Culture

PYSO, ep. 60: Zwift CEO Eric Min on tradition and innovation

From burritos to cheating to nearly 90,000 riders in the Virtual Tour de France, Min talks about where Zwift came from and where it's going.

Zwift has redefined indoor cycling.

What started in 2014 with a 5km virtual track and a handful of users is now a global phenomenon. Just last weekend, for instance, Zwift had nearly 90,000 people sign up to ride one of the company’s Virtual Tour de France social rides.

On this episode of Put Your Socks On, Bobby and Gus speak with Zwift co-founder and CEO Eric Min about where the company came from, and where it’s going.

Some of the hurdles are technological: How do you ensure power-measurement accuracy and consistency with riders around the world using different equipment? And some of the hurdles are sociological or psychological: It took six years for the Zwift community to accept the idea of a burrito power-up that makes them un-draftable for a few seconds.

“So we’ve taken baby steps [in adding game enhancements], but now I think if you took away all the gamification in the game, it would just be boring,” Min said. “We even went to ASO to ask professionals, ‘Do you want these events to have power-ups or not?’ They overwhelmingly said yes, we want power-ups because why wouldn’t you want to have a gift of an arrow power-up? You know, ahead of a sprint. It’s a freebie.”