In the book “Blink” Malcom Gladwell shares a story about the journey of the most successful office chair ever produced in the US; the Aeron

imagesCAUTBZBXThe Aeron was designed to be a quantum leap forward in office chairs.  It was built on the principals of performance and was designed to be the most comfortable office chair to support the backside of the American 9 to 5er.  It refused to conform to the “norms” set by the industry and was radically different than the standard look, features and feel of the popular office chairs at the time.

When the Aeron made its grand depute and was launched to focus groups and market, it bombed.

People HATED it.


It was met with hostility because it was different.  It did not conform to what people view as the standard of what an office chair should be or should look like.  Because it was unlike anything people had seen before it gave them a shock and a snap judgment was made in the direction of dislike.

The company and founders had every reason to call it quits or go back to the drawing board; instead they continued to dive even more money into this “sinking ship” of a product because they believed in what they had.

The tipping point came when people began to USE it.

Slowly the early adopters began to come around, their enthusiasm and testimonials for the chair started to filter through to the masses.

The chair was built for performance, it was designed to be the most comfortable office chair know to man so that means to FEEL those benefits you have to use it.  Just looking at it will not build value in the chair, if fact it proved to do the opposite.  Visually it did not fit into the box of normal office chair so people hated it, when in reality they did not actually hate it they just had not experience it properly yet.

In fitness we spend lots of time developing programs, workouts, offerings and business models that fit into our customers “visual” box.  Something they know and recognize and fits on a flyer.  We all do Boot Camps because people are familiar with them but at one time someone when out on a limb and did the first general fitness Boot Camp style program to a bunch of people who had no idea what to expect or what it should “look” like.  We exist in an industry of performance yet we rely heavily on selling things that are known; we are always trying to create the next “Aeron chair” but we are afraid people won’t like it so our business offerings are full of “normal” “office chairs” that people are familiar with.  People might not like your “Aeron chair” at first because it is different than what they know and won’t fit on a flyer but like the chair if it has performance value they will LOVE it once they experience it.

1. Create your chair

2. Be confident when people don’t understand or connect with it

3. Give them an opportunity to experience it

4. Watch as the popularity of your chair grows

5. Repeat

About caseystutzman

Casey Stutzman is an AFAA certified trainer and has been actively involved in the fitness industry since 2004. Since 2006 he has acted as the Head Trainer at the Bay Athletic Club in Alpena Michigan. Casey’s love of athletics and competition drove him in to the fitness industry. He uses his experience as a division 1 college football player, amateur bodybuilding competitor, strongman competitor to help others reach their goals in all areas of fitness. Casey spends his time at Bay Athletic Club teaching Boot Camps, small group training sessions, training clients and working with participants in Bay Athletic Club’s Corporate Fit Challenge program. He also develops strength and conditioning programs and does performance training for a number of local athletic organizations and high school teams. As an Ignite Performance Master trainer and Master Instructor for TRX Casey travels North America to educate and connect with fitness professionals to help them offer more to their clients and athletes. Time outside of fitness is occupied with reading, travel, indoor rock climbing, snow sports and being an active outdoorsman. He enjoys spending free time with his wife Mary Beth, his daughter Vesper, son Indiana and Turkish the family dog.

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