On episode 21 we're spotlighting a few exceptional conversations with some of the top influencers at the crossroads of fitness and technology, live after the FIT-C roundtable meeting during IHRSA 2017 in Los Angeles. With the options and choices of club software systems on the rise, how do APIs and the ability for cross communication between platforms benefit the health club? In this first segment, were talking with fitness technology expert, Karl Etzel, about APIs (application program interfaces) and how they can help in both monetization and in serving the customer. For health club executives and owners, API functionality is an important topic to consider when purchasing technology systems.
Karl Etzel is a Transformation Catalyst, Strategic Decision-Maker, and Technical Expert in fitness technology known for his entrepreneurial drive in developing vision and setting strategic direction in the face of fast-changing technology and market dynamics through effectively aligning products/channels/end-users. With a deep background in health and fitness, cloud services / PaaS, online marketing, and SMB enablement, Karl brings a strong professional expertise to the industry space around program management and product management roles.
Karl is talking with us on the show about API's, or application program interfaces. Simply put, an application programming interface allows software systems to talk to one another. When you as a human being sit down to use a piece of software you use a user interface (UI), and when one piece of software wants to use another piece of software, they use an (API).
Listen To Episode 021 As Karl Uncovers
- How the open API can increase revenue for clubs through smart data sharing
- Why have APIs become so important in app and web service development
- Who should know about APIs in the club and how does that relate to their fitness business
- What are some common mistakes when planning APIs
- The growing segments of APIs being used to create further developments of niche markets
- Why "Agile Development" and live beta testing are now standard practices
- How API’s enable better business model innovation, which is one of the most powerful and sustainable competitive advantages
- Why “owning the customer” looses in business vs. "serving the customer"
- Security threats and issues to watch for with APIs
- Using tethered CRM, POS, and ERP systems with APIs
- Understanding the best types of data sets that are commonly used with an API in clubs
- Karl's interest in the future of Cognitive Performance
Top 3 Takeaways From The Show
- In the world of fitness tracking, we see many APIs, and there's now many different models emerging that will deliver even more value to the customer. The continued fracturing of the market and development of more niche models are exciting as the type of contextualized data that is being shared helps to monetize and serve customers in a progressive and powerful way.
- As the market grows and as customers and consumers expect faster innovation that APIs will enable, one of the reasons people are resistant to opening APIs is because they don't want to "lose the customer they own" but the reality is that you don't own the customer, you serve the customer. The people who resist this idea of opening up is born out of a mentality of scarcity. What most people don't realize is how much revenue they can drive with an open API and a new mindset.
- API’s enable better business model innovation, which is one of the most powerful and sustainable competitive advantages in all industries. APIs make it really easy to innovate and build things quickly. The old-school engineering model of software development is gone and agile development, two week release cycles, live beta testing and rapid iteration are now the norm. For the club owner, karl believes that you don't necessarily want to share your data outward, but you do want to share it among your own systems until you get to a certain scale where population data could make things interesting. The real key with API integrations is to understand your segment in entirety and have a clear picture of what problem you're trying to solve.
Power Quotes From Karl
"For the club operator, the question you want to ask is, does your solution vendor have an API that makes it easier for me to integrate my system with other solutions? If you are a technology company executive, you should be thinking about how APIs plug into your business at the strategy level. APIs are not just a technical detail that you can leave to engineering." - Karl Etzel on the Fitness + Technology Podcast
"APIs make it really easy to innovate and build things quickly. The old-school engineering model of software development is gone and agile development, two week release cycles, live beta testing and rapid iteration are now the norm. For the club owner, you don't necessarily want to share your data outward, but you do want to share it among your own systems until you get to a certain scale where population data could make things interesting. The real key with API integrations is to understand your segment in entirety and have a clear picture of what problem you're trying to solve." - Karl Etzel on the Fitness + Technology Podcast
Resources Mentioned From Karl
- Soul Cycle
- Nudge Coach
- O-Auth Protocol
- Human API
- Oura Ring
- Inside Tracker
- Programmableweb.com - Directory of all API’s
- Jeff Bezos “We will build everything as an API”
- Karl Etzel on LinkedIn
- The 2017 FIT-C Tech Trends Report
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Thanks To Our Outstanding Sponsors
Bryan O’Rourke and his family of companies including Vedere Ventures, Integerus Advisors, and many more. If you are looking for unmatched guidance, capital, insights or a great speaker or facilitator, Bryan and his partners are the go to resource for your organization. To learn more visit bryankorourke.com
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