Business Directions

I just watched a movie called the Social Dilemma. It got me to thinking about Sufferfest, Strava and Zwift. Zwift just raised $450,000,000. and they are clearly spending a ton of money on advertising right now. What I am wondering is - how do they plan to make money in the long term? $450,000,000 is a big investment to recover via paid subscriptions. Facebook, Google etc. all focused first on becoming ubiquitous and then they started making money by selling advertising and their users’ data. Is that what Zwift has in mind? Is that where Sufferfest will end up going too? I am not sure I like that idea. Can anyone offer any insight as to where the various platforms are heading? Thanks

Maybe check DC Rainmaker’s website. He does a good job of covering these issues. Based on Strava’s recent pivot to emphasize subscription and the potential that they couldn’t access more capital it seems like that is the preferred model to pay the bills. I think I read that Zwift plans their own bike at some point - sort of like the Peleton model where the user is in an ecosystem so that could be a big reason for their capital raise with revenue following in the future for them. That sort of thinking is also probably the same reason why SUF and Wahoo came together. Note that all of these companies do have privacy policies so definitely check those from time to time.

Here is another related question. Wahoo now owns SUF which means they have hardware and training software. Zwift has training software plus group ride/race software and apparently they are developing their own hardware. Would it make sense for Wahoo/SUF to either develop their own group ride/race software or to buy an established platform like RGT? That way Wahoo/SUF would have a complete package to compete with Zwift.

I am not affiliated with Sufferfest or Wahoo or any other training program nor am I a business man but I don’t see the value in trying to go toe-to-toe with Zwift.

As can be demonstrated from simply reading this Discourse site, many people use both, quite happily, for slightly different purposes. Any attempt by either to truly compete may end up losing customers from both.

As I see it, each has their market, with some overlap, and that balance is good for both.

In my mind, the same logic can be extended to Rouvy, FulGaz, etc.

Live and let live!

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That is an interesting perspective.

I have always taken the attitude that the best approach is to pick one app and roll with it. Most of my friends use either SUF or Zwift, but relatively few use both. RGT was free for a while and our local cycling association was running group races on it in the spring. So lots of us have tried RGT too. Also, some of my friends use Peloton. However I don’t know many people who pay for subscriptions to more than one app.

I like SUF and in my mind the only thing it lacks is a group ride/race element. I have a fatbike and we do group rides outside in the winter. Doing a group ride in real life is better anyway, so I don’t really need an app for group rides. However it might be fun to do the occasional virtual group ride or race.

I suspect I can do a 30 day free trial on Zwift. So I think I will take your advice and try both for a while then reassess.

I appreciate the feedback.

Many thanks

I use both Zwift and SUF together. Zwift is my substitute for outdoor rides when the weather is bad and I enjoy the group rides and racing. SUF Is now providing all of my structured interval training.

I just think the SUF video/audio/text concept works much better than the Zwift virtual world for structured interval training. Zwift comes into its own when riding with friends or competing in races/events. Zwift was a godsend this year with literally all my planned real life events cancelled! I ended up riding virtual versions of my events instead.

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I’ve found the same. I love SUF for the structured solo-training, which is most of my rides. And then if I have an outdoor ride scheduled, or just want to do whatever I feel like or a group ride then I’ll hope on Zwift and I can do group rides, free rides, or races.

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In my mind, The Sufferfest is purely training while Zwift is a cycling simulator with some training functionality bolted on top (which can be neither engaging nor particularly useful - it’s a collection of disparate plans with no rhyme or reason behind it, and it’s clear that they’re not spending the VC money on a sports science team).

I wouldn’t regard them as competition - they tick two different boxes.

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I agree Zwift and SUF are completely different animals. Even if the Zwift training plans were fantastic the virtual world still doesn’t really make interval training fun and engaging. Merely watching your avatar riding along a virtual road while doing intervals is only fractionally less boring than following a line on a graph. That’s where SUF really stands out from the competition when it comes to interval training. But the Zwift virtual world is equally brilliant for group rides and racing. So for me there is room for both platforms in my life.

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If you’re interested in this you might like to listen to the From The Top podcast from Cycling Tips, they have episodes interviewing with the founders of Strava, Sufferfest and wahoo which covers some of this

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Wow, I just started to read the transcript of the podcast with Sir David and it is amazing!

Thank you for that suggestion!
I even found out that the ‘SUF training’ brand wasn’t a 2020 invention))

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