“PULLL”-ing to Change the World
PULLL, powered by Pelotonia, is a brand new app that allows users to generate funds for cancer research through exercise (walking, running, cycling).
How did the idea for PULLL come to be?
Wes Sims (WS): PULLL is the result of 9 years of learning from our Pelotonia riders & community. As we’ve watched our impact grow from year one, we’ve challenged ourselves to reach even more riders, donors and supporters every year. The easiest way to reach as many people as possible in today’s world is through the mobile devices that most of us carry with us everywhere we go. So, we felt that the next frontier for the Pelotonia community was going to be in the digital/mobile space – and an app definitely made sense to our community and for our organization.
What is the goal for PULLL?
WS: The goal of PULLL is to change the world. We believe we can make a meaningful impact, together, by living our healthiest lives.
Why “PULLL” and not just “PULL”?
Simone Attles (SA): We thought you might ask that! So ‘pull’ is the term for the lead cyclist in a Peloton. A Peloton is the French word to describe a group of cyclists. Much like a Pacemaker in running, the lead rider in a Peloton sets the pace, but also cuts the wind, making it a bit easier on riders that follow. That person is “pulling” the pack.
Each one of us, through our efforts in PULLL, has a chance to take the lead and make the ride a little smoother for those who follow. We added an extra “L” because at Pelotonia, we are always searching for ‘one more’. We’re looking for one more rider, one more donor, one more volunteer, one more breakthrough – and with PULLL we’ll never stop looking for one more download or one more user – as we PULLL together toward One Goal.
How does PULLL work?
SA: Changing the world has never been easier! Simply download PULLL to your mobile device from the App or Google Play Store, open before an indoor or outdoor activity, and you’re unlocking funds for cancer research. It’s that easy! Once you create an account, you’ll get started by selecting your activity (walking, running, or cycling – indoors and outdoors). As you exercise, you unlock funds provided by corporate partners based on how far or long your workout is. You can also add to your fundraising through BOOSTs which are peer donations and essentially the PULLL version of a high five! The more you move, the more you’ll generate for cancer research. And don’t forget, you can also sync PULLL with Strava or MapMyFitness to download your workout activity directly into PULLL. By combining a community and a cause with personal fitness tracking technology, we believe the positive outcomes with lead to happier, healthier communities everywhere!
What was the biggest challenge/obstacle when creating the app?
WS: I think the biggest challenge was keeping the app simple & inviting, while still making it a very powerful fundraising tool. The first-time user should encounter an app that’s both easy to learn and easy to use. It was critical for us to make it easy for users to sign up, start an activity and “unlock” funding from reserves. We wanted everyone to leave their first experience feeling like they could make a difference. But the real power lies in the peer-to-peer fundraising component – known as BOOSTing. Even just a $1 BOOST can exponentially increase our impact and our ability to fund breakthroughs in cancer research. So, we challenge ourselves every day to emphasize the importance of the BOOST. We often say, “it’s great to PULLL, but it’s really great to BOOST”. And our PULLL team will never stop pushing ourselves to make sure everyone using PULLL has a “really great” experience.
What are some things you hope to see come from PULLL in the next 6 months, year, 5 years?
SA: I hope that we’ve built a platform for a community that consists of everyone, from Olympic athletes to 4th graders on a paper route, who are committed to living their best lives. I hope we are biking to work, running an extra mile, and walking to dinner to improve the health outcomes of ourselves and our larger community.
WS: Imitation. They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery…or something like that. PULLL is truly a first of its kind app experience. There isn’t another app that aims to build a community where 100% of the efforts benefit both the community and the participants – while also funding critical research that has the potential to impact us all. But there should be. We’d be naïve to think we’re going to be alone in this space for long – so I hope we either get an opportunity to work with organizations that want to drive positive change through an app like ours, or that we see something similar enter the market that we can learn from and be inspired by to deliver an even better experience. We’re committed to changing the world, but we also know our chances are better if we all do it together. We hope we can inspire like-minded projects that aim to make the world a better place.
Any fun stories you would want to share of the development of PULLL?
