Velonews just released episode 60 of their PYSO podcast, and it features a wide-ranging interview with Zwift CEO Eric Min.
The hosts chat with Eric on a variety of topics including:
- The history of Zwift in terms of both functionality and brand development
- The evolution of gamification in Zwift – leader jerseys, powerups, and more
- Racing: how to ensure fair competition
- Zwift’s involvement with organizations like the UCI, IOC, and others
- How Zwift dealt with the COVID influx, including interesting facts like:
- New user growth is still 3x higher than it was a year ago
- Meetups have increased by 8x over peak in January
- Usage numbers: Eric explains that less than 1/3 of customers are actually racing. The rest are distributed evenly between training activities and free-riding or social rides
- How the virtual Tour de France came about
For the Zwift veterans and addicts, the most interesting part of the interview may come towards the end, when Eric mentions some things that are coming up next! Those include:
- Big races: Eric mentions that he forsees Zwift races being into the UCI calendar – if not next season, then soon. He also mentions that “World champs is still out there” – indicating that the planned virtual UCI World Championships for 2020 are still going to happen this year.
- Rowing release imminent: Eric says “Rowing is coming out in a few weeks”
- Race results in Meetups: Eric indicates that “Meetup results” (showing the finishing order of Meetup riders) is “scheduled for this month”
The news of Zwift planning to finally add rowing to the platform is a big deal – it would be the third sport supported by Zwift (cycling and running being the other two). Eric mentions rowing’s release in the context a discussion on Zwift becoming a training platform for athletes in other sports – tennis players, nordic skiers, etc.
We’re not sure what Zwift has planned for those sorts of athletes, but rowing is certainly a natural fit since, as Eric says, rowing and cycling have a lot of crossover. Rowing is a very leg-driven sport, requiring a lot of leg and hip strength. And of course, both rowing and cycling require a massive cardiovascular engine in order to excel at the top levels of the sport. Good rowers make good cyclists.
More than 2-1/2 years ago, we published a post about How to Use Your Concept2 Rower on Zwift. It’s a bit of a hacky approach, and your avatar is on a bike, not in a boat… but it works, and many people are doing it! Having rowing properly supported by Zwift, though, should allow rowers to easily connect and row together in the waters around Watopia and other Zwift maps.
For most Zwifters, the bigger news from Eric’s interview is the impending release of Meetup Results functionality. Why does this matter? Because it means anyone can organize a race on Zwift. Thanks to recent Meetup changes (particularly Meetup-Only View), Zwifters just need an official results sheet in order to organize one-off race events. And that’s what the Meetup Results feature would add. Bring it on, we say!
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