January 18, 2015
A number of years ago Adam Riggs-Zeigen embarked on a training schedule for an upcoming half marathon. Initially, he did what most people do and threw together a playlist to get his mind and body through the training regimens. But something didn’t sound right to his ears, which had been trained during his time as a nightclub DJ.
The songs didn’t blend, the tempo was all up and down, and slower songs would come on when he needed high energy beats. What did he do? Riggs-Zeigen put his DJ skills to use for this particular purpose, and that was the early genesis behind the San Diego startup that won our San Diego Mixer & Startup Showcase in May 2014: RockMyRun.
“By using my DJ skills I could keep the tempo the same, songs would blend seamlessly together which gives it good energy, and I could curate it so as I got more fatigued the songs would increase in energy and inspiration,” says Riggs-Zeigen.
The full vision of RockMyRun didn’t hit him until wearable devices began hitting the market in droves. That’s when Riggs-Zeigen and his co-founder realized body driven music was the way to go.
They built RockMyRun, a company under the RockMyWorld name, as both a smartphone app and web platform that provides running mixes designed by professional DJs. But it’s not just playlists, anybody can make those.
Hundreds of hours have gone into testing various mixes with runners of all different skill levels and experience. Those tests help the RockMyRun team understand exactly what a runner goes through when training: they need motivation and they need to keep the brain focused.
To that end, all of the mixes conform to strict guidelines:
- Balance of mainstream and underground songs
- Remixes of songs you won’t find anywhere else
- Increased intensity and energy of songs or lyrics as the mix progresses
- New songs every two minutes or so
- Frequent build ups
- Infrequent major breakdowns
- Lengths that correspond to how long runners typically workout
“I think an time you start a company the main challenge is finding out if anybody actually cares about it. As cool as it might sound, as much sense as it might make, you still have to get people to care,” says Riggs-Zeigen. “You need awareness and attention for what you’re doing. That was a key challenge, and will remain a challenge as we scale. What it took to get our first 100 users was different from what it took for 1,000, and it will be different for 100,000 and beyond.”
To help ensure that RockMyRun remains attractive, the team has sought out key partnerships with companies that inhabit the running space. According to Riggs-Zeigen, partners want to work with companies who have something differentiated and unique that they know their audience will love.
When a partner company offers a free month of RockMyRun to anybody joining their VIP program, they’re offering something cool for their customers. The perception of something being cool and important is, in and of itself, cool and important.
And the RockMyRun users definitely feel like they’ve stumbled on something cool here. In many ways, according to Riggs-Zeigen, RockMyRun is even more awesome than anybody ever expected it to be.
“My favorite note from a couple months ago was from a woman who just had open heart surgery and our product was helping her get and stay motivated to walk every day for her rehab process,” says Riggs-Zeigen. “She actually asked if there was anything she could do for us, which I thought was touching. Somebody who just had open heart surgery was asking what she could do for us!”
With feedback like that coming in, and they do get feedback like that very often, it helps keep the idea on track and the team motivated. And that’s a critical piece of the puzzle, because RockMyRun wants to continue to grow to the point where they’re getting contextual music for any circumstance using bio-feedback.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. And the RockMyRun team is well aware of the pace they need to keep.
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