you, “Do you want this on? Do you want these notifications?” We did a pretty good job of striking that balance. This is something people can edit at any time. There may be people going, “I didn’t know about that.” They’re reaching for their phone to change their settings. It’s something you can adjust at any time.
If I remember correctly, the leaderboard names came first. You have to have a leaderboard name before you can be part of this, is that accurate?
The leaderboards did come first. That was our first dip in the social waters. You did have to have a username for that. Now the username is tied to your profile. That’s where you set and change your username that also reflects on the leaderboard.
New free idea. I’m generating revenue for Tonal is what I’m doing. For a small fee, you’ll say that they lifted more weight than they actually did when you share it. For an extra $10 a month, they bump all your totals by 15%, because you got to make it realistic. If you go 100%, people are going to be like, “Bullshit.” If you do 15%, they’ll be like, “I could see that.”
In the age of COVID, has it been difficult to collaborate with people to come up with these kinds of ideas? Is it like you guys have your remote work down and it’s no big deal?
A little of both. We have gotten good at it. It is still difficult sometimes. Overall, as a company, we’ve gotten pretty good at working remotely. I’m in Toronto and the designer on this project was in San Francisco. The engineers were scattered all over the place from Hawaii all the way to Maine. There’s a pretty broad spectrum.
Have you always lived in Canada?
I’m American. I moved here a few years ago.
I didn’t hear an accent. That’s why I was asking. I want to know about your position at Tonal. How does this part of what you worked on fit in with the rest of what you do?
It’s a big part as the product manager. I work with our design team, engineering team, customer support team, and marketing team to figure out what are the needs of our members that aren’t being met yet and how can we solve those. This was an area where we recognized that people want to have a sense of community and interact with each other. How can we solve that in a way that works both for them and for us as a company? When we recognize the problem, solutions could go in a hundred different directions. Part of the product manager’s job is to help narrow that down along with the designers, engineers, and the rest of the team.
I feel like that would be fun to interact with people almost like a detective to figure out the best solution.
What led you to Tonal? How do you end up in this field? It’s not when you were a kid, you’re like, “My goal is that one day someone will invent a machine, and then I will do the social management for it.” How did you get here?
I worked at MyFitnessPal as a Product Manager. I loved working there. Working in the health and fitness space is super fulfilling for me. Being able to build products that help people improve their lives is a lot of fun. After I left there, I’d gone to another startup. When our was startup was ending, I realized like, “The requirements I have for the next place I work has to be in this space.”
The size of the company that Tonal was at was right in line with where I have been happiest and can make the biggest impact. It checked all the boxes. I was in Canada. I hadn’t seen a Tonal yet because they’re not here. When I talked to the people on the team, I was impressed by everybody. Everybody I talked to, I was like, “I want to work with that person. They seem super nice.” That’s how I ended up here.
Out of everybody we’ve interacted with at Tonal, they’ve always been professional, nice and seem like good people. That’s the impression I’ve gotten from everybody we’ve ever talked to. I hope that’s true.
That’s what I experienced when I joined the company. Everybody was just as nice as they were during the interview process. I felt like I got lucky.
Did they smuggle a Tonal up there for you?
I wouldn’t say it was smuggled but it was a three-month process. I was very nervous because I was working at the company for three months before I got the Tonal. Before I saw it, I’m like, “What if this isn’t good?”
That would be intimidating.
It looks good in the videos but that can be faked. When they finally got to my house, bolted it onto my wall and I did my first workout, it was better than I expected.
What is the best way for people to get the most out of all of these new social features? How do you recommend that people maximize their impact?
If you have friends that have the Tonal, follow them because that’s the best. If you know them in real life and you can talk to them about it, being able to share those workouts with each other is great. If you don’t have many friends who have the Tonal yet, you can get them to buy a Tonal. Everybody in the Facebook community is very active on Tonal’s social features. Follow some of those people and see what they’re doing as well because it’s a great way to discover new stuff.
That’s very good advice.
I did go and follow you. You are now the third person I followed. Everyone should go follow Marktron, so he gets more followers. Is there a character limit to how long a name could be?
There is. It’s about eighteen characters. I don’t know if that’s exact but it has to be at least three.
Thank you so much for joining and giving us all this information. Is there anything important about this that you wanted to share that we did not ask you?
We covered it. Can I share one of my favorite secret features of Tonal’s social?
We love secret features.
Crystal, you mentioned that on the trainer, there’s a little carousel of activity that you can see from your friends on the home screen, but there’s another part on Tonal itself that’s pretty cool. When you’re browsing content like you’re looking at workouts and programs, you can see which of your friends have completed that workout. Also, when you’re looking at programs, you can see how many people are now currently enrolled in that program.
I’ve noticed that one.
I love that feature because it’s fun. In the community challenge, you can see all the people in the same one. As soon as a new one drops, you see the numbers start to change as people finish and they move to a new one. It’s fascinating to watch the programs that people flip in and out of. Also, there are a lot of people on Tonal, which is pretty cool to see.
We are happy to see it.
That’s a good call out. I’m glad you mentioned that.
We love secret features. Thank you so much for joining us. We always ask people where they can be found if they want to be found. I don’t know if you want to be found or not.
You can find me on Tonal at Marktron.
If you do think of any more secret features or you get any exclusives, let us know.
If we implement any of Tom’s great ideas.
Yes, we got to know that.
Thank you for having me. It’s been a lot of fun.
Where can people find you?
People can find me on Facebook at Facebook.com/CrystalDOKeefe. They can find me on Instagram, Twitter, @ClipOutCrystal, and the Tonal Leaderboard @ClipOutCrystal.
You can find me on Twitter @RogerQBert or on Facebook at Facebook.com/TomOKeefe. You can find the show online at Facebook.com/supersetpodcast. While you’re there, like the page, join the group. Of course, don’t forget our YouTube channel, which is called YouTube.com/TheClipOut. You can watch all of these shows instead of merely reading them. That’s it for this one. Thanks for tuning in. Until next time, keep lifting.
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About Mark Allen
Thoughtful product management with a focus on creating great tools that help people grow.
My background in user experience and design gives me a unique perspective in aligning business goals with customer needs. I love defining and validating a long term product vision just as much as I love digging deep into that thorny bug threatening to delay the next release.
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