IT STARTED BECAUSE BACK IN HIGH SCHOOL, Dick Talens was too fat and Brian Wang was too skinny. Or rather, Mr. Wang was “skinny fat,” meaning he had stick limbs and belly pooch, as the 25-year-old University of Pennsylvania graduate explained to Betabeat during a recent visit to the Soho co-working space where the pair’s startup, the viral hit fitness game Fitocracy, is headquarted.
Mr. Talens and Mr. Wang sit next to each other in a sunny corner alongside their gym bags, with greasy athletic shoes tucked under their desks, an economy-sized bin of almonds and a filing cabinet of goodies such as protein powder, vitamins, oats and Splenda.
Welcome to New Fit City
This is a guest post by Dick Talens, an amateur competitive bodybuilder and the co-founder and CTO of Fitocracy. He once looked like the kid from Up (except much rounder) until he traded in his video game time for gym time. Over the last eight years, he’s spent 1000+ hours reading about nutrition and training so that others don’t have to. He tweets about startups and fitness @DickTalens, or you can find him on Fitocracy with that same handle.
Over the last decade I’ve gone from comically fat (note the homeless guy laughing at me) to amateur competitive bodybuilder. At the same time, I’ve whittled down the hours I spend working out every week from 20+ to less than three, and improved my results.
Because I co-founded a startup, I obsess over the ROI of my time on fitness for myself and my trainees. There’s nothing more painful than seeing people spend hours every week on the treadmill without seeing any change. So how do you remain fit* while working 80+ hours/week at a startup? Here’s what you should know.
Nerd hero and minor internet celebrity Randall Munroe, author of the witty geek comic XKCD, just made a New York start-up’s day. Competitive fitness game Fitocracy has been picking up users at the rate of a Katamari, but today the co-founders were shocked and amazed to see their creation was the basis for today’s comic, “Oversight.”
The Start-Up Rundown
DAVID HABER JOINS SPARK CAPITAL. “David has a interesting background, which included graduating from Harvard with a BioChem degree. Not a typical degree for a VC firm but we appreciated a different perspective and background than others at Spark,” the firm says on its blog. Mr. Haber previously was a founding associate at Locus Analytics, which he started before he graduated. His new title is VC n00b.
IT’S BEEN A WHILE SINCE WE HAD A HACKATHON! Er, not really. But Game Hack Day is this weekend at General Assembly, sponsored by NYhacker, the “hacker union.” “We’ve got a bunch of Arduinos, AR Drone-copters, great API demos (including open source game frameworks) and more,” says co-organizer John Britton. It’s expected to be as big as Music Hack Day, which produced no fewer than 72 demos.
Related, General Assembly co-founder and serious strategy gamer Brad Hargreaves is hosting a class Thursday on The Business of Gaming–check it out before you hack and you could have a start-up. Or, you can skip the entrepreneurship and get a job at OMGPOP, currently hiring for a game designer with “mad vision.” Okay!
A side project we counseled to turn start-up is headed to San Francisco to join the elite incubator Angelpad, founded by ex-Googlers in 2010. IDoneThis, the productivity hack from Walter Chen and Rodrigo Guzman, told us a month ago they had applied to a few incubators–including New York’s brand-new Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator–but it seems they’ll be shipping off to Cali even though “New York has been good to us.” We look forward to hearing dispatches from the relatively new incubator, which mostly selects start-ups run by more experienced entrepreneurs, and to enjoying the sandwiches at their celebratory open sandwich bar party next week.
Fitocracy founders Brian Wang and Richard Talens, flexing at Betabeat’s request.
Fitocracy, which tracks workouts and turns personal fitness into a social game, has had a good six months. The two-person, bootstrapped start-up has users foaming at the mouth for invites–and we’ve got some!–and they’ve just hired a third developer to join the team working out of WeWork Labs. “Every time we’ve introduced Fitocracy to a forum community, people go nuts for invites,” co-founder Brian Wang wrote on Quora yesterday in a call for angel funding.