CEO & Founder

... technology adoption follows a predictable and well-worn path, affecting different companies, with different heritages, in different ways. Know yourself, know your customers, and there’s incredible opportunity in front of you if you know how to seize it.

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Are You A Pioneer, Digital Native Or Legacy Brand?

Physical is getting Digital. And Digital is getting Physical.

Once an industry is touched by technology, the transformation is inevitable. What’s not inevitable, is who the winners and losers will be.

It turns out that technology adoption follows a predictable and well-worn path, affecting different companies, with different heritages, in different ways. Know yourself, know your customers, and there’s incredible opportunity in front of you if you know how to seize it.


You might have heard this quote before, which describes the “diffusion of innovation”. Technology starts with the innovators and early adopters. Think Peloton, Tonal or Hydrow.

It can take years before the luddites, the laggards, the late majority catch on. And when late adopters buy, they’re likely to buy from revitalized legacy brands they already trusted – think consumers buying online from Walmart, Best Buy and Macy’s, forgetting that 20 years ago they mocked the idea of buying from Amazon or Zappos.


At that moment of inevitable transformation, when the mass market starts to want what the early adopter already has, a “chasm” opens up, and it doesn’t care who falls into it.

At the bottom of the chasm are some of the innovators who didn’t get the timing quite right, or who spent their venture capital too soon. It’s the dot com dinosaurs – WebVan, Boo.com, Pets.com and Napster.

But they’re joined at the bottom by the brands who turned their back on technology and hoped that future would look like the past. Blackberry, Blockbuster, they all had their Kodak moment falling backwards into the chasm.

The digital transformation of health and fitness – both brick and mortar and at-home – is underway. And if you needed any incentive to take part in this digital transformation; when it’s over, 84% of the new market value will be on the other side of the chasm.

It’s time to take a good look at yourself and pick a winning strategy.


A bike with a screen on it?!? A digital electromagnetic strength cable that I have to bolt to the wall?!? Rowing as if I was on the water?!?

Pioneers struck gold first and mined their unfair share before everyone else showed up. But pioneers are now in a predicament. Pushed to be profitable, they’re having to do more with less, on first generation technology that is eclipsed by next generation technology.

Are you a Pioneer?

Partner to go faster. Supplement your team with Special Ops teams that can get you to the future faster. Cancel your technical debt. Stop trying to build things you can now buy. Your engineers love learning and playing with new technology. Your shareholders and investors wonder why they’re paying for it.

Recognizing the sunk cost fallacy of continuing to spend on home-grown solutions, Pioneers are evaluating off the shelf solutions that didn’t exist when they first started. Meanwhile those that didn’t invest in home-grown solutions are still in buying cycles, driven by the digital natives breathing down their neck, who are meeting consumer needs that they can’t.


Digital natives are the fast-followers, drafting in the slipstream of the Peloton. If this is you, you might even have a slide in your venture deck that says you’re the “Peloton of X”. You plan to pass the pioneers and take their podium spot. You’ve got speed and agility on your side. Time and money, not so much.

Are you a Digital Native?

Partner to go further. You can’t build it all yourself, be ruthless about the one thing that drives the most value in your company, and focus your time, money and resource on that. Think how Ergatta and City Row both partnered with Water Rower. Partnering is free funding. Encourage partners to turn your requirements into their roadmap. Win together.

Disruptive brands like Alter, Fittar and Bhout are partnering to add AI for Movement Recogition to their products so that they can leapfrog pioneers like Peloton and Tempo.


You’re not worrying about building brand, breaking even or building customers because you’ve been there and done that. But your customers are starting to fit the pioneers and the digital natives into their daily habits. Losing loyalty looks a lot like bankruptcy – slowly, then suddenly.

Are you a Legacy Brand?

Acquire Digital Natives. From Water Rower acquiring City Row, to High Post Capital putting Inspire Fitness and Centr together, bring great physical product together with great digital technology and content and you’ll find an extra gear. Turn Education into Engagement. Hire digital agencies to create companion apps that turn educational content into AI powered coaching.

Brands like Vertimax and PowerBlock are building companion apps with AI Computer Vision to turn legendary legacy products into lower-cost competitors to connected fitness products.

Meanwhile other brands like Concept2 open up their ecosystem, turning once aspiring competitors like Ergatta and Aviron into channel partners.


One of the leading indicators that a category is crossing the chasm, is the emergence of “pick and shovel” companies.

In the 1870s, Levi Strauss decided that rather than pan for gold in the rivers, he’d sell hardwearing trousers, picks and shovels to the other prospectors. Fast forward to today and there are “something as a service” companies who will happily provide the tools you need to focus on the task in hand.

Whether it’s music as a service from Feed.fm, video as a service from Mux.com, wearable integration as a service from Rook or Movement Recognition and Intelligent Coaching as a service from ASENSEI – find the strongest picks and shovels, and start digging.

The digital transformation of health and fitness is well underway. Know yourself and know your strategies, and you can unlock incredible opportunity for your company and customers.

Want to learn more? Download a free eBook at www.asensei.ai/chasm

About Steven Webster

A lifelong entrepreneur, technologist, martial artist and coach, Steven Webster is the CEO & Founder of ASENSEI, the leading technology that uses motion capture and human movement recognition to power personalized Connected Health and Fitness experiences.

Holding a 4th degree black belt and two 2nd degree black belts in Ju Jitsu and Karate, Steven is also one of the most successful sports coaches in British University Sport. He captained and then coached Edinburgh University Karate Club to 10 consecutive national championships. Since he moved to California in 2009 with the sale of his first company to Adobe, the club won 8 more titles, under a coaching staff taught by Steven as

For Adobe, Steven played a leadership role in the creation of a worldwide design-led consulting organization. Steven was trusted advisor to Adobe’s most strategic clients, from NATO and NASA to Nike and the NFL.

Prior to ASENSEI, Steven opened Studio 415 for Microsoft, leading a team of Bay Area designers, engineers and data scientists in an innovation lab designed to ideate and co-create new experiences with strategic customers including Gatorade and Sony. Working alongside colleagues from Microsoft Kinect, XBox Fitness, Cortana and Health Vault, Studio 415 pioneered natural user interfaces with voice and gesture understanding and
intelligent digital assistants.

In 2014, Steven left Microsoft to start ASENSEI and lead the creation of the “Movement Recognition and Coaching Intelligence” category, bringing AI for motion capture and movement recognition to digital health and fitness.

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