Real Leaders takes a break from speaking with founders and leaders at technology startups to talk to the founders of Yogapod, a dynamic brick and mortar business in the heart of the yoga haven of Boulder, Colorado. But wait for it. Yogapod founders Nicole and Gerry Wienholt have an even wider range than their 300-class weekly yoga schedule might have reflected, and they rose the challenge of Covid-19 closures days before the fast-moving municipalities mandated shutdowns. Today's yogapod is, for now, a tech company first.
This is a winning story of two entrepreneurs who skipped over the five stages of grief in just one weekend, taking action to ensure the longevity of their vibrant business in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Yogapod--home to teachers and students who have been loyal since the business opened a decade ago--was live-streaming yoga classes before we knew the hashtag #flattenthecurve, and their loyal client base (I'm included) stayed the course, having a chance to meet live with their favorite teachers and community members from the shag-carpet "studio" of home.
Yogapod 's team watched the data and decided to make increasing investments to upgrade their technology to ensure a world-class streaming experience. A new microphone here, a second monitor so teachers could see themselves and also see the students. In the process, the founders realized that people well beyond the bounds of what we call the "Boulder Bubble" would enjoy practicing with leading teachers, no matter where they call home. So Yogapod is investing in streaming for good, regardless of when the city and state officials permit the reopening of yoga studios.
This is my favorite kind of entrepreneurial story--packed with every stage of the lean startup process: from hunch, to experimentation, to learning, to leveraging that learning by taking informed risks.
Join Sue Heilbronner and Nicole and Gerry Wienholt for a pivot story that is as vision-focused as it is P&L-focused.
Sue Heilbronner is the CEO of MergeLane and a Conscious Leadership executive coach and consultant.