Progress Favors the Consumer, Not the Worker

The world is made for the consumer. That is what I think whenever I read an article about a startup attacking a problem. The problems are usually consumer problems and increasingly consumer problems are ones of convenience.

Take exercise, for instance. We go to the gym because gyms have the type of fancy equipment that you likely can’t afford or fit in your apartment or house. We also go to gyms for the classes they offer. Professionals can ensure you’re doing things correctly and the peer pressure and/or positive reinforcement of fellow classmates likely spurs you into fulfilling the workout as needed for real benefits.

But it takes motivation to go to a gym. It’s easy to say no. The consumer problem is always summing up the energy to go and work out. That’s why there are thousands of articles about how to defeat that torpor – mostly centered around preparing ahead of time ways to minimize drag of getting out of the door.

And so, entrepreneurs are forever looking to bring to the gym to you. Such is startup Mirror, which is building an interactive display to provide in-home coaching. While this (and other endeavors) may solve a consumer problem, it of course creates a problem for the people (mostly self-employed) who teach those in-person classes. While humans still beat tech on true one-to-one personalization, technology is catching up. If everyone is suddenly using in-home tools that employ data-capture and algorithms to “personalize” his or her workouts, there will only be the need for a couple of on-screen talent.

Those who don’t have the connections or don’t want to work with a startup could find their clientele diminished. Unfortunately the technology train is not slowing down, so consultants in the wellness and exercise space must embrace that technology in a way they own and ensure they provide exceptional service to their clients that keeps them loyal.

We’ll explore some of those things in future articles.