GOQii: Finally someone took right lessons from iTunes

Disclaimer: These days I am looking for a ‘workout & sleep monitoring band’ and today I stumbled upon GOQii bands. No, I haven’t bought it yet. Hence I am not recommending it as a product, yet. However, their business model amazed me. This post is ONLY about their business model. This post is NOT a recommendation to buy GOQii fitness band, at least not yet.


Since last one year, wearable computing is a part of news almost everyday, courtesy wearable devices like Smart Watches, and then Health & Fitness Bands. If you do a simple search on popular e-commerce websites for health & fitness bands, you will see nothing less than 50 brands each trying to get your attention. Really, the time has arrived for these health & fitness bands to go mainstream.

So, today I got a chance to peep into the GOQii website and find what they are doing and how they are different from other fitness bands, and to my surprise they have left an impression on me. I suddenly got a feeling that someone is selling me an iPod like stuff. My experience with iPod was terrific not because it was cool to use one in year 2005, but because the raw power it had because of iTunes.

If you really believe iPod became successful because of its music technology or really awesome technology in those few grams, you could just appreciate half their success mantra. The platform along with the technology was their real power, and which made Apple the most successful music company ever.

And right now while evaluating which fitness band to own, I am finding that each and every fitness band has similar technology in their band which captures data while your move, sleep, run, take stairs, etc and at then at some point during the day the data syncs with the mobile App. I believe that these App+Hardware combination is something which is a minimal expectation of every user. But what is that EXTRA in all these fitness bands? No one had the answer yet, which GOQii seems to have discovered and already implemented. (Although, some questions remain in my mind about GOQii’s platform offerings, which I will ask if only someone really wants to know.)

GOQii is offering a full fitness platform which records what you do, syncs with the smartphone. And then the real business begins – The Data Analysis! The data which you earn and record in the device while sweating makes GOQii learn amazing things about you and your health. And in most cases not even a doctor would know what this device would know in a matter of days. Actually any device will learn so many things about your health as and when you start using it regularly, but then why is no one exploring that data? What good does it do to just record the data and then do nothing about it? Thankfully, GOQii chose to do something with that data, and that too for your good – they talk back to you! They recommend, they guide, and they prevent you. They plan to become your personal health monitors in real sense.


But why did I get so excited? After all this is not rocket science. Exactly! that’s my point – This is nothing rocket science, and yet no one else could built it. No fitness band could create a platform to sell you things which are good for you. Everyone got content after selling you a piece of hardware and a complementary smartphone App. No one could believe that a subscription model can be built which earns a regular income for the company (and hence the hardware price can be subsidized, unlike others fitness bands which are extremely costly). All this, my friends, make this an awesome business model to roll out.


GOQii, if nothing else, has learnt some good lessons from iPod. And much like iTunes, which accelerated the profit margins of Apple, GOQii’s profitability is hidden inside the platform they have built – Doctors, Coaches, Data based recommendations, all coming to you at a monthly payment. Indeed, this business model is worthy of getting funded by someone like Mr Ratan Tata.

[Before you quit this page, I have a request to make – If you have ever used a fitness band, do share your experience with the hardware. I am really curious to know the quality of these devices and understand how accurate is their data recording ability. And if you have ever used GOQii bands, I welcome you to share your feedback of the device and the platform on my email ID: hi@sarsij.in]


Juggernaut experiment, a few weeks later.


In one of my previous post I mentioned about the wonderful publishing experiment ongoing under the project name Juggernaut. A few weeks into the experiment I am here to share my thoughts and my experience so far.

First things first, the Content Delivery tool (the mobile App) is excellent in terms of content discovery (by virtue of simple yet unique categorization of content as per the reading habits and genre choices), reading interface (friendly & easy to read fonts along with proper brightness and colour combinations),  effortless navigation, and flawless order flow. The App is class apart, and the whole team needs to be applauded for achieving this class so early into the journey.

[Praise for the Juggernaut App is also important for one simple reason – It looks like a well researched App, instead of blindly copying from multiple other Apps. The research team’s work is impressive. 9 out of 10 Apps these days forget to do their basic homework, this App is unlike those 9 useless Apps.]

Juggernaut Team

When the App was launched a few weeks ago, they rightfully adopted the mass media to talk about their product to gain some awesome audience interest. I would say, the founders are wonderfully leveraging their media experience and connections. Full marks for adopting such a strategy. But what made me impressed was that the moment you got hold of their App and even before you wondered what next to do you saw the face of Sunny Leone (who has written a book for Juggernaut). I bet, most of the Indian readers couldn’t have just ignored the App and would have got enough kick to go ahead and explore the App. No wonder, the Android App has been downloaded more than 50k times, something which remains a dream for most of the companies.

In continuation to the adopted strategy, the team understood one of the realities pretty quickly – A user needs a push to start using the Juggernaut platform. They needed something for free to experiment and spend some time using the product. Hence they periodically gave away some of the books for free. Even I got two books, one by Khushwant Singh (who doesn’t like reading Khsuhwant Singh), and the one about Mumbai Mafia (I so wish to read it as quickly as possible). I am sure many people would have started to get a hang of the platform and the kind of content it aspires to deliver.

But one question got hooked in my mind – Is it possible to keep an audience base of around 100k reader hooked with so little content? I know they have just started and they are really pushing content at a pace quicker than the rest of the market, but it still not enough. Like I am purposely delaying the next book because I know that I don’t have anything to read until these guys release those promised books by Prashant Kishore and Sankarshan Thakur. (Yet again, I really like their strategy of keeping a reader in waiting mode for the upcoming books. Just like people wait for the movies after watching the trailer.)

Sometimes, a user will have to wait for his kind of content, and that would actually make the customer go back to his old means of consumption and if that happens, he might uninstall the App (which would make it another challenge for the company to earn the customer back on to the platform).

Next thing, what if I want to read the content on some other device? The company has not developed that solution as of now. But they will have to.

Thinking about the cash-flows, what if people don’t buy stuff? Because I doubt if Indians are really interested in reading books. Most of the times they are happy to read smaller articles and hence ignore the awesomeness of reading an elaborate script. This could be turn the whole idea towards futility. And in such a situation, the company needs to come up with alternate plans to monetize the platform. (I have a little fear that this platform will need to adopt those monetization sooner than I believe.)

Do they face any competition? Yes and No. Publishing & Content distribution business is dependent and divided by only two factors – Content and Medium of distribution. In this case, Content being distributed is mostly exclusive, and the medium of distribution is also exclusive in terms of App/Devices. So, in essence Juggernaut’s ideal audience is the one who wants to read ebooks, on a mobile screen, and he is capable of paying for his exclusive reading genre. The competition comes from two sides – Content Exclusivity (who all create exclusive content?) and the Devices which are already have enough content to keep the audience hooked. The obvious answer comes from those tabloids and article churners who have their own Apps (or are content aggregators) and the Devices (like Kindle) which have millions of ebooks behind them. I hope the company knows how to sail through this competition.

As of now, I am absolutely hopeful that Juggernaut has the potential to keep us hooked and away from stray content available over internet. But they need to really strive hard to keep us away from our Kindle devices.