MEDIA ALERT: Introducing Strava S.O.F.T.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (1 April, 2021, San Francisco, CA): The leading fitness tracker for running, cycling and dozens of other sports, Strava, announces the next exciting step in their technology’s evolution. The global coronavirus pandemic that began in 2020 and continues into 2021 showed that exercise enthusiasts would not be deterred from achieving their fitness and sporting goals (to the extent allowed by local health code). More people got outside and got moving than in other any year since the product’s launch in 2009 for both their physical and mental health.

Obviously, the other major force that has reshaped society in the USA and abroad in the last year is the quest for racial justice and police accountability. In keeping with both these movements toward a healthier and more just society, Strava is releasing a parallel version of their software called Strava S.O.F.T. — Slow, Old, Fat, Tired. This change is a major step forward to make the fitness world more inclusive of our many speed-challenged, mature, differently-sized, and fatigued athletes. At Strava (which means strive in Swedish), we pride ourselves on meeting challenges just like our 70 million customers do in the app. Strava S.O.F.T. is the next wave of exercise and a key to the future of sport itself!

© Strava

Ongoing customer engagement over many years through surveys led to this exciting development. Many of Strava’s elite athletes, both professional and amateur, continually reported concerns with S.O.F.T. users. From getting in the way of fleeter users on the running path or in the bike lane, to diluting the high quality and excellence of non-S.O.F.T. users scores, and with easy access to the free version, the general impression was that anyone with two legs and a smart phone could use Strava. Meanwhile, our slower, older, fatter and more tired users let us know that they “…were consistently made to feel ‘less than’ by having the stats of the so-called ‘real’ Strava users constantly shoved in their faces,” to quote one survey respondent. We could not continue into another decade without doing better, thus Strava S.O.F.T. was born. (See our company profile on Craft.co here.)

Lengthy conversations with all our teams, endless design charrettes, and marathon coding sessions all led to today. Strava S.O.F.T. resolves all of these concerns seamlessly. First of all, beginning immediately, on April 1, 2021, all users with an average run, bike ride or other sport that uses speed, elevation and similar statistics that are below average will automatically be enrolled in Strava S.O.F.T. There is no extra charge for this service, and users will not lose any data or functionality. At Strava, all users are treated equitably. While the nature of sport does not allow us to literally level the playing field, what we are doing is in essence is creating another field. We have achieved this stunning achievement through a proprietary algorithm which is kept under lock and key and heavy security in an undisclosed location.

Enabled by this state-of-the-art programming, long-time customers who do not fit the Strava S.O.F.T. profile will notice a marked thinning of the herd in their followers’ lists. Our faster, younger, thinner and more energetic elite members will remain visible to S.O.F.T. subscribers (to motivate them to try harder to do better), but the reverse will not be true. Prime athletes will no longer find our less-skilled users clogging their activity feed, nor will they appear in Fly-By mode even if they have enabled it. We believe this honors our commitment to you, the superior athletes who are the bread and butter of our business and exemplify the epitome of Strava’s corporate maxim: Faster, Fitter, Further. Meanwhile, S.O.F.T. users will still be allowed to be valued members of the Strava family, just in their own different community.

Debuting Strava S.O.F.T. at a media event at their San Francisco corporate headquarters, Strava Chairman and Co-Founder Mike Gainer said, “Skeptics may suggest that the Strava S.O.F.T. system segregates users and creates a second class or lower tier of user. We have studied this issue thoroughly and can assure all of our users that this is not the case. Extensive data analysis, beta testing, and discussions with industry leaders have all shown us that quite the opposite is true.” Explaining further he said, “Strava strongly believes this new product not only enhances the potential of each user, whether they’re on a World Tour cycling team racing a Grand Tour or Joe Schmoe out taking a lazy lap around his flat and easy suburban bike trail. It liberates everyone from the pressures of comparing apples to oranges… or potato chips,” he said, stifling a laugh. “After all, it was the Buddha who said, ‘Comparison is the death of joy,'” Gainer concluded.

Yes, absolutely!” echoed Mark Hormuth, Co-Founder and Board Member. “Strava S.O.F.T. is a compassionate, equitable, and revolutionary enhancement to our industry-leading product. We trust that all our members will see the benefits as we continue to amass paying subscribers at a rate of about 2 million per month during the pandemic.” He continued, “We received $110 million in venture capital from our Series F funding in November 2020, and we have our backers’ full support. Get out there and keep moving! Especially our Strava S.O.F.T. subscribers!”

Outdoors enthusiast A Dude Abikes is a cyclist, walker and yoga practitioner in Austin, Texas who has been using Strava since late 2015. He shared his thoughts after previewing the change to Strava S.O.F.T.: “I can’t count how many times some faster, fitter dude or dudette has passed me on the bike trail with inches to spare and without any warning. I know I’m no racer, and Strava S.O.F.T. is an ingenious way to deal with different levels of abilities.” A Dude Abikes fits the typical Strava S.O.F.T. user: not very fast, middle-aged, overweight, and exhausted (“the latter probably from exercising too much to try to lose weight and from writing his blog until all hours,” he shared). “Similar to separating the different categories of racers from Cat 5 to Cat 1, the new system simply restores the natural pecking order by creating two separate but equal systems. As long as we get more butts on bikes, and those narrow asses aren’t rubbing their tuchuses in my face, I’m happy!” the fathlete ended.


© Strava

Unlimited permission is granted by Strava to quote from this alert with attribution. For media inquiries, contact Strava Press. About Strava: Strava is the leading social platform for athletes and the largest sports community in the world, with over 73 million athletes in 195 countries. If you sweat, you’re an athlete, and Strava’s mobile apps and website connect millions of active people every day. Strava gives athletes simple, fun ways to stay motivated and compete against themselves and others without having to be in the same place at the same time. All athletes belong on Strava no matter where they live, which sport they love or what device they use. Join the community and make the most of your sport with a Strava subscription. © Strava


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