Fitocracy, the New York-based fitness gamification startup that recently graduated from the Mountain View incubator 500 Startups, likes to hire its users. The company announced it has hired a chief product officer today, Jared Cocken, a Fitocracy user and until now, the creative director of the high-profile web design agency The Wonderfactory.
Fitocracy’s CEO is Brian Wang and its CTO is Dick Talens, so Mr. Cocken will fit right in. But besides the name coincidence, the startup just generally lucked out with the hire. Fitocracy was scouting for a designer, and Mr. Cocken had been helping them with screens for the iPhone app. “We noticed he was really really passionate about the product,” Mr. Talens told Betabeat. They didn’t have high hopes, and Mr. Talens says he’s still not sure how they managed to woo the talented Mr. Cocken.
“I had a mutual friend do some recon to see if he would be open way, way down the line, and he seemed like he would be,” Mr. Talens said. “Sooo we shot him an email at some point and were just like, ‘yo dude, you’re fucking awesome and Dick has a giant mancrush on you. Is there any way we can make it work?’ Didn’t expect him to say yes, but he did.” (Memo to recruiters: please do not try this at home.)
Fitocracy’s senior engineer, Daniel Roesler, was an early Fitocracy power user. “That means that 2 employees, an advisor and 2 of our contractors have now come from Fitocracy,” Mr. Talens said by Gchat. “It just kind of happens… We’ve tried to source people from outside our userbase but our userbase has some of the smartest techies around and they really understand the domain, e.g. one of our contractors = one of the core Django developers.”
He added, “Also it’s really easy to run a query in our database for phallic names. Harder to do that elsewhere.”
Fitocracy has been on a tear—the four-person startup has more than 250,000 registered users and more than $15,000 in revenue from premium features as “Fitocracy Hero,” which includes early access to new features, exclusive badge and a “title,” as well as unlimited routines and the ability to copy other people’s workouts in one click. “The #1 reason cited for people signing up for Hero is just that Fitocracy’s been life-changing and $5/month is less than a cup of coffee,” Mr. Talens said. “So we’re working on improving our feature set. But that was the top cited reason for upgrading.”