May 20, 2021

Mark Gainey (Strava) - Building the social network for athletes

Mark Gainey (Strava) - Building the social network for athletes

Thank you Mike Ghaffary for the introduction to our guest today, Mark Gainey, the founder of Strava. Strava is the #1 app for runners and bikers and is the destination to record any activity. In this conversation we talk about how Mark's passion for sports compelled him to Strava, what focus really means as a founder and Mark has some amazing examples of that, we also talk about scaling and his approach to building community. Without further ado here's Mark.


Some of the questions I ask Mark

  1. The first company you founded was in the B2B space, which did really well Kana Communications. What made you want to build a B2C company? Finding motivation, staying inspired
  2. Why did you decide to focus on cycling, since I remember when we first spoke you were a very competitive runner and you were very competitive in college at crew?
  3. What was the insight that led you to found Strava?
  4. What was the initial go to market strategy and how did you think about how the go-to market ties into the vision?
  5. How did you acquire your first customers?
  6. Athletes are normally aren't one sport athletes
  7. How did you approach the balance of focus on a core problem/customer set vs. expanding to different use cases?
  8. How did you approach growth?
  9. Growing by partnerships
  10. When did you decide to not just focus on biking but to also focus on measuring other activities?
  11. What was the moment or several moments on your journey that helped made you stop and realize "ok, there's certainly something here", some type of validation?
  12. How did you think about competition and who is a competitor vs. partner?
  13. How did you approach your pricing strategy and what you to make free vs. premium?
  14. What was your approach to community? Was that always the intent?
  15. I know you were a huge athlete growing up and very competitive. How has that helped shape you as a leader and influenced your approach on how you've build Strava?
  16. How do you make sure it's decentralized
  17. What's next? What do you see is next for Strava?
  18. What's the best piece of advice that you've received?
  19. What's one piece of advice for entrepreneurs?