There’s no doubt, interest in health and fitness has spiraled overtime!
When it comes to health and fitness, it has never been so easy.
Switch & Co offers the largest variety of leisure, well-being, health and fitness activities. All of which is available for you to book whatever you want to do, when and where you want to do.
With Switch & Co, thrill-seekers can ride the world’s longest zip line, Health and fitness freaks (Yogis) can enjoy sunset onboard yoga yacht. Runners can join a local run club and those that love water sports can kayak or kitesurf past the Burj Al Arab.
They offer a huge range of activities and experiences to try out.
How did you get your start with
Switch & Co? Tell us about your career path.
Over the past 10 years, I have worked alongside one of my co-founders from Switch, in leading a design consultancy called VIVA. The idea that design has the incredible ability if applied in the right way to enable all sorts of behavioral change, drove us. Me and my team were fortunate enough to work with an entire cross-section of organisations.
From the world’s leading banking and airlines, to charities, start-ups and governments. We’ve embraced every design discipline in our work, including graphic, communication, architectural, technology, product and process.
However, in all the incredible work that we delivered. We never felt like we were close enough to have a real impact on the people we were working with. What we knew for certain was that people were capable of doing so much more.
Although, we were surrounded by CEOs, leaders, influencers and incredibly successful people who were achieving monumental successes in their work, they were paying for it with their own lives.
At Switch for sometime, we had been looking at how people structured and prioritized themselves in life. Spoke to a lot of clients and people around us. Learning about how people made decisions and where were their needs.
In this process, we came across our third co-founder, Graeme. Within our first few interactions, it was clear that not only did he share our ambition. But his significant experience in the health and fitness space was crucial to us being able to take the next step.
Switch from the very start has been built around this notion of ‘Live Every Moment’. Every word in that statement has significance.
- The ‘Live‘ is a representation of the holistic way in which we look at well being. We wanted to shatter this view that an intimidating gym or a clinical therapist were the only ways in which you could improve your well being.
- ‘Every’ is about the time significance. We design our days around everyone and everything elsewhere as we should be making decisions throughout the day for us. If we can use our phones to work, talk and shop all day. Why do we limit our well being to 45 mins in a class at the end of the day?
- Finally, the ‘Moment’ is about doing something or achieving something that you yourself can recognize. In many instances, we hope that you’ll be proud enough to share your story and tell others.
How do you describe your culture?
However, over the last two years, we’ve learnt and evolved a lot. Our investors have played a significant role in ensuring that the team stays focused and continues to stay true to the cause of making a difference.
Whilst we’re appreciative of hard work, we’re also big believers in practicing what we preach. There is an informal level of competitiveness when it comes to each team member showing the rest how clever and creative they’ve been in looking after their well-being.
Every month, each team member is given 500 AED to spend on the platform, on a use it or lose it basis. It’s near impossible to come to the end of the month to find people with more than a few dirhams left.
We’re not like most start-ups in there. There is quite a consistent level of business discipline and experience in the team. People are aware of the commercials and what opportunities mean to us as an
We’re all up for sneakers and whiteboards. But we’re not ones to be rough around the edges when it comes to delivering
an flawless service.
What kind of clients do you focus on?
The beauty of Switch is its universal nature – to quote one of my old mentors – its ‘culturally magnetic’. But we’ve quickly learned over our time that we can be more intelligent in our growth approach.
We realized that by working with corporates, insurers, and institutions we’d be able to reach and enable more people than growing organically by ourselves.
This is why when you look at our team, our tech, our investment and our growth curve you’d see that we’re focusing on building a scalable platform that connects us to the world’s largest insurers and corporates.These relationships enable us to build a network, where there are people and resources who can help us be a lot more effective in our goals.
Ever since you started, what are some of the successes the business have had to date?
It’s tough to pick out just a few as we recognize every step forward as somewhat a success. But I’ll highlight 3:
People – The best Organisations are built with the best people and finding them, especially those that share your vision is critical. This has been the single best success, we have a knock-out team who are ready and willing to take us as high as we want to do.
Investment – Whilst every start-up should know, that without cash you haven’t got a business. The achievement for us was finding the right kind of investors. Honestly, money can come from anywhere. And if you make it your mission there are plenty of people across the world who are willing to invest.
Landmark deals -There are many ways to prove that as an organization what you’re building is working. Every user we get tells us that there’s a need. But when you get some of the most significant organizations like the government willing to commit, it’s a landmark. This really does define our success.
What do you think is the future of
Switch & Co in the health and fitness industry? Maybe 5 Years from today?
Switch is already speeding ahead with the stages of growth. You’ll soon see the brand change to embrace new cities from around the world into the network. We’ve identified a road-map of cities which Switch is ideal to support.
But whilst physical scale is a big part of our growth, the depth and intelligence of our platform is important equally.
We’re working with the world’s biggest insurers, master developers, ecosystem owners, and governments to use the knowledge and data we have about people and how it can aid them in transforming the way they work.
In 5 years from today, we want to be the platform that powers physical communities! We want to enable people to perform at their best within their organizations. Switch will be known as something that allows businesses within the leisure, wellbeing, health & fitness space to thrive.
What would you be doing as a career if
Switch & Co didn’t exist?
Tough question. Personally, I’ve always been fascinated by how the mind works and how we can get the best out of ourselves. I’d probably be doing 1-to-1 consulting with people who have intense jobs. Reason being, to identify how and what can be changed to enable them to live better. It’s what Switch does, but on a smaller and focused scale.
How do you manage your time?
Good question – honestly, I can’t claim to have totally mastered it – but I’m getting much better at it. About a year ago I made a commitment to myself, which was to be selfish – which means I don’t accept meetings which aren’t progressive, I don’t get involved where there are more qualified people to handle the matter and I block out time to work in isolation.
I know myself well now and I’m the most powerful when I’ve got the ability to focus. At any point where I stretch myself across multiple things, the outcome is never as good. So, if that means not walking into the office and being distracted, or managing how people use your time – then those are the tough decisions that I’ve gotten good at making.
Ultimately building a strong culture is all about improving performance, how do you manage performance?
Performance for an organisations is a representation of collective effort – that is streamlined and cohesive. But one thing that people don’t understand is their role of contribution towards achieving the overall performance.
For us there are 3 key principles, that are key to unlocking the potential:
It’s not just about explaining to each team member our overall goals and their role. But the active measurement and management of their progress is critical.
We want people to know how they individually and we all collectively are performing. We’ve designed a series of incentives and tasks that are scaled in a way to ensure that people feel like they are making progress.
Probably the most important thing – is the right people doing the right things.
It’s fair to say when someone start’s working for you, you never know what they can really do. So, we are constantly evaluating each individual’s roles and how best they can contribute – even more so where they want to contribute. You’ll be surprised what people are capable of if they let them.
This is about handing over ownership to enable people to demonstrate that they can perform or not. It doesn’t just come down to assigning responsibility. But it’s about giving people the tools and freedom to do what they think is best.
Control is that responsibility comes with the notion that they know what they need to achieve and by when.
Do you have any other advice you would like to share?
If you’ve ever read a book about start-ups and leaders or read an interview with someone who’s been successful. There’s this one common theme you’ll find is being focused on learning.
It’s too tempting to think you’ve got the answer and you’ve solved the problem in one go. But that’s never going to be the case.
The only way to improve, how effective you can be is by learning from what you’re doing today. The beauty of tech businesses is that the data shows us instantly what people like or dislike. You’ve got to give yourself the time to understand these things.
But more importantly be humble enough to accept when you’ve done something that hasn’t worked, that this is OK.