Zwiftcast Episode 76: The Minterview… Zwift CEO and Simon in Conversation

Zwiftcast Episode 76: The Minterview… Zwift CEO and Simon in Conversation

Simon sits down with Zwift CEO Eric Min for the now traditional “ask me anything” annual interview, covering a huge range of topics from the health of the company to, yes, the possibility of a velodrome. The conversation provides deep context and background on why some things happen, and why others don’t… plus quite a bit on the pace at which things happen, or don’t, on the platform.

We hope you listen to the whole of the interview, but if there’s one subject in which you are particularly interested, maybe you’d like to skip to that first. So here is a log of where to find the topics covered.

00:00 Hello and a word on transparency
01:45 Zwift’s new London office
02.45 What’s made Eric happy in the last year?

GENERAL ISSUES

04.30 Pace of development for Zwift
05.40 Peak Zwift and growth
07:15 Fun is Fast marketing campaign
09:40 Is eSports a massive, risky bet?
15.20 More on pace of development, specifically Game Development
19:50 Zwift’s new Hardware division

COMMUNITY ISSUES

27:15 Trainer Difficulty confusion
29.30 Juniors’ Racing
32:00 Race Categorisation/Sandbagging
38:30 Is eSport in danger of diminishing general user experience?
43:00 Family Pricing Plan
45:30 Zwifting for people with disabilities or different abilities?
47:20 Is Zwift listening to the community?

FEATURES

51:15 Steering
52:45 FutureWorks
54:00 Ghost Rider/PB Bot
56:25 World Switching Expansion
57:15 Workout Mode
60:15 Allow Saving Without Exiting Game
62:15 Hang out after end of ride
63:35 Velodrome
64:55 Can remote racing ever be credible?
68:15 What’s the next new map?

COMPANY

69.30 When will Zwift be profitable?
70:25 Future of running
73.05 Effects of lack of direct competition for Zwift
75:45 Marks out of ten for Zwift’s potential
77:55 Zwift’s carbon footprint

About The Author

Simon Schofield

Simon lives in Leeds, in the North of England, where grey, wet winters drive him indoors to ride. An early Zwift adopter, one day he idly wondered whether the fast-growing virtual cycling world would sustain a podcast. Fifty-plus episodes later - he has his answer - there's always something to talk about! Simon's a journalist by trade and spent many years working in TV production. He's at his happiest either drafting a big pack in Watopia or plunging down an Alpine descent with the sun in his face and the wind at his back.

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Denis M
Denis M
1 year ago

One thing I am struggling with as a business person myself – who is Zwift made for? I mean, on one hand you need a smart trainer / treadmill and your own bike to participate. You need to be somewhat interested in cycling beyond just “I had one when I was a kid”. On the other hand, it’s a lot about community, being friendly to newbies, welcoming and encouraging etc. With Zwift – hey, I am pretty serious about my riding, but the biggest event of the year is made of 20-min long races, all group rides even though the… Read more »

Nate
Nate
1 year ago
Reply to  Denis M

You really nailed it. It baffling how disjointed the product is. Zwift is just now trying to build a low friction solution, which is to say they’re just now getting serious about owning the user experience soup to nuts by working on their own hardware. It was apparent to anyone using Zwift in the early days that the level technical expertise needed to even take a ride on Zwift was very high. Let’s add up all the things you needed in the beginning: a bike, a compute device and display, a smart trainer, a cadence sensor, a heart rate monitor.… Read more »

GuillaumePourtalet
GuillaumePourtalet
1 year ago

Good morning/afternoon all,
So far, 808 people voted for the feature allowing “saving a ride without exiting the game” in the zwift forum.
I don’t think that’s only 2% of the people on Zwift forum.
I don’t care at the moment about velodrome, steering, workout, more worlds, e-sport, personal bot … First things first, we need to be able to save a ride without closing the game.
Thank you ZwiftInsider for everything you do !!

Philip
Philip
1 year ago

I agree. The way you load the game, choose a route and then end your ride hasn’t really changed since the beta and I think this was fine where there wasn’t much choice and more importantly any monthly fee. It now feels to me like the way you navigate around is poorly designed and quite poorly implemented.

Steph
Steph
1 year ago

Racers are warming up before a race.
We would like to be able to save this part before entering the race/event pen.
It does it, it saves the moment you clic on “Join event” but it’s not obvious at first. You find it by yourself while experimenting.
And at the end of your race, it’s your warmup workout name which is reused and not the event name to save your activity.
Not a big deal, but a bit annoying.

David Cooper
David Cooper
1 year ago

“I don’t think that’s only 2% of the people on Zwift forum” That is undoubtedly true, but the user forum for any software product will always be populated by the more serious, more vocal part of the userbase. Zwift is connected to the servers every time you ride, and it should be fairly easy for their system to gather data on what proportion of users end and save a ride and then go back in to do another. I am in no way defending the way it works at the moment, but it isn’t realistic to use the amount of… Read more »

Dustin Elliott
Dustin Elliott
1 year ago

I love the idea of race categorization similar to IRL racing with upgrade points – not based on FTP.

David Cooper
David Cooper
1 year ago
Reply to  Dustin Elliott

Absolutely agree. I have trained a lot this Winter at the same time as shedding almost 5 stone in weight. As a result my base FTP as measured in Zwift is hovering right around 3.15 w/kg which is slap bang on the border of the B and C categories … but my utter lack of experience/racecraft means I can do OK but not great (but still have fun) in the C category races.

Being moved up to B before I have learned even basic tactics because of my FTP would probably suck the fun out of it.

Mark M
Mark M
1 year ago

I truly don’t understand the lack of category enforcement. Just don’t give people to option to choose categories in races. Zwift can use the organizer’s categorization scheme (Age, FTP, etc) and the FTP (or Age, or both!) of the person registering, and slot them into the correct category that way. This ghosting idea is optimally bad, you’ll piss off users, and they still will have influenced the race. You may need to have a background Zwift calculated FTP that the user can’t edit, but this isn’t rocket science folks.

Steve Short
Steve Short
1 year ago

I’m wary of making a big deal out of the confusion surrounding Trainer Difficulty because there are plenty of Zwifters who understand perfectly well what this does and use it as they need, e.g. perhaps setting it lower (20%) for racing to reduce constant gear changes but then also setting it higher (100%) for ‘real world simulation’ e.g. Alpe de Zwift / Alpe d’Huez. If people keep banging on about how confusing “Trainer Difficulty” is (it really isn’t) then Zwift may be tempted to remove the option and just hard code it as 50%. Eric Min did say that he… Read more »

Steve Short
Steve Short
1 year ago

Eric Min says that he “gets it” when discussing the problem of riders entering a lower performance category than they should but I’m not sure that he does. He says it’s a minority of vocal people who are complaining. I think if Zwift surveyed Zwifters who race then they’d find that almost everyone who races on Zwift believes it is a problem. Not least because if you blow-up trying to hang on to another rider in your category and then find out at the end of the race that they clearly should have entered in a higher category then it’s… Read more »

Daren Chandisingh
Daren Chandisingh
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Short

Well with respect to Eric I think he says that he get it for a lot of issues but when he gives his version it is clear that he does not. Another ‘I get it’ that miss the mark by a mile is the need to save without exiting. He ‘get it’ that racers want to hang around after the race. That is not it at all. Users have give at least 10 valid use cases as to why this function is needed and not of them include hanging around after a race 🙁

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