WS: I’ve shared a story about the shock of sunrise time discrepancies between our HQ in Columbus, and our development partner (Raizlabs) in Boston in our Facebook Live – so I won’t repeat that. But the truth is, the entire development of PULLL has been and continues to be a LOT of fun. From the time when Doug Ulman, Joe Apgar, and I started this journey together almost 2 years ago, we have truly not stopped having fun. From driving around the Under Armour headquarters, through learning stops at places like SXSW, whiteboard sessions in Boston with the Raizlabs team, or in Columbus with the Pelotonia team, every moment has been fun, challenging, and inspiring. Moreover, I have laughed about the app, or about life, more times than I can count while working on this and could probably share a fun story that includes every member of the Pelotonia team. Building and launching an app is serious business, but it doesn’t mean we have to miss an opportunity to enjoy the journey and tell a story. I think that personality comes through in the app – or at least I hope it does – whether in color scheme or the fact that we have emphasized community and celebration. It’s also been great to see Miguel take what amounted to sketches and help create something so polished. We LOVE what we do and we are GRATEFUL beyond words that the Pelotonia community has given us the opportunity to take this step forward on behalf of the organization. Every day brings new challenges and new opportunities, but we are building an incredible team of people who live to make the app better and are supported by a community that inspires us every day.
How do people get involved if they want to be a sponsor for PULLL?
SA: First of all, thank you! PULLL would not be possible without our amazing community, which includes our partners. For more information on how your organization can get involved, please email email@example.com.
WS: I’ll echo what Simone said, but also mention that this is a tremendous tool for teams to engage in a common goal that also improves their overall health. Whether a corporation or organization, a fraternity or sorority, a team or a club – there are a lot of ways that we can create an experience that will bring your group closer together. We believe that ‘doing good’ is a much more powerful motivator than many might give it credit for. It can be a great wellness motivator, as well as a great way to keep members of a group or club in touch and focused on a common goal. We look forward to working with different companies & organizations who are interested in sponsoring or partnering with PULLL.
What are other things you would like to share with the Pelotonia community about PULLL?
SA: Another thank you! We know a lot of early PULLL users are also Pelotonia participants and you’ve helped us in so many ways from beta testing to feedback. I want to answer the big question: Where do I connect my Participant (rider, virtual rider, volunteer) ID? It’s coming! Soon we’ll have the ability for you to connect your PULLL account to your Pelotonia account via Participant ID (regardless of what email you used to sign up for PULLL). So keep using PULLL and keep letting us know what you think! We will make sure the community knows when this happens and hope to make it a very simple process as we move forward!
WS: I think it’s important for us to continually acknowledge that our work is never done & that we are constantly listening and hearing feedback from our community. When we set out to build this app, we said early on that we were building it for 1 user as much as 1 million users. We can’t thank the community enough for giving us feedback and helping guide us as we continually improve the app. It’s important to let the users know that we hear you and that we want to keep hearing from you. We’ve built this FOR YOU. Just like a single BOOST can make a difference, so can a single suggestion, or a single report of a bug or issue. We are ONE community – and we all should feel like partners in this journey. #wePULLLtogether isn’t just a hashtag to us – it’s a belief. We are all in this together, working toward One Goal.
How often do you personally use PULLL? Any good reminders we can give to people to make sure they are turning on the app every time they are being active?
SA: I try to use PULLL every day! Whether that’s a walk to lunch or a spin class. As far as reminders, it becomes easier with time – now I’m like the PULLL police! As soon as I am walking out of my house, I’m reminding my friends and family to open PULLL before we walk anywhere.
WS: My family has really gotten excited about using it – so we use it whether we’re walking to the bus stop in the morning – or going for rides in the neighborhood. We’re also starting to adopt “BOOSTs” as a means of currency in the house. Do the dishes, get a BOOST. Fold the laundry, get a BOOST. So, it’s fun to have the kids essentially negotiating work for BOOSTs. Heck, that even happens at the Pelotonia office. We’re now trading things like conference room time for BOOSTs. It can be a lot of fun, if you start to look at the BOOST just a little bit differently.
Simone Attles is the Digital Community Manager for PULLL. When she’s not engaging with the community or spreading the word about PULLL, you can find her strolling around German Village, hopping on a CoGo downtown, or jogging off Hot Chicken Takeover.
Wes Sims is the Head of Product for PULLL. When he’s not obsessing over the app functionality & roadmap, the PULLL community or BOOSTs, you might see him walking, jogging or riding through downtown, Victorian Village or the Short North, taking pictures of his two daughters’ soccer & lacrosse games, grilling at home with the family, or otherwise just making too much noise inside the Pelotonia HQ. (the Pelotonia staff will tell you this is 100% accurate)