Sorry this may seem like a random rant, but I hope it is not! A 100% business question I’d like to ask – Who do you think Zwift is made for?
Here is why I am asking.
I like racing. There are many races, and there are new formats added - not only we have group road races, we also have criteriums and TTs. But - some critical features related to racing are just missing. There is no category enforcement. In fact, to race more or less seriously you need to register at ZwiftPower, an external website which should have been integrated into Zwift a long time ago, but somehow it is still not. “I raced a D-category race and the winner pushed 4w/kg!” - how many times you’ve seen similar topics?
I’ve heard the social aspect is the key advantage of Zwift. What kind of mechanisms and features do we have for social interaction? We have ride ons, fine. But I am not sure if anyone remembers / appreciates any ride ons I give, and I am not sure I appreciate ride ons I get when somebody riding next to me clicks on their companion screen to give 5 ride ons to random riders nearby. Then, you can’t organize a team. There is no voice chat - good that community comes up with Discord and similar things. How is social interaction encouraged? Events and races? Well, see the paragraph about racing above.
I like training. I like Tri & Cycling Academy workouts, however I cannot put them into a training plan. There are some training plans, but again - who are they made for? Gravel / Dirt / Road / TT - well, this is not how one who wants to improve would work with a coach. There are more specific things one may want to develop, and there is some science that can be explained to folks who are keen or training. Otherwise there is a perception that another well-known product provides a better value for those who actually want to improve their cycling.
Is Zwift for racers? Is Zwift for casual folks who “work out”? Is it for people who want to improve? Is it about smooth and easy experience? How is this different from another product which doesn’t have the graphical part, but has a great deal of workouts? How is this different from buying a $2k bike and a monthly subscription which is like 3x the price of Zwift from another company (US only?). Well, these guys sending gym bikes have half million paying customers - not too bad!
It’s been about 1 year on Zwift for me. Every once in a while I get a feeling that this is a beta product. A startup trying to figure out who their customer is and how to approach their audience. I’ve listened to the podcast with the CEO - I’ve heard a lot of doubts, a lot of “this is not clear”, “how can you enforce categories properly…”. It’s OK to have doubts and consider alternatives, however overall it’s all looking like managing a product without a good product management strategy…